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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
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Americans are hungry, starving and homeless, so one cuts food stamps and social spending?

A Surreal Descent Into Poverty and Desperation
by paradox


............they’re cutting food stamps as we speak and want to cut Social Security! Democrats own the
White House and Senate, but we didn’t learn any economics in 70 years of alleged intellectual development, it’s 2013 and we’ve frantically breathed life into the zombie of Herbert Hoover, he rules Washington DC again!

How on earth did we ever allow ourselves to get into such a twisted, ass-backwards political mental state? This isn’t perception of policy or ideology, Americans are hungry, starving and homeless, so one cuts food stamps and social spending? Proposes cuts to Social Security?

An absurdly conservative corporate DC media bubble, overwhelming special interest money, gerrymandering, voter suppression, whatever, somehow our politicians got so cut off from reality in some surreal fantasy of what are people are going through they’re doing precisely the wrong thing in policy and morality, oh my god. Hello? We shouldn’t be cutting Social Security, we should be significantly increasing it.

In a shocking development it turns out 401k’s are a joke from a macro policy perspective, a huge wave of elderly poverty is soon to engulf the country and all of us. Not only is the idea of cutting Social Security surreal in its blindness to current reality, it’s laughably absurd in the face of what the United States will soon need for its people.

The next President must fix the labor market and must address climate change, yet hugely increased Social Security benefits must immediately be implemented too. Somehow we must find a liberal candidate and President in 2016 to put the little people always first or the country as we know it will simply vanish, a hollow shell of a once proud county horribly degraded in human poverty, hunger, desperation and furtive human agony.


I reject your vision of America, Mr. Cruz, et al.

GOP to Moms of Slain Black Sons: Stand Your Ground Laws Help Black People

We couldn’t think of a way to make a joke about yesterday’s spectacle of Sen. Ted Cruz and other Republicans lecturing Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, about how “Stand Your Ground” laws have actually been good for black people. So instead, here’s something far easier to laugh at: “Stand Your Ground,” an inspirational painting by Constitution artist and great novelist Jon McNaughton. Subtle, isn’t it?

Cruz and other Republicans argued that they had exciting data to show that Florida’s Stand Your Ground law was excellent for black families — sorry about your loss, Ms. Fulton — because 55% of black defendants using a stand your ground defense were successful. But if you’re Fulton or Lucia McBath, whose son was shot and killed for being in a car with a loud stereo last year, your mileage may vary.

Read more at http://wonkette.com/532958/ted-cruz-lecturing-trayvons-mom-not-funn-here-is-a-stand-your-ground-painting-instead#4eFx7iqw4BE532YD.99

Bernie Sanders: "People like the Koch brothers, believe in a very different America"

Stop The Social Security Stupidity: A Q&A With Bernie Sanders

The Koch brothers, Pete Peterson and other billionaires are spending huge amounts of money trying to cut Social Security and other vitally important federal programs. As part of this campaign, an enormous amount of misinformation is floating around. Let me try to set the record straight by answering a few of the questions that people are asking my office.


Is Social Security "going broke"?

No! Social Security is not going broke. According to the Social Security Administration, the Social Security Trust Fund has a surplus today of $2.8 trillion. This sum, plus revenue that comes in every day, can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 20 years. In 2033, unless Congress acts, Social Security will be able to pay out only 75 percent of benefits owed. Congress must act and make Social Security strong for the next 50 to 75 years.

Has the Social Security program been successful?

Social Security has been the most successful and reliable federal program in modern American history. For 78 years, Social Security has succeeded in keeping millions of senior citizens, widows, and the disabled out of poverty. Throughout its history, in good economic times and bad, Social Security has never failed to provide 100 percent of the benefits owed to eligible Americans. Before Social Security, about half of our senior citizens lived in poverty. Today, while still too high, fewer than 10 percent of seniors live in poverty, and more than 57 million Americans receive Social Security benefits.

Why is there so much talk about cutting Social Security?

Despite the fact that poll after poll shows that the American people - Democrats, Republicans and Independents - overwhelmingly do not want to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, very powerful Big Money interests and campaign contributors are pushing Congress and the President to do just that. People like the Koch brothers, a family worth $71 billion, believe in a very different kind of America than we currently have. To a significant degree, they want Congress to end or drastically reduce government involvement in retirement programs (Social Security) and health care (Medicare and Medicaid) while, at the same time, giving more tax breaks to the rich and large corporations. The Koch brothers and other ultra-conservative individuals have contributed hundreds of millions into the political process.

As a member of a Senate and House committee that meets for the first time on Wednesday to begin work on a new long-term budget, my job is to represent the needs of ordinary Americans, not powerful special interests.


Kremlin slips spying gadgets into G20 summit gift bags, newspapers say

Kremlin slips spying gadgets into G20 summit gift bags, newspapers say

Russian hosts of the Group of 20 summit near St. Petersburg in September sent world leaders home with gifts designed to keep on giving: memory sticks and recharging cables programmed to spy on their communications, two Italian newspapers reported Tuesday.


The USB thumb drives marked with the Russia G20 logo and the three-pronged European phone chargers were "a poisoned gift" from Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turin-based La Stampa said in its report.

“They were Trojan horses designed to obtain information from computers and cellphones,” the paper said.

