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Member since: Tue Mar 8, 2005, 07:39 PM
Number of posts: 27,315

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US Rep. Markey to run in Senate special election

Good news


US Representative Edward Markey, dean of the state’s Washington delegation, will run in 2013 for the US Senate seat expected to open with the nomination of US Senator John Kerry to head the State Department.

Markey, 66, a Malden Democrat elected to the House in 1976, is the first prominent candidate to declare a run for Kerry’s seat, which will be filled through a special election early next summer, probably in June. Kerry, a Democrat and head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is expected to be easily confirmed by the Senate in the coming weeks as the next secretary of state.

The Massachusetts special election is likely to be a closely-watched national race, and a potential harbinger for the 2014 mid-term elections.

“I have decided to run for the US Senate because this fight is too important,” Markey said in a statement to the Globe. “There is so much at stake.”


“With Senator Kerry’s departure, Massachusetts voters will decide once again whether we want a Senator who will fight for all our families or one who supports a Republican agenda that benefits only the powerful and well-connected,” Markey said. “I refuse to allow the Tea Party-dominated Republican Party to lead us off the fiscal cliff and into recession. I won’t allow the [National Rifle Association] to obstruct an assault weapons ban yet again. I will not sit back and allow oil and coal industry lobbyists to thwart our clean energy future or extremists to restrict women’s rights and health care.”

Markey said he favors spending money on “innovations and jobs,” protecting Social Security and Medicare, and “a sane approach to guns and violence.” In the US House, Markey has worked extensively on energy issues, and called for “a national policy that makes our country energy independent and curbs the pollution that is causing global warming.”

Obama: Unemployment Insurance Must Be Part Of Fiscal Cliff Deal

I dont like the change in CPI, but this is something nobody speaks about and that would be devastating for people if it did not happen. I know this issue is not exactly sexy and that most people here dont really care, but dont forget them when you say you are ready to go over the hill.


President Barack Obama warned Republicans in Congress not to let unemployment insurance expire for the long-term jobless at the end of the year.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Obama criticized House Speaker John Boehner's so-called Plan B proposal to hike taxes only on incomes above $1 million, a level far above that of the $400,000 stipulated in the president's most recent offer.

"The speaker is now proposing what he calls Plan B, so he says, 'Well, this would raise taxes only on folks making a million dollars or more.' What that means is an average of a $50,000 tax break for every millionaire," Obama said. "At the same time we are not providing unemployment insurance for 2 million people still out there looking for work."
"We applaud President Obama for insisting that a year-end fiscal agreement include a renewal of federal unemployment insurance, and for making clear he will veto House Speaker John Boehner’s so-called 'Plan B' proposal for failing to include a reauthorization of federal jobless aid," NELP director Christine Owens said in a statement. "It would be truly and unbelievably cruel to push millions of unemployed job-seekers off this year-end cliff."

Adam Lanza, Asperger's, and the Media Narrative on Autism and the Mentally Ill


Researchers have found no connection between autism and violence, but that hasn't stopped the mainstream media from harping on Newtown shooter Adam Lanza's apparent bout with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism but is no longer listed in the DSM-5. Of course, it hasn't stopped the emotional responses from those familiar with autism, either.

Can we stop this? Can we stop referring to his as Asperger as a reason or a cause for his act?

I am Facebook friends with Ryan Lanza (Salon)

Chilling view of human nature, and one we have seen on DU these last few days. Trying to find explanations to things we cannot understand is only human, but, in doing so, we often forget to stop and think, and to make sure what we read is true.


There a lot of things we need to have a “national discussion” about in America — gun laws and access to mental health care being the two most important. For decades we’ve hidden our mentally ill in prisons and under bridges instead of dealing with them humanely. We’ve decided that access to guns is more important than our safety, that more guns equals safety, or that it’s a settled political issue. But another problem brought to light by this story is journalism in the age of the rolling news cycle, and how social media shapes not only coverage of breaking news, but us as people.

