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Name: Jim
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Member since: Thu Apr 5, 2012, 08:33 PM
Number of posts: 975

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I'm thrilled that the president is considering safety net cuts in his budget

because as we all know, "considering" isn't actually doing it.

I think it's important that doubting Thomas be left with something to hang onto besides all that hope that must be getting stale by now.

Well, Obama really is going to try to cut Social Security and Medicare. No, it's not a clever ploy -- unless you count the part where he's counting on you thinking that.

So here it is: The biggest trial balloon of them all in this morning's Wall St. Journal. Get your dialing fingers ready. There's a reason they let this story out on Good Friday, they're counting on you not noticing or being too busy to do anything about it. The White House switchboard is 202-456-1414, the comments line is 202-456-1111 (be prepared to hold) or you can email here.

WASHINGTON—The White House is strongly considering including limits on entitlement benefits in its fiscal 2014 budget—a proposal it first offered Republicans in December. The move would be aimed in part at keeping alive bipartisan talks on a major budget deal.

Such a proposal could include steps that make many Democrats queasy, such as reductions in future Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security payments, but also items resisted by Republicans, such as higher taxes through limits on tax breaks, people close to the White House said.


there's wmd, and then there's wmd.

In evaluating who believed what individually or country-wise prior to the reintroduction of inspectors as a result of UNSC res 1441 (which came a month after the Iraq AUMF) it's critically important to determine specifically what they believed, given that the likelihood of the war being sold absent any nuclear threat from them were practically nil. Another "Desert Fox" maybe, but a full scale invasion and occupation? I think not.

DEBATEDISTORTED: THEINFLATION OF THENUCLEAR THREAT As former intelligence analyst and National Security Council staffer Kenneth M.Pollack has argued, Iraq’s alleged nuclear program “was the real linchpin of the BushAdministration’s case for an invasion.”41Indeed, a recent scholarly study found that manymembers of Congress “gave the nuclear threat as the main or one of the main reasons for their votes” supporting the war resolution in October 2002.42Yet, it now seems virtuallycertain that the administration publicly exaggerated the status of the Iraqi nuclear program.Officials also strategically manipulated their pre-war rhetoric about the Iraqi threat so as tomislead the general public and mass media. This often meant, for instance, blurring certainkinds of policy distinctions that would otherwise have suggested greater caution in the pathway to war. In many cases, moreover, it meant emphasizing the strong certainty rather than the real ambiguity about key evidence and thus implying the worst about the Iraqi threat. http://www.academia.edu/881665/Deliberating_Preventive_War_The_Strange_Case_of_Iraqs_Disappearing_Nuclear_Threat
CLINTON: Good evening.

Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

For example, there are reasons for this comment on the part of Blix "While I never believed Saddam could have concealed a continued nuclear program, I too thought there could still be some biological and chemical weapons left from Iraq's war with Iran.", which pretty much mirrors the pov of many if not most of us that opposed the war.

In the effort to give individual dems the Pontius Pilate water in terms of their roles prior to and in the wake of UNSC res 1441, and the countries "that believed" as well, an examination of the evidence in support of the potential for an active nuke program alone is the only thing that really matters, not whether they thought he had leftovers from earlier days, or indeed, was keeping biological/chemical stockpiles fresh in some measure.

The real history, according to the president, is that Iraq was a threat that had to be confronted in a post-Sept. 11 world, and that both parties accepted the administration's case for war. One key element of that case was the suggestion that Saddam Hussein had — or would soon have — the deadliest weapons imaginable.
In the fall and winter of 2002, the president and other top administration officials used stark language to help Americans imagine the dangers. "Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud," Mr. Bush said in his State of the Union address in January 2003.Two months later, then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice used the very same words to describe the threat. And Vice President Dick Cheney publicly alleged that Saddam Hussein "has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."
Critics Unimpressed by White House Claims
Outside the administration, there was widespread belief that Iraq possessed biological and chemical weapons, but less confidence on the nuclear question. The U.S. intelligence community was deeply divided over the issue. And, despite months of searching, U.N. inspectors — both before and after the invasion — failed to find any weapons of mass destruction.

Any commentary by dems prior to or in the wake of UNSC res 1441 that voiced a level of certainty rivaling that of Bush's on the nuke weapons programs (like bombing nuclear program facilities that didn't exist as we know in 1998) cannot be granted immunity from the charge of irresponsibility or divorced from participation in the selling of the war imo, if for no other reason due to ignorance or the enabling silence always is.


