Member since: Sun Mar 30, 2008, 05:51 AM
Number of posts: 34,081
Number of posts: 34,081
President Obama offered Republicans Chained CPI as a compromise in his budget proposal.
A majority of Democrats AND Independents oppose any bargaining with Social Security and always have.
We have been given a dozen different reasons as to why Obama, a Democrat, introduced SS into these discussions in the first place. Most of them make little sense to Democrats.
Millions of Democrats and Independents signed a petition asking the President not to include Chained CPI in the budget.
Republicans have, as expected, turned it down. Several Prominent Republicans have called it 'trying to reduce the deficit on the backs of Seniors'.
A majority of Democrats are outraged. Certainly the Republicans are lying by claiming they are now the party of the people who will protect SS benefits from Democrats. It is laughable to anyone who is has been paying attention over the past several decades.
But this is politics. A chess game we are told. So, it was all predictable. First that Republicans would refuse the offer and then that they would turn it against Democrats, which they have.
The WH spokesperson stated, when asked why the president put CCPI in the budget, that it was because 'Republicans asked for it'.
A few people, like James Carville wondered if it was because the Presidents 'likes getting The Left angry'.
Howard Dean tweeted that if this was true, he might have to become an Independent. And the list goes on.
So the end result of this 'strategy', if that's what it was, is that the President is now viewed by most Democrats as someone who is willing to compromise anything in order to 'get a deal' and, if making them angry was the goal as Carville suggested, then that goal was accomplished.
He is being portrayed by Republicans as someone who is willing to get what he wants, a budget deal, 'on the backs of seniors'.
Since this occurred we are getting more and more excuses/reasons for it. Not many are buying them.
So, if this is Democratic strategy, in my opinion, we are guaranteed to lose the next election. If I accept it as strategy and not what the president believes, then my advice is 'fire the strategists, this is a disaster'.
Does anyone else think we can win with this kind of strategy?
To be honest, I don't see 'strategy' here at all. Am I just not politically savvy or something?
My opinion is that the President supports the idea of a CCPI. From all I have read I see nothing that tells me he does not. I could not disagree with him more.
Others think he doesn't, but 'had to compromise' to make a deal and it was better strategy to get a deal than to protect SS.
Still others just trust him and claim he got the result he wanted, Republicans turned it down.
That last one makes zero sense at all. If that is the case, he should have typed up a Progressive Wish List which is what people would be talking about right now. THAT would have been good strategy for 2014, getting attention for OUR issues.
But I'm not a political strategist, just someone who wants an end to Republican ideas being passed into law here. They are a disaster for this and other countries.
Do YOU think the President offering the Chained CPI was a good or bad idea? What WAS his strategy in your opinion?
Posted by sabrina 1 | Mon Apr 15, 2013, 11:29 AM (9 replies)
There are literally millions of reasons to love this program but I'll start with this one:
I am a Democrat. The SS Program makes me proud to be a Democrat. FDR called it 'the cornerstone of my administration'. And it has become the cornerstone, the crown jewel of the Democratic Party.
I tried to think of any piece of Republican Legislation over the past 60 years that could compare to the brilliance, morality, ethics and incredible success of this program and I can't think of one.
This Democratic program has helped to drastically lower the poverty rate of seniors.
Texas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson says Social Security slashed poverty among the elderly
"In 1935, more than 50% of the elderly population lived in poverty. Today that poverty rate stands officially at 9.4%."
The linked article is a fact check piece. It concludes that the poverty rate among elders in 1935 may have been way higher than the Congresswoman stated. However, as they said, her point stands.
Whenever I am talking to a Republican who is ranting about Democrats and 'Commies' and 'Socialists' I always ask them if they or anyone they know has ever benefited from Social Security. It is amazing how most of them too love SS. Equally amazing is how few of them know that it was a Democratic President who initiated it. I get such a thrill out of telling them that. .
Some of them deny it and call me a liar! Lol, well, you know how they are!
But even after being shocked to find out that they are benefiting from a Socialist Democratic Program, most of them reluctantly admit that at least 'Democrats did something worthwhile decades ago'.
Here is another reason I love it:
Francis Perkins, the woman behind Social Security. She was a witness to the Shirtwaist Fire and was so affected by it that she worked tirelessly for the rest of her life to establish workers' rights and to provide for the working class in their older years.
Social Security Pioneers
She had powers of persuasion obviously, not ever compromising her ideals even with those who were difficult to convince, as this excerpt shows:
Prior to going to Washington, Perkins held positions in State government in New York, first as an aid to governor Al Smith and then to Franklin Roosevelt when he became governor. Smith, a machine politician from the old school, was an early social reformer with whom Frances Perkins made many a common-cause. At Smith's funeral in 1944 two of his former Tammany Hall political cronies were overheard to speculate on why Smith had become a social crusader. One of them summed the matter up this way: "I'll tell you. Al Smith read a book. That book was a person, and her name was Frances Perkins. She told him all these things and he believed her."
She stated that:
"I came to Washington to work for God, FDR, and the millions of forgotten, plain common workingmen."
Who could not be proud to be a member of the same party as this brilliant, compassionate, . ethical, moral woman? She is the epitome of what I always think of when I think of a Democratic Woman.
The closest woman to her today imo is Elizabeth Warren.
