Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The IMF versus the Arab spring | Austin Mackell


IMF's "loans" are actually financial arm-twisting to lock emerging governments into fealty to the whims of first world capitalists at the expense of their own stability and freedom. Brazil got out from under and is now flourishing. Other nations, not so much.

Rick Perry Signs Controversial Bill Requiring Women To Get Sonogram 24 Hours Before An Abortion


So much for "small" government. We won't check up on how businesses are polluting your water and air, but we'll make darn sure women are humiliated and brow-beaten before they exercise their right to decide what to do with their own bodies! Youbetcha!

Don't believe the hype about U.S. debt -


Most successful corporations run at debt ratios much higher than the U.S. They do it to invest in the future. The U.S. should be borrowing to build infrastructure, both physical and educational, for a better future. This will not only create jobs now, but generate growth and entrepreneurship in the future. This is how we dug out of the Great Depression, and it is the way we should be digging out of the Great Recession.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Democrats “fight back” against Koch/Walker’s voter ID bill! (And the Republicans are laughing fit to bust)

Help stop voter suppression in WI recall elections and the 2012 nationals. Why does the Radical Right fear votes from the elderly, unemployed and students? Because they know these groups are more likely to vote Democratic in upcoming elections here, and in other Tea Party influenced states, out of protest over their draconian policies of giving everything to the richest 2% and providing nothing for the rest of us.

At The Deficit Table: Wingnuts, Wall Street & Wealthy But Not Women & Working People

In DC the elite are gathered around tables discussing budget cuts but not jobs to cure a deficit largely caused by a lack of jobs and by tax cuts. The last time these DC geniuses gathered around tables they extended tax cuts for the wealthy, dramatically worsening the deficits that are causing their fainting spells today. Not at the table: women, working people, the poor or any semblance of democracy.

Just ten years ago the country had huge budget surpluses. Then they cut taxes for the rich and dramatically increased military spending. They privatized (i.e. handed to cronies) as much of the government as they could get away with. They deregulated almost everything stopped enforcing the laws and regulations that remained. They closed 50,000 factories, sending millions of jobs out of the country. This all came to a head, as it had to, and millions more jobs were lost, which exploded the already-huge deficits as unemployment, food stamps, etc. increased while tax revenues declined.

Now there is a deficit of jobs, causing the deficit of budget. At the same time there are millions of jobs that obviously need to be done, maintaining and modernizing our infrastructure, educating our people, moving us away from oil and coal and otherwise improving our health and our lives and out spirits. But these are not the issues being discussed at the table.

Wealthy And Wall Street At The Table

These negotiations going on behind the scenes do not represent the public.

Remember the deficit commission that was headed by a right-wingnut and a board member of a huge Wall Street firm? The two of them came up with a "serious": plan that cut taxes for the rich and cut the things government does for the rest of us.

Now there is the Biden Group described (see below) as an "Old Boys Club."

At the table: a bunch of well-paid elites, many possibly even hoping to cash in later with big-money jobs on Wall Street or K Street (lobbying).

Not At The Table

Women are not at the table -- especially not single mothers or older women. Working people are not at the table. The poor are not at the table. The retired are not at the table. The unemployed are not at the table. The open, transparent and accountable processes required by democracy are not at the table.

Restoring taxes on the wealthy and cutting the military fixes these problems, but these are not at the table.

Putting people to work maintaining and modernizing our infrastructure would fix these problems. But this is not at the table.

There is a People's Budget from the Progressive Caucus that fixes all of these problems, but it is not at the table.

And jobs, infrastructure, the People's Budget, cuts in the huge military budget, tax increases on the rich are what the public overwhelmingly wants done. But the public is not at the table.

No one at the table is speaking for the American People, for the American Majority that wants taxes restored on the wealthy.

Women And Working People Not At The Table

Where are the women? Where are the working people? Where are the unemployed? Why are they not at the table?

The Older Women’s Economic Security (OWES) Task Force has sent a letter to the President, asking that members of the administration with expertise on women’s issues be added to the White House’s advisory team discussing strategies to reduce deficit spending. From the letter,

“It is simply not enough to send a few privileged men to the table to ‘solve’ the nation’s budget problem,” states the letter from the OWES Task Force. “We welcome the opportunity to bring our voices and expertise to a discussion with you and your advisors, and we request that members of your administration with expertise on women’s issues, such as Secretary Hilda Solis and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, be added to the White House’s advisory team working on these negotiations.”

