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Week In The News: Unions In Michigan, North Korea, Fiscal Cliff

A North Korean missile goes long range. Union defeat in Michigan. Will it be a fiscal cliff Christmas? Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

President Barack Obama walks out of Blair House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, before crossing Pennsylvania Avenue and returning to the White House after attending a holiday party for the National Security Council. (AP)

President Barack Obama walks out of Blair House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, before crossing Pennsylvania Avenue and returning to the White House after attending a holiday party for the National Security Council. (AP)President Barack Obama walks out of Blair House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, before crossing Pennsylvania Avenue and returning to the White House after attending a holiday party for the National Security Council. (AP)

Who’s serious about the fiscal cliff?  Who’s not?  There’s the debate in Washington this week as negotiations to avert big tax hikes and spending cuts appear to go… nowhere.  Stay tuned.  At the State Department, it will not be Secretary Susan Rice when Hillary Clinton steps down.  The president’s great ally has withdrawn.

Over the Pacific, North Korea successfully tests a long range rocket.  Michigan, cradle of American unions, goes ‘right to work.’  And the stars come out for Hurricane Sandy relief.

This hour, On Point:  Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jake Tapper, senior White House correspondent for ABC News. Author of “The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor.”

Susan Davis, chief congressional correspondent for USA Today.

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “The bleak appraisals — particularly from Russia, a steadfast strategic Syrian ally — amounted to a new level of pressure on the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, who has been resorting to increasingly desperate military measures, including the use of Scud ballistic missiles, to contain an armed insurgency that has encroached on the capital, Damascus.”

Politico “Biden’s new role is a product of President Barack Obama’s decision to streamline fiscal cliff negotiations between himself and House Speaker John Boehner, the two sides’ clear sticking points and Obama’s increased post-election political clout.”

The GuardianCIA agents tortured a German citizen, sodomising, shackling, and beating him, as Macedonian state police looked on, the European court of human rights said in a historic judgment released on Thursday.”

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  • Mike_Card

    Boner continues to be completely bone-headed and incognizant of the election results.

    • StilllHere

      You mean the one where he got re-elected. He’s doing a great job keeping Obama honest. Goodness knows somebody’s got to do it.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        “Osama”?

        Hey dipshit, this isn’t FoxNation or Redstate. Try to be on your best behavior (whatever that is).

        • StilllHere

          f… u Boner

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            So, this is your best behavior. Nice to see the ceiling.

          • StilllHere

            you’re the floor Boner

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            I read the start of the thread.

            I’ll just lump you in with every unreconstructed birther who can’t stop saying shite about the President’s middle name sounding “foreign”.

          • StilllHere

            Whatever makes your miserable life worth living.

      • nj_v2

        ^ Troll

    • Don_B1

      Speaker Boehner is between “the rock and the hard place” with no good options because he has NO PLAN for cutting spending, just a plan to try to get President Obama to cut spending, so the Republicans can blame the Democrats for cutting Medicare and, in their dreams, Social Security, in the next election.

      Since the 2010 election, the Republicans have been demanding jobs but doing NOTHING to create jobs, and then blaming Obama, who submitted proposal after proposal to create jobs with Republicans basically rejecting all but the ones that came with the preservation of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Then the Republicans run on a jobless recovery in 2012!

      The “spending cuts’ Boehner refuses to specify would cause job losses so the Republicans could run on job creation again in 2014, as long as they don’t get identified with any specific losses.

      The Republicans’ two “big ideas,” perpetual tax cuts and no cutting use of fossil fuels, have either run out of oxygen (tax cuts) or are about to (CO2 emissions) as the devastation of climate change becomes more obvious to all but the biggest (worst) ideologues. The Republicans just do not know how to deal with that and are fighting among themselves for advantage, while some persist in their dead dreams.

      But they can cause tremendous damage as they thrash about. They can permanently damage the standing of the United States in the world, both economically and politically, and really throw mud on their prize description of it as the exceptional nation. It sure will not be exceptional in showing that its feet are made of clay.

  • Ed75

    Yup, things get grimmer and grimmer for the administration that supports bad things. This week it was North Korea’s missile and riots in Michigan and then Syria and Egypt and no closer on the fiscal cliff. What will happen will make the problems of the Bush Administration seem minor.

    Time Magazine is running a cover article by Bart Ehrman questioning the historicity of the Gospels – he was a Biblical fundamentalist who realized that the Bible is at times seemingly contradictory in a word for word reading. But instead of ending with the Catholic view that the Bible is complex with a variety of levels of meaning, and that the Church is and is needed as the authoritative interpreter of Scripture, he became an atheist and has spend years writing silly books pointing out seeming contradictions that are characterized by the fact that he can’t understand them.

    And he is the head of religious studies at North Carolina University! And gets a cover article in Time!

    • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

      “pointing out seeming contradictions that are characterized by the fact that he can’t understand them.” Sounds like your twin Ed. 
      I don’t know why I jump at the rabbits you throw out, I would like to hope you have some compassion under all of your judgement.  You have to look higher than the Pope’s hat to find God.  Read scripture for yourself, the holy spirit will interpret it for you.  John Calvin and Martin Luther already fought that fight.

    • Acnestes

      The difference between the Bible and fiction?  Fiction has to make sense.

  • Gregg Smith

    “This is not going to help Republicans at all, the fact that a woman and a woman of color has been forced out of a confirmation process even before she was nominated. “
    That was Andrea Mitchell’s take on Susan Rice withdrawing her name from consideration for Secretary of State. I hope we can all agree it’s sick. 

    • sickofthechit

      Gregg, what was sick was that they tried and convicted her based on after the fact info and complete tunnel vision.  At least Grassly was willing to say that he thought she deserved an impartial hearing if nominated.

      She understood the difference between classified and non-classified intelligence and reported accordingly.  Add to that the fact that when dealing with terrorists the longer they don’t know you are looking for them, the better the chance is of tracking them.  The American public do not need to know every bit of info as soon as it is developed by the intelligence community or perhaps one of us might have noticed The Memo Bush ignored! charles a. bowsher

      • Gregg Smith

        She was sent out to lie. Are you saying the fact that it was a coordinated terrorist attack was classified info? What was thee evidence to claim with certainty it was the video? 

        She is brash and flips people off, she has conflicts of interest (investing g in the pipeline) and she has expressed support for African despots. She is not fit.

        But I think the racism thing is off the charts hideous. Allow me to turn it around. We had 8 years with blacks as Secretary of State and Obama went with the white woman. Now Kerry is the odds on favorite. A white guy. Using Mitchell’s criteria, Obama is a racist.

        • sickofthechit

           On the date she went out on the five networks it was “classified”. Just because someone was able to get the Libyan spokesman to say it was a terrorist attack does not mean it had definitively been established nor that that was the appropriate time to release that info. He did not understand the delicacy or nuance needed at that point in time when it might have still been possible to be tracking down leads before they dried up.  She did not claim it was the video, that is the three little pigs (McCain, Lindsay Graham, and the female Republican Senator with the quavering voice) take on what she said.  Go back and listen to what she said.

          Your complaining because someone is “brash and flips people off”?!  (Cheney told a member of Congress to “Go $#@% Yourself) on the Senate floor!. 

          I don’t know anything about the pipeline.

          The support of the “African Despots” was I believe in the past.

          As far as the “racism” charge goes, I find it kind of hard to figure out why the three little pigs went so ape$#%@ on her statement since all she did was read or repeat what was essentially an agreed upon statement.

          • Gregg Smith

            “But what sparked the recent violence was the airing on the Internet of a very hateful very offensive video that has offended many people around the world.” 
            -Susan Rice to Chris Wallace

            There were virtually no views “on the internet” before the terrorist attack. Check Youtube.

            Brash:
            http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/12/12/susan-rice-s-personality-disorder.html

            Investments:
            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/02/susan-rice-keystone-xl-white-house_n_2228490.html

            Despots:
            http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/opinion/susan-rice-and-africas-despots.html?_r=1&

          • hennorama

            Gregg, seriously – again? with the “she was sent out to lie” and  “no one saw the video” nonsense?  Seriously, how many times does this need to be refuted before you stop repeating this nonsense?  This was my most recent attempt, from 10 days ago:

            “Perhaps you simply  are unaware that this video was aired on Egyptian TV and widely shared via smartphone and social media throughout northern Africa and beyond.  It was condemned by the Grand Mufti of Egypt 2 days before.  All prior to  Cairo and Benghazi and all the other protests at US embassies and other facilities that came soon after.

            I’ve pointed this out on numerous occasions in this forum.  Here’s what the BBC said on Sept. 12, 2012:

            “The religious Egyptian TV channel al-Nas showed clips from the video, dubbed into Arabic, and scenes posted online have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.”
            So much for your YouTube video counters as “evidence” of “a lie.”