And FDR, he had the foresight and courage to appoint a woman as Secretary of Labor. He so respected her opinions, he didn't go to Wall St Bankers for advice on the matter of how to help the working class, he listened to this truly Progressive woman and fought to implement her ideas into legislation.
Republicans always claim that privatizing SS would make it a more 'independent program' lying of course, that SS is some kind of 'welfare' program or misusing deliberately the word 'entitlement to create the image of people who have a 'sense of entitlement' about something they did not earn.
However, because FDR thought this through, another thing I love about SS is that he went to great lengths to prevent the program from taking away any dignity from its beneficiaries by using Insurance policies as a model for it.
Life Before Social Security; 'A Great Calamity Has Come Upon Us'
Roosevelt insisted that the new program not look like a dole, his aides later explained; rather, it should resemble a private insurance plan, tied to an individual's contributions in their working years. ''You want to make it simple, very simple,'' Roosevelt told his aides, Perkins later wrote in a memoir. ''Just simple and natural nothing elaborate or alarming about it.''
The Chained CPI would allow Republicans to refer to SS Beneficiaries as 'welfare/dole cases. A shame to undo the work done by FDR to make sure SS was never viewed that way.
But the right was busy back then also as Frances Perkins illustrates in this amusing anecdote:
Perkins wrote that when she went before Congress to present the plan, Senator Thomas Pryor Gore of Oklahoma had a pointed question.
'''Isn't this socialism?' he asked me. My reply was, 'Oh, no.' Then, smiling, leaning forward and talking to me as though I were a child, he said, 'Isn't this a teeny-weeny bit of socialism?'''
David M. Kennedy, the Stanford historian and author of ''Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War,'' said that he found it paradoxical that the current debate over Social Security ''is being couched in terms of individual ownership and privatization of the system, when those kinds of ideas deeply informed the way the original Social Security system was put together.''
SS has expanded since then to the disabled and to dependent children.
I love Social Security because it demonstrates what De Togueville said about the American people. He noted that the American people had a generosity of spirit that allowed them to want to help each other. I believe that most Americans do want a society where we take care of those most in need. That they are generous, compassionate and kind for the most part.
Roosevelt sent his Social Security plan, which included unemployment insurance, to Congress in January 1935, and by August he was able to sign it into law. Some New Dealers chafed at its limits, but the law was widely seen as a moderate alternative to the more radical proposals -- like a guaranteed minimum income for the elderly -- that were stirring then from the grassroots.
''We can never insure 100 percent of the population against 100 percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life,'' Roosevelt declared. ''But we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.''
I think part of the reason Social Security is still one of the most popular programs is because the American people really are the generous, compassionate people described by De Toqueville. That in general, they do want a society that takes care of its own.
I also think they understand the need for a permanent safety net. They may not remember the Great Depression out of which SS was born, but we have read about it.
I don't love politicians. I don't think you can love someone you don't know. I do want them to understand that the majority of Americans love and support the few safety nets we have in this country. I would love it if they represented a majority of the American people rather than the minority that will always be there trying to take away those safety nets.
I don't understand why they don't listen to the people.
Hands OFF Social Security!
Posted by sabrina 1 | Sun Apr 14, 2013, 03:02 AM (164 replies)
If you've been reading about the Monsanto Rider attached to the 2013 Agricultural Bill you have been told that they sneaked it into the Bill and that you should just stfu about it because nothing could be done without shutting down the government, or something to that effect.
But in fact, there has been almost a full year when Democrats COULD have done something about it since it was no secret to them what Monsanto was up to.
Remember that this article was written in July of 2012! So the rider was hardly a 'surprise' to our elected officials as we are being led to believe:
Is Monsanto About to Gain Immunity From Federal Law?
A so-called “Monsanto rider,” quietly slipped into the multi-billion dollar FY 2013 Agricultural Appropriations bill, would require – not just allow, but require - the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a temporary permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop, even if a federal court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed. All the farmer or the biotech producer has to do is ask, and the questionable crops could be released into the environment where they could potentially contaminate conventional or organic crops and, ultimately, the nation’s food supply.
Unless the Senate or a citizen’s army of farmers and consumers can stop them, the House of Representatives is likely to ram this dangerous rider through any day now.
Hope springs eternal, but unfortunately the people's Representatives are powerless, or so we are told. The bill has already passed with the rider attached, as we all know now.
You have to admire them, however grudgingly, because they fight for what they want and they generally get it. We the people are obviously doing something wrong.
There were a few Democrats who tried to stop it and we owe them a thank you for their efforts, but without much support from their own party, they failed:
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) has sponsored an amendment to kill the rider, whose official name is “the farmers assurance” provision. But even if DeFazio’s amendment makes it through the House vote, it still has to survive the Senate. Meanwhile, organizations like the Organic Consumers Association, Center for Food Safety, FoodDemocracyNow!, the Alliance for Natural Health USA and many others are gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures in protest of the rider, and in support of DeFazio’s amendment.
Thank you Rep. DeFazio. It must be frustrating to do the right thing but not have the support you need to defend the people against Corporate Power. Nevertheless, we thank you for your efforts.
Sen. Tester tried also, but his efforts too were in vain.
