HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » sabrina 1 » Journal
Page: 1 2 3 Next »

sabrina 1

Profile Information

Member since: Sun Mar 30, 2008, 05:51 AM
Number of posts: 62,325

Journal Archives

The “Drone Caucus” Sped Up Domestic Drone Use

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.

[link:http://www.businessinsider.com/government-domestic-drone-fleet-2012-11#ixzz2Gf5qMkkS|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.

The offer of the Chained CPI is a 'Brilliant Strategy'! Could someone explain this please?

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.

Pelosi caves on Chained CPI: “I consider it a strengthening of Social Security”

From Americablog:


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.

From TPM:


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 [Speaker John] Boehner and the Leader [Pelosi] 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:




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:

Champions 1

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)

Weak-kneed 3

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.

Why is Social Security on the Deficit Discussion 'Table'? SS Had Zero To Do With the Deficit.

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??

Susan Klebold: "I Will Never Know Why"

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.

Off The Table! White House To Boehner: Obamacare Not Part Of Fiscal Cliff Deal.

White House To Boehner: Obamacare Not Part Of Fiscal Cliff Deal

An administration official told The Huffington Post that the president would oppose involving the Affordable Care Act in the negotiations taking place to stave off the so-called "fiscal cliff." A top Senate Democratic aide called the idea "absolutely" a non-starter.

"And they know that, so its counterproductive to even offer it," the aide added.

That was pretty straightforward!

No weasel words at all!

That is what winning gives you the power to do!

The losers don't get to decide what is on the table!

No talk of compromise. Just 'no, don't even mention it'!

This is promising.

Now we are waiting for a similar statement about Social Security and Medicare.

I don't see any reason to delay letting them know not to even mention Social Security in the Deficit discussions since it had nothing to do with the Deficit.

Everyone is waiting for them to dispel the rumors that deals have been made for the Lame Duck Congress.

It's easy to do. Just as it was with the Health Care Bill.

Just make a statement so everyone can relax.


Tell Boehner:

Social Security/Medicare Not Part of Fiscal Cliff Deal! They Are Off The Table!

Anonymous are Criminals, according to the Far Right Wing! Lol!

Googling the reaction on the Far Right to Anonymous' letter is hilarious.

Regardless of what they did or did not do, just the claim from Anonymous that they stopped Karl Rove from stealing Ohio has driven Right Wingers out of their minds.

So where's the crime here or the 'threat to national security'?

1) Right Wingers say they are lying. So if they are lying, it's just a prank. Where is the threat to NS in lying about Karl Rove? Wouldn't that make HIM a threat to NS? Has there ever been a bigger liar than Rove?

2) It's possible they are reacting so viscerally because they secretly suspect it might be true. But wouldn't that make Anon eligible for a Medal of Honor, or in their case a Medal of Freedom?

We have given Medals of Honor to people far less deserving, eg Gen Sanchez! Saving Democracy from election fraud seems like a much more honorable reason to receive a Medal of Honor, or as pointed out in the comments by Stevenleser, a Medal of Freedom assuming Anon are civilians.

It's hilarious watching them try to defend Rove from the accusation of Election Fraud, while at the same time they are furious at him for the total failure of ORCA.

Very clever of Anonymous to force them into such an untenable situation regardless of whether it is true or not.

We know Rove is capable of stealing elections. Which is what makes Anonymous' claims believable. Maybe even to the Far Right which is why they are so angry?

Poor Karl, my heart goes out to him! Lol!

Has he denied it btw? Lol!

Nothing more successful than getting the Far Right all riled up and on the defensive over charges of Election Fraud.

OWS Benefit for the People's Bailout. David Rhees Explains how we can help pay people's debt.

I know Fire or someone else in this forum posted about this incredible project a week or so ago and I thought it was a brilliant idea. Now they are ready to launch it nationwide.

The People's Bailout

Now OWS is launching the ROLLING JUBILEE, a program that has been in development for months. OWS is going to start buying distressed debt (medical bills, student loans, etc.) in order to forgive it. As a test run, we spent $500, which bought $14,000 of distressed debt. We then ERASED THAT DEBT. (If you’re a debt broker, once you own someone’s debt you can do whatever you want with it — traditionally, you hound debtors to their grave trying to collect. We’re playing a different game. A MORE AWESOME GAME.)

This is a simple, powerful way to help folks in need — to free them from heavy debt loads so they can focus on being productive, happy and healthy. As you can see from our test run, the return on investment approaches 30:1. That’s a crazy bargain!

Now, after many consultations with attorneys, the IRS, and our moles in the debt-brokerage world, we are ready to take the Rolling Jubilee program LIVE and NATIONWIDE, buying debt in communities that have been struggling during the recession.

We’re kicking things off with a show called THE PEOPLE’S BAILOUT at Le Poisson Rouge on Thursday, November 15. It will also stream online, like a good ol’-fashioned telethon!

'A Good Old-Fashioned Telethon'! Lol! Is Jerry Lewis available?

Their goal is $50,000 with which they believe they can buy up $1,000,000 worth of debt.

A Bailout For The People By The People

Because the Government only bails out Wall Street!

I love this project as it turns the 'Shock Doctrine' theory on its head. Rather than take advantage of people when they are down, it does the opposite.

Putting the OWS slogan We are unstoppable Another World is Possible into action!

We've lived by the kind of world envisioned by greedy opportunists who take advantage of people's suffering for too long. Most people, as we can see from the volunteers who turn out to help without asking for anything, during every disaster are not like them. Most people care about their fellow human beings. Another world IS possible because most people really are decent and compassionate.

Dems on track to pick up 7 House seats

Democrats went into the election with 193 seats, Republicans had 242

It's been difficult to find total numbers for Congress although it did seem that Dems picked up seats eg, both Mary Bono Mack and her Husband were defeated. In my District, Democrat Julia Brownley has defeated Repub Tony Strickland.

If this is accurate, Dems would now have 200 (maybe 201) seats and Repubs would have 235 (maybe 234).

Dems on track to pick up 7 House seats

Democrats appeared on track to net seven House seats, cutting into Speaker John Boehner’s Republican majority.

As of Wednesday morning, the Associated Press had called 192 seats for Democrats, and had them leading in another eight races that remain uncalled. The AP had called 232 seats for Republicans, and had them leading in two uncalled contests.

Democrats lead in the following races that remain uncalled:

See list at link

Oops, wrong link. This is the link I meant to post:

Dems on track to pick up 7 seats

Some of the races listed in this article have been called. So it looks like Dems did pick up at least 7, maybe 8 seats in Congress.

Which means Dems gained in the House and the Senate and won the WH! Not bad considering how many seats in the Senate were at stake eg and all the money spent on Congress and the WH.

Empire State Building Turns Blue as President Obama wins the 2012 Election!

Go to Page: 1 2 3 Next »