            Sources:
            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19572912

            http://www.onislam.net/english/news/middle-east/458983-prophet-film-spurs-egyptian-anger-at-us.html

          • Gregg Smith

            Don’t be blinded by ideology. You have refuted nothing. First, if you have evidence the video was “widely shared via smartphone and social media throughout northern Africa and beyond” it wasn’t in the links. Also realize it’s the BBC, watch close.

            Your BBC quote is from an article dated Sept. 12 last updated at 11:15PM. That was the last paragraph. I don’t know if that was the update but it stands to reason that would be an update. I already said it had been viewed bookoos of times on 9/12.  You don’t know the numbers of views from before that day.

            I’ll help you, here is the site to Al-Nas online:

            http://wwitv.com/tv_channels/b4965.htm

            Guess what, it’s Youtube. Find it if you want I am more than willing to concede the point. It’s a small one.

            In Egypt no Ambassador was killed. If the Grand muffin wants trouble the muffins will rise. The Muslim Brotherhood is now running the show. It can happen at will and there is a will. They can do it all day long with the American database. Terry Jones, who the heck was he until the despots used him as a pretext. The isn’t about some stupid video it’s a theocracy using their subjects as pawns. That the embassy apologized showed weakness which only made matters worse. But that was Egypt. There’s a bigger picture here. Look at it. And NO, there is not a link to prove it.

            Rice was sent out to lie and you have consistently refused even address the key question which I have asked over and over. You can cite sources saying it may have been the video but you can cite more saying it was a coordinated terrorist attack. You can tell me all day long that she was giving the best info at the the but you won’t answer the real question: 

            Why did Rice say with certainty it was the video and who told her to say it? The key words are “with certainty”.

          • hennorama

            I’m taking a break from all political discussions for the weekend, out of respect for the victims of the tragedy in Newtown, and their families.

          • Gregg Smith

            They voted to confirm Powell and Rice! Please give me one bit of evidence besides the color of the participants skin to base your claim on.

          • sickofthechit

             The fact there is no there, there,in the three pigs griping.

        • Mike_Card

          “She is brash and flips people off…” yet you’d prefer John Bolton??

          • Gregg Smith

            He was a much better UN ambassador and seemed to get on quite well at the UN. Who did he flip off?

          • sickofthechit

             He made no secret of the fact that he thought the UN should be disbanded or at the very least that the US should withdraw from it while he was our “ambassador”.

          • Mike_Card

            I have no idea who flipped off whom, but that really isn’t the issue, is it?  Bolton hated the UN and was unequivocal about his hatred.

            His stated positions don’t square with any positive qualifications for his suitability as a diplomat.

            I don’t think I suggested that either flipped off anyone.

          • Gregg Smith

            No you didn’t but you compared him to Rice who did. Bolton did a good job at the UN. The UN didn’t hate him.

        • StilllHere

          It must be only his white half that’s racist.

          • Acnestes

            Maybe he could nominate Bolton’s mustache.

          • Don_B1

            For removal, like David Axelrod’s? John Bolton might not approve the goal.

        • hennorama

          Gregg – Please point out where Ms. Mitchell used the word “racist” or anything similar.

          Do you not even consider the possibility that Ms. Mitchell could mean “This is not going to help Republicans at all [since few voters of color, and less than half of women chose the Republican Presidential candidate in the most recent election]?

          • Gregg Smith

            So all those voters judged by the color of skin? That’s sick.

        • Mike_Card

          She was the only surrogate ever sent out to lie by her masters?  C’mon, Gregg!  That happens every day, and you know it–as do we all.

          • Gregg Smith

            Sure, maybe so but not to this degree. I am happy to accept your premise but to say she wasn’t sent out to lie and still give credence to the notion it was the video at this point is just plain dumb. But some still do.

    • Acnestes

      I assume that by, “sick”, you mean, “really cool”.

  • sickofthechit

    I am not so sure it was a Union defeat in Michigan as much as it may turn into a wakeup call to their eventual refueled/turbocharged rebirth.  Be careful when poking a hornets nest with a too short stick…..charles a. bowsher

  • sickofthechit

    Dear President Obama,

    Please tell Mr. Boehner that unlike him or his fellow Repugnicans (Republicans in name only) we are not wondering when President Obama is going “to get serious” on budget, taxes, fiscal cliff and debt negotiations.  We are instead wondering when Boehner and the Repugnicans will finally read the writing clearly written on the wall by the last election where they (Repugnicans) lost the Presidency and seats in both Houses of Congress and they (Repugnicans)  “enjoy” an inflated 13% approval rating.

    Here’s what Congress’ approval rating means to me, it means for every 6 or 7 ideas they have only one is really worth considering!  It’s high time for direct participatory democracy to be rolled out in this country.  We have the technology and the need.  Do we have the will?

    Charles A. Bowsher

    • Don_B1

      Apparently (based only on the hope that Boehner really wants to do the “deal”) Boehner feels the need to prove that he fought for (to keep alive) every last scrap of the failed Republican policies by not yielding on ending the Bush tax cuts and agreeing to raise marginal tax rates on the top 2% of income earners.

      Otherwise, he knows it will be difficult to keep his Speakership. But by losing it he could do the Republican Party a big favor as it would let the voters see how destructive their bedrock policies are and bring it closer to finding better ones.

  • Fredlinskip

    It’s time for GOP to grow up. 
      Anyone who enters congressional service making any pledge to anything but to constitution and American people is clearly not a leader. 
      Dems and President have already provided 1.6 trillion in cuts- It’s time for revenue increases if anyone is interested in paying down debt, decreasing deficit.
       The “temporary” Bush cuts for upper incomes that have already cost the country trillions, should be no “bargaining chip”. They end BEFORE any “compromise” should begin. 
       30+ years of “feeding the rich” and deregulation have not served the vast majority of Americans well.
       If there was anything to supply- side trickle down economics we would be in economic heaven right now. We tried that- didn’t work. GOP wants to keep running the country into the same brick wall.
        Time to chart a different course

    • sickofthechit

       Send that to the Whitehouse.  The more they hear it, the more chance there is of them standing pat.

    • Gregg Smith

      Obama wants $1.6 trillion is tax hikes not spending cuts. Please cite the proposed spending cuts.

      • Acnestes

        Isn’t that the Republicans job?

      • nj_v2

        Lying partisan hack Greggg keeps repeating this nonsense that Obama never agreed to spending cuts.

        Clip, save, and repost whenever Greggg or one of the consservobot clown posse regurgitates this nonsense…

        http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-cohn/110606/obama-deficit-reduction-offer-spending-cut-tax-increase-boehner#
        Republicans Conveniently Forget All the Cuts Obama’s Already Made

        [[ …But let’s focus on this claim, from Republicans, that Obama only wants to raise taxes and isn’t serious about spending cuts. Here’s an analysis from one senior Republican aide, as relayed to ABC News’ Jonathan Karl: The White House keeps saying it wants a ‘balanced approach’ but this offer is completely unbalanced and unrealistic. It calls for $1.6 trillion in tax hikes – all of that upfront – in exchange for only $400 billion in spending cuts that come later. Plus, the only entitlement changes they proposed come from the exact proposals in the President’s budget.

        The trouble with this analysis is that it ignores history: As part of the 2011 Budget Control Act, Obama agreed to spending reductions of about $1.5 trillion over the next ten years. If you count the interest, the savings is actually $1.7 trillion. Boehner should have no problem remembering the details of that deal: As Greg Sargent points out, Boehner at the time actually gloated about the fact that the deal was "all spending cuts." ]]

        [excerpt]

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/forever-moving-the-goal-posts-on-spending-cuts/2012/11/29/e9485c74-3a4d-11e2-8a97-363b0f9a0ab3_blog.html
        Forever moving the goal posts on spending cuts

        [[ Boehner described the nearly $40 billion in spending cuts in the government shutdown deal as “largest real dollar spending cut in American history.” He was a bit less effusive about the $1 trillion in cuts Dems agreed to as part of the debt ceiling deal, but he did say the spending cuts won from Democrats “shows how much we’ve changed the terms of the debate in this town.” He added that there was nothing in the deal that ”violates our principles,” meaning Democrats were the ones who made all the concessions. He gloated: “It’s all spending cuts.”

        And Boehner was absolutely right. He got very good deals out of Democrats. In both cases, Democrats did make far greater concessions than Republicans did. It seems like this basic history deserves a place in today’s discussion.

        UPDATE: It gets even better. Just after the 2011 debt ceiling deal was reached, Boehner said:
        “When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I’m pretty happy.” ]]

        http://www.pgpf.org/Issues/Fiscal-Outlook/2011/08/08032011_BCA.aspx
        Peter G. Peterson Foundation Analysis of the Budget Control Act of 2011

        • Gregg Smith

          You lost me at the first sentence. I never said that. Liar.