So it was not a surprise that our poor, powerless Reps just found out about when it was too late to do anything about after all. They had a year to join Tester and DeFazio to fight the inclusion of this rider in the bill.
And who do we have to thank for doing the actual dirty work of putting it there in the first place? Well, of course it was Republicans, we can't have Democrats working for Monsanto, at least not so blatantly.
The article reveals the actual culprits, so relax, you CAN 'blame the Republicans' and excuse our own party, or at least that is what you are expected to do.
It was 'legislator of the year, the agricultural sub-committee chair Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) who got the job done.
And then we see the revolving door between elected office and the rewards they receive as they enter the Corporate world, after leaving office, at work. if they work hard to pass legislation beneficial to Corporate America.
Kingston was aided and abetted, according to the article, by 'former' Pennsylvania Congressman, John C. Greenwood, currently president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization.
Who loses now that the Corporations won again?
There are many losers, we've already seen what happens when bad legislation like this ends up causing food contamination that has to be recalled, causing huge losses to farmers, not to mention the harm done to consumers.
Among the biggest losers if Congress ignores the DeFazio amendment and passes the “farmers assurance provision” are thousands of farmers of conventional and organic crops, including those who rely on the export market for their livelihoods. An increasing number of global markets are requiring GMO-free agricultural products or, at the very least, enforcing strict GMO labeling laws. If this provision passes, it will allow unrestricted planting of potentially dangerous crops, exposing other safe and non-GMO crops to risk of contamination.
Why should you be outraged about this provision? For all these reasons:
The Monsanto Rider is an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers. Judicial review is an essential element of U.S. law, providing a critical and impartial check on government decisions that may negatively impact human health, the environment or livelihoods. Maintaining the clear-cut boundary of a Constitutionally-guaranteed separation of powers is essential to our government. This provision will blur that line.
· Judicial review is a gateway, not a roadblock. Congress should be fully supportive of our nation’s independent judiciary. The ability of courts to review, evaluate and judge an issue that impacts public and environmental health is a strength, not a weakness, of our system. The loss of this fundamental safeguard could leave public health, the environment and livelihoods at risk.
The Democratic Controlled Senate passed the bill and a bi-partisan effort in Congress got it moved forward.
There is a lot more in this excellent article which is well worth reading, unless of course you are with those who think this is all a 'waste of everyone's time'.
I wonder how much it helps get something like this horrible legislation passed to have former Monsanto CEOs appointed to positions of power in our Government?
Michael Taylor, former Monsanto Vice President, is now the FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods.
I can't find anything to prove that someone like a former VP of Monsanto might not be working in the best interests of consumers, but applying logic to the situation, I have a feeling he at least was not trying to prevent that rider from being attached to the bill.
But please do not blame our elected officials for this. They were 'taken by surprise'! Except for the few who weren't. More importantly they would have been 'wasting everyone's time' if they had even tried to stop it we are told.
And we would never want to do that, would we?
Posted by sabrina 1 | Fri Mar 29, 2013, 09:50 AM (6 replies)
Or so he says NOW:
Jamie Dimon Agrees With Occupy Wall Street: 'Too Much Inequality'
According to Chris Otts of The Courier-Journal, Dimon told his audience that the United States has "too much inequality." This isn't a novel insight -- the Occupy Wall Street protests were predicated on this idea, expressed through the slogan "we are the 99 percent" -- but it's striking to hear it coming from Wall Street's most outspoken defender of financial elites.
"It doesn't mean we blame the successful," Dimon continued, sounding more characteristic, "but it's true. You want to have problems in society? Have inequality." Dimon mentioned "struggling inner-city public schools" in particular, Otts reports.
The statements represent a slight rhetorical softening for Dimon, who has in the past rejected the anti-banker sentiment that arose after the financial crisis of 2008. "Acting like everyone who's been successful is bad and because you're rich you're bad, I don't understand it," he said in late 2011 at an investors' conference in New York. Since then, a lot has changed for JPMorgan: the bank, seen as the most successful of the financial behemoths during the crisis, was recently the subject of a "riveting and devastating" Senate panel report that accused Dimon and other executives of hiding trading losses from investors and regulators.
According to The New York Times, a criminal investigation of this affair -- known popularly, after the trader who caused the losses, as "the London Whale" -- is "at an advanced stage."
Emphasis mine. 'Acting like everyone who has been successful is bad and because you're rich you're bad, I don't understand it'.
Well, not EVERYONE Jamie. But it sure looks like JPM was 'bad' and maybe even Jamie Dimon himself. We can't say that definitively yet I suppose, because despite all the evidence already revealed about the practices of Wall St Banks, such as his own JPM, we have yet to see any prosecutions in the courts where the evidence can be presented and people are under oath.
Out Of Control: New Report Exposes JPMorgan Chase As Mostly Criminal Enterprise
"Exposes JPMorgan Chase As A Mostly Criminal Organization"
I don't know Jamie, but that sounds 'bad' to me and having read the report I find it difficult to understand why there have not yet been any criminal investigations! s
I urge you to read an astonishing new report, which I’ve embedded below, from analyst Josh Rosner of Graham-Fisher and Co. The best way to describe the report, “JPM – Out of Control,” is that it reads like a rap sheet. Notably, Rosner takes mortgage abuses almost entirely out of the equation, and yet still manages to fill a 45-page report with documented case after documented case of serious fraud and abuse, most of which JPM has already admitted to (at least in the sense of reaching a settlement; given out captured regulatory structure the end result is invariably a settlement with the “neither admit nor deny wrongdoing” boilerplate appended). Rosner writes, “we could not find another ‘systemically important’ domestic bank that has recently been subject to as many public, non-mortgage related, regulatory actions or consent orders.”
