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Obama Under Attack by Jewish Coalition Over Medal Nominee

By    |   Sunday, 09 August 2009 04:15 PM EDT

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Obama Under Attack by Jewish Coalition Over Medal Nominee
2. Huckabee Responds to Poor Fundraising Numbers
3. MADD Mad Over Obama's 'Beer Summit'
4. Illegals Cost $11 Billion a Year for Healthcare
5. Netanyahu Denies Calling Rahm a 'Self-Hating Jew'
6. Lobbyists Paid $1 Million to Honor Obama


1. Obama Under Attack by Jewish Coalition Over Medal Nominee

The Republican Jewish Coalition has issued a statement criticizing President Barack Obama's decision to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson.

Robinson, president of Ireland from 1990 to 1997, served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and was secretary-general of the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa.

"Mary Robinson, who was one of the people responsible for the 2001 Durban conference against racism descending into an anti-Israel propaganda forum, is not an appropriate recipient for one of our nation's highest honors," said Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Executive Director Matt Brooks in the statement.

"In fact, awarding the Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson does great dishonor to the many outstanding men and women who have received it in the past."

The U.S. withdrew from the Durban conference in protest of its staunchly anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic declarations. Secretary of State Colin Powell said at the time: "I know that you do not combat racism by conferences that produce declarations containing hateful language, some of which is a throwback to the days of 'Zionism equals racism'; or supports the idea that we have made too much of the Holocaust; or suggests that apartheid exists in Israel; or that singles out only one country in the world, Israel, for censure and abuse."

Brooks said, "We're troubled that the White House chooses to minimize the very real controversy about Mary Robinson. It's wrong for the United States to honor someone who led a meeting that our nation boycotted.

"She had the opportunity to fight for good — by resisting the effort to turn the Durban conference into a swamp of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda. She not only failed to resist it, she facilitated it. That President Obama wishes to honor Mary Robinson in this way is profoundly disturbing."

In announcing that Robinson, now a professor at Columbia University, would receive the medal along with 15 others on Aug. 12, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said: "Mary Robinson has dedicated her career to human rights . . . As with any public figure, we don't necessarily agree with every statement she has ever made, but it's clear that she has been an agent of change and a fighter for good."

Past recipients of the Medal of Freedom include Rosa Parks, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Elie Wiesel, Mother Teresa, Simon Wiesenthal, Natan Sharansky, Tony Blair, and Margaret Thatcher.

The RJC statement also noted that in April 2002, Robinson's U.N. commission voted to condone suicide bombings as a legitimate means to establish a Palestinian state.

Editor's Note:

2. Huckabee Responds to Poor Fundraising Numbers

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's fundraising efforts fell far short of his potential 2012 Republican presidential rivals' totals in the first half of this year.

But his political action committee maintains that Huckabee is "on target" for the goals he set this year.

From January 1 to June 30, Huckabee's Huck PAC raised $305,000, ending the period with $48,000 in the bank and $63,000 in debt.

Huckabee paid $4,500 a month to his daughter Sarah, the PAC's executive director, and made donations to several Republican candidates.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is also eying a 2012 run, brought in more than $1.6 million in the first six months of 2009, ending the period with $841,000 in the bank.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin raised $733,000 and had $457,000 on hand, her political action committee, SarahPAC, reported.

Several recent polls, including one from CNN/Opinion Research Corp., show Huckabee roughly tied with Romney and Palin as the preferred candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.

But "Huckabee's struggles to raise significant chunks could well hinder his ability to take advantage of his strong standing in hypothetical 2012 polling matchups," Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post notes.

Sarah Huckabee sought to downplay the fundraising difficulties. In a statement posted on the Huck PAC's Web site, she wrote, "We are on target for the goals we set this year in both fundraising and organization."

She also stated, "We aren't ignorant in thinking that grassroots is the only thing that matters and that you can be successful without some financial backing as well . . .

"We will continue to raise money and be frugal with it. We have not, are not, and do not intend to operate in the red."

Editor's Note:

3. MADD Mad Over Obama's 'Beer Summit'

The so-called "beer summit" that President Barack Obama recently hosted at the White House has sparked a dispute between Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the alcoholic beverage industry.

Obama hosted the meeting over beers in the White House Rose Garden to smooth over any lingering hard feelings between Harvard professor Henry Gates Jr. and Cambridge police Sgt .James Crowley, who had arrested Gates at Gates' home.

After the meeting, the head of MADD's Delaware chapter, Nancy Raynor, said in an interview with station WDEL-AM in Wilmington, Del., "It's a well known fact that young people tend to mimic the actions they see of the adults."

The station summarized Raynor's comments as suggesting that convening the men over beer "could be a bad influence," Politico reported.

Sarah Longwell of the American Beverage Institute responded in a statement e-mailed to reporters: "MADD is no longer an organization that opposes drunk driving, but an anti-alcohol group that has been hijacked by the modern day temperance movement.

"That someone in a position of leadership at MADD would criticize President Obama for simply drinking beer illustrates the neoprohibitionist mentality that now dominates the group.