          • StilllHere

            He’s a troll.  Ignore is the best option.

          • Gregg Smith

            Just setting the record straight but in general you are correct.

          • nj_v2

            ^ Hack

          • Gregg Smith

            When have I ever accused you of saying something you never said?

          • nj_v2

            ^ Troll

      • DrewInGeorgia

        A return to Taxation levels in effect before the temporary cuts is not a tax hike. Unless of course the cuts were never intended to be temporary in the first place…

        • Gregg Smith

          Ask Obama, he extended them.

          • Denis

            still temporary and planned as temp by the republicans

    • William

      After 12 years of a massive expansion of government and government spending we have little to show other than massive debts.

  • sickofthechit

    “CIA agents tortured a German citizen, sodomising, shackling, and beating him, as Macedonian state police looked on,”

    And we wonder that some people around the world hate us?
    Don’t try to justify it by saying that “we got actionable intelligence” or that “we saved lives”.  The cost is to high (period, end of sentence). Charles A. Bowsher

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    Of Course…
    John Kerry.  Who else would the “man
    behind the curtain” choose to do his bidding than a one percenter who has as
    much chance of creating peace in the Middle East
    as a scud missile.  A fraud from the
    start, guilty of the sin of omission by gaining office on the Green Ticket only
    to realize a latent Jewish epiphany, ala a previous Secretary Madelaine A.

     

    One has to
    only dissect the vacuous bloviations of this uber wealthy politico to
    understand that Kerry truly epitomizes the charade of the two party system.  So now the world gets to endure another repellent
    political dinasaur blah blah blah his way ineffectively around the world for
    four more years.

    • Gregg Smith

      Kerry would be awful, I agree. If it were me I’d pick John Bolton but Obama should pick Colin Powell.

      • Coastghost

        Powell did audition for the job by endorsing Obama for re-election, after all. Plus, Kerry could face the rancor of a “Rolling Thunder” descent upon DC during confirmation, Vietnam vets disgusted or disaffected with Kerry’s principled anti-war tantrums back in the day. (We can only hope that the wealthiest Senator has the intestinal fortitude to tough it out. Is he still paying taxes to Rhode Island to berth his yacht there instead of in higher-tax Massachusetts?)

    • StilllHere

      Could he do as poorly as the 1%er he’s replacing? 

  • 228929292AABBB

     I hope the panel will tackle the larger meaning of the Rice ‘withdrawal’ in the context of the Administration’s decision to forgo charges against anyone in HSBC; that the President is picking up where he left the first term off, with an absence of backbone.  Despite the impossible position of attacking a black woman after an election defeat as the anachronistic party of old white men, the Republicans win easily.

    On Point asks this week how we will solve the ‘Big Challenges’.  Isn’t it obvious?  With a timid President, who cannot and will not show courage even within the glow of a second mandate from the people, we WON’T solve them.

    • StilllHere

      Why are you surprised by the lack of backbone? 

      Why cower in an allegation of racism with no basis?

      The only mandate was for the status quo, but that doesn’t mean liars get promoted.

    • anamaria23

      In the realm of decency, the Repubs have won nothing.
      Susan Rice may not be a wise choice, but she was not even  nominated before the Repubs set out to destroy her, a modus operandi that is   all they have left in their
      empty handbag of grace and maturity. 

      • StilllHere

        America has won.

        • nj_v2

          ^ Troll

      • Coastghost

        But the Republicans did not destroy her: she’s still our ineffectual UN ambassador.

        • Gregg Smith

          National Security Advisor requires no confirmation, any bets?

  • Gregg Smith
  • Coastghost

    Awww, you had placeholders for only three topics in your show headline! But we KNOW that the fourth topic you DESPERATELY want to treat in today’s show is Amb. Susan Rice’s self-withdrawal from consideration for Sect. of State. (Doesn’t Ms. Rice read Politico, though? Did she not read the story about “Obama’s increased post-election political clout”? Surely she could have weathered a piddling Senate confirmation hearing. Surely, with her stellar record and Obama’s confidence that she’s done a superb job at the UN, she would have faced no real, no actual difficulties winning confirmation.) –I mean, unless there’s much about this Benghazi episode that STILL hasn’t come to light . . . . 

    • Gregg Smith

      They would have pushed her through because no one seems to care but certainly Benghazi would have been front and center in her confirmation. Obama doesn’t want that, he needs an apathetic America to forget. That’s what OP wants as well.

      • 1Brett1

        Let’s see…let me see if I can try also to focus…what do other people think, what are their wants and desires…-oh, Obama wants a cigarette right now…and OP….let’s see…not getting anything…too many thoughts coming in…Let me focus on Tom Ashbrook…there! Tom wants another cup of coffee and a second doughnut!

        • StilllHere

          Reasonable conjecture, well done.

        • Gregg Smith

          In my informed opinion. Better?

  • anamaria23

    Despite being a man that you enshrine in that worn out phrase of having no “backbone”, this President has accomplished more for the common good in his first term
    than many, despite the near unprecedented obstructionism. 

     No, he has not resolved  all the issues that have been neglected for generations in a mere one term as we have  plundered  our national treasure of  young lives  and monies into wars for generations. 
    The Republicans have set a low bar for statesmanship and have cheapened the discourse  so necessary to govern.
    Grace and maturity have become dirty words in DC.

    In reply to 228929..

    • 228929292AABBB

      A sort of typical ‘blind Obama support’ post because it states that he’s done scads of stuff but doesn’t list it.  He’s doing great because, uh, it’s obvious why!  Well, let’s see.  He’s going to close Guantanamo.  That’s a Bush era abuse.  Oh he didn’t.  He’s going to stop the Bush aggression.  Oh he kills more people with drones than Bush ever did.  He’s going to stop the wars.  When Iraq finally kicked him out he moved the troops to Afghanistan and escalated that war.  I voted for the President, I supported him, he ran a third Bush term which is the only thing all of us, no matter what party we’re in, agreed we didn’t want.  He passed some ambiguous health care bill that’s supposed to start having an effect a couple years after his first term ends.  Well, that’s not a lot.  He runs the justice department without Republican obstruction but chooses not to prosecute the 2008 fiscal crisis abuses or crimes.  He runs the EPA without Republican obstruction but rolls back EXISTING legislation on mercury and cyanide emissions by his own executive order.  Look I get that you respect what the President stands for, I do too.  The problem is he doesn’t stand for what he stands for.  Look at his actions instead of listening to his speeches and you’ll see it as plain as day.  He said about Rice ‘they want to attack the UN ambassador?  they’re gonna have a problem with me’ (the President drops his g’s when he’s talking down to us so we’ll get it) well, where’s the fight?  And don’t say susan rice dropped out and it wasn’t President Obama’s decision.  I mean please.  These are Lincoln moments, with questions like ‘if this isn’t wrong you tell me what is wrong’ but instead of Lincoln we have the invisible man.  It’s a tragedy, he seemed so promising.

      • Coastghost

        And his second four-year term has not even begun . . . .

      • nj_v2

        He only seemed “promising” if one wasn’t paying attention.

        And the “health care” legislation is not ambiguous. By holding a gun to people’s heads and making them buy crappy insurance products over which there will be no effective cost control, it provides a huge windfall for the insurance industry with which they will lobby into oblivion any public, universal-coverage/single-payer plan for decades to come.

        • Don_B1

          And how do you know that the healthcare products the insurance industry will be “crappy”?

          How do you reconcile the aspect of the law that says that at least 80% of the policy holders’ premiums must be used on patient care?

          There is the possibility that the insurance companies will just allow coverage of procedures, etc. that are not necessary thus raising the cost of care and premiums and thus the insurance company’s “cut,” but most people will not view that as a “crappy” policy although they should.

          Most people who closely follow health issues realize that a single payer or public option system would be far cheaper. But note that the policy exchanges that each state, or the federal government in lieu of the state, must establish could easily be required to include a public option which could devolve into a single-payer plan.

  • StilllHere

    The development of the New Albany Shale play in Illinois could generate over 47,000 jobs and up to $9 billion for the state, but further data is needed about the formation, according to a report commissioned by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

    Where else are the jobs going to come from?

    • Don_B1

      Wind, solar and biofuels could generate many more jobs that that, at least 100,000.

      Except you left out all the jobs that will be generated rebuilding towns and cities after devastating storms and the deaths of people from famine and war over food as world-wide drought cuts the food supply.