The author continues, after reading the report, to try to list the illegal activities of JPM, a daunting task as it turns out:
It’s hard to summarize all of the documented instances in this report of JPM has been breaking the law, but here’s my best shot. I try to keep up on these matters, and yet some of these I’m learning about for the first time:
Bank Secrecy Act violations;
Money laundering for drug cartels;
Violations of sanction orders against Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and former Liberian strongman Charles Taylor;
Violations related to the Vatican Bank scandal (get on this, Pope Francis!);
Violations of the Commodities Exchange Act;
Failure to segregate customer funds (including one CFTC case where the bank failed to segregate $725 million of its own money from a $9.6 billion account) in the US and UK;
Knowingly executing fictitious trades where the customer, with full knowledge of the bank, was on both sides of the deal;
Various SEC enforcement actions for misrepresentations of CDOs and mortgage-backed securities;
The AG settlement on foreclosure fraud;
The OCC settlement on foreclosure fraud;
Violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act;
Illegal flood insurance commissions;
Fraudulent sale of unregistered securities;
Illegal increases of overdraft penalties;
Violations of federal ERISA laws as well as those of the state of New York;
Municipal bond market manipulations and acts of bid-rigging, including violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act;
Filing of unverified affidavits for credit card debt collections (“as a result of internal control failures that sound eerily similar to the industry’s mortgage servicing failures and foreclosure abuses”);
Energy market manipulation that triggered FERC lawsuits;
“Artificial market making” at Japanese affiliates;
Shifting trading losses on a currency trade to a customer account;
Fraudulent sales of derivatives to the city of Milan, Italy;
Obstruction of justice (including refusing the release of documents in the Bernie Madoff case as well as the case of Peregrine Financial).
The sheer litany of illegal activities just overwhelms you. And these are only the ones where the company has entered into settlements or been sanctioned; it doesn’t even include ongoing investigations into things like Libor, illegally concealing inclusions of mortgage-backed securities in employer funds (another ERISA violation), the Fail Whale trades, and especially putback suits for mortgages, where a recent ruling by Judge Jed Rakoff has seriously increased exposure. While the risks are still very much alive and will continue to weigh on the firm, ultimately shareholders will pay, certainly not executives as long as the no-prosecutions standard holds.
You can read this devastating report here if you are interested:
A Whale’s Tale – a Whitewash Report
When compared to the report the Board of Freddie Mac undertook, JPM’s “Task Force” was a whitewash.
Freddie initiated a truly independent investigation by anunaffiliated firm and directed
all employees of the Company to fully cooperate with theinvestigation. There were no limitations proscribed on the scope of the review and as theinvestigators or the Firm’s independent auditors discovered additional matters they werealso looked into
In contrast, JPMorgan’s “Task Force” issued a report of questionable independence andlimited in scope. Michael Cavanagh, co-Chairman of JPMorgan’s investment bank, ledthe “Task Force”. Cavanagh reports directly to Jamie Dimon and is both a longtime“lieutenant” and his possible successor
.For Michael Cavanagh to be tasked with investigating another executive that reporteddirectly to Jamie Dimon
about losses in a unit that he knew, as early as 2010, appearedto have inadequate controls
is more troubling.
As former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt said, "It's incomprehensible to me that they did these reports internally,
it's like asking Joe Paterno to do the Penn State investigation instead of Louis Freeh…
having picked Cavanagh to do this strikes me as potentially foolish in the extreme, the only reason you do a review this way is because you don't want to find anything unduly damaging
All this and more, and STILL no criminal charges filed.
Just one of the above infractions would result in prosecutions for any member of the 99%.
So again, to Jamie, no one said ALL rich people are 'bad'.
But just what is the definition of 'bad' to Jaimie Dimon I would like to know?
Maybe those laws are only meant for the 99% and he genuinely doesn't see anything wrong with a member of the 1% paying no attention to them after all.
It's nice, though that he does feel there needs to be 'more equality'.
I wonder if they are beginning to worry that maybe they have gone just a little too far this time and that the people might start reacting, finally?
It's happened before!
Ask the French!
Posted by sabrina 1 | Mon Mar 25, 2013, 02:13 PM (4 replies)
Maybe it is time for people to take any money they still have out of savings accounts in any of the Big Banks, especially since there is virtually nothing to gain from lending them your money anymore in terms of interest. And now, after the outrageous attempt to set up yet another scheme to make ordinary people pay for any failures of the Big Banks, it seems to me that it is very risky to trust even ten dollars to these Banks.
This article explains the 'old order' of protection for depositors where people were protected UP TO a certain amount of money.
