The tea partiers -- primarily Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.), Mike Lee (Utah) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) -- are blocking the Senate from appointing conferees to a conference committee with the House to work out the radical differences between the two budgets each side has passed. That is often done in the Senate by unanimous consent.
The Justice Department's investigation and surveillance of the Associated Press and Fox News have led to perhaps the most sustained wave of criticism for the Obama administration's media policies since the president took office.
On Wednesday, the New York Times became one of the more influential voices to say what many others have been saying: that the administration's methods are an attack on press freedom.
In a scathing editorial, the Times wrote that, "With the decision to label a Fox News television reporter a possible 'co-conspirator' in a criminal investigation of a news leak, the Obama administration has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news."
Something I thought I'd never read: the NY Times sticking up for Fox News.
Republican hatred of Barack Obama has only ramped up since the election. Some naive Dems, including the president, thought their jungle fever would "break".
Jim DeMint wanted to break Obama when he was a senator. He couldn't. Then he retired from the senate and is trying to break Obama, and Democrats, and any possibility of passing any legislation, from his chair at The Heritage Foundation.
Republicans haven't been able to lie enough about Barack Obama to cause any scandals. Things that should be scandals (drill almost everywhere, unlimited government wire taps, innocents killed by drones, too-big-to-fail-or-jail banksters gone wild, etc..) have that Bipartisan support. They said "muslim", "socialist", "Kenyan" a million times each with no effect.
People still like him and support him.
So when Benghazi, Libya, consulate was attacked and several of our foreign service officers killed, Republicans wound up the scandal machine, had some lies placed with a key news reporter, and went to work at what they do best, Lie to the American People:
From a logical standpoint, it was pretty obvious that Republicans were the source of the inaccurate Benghazi talking point emails reported last Friday by ABC News White House correspondent Jon Karl, but when the actual emails surfaced, Karl did not acknowledge who his sources were.
Republicans have charged that the State Department under Hillary Clinton was trying to protect itself from criticism. The White House released the real emails late Wednesday. Here's what we found when we compared them to the quotes that had been provided by Republicans.
...cuz they are Screwing their Base - again, and Fucking the Middle Class with Chained CPI, talk of a Grand Bargainhttp://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2013/05/will-michael-bennet-be-as-bad-at-dscc.html, and their never ending quest to find common ground with a bunch of crazy, old, racist, ignernt White Guys.
And all those Gen X-ers who put Obama in office twice may never return to the voting booth after this.
President Obama told supporters that he expected the gridlock to end after the election, when Republicans can stop worrying about voting him out of office.
"My expectation is that if we can break this fever, that we can invest in clean energy and energy efficiency because that's not a partisan issue," Obama said, speaking to supporters in Minneapolis.
Obama pointed to deficit reduction, a transportation bill (There's a transportation bill? Ha! - z), and immigration reform as initiatives that could well pass in November.
"In this election, the Republican Party has moved in a fundamentally different direction. The center of gravity for their party has shifted," Obama said.
But Obama held out hope of the party moving back towards the center.
"I believe that If we're successful in this election, when we're successful in this election, that the fever may break, because there's a tradition in the Republican Party of more common sense than that. My hope, my expectation, is that after the election, now that it turns out that the goal of beating Obama doesn't make much sense because I'm not running again, that we can start getting some cooperation again," Obama said.
Still, Obama was careful not to take the contest for granted - saying it would be a very close race.
"This is going to be a very close race. It's going to be close because there's a lot of folks out there who are having a tough time," he said.
How wrong he was.
How many political assumptions and decisions have been made based on his belief?
How many of those decisions been held to despite Republicans' unceasing hatred and obstruction?
OK, I get that Democratic politicians think triangulation is a good strategy. It worked in the past for Bill Clinton, our last two-term Democratic president and still beloved by many. But it isn't the only political stategy around, and is especially fruitless when the other side, who is controlling the angle of the triangulation, is full of Tea Party, Radicalized, Lying Whackjob Republicans.