  • 1Brett1

    Man…the show’s not on for an hour yet, and the resident neocons are already trying so hard to paint the Susan Rice withdrawal with the worst possible brush. Last week, they were bad-mouthing Obama and her, rhetorically asking why he would defend such a pathetic loser; now they are bad-mouthing him and her for her withdrawal, insinuating all sorts of  evilness and incompetence. 

    I wonder if fledgling neocons are reading their comments, hoping to jump on their bandwagon, but are not able to understand which conflicting views they are supposed to support?

  • 1Brett1

    y

    • JGC

      y not?

    • nj_v2

      What x said to z?

  • nj_v2

    Republican jackassery of the week:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/republican-voter-id-scott-tranter_n_2273927.html?utm_hp_ref=politics
    Scott Tranter, Republican Consultant: Voter ID And Long Lines Help Our Side

    http://www.michiganradio.org/post/bill-allowing-concealed-weapons-schools-approved-house-committee
    Bill allowing concealed weapons in schools approved by House committee

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/12/13/how-republicans-are-duping-members-of-their-own-party.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=cheatsheet_morning&cid=newsletter%3Bemail%3Bcheatsheet_morning&utm_term=Cheat%20Sheet
    How Republicans Are Duping Members of Their Own Party

    “…Breaking down results to Republican respondents only, their positions are as follows. By 47-37, they oppose letting the current payroll tax cut expire (an Obama position). By 68-26, they’re against cutting Medicare spending. By 61-33, they oppose cutting Medicaid spending (yes, Medicaid spending!). By 66-28, they’re against eliminating the home-mortgage interest deduction. By 72-25, they oppose eliminating the charitable contribution deduction. And by 56-44, less overwhelming but still very much a landslide in political terms, they just say no to raising the Medicare eligibility age.

    Please read those numbers over one more time. That’s Republicans. Supporting “liberal” positions by huge margins.…”

    [excerpt]

  • JGC

    If Senator Kerry goes to State, who will Massachusetts Democrats put up as a strong candidate to replace him?  I hear Republican soon-to-be-ex-Representative Scott Brown is adjusting his necktie and waxing his pick-up truck in anticipation of a leisurely stroll to fill a Massachusetts’ Senate seat, after all.  

    • MrNutso

      If for no other reason than allowing a loser to return to the senate, Kerry should stay where he is.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      That explains the reported general consensus of Republicans that Kerry would “sail right through” a  nomination. I thought Kerry was a “spineless, lying, cowardly, war fraud”. Not my opinion but I seem to remember it being one held by a particular group of people.

    • AC

      everyone’s too depressed by the ticket price to run against him…

    • TomK_in_Boston

      It’s crazy. Why is the WH making us squash the nasty Ken doll again? We don’t have another Elizabeth Warren, either. Don’t they have any political brains?

    • Don_B1

      Apparently Representative Ed Markey first elected in 1976, has indicated some interest in running. He had not indicated an interest in running for Senator Kennedy’s seat in 2009 since that was before the Republicans took the House and, with the gerrymandering of the state house Republicans elected in 2010, likely to remain in control, the ability to get things done from a Democratic seat in the House will not be strong.

      Markey would be a much stronger opponent for Scott Brown, possibly even stronger than Elizabeth Warren was. But in a single seat election, he probably will need to be, though turnout could be strong. But Brown will be looking for a low-turnout election.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Has anyone else noticed the bizarreness of the TeaOP fighting hard for “entitlement reform” (translation = “cuts”) when they attacked BHO (falsely) for cutting medicare and the vast majority of Americans, including repubs, oppose the cuts? “We’ll blow up the economy if we don’t get what 70% of voters oppose!” Crazy! Just who does this party represent (of course, ans=plutocrats). Why should they even continue to exist as they fight for what voters oppose? Why don’t they vanish in a puff of smoke?

    • pete18

      I’m sure you were saying the same thing when the Tea Party was rallying against Obama Care, which the majority of voters opposed.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        I remember those geezers on SS and medicare with their oxygen bottles demanding that gub’mint get off their backs :)

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          The word you are looking for is “Rascalbaggers (TM)”, riding their powered chair scooters to rallies, then demanding govt get out of their Medicare.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            I like it!

        • pete18

          Translation: “Yes, I was, my Tea Party rants have nothing to do with a consistent principled position.”

          • StilllHere

            Well played. Tom’s an empty-head vomiting lefty talking points apparently for meager sums per post. Gotta make a living I guess.

          • nj_v2

            ^ Troll

    • Don_B1

      And they claim that they were elected to “get their say,” which is to cut spending, oppose/prevent all abortion and sex education and cut all scientific issue spending, as what their constituents want.

      But when the Democrats running for membership in the House of Representatives received over 1 million MORE votes than Republicans running for those seats, but 233 Republicans were elected while only 202 Democrats were, there is one strong reason: gerrymandering.

      For example, in both Ohio and Pennsylvania more votes were cast for Democrats than Republicans for membership in the House but in both states, 16 Republicans and only 4 Democrats were elected.

  • Ray in VT

    Nearly four in 10 U.S. residents blame weather on “end times”

    http://news.yahoo.com/nearly-four-10-u-residents-blame-weather-end-200603898.html

    Maybe this should go on the page for big challenges earlier in the week.  How can we, as a nation, expect to compete at high levels in terms of science and technology when so many of our citizens hold such a view?  I think that polls have shown at least the same number don’t believe in evolution.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      I wish I could say I’m surprised. At least it’s not 60%, believe it or not 40% is progress. Think Y2K.

      • nj_v2

        Invalid comparison. Y2k was a real and serious issue that was fixed because tech people mobilized in time and solved the problem before Bad Things happened.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          But I remember reading several ‘polls’ (not that I put much faith in polls) during the course of 1999 that Armageddon was upon us. Biblical Armageddon. I’m aware of all the coding that was done to avoid the Two-Digit Apocalypse, very aware. I still think the tech assault was overblown.

          • nj_v2

            The Religious Nut Squad may have appropriated the issue for their own delusional ends, but the problem was real. In that sense, i guess your comparison has some usefulness.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Yeah, oddball thing about Y2K. Unlike the proverbial weather, everybody talked about Y2K and some people were able to do something about it. That rarely happens.

    • nj_v2

      It’s hard to underestimate how much we are a nation of idiots. This is a country that elected Shrub. Twice. Well, maybe once, and the Supreme Court once.

      Kimmel, Leno, et. al. regularly do on-the-street interviews. Two days before the November election, most people asked if they had voted yet said “yes.”

      People hearing parts of the Constitution or Declaration of Independence couldn’t identify the document or thought it was some kind of communist document.

      Depressingly large numbers of people can’t identify major countries on a map.

      In some ways, we’ve got the political representation we deserve.

  • MurielV

    The way Republicans senators attacked UN ambassador Susan Rice was a disgrace to the democratic process: they BULLIED her into withdrawing from consideration as they knew that they eventually would not get the votes to reject her confirmation.  It was a WITCH HUNT like we have not seen in a long time in this country.  The only dignified person in this whole sad affair is Susan Rice who sacrificed her interest in the post of Secretary of State for the higher good of the country.

    The Republicans should listen to their own constituents in their discussion of how to avoid the fiscal cliff with the President.  They, like Democrats, agree with increased taxes for the wealthier and oppose drastic cuts to the so-called entitlements.  

    • toc1234

      “It was a WITCH HUNT like we have not seen in a long time in this country.”  right, since, say, the john bolton controversy in the last administration.

      • JGC

        Wasn’t John Bolton the one who plaintively said,”I am not a witch” ?

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Actually, no.

          But I can’t remember anything less embarrassing he really said.

          He’s the kind of hack that recess appointery was made for.

    • William

       What drastic cuts? Obama called for entitlement reform during his first term and now the Republicans are reaching across the isle and want to work with him so he can put his entitlement cuts or reforms into action. What is wrong with that?

  • rob sprogell

    Rachael Maddow postulated that the Republicans torpedoed Ms. Rice so that Barack would pick Senator Kerry and give Scott Brown a second chance at the Senate.

    • pete18

       Pretty stupid postulation given that Republicans were
      rightly criticizing Rice’s (and Obama’s) behavior on this before Scott Brown lost his election.

      • StilllHere

        Stupid is where Maddow lives.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      It’s insane to pick Kerry. We just finished squashing the nasty Ken doll, why make us do it again?

  • JGC

    Taxpayer Boondoggle Alert:  

    “I’ll be there with open ears,” said Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, off on a Florida junket paid for by a business consortium led by a real-estate developer, so as to personally evaluate the noise level of  F-35 jets at Elgin Air Force Base.(Vermont has a National Guard base that is scheduled to receive F-35s to replace the retiring and less noisy F-16s.)  The accompanying photo shows Gov. Shumlin standing at the edge of the runway with a bada$$ sound-baffling head set covering his open ears.  

