Tag: TMC Political

“A Paddle For Your Boat”

Republished from 6/4/2010 at The Stars Hollow Gazette

It’s two years and this has not gone away. Some of the titles of the players have switched but essentially all the names are the same. Remember, this was Barack’s idea. We are still up the creek

and can’t afford the paddle.

Shit Creek Paddle Store

The Commission for Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, better known as the “Cat Food Commission” has targeted Social Security and Medicare for some serious reductions that will put many senior citizens and future senior citizens in jeopardy of being relegated to homeless shelters or the streets. Sound harsh, over the top? Well listen to the co-chair former Sen. Alan Simpson, who was hand picked by President Barack Obama, in the video below the fold. And how about Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi who purposely put a “requirement that the House will vote on the deficit commission’s recommendations in the lame duck session if they pass the Senate“?

Alan Simpson: Cutting Social Security Benefits to “Take Care of the Lesser People in Society”

(transcript for the hearing impaired is in this link)

Cutting Social Security and Medicare is how Sen. Simpson thinks the US can obtain fiscal responsibly works and his co-chair, Investment banker and former Clinton chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, who negotiated Social Security cuts with Newt Gingrich, now wants to do it again.

Although the commission is composed of 10 Democrats and 8 Republicans and the final report will need a super majority of 14 to pass, most of the members are Wall St. fiscal conservatives to whom Obama and Congress have catered.

Warnings from both House Majority and Minority leaders, Rep. John Conyers and John Boehner, that the final report will be presented to a lame duck Congress were ignored by Obama, Reid and Pelosi who are determined to bring whatever this commission decides to a vote by the end of the year. Now Pelosi has sealed the deal by slipping in the provision into the War Funding bill that requires the House to vote on whatever the Senates passes.

This Presidential Commission, which is also proposing tax hikes beyond the increases in 2011 when the Bush tax cuts expire, is selling out the middle class who is virtually up that “shitty” creek without a paddle and can’t afford to buy a paddle.

Obama: “Die Quickly”

We are doomed and so are our future generations.

President Obama at today’s (7/11) press conference:

As for Social Security, which he acknowledged is not the source of any deficit problems, he basically said that, as long as we’re doing a big deal, we might as well throw that in. “The reason to include that in this package is, if you’re going to take a bunch of tough votes, you might as well do it now,” Obama said.

Obama Offered To Raise Medicare Eligibility Age As Part Of Grand Debt Deal

by Sam Stein

According to five separate sources with knowledge of negotiations — including both Republicans and Democrats — the president offered an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare, from 65 to 67, in exchange for Republican movement on increasing tax revenues.

The proposal, as discussed, would not go into effect immediately, but rather would be implemented down the road (likely in 2013). The age at which people would be eligible for Medicare benefits would be raised incrementally, not in one fell swoop.


A proposal to raise the eligibility age for Medicare — which was part of a budget plan put forth by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) — would face steep opposition from within the Democratic Party. The amount of money it would save is also relatively small, as the vast majority of Medicare funding is spent on more elderly populations. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that if the Medicare eligibility age was increased from 65 to 67, the federal government would save $124.8 billion between 2014 and 2021.

Paul Krugman, Conscience of a Liberal

That’s a truly cruel idea; as it happens, I know several people who are hanging on, postponing needed medical care, hoping that they can make it to 65 before something terrible happens. And if I know such people in my fairly sheltered social circles, just imagine how widespread such stories must be.

But beyond that, think about what it means to move people out of Medicare into private insurance, if they can get it.

Medicare has its problems – but all the evidence says that it is substantially more cost-effective than private insurance. Partly this is because it has lower administrative costs; partly it’s because Medicare is able to use its market power to negotiate lower prices. And the international evidence is overwhelming: single-payer systems are much cheaper than systems centered on private insurance.