Plunderball – The new Euro banking game
It used to be that below the guarentee limit your money was safe. It was only any amount above the guarantee, that you could lose in a restructuring. When a bank went under the normal bankruptcy rules swung into action (I’m leaving aside the TBTF gorilla in the room. Let’s not poke him just yet).TBTF aside – the collapsed banks’ assets would collected in into a pile and all the bank’s creditors (those who bought its debt, lent it money, put their money into it) would be put on a list in order of seniority, with share holders at the bottom, unsecured and Junior bond holders next with Senior insured bond holders at the top. Depositors were always ranked up there with Senior bond holders. Those at top would get most if not all of their money back and not take a loss, those at the bottom would lose everything.
The article goes on to explain how that system worked and then claims that the system has now been completely 'torn up' using Cyprus as an example.
So what now? What happens in this new disorder?
Well it turns out other countries have been preparing to enforce this same – ‘force losses on all depositors’ – idea. New Zealand, as reported in an article by interest.co.nz has been working on what it calls its new Open Bank Resolution Policy (OBR). If put in place – and that is the NZ government’s intention,
The implementation of OBR would see all unsecured liabilities that rank equally among themselves, including deposits, having a portion frozen
Link to the story of NZ's Open Bank Resolution (OBR) here:
Risk To Savings If Bank Fails
The article links to Zero Hedge's story on how Spain is also considering this kind of scheme to help bail out the banks if they fail again. And it goes on to show that Italy may also have similar plans.
And what about the UK and the US? Well, if Europe and NZ are in on the scheme is there any doubt that Britain and the US are not planning on forcing the people to once again bail out Wall Street Failures? This author thinks so:
And that is what I think is being planned in the UK and USA.
Will the UK and USA also go for the automatic seizure of money from accounts? My guess is they have been quietly planning on it but will now think twice about admitting to it. Preferring to keep it quiet until the next collapse when ‘circumstances call for desperate measures’ etc etc.
The reality is the banks are still bust – even the ones making huge profits – and when – not if – when the next bubble bursts and one bank starts to bring down another – they will all come for your money and we will all be collectively punished in order to make sure the wealthy and the powerful stay that way.
It's not as if they have not done this already, just in a different way. As pointed out in these articles, there is never going to be an end to these bailouts or to the people footing the bill.
So when, as Occupy has asked, are we going to start seeing them being allowed to fail, and then begin the process of prosecuting the criminals?
The world never needed a movement like Ocuupy Wall Street than it does right now. Because it is obvious that most Governments are not on the side of the people. And that is why Wall St hates Occupy. They bought governments and thought they were clear to keep robbing the people, but then OWS appeared on the scene and to them, it was not just a big threat, it appears to have been the only threat to their criminal activities.
Posted by sabrina 1 | Sun Mar 24, 2013, 11:59 AM (55 replies)
Believe it or not, yes, we do have a Drone Caucus. And no, Orwellian and paranoid as it may sound, it is NOT a CT.
It is a 60 member strong, bi-partisan Caucus whose main purpose appears to be to sell drones to law enforcement in this great democracy of ours.
Just follow the money to find out why we apparently need to spend so much on Drones and why we need a Congressional Drone Caucus in order to do the sales job. Or as they call it:
The Unmanned Systems Caucus
Chairmen of the Caucus are these two members of Congress:
Rep. Buck McKeon (R)
Rep. Henry Cueller (D)
To see who the members of the entire 60 member Drone Caucus are, just click the link above.
The “drone caucus” sped up domestic drone use
The proliferation of drones in domestic law enforcement and beyond has been boosted on Capitol Hill by a 60-representative strong, bipartisan “drone caucus,” according to an investigative report by the Center for Responsive Politics and Hearst newspapers.
Pushing an agenda to hurry surveillance drones into the domestic market, even though many questions about the ethics and safety of their deployment remain unanswered, has earned members of the House Unmanned Systems Caucus $8 million in drone-related campaign contributions, the investigation revealed.
The report detailed how legislative efforts have ensured a speedy timeline for putting drones in the hands of local police departments as well as private corporations
And how safe are these Drones that will be flying around the friendly skies? Well, that has not yet been established according to the report referenced in the above article:
Drones: Despite Problems, A Push to Expand Domestic Use
WASHINGTON – Are unmanned aircraft, known to have difficulty avoiding collisions, safe to use in America’s crowded airspace? And would their widespread use for surveillance result in unconstitutional invasions of privacy?
Experts say neither question has been answered satisfactorily. Yet the federal government is rushing to open America’s skies to tens of thousands of the drones – pushed to do so by a law championed by manufacturers of the unmanned aircraft.
The drone makers have sought congressional help to speed their entry into a domestic market valued in the billions. The 60-member House of Representatives’ “drone caucus” _ officially, the House Unmanned Systems Caucus - has helped push that agenda. And over the last four years, caucus members have drawn nearly $8 million in drone-related campaign contributions, an investigation by Hearst Newspapers and the Center for Responsive Politics shows.
Isn't it amazing what good salespeople members of Congress can be when they want to be?
Is there any chance that We The People could get some of our issues addressed, such as the destruction of Civil Liberties, as fast as the Drone Manufacturer eg?
Didn't someone say in another thread that this was all just a huge, big Conspiracy Theory and 'doesn't belong on this site'?
If only that were true, but I can't blame anyone for thinking so, as who would have thought that Congress would form a Caucus for the sole purpose purpose of selling spying equipment domestically?
It definitely pays to have friends in Congress.
