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Good Morning!

Photo by joanneleon. December, 2012

When you order up a ham-and-egg sandwich, the flavors and the aroma mix well. But if asked to sacrifice to make the sandwich, the chicken would say “no problem,” lay an egg and keep on cackling. The pig would say “no, no, no,” for he’d have to give up a leg. When folks say everyone should sacrifice, they are often talking about ham-and-egg justice.

-- Jesse Jackson

Danny Barker - Ham and Eggs
Drop in any time
day or night
to say hello, to post news, art, music, etc.
and feel free to promote your own work,
no matter where it lives.

News and Opinion

Ham & Egg Justice Quotes of the Day

“This afternoon, the President and Speaker Boehner met at the White House to discuss efforts to resolve the fiscal cliff. We're not reading out details of the conversation, but the lines of communication remain open,” said that statement.
"We can hope that cooler heads get locked in a room with no smoke, no mirrors, and that they find a way to credibly put the country on a path to lower debt over time," says U.S. Bank's Russell.
"You have a lot of high-net-worth individuals in taxable accounts, and that could be what's affecting stocks like Apple. If you look at the stocks that people have their largest gains in, they seem to be under a little bit more pressure here than usual." [...]
"After the FOMC meeting, I think it's going to be downhill from there as worries about the fiscal cliff really take center stage and prospects of a deal become less and less likely," said Mohannad Aama, managing director of Beam Capital Management LLC in New York.

"I think we are likely to see an escalation in profit-taking ahead of tax rates going up next year," he said.

“We’re getting down to as late as it’s physically possible to actually turn a framework into enactable legislation and then actually get it passed,” said Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), who is anticipating a complicated bill with “many real consequences for average Americans’ lives.” “For senators to responsibly vote on a big, bold framework or package, we need time to review, debate and discuss this. And we are rapidly running out of running room.”
"I just don't think we can do it in a matter of days here before the end of the year," Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said of Medicare reform specifically, in an interview Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"We need to address that in a thoughtful way through the committee structure after the first of the year," Durbin added.

"There is a growing group of folks looking at this and realizing that we don't have a lot of cards as it relates to the tax issue before year end," Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told "Fox News Sunday."
In forthright comments over the impending fiscal cliff, the IMF managing director said that "if the US economy was to suffer the downside risk of not reaching a comprehensive deal, then growth would be zero". The markets would react quickly, "and the stock market would take a hit," she said.
"My view, personally, is that the best way to go forward is to have a balanced approach that takes into account both increasing the revenue, which means, you know, either raising taxes or creating new sources of revenue, and cutting spending," she said. ...Link

Time running out on ‘fiscal cliff’ deal

Policy aides say both sides want to avoid the constraints of the budget reconciliation process and are instead focused on drafting two relatively simple bills. One would instruct the tax-writing committees to undertake an overhaul of the tax code and the other would order up legislation to improve the solvency of Medicare and Social Security.

Those measures are likely to contain little more than savings targets and some principles to guide work next year, aides said. Trying to get too specific would not only take time but could kill any chance of passage.

Even settling on a health-care number could prove problematic. Democrats argue that anything over $400 billion in savings over 10 years implies unacceptable benefit cuts. And Republicans are certain to demand at least one specific policy that permanently changes the soaring trajectory of entitlement costs, a tough give for Democrats.

“They want something to put on the wall, to say, ‘OK, we gave on taxes. They gave on [entitlements],’ ” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate. “I hope we don’t go that route, [but] we may end up facing it as the only way out of this.”
Durbin said Democrats would prefer raising Medicare costs or reducing benefits for better-off seniors. After a presidential campaign focused on attacking Democrats for cutting Medicare to pay for “Obamacare,” Republicans, too, might find that approach more palatable.

Should the Eligibility Age for Medicare Be Raised?

It's a bad idea because it will raise the number of uninsured dramatically…. [S]ome who qualify for Medicaid will fail to enroll. Some won't be able to buy health insurance, even with government subsidies. According to estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation, half of the affected seniors would have incomes too high to qualify for exchange subsidies, and since insurance companies can charge the elderly more under the ACA, their premiums could reach up to $12,000 annually for an individual. Many won't be able to afford that….

It's a bad idea because it will be bad for health. Studies have shown that uninsured adults nearly eligible for Medicare often forgo care until they get Medicare and then use more care once they get in…. Delaying eligibility means delaying these improvements.

It's a bad idea because it will cost America money, not save it…. The Kaiser Family Foundation examined what would happen in 2014….