"MADD should return to its original mission of stopping drunk driving. The more time and resources the group spends pushing an anti-alcohol agenda, the more irrelevant it becomes."

Raynor told Politico about the group's statement, "This is very upsetting. I am trying to do the right thing, and this is what happens."

Editor's Note:

4. Illegals Cost $11 Billion a Year for Healthcare

The cost of providing illegal aliens with medical care amounts to nearly $11 billion a year — and that expense is not expected to go away if a healthcare insurance reform bill is passed.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN's John King recently that illegal immigrants would not be covered under the reform being pushed by Democrats.

King asked, "And so what happens to a public hospital if they walk into the emergency room?"

Pelosi responded: "I do know that the law requires that if somebody comes in off the street and needs care, that is extended.

"What we see in this legislation is that people will have access to affordable healthcare, and it will diminish the number of people going into those private, public hospitals in the manner in which you described."

That statement makes little sense in light of Pelosi's assertion that illegals would not be covered, since in that case they would not be any less likely to seek care in an emergency room.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform's Director of Special Projects Jack Martin told that illegal immigrants cost federal and state governments an estimated $10.7 billion a year in healthcare spending, including the cost of so-called "anchor babies" — children born to illegal immigrant parents in U.S. hospitals.

Those babies are technically U.S. citizens, but Martin pointed out that taxpayers would never have had to pay their mothers' medical bills if they had not entered the U.S. illegally.

Each anchor baby costs taxpayers about $10,000 on average, according to Martin, and these costs are paid through Medicaid.

The cost of emergency room care for adults is borne primarily by the states. Martin calculated that states pay a total of nearly $7 billion a year on healthcare for their illegal immigrants.

A study by the Center for Immigration Studies came up with a similar figure.

President Barack Obama, as well as Pelosi, has said illegal aliens won't be covered by a healthcare reform plan.

But on July 17, Democrats successfully defeated a Republican-backed amendment, offered by Rep. Dean Heller of Nevada, that would have prevented illegal aliens from receiving government-subsidized healthcare under the proposed plan backed by House Democrats and Obama.

The House Ways and Means Committee nixed the Heller amendment by a 26-to-15 vote along straight party lines.

Editor's Note:

5. Netanyahu Denies Calling Rahm a 'Self-Hating Jew'

An Israeli newspaper sparked controversy when it quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as calling two prominent members of the Barack Obama administration "self-hating Jews."

The Haaretz newspaper reported, without attribution, that Netanyahu made the comment about Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, and his top political adviser David Axelrod.

Netanyahu and the Obama administration have clashed over the Palestinian issue, with the U.S. calling for a more moderate approach and the end of Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank.

Netanyahu's remark was subsequently picked up by several news media, including the Time magazine Web site.

But a Netanyahu spokesman has since denied that the prime minister used the term "self-hating Jews" to describe the two top aides.

"The prime minister never spoke those words," Mark Regev told the JTA news service.

Two days after the denial, Haaretz followed up with a lengthy article about Emanuel headlined, "Self-hating Jew or peace-broker?"

It observed: "While associates of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are convinced that Emanuel is inciting the U.S. president against Israel behind the scenes — and providing the amateurish psychological explanation that he is 'a Jew consumed by self-hatred' — people in Washington who disapprove of his conduct don't look for profound psychological motives. Indeed, some sum up their viewpoint simply by saying, 'He's a jerk.'"

Editor's Note:

6. Lobbyists Paid $1 Million to Honor Obama

Lobbyists and special interests spent more than $1 million during the first half of this year to honor an individual seen as critical of the lobbying industry: President Barack Obama.

During the presidential campaign, Obama said he would not accept contributions from lobbyists and vowed that "they won't find a job in my White House."

On his first day in office, Obama drafted an executive order limiting his hiring of lobbyists, and strengthened a ban on lobbyists' gifts to executive officials, The Hill newspaper reported.

But lobbying organizations and corporations paid for festivities surrounding Obama's inauguration and for events taking place after he entered the White House. Ford Motor Co., for example, spent $105,000 to help sponsor the NAACP's convention in July. Obama spoke at the annual affair.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a key player in the healthcare reform process, gave $20,000 to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in honor of Obama.

Recently released records required under ethics laws show that trade associations, companies and individual lobbyists spent more than $495,000 in honor of Obama, his wife Michelle, and Vice President Joe Biden.

Firms and lobbyists also reported spending more than $700,000 on events surrounding the inauguration, according to The Hill, which noted, "Only the entities and individuals registered to lobby have to file a disclosure report, which means the total amount companies spent on the inauguration and other events could be much higher."

Lobbyists have been flush with cash to spend on such events. As the Insider Report disclosed two weeks ago, lobbying firms filed reports showing that some enjoyed sharply increased earnings in the first half of 2009.

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Obama Under Attack by Jewish Coalition Over Medal Nominee2. Huckabee Responds to Poor Fundraising Numbers3. MADD Mad Over Obama's 'Beer Summit'4. Illegals Cost $11 Billion a Year for Healthcare5. Netanyahu Denies Calling Rahm...
Sunday, 09 August 2009 04:15 PM
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