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Week In The News: Sequester, Pope Out, Aid To Syrian Rebels

Sequester: day one. The Pope, now emeritus. US aid to Syrian rebels. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Free Syrian Army fighters, take their positions as they observe the Syrian army forces base of Wadi al-Deif, at the front line of Maarat al-Nuaman town, in Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday Feb. 26, 2013. (AP)

Free Syrian Army fighters, take their positions as they observe the Syrian army forces base of Wadi al-Deif, at the front line of Maarat al-Nuaman town, in Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday Feb. 26, 2013. (AP)

Cue the Jaws music.  It is sequester day.  The week the cuts are cast in stone.  Friday at midnight, barring a miracle. Ok, the world won’t fall apart tomorrow.  But nobody calls this good government.  And here we are.

In Rome, the Pope has left the building.  Choppered out of the Vatican.  There is no Pope.  In the Supreme Court, conservative justices express skepticism over the need for the Voting Rights Act.

In Syria, new US funds will flow to rebels, to balance Islamic radical strength.  Bradley Manning makes his plea.

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

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Nancy Cordes, congressional correspondent for CBS News. (@nancycordes)

Robert Costa, Washington editor for the National Review. (@robertcostanro)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal “With mandatory across-the-board spending cuts set to begin Friday, the White House and congressional Republicans are poised to let the deadline pass, each calculating that their hand in negotiations only grows stronger if they scorn a quick compromise.”

Christian Science Monitor “In keeping with his shy and modest ways, there will be no public ceremony to mark the first papal resignation in six centuries and no solemn declaration ending his nearly eight-year reign at the head of the world’s largest church.”

Reuters “The United States will send non-lethal aid directly to Syrian rebels for the first time, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday, disappointing opponents of President Bashar al-Assad who are clamoring for Western weapons.”

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  • Ed75

    In New York State we’re watching our governor, in line with his father, come out in full force in support of abortion – way beyond Roe v. Wade – and for same sex marriage. These severely immoral practices can’t but lead to disaster. This week they announced that New York (upstate) will probably be a major location for the drone industry, making it a military target. It fits.

    • 1Brett1

      In what ways, specifically, would New York’s abortion laws go “way beyond Roe v. Wade”? 

      • Ed75

        Roe v. Wade does not state that it is a woman’s right to have an abortion. It says that the state can’t decide when life begins, so the act of abortion falls under the right to privacy. But this is provisional – if the society ever decides that life begins at conception, then the ‘plaintiff’s case falls to the ground’, because that life if protected by the Constitution. So Gov. Cuomo goes beyond Roe when he says a woman has an absolute right to  abortion, Roe didn’t claim this. (Rand Paul is trying to pass a human life amendment which would nullify Roe, on these grounds.)

        Second, Roe v. Wade stated that ‘We do not make this decision based on the idea that the law can not tell a citizen what to do with his or her body. It can and it has.’ And then it cites examples. When Gov. Cuomo says ‘Because it’s her body’ he uses an argument that was rejected in Roe.

        Third, Roe in its trimester system allows the states discretion to limit abortion in the third trimester. It can limit them because it decides the state needs more people, etc., with the exception of the life of the mother. When Gov. Cuomo argues that abortion is an absolute right in all nine months, including late-term abortion, he also goes beyond Roe.

        • 1Brett1

          Your comments mix together political speech, your opinion (as it converges with some others in some future “if society ever decides” opinion), Federal law, State Law, and the Constitutionality of laws. 

          About all that can legitimately be gleaned from your comments is that A) You don’t like abortion. B) You feel the NY Governor’s public statements go too far and would go way too far if his opinions were ever put into law. C) You feel Federal law should trump State law, at least regarding abortion laws; possibly, State abortion laws can trump Federal abortion laws if they are more strict and limit abortion more than Federal laws would. D) You likely feel state legislation processes should be interfered with by the Federal government if those processes include issues you feel strongly about. E) You feel God has deliberately seen to it NY got contracts to build drones so that later some foreign military regime would target NY for bombing, all because of Cuomo’s public comments on abortion. 

          Well, it’s a free country, and you’re certainly entitled to your opinions.

        • jefe68

          Wow.

    • Acnestes

      Speaking of drones, you’re an unending source Ed.

    • 1Brett1

      Military attacks on our country would be appropriate because of abortion laws? God would cause such attacks to happen?

      • Ed75

        If a person or a society turns to immorality, the results are bad.

        Going backwards in time, Mary at Fatima in 1917 told the children that ‘War is a punishment for sin’.

        In Luke, they ask Jesus about a tower that had fallen and killed people, and people asked him about them, and he said ‘Do you think they were greater sinners that others? Not at all. But if you do not repent, you will come to a similar end’. The logic is beautiful and difficult, but one implication is that serious sin leads to disaster.

        When Moses said goodbye in Deuteronomy, he begged the people to follow the way of the Lord and so to gain life, and reminded them that if they forsook the way of the Lord, they would gain the curse.

        This idea is repeated again and again in Bible. God doesn’t cause the damage, but allows it. The hope is always for repentance.

  • LinRP

    Both parties in Congress agree that the sequester is a terrible idea that will cause great harm. But the sequester it has been allowed to go through. Ergo…Congress is now willingly, openly, and deliberately inflicting harm on our country and we the people. There is no other conclusion to reach.  