... The old boys club meeting has consisted of Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), U.S. Senators John Kyl (R-AZ), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Max Baucus (D-MT), Reps. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who have convened for the budget negotiations with Vice President Biden, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Budget Director Jack Lew, and economic adviser Gene Sperling.

Media Gives A Pass

The elite media say that the only "serious" approach to deficits is to cut back on the things We, the People (government) do for each other -- budget cuts. Tax increases on the wealthy, taking rates back to a where they were when we didn't have these problems -- that's not "serious." Investing in modernizing infrastructure, educating our people and efficient energy so our economy is more competitive is not "serious." Taking on mercantilist trading partners who are grabbing jobs and markets is not "serious." The People's Budget especially is not "serious."

The People And Democracy Demand To Be At The Table

A new round of polls is out, and the public is demanding a change in the DC elite approach. Even more than the last round of polls, these polls show that the public demands to be at the table.

Associated Press-GfK poll,

They're not buying it. Most Americans say they don't believe Medicare has to be cut to balance the federal budget, and ditto for Social Security, a new poll shows.

Public Policy Polling conducted a poll sponsored by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy For America, and CREDO Action, which showed the following answer to the idea of cutting Social Security:

In order to reduce the national debt, would you support or oppose cutting spending on Social Security, which is the retirement program for the elderly?

Ohio: 16% support, 80% oppose
Missouri: 17% support, 76% oppose
Montana: 20% support, 76% oppose
Minnesota: 23% support, 72% oppose

A Daily Kos/SEIU State of the Nation Poll asked respondents to name their top issue, from a list of nine. Of course JOBS was #1:

Q: I’m going to name nine issues. Which of these is most important to you right now: education, Social Security, Medicare, jobs, national security, gas prices, taxes, immigration, or the federal budget deficit?
Jobs: 26
Federal budget deficit: 18
Education: 15
Social Security: 13
Gas prices: 10
Medicare: 5
National security: 5
Immigration: 3
Taxes: 3
Something else: 2

Take action: Tell President Obama to put the People's Budget on the table.

Who's Afraid of Elizabeth Warren?


"The takeaway from this afternoon's hearing of the House Oversight Subcommittee on TARP, Financial Services and Bailouts? Republicans don't like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and they really don't like it's leader, Elizabeth Warren."

And that's why we (the other 98%) love her!

Kirsten Gillibrand To Push For An 'Aggressive Drawdown Of Combat Troops' From Afghanistan


This is my former Congressional Rep/now Senator doing her job and showing other Dems what backbone looks like in action. Give 'em hell, Kirsten!

Obama, Netanyahu and the 1967 border | Petra Marquardt-Bigman


FTA: "It is very likely that Obama's vision for achieving a Palestinian state without settling the intractable questions of Jerusalem and the "right of return" claimed by millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants resembles Yaari's proposals, though the most obvious difference would be that Yaari envisaged the boundaries as provisional, while Obama apparently wants to achieve negotiated borders that, with the exception of Jerusalem, would have the status of permanent borders. Therefore, Israel would be required to offer the Palestinians land swaps for the settlement blocks it wants to annex."

It could predictably take the shake-up that this approach brings to the conflict to form a basis for real change and settlement of this long-running conflict. The main hurdle, IMO, will be convincing leaders to try it despite the noise generated by the hardliners and wingnuts.

Tweet from: @ronaldjacksonX

From: @ronaldjacksonX
Sent: May 24, 2011 10:49a

#Japan - MELTDOWN: Japan Confirms Complete Meltdowns at Reactors—Now That the World's Attention is Focused Elsewhere

sent via TweetDeck

On Twitter:
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Timebomb?

Tomorrow is the first big special election of the post-2010 political environment. And Medicare is the specter haunting Republicans in New York's 26th congressional district.

As you know it's a three way race between a Republican, a Dem and a Tea Party candidate in what is normally a pretty Republican district -- NY-26. The latest polls show a close race but with Democrat Kathy Hochul opening up a lead. Siena came out with a poll over the weekend that showed a four point spread. And a poll out today from PPP shows a 6 point spread. Just as important both polls show the Tea Party candidate's support dropping fast while Hochul takes the lead -- suggesting this is not simply a matter of a split Republican field giving the Dem an opportunity.

And here's the key point: the race has revolved overwhelmingly around Medicare.