We have a problem with rushing to judgment.

News organizations racing to be first know that an article with a snappy headline thrown up when people are hungry for information can bring in incredible amounts of traffic – forget glory or prestige, keep the servers running ads. But accuracy and being first seem to conflict. Gawker’s first headline was “Is This Ryan Lanza, the Connecticut School Shooter?” which was later updated with my screen shot changed to “This ‘Ryan Lanza Facebook Profile Is The Connecticut Shooter’ Stuff Is Fucking Up Everything” (which seemed to admit they were fucking everything up). In response to criticism from Adam Serwer and Poynter, Buzzfeed’s editors detailed some of their thinking today.

The outpouring of vitriol directed at me I’m still trying to figure out. I was feeling shitty about the human race due to the shooting, this wasn’t helping, and as someone used to getting their share of criticism and trolls, it was on a level that surprised me. People all over the web were immediately passing around unverified nonsense, creating fake profiles of Lanza, burn-in-hell Facebook pages, raging on people they don’t know – like me – with the most tenuous connection imaginable to Lanza.

Allow me to add this because I have seen people doing just that and it bothers me

Don't Stigmatize Asperger's Syndrome in Wake of Newtown Massacre

What Real Americans (Digby)


One of the more positive consequences of this ridiculous fiscal cliff fight seems to be a growing awareness that the beltway is out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans. For those who've read Chris Hayes' brilliant book Twilight of the Elites, this is well-trod ground and his analysis explains quite well how this came to pass.

The term "The Village" does stem from the notorious Sally Quinn article about the Clintons. But it's more than that. It's shorthand for the permanent DC ruling class who have managed to convince themselves that they are simple, puritanical, bourgeois burghers and farmers, even though they are actually celebrity millionaires influencing the most powerful government on earth.

It's about their phoniness, their pretense of speaking for "average Americans" when it's clear they haven't the vaguest clue even about the average Americans who work in their local Starbucks or drive their cabs. (Think Tim Russert, good old boy from Buffalo, lately of Nantucket.)It's about their intolerable sanctimony and hypocritical provincialism, pretending to be shocked about things they all do, creating social rules for others which they themselves ignore.

The village is really "the village" an ersatz small town like something you'd see in Disneyland. And to those who argue that Versailles is the far better metaphor, I would just say that it is Versailles --- a very particular part:

The Village is a metaphor for the faux "middle class values" that the wealthy, insular, privileged, hypocritical political celebrities (and their hangers-on and wannabes) present to the nation.

I am always shocked by the ability Digby has to read through these bullshits.

Top Senate Democrat Rejects Raising Medicare Eligibility Age

Happy to hear that, particularly coming from Durbin.


As rumors swirl that Democrats may consider raising the Medicare eligibility age to reach a deal before the looming “fiscal cliff,” a top Senate Democrat expressed opposition to that option Sunday. Speaking on Meet the Press, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) said raising the age at which seniors can receive Medicare from 65 to 67 would leave retired seniors with a dangerous gap in their health coverage:

DURBIN: I do believe there should be means testing. and those of us with higher income in retirement should pay more. That could be part of the solution. But when you talk about raising the eligibility age, there’s one key question. what happens to the early retiree? What about that gap in coverage between workplace and Medicare? How will they be covered? I listened to Republicans say we can’t wait to repeal Obamacare, and the insurance exchanges. well, where does a person turn if they are 65 years of age and the medicare eligibility age is 67? They have two years there where they may not have the best of health. They need accessible, affordable medical insurance during that period.

Stephen Colbert Is Vastly Overqualified for Jim DeMint's Vacant Senate Seat


Stephen Colbert has launched a Twitter campaign to get South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to appoint him to replace Sen. Jim DeMint, who announced he was quitting Thursday. And the problem is not that Colbert isn't qualified. It's that he's too qualified.

