Day: August 4, 2011

 

 

An old TFC  friend with a new name posted this article on his website… 

by bird via The White House Blog

The budget compromise removes the cloud of uncertainty over the economy, and takes important steps toward reducing our deficit. In that sense, it’s a win for all Americans. (A picture is worth a thousand words, so click here to see an infographic on exactly how this agreement will work going forward.)

Here at the Office of Public Engagement, we’ve been working overtime to help explain all the details of this deal – and why we think it’s a win for our shared agenda. We also know that in the rush to figure out exactly what the deal is all about, there has been a lot of inaccurate information and analysis.

Below, I’ve tried to address, head-on, some the most common misconceptions we’ve been hearing about the deal.

Myth: President Obama caved.

Fact: President Obama laid out key priorities that had to be part of any deal. Those priorities are reflected in this compromise. First, we avoided default which would have plunged the economy into a deep recession, imperiling the well-being of millions of Americans. Second, the initial down payment on deficit reductions does not cut low-income and safety-net programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Third, we set up a path forward that will put pressure on Congress to adopt a balanced approach. And finally, we raised the debt ceiling until 2013, ensuring that House Republicans could not use the threat of default in just a few months to force severe cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Myth: Republicans got everything they wanted

Fact: They won’t admit it publicly, but when push came to shove, Republicans backed down on their key demands. For months, Republicans called for a budget that would have ended Medicare as we know it, made catastrophic cuts to Medicaid, or cut investments in education by 25 percent, clean energy by 70 percent and infrastructure spending by 30 percent. As if that wasn’t enough, they also demanded that we repeat this debt-ceiling crisis, just a few months from now.

None of these of these demands made it into a final deal.

Myth: This deal cuts Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Fact: There are no changes to these programs included in the initial phase of this agreement. In the second phase of the agreement, everything will be on the table – and the President has made clear that the committee must pursue a balanced approach where reforms to programs like Medicaid, Social Security or Medicare would only be acceptable if coupled with higher revenues from the most fortunate.

Myth: This deal reduces the deficit entirely on the backs of the middle class.

Fact: While the initial down payment on deficit reduction – about $1 trillion – will require belt-tightening, it still will allow us to invest in the programs and priorities we care about most. Moreover, hundreds of billions of this initial round of cuts will come from security spending.

As we negotiated the domestic side of the cuts, we protected our historic new investments in Pell Grants as part of the down payment. For the second phase, we made sure that programs for the most vulnerable, like food stamps, Medicaid and the Earned Income Tax Credit, would not be hit by the “trigger,” the automatic cuts that will go into place if Congress does not find an acceptable compromise.

Myth: The joint committee — the so-called “super committee” — makes it easier for Congress to cut the programs we care about.

Fact: The joint committee system puts pressure on Republicans to seek compromise. As we all know, in this round of deficit reduction, there wasn’t a lot of leverage bringing Republicans to the table. In round two, that changes.

If Republicans aren’t willing to compromise, then the joint committee will fail. This would automatically trigger an additional $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction designed to be painful for both sides, with half that coming from savings in the defense budget.

Myth: Since we weren’t able to raise revenues right now, we won’t be able to raise revenues in the future.

Fact: The deal lays out two paths for further reducing our deficit. Both of them include revenues. Option one is for the joint committee to develop a plan that is passed by both Houses of Congress, and signed by President Obama. The President has already said that he will only support a balanced approach involving shared sacrifice. That means raising revenue through steps such as closing loopholes for corporations, reforming our tax code, and asking millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share in taxes.

If the joint committee cannot develop a balanced compromise,that brings us to option two for raising revenues: the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. On January 1, 2013, President Obama can use his veto pen to end special tax breaks for high-income Americans if Congress votes to extend them.

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Americans For Prosperity Accused Of Voter Suppression In Wisconsin Recall Elections

In my opinion, voter suppression is an insult to every American who believes the Constitution has set guidelines to avert such activities.  Once again the GOP usurps the same Constitution they claim to “love”.

Huffington Post

Patch.com reported that Charles Shultz, a Democrat who lives in the 10th Senate District, received an absentee ballot application form last week from AFP that contained incorrect information on it. The form instructed him to mail it back to the wrong location by Aug. 11 — two days after the recall election in his district between Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R) and Shelly Moore (D) is set to take place, on Aug. 9.

Politico obtained a copy of the AFP mailer, which was also distributed to voters in the 2nd District.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party filed a formal complaint Tuesday with the state’s Government Accountability Board over the issue, accusing AFP of “falsely representing the time frame” for the upcoming August 9 recall election. Shultz filed his own complaint with the GAB on Saturday.

AFP may also be getting involved in the increasingly heated ad wars that have been leading up to the recall elections. According to One Wisconsin Now, AFP has reportedly purchased over $150,000 in television ad time in the Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee areas.