If keyboard warriors like me can study and cry foul as a result of it on the nuke questions and the critical role they played in the march to war the AUMF facillitated, surely all the smart guys we elected, dems and repubs alike, could have and should have slowed that march down with no votes until something more closely approximating "imminency" was established. This is no doubt why the push for the Iraq AUMF came first, with UNSC res 1441 second, which reeks of a cart before the horse situation to me. Maybe they didn't think Bush would lie us into war, or boot the inspectors before they could show the "flaws" in the intelligence, but it was certainly their job to include that in their calculation of the most important decision they can ever possibly make. This is why I've long contended that the Clinton efforts prior to Bush's best explain both the yes votes from dems and the level of public support for the war that resulted, regardless of the motivation for them like sanction preservation as opposed to invasion and occupation, etc. The potential for/the spectre of a nuclear threat was kept alive throughout the BC admin and beyond as a result, and were certainly exploited quite energetically by Bush and his lying crew if nothing else.

Bush bears the full responsibility for the war crime his war of aggression was and is, but the idea that the dems had no role whatsoever in creating the conditions conducive for that criminal act to take place, and therefore that slice of responsibility -- which my reading of your efforts indicates is the case you seem to be arguing -- will remain uncompelling and unconvincing to many of us.

But do keep trying. That's the case being made by most of us against the dems, not that they, like Bush, are war criminals as a result, or are directly complicit in that crime.

In the interest of fairness and telling the whole story

First of all, I've thought and argued from the beginning that the lies of Bush would never have been sold but for the comments coming from Bill Clinton and crew, who could have had no more certainty as to their existence than Bush did, as the Kay report subsequently showed. http://www.snopes.com/politics/war/wmdquotes.asp

Of course you can make the case that some of them were taken outta context or fell short of expressing the pov of the person who uttered them, like not in an effort to promote or support the military action Bush was obviously contemplating when he sought and secured the Iraq AUMF, but that doesn't diminish their value and role in the war campaign.

The posting of that list of dem quotes and noting that BC signed the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 (ignoring Section 8 which rejected military use of course), ALbright finding all the guesstimated deaths from the sanctions "worth it", etc, was the standard defense of Bushbots for years. I see used still today. WHat I always found amusingly stupid, is the way the rightwingnuts took the guesstimated number of deaths due to the sanctions as gospel, but found the surveys calculating the deaths due to the war bunk.

Secondly, for all the hoopla about the CIA and M16 ignoring intel circulating here and in Great Britain right now, I fail to see the big deal, since it really did nothing more than support for the "intel" we had during the Clinton admin

In a 25 January 1999 report to the U.N. Security Council, UNSCOM declared that the history of the Iraqi weapons inspections "must be divided into two parts, separated by the events following the departure from Iraq, in August 1995, of Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel."

Kamel maintained that Iraq had destroyed its weapons of mass destruction and related programs after the end of the first Gulf War.

I ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons—biological, chemical, missile, nuclear—were destroyed.

A 3 March 2003 Newsweek report said that Kamel's revelations were "hushed up" because inspectors "hoped to bluff Saddam into revealing still more." Kamel's version of events appear to have been borne out in the wake of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.

So while Bush has complete ownership as the "decider" for misusing the Iraq AUMF and launching that illegal/immoral war of aggression, the dems were extremely helpful in creating -- unwittingly or not -- the situation underwhich it was conducive to sell the threat as a real one to the public. Their "certainty" imo was due to a desire to maintain the brutal sanctions that like with Iran now, which only escalated the human misery in the population, leaving those in power untouched. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/07/iran-santions-suffering

If this anniversary should be used for anything, it should be to ask the question as to whether history is on course for repeating itself. The biggest diff at this point seems to be that between the "Q" and "N" at the end of the name of our victims, separated by an "O/P".

wars are/historically have been almost always about resources of the non-human kind

and the most common denominator in the endless quest for control our wouldbe empire has embarked upon is of course, controlling the currency they are purchased with.

preserving the petrodollar http://ftmdaily.com/preparing-for-the-collapse-of-the-petrodollar-system-part-3/

which of course is tethered to and part of the bigger picture -- watch this when you get the chance, and spread it around

It's a pretty good presentation of what most who've explored/study these issues, already knew or strongly suspected.

BHO will never ever sign a cut to SS

until he does

Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 01:30 PM PST.

White House: No Medicare age increase, cut Social Security insteadby Joan McCarter .

103 Comments / 103 New.
attribution: DreamstimeIn Press Secretary Jay Carney's press briefing Monday, we found out that President Obama is now pursuing a "big deal" instead of a "grand bargain." This big deal will not include raising the eligibility age for Medicare. Instead of that, apparently the president wants to offer up Social Security. Yep, the chained CPI is in the big deal.


and then there will plenty of "good reasons" for it that no objection can possibly overcome.