    In the meantime this week in Canada, the Harper Government is reluctantly shelving their purchase of the F-35.  Two years ago, the Conservatives announced it as a $9-billion investment to replace the CF-18.  But an outside auditor has placed the cost as closer to $44-billion, in line with the figure that the Parliamentary Budget Office came out with last year.  It is tough to hold on to those small-spending conservative principles in the dazzling face of a shiny, new defense toy, but Harper has taken that step.  

    The Globe and Mail editorial this morning said, “…the citizens of Canada should take some coldish comfort in the fact that their government has not actually spent and wasted $45-billion, though the (vetting) process itself has so far cost about $1-billion.  The moral of the story may be that the government was in too much of a hurry, thinking it would be easy to leap aboard an American megaproject.”

    Canadian taxpayer: $1-billion,  U.S. taxpayer: $1-trillion. F-35 program prime target for the fiscal cliff?  

  • Coastghost

    “Susan Rice, Victim”??? Thank you for sparing us the incisive analysis of Chuck Todd as panelist, and see? You wound up LEADING the show with Amb. Rice!

  • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

    As a followup to my post on educating our children yesterday.  
    Look at this CNN story about drug abuse in Kentucky.http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/14/health/kentucky-overdoses/index.html?hpt=hp_c1 In Knott County, adjacent to Rockcastle, Kelly said more than half of the children have lost their parents due to death, abandonment or legal removal. Anecdotally, she says, the numbers in other areas could be even higher.This is one reason why I think we need two years of public service.http://wh.gov/IVp4I am getting as tangential as Ed.Sorry about that.These prescription pills that are destroying families are legally sold for profit in our nation.  I think a chain of custody from manufacture to patient should be established.  I think each dose should have tracking information to show where it entered the black market.This is a really a big problem where I live.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Susan should have hung in there. Was this a ploy to get Kerry out of the senate?

    • JGC

      How could Obama do an end run around this dilemma? We really cannot afford to lose another Democrat-held Senate seat.  How about John McCain as Secretary of State? Talk about your Team of Rivals!

  • nj_v2

    Meanwhile, 20 million people in the U.S. live on less than two bucks a day.

    Yet the word “poverty” was never mentioned in the “debates” between Obummer and Rmoney.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/extreme-poverty-unemployment-recession-economy-fresno

    Could You Survive on $2 a Day?

    Nearly 1.4 million American households live on that much per person. Gabriel Thompson reports from one of the nation’s poorest areas.

    • tn_amygdala

       thanks for the link–worth reading closely to see if the data makes sense.  It’s hard to fathom that a rich country like the US could have such dire poverty

      • Steve__T

         Agreed

    • Gregg Smith

      I could survive on $2/day with food stamps, welfare, redistributed health care, unemployment pay and an Obamaphone. I wouldn’t even try to get a job. Why should I?

      • nj_v2

        Greggg’s aggressive, public cluelessness continues unabated. Pathetic. Repugnant. Vile.

        http://mlaonwelfare.com/5-myths-about-welfare/

        5 Myths About Welfare

        It is easy to get on welfare

        Life on welfare is easy

        People on welfare don’t want to work

        Lots of people are defrauding the system

        It costs too much to fix poverty

        http://fair.org/extra-online-articles/five-media-myths-about-welfare/
        Five Media Myths About Welfare

        http://anitra.net/homelessness/columns/anitra/eightmyths.html

      • StilllHere

        It totals about $60K/person of welfare spending for those in poverty.

        • Steve__T

          And most of it 60% goes to the workers and the bureaucrats not to those actually receiving benefits.

          According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), the median salary of social workers was $39,530 in May 2008 with the top ten percent earning more than $66,430. And those are not supervisors.

      • Steve__T

         Sorry Gregg you can only have one, you get welfare if you have children, you’ll get food stamps,  that’s the only way to get more than one item of help. No children under 18? no welfare. If you don’t get unemployment you MAY qualify for $200 a month in food stamps as long as you have no liquid assets over $1000 even an insurance policy that has accumulated an amount over a certain $amount, different in some states, if you get unemployment over $700 a month your food stamps will be reduced to about $16 a month. It’s not $2/a day + its 2/a day! Medical ha go to the emergency room and wait 3-4 hrs. and wait till you get the bill, then you can apply for Medicaid but they may not actually give it to you on your first application, you’ll have to appeal and show why you actually need it. That takes about 4-6 months.
        During that time you can not work or have any substantial income other than charity, or you may be denied.
        Oh you’ll try to find a job, I guarantee that but will you find one? are you over 50? maybe not.

        You’d make a great Scrooge!

  • Coastghost

    Your poor headline writer! Now straight to H. R. Clinton, bypassing North Korea, Michigan unions, fiscal cliff: curiouser and curiouser.

  • MrNutso

    Why not stay on Christmas Day?

  • thoughtfulfood

    hi

  • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

    Congress should put on play of the Christmas story as a filibuster.  The bigest problem would be trying to find three wise men.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Nah. After having a GOP senator filibuster his own bill, I predict the biggest problem of recerating “A Christmas Story” on Capitol Hill will be keeping the gobstopping Republicans from “shooting their eye out”.

  • MrNutso

    Jack,  Republicans do not want economic growth, they want a bad economy to get gains in 2014 and win the Presidency in 2016.  Furthermore, rate must go up.  We need higher tax rates for everyone.  Then when there are economic hard times, taxes could be rebated on a progressive basis and based on economic conditions.

    If we don’t let the tax rates expire and rise they never will, and we will never tackle our debt.

  • thoughtfulfood

    For the past 4 years we’ve been told that the deficit and debt are the single biggest threats this nation faces (as big a threat as Hitler according to one politician) and if the deficit is eliminated the economy will take off.  Soooo, if we go over the misnamed “fiscal cliff” the deficit will all but disappear and -boom!- the economy will soar, jobs will be made and businesses will be happy because government spending will be way down and “out of the way” of their investments and own spending.  So why are conservatives so worried? 

    • MrNutso

      Because it’s the wrong kind of deficit reduction.  The right kind is elimination of social programs and more tax cuts for the rich.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Exactly. And, we’re not supposed to cut the war department.

  • DeJay79

    WAY wrong direction Jack! “put it off “AGAIN!?!
    What we need is to Fix the problem!
    Raise Revenue and Cut Spending, A balanced solution!

    what you purpose is to reduce revenue and increase spending.

    I say No to that!

  • DeJay79

    The medicine this country needs will not taste good to anyone but with any difficult time as long as we go through it together we will be stronger on the back side.

    EVERYONE needs to suffer to get this country back on track 

    • nj_v2

      Are you a dupe or a shill?

      The middle class and poor are already suffering.

      For 30+ years, the middle class has declined and wages have stagnated or declined. Poverty is up.

      Yet 1/4 of all corporations pay no taxes and the gap between the rich and everyone else continues to grow as a result of corporatist policies beginning with Reagan.

      • DeJay79

         exactly my point, most already are suffering but things won’t get better until Everyone does.

      • freedomwalsh

        First, until the “credit crash” of 2008- from which only the irresponsible banks excaped unscathed, your assertion of the middle class wage decline- and rising poverty, is NOT supported by real facts.  Stats would show that, after adjusted for inflation, median wages only rose marginally (your “were flat”).  They certainly did not rise anywhere near as much as the compensation of the wealth.  But overall they rose way more than it first appears:  increased standard of living from expansion of government programs are not factored in (from S-chip/child health care, to childcare, to education, to mortgage insurance, etc).  More importantly, the “market basket ” of goods and services that make up the CPI - used to adjust income stats for inflation, has consumer goods way more valuable today than in 1980.  Fact is, the middle class standard of living rose dramatically between 1980 and 2008.  To know it intuitively:  would you rather be middle class, or working class, poor, in 1980 or in 2008- when in the latter you had a safer, more environmentally friendly car, a cell phone, computer, health care for your kids if needed- all not factored as increased income because they had become standard in the basket of goods behind the price deflator or provided by government.

        • Steve__T

           Show facts and stats or a link please.

    • StilllHere

      You won’t get the slackers to agree.

      • nj_v2

        ^ Troll

      • jefe68

        The inanity continues.

      • jimino

        You’re right.  Those coupon cutters collecting capital gains and carried interest taxpayers wouldn’t have the slightest concept of helping out our country.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        True, the romney class of entitled economic parasites will never give up their free rides.

        • freedomwalsh

          You could seize the assets of those who live off of capital gains (like Romney and Buffet) and you would not put a dent in our coming entitlement driven deficits.  There is just not enough of them.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Bull**it talking point. US total income is about $14 trillion and the 1% have about 20% of it. That’s $2.8 trillion in income, which would solve all problems, if we consider deficits a problem. Not that anyone ever said seizing assets or taking all of anything, but I know you have to use the official “framing”.