Since 2005, the federal government has awarded at least $12 billion in contracts for drones and drone supplies and maintenance.
Homeland Security Wants To Double Its Domestic Drone Fleet
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wants to more than double its fleet of Predator drones for surveillance missions inside the United States, Trevor Timm of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) reports.
The DHS recently signed a contract with General Atomics —worth as much as $443 million — to purchase up to 14 Predator drones, which would add to its current fleet of 10 if Congress appropriates the funds.
I can think of much better uses for those millions of dollars considering we are being that we have no money and must 'reduce spending' in order to reduce the Deficit.
Posted by sabrina 1 | Mon Dec 31, 2012, 03:15 PM (6 replies)
Republicans turned down the President's latest offer to reduce the Deficit, an offer that included what has been described as a 'stealth way to cut SS benefits'.
All over the country the inclusion of these cuts to SS in the offer has mobilized a huge Coalition of Democratic/Progressive Organizations, the Unions, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Bernie Sanders, AARP, SS advocacy groups, Senior Advocacy Groups, Disabled Organizations and millions of ordinary Americans to call their Senators to demand that they refuse to accept this offer and to go further, to demand it be removed from the Deficit Discussions where it clearly does not belong.
Republicans are also being bombarded with calls.
There are daily action alerts to remove the Chained CPI from any further offers.
Nancy Pelosi has unbelievably said she will 'support the President on the Chained CPI' because, she incredibly stated, 'it will strengthen SS'. See here:
In the face of the fact that all of these huge organizations and some of the Democratic Leadership actually believe that the President was serious about this offer, we are being told that 'he is just playing games with Republicans' that 'he doesn't mean it' ]and that this is a 'brilliant strategy'.
I have tried to figure out how putting SS on the Deficit Discussion table can do anything other than create the impression that it belongs there, furthering the Republican lie that SS ever had anything to do with the Deficit. This is a dangerous game to play with SS.
Republicans, thankfully, turned down this offer. But they did not turn it down because of the cuts to SS, they turned it down because of the Tax Increases to the Wealthy.
So here is where I am having a problem with the claim that putting SS cuts on the Deficit Table is so brilliant.
Republicans would have turned down any offer that had tax increases for the wealthy. If the 'game' is to make them look like obstructionists, then all that was needed was to focus on those tax increases on the wealthy, a very popular policy with the American people.
There was no need to include cuts to SS in order to force Republicans to do exactly as expected.
I would love someone to explain to me why, when making the offer to Republicans, Democrats did not take the popular position of stating something like this:
Republicans do not want the wealthiest Americans to have to pay their share. Unfortunately, after 12 years of tax cuts the wealthy must now start contributing to reducing the deficit which was created by wars and tax cuts and now we must face the consequences of those policies.
They want us to include cuts to SS and Medicare in these discussions. We have refused to do so since SS had nothing to do with the Deficit.
We have made a fair offer and we are hoping Republicans will accept it so that we can get on with the job we are all here to do, work for the benefit if the American people.
Republicans would not have accepted it. The President would have come out of it looking like a defender of the American People. He would have been able to show that Republicans are the ones who want to cut SS and that they will fight FOR the Wealthy while taking from Retirees, the Disabled, Veterans and Dependent children. THAT to me would have been a 'brilliant strategy'.
Instead, Republicans are actually now getting credit for stopping cuts to SS however inadvertently while millions of Americans are angry at Democrats for risking SS cuts when they did not need to.
So how on earth does including the Chained CPI become some kind of brilliant strategy? So far I have seen no explanation of these claims.
Some clear statements from real Democrats in Congress on the inclusion of the Chained CPI in any offers related to the Deficit:
'Unacceptable': Democrats Sound Off on 'Chained' CPI Proposal
Democrats in the House are speaking out against a proposed Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) cut known as the “chained” CPI, which would severely harm the elderly and people with disabilities.
Here are some highlights and videos of written and public statements:
Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.):
Social Security has nothing to do with the debt problems that we're facing now. The seniors and disabled should not be held hostage by the Republicans. Their only priority in this debate is to protect America's wealthiest citizens. Under former President Bush, our nation financed two wars on the credit card and senior citizens should not be collateral damage. We lost trillions of dollars through irresponsible tax cuts and let's be clear, tax cuts are the same as spending when it comes to the deficit. And now the Republican Party's proposed solution is to make up the difference from taking money from seniors. That is unacceptable.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.):
In order to shield the wealthiest Americans from paying Clinton-era tax rates, Republicans are demanding cuts to programs that benefit the poorest Americans. Inequality in the United States is the worst it has been since the Gilded Age, and their cuts would make it worse, not better.
One proposal is to reduce Social Security’s annual cost-of-living adjustment through the use of the so-called chained CPI. It’s a benefit cut—pure and simple— an average earner retiring in 2011 at age 65 would lose $6,000 in benefits over 15 years. It’s particularly devastating for women—who live longer, rely more on Social Security and receive lower benefits.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.):
Everyone has a grandparent, a friend or a neighbor who relies on the Social Security benefits they earned to pay for medical care, food and housing. A move toward chained CPI would be a long-term benefit cut for every single person who receives a Social Security check.