BHO is just "Standing his ground" armed with drones

so what's the problem?

He's also armed with the historically speaking, the now Burning Bush's playbook, which redefined the word imminence. I'll leave the readers to determine what BHO's definition is (although it is far removed from what my dictionary says) but in Bush's case I think he confused and interpreted the "imminent" hostilities language in the 1973 War Powers Act upon which the Iraq AUMF was based (like the one BHO cites for legal authority) with the imminent nature of his attacking them, as opposed to a response to an imminent threat or otherwise, Iraq never posed.

Commentators have admirably analyzed the flouting of the U.S. Constitution. Jeffrey Rosen of the New Republic hits the mark in his critique of the legality of the recently-leaked Justice Department white paper. The Obama administration vindicates the potential liquidation of American citizens through a spuriously broad redefinition of “imminent threat,” even when the U.S. government does not have “clear evidence that a specific attack…will take place in the immediate future.” The administration holds that the use of deadly force is “reasonable” even in the case of relative ignorance. This “trust us” argument moves against a core constitutional right of citizens to neutral judicial review. Yet the Justice Department rationalizes quashing speech and assassinating citizens without sound evidence of an imminent threat.

And of course, whatever efforts are made to impede or deny judicial review in any case, kinda reeks of an effort to diminish the role and power of the judiciary in this country, as established long ago in Marbury v Madison.

And of course any OWS preemie here like myself surely remembers, we've been here before, and some innocent Americans even died over it at Kent State when they got uppity.

The bombing of Cambodia, along with the revelations of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, helped create a climate of doubt about the balance between means and ends in American foreign policy. Through Senator Frank Church’s Select Committee, Congress began to investigate the FBI and the CIA. After exposing just the details that led to the conclusion that the CIA “a rogue elephant rampaging out of control”—emphasizing plans in the early 1960s to “neutralize” Fidel Castro, Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, Abdul Kassem of Iraq, and Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic—the committee turned to the international impression such activities left. Targeted killings, even on a far slighter level than the thousands of drone strikes since 2008, produced a backlash that threatened Americans’ safety.

I know, I know, but those drones are so much more "surgical" than those big old bombs, and that dreaded "collateral damage" consequentially lowered, which is no doubt why BHO like Bush before he leveled Fallujah, he made sure that no male between the age of 15-55 were allowed to leave, because they were "insurgents/terrorists" by definition. Guilt by association through the wisdom of Bush, now means "in the geographical vicinity". I lost count of how many rightwingnuts back in the Iraq War day, when their back was up against the wall in the justifying all the innocent and dead Iraqis, would pull out the "well, if they didn't wanna die they shoulda desposed him!" card, which bears a remarkable resemblance to the defense we always see from Israel defenders when issues like proportionality and the collective punishment it turns into comes up. I suppose one could really say, that a lot of this stuff is really outta the Israel playbook, given our outrage prior to 9/11, over their targeted assassinations and whatnot.

At that time, spokesman for the American State Department Richard Boucher condemned both violence by Palestinians and targeted killings by Israelis during a State Department news briefing. American Secretary of State Colin Powell registered his opposition to "a policy of targeted killings" and the U.S. State Department urged Israel to stop them.

Then Democratic Party senator Joseph Biden criticized the George W. Bush Administration for condemning the targeted killings; the administration continued to oppose them.

Amazing isn't it? Now that we've become a nation of pants/bedwetting, and figurative depend wearers, everything has changed besides Biden's pov. And in some ways it's worse than merely being entitled to their own set of facts, because they can kill American citizens without having to share them with even a court, and the danger posed to the dictionary is imminent. Who will speak for it? "First they came for the dictionary....". "Imminent" is now synonymous with obscure.

There’s another principle of international law called distinction, which requires that the attack be directed only at legitimate military targets. We know from the New York Times exposé that the kill list that Brennan brings to Obama to decide who he is going to take out without a trial – basically execute – can be used even if they don’t have a name, or if they are present in an area where there are suspicious “patterns of behavior.” These are known as signature strikes. That means that bombs are dropped on unidentified people who are in an area where suspicious activity is taking place. That goes even beyond targeted killings.

It's kinda like being guilty of being black while in a hoodie in the wrong neighborhood, ain't it?

Go America! Life is getting cheaper than the bombs and bullets used to take them, here and abroad.

Say it ain't so!! Safety net cuts still in play?

How could that be?

I thought the table had been yanked from underneath such propositions that had never ever existed to begin with.

President Barack Obama urged Congress Tuesday to replace the automatic spending cuts of the budget sequester with a balanced set of deficit reductions that included cuts and revenue. He also indicated that, as far as he's concerned, a "grand bargain" is still possible.