A spokesperson for Americans for Prosperity did not respond when asked for comment on the purchase, but One Wisconsin Now, a non-profit statewide progressive communications network, says the ad buy appears to be an effort to help the six Republican state Senators who were challenged by recall elections after supporting Governor Scott Walker’s anti-collective bargaining legislation in early 2011.

Scot Ross, the Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now, said at least one of the AFP-backed ads will air in support of two Republicans, Sen. Luther Olsen (District 14) and Sen. Robert Cowles (District 2). The group has also confirmed a $90,000 AFP ad buy in District 12, currently represented by Sen. Jim Holperin, a Democrat who is being recalled.

Continue reading here…

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Destroying Democratic presidents

 Salon

Right-wing attacks on President Obama are vicious, but the ugliness began with President Clinton

Alex Pareene captured the craziness of conservatives and business leaders who demonize President Obama, the man most progressives, whether they like it or not, recognize as the conciliator in chief. Home Depot chairman Ken Langone is just the latest to become unhinged on the topic of Obama, blasting him on CNBC recently:

“He is not acting presidential. He is behaving in a way designed in my opinion to divide us, to make us look at each other with skepticism, with suspicion. That is the end of America as we know it,” Langone fulminated. “The destruction he is inflicting by his behavior will carry on long after we settle the debt limit.”

I don’t know who Langone is describing, but it’s not Obama. Sure, he’s taken a jab or two at fat cats, and quickly retreated. Mostly he’s reached out to Republicans time and again, only to be rebuffed and humiliated, from the earliest days of his term. On “Hardball” today we discussed the extreme reaction this conciliating president has triggered in the GOP, from the earliest moments of his presidency.

Continue reading

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Cantor: Entitlement Promises ‘Frankly, Are Not Going To Be Kept For Many’

The continued folly and absurdity of the GOP…

Think Progress

During an interview with the Wall Street Journal, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said he is ready and willing to slash entitlements like Medicare, because, in his opinion, Americans have to “come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many“:

What we need to be able to do is to demonstrate that that is the better way for the people of this country. Get the fiscal house in order, come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that, frankly, are not going to be kept for many. […] The math doesn’t lie.

Watch it:

Republicans have been saying for months that they want to preserve programs like Medicare and Social Security for all people over the age of 55, but that those under 55 will have to shift into a different program. But Cantor’s pronouncement is maybe the most explicit explanation that, under the GOP’s vision, the government would be actively reneging on promises made to those who haven’t yet hit the arbitrary age of 55.

Of course, the math would look much better, particularly on Social Security, if the GOP were to back off its insistence that the government not collect a single dime in new revenue. Meanwhile, Jacob Hacker, political science professor at Yale University, has called the GOP’s scheme to raise the Medicare retirement age “the single worst idea for Medicare reform” since it “saves Medicare money only by shifting the cost burden onto older Americans caught between the old eligibility age and the new, as well as onto the employers and states that help fund their benefits.”

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Murdoch Using Drone Aircraft to Spy on U.S. SERIOUSLY Updated x3 (Daily Kos)

The audacity of this  person!  How many laws does Rupert Murdoch have to break before he is thrown in jail?

Daily Kos

Breaking from Keith Olbermann‘s Countdown on CurrentTV:
(UPDATE 1: video of segment now viewable at bottom of diary)

The FAA is investigating Murdoch for flying a drone with a camera on it..

Forbes magazine reporting it. Using it to look at natural disasters among other things. They fly too low and are illegal.

Forbes also reporting that an ex-airforce official worked with Murdoch to make a drone that could capture cell phone signals, unlocked wi-fi signals, etc. Holy effing crap – Rupert thinks he’s his own airforce! Smug bastard – kind makes me think of Borat going, “King of the castle! King of the castle!”

Bastard.

I will post the Forbes link the moment I find it

Here’s the link to the Forbes article:

http://blogs.forbes.com/…

a small excerpt:

The News Corp’s The Daily has a drone that it’s sent out a few times, as noted by The Observer.  After The Daily broadcast some incredible footage of Alabama after it was devastated by storms, UAS Vision reported that The Daily owns a MicroDrone MD4-1000. The Daily sent it out again in June to bring back video from Minot, North Dakota after intense flooding there. (Total non-sequitur: Drones can hack cell phones now, you know.)Taking footage for news-gathering purposes seemed like a commercial use of a drone, which is a no-no, as I understand it. I followed up with the FAA asking if News Corp was one of the companies with an experimental certificate. The inquiry got lobbed to the FAA’s legal department…

“We are examining The Daily’s use of a small unmanned aircraft to see if it was in accordance with FAA policies,” said Les Dorr in an email today. A Daily spokesperson has not yet responded to an inquiry about ownership and licensing of the company’s drone.

