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Third, would the military sequestration programmed to start in January be a disaster? No, it would not be. Military spending is set in any event to decline – and it should decline as we adjust our military programs to our national security needs. The sequester is at worst harmless; at best it's an invitation to speed the process of moving away from a Cold War force structure to one suited to the modern world.
-- James K. Galbraith
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News and Opinion
Look at these assholes joking and playing around with people's lives. None of these cuts will have any adverse effect on their lives. Simpson talks about the "liberal kooks" and also does the false equivalence thing with a matching "conservative kooks". He invokes the flag and patriotism. If you don't slash the earned benefits people worked for all of their lives and the benefits for people struggling the most, you're not patriotic enough and you are a "liberal kook". But who wants these deals the most? Go watch the Lloyd Blankfein video below and look who is being put in charge of it all. Wall Street's man, Geithner. Also note that MSNBC has shifted from nearly continuous Obama campaign programming to nearly continuous fiscal cliff propaganda.
I haven't seen a propaganda operation this big since the Iraq war.
Saying “Fiscal Cliff” Is Taking SidesDayen suggests (the obvious) that Geithner was selected for this job because he doesn't have the first f'ing clue about budgets and because he is a ruthless dealmaker. He cites Reich who reminds us that Geithner is Wall Street's man in Washington and a faithful Rubinite. Yes, that Rubin, one of the people most responsible for the crime of the century and for crashing the economy and destroying lives. How a person who was such a spectacular failure could still have any influence is beyond comprehension. Well actually, it's not, because from the perspective of the bloated, gluttonous 1%, he's been a spectacular success.
The term "fiscal cliff" is a one-sided propaganda phrase that misinforms and triggers public fear and anxiety. The fiscal cliff is not a "cliff" and the country isn't going to fall off anything at the end of the year. Journalists: don't help the misinformers -- don't say or write "fiscal cliff." Congress: when people are scared and misinformed our Congress should pause, step back and help inform us instead of rushing to take advantage of the fear.
Journalists Should Not Help Misinform And Scare People
The very term "fiscal cliff" misinforms and scares people. Some media outlets, like FOX News, exist to misinform and scare people. But responsible media outlets should try to help the public understand complicated issues, not help scare and misinform.
Any journalist using the propaganda phrase "fiscal cliff" is taking the side of misinforming and scaring.
Tim Geithner’s Lead Negotiating Position on Fiscal Slope Should Cause ConcernAs Wall Street salivates over the Social Security pot of gold and as conservatives feel like their wet dream of slashing our earned benefit programs, Durbin says we should follow in Reagan's footsteps and save the Social Security cutting for later and do it like they did it in the Reagan years.. After all, that's when they raised my retirement age and everyone younger than me and that's when the great swindle began, the one that made the program solvent for the baby boomer retirement days decades ahead of time and allowed the government to put trillions of dollars into their operating budget and spend it instead of setting it aside for the people who paid into it from their payroll withholding, week after week. Now, they don't want to pay those trillions back.
The White House absolutely wants the Treasury Secretary to be deeply involved with budget issues. But we know this because they’ve already designated current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in the lead negotiating role on the fiscal slope. So while Lew may have the resume, Geithner already has the job, and he has indicated he will not step down until the negotiation gets resolved somehow.
Geithner was picked for his ability as a “pragmatic deal-maker,” say unnamed aides. Lew was disfavored by Republicans because he actually knew the ins and outs of the federal budget. Geithner just hasn’t delved in at that level. Moreover, “pragmatic deal-maker” is a clear buzzword for someone willing to give up whatever possible just to reach a deal, as Robert Reich notesGeithner is indeed a protege of Bob Rubin, for whom he worked when Rubin was Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration. Rubin then helped arranged for Geithner to become president of the New York Fed, and then pushed for him to become Obama’s Treasury Secretary [...]