Republican Corwin first embraced the Ryan phase-out plan but it's clear been an albatross around her neck. She's even resorted to attacking Hochul over not promising clearly enough that she won't cut Medicare. And over the weekend she's even suggesting she might not support the Ryan phase-out plan after all. There's been a lot of spin and politicking on both sides. But this is the first real political test. It's far from clear who will win tomorrow night. It's a Republican district and three way races are notoriously hard to poll three way races. But it seems clear that the Republican will at least have a run for her life on her hands and there's probably better than 50-50 odds she'll lose. And it seems clear that it will be because Medicare Phase Out was lethal or nearly so, even in a strong Republican district.

And remember: the vote on the Ryan plan already happened. And all but six House Republicans voted for it.

Remember when the main-stream meme about the elections of 2010 was that all incumbents were in deep do-do? On some level, that may have been correct, but not so much in the nationals, not nearly as much as expected (the Senate held, the House flipped: not unusual in a mid-term election of a new President. You don't hear that meme being pushed in the MSM nearly so much now, but I'm betting there are a whole lot of people out there with "buyers' remorse" over their newly elected officials, especially in states like Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Michigan. Here in New York, not as much happened and a (admittedly Centrist) Democratic governor was elected. Still, there are plenty of pissed off people who are not liking their cuts to local programs in exchange for cuts to taxes for the rich. People eventually figure these things out, and this special election is another harbinger of things to come for the Paul Ryan Republicans, just as the recent one in New Hampshire was and the upcoming recall votes in Wisconsin will be. That old pendulum can't seem to avoid swinging back with a vengeance when the people are disappointed or, worse, upset with being taken to the cleaners for their trust. Even the under-educated know when they've been had and it's been rubbed in their faces. The House could easily flip again, and who knows what will happen in the Senate where there are many more Democratic seats at risk than Republican this time out. The Dems could still hold on, and if the Reps keep pissing off the parts of the electorate that got them where they are today (hello, elderly!), 2012 could be another nightmare for the Right.

The Church of Fiscal Conservativsm

The Church of Fiscal Conservativsm

March 24th, 2010 Barry Deutsch Posted in Barry's favorites, Economic cartoons | Comments Off

The Church of Fiscal Conservatism

This cartoon was co-written by Rachel Swirsky.

Description of cartoon:

Panel 1: An angry-looking cartoon donut yells at the reader. The hole in the donut forms the donut’s huge, yelling mouth; the donut also has cartoony-looking, angry eyes, and a big nose. The donut is holding two stone tablets Moses-style.
DONUT: HARK, o my children! It is I, your LORD AND GOD the DEFICIT! Incarnated in pastry raiment to decree MY HOLY COMMANDMENTS!
FOOTNOTE: Why a donut? Because it has a hole.

Panel 2: Donut, now without tablets, continues yelling.
DONUT: Thou shalt not have single payer health care. for though it would save money, I, the LORD YOUR DEFICIT, in my all-knowing wisdom, pronounce that we CAN’T AFFORD IT!

Panel 3: Donut gestures hugely, arms above head.
DONUT: Hear me, the LORD YOUR DEFICIT! We cannot afford it! Neither to restore HEALTH unto the sick, nor to give PROSPERITY to the foresaken. YEA, even though social spending would curtail recession and replenish coffers, still we CANNOT afford it!

Panel 4: Donut is now wearing a US Army officer’s hat, and holding a automatic rifle in one hand and a knife in the other.
DONUT: Yet I, THE DEFICIT, pronounce unto you that endless wars NEED NOT be paid for! Never let cost deter you from raining onto the ground the BLOOD of those who are REPELLENT unto you!

Panel 5: Extreme close-up of Donut’s face. The military cap is gone. Donut yells.
DONUT:Thou shalt EVERLASTINGLY support tax cuts, no matter the cost!
And thou shalt NEVER raise taxes, no matter the need for revenue!

Panel 6: The donut is shown very distant from the reader, at the top of a steep mountain. There are clouds behind the donut and a lightning bolt is coming from one of the clouds.
DONUT: OBEY these commandments, my children! free your hearts of skepticism, and compassion, and basic knowledge of economics. then thou shalt be pleasing unto me, YOUR LORD THE DEFICIT! AMEN!

There is a caption at the bottom of the entire cartoon, which says, “The Church of Fiscal Conservatism.”


This pretty much says it all. The Right set up the deficit so they could use it to justify their agenda, even though it makes no sense whatsoever to cut taxes and services when they are needed the most. The media is complicit in this charade, and the public is as gullible as they want it to be.


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