The bugging devices were included in gift bags given to all delegates who attended the Sept. 5-6 summit at the palace in Stelna, outside of St. Petersburg, the newspapers said.


oh, yes there is MORE:

“Don’t worry mate -- there’s bigger crooks in the market than us guys!”

Internal Rabobank Groep e-mails cited in the U.S. Justice Department’s case against the bank show a culture where fixing benchmark interest rates had become an easygoing routine, one in which employees joked about rate rigging while telling each other they weren’t really that bad.

Exchanges among traders, rate submitters and a money manager in London were laced with jokes and requests to raise or lower rates depending upon the traders’ positions, according to a statement of facts filed yesterday in federal court in Hartford, Connecticut, as part of a deferred prosecution deal reached with Rabobank.

“Don’t worry mate -- there’s bigger crooks in the market than us guys!” the Rabobank yen Libor submitter, identified as Submitter-4 in the filing, said in a Sept. 21, 2007, e-mail, after agreeing to increase its submission to the one-month yen rate by seven basis points from the previous day. Another mid-level manager joked to a colleague seeking help rigging rates: “I am fast turning into your Libor bitch!!!

Rabobank, the co-operative formed in 1898 to lend to Dutch farmers, was fined 774 million euros ($1.1 billion) for its involvement in rigging benchmark interest rates, the second-largest in the global investigation.



SHAME On US: Only 5 Elected Officials Attend Drone Strike Congressional Briefing

Despite being heralded as the first time in history that U.S. lawmakers would hear directly from the survivors of a U.S. drone strike, only five elected officials chose to attend the congressional briefing that took place Tuesday.

Pakistani schoolteacher Rafiq ur Rehman and his two children—9 year-old daughter Nabila and 13 year-old son Zubair—came to Washington, DC to give their account of a U.S. drone attack that killed Rafiq's mother, Momina Bibi, and injured the two children in the remote tribal region of North Waziristan last October.

"I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer grey skies. Drones don't fly when sky is grey." –Zubair Rehman, 13-year-old drone victim

According to journalist Anjali Kamat, who was present and tweeting live during the hearing, the only lawmakers to attend the briefing organized by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), were Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.).

Before the handful of reporters and scant lawmakers, however, Rafiq and his children gave dramatic testimony which reportedly caused the translator to break down into tears.


Commander-in-Chief and Hand-ker-Chief


Alabama Agrees To Permanently Gut Immigration Law

Source: NPR

Opponents of Alabama's strict immigration law are declaring victory Tuesday, as the state agreed not to pursue key provisions of a measure critics had called an endorsement of racial profiling. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the state's appeal of a federal court's ruling that gutted the law.

Widely considered the toughest immigration law in the U.S. when it took effect in 2011, the measure known as HB 56 was challenged soon after it was approved. Its opponents included the U.S. Justice Department, a coalition of civil rights groups, and religious groups. Critics often called it the "show me your papers" law.

The suit's challengers included the Southern Poverty Law Center. Today, it listed provisions in the law that are now permanently blocked:

Requiring schools to verify the immigration status of newly enrolled K-12 students.
Criminalizing the solicitation of work by unauthorized immigrants.
A provision that made it a crime to provide a ride to undocumented immigrants or to rent to them.
A provision that infringed on the ability of individuals to contract with someone who was undocumented.
A provision that criminalized failing to register one's immigration status.

Read more: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/10/29/241685794/alabama-agrees-to-permanently-gut-immigration-law

With Trayvon's mother sitting just across from him, Cruz Argues Florida Law Helps African-Americans

With Trayvon Martin’s mother sitting just across from him, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) claimed that Stand Your Ground is beneficial for African-Americans. At the Tuesday Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing, Cruz claimed, “In Florida, the data show that African-American defendants have availed themselves of the Stand Your Ground law more frequently than Anglo defendants”, indirectly citing a Daily Caller story that said black defendants were successful in 55 percent of fatal cases compared to 53 percent of whites.

GOP witness John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, also argued Cruz’s point at length. “Poor blacks who live in high-crime urban areas are not only the most likely victims of crime, they are also the ones who benefit the most from Stand Your Ground laws,” he said according to prepared testimony. Later, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he found Lott’s argument “compelling,” and that he did not see how the law “has a racial injustice about it.”

The same data that Florida Cruz cited also shows that killers are far more likely to go free when their victims are black


Krugman Trolls Deficit Hawks With One Amazing Chart

Krugman Trolls Deficit Hawks With One Amazing Chart
The Huffington Post | By Mark Gongloff
Posted: 10/29/2013 11:35 am EDT | Updated: 10/29/2013 3:14 pm EDT

Debt scolds like Harvard economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart constantly warn us that too much government debt causes terrible things like soaring interest rates and wrecked economies. History often disagrees.

Paul Krugman teased Rogoff and Reinhart about this on Tuesday with a chart he found on the Bank of England's website. It's a chart that shows 300 years of British debt and interest rates, which is just awesome in its own right, if you are the kind of geek that gets into that sort of thing. Adding to the risk of nerdgasm, the chart highlights England's "major war periods."

The chart also directly contradicts the debt scolds. It shows many long stretches in which England carried a massive debt burden, particularly after its extended war orgy around the turn of the 19th century, which included the American Revolution and the War of 1812.

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