So think of this as a national interest thing rather than a budget thing: Lieberman is proposing that we move a substantial number of older Americans into a worse, more expensive health care system. Why would you want to do such a thing, as opposed to raising enough additional revenue to keep them on Medicare?

Where is the outrage?

It’s Not Torture

Republished from July 5, 2010

The Associated Press owes China an apology according to Glenn Greenwald this morning, that is if the press continues to follow the Bush regime’s definition of what constitutes “torture”.

China sentenced an American geologist, Xue Feng, to  eight years in prison for spying and collecting state secrets. During his detention, Feng was tortured as the article points out by

stubbing lit cigarettes into his arms in the early days of his detention.

But, but…according to John Yoo of torture memo fame:

Physical pain amounting to torture must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death. For purely mental pain or suffering to amount to torture (under U.S. law), it must result in significant psychological harm of significant duration, e.g., lasting for months or even years.

(emphasis mine)

So why, as per Glen, does the AP owe China an apology? Heh. Hypocrisy, thy name is the “Press”.  

“A Paddle for Your Boat”

Republished from our first day on line.

Shit Creek Paddle Store

The Commission for Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, better known as the “Cat Food Commission” has targeted Social Security and Medicare for some serious reductions that will put many senior citizens and future senior citizens in jeopardy of being relegated to homeless shelters or the streets. Sound harsh, over the top? Well listen to the co-chair former Sen. Alan Simpson, who was hand picked by President Barack Obama, in the video below the fold. And how about Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi who purposely put a “requirement that the House will vote on the deficit commission’s recommendations in the lame duck session if they pass the Senate“?

Throw the Bums Out

Is it time to primary Obama?

Nov. 2: The Death Knell of Corporate Liberalism

Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive

(But) Obama didn’t help himself by trying to placate the Republicans and by muddling his messaging.

He didn’t help himself by lowballing the stimulus and by rejecting a moratorium on foreclosures.

He didn’t help himself by playing a Washington insider game, by trying to buy off a couple of Republicans in Congress and by playing footie with huge industries, like the banks and the pharmaceutical companies. . .

He didn’t call people to march on Washington for universal health care, or at least Medicare for all who want it.

You can’t tell an unemployed person that you’d have been twice as unemployed without my help. You need to give that person a job now.

You can’t tell an elderly person you’re closing the donut hole on prescription drugs-by the year 2020. You need to close it now.

You can’t tell an adult with a pre-existing condition that you’ll force insurance companies to cover you-by the year 2014, when you may be dead. You need to cover people now.

You can’t tell families being foreclosed upon that you’re trying hard to keep them in their homes. You need to keep them in their homes now.

h/t lambert @ Corrente

How’d That Bipartisanship Thing Work Out For You?

Cenk Uygur, The Young Turks

I’d like to ask all of the people who thought trying to reach out to Republicans in a bipartisan manner would be a good idea — Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama in particular — how’d that work out for you?

h/t Hecate

Obama and Reid: Still Can’t Commit on DADT Repeal

While President Obama says that he supports repealing DADT, he will not tell the lame duck Congress to do it:

   OBAMA: “There’s going be a review that comes out at the beginning of the month that will have a surveyed attitudes and opinions within the armed forces. I will expect that Secretary of Defense Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, will have something to say about that review. I will look at it very carefully. But that will give us time to act in potentially during the lame duck session to change this policy. Keep in mind we got a bunch of court cases that are out there as well. And something that would be very disruptive to good order and good discipline and unit cohesion is, if we got this issue bouncing around on the courts as it already has over the last several weeks, where the Pentagon and the chain of command doesn’t know at any given time what rules they’re working under. We need to provide certainty and it’s time for us to move this policy forward, and this should not be a partisan issue.

This is why voters threw out the blue dogs. Keep missing the message, Mr. President.

h/t Wonk Room @ Think Progress

The War in Yemen: Obama’s Fourth War

What war in Yemen you ask. What Fourth War?