Michael Bennet and Mark Udall are still in its thralls.
For those who've been waiting for Barack Obama, unfettered from the constraints of re-election, to emerge from his chrysalis and take wing as the true liberal they have always known he was, well, here we are: a proposal to cut Social Security benefits via a cost-of-living adjustments (candidate Obama in 2008 said John McCain suggests "the best answer for the growing pressures on Social Security might be cost-of-living adjustments or raise the retirement age. Let me be clear: I will not do either.") And now this.
In December of 2008, Obama's choice for Secretary of Commerce, Chicago-based business tycoon Penny Pritzker, withdrew her name from consideration in the face of a triple-barreled onslaught. First, there was her position on the board of Superior Bank, which her family bought with the help of $645 million in tax credits for the federal government. In 2001, Superior collapsed after pioneering the bottom-feeding trade in subprime mortgages. In In These Times, David Moberg called it a "mini-Enron scandal"; 1,406 uninsured depositors lost their savings.
Here was what one of the victims had to say: "The Pritzkers are crooks. They don't care anything about people who spent their whole lives trying to save." And here is how Penny responded: "We had seven years of clean audits and then the auditors said, 'Well, maybe we'll change the way we calculate.' " Exquisite humanity, that. The family coughed up $435 million in settlement money in exchange for not having to admit any wrongdoing. But why, Penny was asked, would they pay half a billion dollars to clean up a mess she said was none of their fault? Because, she answered, "My family is not going to litigate with the federal government at a time like this"-a reference to the September 11 attacks; classy.
Obama should stop negotiating with those who are determined to cause him to fail. He should start standing up for some core Democratic principles, support the Middle Class who put him in office for two terms, set a base level of support for critical Democratic policies, and he should do it post haste.
It's not triangulation, but it'll work. I guarantee it.
Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are pounding their fists for intervention in Syria after reports of chemical weapons being used. They have called for bombing Syrian air bases, arming the rebels and readying an international force to secure chemical weapons stocks. McCain was quick to say, though, he did not want American boots on the ground because that would be "the worst thing the United States could do right now."
Although McCain and Graham hide under the pretense of humanitarian intervention and securing national interests, they are paving the way for another war in the Middle East.
Bombing Syrian air bases to create a no-fly zone would have little effect on saving civilian lives. The Syrian Air Force has 555 combat capable aircrafts, but they have not been used against civilians. Helicopter gunships have attacked civilians, but an NFZ would have to be far more extensive to protect against them. Unlike regular aircrafts, helicopters can quickly depart, attack, and land necessitating more surveillance and striking capabilities to remove them.
That's just one little nit in their quest to further inflame the Middle East.
With their further aggressive talk and endless desire for war, it might seem that McCain and Graham were on another planet as Hurricanes Iraq and Afghanistan tore their way through our armed forces and nation's budget.
That forgotten history, along with the fact that the this stalemated civil war gives them yet another chance to bach the president (bonus!), shows the purely political nature of McCain and Graham's exhortations to war.
The country is broke and our grandchildren will all be beggars in the streets, but there's always millions to spare for bullshit propaganda isn't there?
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation has announced a $1 million grant to the newly established Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership and Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.
The grant will support the establishment of a Fiscal Responsibility Institute at the center as well as an annual conference focused on national budgetary issues. The center, which aims to provide scholarship, training, and opportunities for a new generation of leaders who value public service, was formally launched this week by an inaugural conference on the topic of "The Federal Budget and the Law: Finding a Way Forward."
Another think tank on fiscal responsibility is exactly what we need. It's the highest priority for those least affected by the ebbs and flows of our nations' economy.
I expect all of Colorado's Loyal Austerians to be at the first conference...
Polls tell us something about the characteristics of gun rights supporters and gun owners specifically. If we look at these categories, we see that they are disproportionately white, male and old.
"Disproportionately white, male and old" is a description that fits the Senate and, to a lesser degree, most other American political elites quite well.
For example campaign contributors are disproportionately white male, and old too.