The current average earned benefit for a 65-year-old on Social Security is $17,134. Using chained CPI will result in a $6,000 loss for retirees in the first 15 years of retirement and adds up to a $16,000 loss over 25 years. This change would be devastating to beneficiaries, especially widowed women, more than a third of whom rely on the program for 90% of their income and use every single dollar of the Social Security checks they've earned. This would require the most vulnerable Americans to dig further into their savings to fill the hole left by unnecessary and irresponsible cuts to Social Security.
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.):
The less money our Social Security recipients—including 9 million veterans—are able to spend, the less money goes to the businesses that create jobs. "Chained" CPI makes life harder for millions of retirees, weakens Social Security and doesn’t reduce the deficit by a penny. It’s a Beltway fig leaf that I will never support, and I call on my colleagues to make their feelings known as soon as possible before this becomes yet another piece of conventional wisdom that makes things worse.
Lifting the cap on high earners paying into Social Security is a real fix that would make the program solvent indefinitely. If we want to talk about solutions, let’s talk about that, not inventing reasons to take money from American retirees.
Are these Democrats too blind to see the 'brilliance' of including SS cuts in any offer to Republicans?
If so, someone needs to explain why. Otherwise, I am with them and with all the others who are currently working to make sure it is removed from further discussions of the Deficit.
Posted by sabrina 1 | Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:12 PM (110 replies)
Nancy Pelosi has drunk the kool-aid. It looks like one bold “progressive” has hit the dirt, caved, collapsed, gone the way of all DC flesh. Nancy Pelosi now favors benefits cuts to Social Security as part of the President’s personal Grand Bargain. Talking Points Memo, citing a Pelosi press conference on Dec 19 (Wednesday; my emphasis and paragraphing):
Though Chained CPI would reduce lifetime benefits relative to the current cost of living adjustment formula, Pelosi said she does not consider it a benefit cut. “No, I don’t,” consider it a benefit cut, she said. “I consider it a strengthening of Social Security.”
Emphasis mine. I can't believe a Democrat said this! It has to be one of the most ignorant statement regarding the Chained CPI made so far by an elected Democrat.
Pelosi: "I’m Not Thrilled’ With Obama’s Fiscal Cliff Proposal — But It’s Not A Benefit Cut"
Pelosi was responding to a question about Obama’s main concession to House Speaker John Boehner: a measure called Chained CPI that would re-index Social Security payments to a lower level of inflation.
Though Chained CPI would reduce lifetime benefits relative to the current cost of living adjustment formula, Pelosi said she does not consider it a benefit cut.
“No, I don’t,” consider it a benefit cut, she said. “I consider it a strengthening of Social Security.”
It should go without saying that Steny Hoyer is backing her up.
They are, however, getting a lot of push back, mostly from the Progressive Caucus.
From The Hill:
House Democratic leaders soften opposition to Social Security cuts
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) delivered a similar message Tuesday.
"Everybody needs to understand that nobody is going to be happy with every provision of a deal," Hoyer warned. He said the package should put the country "on a fiscally sustainable path," "get the debt limit off the table" and "provide some revenues for growing the economy and investing."
"The president wants to address all three of those, and I agree with him," Hoyer said. "Some members will have problems with some parts but … if we get an agreement that the president can support, hopefully we can get a majority in the House – Republicans and Democrats – and Boehner and the Leader and I will convince members that we ought to move forward."
But many rank-and-file members are up in arms over the White House offer.
Emerging from a Democratic Caucus meeting Tuesday morning – where they were briefed on Obama's plan by top White House adviser Rob Nabors – the Democrats pushed back hard against the president's proposal to reduce future cost-of-living raises for beneficiaries of the popular retirement program.
Everybody needs to understand? Dear Democratic Leadership, it is YOU who needs to understand something:
One more time for our Dem Leadership who do not seem to understand the SS Fund, the Federal Budget and what actually caused the Deficit:
Sorry to shout, but these Democrats appear to have their fingers in their ears when it comes to the American People:
SS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE DEFIICIT
THE CHAINED CPI IS AN ATTACK ON THE SS FUND AND ON SENIORS WHO DID NOT CREATE THESE PROBLEMS!
THE SS FUND BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE. YOU ALL HAVE NO RIGHT TO TOUCH IT WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF THE PEOPLE WHO OWN IT.
You can find your Representatives at this link if you would like to give them a call:
House of Representatives
I have tried to reach Sen. Feinstein and Sen. Boxer for several days now. Feinstein's line has been busy and Boxer is only taking voice mails.
And here is a list of where they all stand on the Chained CPI so far from Moveon:
Sen. Daniel Akaka (HI)
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT)
Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH)
Sen. Ben Cardin (MD)
Sen. Al Franken (MN)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)
Sen. Tom Harkin (IA)
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT)
Sen. Carl Levin (MI)
Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR)
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (MD)
Sen. Jack Reed (RI)
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (WV)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
Part-way there, or Wavering 2
Sen. Max Baucus (MT)
Sen. Mark Begich (AK)
Sen. Michael Bennet (CO)
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (NM)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA)
Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA)
Sen. Tom Carper (DE)
Sen. Bob Casey (PA)
Sen. Chris Coons (DE)
Sen. Dick Durbin (IL)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA)
Sen. Kay Hagan (NC)
Sen. Tim Johnson (SD)
Sen. John Kerry (MA)
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN)
Sen. Herb Kohl (WI)
Sen. Mary Landrieu (LA)
Sen. Claire McCaskill (MO)
Sen. Robert Menendez (NJ)
Sen. Patty Murray (WA)
Sen. Bill Nelson (FL)
Sen. Ben Nelson (NE)
Sen. Mark Pryor (AR)
Sen. Harry Reid (NV)
Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY)
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (NH)
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (MI)
Sen. Jon Tester (MT)
Sen. Mark Udall (CO)
Sen. Tom Udall (NM)
Sen. Mark Warner (VA)
Sen. Jim Webb (VA)
Sen. Ron Wyden (OR)
Sen. Kent Conrad (ND)
Sen. Joe Lieberman (CT)
Sen. Joe Manchin (WV)
Shame on them! All of those who vote to cut Social Security Benefits/The Chained CPI.