During his tenure as Treasury Secretary, Geithner has followed in Rubin’s path — engineering a no-strings Wall Street bailout that didn’t require the Street to help stranded homeowners, didn’t demand the Street agree to a resurrection of the Glass-Steagall Act, and didn’t seek to cap the size of the biggest bank, which in the wake of the bailout have become much bigger.
If “pragmatic deal maker,” as the Journal describes Geithner, means someone who believes any deal with Republicans is better than no deal, and deficit reduction is more important than job creation, we could be in for a difficult December.
Dick Durbin Wants a New Social Security-Cutting CommissionThe scolding has started. This must be some kind of record. It has not even been a month since the election where the people they are now scolding saved their sorry asses and reelected them. It has not even been a month since they deceived people with their carefully parsed populist hero messaging from sea to shining sea. They just shift from one fearmongering campaign to the next and if fearmongering doesn't work they scold. Maybe they will bring Rahm out to help with that job.
I believe we need a new bipartisan commission to recommend a plan to keep Social Security solvent for the next 75 years.He was evoking the grand fable of modern Washington, the 1983 Social Security reform panel that was formed after Democrats gained back some House seats by campaigning against Ronald Reagan. It's the panel that everyone harks back to when he/she needs to punt, because that one time, it worked. "My first day on the job," recalled Durbin, "I was told: In six months, Social Security will be broke." But it was fixed! The system works. Usually the story is told with dewey-eyed invocations of Tim O'Neill and Ronald Reagan, but Durbin's version is more streamlined -- Congress passed "a series of modest, bipartisan changes that added decades of solvency to Social Security."
The commission should have a reasonable amount of time – eight months to a year – to present a plan to Congress.
Congress should vote on the commission’s plan and any other bipartisan plan that makes Social Security solvent for 75 years. Whatever plans wins the most votes – beyond the 60 votes you need to pass anything of significance in the Senate – is the plan that ought to move forward.
Durbin pushes liberals to compromise on fiscal cliffWait, I thought that Wall Street abandoned Obama and the Dems and gave all their money to Romney? And since when does Blankfein dictate policy? Oh wait.... hahahahahahahahaha. And Blankfein tells the media that you are all just a bunch of slobs who want a 25-year career and a 30-year retirement and your expectations must be lowered.
Sen. Dick Durbin delivered some tough love Tuesday to his fellow progressive Democrats in a speech on the “fiscal cliff.”
His message: Be ready to compromise — or be left out of the conversation while others make decisions about the priorities you care about the most, such as preventing the middle class from carrying an unfair tax burden.
France to Back Palestinian Bid to Raise UN Status France will support a Palestinian bid for non-member observer state status at the UN, the country announced on Tuesday. "This Thursday or Friday, when the question is asked, France will vote yes," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told his country's National Assembly. "We've known for years France's constant position is to recognize the Palestinian state," said Fabius, a statement that France24 reports was met with "a round of applause in France’s lower house." The new UN status sought by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas could bring groundbreaking effects, as Reuters reports that "[i]t could also grant access to bodies such as the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where the Palestinians could file complaints against Israel."
Why So Secretive? The Trans-Pacific Partnership as Global Coup The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the most secretive and “least transparent” trade negotiations in history. Luckily for the populations and societies that will be affected by the agreement, there are public research organizations and alternative media outlets campaigning against it – and they’ve even released several leaks of draft agreement chapters. From these leaks, which are not covered by mainstream corporate-controlled news outlets, we are able to get a better understanding of what the Trans-Pacific Partnership actually encompasses. For example, public interest groups have been warning that the TPP could result in millions of lost jobs. As a letter from Congress to United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk stated, the TPP “will create binding policies on future Congresses in numerous areas,” including “those related to labor, patent and copyright, land use, food, agriculture and product standards, natural resources, the environment, professional licensing, state-owned enterprises and government procurement policies, as well as financial, healthcare, energy, telecommunications and other service sector regulations.” ... The leaked documents revealed that the Obama administration “intends to bestow radical new political powers upon multinational corporations,” as Obama and Kirk have emerged as strong advocates “for policies that environmental activists, financial reform advocates and labor unions have long rejected for eroding key protections currently in domestic laws.” In other words, the already ineffective and mostly toothless environmental, financial, and labor regulations that exist are unacceptable to the Obama administration and the 600 corporations aligned with the TPP who are giving him his orders.By Josh Fox. No idea why the location was secret.