Gun rights supporters are also more likely to be registered to vote than gun control advocates. So from this standpoint the cause of gun rights gets more of a hearing because it appeals to the kind of citizens who are already comfortable and used to participating in politics.
Only, the technique has lost its sizzle. Blue Dogs have been losing elections in droves.
Republicans have kept tacking starboard, but Dems have mostly given up trying to affect the dialog even though voters have given them every reason to curse the darkness and act as foes to their hyper-ignorant political enemies.
Melissa Harris-Perry had a good panel on recently to question the sanity of Dems who are determined to cut Social Security in a psychotic fit of triangulation:
Melissa HARRIS-PERRY: The budget plan President Obama presented this week makes another push toward a grand bargain with an inclusion of an enticement to Republicans that had so far been off the table in the deficit battle, a proposal to take a scalpel to Social Security. His plan would limit the benefits paid to seniors by charting the calculation for inflation -- changing the calculation for inflation, to cut the growth of monthly Social Security payments in the future. So instead of tying the increases to the consumer price index, the President's budget would change it to a different calculation called chained CPI.
And while his budget exempts the oldest and the poorest of Social Security recipients, it would cause 65 year old retirees to lose more than a thousand dollars a year by the time they reach age 85, which far more of them are now going to reach.
House Republicans for their part, have refused to take the bait.
But the plan has sparked resistance from within the President's own party as progressives launch an organized campaign against the proposal. So I mean, I mean I know what second term presidents are supposed do. They're supposed to touch the third rail that nobody else can. They're never run for election again. But this one has been tough.
ULRICH: Why are we picking on old people? Why are we nickel and diming our seniors who can't afford this? A thousand dollars a year, that can pay for prescriptions, prescription coverage that's not covered by the government, because in retirement, more than a third of your costs are going to be related to health care. $200,000 on average for seniors in their senior lifetime. It's crazy.
HARRIS-PERRY: And with baby boomers being where they are in their life cycle right now, we've got a lot of seniors, if everybody is going to stop smoking, even more old people, right, and so we know this is a huge population and I think part of the conversation has been, what are we going to do with all of these retirees, and this is one answer.
Dean BAKER: You know, it really is outrageous I think, because the presumption is that somehow seniors have too much money. And you know, Josh actually wrote a nice piece on this a little while back. Our retirement system collapsed.
We don't have defined benefit pensions any longer.
Most people have little by way of savings.
We know that a lot of people took a big hit on their homes with the collapse of the housing bubble. Social Security has been the one pillar of retirement income that's stood up.
If anything we should looking into expanding it. So, I mean, this is just you know, the Washington Post loves this. But apart from the Washington punditry --
You'll never see Mark Udall on a panel like this.
You'll never hear Michael Bennet talk of expanding Social Security.
You'll never hear Jared Polis stand up for the elderly against this plan.
They've Triangulated...as far away as possible from the Democratic base that put them in office.
They did it almost as soon as they were sworn in.
That's what you need to know about those Colorado Democrats who are determined to do the outrageous to Colorado's seniors and vets and disable.
The War on Workers has been internalized by the Democratic Party.
Jared Polis and Mark Udall are both "Honorary Co-Chairs" of Third Way, a Pete Peterson front group that intends to cut the social safety net and cripple that pesky Middle Class.
Joining them are Michael Bennet, who actually voted down the sequester deal because it didn't cut enough, and Democratic President Barack Obama, who is the first Democratic President to propose cuts Social Security.
Despite the fact that many millions of elderly, retirees, and disabled rely on those meager funds, that both private and public pensions are less funded than required by law, and that the 401k retirement fund experiment has failed its primary purpose (oh, the banks and fund managers make their money) President Obama's budget also includes cuts to federal worker pensions:
Chained CPI would hit federal workers especially hard-under President Obama's budget, federal pensions as well as Social Security would be subject to the chained CPI cuts. That proposal comes at the same time as Obama's budget calls for increased pension contributions from federal workers:
Under that plan, a repeat of an administration proposal advanced last year, federal employees would pay an additional 1.2 percentage points of their pay, spread out over three years - 0.4 percent annually. Federal retirement payments and Social Security payments, among other benefits, would increase at a slower rate under an alternative inflation index Obama recommended.