Foiled Bomb Plot Sparks Calls for Expanded Military Presence in Yemen

by John Hudson at the Atlantic Wire

The U.S. is seriously considering sending elite “hunter-killer” teams to Yemen following the mail bombing plot by militants in Yemen. The covert teams would operate under the CIA’s authority allowing them to kill or capture targets unilaterally, The Wall Street Journal reports. Support for an expanded U.S. military effort in Yemen has been growing within the military and the Obama administration, according to The Journal. Now pundits in the blogosphere are echoing calls to ramp up special operations in the country.

   * Expect a U.S. Escalation, writes The Economist: “You can be sure that the US will be seriously considering amping up its semi-secret military campaign in Yemen. And you can be almost certain the US military and the CIA will redoubling their search for Mr Al-Awlaki.”. . .

   * It’s Time to Get Serious About Yemen, writes Time’s Robert Baer, a former Middle East CIA field officer. . .

   * The Bomb Plot Demonstrates the Importance of Our Involvement in the Middle East, writes The Wall Street Journal editorial board. . . .

   * No Time for Complacency, writes Jed Babbin at The American Spectator.

Get the picture?

While we were all obsessed with the economy and the never ending election cycle, the US has established a base in Yemen, increased military operations by sending in the  JSOC to target an American citizen for assassination, huge increased military aid and increased CIA controlled drone attacks that are killing more Yemen civilians then alleged members of Al Qaeda. But, but there was the latest package bombs and the underpants bomber. No, these actions all started long before that, back before the underpants bomber. In mid-December of 2009, Obama authorized the launching of cruise missiles at suspected Al Qaeda training camps:

   On orders from President Barack Obama, the U.S. military launched cruise missiles early Thursday against two suspected al-Qaeda sites in Yemen, administration officials told ABC News …

   The Yemen attacks by the U.S. military represent a major escalation of the Obama administration’s campaign against al Qaeda.

About all we are certain that was accomplished by these attacks, as with most missiles and unmanned drone strikes, a lot of civilians were killed, mostly women and children.

Then in late January, as reported by Siun at Firedoglake, it was learned that it was more than a couple of missiles:

Back in December, before the underpants bomber, I had asked if Obama had launched his fourth war – in Yemen. Reports had appeared that just a few days before, he had apparently authorized drone attacks on reported Al Qaeda fighters.

Today we learn that Obama has done more than send in drones.

Dana Priest reports in the Washington Post:    

U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops who in the past six weeks have killed scores of people, among them six of 15 top leaders of a regional al-Qaeda affiliate, according to senior administration officials.

Priest goes on to report that the US military operation in Yemen involves attempts to assassinate US citizens considered “High Value Targets:”

That US civilian is American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki who has been specifically targeted for assassination by President Obama without evidence or due process. That’s right no evidence because, despite the White House claims that the Awlaki is the person behind the bombs, they have no basis for the accusation other than speculation and hearsay.

This must be making the likes of David Broder, who advocates attacking Iran to cure our economic woes, and the war hawks, who justify the killing of civilians as necessary to keep us safe, happy as a flock of vultures with a fresh kill.

h/t Siun at FDL and Glenn Greenwald at Salon.

Rachel Maddow’s Halloween Election News

Dressed in all black wearing little black cat ears and her orange striped sneakered feet propped up on the desk, Rachel Maddow, with a sense of ironic humor, delivered a general run down of candidates and initiatives that voters will decide on Tuesday.

I will be up and out early tomorrow, once again helping get voters to the polls and explaining the new voting system here in New York. I have the option, as ek does, to vote on The Working Families line. Yet, not all those candidates fit the ideals of Liberal/Progressive that I support. Yeah, I’m pretty left of the left.

Here are two web sites to help you find details on candidates, locations of polling places, relevant local laws and what your rights are when in case your vote is challenged.

