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Senate Republicans are preparing to foreclose on the Democrats' single best hope for addressing the country's structural deficit without shifting a huge cost burden on to seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries. It's a testament to the deep division between the parties on the key driver of future U.S. debt -- which might not matter if debt wasn't the high-stakes issue du jour in Washington.

Broadly speaking, there are two competing schools of thought about how best to reduce federal Medicare spending. One version works much like the House GOP budget's Medicare privatization plan -- it involves capping overall Medicare spending, and outsourcing the financing of seniors' health care to private insurers. This shifts a significant cost on to seniors themselves, but Republicans like the idea for two reasons: (1) It reduces federal spending by fiat; and (2) It rations health care via the private sector -- based on what services seniors think they'll need, and what services insurers will agree to pay for.

The Obama administration's alternative is a gentle twist on government rationing. It preserves Medicare as a single-payer system but shaves off waste-creating incentives so that over time the provision of care to beneficiaries is more affordable, more efficient, more research-based than it is now without explicitly "rationing" by declining more services over time. Or at least that's the goal.

And that's where the Independent Payment Advisory Board comes in. It's the most promising of the many new cost-cutting initiatives created by President Obama's health care law. IPAB will be tasked with implementing new ways to reduce Medicare spending, and, though its powers are limited in several key ways -- for instance, it's explicitly forbidden to "ration" health care -- its recommendations take effect almost automatically.

There's just one problem: Each of the board's 15 members has to be confirmed by the Senate. That means filibusters and 60 vote requirements stand in the way of staffing a panel that Republicans decry as a government rationing board. And months ahead of the nominations, they're telling Obama "good luck with that!"

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Netanyahu To Address Congress Reuters reports: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would set forth his view of a future Middle East peace in an address to Congress on Tuesday and reaffirmed Israel would never return to its old, narrow borders. 'I will outline a vision for a secure Israeli-Palestinian peace,' the right-wing Israeli leader said on Monday about his planned address to a joint meeting of Congress. 'I intend to speak the unvarnished truth. Now more than ever what we need is clarity.'"

Obama's Day Ahead The President and First Lady participated in an arrival ceremony at Buckingham Palace at 12:20 p.m. BST (7:20 a.m. ET), and had lunch with Queen Elizabeth II at 12:25 p.m. BST. They will view the Portrait Gallery at 2 p.m. BST. They will tour Westminster Abbey at 3 p.m. BST, and President Obama will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony. They will arrive at 10 Downing Street at 3:45 p.m. BST. Obama will meet with Opposition Leader Ed Miliband at 5 p.m. BST. Then at 8:30 p.m. BSt, the President and First Lady will attend a dinner hosted by the Queen.

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Rebecca Mansour, the adviser to Sarah Palin most closely associated with her post-Alaska political life, thinks Palin's daughter Bristol is a political liability. That's according to private communications published Tuesday morning by the Daily Caller that show Mansour comparing Bristol to other well-known relatives who have made life difficult for their famous political families.

"Two words: Patti Davis. Okay three more: Ron Reagan Junior," Mansour said in a series of Twitter direct messages obtained by the caller. "Two more: Billy Carter. Doesn't your family have one?"

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Voters in key Senate swing states don't want cuts to Medicare and Medicaid benefits -- and they're prepared to exact revenge on politicians who vote in favor of them.

That's according to new Public Policy Polling (D) numbers from Ohio, Missouri, Montana and Minnesota, where Democratic Senators face what could be tough reelection fights. The polling, published first by TPM, was sponsored by a coalition of progressive groups.

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Ian Murphy, the Buffalo, NY blogger who first made national headlines when he posed as conservative money man David Koch in a taped phone conversation with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), has struck again.

This time, the target was much closer to home: The special election being held in New York's 26th Congressional District, which has become a focal point for the national battle over the House Republican plan to phase out Medicare in favor of a voucher system.

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Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) tried to emphasize the positive one day after President Obama clarified his remarks about where to begin in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process after his initial statements on the issue last week created a firestorm among ardent supporters of Israel.

"I'm glad he clarified his remarks," Lowey told TPM at the annual American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee conference. "I'm glad we're all on the same page now."

Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ), a strong supporter of Israel, was much more sympathetic to Obama and his comments over the last few days, arguing that Obama never meant to advocate for a return to the 1967 armistice. He also gave Obama high marks for his follow-up speech.

"He wanted to make a strong point that these would be adjustments to the armistice," Rothman said. "And he said the relationship between the two nations is outstanding ... that the U.S. commitment to Israel is ironclad."

Obama had alienated the Jewish community during a speech last Thursday in which he called for the peace negotiations to begin with the boundaries that existed before the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel forces captured east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Obama stressed the need for additional "mutually agreed upon" land swaps, but that didn't prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from angrily denouncing any return to the 1967 boundaries while sitting alongside Obama in the Oval Office on Friday.

The President on Sunday appeared to mend some fences with the Jewish and pro-Israel community by addressing 10,000 AIPAC attendees and insisting he is a "real friend" of Israel.

Regarding his speech last week at the State Department and his comment about 1967 lines the president was adamant that he had been "misrepresented several times."

Obama agreed that Israel could not go back to the 1967 borders as they were, and that "mutually agreed" land swaps would be necessary. Yet, to the consternation of some at the conference, he continued to suggest that Israel's actions were creating delays that were unacceptable to the international community.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md), who spoke to the conference earlier Sunday, provided a stark contrast to Obama's speech by urging Palestinian leaders to return to the negotiating table without preconditions and urging the United Nations not to recognize an independent Palestinian state as long as it continued an alliance with Hamas.

The regime of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya received a boost from a special guest over the weekend, in its television propaganda against the country's rebels and the NATO force opposing the government: Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.

CNN reports:

The station is fiercely loyal to Moammar Gadhafi and her interview was spliced with what appeared to be rallies in support of the embattled Libyan leader.

...

"I want to say categorically and very clearly that these policies of war ... are not what the people of the United States stand for and it's not what African-Americans stand for," she told state TV.

The former Georgia representative also slammed the economic policies of U.S. President Barack Obama and said the government of the United States no longer represents the interests of the American people.

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Hewlett-Packard plans on hosting a "hackathon" this October to come up with new kinds of applications to help autistic children in their daily lives.

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