            I agree we have “entitlement driven deficits” – entitled romney types and entitled corporations that don’t contribute to the USA.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      I agree. The top tax rate should be at least 50%, dividends and cap gains should be ordinary income, the estate tax should be strengthened, corporate taxes need to be a bigger share of total revenues. 

      • freedomwalsh

        TomK.  Corporations are like your house.  They are a way of organizing people for production rather than for living space. They don’t pay taxes- only people pay taxes:  the owners (stockholders- read that all those people with retirement plans), workers (in lower wages than would otherwise be), consumers (in higher prices than would otherwise be), etc.  And most of all:  those would be workers out of a job because the U.S. has the highest corp. tax rates in the world.  btw, corp. income are hit by taxes twice- people pay additional taxes on dividends (or no corp. tax is paid at all because its re-invested profit) and people pay personal taxes on capital gains.  AND…. talk to someone who inherited a small business- or a farm- from an owner, then had to liquidate- sell the enterprise- to pay an estate tax on top of the inheritence.  They lost their job- and so didn’t those who would have worked for them. Your idea sounds nice, but it’s not smart.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Thanks, but I’ve heard all the talking points hundreds of times, no need for another regurgitation.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          talk to someone who inherited a small business- or a farm- from an
          owner, then had to liquidate- sell the enterprise- to pay an estate tax
          on top of the inheritence.

          I remember the parade of folks who’d have been affected that way during the hearings. It was a crowd of about zero.

          Chalk up one more from the circular file of “right-wing poster child fail”.

    • Steve__T

       I hope you realize that some have greatly suffered and lost all they had, some are loosing as I type this. The few that gained 5-10 times more than they did about 18 months ago will not suffer and care not.

      And when you tell those who benefited the most, to take their medicine, get  ready for the most petulant fight you’ve ever seen from a three year old, screaming and kicking included.

  • Coastghost

    Did Jack Beatty just invoke a “theological sector” avid for certain fiscal policies? No Natl. Public Radio backhanded slap at theology-minded citizens here, hunh? In the mouth of a much less celebrated, much less sophisticated and cosmopolitan commentator, someone might remark on the crude semantic purport.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Soldiers have died and been maimed in Afghanistan and Iraq… fine those banking parasites who have ruined the future of many millions of Americans… and then throw them into our supermax prisons… and what about all the other crimes of fraud that these guys committed and inflicted more harm than we’ve seen since the great depression.

  • tn_amygdala

    FYI: HSBC profits in 2011 were $16.8B  and $21.9B in 2012

  • MrNutso

    The right to work law is about taking away political power just like voter suppression laws.

    • StilllHere

      I thought we wanted to get special interest money out of politics. 

      • MrNutso

        Perhaps, but this only gets one side out.

        • StilllHere

          It’s a start.

      • nj_v2

        ^ Troll

    • freedomwalsh

      As a (former public school) teacher forced to pay hundreds of dollars every year to the union supporting political interests who stand in the way of better education for kids, I’d like to say there’s a major difference here.  Union political power is stolen.

      • Steve__T

         As a union member did you not have a vote or a voice as to policies the union adopted?

  • AC

    elementary school shooting in Newtown CT. really. depressing.

    • nj_v2
    • DrJoani

      Dear AC,
      I don’t know how you got this news so early so quickly but it caused me to listen more carefully to NPR.I write this , of course, more than 5 hours later .
      Horrendous!
      I try to believe that this week’s slaughter  here in the land of FREEDOM will cause people to pressure for real gun control measures but …most of them are too busy watching TV or driving in their huge cars, feeding their faces, or talking earnestly on their cell phones.

      My kids are grown. Hug yours for me, or your grandchildren, your loved one(s).

      • AC

        My niece goes to the elementary school in Newtown, within walking distance of Sandy Hook, so it caught my eye and the family was on alert. I’m a little ashamed to admit I felt relief at first, now I feel sorrow for friends and the families facing the worst kind of sorrow….it’s been a long day…..

  • MrNutso

    Why is it the unions fault that they negotiated a nice contract and not those who granted the contract?

    • freedomwalsh

      It’s called extortion.  Especially in the public sector.  And its at the expense of working people paying taxes.

      • jefe68

        Oh please. Extortion my ass.
        8 of those public sector teachers in CT died today along with 18 children. Public sector workers, such as the police, are putting their lives on the line everyday. In my view they deserve decent pay and benefits.

      • StilllHere

        Exactly right, it should be criminal. No one protects the interests of the taxpayer in a negotiation between a politician and the criminal union that funded his campaign.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Right to Work.
    Right to Rent.
    Right to Serve.

    Look at Georgia.

    • freedomwalsh

      Damn DrewInGeorgia.  Right to the point.  Wish I was so artful and succinct.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        I don’t know that I am either artful or succinct but I do try to keep it brief and to the point when possible. If that was meant as a compliment, thank you, I appreciate it.

  • MurielV

    Right to work states may have lower unemployment rates but what wages do people get there?  Living wage?

    • jefe68

      Right to Work states also have the highest rates in poverty, lack of health care coverage and lower wages over all. It’s a race to the bottom in my view.

  • ToyYoda

    Regarding HSBC.  It’s not without precedence.  Here’s an eerily similar case that happened in the 70-90′s:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_of_Credit_and_Commerce_International

    The BCCI clients include:  Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega, Hussain Mohammad Ershad and Samuel Doe. Other account holders included the Medellin Cartel and mercenary terrorist Abu Nidal.

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist, BUT…..  the wiki entry suggests a possible reason why HSBC is not prosecuted further.  The CIA held accounts with the BCCI to fund illegal operations including funneling drug money to finance rebels in Afghanistan.  Maybe it’s not too hard to imagine HSBC doing something similar.

    By the way, watch ‘The International’, which is base on BCCI scandal starring Clive Owen. Ty Bur, a movie critic for the Boston Globe, says the gun battle scene in it is the best scene since the 70′s. And yes, it’s specatular!!

  • Coastghost

    –or get a lifetime appointment to NPR in the role of “analyst” when formally such positions don’t even exist, according to the Poynter Institute. NPR’s newsroom is a union shop, correct?

    • jefe68

      What’s your point? That NPR pays it’s staff well?
      In TV and most media there are unions.

      The comparison to US Senate pay rates is absurd.

      • Coastghost

        I worked in an NBC newsroom for three years, was never even once approached by a union representative (not that I would’ve signed up).

        But NPR’s newsroom IS a union shop, right? (They seem never to advertise this, but I seem to’ve heard that this is the case.) –which begins to explain NPR’s enthusiastic pro-union coverage whenever circumstances permit. (Why does the phrase “conflict of interest” not dictate that the union- or non-union status of the NPR newsroom be common knowledge? Why do NPR’s non-performing ombudspersons never address this explicit bias in their editorial and journalistic practice?) 

        The comparison to US Senate pay stems from Senators’ status as the Federal government’s “Club of Wealth”: that any NPR personage should make more than any US Senator (sometimes, apparently, more than twice as much) tells us just how generous the public is obliged to be to help fund this essential public-private partnership.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Tom, the way you treated those two callers is worrying.

    Capital and management and their political friends are not pressed to worry about the unemployment rate. In an environment where rich people carry all they can out of a business, and are cheered for it (and get nominated for President), have you never started at square one and asked how the media got to the point that some nebulous (and not causal) “future unemployment numbers” are Labor’s problem?

    Labor’s goal is to get money for labor, and that is good for laborers who are part of labor. But labor has to worry about every other worker or unemployed person? In a way that right-wing politicians, venture capitalists and people who “shower before work” never do?

    That this whipsawing “reality” has become part and parcel of the mainstream media’s “economics” coverage is pretty telling.

    • freedomwalsh

      If one takes your point about “other workers/unemployed TF, then one should never hear that unions represent “workers” or the “middle class.” At best, they represent their members;  when push comes to shove, unions serve the interest of union presidents and lawyers. And it still does explain why, when once a member of a union as a condition of employment, a few hundred dollars were extorted from me every year to support politicians whose policies I vehemently opposed.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        You forgote to mention how you got collective bargaining, and a higher salary, and could not be fired at the whim of some asshole boss with an ax to grind.

  • hackerkat

    Thank you very much for so quickly fact checking the caller who said that “right-to-work” states had lower unemployment rates than non right-to-work states and getting the truth on the air. As you said the fact is, that 7 of the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates are “right-to-work” states. It’s so important for incorrect information to be corrected quickly in order that the untrue fact not embed in the hearer’s brain.
    It didn’t make sense when I heard it and I was happy to hear that my skepticism was validated.

