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Member since: Tue Jan 6, 2004, 12:46 PM
Number of posts: 40,717

Journal Archives

Sen. Sanders:Don't Cut Social Security


On the Ed Show

Biden: ‘We Don’t Want to Blow It like the last admin did' on WMD Call


Vice President Joe Biden said in a magazine interview that the White House is responding cautiously to evidence that chemical weapons were used in Syria, citing what he says were the lessons of the George W. Bush administration.

“With all the credibility we’ve gained in the world, we don’t want to blow it like the last administration did in Iraq, saying ‘weapons of mass destruction’,” Mr. Biden said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

His remarks represent the administration’s most explicit comparison between the Bush administration’s approach to Iraq and President Barack Obama‘s approach to Syria.

Joe Biden: The Rolling Stone Interview
But here's where we are with regard to Syria. With all the credibility we've gained in the world, we don't want to blow it like the last administration did in Iraq, saying "weapons of mass destruction." We know that there have been traces found of what are probably chemical weapons. What we don't know yet – and we're drilling down on it as hard as we can – is whether they were accidentally released in an exchange of gunfire or artillery fire, or blown up or something. We also don't have a chain of ownership. We don't know for certain whether they were used by some of the opposition, including the radicals who have aligned themselves with Al Qaeda. It's probable, but we don't know for certain, that they were used by the regime.

If the judgment is chemical weapons were used, then the president is likely to use a proportional response in terms of meaningful action. We also believe that no matter how this ends, there is going to be political unrest in Syria for some time to come, and we want to make sure that, in the transition from Assad, there is, as best we can form it with the rest of the world, an inclusive, nonsectarian government that has institutions that still exist to be able to govern a country. The one lesson we learned from Iraq and the last administration is . . . how can I say it? In managing the affairs in Iraq, they destroyed every institution. There was no structure left. There wasn't even a Department of Public Works. And we know we can fix that, if we're willing to spend a trillion dollars and 160,000 troops and 6,000 dead, but that we cannot do. So what we're trying to do now is – and we're having some success – is get the opposition in coordination and not have, indiscriminately, weapons going to Al Nusra, who are very extreme. We've declared them a terrorist organization, and its leader has said he's pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda, so it's not like we're making it up. This is a very, very tough process to manage.


Biden: The NRA Is Excelling At ‘Disinformation’


During a roundtable discussion on gun violence that aired Thursday on MSNBC'S "Morning Joe," Vice President Joe Biden said the National Rifle Association is most effective at disseminating "disinformation," pointing to the oft-invoked fear that universal background checks will lead to a national gun registry.

"The one thing the NRA has done so well lately is the disinformation," Biden said. "We use the word 'registration.' There is no registration in America."

When host Joe Scarborough challenged the notion that the NRA has succeeded in its efforts to push disinformation — citing public polling that shows overwhelming support for universal background checks, despite the pro-gun lobby's opposition to the proposal — Biden said the people are out in front of lawmakers on the issue.

"This is one of the cases where the public is so far ahead of the elected officials. I mean, so far ahead," Biden said. "You saw it in immigration. You saw it in marriage issues. You're seeing it now. The public has moved to a different place. And there is not one single thing we are suggesting — not one, the administration, in our proposal — not one single thing that anyone can make even a prima facie case that it impacts on the Second Amendment."


Biden: There Is No National Gun Registry

" Vice President Joe Biden said the White House's push for tougher gun control will not create a national registry of gun owners. Biden also stressed that background checks for gun sales are not intrusive. "They don't say what kind of gun you're buying," Biden said. "They don't say where you're going. They don't say what it is, what the transaction is and when denied, they don't say denied because of mental health. Nothing. And the record, even the notice that you picked up the phone at Dick's and called and asked about Joe Biden, is, has to be destroyed within 24 hours."

Biden added, "So this idea that there is a national registry, there is no place in the federal government where you can go, not a single place, and find out everybody who owns a gun."

Public Morality with Robert Reich


The push to legislate "morality" goes on, and on. But should it? Republican legislators have hammered away at trying to take down Roe v. Wade at the state level. Why is the "morality brigade" so concerned with fetuses, but so quick to cut benefits to children from low income families? Can that behavior really be considered "morality?"

On that matter, is there any argument against same-sex marriage that isn't "morality" based?

Why are corporations given rights that trump those of ordinary people? What about the sweeping Wall Street greed that is decimating our country's economy? Could it be...that this about who has the money and who's working for them? Why isn't the morality brigade fighting that battle? Robert Reich explains the troubling situation.

Generic Rx drugs cheapest at Costco, Consumer Reports finds

Some of the most popular prescription drugs that recently became available in generic form are sold at the lowest prices at Costco and at the highest prices at CVS Caremark, according to an analysis by Consumer Reports.

Failing to comparison shop for drugs - such as generic Lipitor to lower cholesterol or generic Plavix to thin the blood - could result in overpaying by $100 a month or even more, depending on the drug, the report said.

The article will be available in the May issue of Consumer Reports.

Consumers may find good deals at local independent pharmacies, Consumer Reports said.


President Obama orders commission to address voting issues

Source: Associated Press

President Barack Obama has signed an executive order establishing a presidential commission to address voting issues.

Obama announced his plans to create the commission last month in his State of the Union address. The top lawyer for Obama's re-election campaign, Bob Bauer, will co-chair the commission with the top lawyer for Republican Mitt Romney's campaign, Ben Ginsburg.