Washington would see $24 billion in Medicare savings. But it also would see a rise of about $9 billion in Medicaid spending and another $9 billion in subsidy spending, which would reduce the overall savings to about $5.7 billion. But all those 65- and 66-year-olds need insurance. Those who get it through their jobs would cost employers another $4.5 billion. Others would go to the exchanges. But, ironically, removing these people from the Medicare risk pool and adding them to the exchanges makes both groups less healthy, so everyone's premiums would go up. This would cost all Americans another $2.5 billion. States have to cover a portion of the new Medicaid spending. That's $700 million. Finally, there are the out-of-pocket costs to seniors, which may rise by $3.7 billion.

So to save the federal government $5.7 billion, the rest of America has to cough up $11.4 billion. That makes no sense.


Duncan Black:

Jeebus It's Not High School: raising the Medicare eligibility age will cost money, not save money, and also kill people.
A World Upside Down?
Deficit Fantasies in the Great Recession
Thomas Ferguson and Robert Johnson | Roosevelt Institute

Working Paper No. 7

Our analysis of threats to the budget finds
that not entitlement spending or Social Security, but the
excessive costs of oligopoly in health care and defense
spending play a large role in current concerns. So does
the contingent liability of another financial crisis. In an
era of unbridled money politics, concentrated interests
in the military, financial, and medical industries pose
much more significant dangers to U.S. public finances
than concerns about overreach from broad based
popular programs like Social Security, which is itself in
good shape for as many years as one can make credible
forecasts. The paper also examines two hypothetical
scenarios: One involving a growth inducing public
investment program and another, more pessimistic
scenario in which underemployment equilibrium is
allowed to persist for several years. From those
scenarios we conclude that the risk to U.S. public
finances, as measured by the debt/GDP ratio in 2020, is
much greater on a trajectory of austerity than from any
risk incurred by the very low public cost of borrowing to
spur investment in infrastructure, education, and science
that would generate large social and private gains in

Obama to accept corporate donations for second inauguration

President Obama will accept corporate donations to help pay for upcoming inaugural festivities, according to several press reports.

Democrats warm to Medicare change that late Sen. Edward Kennedy opposed

"I think that is reasonable and certainly consistent with the Democratic message that those who are better off in our country should be willing to pay a little more," Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Thursday.
Last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) called the idea "somewhat attractive" as a bargaining chip for talks on the so-called fiscal cliff.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) remarked that "Donald Trump may need medication, but he certainly doesn’t need the government to pay for it."

Going Over the Politicians' Heads

There is the obvious distinction that in one case an appeal is being made to an electorate in the United States while in the other case a foreign public is involved. But Israeli interference in U.S. politics has already made that distinction very blurred. The politics of policy on Israel have to do with the feared or expected reactions of some parts of the American electorate (or American financial donors). Israel is in effect just as much a domestic issue as the budget.

In short, there is no good reason the administration should not take an approach toward the Israeli government that is similar to the one it is taking toward Congressional Republicans. A just-released poll of Israeli public opinion conducted by Shibley Telhami provides additional basis for going over the heads of Israeli political leaders. Despite all we have heard about how suspect Barack Obama is in Israel, his current poll numbers there are pretty good. Among all Israelis it is 60 percent favorable to 32 percent unfavorable. Excluding Arabs and counting just Jewish Israelis, the numbers are 62 percent favorable and 30 percent unfavorable.

An Interview with Cornel West on Occupy, Obama and Marx

PG: Was there a break-dance this November?