    • Gregg Smith

      I didn’t hear it but I thought the stat was 7 of the 10 poorest states were right to work. I did not realize the numbers corresponded with the unemployment rate. I also did not realize right to work status was the only criteria to base the conclusion on. Where do NM and WV rate?

      • freedomwalsh

        This is Rich- who comments solicited the reply: “but seven of the ten states with the highest unemployment have ‘right to
        work’ laws” AND “studies show that union wages lift those of non-unionworkers.” To the first point: it’s true. BUT, it is also irrelevant, unless one
        argues that the labor market of those ten states is consistent (similar to the other forty states). Clearly not. That stat is more of an explanation of why those 7 states will remain “right to work.” What matters is the overall average. And, to the second point, higher wages negotiated by unions
        have increased the wages of non-union workers in the past. But that only happened when a significant percentage of private sector workers were unionized and when the private sector labor market (union and non-union) could bear the
        union wages. Both were once true of Michigan- but those days are gone. And it has never been true in a labor market with high unemployment. Lesson: social science can’t cherry pick- and the incestuous relationship public sector unions have with our political structure enables them to extract extraordinary benefits in conditions where there is a surplus of labor

    • freedomwalsh

      This is Rich- who comments solicited the reply: “but seven of the ten states with the highest unemployment have ‘right to
      work’ laws” AND “studies show that union wages lift those of non-union
      workers.” To the first point: it’s true. BUT, it is also irrelevant, unless one
      argues that the labor market of those ten states is consistent (similar to the
      other forty states). Clearly not. That stat is more of an explanation of why
      those 7 states will remain “right to work.” What matters is the
      overall average. And, to the second point, higher wages negotiated by unions
      have increased the wages of non-union workers in the past. But that only
      happened when a significant percentage of private sector workers were unionized
      and when the private sector labor market (union and non-union) could bear the
      union wages. Both were once true of Michigan- but those days are gone. And it
      has never been true in a labor market with high unemployment. Lesson: social
      science can’t cherry pick- and the incestuous relationship public sector unions
      have with our political structure enables them to extract extraordinary
      benefits in conditions where there is a surplus of labor.        forgot to include the RELEVANT facts cited on the radio (feel free to check it out yourself): The unemployment rate in “right to work” states averages 6.9%. The unemployment rate in “closed shop” states averages 8.7%. And I am not cherry picking the ten states with the worst labor markets. The fact that seven of them have ‘right to work’ laws ONLY EXPLAINS WHY THEY WILL NOT chose to go “closed shop.” Michigan’s unemployment rate is 9.3% (up from 9.1%). Hate to burst bubbles, but that is the empirical evidence. And it’s consistent with logic

      • nj_v2

        ^ Bogus, sourceless numbers. More conservobot hackatrolling.

        Actual difference between unemployment rates between RTW/non-RTW states is actually just .5%. And, of course, there’s no clear causality, and any number of other factors figure into unemployment rates.

        http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/feb/28/bill-oreilly/bill-oreilly-says-unemployment-lower-right-work-st/

        “When we did the math, we found that the unemployment rate in the 22 right-to-work states was 9.17 percent, compared to 9.65 in the 28 non-right-to-work states. (The national unemployment rate that month was 9.4 percent that month — right in the middle.)”

        [excerpt]

  • freedomwalsh

    @hackerkat: 

    This is Rich- who comments solicited the reply: “but seven of the ten states with the highest unemployment have ‘right to
    work’ laws” AND “studies show that union wages lift those of non-union
    workers.” To the first point: it’s true. BUT, it is also irrelevant, unless one
    argues that the labor market of those ten states is consistent (similar to the
    other forty states). Clearly not. That stat is more of an explanation of why
    those 7 states will remain “right to work.” What matters is the
    overall average. And, to the second point, higher wages negotiated by unions
    have increased the wages of non-union workers in the past. But that only
    happened when a significant percentage of private sector workers were unionized
    and when the private sector labor market (union and non-union) could bear the
    union wages. Both were once true of Michigan- but those days are gone. And it
    has never been true in a labor market with high unemployment. Lesson: social
    science can’t cherry pick- and the incestuous relationship public sector unions
    have with our political structure enables them to extract extraordinary
    benefits in conditions where there is a surplus of labor.

  • jimino

    All I heard during the recent political campaign was how government spend had to be cut and “the 47%” had to start paying taxes, the requirement for which was essentially eliminated by the so-called Bush tax cuts.  So how is the “fiscal cliff” any different from what the Republicans just ran their whole campaign on (other than having the wealthiest pay more taxes)?

    • Gregg Smith

      Who, besides Democrats advocating the tax cuts expire, ever said they want the 47% to pay taxes?

      • Ray in VT

        How will they ever have “skin in the game” if they don’t pay taxes?  Isn’t that the argument from many here on the right?  By not paying taxes they’re just mooching off of the system so the line goes.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          It’s just a now-standard talking point. Whenever you suggest the 1% get less of a free ride, the righties are instructed to try to change the subject to poor people who don’t pay income tax. In righty newspeak it’s often expressed as “broadening the base”. 

          You’d ask if they never heard of “follow the money” if you didn’t realize that their real agenda was redistribution of wealth to the top.

          • Ray in VT

            I often find it a bit ironic to see people argue that x%(usually 47) get a free ride, and need to have “skin in the game”, but somehow that in no way means that they should pay taxes.  I had forgotten “broadening the base”, so thanks Tom.  How does one broaden the base yet continue to have whatever percent not pay income taxes (as if those people don’t pay other taxes)?  It’s certainly a contradictory position.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Every time I heard ‘broadening the base’ in this last campaign cycle it referred to elimination of loopholes and deductions and NOT the expansion of income tax payers.

            The only politician that I heard explicitly talk about everyone having ‘skin in the game’ was Michelle Bachman.  I guess Herman Cain proposed this explicitly with 9-9-9.

            Simpson-Bowles was also referred to as ‘broadening the base’.  Clearly this was done by the elimination of deductions.  However, I suspect it also expanded the population of those with ‘skin in the game’.  I’ve never seen an analysis of SB vis a vis % of taxpayers and I’ve always been curious since SB raises taxes to 21% of GDP.

            btw – the x% of ‘free riders’ has traditionally been 20% but the Bush tax cuts and the economy have pushed that up to 47%.

          • Ray in VT

            I found a graph from Heritage cited here that shows some history of “free riders” here, although I would not use that term to describe working people who make too little to pay taxes under the current system or the elderly:

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/09/18/who-doesnt-pay-taxes-in-charts/

            It certainly shows that in terms of recent history 30+% is the “new normal”, but I do think that the 2008 recession pushed that number up, in addition to some tax policy choices.

            If you close enough deductions and loopholes, then you can bring people back onto the rolls.  One can argue whether or not that is raising taxes from a political or semantic point of view.  It is but it isn’t, depending upon how one looks at it.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             Thanks for the link Ray.  I agree that ‘free rider’ isn’t appropriate for some of the 47% but I was just reusing your language.  I understand it isn’t your position.

            I still would like to see where SB  falls.

            My position is everyone above some poverty threshold should contribute something.  If 80% are contributing that is a positive statement about our society since only 20% are near poverty.

             

          • pete18

            I’m still waiting for Tom to answer
            the question, how much does the government have to take before the
            top brackets are paying their “fair share”?  Every time it’s pointed out to him that the top 10% currently pay close to 70% of the total tax revenue take, his picture starts showing up on milk cartons in every county.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            I’ve said over and over how, in detail, I’d like to return to our historical norms from the current ultra-low tax environment. And anyone who talks about how much a group is paying without mentioning how much of the income they have is irrelevant. 

            It’s all about the rates. I hope these help, if you’re so duped that you think the rich are “overtaxed”

            http://forbestadvice.com/Money/Taxes/Federal-Tax-Rates/Historical_Federal_Top_Marginal_Tax_Rates_History.jpg

            http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e8/US_high-income_effective_tax_rates.png

            http://betweenthebalancesheets.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/effective-corporate-tax-rate.png?w=630&h=458

            http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/10/26/nyregion/the-new-gilded-age.html

            Any more questions?

          • Gregg Smith

            When in history have the top paid a higher percentage of the overall bill?

          • StilllHere

            Right, let’s cut spending to GDP to Clinton levels also

          • pete18

             Tom, you are still avoiding the question. Here it is, one more time– what percentage of the tax revenues do the upper tax tiers have to pay before they have paid their fair share?

            You continue (either out of ignorance, wishful thinking or willful avoidance) to confuse rates with revenue collected. As Greg is pointing out with his question below, the rich pay a higher percentage of the taxes collected now, under the Bush rates, than they did when the rates were 90% and 70% ( or even under the Clinton’s rates of 36 and 39.6%).  The reason is pretty obvious, when rates get higher, there is more motivation (despite what Warren Buffet says) to keep funds out of the economy, using tax shelters than there is to put them in play where they will be penalized by higher taxes.