So three years into a pay freeze and as furloughs under sequestration are starting, the president's budget has federal workers start paying more into their pensions and getting less out of them-but hey, he's proposing they get a one percent pay raise, so it's all good, right?
Despite clear electoral mandates in the last two elections, a Democratic President is coerced into playing by the Republican game plan: anti-worker, anti-tax-fairness, anti-democratic, anti-transparency.
I can link to all that crap if you'd like, but it's been in the news every day. And every day Democrats will tell you they're doing a great job fighting for their constituents.
But they'll be lying, just like a good Republican does.
It also shows what a bushel of ignorance mixed with a ton of concrete can get for a party that lives in the past yet won't die a normal death.
Republicans have pushed the debate so far to the right for so long that Democrats have now proposed to incrementally ruin Social Security so their Millionaire Donors and Billionaire Buddies can send a message to the riff-raff:
Over the last few years Wall Street has thrown every commission, gang, sequester and supercommitee they could come up with at our earned benefits. Each time, you have risen to the occasion.
Here's a rally of some who disagree with the current batch of Corporatist Dems and their imminent failure. Senator Bernie Sanders delivered over 2 Million signatures to President Obama.
The Republican bargaining habit is well-established -- take Obama's "final" offer as the new starting point and demand further concessions. With this strategy, our president has let them take him to the cleaners for more than four years now, and is still hoping that sweet reasonableness will produce compromise. It never has and never will.
If Democrats stand for anything, it is defense of Social Security and Medicare -- America's two most broadly beneficial and most beloved government programs -- and the president just gave away this last bit of product differentiation. In the past, Republicans have saved Obama from himself by refusing to consider any tax hikes. Now, I'm beginning to think, it's time for Democrats save him from himself. And the Democratic Party. And us.
Congress and the Administration are considering, as a means of deficit reduction, a legislative change to the consumer price index - the so-called "chained CPI." This change would have a particularly negative impact on Social Security benefits - here's why:
1. Chained CPI compounds over time.
As a result of a chained CPI, there will be a 0.3% annual cut in Social Security cost of living adjustments (COLAs). Social Security loses $112 billion over the next 10 years.
(That $112 Billion is probably how much the Koch Brothers will be worth when this is over. -z)
2. The greatest impact will be on the most vulnerable older Americans.
As retirees age, they have less income, fewer financial assets, and are more dependent on Social Security. Specifically, women tend to live longer than men and tend to have lower incomes, so women and poorer households are more at risk of falling into poverty with any cuts to Social Security.
3. Benefits for disabled and retired veterans would be cut.
3.2 million disabled veterans and another 2 million military retirees would see their benefits cut if chained CPI is adopted.
(And here I thought everyone in Washington, DC, loved our veterans and vowed to uphold our nation's promise to them. -z)
4. Chained CPI is a less accurate measure of inflation
(Google it if you don't believe the AARP. -z)
5. Social Security does not drive deficits, and should not be cut as part of a budget deal.
(And has never been part of a budget deal. -z)
So now the questions are:
Can Michael Bennet find enough new and returning senatorial candidates who support these cuts that he can support as chair of the Senate Campaign Committee?
I firmly believe Coloradans didn't vote for this B.S. last November. It's quite obvious who wants to cut Social Security and thinks it's a good idea politically and will somehow fix the budget: The 1%, The Donor Class, The Third Way Co Chairs Jared Polis, Pete Peterson, every elected Republican since FDR, All 3 of the Koch Brothers, Jon Caldara, Mike Rosen, and the list goes on.
Oh, and Barack Obama, Jared Polis, Michael Bennet and Mark Udall.
Those big-time donors and Republican mouthpieces might have the ear of legislators by virtue of their gifts of gab and cash. But, unfortunately for them and fortunately for us, they still only have one vote to cast next time Polis and Udall and Bennet are up for a contract renewal to their cush jobs with killer benefits.