Do-It-Yourself Local Voter Guides

and this one to help you find where your polling place is located from Working for America

Look Up Where to Vote

Republican Candidates Too Crazy for Bob Barr

LOL It looks like the Tea Party backed candidates are too nuts for Conservative, Libertarian Bob Barr. Barr, former conservative congressman and 2008 libertarian presidential candidate, endorsed Sen. Russ Feingold, (D-WI) for re-election over his Tea Party backed opponent, Ron Johnson.

What I look for in Washington are folks in the Senate and the House who put the Constitution first. Not the “R” or the “D”, not partisan politics but the Constitution. And what you have in Russ, and I have worked closely with him over a number of years to try to rein in the Patriot Act, to try to rein in the government surveillance and so forth – this is a man who understands the Constitution, who supports and fights sometimes against his own party to defend the Constitution in the Congress of the United States in ways that are much more consistent and much more proactive than a lot of Republicans

Barr also attacked the Republican Senate candidate, Ken Buck, who is running against incumbent Democrat, Michael Bennett.

Who says that Republicans don’t criticize Republicans?

As David Weigel notes:

If Russ Feingold loses his Senate seat, it will hit Democrats harder than almost any other 2010 setback coming their way on Tuesday. . . .

If Feingold leaves the Senate, there is no storm-the-barricades opponent of war on terror spying, or advocate of campaign finance reform. There are Democrats who’ll go along with it, but there’s no one else who relishes casting a lone vote or has the media profile to attempt it and get the press to care about it. . . .

If you can’t vote for Russ Feingold at least send him $5 or whatever you can afford. We need him in the Senate.

Donate for Russ @ Act Blue

“Four Little Words” Expanded: Up Dated with ACLU Response

Back in the beginning of August I wrote about “Four Little Words”, electronic communication transactional records, which the Obama administration wanted to add to the FBI’s ability to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual’s Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation. The lawyers were claiming that this would not give them access to the content of the e-mail just access to the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user’s browser history. Sounds invasive? Well, it wasn’t good enough, either. Charles Savage reports in the New York Times that Federal law enforcement and national security officials want to make it easier to wiretap the Internet.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications – including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype  – to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

The bill, which the Obama administration plans to submit to lawmakers next year, raises fresh questions about how to balance security needs with protecting privacy and fostering innovation. And because security services around the world face the same problem, it could set an example that is copied globally.

The bill would also require Financial Institutions to report all electronic money transfers into and out of the country, no matter how small. Currently banks must report international money transfers of $10,000 or greater.

But critics have called it part of a disturbing trend by government security agencies in the wake of the 2001 attacks to seek more access to personal data without adequately demonstrating its utility. Financial institutions say that they already feel burdened by anti-terrorism rules requiring them to provide data, and that they object to new ones.

“These new banking surveillance programs are testing the boundaries of privacy,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “Many consumers both in the United States and outside are likely to object.”

“This regulation is outrageous,” said Peter Djinis, a lawyer who advises financial institutions on complying with financial rules and a former FinCEN executive assistant director for regulatory policy. “Consider me old-fashioned, but I believe you need to show some evidence of criminality before you are granted unfettered access to the private financial affairs of every individual and company that dares to conduct financial transactions overseas.”

Djinis said he does not think the department has made a case that it could analyze such volumes of data effectively or needs so much raw data. “It’s presumed that the information will be valuable in anti-terrorism activity,” he said. “We’re told, ‘Trust us. Once we get the data, we’ll determine what’s legal or not.’ ”

(emphasis mine)

Marcy Wheeler points out that it may be the banks that bail us out of this further unfettered invasion of the government into our lives.

Any communication you make, any financial transaction you make, the Obama Administration thinks nine years after 9/11 is the time to demand such access.

I suspect it’s only the corporations can save us from this power grab. Not only are corporations doing business in the US not going to want all their transactions accessible by the government (we’ve already stolen enough corporate secrets), but banks aren’t going to want to track transactions at that level.

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