The proposals that I put forward during the fiscal cliff negotiations in discussions with Speaker Boehner and others are still very much on the table. I just want to repeat: The deals that I put forward, the balanced approach of spending cuts and entitlement reform and tax reform that I put forward are still on the table.

Who cares if some don't have a prob with drones/kill lists/assassinations?

it's not like they can overcome the many problems with their use as legal/moral matters. As "good and loyal dems" they'll come up with all sorts of reasons and rationales why the boat shouldn't be rocked, but hey, oftentimes the line between pragmatism and principle leaves the one crossing that rubicon giving nothing but lip service to principles to which they can't return as champions of. It's kinda like the way the modern rightwingnut as "good xtians" forgot all those lessons the JC guy preached about the poor and whatnot. Their "goodness" thereby comes into question, although their loyalty to whatever causes them to ignore such can't be questioned. WHile the reasons/motives for approval and defense vary, in my experience they were largely absent and silence predominated the lefty ranks throughout the Bush admin, where criticisms/condemnations were frequently seen. I'll leave it to the reader to conclude in their own minds then, what the most likely common denominator is, which in my mind has little to do with the legal/moral aspects of what is going on, but rather isolates it to who is "pulling the trigger" so to speak, or the aforementioned would have been the case.

Top Five Objections to the White House’s Drone Killing Memo

All they can do at worst is malign in a concerted way (like say, was done over the pre-election concerns expressed over the social safety nets, etc) those who dare to object as a matter of principle and practice. To me, after a decade of battling rightwingnut pants/bedwetters over the many issues associated with the phony war on terror, I can't say that I am shocked. As a lefty and a member of small minority of Americans

In January 2002, 6% of respondents called the war "a mistake."

that "objected" to the war in Afghanistan and the AUMF from which most of this garbage flows, I do however find the lack of lessons learned by many on the left a bit startling, even though more appear to be waking up, if not to the error of going into begin with, certainly the futility of our long stay there. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57404807-503544/poll-support-for-war-in-afghanistan-hits-all-time-low/. But hey, that's what happens when you expect edible fruit from a poisoned tree that AUMF represented. The "sit down and shutup" about the drones/assassination stuff that will come from some isn't a defense of it, it's a tacit concession on their part that they have no defense of it, and really just an example of their guilt of gobbling up that poisoned fruit, and feeling fat and sassy as a result. The only "win" they might "legally" get will no doubt differ little than the one we saw in the case of Afghanistan -- the "good" but illegal war under international law that polled highly here like with drone strikes -- and Iraq, from a lack of prosecution. It will be interesting to see if they'll support such things should they achieve a "war crime" designation. http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/01/un-drone-inquiry/ For many of us the kill list has just made it more of a family affair so to speak, that speaks to the general lawlessness with which this phony war on terror has been pursued.

Why it's almost like those defenders of the CONtinuing erosions under our "dem" pres would be up in arms if this idea ever achieved fruition. http://my.firedoglake.com/davidswanson/2011/09/06/congresswoman-lee-introduces-bill-to-repeal-aumf/ which is really nothing new to those of us in the anti-war crowd http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_dave_lin_061121_congress_should_imme.htm It does raise the question though as to whether support for such an effort completely undermines the support for what is going on now, leaving the current supporters of it in a bit of a quandary or having a need to explain how if "everything is all right now" such a move is needed or desirable.

This whole affair kinda reminds me of the other BS so many swallowed whole due to mezmerization by the Big "D" in the past, and which of course similarly, they'd like to think had no role in the mass murder and mayhem that subsequently followed when the "bad cop" took the helm.


I've been asking rightwingnuts what Krugman did not long ago -- "How many times do people like me have to be right..." -- for a very long time now on these matters, and I'm afraid, as no doubt all those who share my pov on the matter of those working so hard to crystallize this thing into the "new normal" for their pres, that the "I told you so's" in the making will provide little solace when and if another "bad cop with an (R)" wakes them from their stupor.

So, while it's easy to care about the issue of the slippery slope soaked with blood laced with the shattered remains of our constitution, and the ideological composition of those promoting/supporting the lubejob, I have no concerns whatsoever about who will win this case on the moral if not legal merits.

And it's good to see rightwingnuts http://frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/droning-on-about-the-drones/ and some on the left finding common ground on an issue and the rhetoric, method and means by which they champion this issue, even if their motives may differ.

