Cindy McCain: Political spouses get unjustified criticism

Being in the media’s interest can be very challenging, but being the wife of an active politician can be really difficult at times. That was what Cindy McCain found out on her own after her husband entered the first race for the Senate. People want to know everything about you: what you eat, what you buy, where you spend your day. The more intimate information there is the better for the readers. If in the year 2000 the biggest concerns were tabloids and television, now the internet has taken over and the political spouses are getting more and more criticism on blogs, forums and various specific sites.

What can a wife of a political figure do to avoid getting a bad rap? Not much, since every person has a different view on right and wrong and on appropriateness or inappropriateness. Everything you do can be interpreted as a good or a bad thing.

The lesson most political spouses learned over the years, is to ignore as much as they can of the speculative information in the media, while they try to maintain a balance in their personal and public lives. Their own moral code can be the best barometer they have in their decisions. Usually, keeping the best interest of their spouse in mind and focusing on support and charity fits their role best. If years ago, their main part was to go to dinners, barbecues, cocktail parties and look nice, now the world needs them in a more active position. The charity work may involve foundations and sponsorships, all kinds of recreational and entertainment activities that will raise funds for various causes. The USA has an important history regarding these types of charity games, being one of the first ones to be used for fund raising. So while the political candidate travels and makes speeches, the spouse needs to have her own public life to back him up. Sometimes the charisma a skilled political spouse can show, can even gain some important votes for her husband.


Hillary Clinton Mideast Concern

Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State has released a speech on the Mideast conflict, calling Israel to make some “difficult but necessary choices”  that need to be made to bring peace  to the region. This speech Was actually Clinton’s message to the pro-Israel lobby group.
Hillary Clinton believes that “status quo is unsustainable for all sides”, and compels Israel to move forward towards solving a conflict with Palestine in order to put an end to the long-lasting war. Or otherwise, Clinton said, the Israel’s democracy and state will be in danger, and could possibly not survive.

In her  speech Clinton also said she is worried by Iran’s nuclear program, saying there will be more U.N. sanctions on this question soon: “Our aim is not incremental sanctions, but sanctions that will bite”.

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California to be Saved by Legalization of Marijuana

In many countries around the world it is legal to purchase and consume marijuana if it’s done for medical reasons. In our great country of the United States there are only 16 states that allow the consumption of marijuana for medical purposes and California is one of them.

However in 2009 Tom Ammiano introduced a bill that sought the legalization, regulation, and even taxation of marijuana for recreational purposes. This means that there would be no more illegal dealing of the drug and with taxation it would bring billions of dollars into the hurting economy.

Just in 2009 the marijuana “industry” – if it may be called that – generated $14 billion dollars. Politicians have their eyes on that figure and hope to have it injected into the economy rather than illegal dealing.

The bill would change how things are done in California; if a person is carrying an ounce of marijuana it wouldn’t be a misdemeanor as it is now and there wouldn’t be any fines for carrying it. And not only that, but anybody who is 21 and up would be allowed to even grow their own marijuana plants in their backyard; this can’t surpass 25 feet though.

Even though there have always been attempts to legalize marijuana, this time it might actually happen. The politicians are concerned about the state’s financial issues and somebody has to be done if it wants to be rescued. The deficit is about $20 billion dollars and marijuana taxation can definitely help remedy the problem.

Of course there are also people that oppose the bill stating that there will be more crimes. However this might not be accurate since the crimes usually happen when illegal drugs are involved. If marijuana is no longer illegal then there will be no illegal business and dealing.

Such was the case of a fellow supporter who lived in London for a couple years and worked for a well known company called, he states that while being close to Amsterdam there was more and more people that made use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes and the crime levels were low.

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Student Loans – New Regulation

The newly-passed health care bill contains changes for many aspects of the U.S. economics, and one of these are  student loans. In fact, the changes will not really affect students, but it will affect private lenders a lot. The innovation is meant to bring extra $61 Billion into the federal budget over a decade. These funds will be used to cover the deficit and provide grants to the students with low income.

Previously, the student loans were provided by private lenders according to the terms, set by federal government, these loans were guaranteed by government. Banks received the interest on these loans, and in cases when the loan does not get paid by the student, the government did it.

According to the innovations, the loan will be given to the students  from federal funds, so government will be the actual lender and the one to benefit from the interest. Private banks will only serve to collect payments and supervise, and will be paid for these services. In such a way, private companies will no longer be the lenders, but will be employed by the government to serve student loans.


Health Care Bill Passes, Republicans Promise A Revanche

Finally, as a result of about a year of legislative process, the House yesterday passed the health care bill. This bill actually makes the health care reform, the democrats were looking forward to happen for decades, become a reality.
The bill itself, as well as the reconciliation measure were passed without getting a single Republican vote of support. Democrats were not so unanimous, and voted 219 for health care bill and 220 for the reconciliation measure.
President Obama will now have to review and sign the bill to bring it to law. This is what he said shortly after the bill was passed “We proved that we are still a people, capable of doing big things […], that this government — a government of the people and by the people — still works for the people.”
Health insurance for all
The major point of the  new health care bill is to extend health coverage to almost all Americans, provide Medicaid to those who have income below 133% of the poverty level. Individuals and small businesses will be able to buy insurances through health insurance exchanges – insurance marketplaces that are to be set up now in every state. Health insurance will now be obligatory, and those who will not get one will face fines, as well as the most of the employers who do not provide health insurance to their employees. It will be though easier for many now to get one, as the health insurance providers will now be prohibited to reject applicants due to the pre-existing conditions, or charge them more.
Not everyone is happy
On the other hand, the bill’s opponents argue this health care bill be harmful, as they say it will not only fail to reduce deficit, but should increase it, as well as increase expenses for the tax-payers. Republicans also say they are planning on a revanche as soon as retreat power: “If this bill passes, we will have an effort to repeal the bill,”  House GOP leader J. Boehner said.