CW: God, no! He’s had four years and he’s proved himself to be a Wall St. President, he’s proved himself to be imperial to the core, he’s proved himself to be a war criminal. And you have to call that for what it is. And people say “oh you hatin’” and I say “I’m a Christian. I hate the deed; I don’t hate the person,” because he has the potential to change. Malcolm X was a gangster for a long time; he was wrong, he changed and he became a great freedom fighter. All of us have the capacity to change, you see. And so in that sense, you know, as a Christian, “you love your enemies” which means you better have some! (laughs) Because if you take a stand for poor and working people, you gonna’ have some enemies! That was part of what Jesus had in mind – if you go through life with no enemies, you’re probably not living a good life. You’re going to have enemies if you take a stance. And, the question about loving them is not sadomasochistic: you’re not loving your oppressors because they’re beating you down but because they’re still human beings and you know you have the capacity, inside of you, to actually engage in those same kinds of vicious forms of revenge, envy, domination, hatred and so forth. And therefore that allows a self-critique within your own soul. But, you know, I don’t want to get too theological here but the point is that it’s been a challenge. But what’s interesting now is that more and more people are coming around. I gave a talk in San Francisco with 4,000 people; in New York, 3,000 people. You think, “wow, this thing is getting bigger and bigger and bigger!”
PG: Right, and the enemies grow apace.
CW: Absolutely! In this recent moment with the Middle East, you see it so very clearly that US policy is imperial to the core and Obama is right at the center of it. And yet he puts up with these criminal massacres of precious folk. That doesn’t mean you have to be pro-Hamas – Hamas has gangsta’ proclivities too, but they’re a resistance movement against occupation. No mention of the occupation at all in the US discourse. That’s a sign that they’re hiding and concealing a fundamental reality that not just Hamas but the Palestinian people are wrestling with. My God, I am against occupation no matter what! The sad thing is that if it was Palestinian occupation of Jewish brothers and sisters, Hamas would probably be heroes in America. In that case, I would be in solidarity with my Jewish brothers and sisters. I wouldn’t be supportive of Hamas’ attack on innocent people but I would be calling for an end to Palestinian occupation of Jewish brothers and sisters. But that kind of double standard, that’s the hypocrisy that needs to be pointed out.

Wow! This means we get to stay in Afghanistan forever!
Afghanistan hints at conditional immunity for US troops after 2014

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday suggested he might be ready to grant American troops conditional immunity after 2014, a key U.S. demand that proved a deal breaker in Iraq.


The propaganda campaign is a carbon copy of the now totally discredited “weapons of mass destruction” claims that were used in 2002-2003 to justify the U.S. led invasion of Iraq to overthrow the Saddam Hussein government.  In the words of the immortal American philosopher and linguist Yogi Berra, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

Not only is the U.S. and NATO showing reckless disregard for the consequences of that Iraq fiasco.  There is an even more stubborn refusal to learn some of the most painful lessons of the more recent regime change adventure in Libya. [...]

I have no doubt that this Syria fiasco is headed towards a rapid conclusion.  The depth of wartime propaganda centered on the chemical weapons scare indicates that the Western powers are committed to bringing down the Assad government as rapidly as possible.  The North Atlantic Council, the governing body of NATO, has agreed to send Patriot missile batteries to southern Turkey to “defend” against an alleged looming Syrian chemical weapons assault.  In reality, the Patriot deployment is a step towards the creation of a no-fly zone in northern Syria.  DEBKA today is reporting that the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower is now parked in the eastern Mediterranean, with thousands of American troops prepared to intervene to capture the chemical weapons.  

This is all going to end very badly.  Harper

YouTube's new Los Angeles complex 'a wonderland' for aspiring film-makers
Space LA fitted out with professional stages and technology for creators who have outgrown their bedrooms and garages

It was the hangar which incubated Howard Hughes's aviation dreams, each aircraft model more fanciful than the last, and half a century later it is the launchpad for another striking ambition: a new generation of slicker, better YouTube videos.

The video-sharing website has converted the 41,000 sq-foot Los Angeles complex into a state-of-the-art digital production hub to catapult selected creators into another league of quality video making.

Where engineers once made helicopters and the Spruce Goose airplane for its reclusive tycoon owner, camera crews, lighting technicians and editors are now producing and polishing videos for YouTube creators who previously worked out of bedrooms and garages.

Progressive journos hang with Obama: Anything wrong with that?

Same kinda gross answer, that is. Journalists make a profession of agitating for openness, for the sharing of information, for speaking with public officials and reporting back. In this case, though, attendees aren’t doing a lot of reporting back. Most of MSNBC’s prime time lineup — Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell — attended the Tuesday session, yet MSNBC won’t talk about it. Two individuals from the opinions section of The Washington Post — Jonathan Capehart and Greg Sargent — had seats at the table but won’t tell a dear colleague what went down. A spokeswoman for Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, another alleged attendee, gave this response: “Since the meeting was off the record, Josh is not available to speak about it.” Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos fame also allegedly took part and also won’t talk: “Sorry, but I don’t discuss who I do and don’t meet with. Thanks, markos,” he e-mailed to the Erik Wemple Blog.

Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest

Johnny Dunn - Ham and Eggs


Remember when progressive debate was about our values and not about a "progressive" candidate? Remember when progressive websites championed progressive values and didn't tell progressives to shut up about values so that "progressive" candidates can get elected?

Come to where the debate is not constrained by oaths of fealty to persons or parties.

Come to where the pie is served in a variety of flavors.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."  ~ Noam Chomsky

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