Last year The Washington Post quoted Jim Drinkard, who oversees fact-checking at The Associated Press, as saying, "We had to have a self-imposed Michele Bachmann quota in some of those debates."
It's sad when you are so fact-challenged that you burn out the fact-checkers.
People like Bachmann represent everything that is wrong with the Republican Party.
She and her colleagues are hyperbolic, reactionary, ill-informed and ill-intentioned, and they have become synonymous with the Republican brand.
We don't need all politicians to be Mensa-worthy, but we do expect them to be cogent and competent.
When all the dust settles from the current dustup within the party over who holds the mantle and which direction to take, Republicans will still be left with the problem of what to do with people like Bachmann.
And as long as the party has Bachmanns, it has a problem.
Yes, the Republican Tea Party has a serious credibility problem. And Democrats should have a problem being bipartisan with them until they start showing signs of sanity.
Republicans lied about Obama and Israel in the last election. But guess which party sends the U.S. President to Israel more often to show our shared values and American's dedication to the security of Israel? Democrats:
In fact, President Obama has visited Israel more times than Saint Ronald Reagan ever did, who clocks in at an astounding zero visits. I'm sure those summits with Michael Jackson took a lot out of the old gipper. And even Reagan's vice-president and successor, George H.W. Bush, also managed to totally avoid visiting Israel.
Americablog looks back further:
Counting by the numbers, it appears Democrats are in fact the most pro-Israel party. President Obama has visited twice. Jimmy Carter visited once. And Bill Clinton visited a record four times, while still finding time to balance a budget, create millions of jobs, preside over the most prosperous economic period since WWII, and stop fights between Buddy and Socks.
When you add it all up, over the past seventy years Democratic presidents have visited Israel 7 times, while Republicans have only visited 3 times.
So, Republicans lied about Obama, Democrats, America's support for Israel, and which party truly acts on those words of support.
It's the Democrats, not the lying Republicans, and it would bode well for our democracy if Democrats and the press both pushed back against the innumerable lies of Republicans, because both sides most definitely do not do it.
The fact that there is so little pushback, by both the media and Democrats, shame on both of them, lets these Professional Republican Liars think that their lies are OK, that no one cares, and that they can keep lying in perpetuity with no ramifications.
WASHINGTON - Republican presidential candidates criticized US President Barack Obama's treatment of Israel during a debate in South Carolina Monday night ahead of a crucial GOP primary vote there this weekend.
"Our president has a foreign policy that makes our allies very nervous and emboldens our enemies," said Texas Governor Rick Perry. "There should be no space between the United States and Israel, period."
Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum also slammed Obama's policy toward Syria for endangering Israel.
"We should be much more aggressive in following through with policies that effectuate the removal of [President Bashar] Assad for the benefit of the Syrian people and for... their neighbor, Israel."
The primary intent of the Republican lies, besides of course slandering our president, was to drum up fear of Iran, make another war possible so War Profiteers could realize more war profits, and try to siphon off enough Jewish voters to help their obviously doomed candidate in the upcoming presidential election.
None of it really worked, but boy did they try?
So after all the lies from Republicans here comes the Obama trip to Israel with almost the exact opposite reaction from Israel as that desired by those determined Republican liars.
...and of course, Republicans' constant complaints (they are the modern Nattering Nabobs of Negativism) and unstoppable lies are forcing Democrats into a soon-to-be-inevitable Social Security hatchet job.
Jack Welch, the former General Electric CEO who just a few months ago accused the Obama administration of manipulating the jobs report, lashed out at President Obama in an interview with CNBC on Thursday.
Welch claimed the economy would be ready to "take off" if it weren't for new regulations, such as Obamacare and Dodd-Frank financial reform, which he said have an "enormous" cost.
There isn't much evidence that regulations are to blame for the slow economic recovery.
Translation: "All these laws and stuff are preventing U.S. businesses from continuing to make their highest profits in history."