            And not only do the top earners pay a higher percentage of the taxes paid, they also pay a disproportionate amount based on their percentage of national earnings (even with those 7,000 out of 5-million millionaires not paying any income tax).

            “The top 1 percent of tax filers — Americans with adjusted gross incomes of at least $369,691 — earned 18.9 percent of national income. And they paid 37.4 percent of all income taxes.”

            “The top 10 percent made at least $116,623 each. They earned 45.2 percent of national income and paid 70.6 percent of all income taxes.”

            http://taxfoundation.org/article/summary-latest-federal-income-tax-data-2012

            http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/335628/let-us-now-praise-1-percent-deroy-murdock

            I’d really like to hear what labyrinthine definition of “fairness” you use to come to the conclusion that they are “not paying their fair share.”

          • Steve__T

             7,000 Millionaires Paid No Income Tax In 2011
            Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/7000-millionaires-paid-no-income-tax-2012-9#ixzz2F3Rkx5VD

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Your selective memory is acting up again.

      • StilllHere

        You won’t get an answer from the leftwing windbags that come out of the darkness to spread their misinformation here.

        • Steve__T

           He asked you for your opinion…or are you now a leftwing windbag with no opinion or answers?

        • jefe68

          There it is, the right wing extremist in all his glory. It’s pitiful, really is.

        • nj_v2

          ^ Troll

      • jimino

        Perhaps I misunderstood Romney’s complaint about the 47% who pay no federal taxes.  What was he saying in your opinion?

        And what about the cuts in spending.  Did I misunderstand that position too?

        • WorriedfortheCountry

           Yes, you misunderstood Romney’s comment.  He was referring (incorrectly) to political calculus.

          Romney said over and over he didn’t want to raise anyone’s taxes.

          • sickofthechit

            When he said he wanted to widen the tax base that means bring in people at the lower end of the income scales and make them pay income taxes.  Remember the “skin in the game” comment? charles a. bowsher

      • sickofthechit

        When he said he wanted to widen the tax base that means bring in people at the lower end of the income scales and make them pay income taxes.  Remember the “skin in the game” comment? charles a. bowsher

        • Gregg Smith

          When more jobs are created or more businesses move from part-time to full-time or a booming economy creates higher income, the tax base expands.

  • hennorama

    Rep. Todd Akin apparently has a long-lost brother-in-buffoonery – Judge Derek G. Johnson, a Superior Court Judge in Orange County, CA.  Johnson was admonished by the CA Commission oh Judicial Performance yesterday for loony remarks he made about a rape victim in a 2008 sentencing.  According to the LATimes.com article:
    “A longtime Orange County judge who said that a rape victim “didn’t put up a fight” and that her sexual assault was only “technical” has been publicly admonished by a state agency that said his remarks seemed outdated, insensitive and possibly biased.

    Later in the article, the judge’s words are even more unbelievable, saying that “If someone doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse, the body shuts down.”  Maybe this is where Todd Akin got his ideas about rape and pregnancy:

    “I’m not a gynecologist, but I can tell you something,” the judge said, according to documents released Thursday. “If someone doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse, the body shuts down. The body will not permit that to happen unless a lot of damage is inflicted, and we heard nothing about that in this case.

    “That tells me that the victim in this case, although she wasn’t necessarily willing, she didn’t put up a fight,” the judge said.
    The judge, who has been on the Orange County Superior Court since 2000, also declared the rape “technical” and not “a real, live criminal case.”

    “To treat this case like the rape cases that we all hear about is an insult to victims of rape,” the judge said. “I think it’s an insult. I think it trivializes a rape.”

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-1213-judge-rape-20121214,0,6883428.story

    BTW, this is the same judge who allowed a CA prisoner to get kosher meals after the prisoner’s attorney said his client’s religion was “Festivus.”

    http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2010/12/14/Festivus-gets-prisoner-kosher-meals/UPI-10341292358366/

    I’m beginning to think that Dec. 14th may be a sort of new April Fool’s Day, as these 2 articles were both published on Dec. 14th, 2 years apart.

  • freedomwalsh

    @hackerkat AND anyone else:  forgot to include the RELEVANT facts cited on the radio (feel free to check it out yourself):  The unemployment rate in “right to work” states averages 6.9%. The unemployment rate in “closed shop” states averages 8.7%.   And I am not cherry picking the ten states with the worst labor markets.  The fact that seven of them have ‘right to work’ laws ONLY EXPLAINS WHY THEY WILL NOT chose to go “closed shop.” Michigan’s unemployment rate is 9.3% (up from 9.1%). Hate to burst bubbles, but that is the empirical evidence. And it’s consistent with logic.

    • Ray in VT

      Are those numbers the averages of the rates of the states or are those numbers a measure of the total unemployment rate in absolute numbers?

    • jefe68

      Yeah and right to work states have on average the worst poverty rates. The logic you put forth is skewed.

    • Mike_Card

      As I recall, percentages are not additive; raw numbers are.

    • sickofthechit

      Also may want to bring median (not average) wages into the discussion when doing your comparison.  A very telling statistic as well. charles a. bowsher

  • freedomwalsh

    Second, Corporations are like your house. They are a way of organizing people for production rather than for living space. They don’t pay taxes- only people pay taxes: the owners (stockholders- read that all those people with retirement plans), workers (in lower wages than would otherwise be), consumers (in higher prices than would otherwise be), etc. And most of all: those would be workers out of a job because the U.S. has the highest corp. tax rates in the world.

    • jimino

      So would you agree that we should abolish corporate taxation and instead tax all income from every source in the same manner and at the same rate?

    • Mike_Card

      “Corporations are people, too, my friend.”

  • BobK71

    Hiking tax rates for the rich takes away incentives for those people to work.  We would achieve the same  revenue increase by limiting total deductions to $50K.  Who but the wealthiest have deductions >$50K?  This better way of adding revenue has been rejected by Obama out right and I don’t know why.  He also has not offered any real spending cuts, certainly not for the future runaway expenditures of Social Security and Medicare.  There’s no need for Obama to play to the left any more.  And he is smart enough to know better.  My suspicion is that, once again, his weakness has allowed him to be strong armed by the Congressional left who actually owe him everything.

    When the Republicans had the upper hand, they rejected all tax increases.  Now the obverse happens.  If we had enough courage to do away with gerrymandering on a grand scale, I doubt if American politics would be in such sad shape.

    • jefe68

      You forgot the corporate tax rates which are lower than most of the industrial nations. Google found a loophole that enables them to not pay taxes on 8 billion dollars.
      That’s 8 billion with a “B”. There are thousands of corporations doing this and taking advantage of taxe payers to foot the bills for roads, police, fire departments and so on. The right wants to do away with SS, Medicare and Medicaid and this has been their agenda since FDR was president.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      You tipped your hand at “runaway expenditures of SocSec and Medicare”. The idea of “reform” is a useful on in the abstract, but everyone inside the Beltway now panting over “reform” of these two items is not to be trusted.

      You may wish to differentiate yourself from all the right-wing, Beltway Inbred, or conserva-dem “serious people” who coat their wish to destroy those programs and/or get their friends’ paws on them with the phrase “entitlement reform”.

  • osullivan11

    27 people shot in CT elementary school. 18 Children. White House says that today is not the time to debate gun control. Shameful, cowardly, pathetic. 

    Instead they’ll roll out the “First and foremost, as a father, the President’s thoughts……. ” speech.

    RIP innocent children

    Apologies to all here…. this is so awful.

    • jefe68

      It’s horrific. These were children, who does this kind of thing? My heart goes out to the parents and relatives.

      It seems to me that this happening more often as well.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        Heartbreaking, I’m sill tearing up.

        I don’t even know what to say.

  • Gregg Smith

    Hennorama,

    So your take is I am too clueless to know which comment you deemed in need of editing? And you arrogantly scold me from your all knowing perch. I edited the one you directly quoted…twice. “I edited it” was precisely what I wanted to say. I don’t play by your rules. If you want a clearer picture of what really is behind my thinking (yes, I think) then read the discussion I had with Brett. 

    Look at your comments. The theme is I am clueless, unable to perceive and that includes perceiving what I say myself. And you call me friend? You are not my enemy but don’t play games. I am careful with my words, this notable exception aside. I actually appreciate the reminder to tweak the wording to sync more closely with my other aforementioned comments, tweaking you was just a bonus. You had it coming. Think deeper.

  • Gregg Smith

    I guess this board is about played out but is anyone else suspicious of Hillary’s sudden concussion?

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