Posted by sabrina 1 | Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:23 PM (46 replies)
Social Security did not cause the Deficit
The Social Security Fund has a huge surplus and is solvent for the next decade or more even with a bad economy.
It is the Federal Budget that is in trouble NOT the Social Security Fund.
So why is it even part of these discussions?
Why is the discussion not about the actual drivers of the Deficit?
Congress and the WH need to hear from the people, and they ARE, so that they drop this insane idea of trying to make Seniors, the Disabled and Dependent Children pay for the corruption of Wall Street and the MIC.
And why are people claiming that stating facts is deceiving?
Take Social Security OFF the Deficit Discussion Table and we will shut up about it.
But so long as it remains there, you can bet there will be outrage over this attempt to slip cuts to SS past the people once again.
'The Chained CPI is a sneaky way of cutting Social Security'!
'We didn't contribute to the Deficit, we won't pay for it'!
This is what Democrats are telling Congress.
Anyone who votes for a Chained CPI is not a Democrat.
It really is that simple.
Democrats are supposed to protect Social Security.
Jay Carney says 'it's what the Republicans wanted'!! Really? So we give them what they want now??
Posted by sabrina 1 | Wed Dec 19, 2012, 12:59 PM (77 replies)
I believe this article was posted on Oprah's 'O' magazine in October of this year. I read it for the first time today and am posting it because whatever people's reaction may be to Susan Klebold's own story, I think it adds valuable information that we did not have before into the background of the tragic story of Colombine.
I Will Never Know Why
Susan and Dylan Klebold celebrating Dylan's fifth birthday.
Oprah's comment on the article:
Since the day her son participated in the most devastating high school shooting America has ever seen, I have wanted to sit down with Susan Klebold to ask her the questions we've all wanted to ask—starting with "How did you not see it coming?" and ending with "How did you survive?" Over the years, Susan has politely declined interview requests, but several months ago she finally agreed to break her silence and write about her experience for O. Even now, many questions about Columbine remain. But what Susan writes here adds a chilling new perspective. This is her story. — Oprah
Susan Klebold's account of the horror of that day as the story unfolded and she came to realize that her son was responsible for one of the worst school massacres in US history:
Just after noon on Tuesday, April 20, 1999, I was preparing to leave my downtown Denver office for a meeting when I noticed the red message light flashing on my phone. I worked for the state of Colorado, administering training programs for people with disabilities; my meeting was about student scholarships, and I figured the message might be a last-minute cancellation. But it was my husband, calling from his home office. His voice was breathless and ragged, and his words stopped my heart. "Susan—this is an emergency! Call me back immediately!"
The level of pain in his voice could mean only one thing: Something had happened to one of our sons. In the seconds that passed as I picked up the phone and dialed our house, panic swelled within me; it felt as though millions of tiny needles were pricking my skin. My heart pounded in my ears. My hands began shaking. I tried to orient myself. One of my boys was at school and the other was at work. It was the lunch hour. Had there been a car accident?
In the weeks and months that followed the killings, I was nearly insane with sorrow for the suffering my son had caused, and with grief for the child I had lost. Much of the time, I felt that I could not breathe, and I often wished that I would die. I got lost while driving. When I returned to work part-time in late May, I'd sit through meetings without the slightest idea of what was being said. Entire conversations slipped from memory. I cried at inappropriate times, embarrassing those around me. Once, I saw a dead pigeon in a parking lot and nearly became hysterical. I mistrusted everything—especially my own judgment.
Seeing pictures of the devastation and the weeping survivors was more than I could bear. I avoided all news coverage in order to function. I was obsessed with thoughts of the innocent children and the teacher who suffered because of Dylan's cruelty. I grieved for the other families, even though we had never met. Some had lost loved ones, while others were coping with severe, debilitating injuries and psychological trauma. It was impossible to believe that someone I had raised could cause so much suffering. The discovery that it could have been worse—that if their plan had worked, Dylan and Eric would have blown up the whole school—only increased the agony.
Read more: http://www.oprah.com/world/Susan-Klebolds-O-Magazine-Essay-I-Will-Never-Know-Why/4#ixzz2FLNG8SfG
Unbearable heartbreak for everyone involved including the families of the perpetrators who do not even have the 'right' to grieve for their own loss coupled with the feelings of guilt and the anger of the public, often against them too.
There has to be a way to stop these massacres but right now, I don't know how.
Posted by sabrina 1 | Mon Dec 17, 2012, 03:43 PM (40 replies)