Sunday Vote On The Health Care Bill: “yes” or “no”?

This week’s Sunday will be a crucial moment in the long-lasting health care bill developing procedure, as the House, after establishing debate guidelines, will vote on the Senate health care bill, and the changes to it separately. If the House says “yes” on these, America could get the health care coverage for about 32 million of those who do not have health insurance now, and probably reduce deficits for about $138 billion over 10 years. It would also set a rule, according to which health insurance providers could not reject applicants due to the pre-existing conditions, neither make them pay for a more expensive package.

House needs to vote at least 216 for to pass it, and Sunday’s vote will be very tough, as assuming all 178 Republican members voting against together with 20 or even more Democrats, each single vote of the Democrats that still have not made up their choice, can make it pass or not. The greatest concern of those who are still in doubt whether to say yes or now, is to make sure that no federal funds will be used to cover abortions, except those in the cases of rape, incest or to save the mother’s life.

As many Democrats  say they “have the votes now ” – J.Larson, it is now very hard to predict what the whole story will end up with. The President Obama, trying to encourage the representatives, said: “It is time now to pass health care reform for America, and I am confident that you are going to do so tomorrow”.

Obama Unveils His Exit Strategy From Afganistan

As announced earlier, yesterday President Obama adressed the nation in his speech at West Point, the United States Military Academy. In his speech Mr.Obama spoke to the 4,000 cadets and television auditory throughout the nation on the Afganistan war question. Summarising the President’s words, the United States will now be moving towards a successful, and hopefully fast conclusion of the US military presence in Afganistan.

According to the President’s conception, this goal will be achieved by putting more final effort towards it, and 30,000 troops that are to be sent to Afganistan within next few month are a part of the exit strategy. Such an escalation, the President Obama believes, is the only possible way to save America from continuing spending millions of dollars each year our troops stay in Afganistan. It is not a solution of a problem to just “bring the boys back home”, as, according to the President’s speech, there are still real threats, Afgan extremism presents for United States: “If I did not think that the security of the United States and the safety of the American people were at stake in Afghanistan, I would gladly order every single one of our troops home tomorrow”, the President said.

The new troops Mr.Obama plans to send to Afganistan will work on securing Afganistan’s capital and other administrative centers with the highest population from Taliban forces. Another point of Mr.Obama’s consideration is helping Afganistan develop its own military capacity to deal with extremism, by training and possibly by making American and Afgan troops work side-by-side.

According to the exit plan, America will be withdrawing forces from Afganistan in 2011, though many from both Republican and Democrat parties call this either unreal, or a mistake to proclaim. President Obama now addresses the nation, and the military forces at first, with a point to make the last push towards putting an end to the war in Afganistan, and despite multiple and controversial opinions on the best way to do this, many hope he will succeed.


President Obama Wants To “Finish The Job” In Afganistan

President Obama says the war in  Afganistan needs to come to an end, and decides to send 30,000 more American troops there.

Late on Monday Mr.Obama has finished advising his war council, Afganistan question was discussed. The President will formally inform the nation on his decision on Afganistan question on Tuesday next week from the West Point Military Academy, the White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

As to the President’s position on the Afgan war, Mr.Obama said that he thinks it is time to “finish this job”, and the additional troops he plans to send to Afganistan are meant to work towards this goal. It is clear enough now, that White House is now thinking on the ways of getting out of Afganistan, after more than eight years of constant presence, though it is also obvious that according to Obama’s position, this will be exactly “finishing”, and nothing like “quitting” as some may call it.  Regarding the US exit strategy, as the officials call it, the President in his Tuesday announcement will also highlight the benchmarks for the Afganistan’s government to meet before United States withdraw their troops from the country.

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House Passes Health Care Bill, No Abortion Coverage

A vote on the health care bill took place in the House of Representatives on Saturday, the bill was passed by a vote 220 to 215. Remarkably, 219 votes supporting the bill were from Democrats, with 39 against, and the bill got 1 voice of support form Republicans, which was of Joe Cao, from Louisiana.

A great deal of the debates this bill now causes are centered around its part, that concerns abortion coverage. So, not much long ago the House passed an amendment that says abortion services can not be covered by federal funds in the public option, as well as in the insurance exchanges, that are to appear according to the new health care bill. The cases of incest, rape, and when the abortion is needed to save the mother will still be covered. This amendment is highly supported by Republicans and the  Conference of Catholic Bishops, which is a part of the pro-life movement.

On the other side, the pro-choice group argues this measure to be harmful, as the women will have to either purchase a separate insurance rider that would cover abortions, or to pay for abortion themselves.

Baucus Health Care Bill: bipartisan proposal

While the health care reform continues to be in the headlines, the bill offered  by Max Baucus, the Senate Finance Chairman and a Democrat from Montana, seems to be the first and the only for now viable solution of these long-lasting debates. It took three month and a bipartisan group of six (three republicans and three democrats, including Baucus) to develop, and it will definitely take more time and effort.

So, Senator Olympia J. Snowe (Republican, Maine) said Wednesday: “Those of us as members of the bipartisan group of six fully intend to keep meeting, moving forward and continuing to work [… ] towards creating a bill that I, and hopefully other Republican members of the Finance Committee, can support.”  The White House press secretary Robert Gibbs noted, that this is an  “important building block to get us closer to comprehensive health reform”.

This health care bill does not include a government insurance plan that would compete with private insurers and requires no employer mandate, though employers (if they have over 50 workers) will be obliged to pay an annual tax penalty when any of the employees gets subsidies to pay for health insurance through the exchanges. For more features of the health care bill see our Baucus Bill FAQ.