After all, foreign policy is where DC finds and sees most of its bipartisanship, which is obscured by the "give the dogs a bone" stuff like social safety nets, etc issues on the domestic front. In the interest of gaining or preserving on those fronts -- bread and butter" issues -- it's no small wonder why some are willing to overlook and/or take exception to criticism/condemnations stemming largely from the same rationale so many rightwingers used to justify Bush's BS, like "only those who have something to hide need fear his felonious warrantless wiretapping -- they think they never need to fear being the victim. And of course on torture, the same rationale -- that some must be tortured to find that plot where thousands are to be killed -- is being employed on the kill list issue, only with greater finality.

“Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”

is but one example of the case, the principle, and rhetoric used to express in this instance, that predates the constitution. By all means drones/kill list/assassination of US citizen supporters, take a stab at showing the flaw in it. It seems to me like like it represents something very similar to the rationales/moral underpinnings of the reason why torture was rejected, no? Hell, even the justifications I've read over the killing of innocent women and children by drones reeks of the same BS I read from many rightwingnuts as a justification for the Iraq War -- "They should have deposed him!" -- like who you are married to or sired by comes with choices easily exploitable, like keeping your distance from them.

ANd torture is just transient suffering physically, as opposed to a "final" solution imposed on those who haven't been shown in a manner the constitution dictates, to be a problem warranting that solution.

Would it be a stretch to say we aren't just killing people, but the constitution also in the process, as well as our moral standing as was the case with torture use?

The world thinks so. http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/nationworld/report/061312_drone_poll/poll-most-non-americans-oppose-us-drone-attacks/

We're "exceptional", ain't we?

The only silver lining as I see it with these issues, is that the rightwingnuts are hypocritically NOT praising BHO for keeping their pants/bedwetting behinds safe from those who hate us "for our freedoms". Sadly this issue -- on the kill list matter specifically anyway -- is all about some of those freedoms being taken away.

AWK AWK! SS is intact! The witch is still dead!

but the austerity wolf remains alive and well.

Let's hope our hero the axeman doesn't blink while swinging, lest he hit the wrong target.

That would ruin the end of this political fairy tale, no?

Hell, I'd be happy if he'd just quit his so-called bluffing about SS/chained-cpi being on the chopping block. There's not been a test of loyalty to a leader like that made since God tested Abraham, no?

It's a good thing he as I recall, was just funnin too.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I feel really really terrible about believing BHO's expressed willingness to put SS on the sacrifiicial altar. To do otherwise is almost like calling him a liar, ain't it? Hopefully this will be the last test of loyalty/fealty we'll have to suffer through if this great subterfuge spawned in the midst of gre4at "Nth" dimensional chess game, is successful, and the "good guys" win. Having been a chess player a good part of my adult life, I fully understand and appreciate the value of the sacrifice when playing wood-hungry fools, but that's also why so many of us are kibitzing in the wake of the offering of a major piece like SS, since a "liberal" chessmaster has never offered it formally before. Why, that kibitzing has made "lefty loons" outta us all I hear and read, but I have yet to read or hear exactly how the fears/concersn are either unreasonable or irrational thereby justifying the "loony" label.

I'd attribute that to the fact that those alleging it lack the political acumen to move beyond attacking the kibitzers as opposed to providing justification for a "liberal" president making such an offer. Comparing him to Lucy would seem to be a belittlement to not only him, but the stakes in the game he's playing.

3. Compromising the Compromising President

President Obama sensibly told Republicans that he would not sign any bill or agree to any deal that extended the Bush tax cuts on those making over $250,000. He had stumped on that across the country on this pledge and received a mandate from the voters. Polls showed the majority of Americans were with him. With all the Bush tax breaks due to expire, Republicans were faced with letting taxes go up on everyone just to defend tax breaks for the richest Americans. The President began the negotiations saying this was not negotiable. He could not have been in a stronger position.

But he chose to compromise. The Bush tax cuts will be allowed to expire on couples making over $450,000. This costs about $150-200 billion in revenue over 10 years. The president argues he got the important extension of unemployment insurance and the working poor tax credits in return. But these could have been folded into a package after going over the cliff. And the cost to the president is significant. Once more Republicans have learned that obstruction works, that the president will always blink.

The next extortion – the debt ceiling, automatic sequester – in the next eight weeks makes this a big deal. The President says sensibly that he will not negotiate over lifting the debt ceiling. Period. And now there is even less reason for the Republicans to believe him than before. This encourages extreme demands rather than discouraging them. This was the time to draw the line.


Who says there's no such thing as a legitimate rape

at least in the figurative sense?

and especially if they are already on their backs...

'I've said it before, I'll say it again,' Obama said. 'We can't balance the budget on the backs of the very people http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/big-income-losses-for-those-near-retirement/ who have borne the brunt of this recession.

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