UPDATE 1:

Many thanks to Diogenes2008 for the Countdown clip:

UPDATE 2:

A bit more on the law regarding private drones from G2geek in the comments:

Private drones are ILLEGAL in the US. This I know from reading articles about entrepreneurs and hobbyists who want to experiment with drones and remotely-piloted aircraft:There is a very narrow category open for experimentation, but it’s not even wide enough to allow the hobbyists and entrepreneurs to get into the game.  Basically all it allows are the kinds of model airplanes you can operate from the ground while being able to see them at all times.   Nothing more.

If Murdoch and his minions are doing anything more than what hobbyists are already doing with RC model aircraft, he’s in deep doodoo up to his evil eyeballs.  

UPDATE 2.5

A HUGE thanks to Keith Olbermann and Forbes Magazine for breaking this story.

UPDATE 3:
Photo of German-made drone Forbes says Murdoch deployed in the US:
microdrone
(h/t Flint for finding the company’s website)

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Former Sen. Alan Simpson: Who is Grover Norquist a slave to?

Raw Story

Former Senator Alan Simpson (R) appeared on MSNBC’s The Last Word Wednesday, where he called for an investigation into anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist’s influence on the Republican Party.

Grover’s anti-tax pledge has been signed by 235 House Republicans and 41 Senate Republicans.

“If Grover Norquist is more powerful than the President of the United States and Congress… he should run for president,” Simpson said. “It’s time now to peel all the layers of onion off of Grover Norquist.”

“Who is he a slave to?” he added. “Somewhere that needs to come out very soon.”

Watch video, courtesy of MSNBC, below:

Former Sen. Alan Simpson: Who is Grover Norquist a slave to? | Raw Replay.

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Bill Maher: Republicans want the economy to tank

You gotta love Bill Maher’s tenacity, especially in this bizarre political climate.  Most Republicans feign outrage when confronted with the reality that they want the economy to tank so Obama will be a one term president…

I disagree with Bill Maher when he says that the President will be a one-term President because of his policies.  I believe that Obama will win re-election in 2012.

Raw Story

Comedian Bill Maher said Wednesday on MSNBC that Republicans hope for economic troubles because it will help them defeat President Barack Obama in 2012.

“They want the economy to tank, because that’s their best ticket to beat Obama,” he said. “And the bill they just forced him to sign is a great start to insure we have this double dip recession, and that unemployment stays high, and that nothing is moving in the economy.”

“They’re choking the recession in the crib. That’s just what they want to do. And Obama signed along with it. I just don’t understand this man.”

Watch video, courtesy of MSNBC, below:

Bill Maher: Republicans want the economy to tank | Raw Replay.

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Gov. Christie Defends Appointing Muslim Judge: ‘This Sharia Law Business Is Crap’

I don’t like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but I have to agree with him in this instance…

Mediaite

At this juncture, it may be more efficient to highlight which interactions between New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the media are notnewsworthy. The Republican’s appointment of Muslim-American Sohail Mohammed to a state bench this week ruffled some feathers among some who fear the threat of Sharia Law, but when asked about those concerns, Gov. Christie made clear he had no patience for such “ignorance,” calling the complaints “crap.”

“Ignorance is behind the criticism of Sohail Mohammed,” he told a reporting asking about the complaints that he may be inadequate to be a judge because he defended Muslim Americans who were wrongly arrested post-9/11. “He is an extraordinary American who is an outstanding lawyer and played an integral role in the post-September 11th period in building bridges between the Muslim American community in this state and law enforcement,” Gov. Christie argued, adding that he was “disgusted, candidly, by some of the questions he was asked… at the Senate judiciary committee.”

But it was a follow-up question on the fear of Sharia Law that set the governor off. “Sharia Law has nothing to do with this at all, it’s crazy!” he cried. “The guy is an American citizen!” He concluded that the “Sharia Law business is just crap… and I’m tried of dealing with the crazies,” adding with disgust and frustration that “it’s just unnecessary to be accusing this guy of things just because of his religious background.”

For most blue state governors, a fervent statement of support for a Muslim appointee would not exactly be news. It wouldn’t be news for a red state governor under most circumstances, either, but 2010 and 2011 haven’t precisely been the most Muslim-friendly years in American politics, the former being defined by the “Ground Zero Mosque” nontroversy and the latter seeing the looming “threat” of Sharia Law gain traction in Republican primary debates. Primary debates, it should be noted, in which many Republicans would have loved to see Gov. Christie participate.

Sure, the clip is entertaining because any clip of Gov. Christie being combative at a reporter is so, but it is particularly significant in that it gives one a idea of what Gov. Christie would sound like on the matter as a presidential candidate. It begs the questions: what would Gov. Christie have said on a podium across from Herman Cain while he insisted that “American law in American courts, period” was one of the more important platform issues of his campaign, or how he would respond to other states banning Sharia Law? The topic seems to put him in a far more centrist position than many others running.

Watch Gov. Christie defend Mohammed’s appointment here…

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