"Let's see, you need someone young, someone conservative, someone from South Carolina, maybe someone who had a super PAC?" Colbert said on The Colbert Report Thursday night, as his left hand tried to smother his right. Sure. But let's be real. What you need to be a senator these days is the ability to "say words good on the TV." Colbert says words too good. Instead of displaying talking points-style discipline during interviews, he engages in spontaneous riffing. Worse, Colbert has a skill set that is way to broad for the Senate. He appears to speaks Latin nearly fluently. He studied philosophy in college. His favorite book is not nearly down-to-earth or biblical enough — it's Lord of the Rings. He believes that science is real, at least given the number of scientists he books on his show. He told New York magazine in 2007 that he loves Richard Nixon — but not for the appropriate reasons, like that Nixon got really good at winning presidential elections. Instead, Colbert loves Nixon's policy: "He started the EPA. He opened China. He gave 18-year-olds the vote. His issues were education, drugs, women, minorities, youth involvement, ending the draft, and improving the environment. John Kerry couldn’t have run on this! What would I give for a Nixon?"

Think about the man Colbert would be replacing. Jim DeMint might be quitting to run a think tank, but he's no thinker, according to The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin, a conservative blogger. Rubin writes:

Even DeMint would not claim to be a serious scholar. He is a pol. He’s a pol whose entire style of conservatism – all or nothing, no compromise, no accounting for changes in public habits and opinions — is not true to the tradition of Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk and others...
Every individual who works [at Heritage] should take pause and consider whether the reputation of that institution is elevated or diminished by this move. And I would say the same, frankly, if any other non-scholarly pol took that spot.

Digby blog - Faux journalism versus good journalism

At a time where reporting is getting lamer and lamer on all sides, this is welcome.


Faux journalism versus good journalism

by David Atkins

Nate Silver takes aim at Politico:

“Politico is … it’s like ‘Who won the day?’ kind of thing, right?” Silver responded. “They’re trying to cover it like it’s sports, but not in an intelligent way at all, right? And they want to create noise, basically, right? Their whole thing is, you have to have a lead story about some gaffe that some candidate made on the campaign trail.”
Of course, the same could be said of most of the political press.

The alternative, of course, would be to try to get at the truth. That would be journalism. Good journalism would then not only report the truth, but report it in context.

For instance, here's what passes for faux journalism these days:
"Democrats and Republicans divided as fiscal cliff looms."

Here's what actual journalism would look like:
"As fiscal cliff looms, Democrats offer major spending cuts; Republicans refuse tax increases on wealthy."

Here's what good journalism would look like:
"Democrats plan to cut assistance to poor during massive recession as Republicans defend record low tax rates on the wealthy at time of record income income inequality, while Congress nears self-imposed arbitrary deficit deadline."

Good luck getting them to do that, though. Good journalism is hard.

Fiscal kabuki


Fiscal kabuki

by digby
This is the opening bid in a negotiation and we still have no idea what the bottom line will be. The best news is that the White House didn't capitulate prematurely, but then they have the tax cut expiration looming to force the issue, so they have strong leverage. On the other hand, the earlier negotiations still show just how far the administration has been willing to go under the debt ceiling pressure so the Republicans aren't operating completely without leverage (or information about the bottom line) either.

It is not unreasonable for activists to be leery of this deal for myriad reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the fact that negotiating deficit reduction in this economic climate and around the debt ceiling and the Bush tax cuts expiring is bullshit to begin with and never should have happened. And, I'm sorry, but the Grand Bargain is Obama's idea so he's partially responsible for getting us to this place. But considering how far down that rabbit hole we already are, this is a much better starting point than we might have expected. (Of course, one never knows how much the pressure the hysterical activists, unions and others may have had in making the administration take a harder line. The squeaky wheel and all that jazz ...)

In case you were wondering whether this really is negotiation kabuki, here's an interesting article from Ryan Grim about the background of this offer. The offer has been out there for some time but the Republicans didn't take it seriously. When Geithner presented it on the Hill it appears they decided it would be a good strategy to take it public.

