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The Rundown

8 a.m. ET: Speaking in the Rose Garden Tuesday, President Obama demanded "action over inaction" on health-care reform. But does that action have to happen by Aug. 7?

As Obama himself has said, without deadlines, "nothing gets done in this town." Absent the urgency of a defined timeframe, the House and Senate could well have punted on health care by now. But at the same time, the White House's insistence on a deadline has helped fuel the current, widespread storyline that the reform effort is struggling. Is it true that health care reform is further along on the Hill than it has been in decades? Yes, but that's not the barometer the administration has established for itself. Because Obama has imposed a deadline and stuck to it publicly, it will look like a setback for him if and when Congress fails to meet it. Obama holds a press conference tonight at 8 p.m. ET, and both foes and allies will be watching to see if he starts laying the groundwork for an extension of the deadline.

That debate over timing arises as yet another day dawns dominated by Democratic divisions on health care. The Senate Finance Committee, at least, believes it can finish a bill before Obama's deadline. In the House, Henry Waxman struck a deal Tuesday with the Blue Dogs on giving an outside panel the authority to cut government health-care costs, though Politico calls the agreement "a pint-sized breakthrough in an ocean of concern" and "a concession to one subgroup ... that’s likely to inflame others." The New York Times goes big-picture, saying Obama is at a "pivotal moment," as his handling of health care "over the next several weeks could shape the rest of his presidency, shedding light on his political strength, his relationship with both parties in Congress and his appetite to fight for his own agenda." Is that all?

Congressional Republicans, for their part, are planning to keep the pressure on for the rest of the summer, but in the wake of Jim DeMint's "Waterloo" comments, another possible path has opened for the GOP. "Quietly now, the crowd is growing in the GOP camp to shush up -- unlike DeMint -- and let the Democrats sink the Democratic healthcare reforms," writes Andrew Malcolm.

As a political rule, it's probably a bad idea for the administration to do anything that will invite comparisons to Dick Cheney, so in that respect it's interesting that Team Obama won't disclose which health care industry executives have come to the White House to talk reform. Since Obama didn't create a separate "health care task force" the way the Bush administration did with energy, it's unclear whether this story will get much traction in the courts or the press.

The health care debate has sucked up so much attention that Obama's fight to end funding for the F-22 largely flew under the radar until this week, and the Senate backed the administration Tuesday in voting to remove money for the program. (It's still not on some front pages today.) The vote represented a genuine victory for a president that needed one right now, as the White House -- led by Robert Gates -- overcame the combined opposition of defense contractors and unions as well as the parochial concerns of lawmakers. As Ruth Marcus writes, the F-22 "offers an instructive example" for how the administration could approach health-care reform, specifically reining in the cost of Medicare. Maybe Gates should be enlisted to help with that effort too. And though it mocks "the familiar sight of 535 procurers in chief out to save their pet projects," the Wall Street Journal editorial board hastens to warn "that the F-22 vote isn’t a sign of new fiscal discipline."

In Alaska, Sarah Palin faces yet another potential scandal, as an independent report found that she may have violated state laws in raising money for her legal defense fund. In addition to denying wrongdoing, Palin's lawyer also complained about the fact that the report was leaked. An important question: Can she use money from her legal defense fund to defend against an investigation of her legal defense fund? This is getting too complicated. No wonder she's resigning.

By Ben Pershing  |  July 22, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

The CBO says the health care bill will raise the deficit; Obama says it will not. What is the truth? My belief is the president is not telling us the truth. Government involvement always means higher costs and lost efficiencies. This plan and cap and trade are attempts by Obama to increase government power. And, from what I have read, the proposals will strip away many of our freedoms. For example, in the energy bill, homeoweners will have to satisfy the government's energy policies before a house can be sold. The government dictates the terms! I thought Obama would rise above partisan politics but I can see now that he won't. The turmoil caused by Obama's attempt to promote socialism in America is sapping our vitality. With the problems we have and the California type solutions Obama is pushing, America is becoming a depressing place to live. In short, he and the Democrat majority must go by 2012.

Posted by: saelij | July 22, 2009 9:25 AM


FEMA, Secret Service, FBI, the U.S. military and intel agencies are among the federal enablers of volunteer community policing, anti-terrorism and town watch organizations transmogrified by Bush-Cheney into fronts for a nationwide, civilian Gestapo-like army.

This grassroots-based extrajudicial targeting and punishment "torture matrix" uses covertly implanted GPS tracking devices to stalk, harass, vandalize and terrorize unjustly "targeted" Americans and their families.

When "targets" travel, the GPS system alerts vigilantes affiliated with local units of this American Gestapo, and the harassment follows. Local police cooperation denies these targeted Americans their Constitutional right of equal protection under the law.

Silent, injury- and illness-inducing microwave and laser radiation "directed energy weapons" are being used to torture, and to degrade the lives of targeted citizens -- what could be described as a quiet, ideologically-motivated genocide.

This weaponization of the electromagnetic spectrum is every bit as socially significant as the invention of gunpowder -- but the mainstream media has yet to report in detail on the ramifications.

Victims charge that members of this civilian Gestapo have infiltrated the health care system, calling into question the quality of the services they receive when they need hospital or emergency care.

And companion array of “programs of personal financial destruction — using the IRS as a political weapon — sabotages the finances of “target” families. Their telecommunications and U.S. mail appear to be subject to warrantless surveillance, interception and tampering — including the alteration of financial accounts and credit card and utility billing statements.

This systematic bypass of the American judicial system makes a mockery of the rule of law -- and political "dissidents," "whistle-blowers" and those considered to be social "deviates" are among its prime targets.

Civil rights advocates: Wake up and smell the police state that has co-opted POTUS and a deluded Congress into becoming enablers of vigilante injustice and domestic torture.


OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

See "GESTAPO USA" at http://NowPublic.com/scrivener ("stream" or "stories" list).

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 22, 2009 10:46 AM

The President's interview with Katie Couric was great. She asked tough questions, he answered them clearly.

The President is sympathetic with "Blue Dog" Democrats and is concerned to have deficit neutral health care reform legislation. He won't sign any bill that isn't deficit neutral. I heard that loud and clear.

Now let him hear that the so-called "honeymoon" isn't over for all of us. I remember the Bush years and don't want them back again. Barack Obama, in the Oval Office for just seven months, has been dealing with a dysfunctional, some might say broken country and a boat load of nonsense. He's been making sense of it methodically and patiently while pigmies continue to thrash him in the Media 24/7. Is it really any wonder his poll numbers have dropped?

How quickly we forget and how little we truly recognize and value intelligence and hard work.

Posted by: Kelly14 | July 22, 2009 5:02 PM

I've just completed reading Part 2 of the Health Care Reform Bill, H.R. 3200, Employer Responsibility. It clearly states that the employer would be responsible for paying health care premiums. ANY employer not participating would pay an 8 percent tax of the wages of each employee for whom the employer did pay premiums.

This Bill will retard jobs recovery at least.


Posted by: sperrico | July 22, 2009 5:13 PM

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