OCCUPY SANDY TRAILER IS UP!
WORLD PREMIERE NEW SHORT FILM! NYC. NOV. 28th.
Dear Friends- I have made a new short documentary on OCCUPY SANDY and their brilliant relief efforts. We are going to show this film at a secret location on Wednesday night (Nov 28) in NYC. Please turn out. Info at the FB link. We will accept donations and have a volunteer sign up list at the event. Hurricane victims need your help. Please come on out! Please share. -Josh
'No Services, No Rent': NYCHA Residents Call For Action in Sandy's WakeThis... I have a lot to say about this at a later point in time when I can calm down about it.
Following the devastating wrath of Hurricane Sandy, hundreds of thousands were left without basic services like power, heat and running water. And even though the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) didn’t respond to complaints and pleas for help for an entire week, and many public housing residents remain without basic services, residents are still expected to pay rent.
Finally, on November 19, three weeks after the storm, the NYCHA held a hearing on the matter in Red Hook. Angry residents asked the board about the lack of a swift response, and dozens of others left the hearing, instead opting to attend a community assembly organized by participants of Occupy Red Hook and Occupy Sandy down the street.
Occupy protesters documented some of the comments made by residents at that hearing: [...]
As New York Officials Deliver Damage Estimates, Prospects for Supplemental Funding Remote
Nobody in Washington wants to talk about the need for aid to the East Coast to help the victims of the storm. It would actually involve the dispensation of funds, which apparently since late 2010 or so you’re not allowed to do, even in the event of a major disaster. This is an artifact of deficit obsession, a situation where even unpredictable human needs cannot be met. Don’t let anyone tell you that “just words” did no damage to progressive goals.
I mean, Chuck Schumer, perhaps the most voluble Senator in American history, was really rendered mute by the enormity of the task ahead. Here’s his reaction to a meeting with Cuomo, Bloomberg and other local leaders yesterday:New York has suffered unprecedented damage from Hurricane Sandy, both wide and deep, and it demands a strong and equally serious response from the Federal Government. The Governor, after conferring with Mayor Bloomberg and the county executives, has given us a detailed and serious disaster damage estimate that extensively documents the severe harm that New York and New Yorkers have suffered. Working with the Administration and the delegation, as well as with colleagues from other affected states, we will do everything we can to maximize the relief New York receives.That’s a very nice way of saying “You’re probably not going to get anything.” Which is truly incredible. Stiffing the East Coast in a time of need like this, because it might disrupt the grand and golden deficit reduction plans, is really a national disgrace.
Make no mistake, this will not be an easy task, particularly given the impending fiscal cliff, and a Congress that has been much less friendly to disaster relief than in the past. We will work with the Administration on supplemental legislation, to be introduced in the upcoming December session of Congress, that will set us on the road to meeting New York’s needs. This will be an effort that lasts not weeks, but many months, and we will not rest until the federal response meets New York’s deep and extensive needs.
Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest
Marc Grossman, of Valerie Plame fame, quits Afghan-Pakistan post : wapo.st/TjKauH— Jason Leopold (@JasonLeopold) November 28, 2012
Kabul Bank sent hundreds of millions of dollars out of Afghanistan bit.ly/WutW2D— Jason Leopold (@JasonLeopold) November 28, 2012
It's cold! People in the disaster zones of the NYC area need heaters! Help spread the word: amazon.com/gp/registry/re…— Occupy Sandy (@OccupySandy) November 26, 2012
New film from Josh Fox just out: on Occupy Sandy. fb.me/C9pqAB0a— Jennifer Brown (@jjunebrown) November 28, 2012
The Rolling Stones : Sympathy For The Devil
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