The goal is to address issues including long lines at the polls, voter registration and voter access.

The order gives the commission six months after its first public meeting to submit a report to Obama about ways to improve the voting experience.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/obama-orders-commission-address-voting-issues

Pres.Obama Establishes Commission On Voting

Key Democratic donors ante up, pushing party left


Kenneth Lerer, a New York businessman who is chairman of Buzzfeed.com, and David Bohnett, a technology entrepreneur and philanthopist based in Los Angeles, are both major financial supporters of Democratic candidates, having each given scores of large contributions over the years. They are both key players in the political fundraising world and wield influence among other donors and fundraisers.

Neither will give another dime to any Senate Democrat who does not support expanded background checks, I’m told — and both will suggest to other donors that they do the same. The move underscores the rising importance of gun control as an issue in Democratic politics — and the rising frustration in some Democratic circles with elected officials who continue to regard gun politics as a third rail, at a moment that presents a real opportunity to achieve serious reform, with a policy that enjoys near universal public support.

As much as we complain about politicians who put their finger in the wind to make decisions based on the shifting winds, Democrats are actually harmed by politicians who don't. As I wrote yesterday, part of our success as a movement has been to get Democrats to understand that they were on the unpopular side of many an issue, from the Iraq War, to equality, to immigration, and so on.
So here we are again, with too many Democrats opposed to sensible gun regulations despite massive popular support, simply because of fear and fealty to an increasingly impotent gun lobby.

But ours is a money-driven system. It was big donors who forced President Barack Obama's hand on marriage equality, the first time I saw a donor revolt pushing the party left. (Wall Street assholes abandoned Obama in 2012, but they were trying to push the Democrats to the right).

Hopefully this is a start of a trend. Too many big liberal voters (those not motivated by Wall Street excess) have given to the party and candidates uncritically in the past. It may be easy for Democrats to ignore a bunch of screaming activists. It's much harder to do so when their end-of-quarter financial reports depend on it.

Top donors threaten Dems: Do the right thing on guns, or no more money
A third major fundraiser, Grace Tsau-Wu of Chicago, who was on Obama’s national finance committee in 2012, also tells me she won’t help any candidates who are weak on guns get connected with her network of donors. “It’s hard for me to personally fundraise or get involved in the campaigns of any Democrats who don’t support background checks and aren’t behind the president on the issue of guns,” she said.


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Lerer: No background checks, no cash

Think Progress:The Best Marriage Equality Signs At The Supreme Court


Advocates of marriage equality are rallying in front of the Supreme Court Tuesday morning, as the Justices prepare consider two separate cases that could grant gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

Below are some of the very best signs from marriage proponents:

more at link

Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Christopher Murphy Slam NRA

Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut sent a joint letter Monday to the National Rifle Association, asking the pro-gun group to stop robocalls to residents of Newtown, Conn.

The NRA is trying to rally support against the Connecticut state legislature, which is currently considering gun control legislation, and did not discriminate in which area codes it sent its messages. Residents of Newtown, the location of a December 2012 elementary school massacre that reignited gun control debates across the country, have expressed outrage over the calls.

“With these robocalls, the NRA has stooped to a new low in the debate over how to best protect our kids and our communities. We call on you to immediately stop calling the families and friends of the victims in Newtown,” Murphy and Blumenthal wrote, in a letter to NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. “In a community that’s still very much in crisis, to be making these calls opens a wound that these families are still trying hard to heal. Put yourself in the shoes of a victim’s family member who gets a call at dinnertime asking them to support more assault weapons in our schools and on our streets.”


Senators To NRA: Stop Berating Newtown Victims’ Families
“In a community that’s still very much in crisis, to be making these calls opens a wound that these families are still trying hard to heal,” wrote Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) to NRA chief Wayne LaPierre. “Put yourself in the shoes of a victim’s family member who gets a call at dinnertime asking them to support more assault weapons in our schools and on our streets.”

The senators said their constituents were upset about getting automated calls from the NRA supporting the right to carry assault weapons and urging opposition to gun control measures.

Excoriating the NRA’s actions as “inappropriate,” “incredibly insensitive,” and “absolutely beyond the pale,” Blumenthal and Murphy called it “just another example in a long line of offensive steps your organization has taken in the wake of this tragic shooting.”

“With these robocalls, the NRA has stooped to a new low in the debate over how to best protect our kids and our communities,” they wrote. “Again, we call on you to show some basic decency and cease and desist these calls.”


Majority of Rhode Island mayors call for legalizing gay marriage

Six Rhode Island mayors voiced support for same-sex marriage on Monday, calling on the state Senate to pass a bill legalizing gay marriage that has already won overwhelming support in Rhode Island's House of Representatives.

The House in January voted strongly in favor of the bill, but the measure was expected to face an uphill battle in the state Senate.

On Monday, four mayors -- Angel Taveras of Providence, Donald Grebien of Pawtucket, Daniel McKee of Cumberland and James Diossa of Central Falls -- threw their support behind the bill at City Hall in Providence, said Devin Driscoll, a spokesman for Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, an advocacy group.

Two other mayors, Scott Avedisian of Warwick and Charles Lombardi of North Providence, also support the measure, but were unable to attend the news conference, Driscoll said.

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