Republicans in Congress reacted angrily to an Obama administration proposal delivered Thursday by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that offered to avert the fiscal cliff by raising $1.6 trillion in new taxes, in exchange for some $400 billion in cuts to entitlement programs to be negotiated next year.


What surprised Republicans wasn't the newest offer, but who delivered it. The original offer, delivered by Obama, simply wasn't taken seriously. Republicans assumed that Obama's initial offer floated to congressional leaders would go like many others he's made in the past, and quickly soften amid staff talks. That seemed to be happening, which left them taken by surprise by Geithner.


A source involved in the talks provided HuffPost with a GOP summary of the White House offer as presented Thursday. A Democratic source involved in the talks confirmed that it accurately reflects the offer, adding that it's "no different than what was discussed last Friday."

Sanders - The people have spoken

As I'm sure you are aware, there is currently a major effort being waged by Wall Street CEOs, Republicans and some Democrats to do deficit reduction on the backs of the middle class and working families.

This could mean, among other things, significant cuts to vital programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

President Obama and the Democrats won a decisive victory on Election Day. The people have spoken and the Democratic Leadership must make it very clear that they intend to stand with the middle class and working families of our country, and not the Big Money interests. This means that in the coming weeks and months the Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done in a way that is fair -- and not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

As Congress reconvenes and addresses the so-called "fiscal cliff," I have outlined several ways that we can do deficit reduction without cutting the programs that working families rely on most:

At a time when the wealthiest people in our country are doing phenomenally well, we must eliminate the Bush tax cuts favoring the top 2 percent.
At a time when corporate profits are soaring, we must end the absurd tax policy that allows about one-quarter of large, profitable corporations to pay nothing in federal income taxes.
At a time when the federal treasury is losing over $100 billion annually because the wealthy and large corporations are stashing their money in tax havens in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere, we must pass real tax reform that ends this outrage.
At a time when we spend almost as much as the rest of the world combined on defense, we must cut defense spending. There is also waste in other governmental agencies which must be eliminated.

Now, is the time to hold Democrats accountable and ensure that we do deficit reduction in a way that is fair, while also protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Please stand with me in fighting for a deficit reduction plan which is fair -- Sign the petition calling on Congress to let the Bush tax cuts expire, while protecting vital programs.

Let me be clear. Social Security has not contributed one penny to the deficit because it is funded independently by the payroll tax. In fact, the Social Security Trust Fund today, according to the Social Security Administration, has a $2.7 trillion surplus and can pay 100 percent of all benefits owed to every eligible American for the next 21 years. Social Security, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, must be protected.

Poll after poll shows that the American people want to see deficit reduction done in a way that is fair. They do not want to see cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid while millionaires, billionaires and large corporations continue to receive huge tax breaks.

In my view, if the Republicans continue to play an obstructionist role, the president should get out of the Oval Office and travel the country. If he does that, I believe that he will find that there is no state in the country, including those that are very red, where people believe that we should give huge tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires, while cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Right now, the Bush tax cuts are set to expire at the end of this year. That means the only way that Republicans can extend tax breaks for the wealthy and cut vital programs is if Democrats let them.

Sadly, virtually all Republicans and some Democrats are too willing to do deficit reduction in a way that hurts those who are already hurting.

Don't let them win. The Bush tax cuts must be allowed to expire. Please sign the petition today.

I look forward to working with President Obama and all members of Congress to do deficit reduction in a way that finally asks the wealthiest people in our country to pay their fair share, and that recognizes the needs of working families.

Despite the fact that we just won a major electoral victory over Big Money, Wall Street CEOs, big corporations and the millionaires and billionaires are not giving up. Defeating them will take a major grass-roots effort with millions of people getting involved in this fight.

Please, stand with me today.

Thank you,


Senator Bernie Sanders
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