    Why are we standing for this?

    • StilllHere

      Even with the sequester, spending this year will exceed spending last year.  How harmful can that be? And in the long-run, aren’t continual deficits, ever-expanding debt, and higher proportions of annual budgets consumed by interest expense even more harmful?

      • LinRP

         The point is BOTH agree it will inflict harm and it is going forward. There is little to nothing good about making monetary adjustments in this way. It’s not like “ripping off a band-aid.” Those platitudes are for people who understand little to nothing about real economics.

        • StilllHere

          But we’re in a place where tough choices need to be made and Washington has proven it is incapable of doing so.  This isn’t pretty, but it is necessary.

          • LinRP

             Disagree 100%. Spending is down, the deficit IS shrinking, unemployment is down, housing is up. The last thing we need for sure.

          • Don_B1

            When the “tough choice” is between cutting off your nose or putting gangrene in your toes, the right choice is neither, but to go out and spend the money to get some antibiotics to cure the disease.

            False choices never win the war although they might win a battle now and then.

      • Fredlinskip

        “.. All Democrats are violent, racist psychopaths and I don’t see how anyone could conclude anything else.  Democrats rhetoric of hate and violence is crushing the good that struggles to lift our society.”  –STILL HERE 2/26
         With sentiments like this it should be obvious why political compromise is difficult. 

        • jefe68

          And he say’s he’s not partisan…
          Yeah right.

        • StilllHere

          First of all, you should learn how to quote because this is not a quote.  Secondly, you need to show the context in which this appeared which was in repsonse to a post advocating the shooting of a guest by a self-diagnosed Democrat, big D, and my channeling Tom’s reaction to the shooting in Tucson where he falsely, prematurely and partisanly assumed it was the result of partisan rhetoric.  But Fred, you’re known around here for taking a lot of self-serving intellecutal short-cuts so this is completely within your flawed character.

          • Fredlinskip

            There is no context in which your above quote is justified. If you think there is, you are deluded. 
            Your response to an offensive post SHOULD have been to flag it and then a brief explanation as to why.
            Not to call majority of America racist hateful psychopaths.
            Only you could not get this.

          • Fredlinskip

            Should anyone be curious about “accuracy” of SH’s post, please visit OP Ben Carson show, 2/26. It’s not too far down.

      • Don_B1

        But that growth in spending will be LESS than the growth in GDP, and the growth in tax revenue. The deficit will be LESS this year.

        UNLESS, of course, the sequester’s spending cuts slow the economy enough to reverse that. That is exactly what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said yesterday, that any reduction in government spending would decrease the amount of deficit reduction under just about all scenarios.

        Ben Bernanke:

        “A substantial portion of the recent progress in lowering the deficit has been concentrated in near-term budget changes, which, taken together, could create a significant headwind for the economic recovery.”

        and

         “Besides having adverse effects on jobs and incomes, a slower recovery would lead to less actual deficit reduction in the short run for any given set of fiscal actions.”

        Please give a little recognition to the fact that macroeconomics is not a simple subject.

        • StilllHere

          Here’s a way guaranteed to grow GDP, increase government spending 1000000% every year!  Since gov spending is a component of GDP, this cannot fail!

          • Don_B1

            Your snark just demonstrated that you have no wish to contribute to an understanding of the current economic problem.

            1) Currently there is not enough AGGREGATE DEMAND (from businesses and individuals BUYING goods and services) to encourage those businesses collectively holding nearly $3 trillion in CASH to spend more than the tentative amounts they are beginning to spend.

            2) The United States has a LOT of near unsafe bridges and other infrastructure (dams, levees, wastewater treatment, etc.) that NEEDS repair as soon as possible. The American Society of Civil Engineers, in 2009, estimated that $2.2 trillion was needed over five years to correct this deficit. The longer repair is put off, the MORE it will cost, with increasing probability of structure collapse, water contamination poisoning people, etc.

            3) There are about 1 million unemployed construction workers ready to fix that infrastructure.

            4) Putting those 1 million unemployed to work will give them more money to spend, increasing aggregate demand and unlocking more of that hoard held by businesses to spend on capital goods and hiring new workers.

            5) Cutting taxes on businesses will only add to the stockpile of cash, and do NOTHING to create the added aggregate demand necessary to build a stronger recovery. The CEOs typically use the cash to buy back stock, raising the share price and thereby making more money on their stock holdings and options.

            6) Of course, there are some big businesses (e.g., Papa John’s pizza, Red Lobster, Olive Garden) where the owners are doing everything to take vantage of the high unemployment rate to keep wages of their employees as low as possible so as to further enrich themselves.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/20/bitter-pill-why-medical-bills-are-killing-us/

    Time Magazine had an incredible expose of our health care system by Steven Brill as its feature article in its March 4 edition.  Outrageous markups on items available online or in retail stores, being charged for items multiple times, the impenetrable world of medical billing and negotiation of discounts if you are connected, outrageous salaries for hospital executives, flat out lies (e.g. “hospitals don’t make money on Medicare patients”), both political parties protecting their constituencies (Medicare not being allowed to negotiate drug/medical device prices, excessive litigation and the threat of litigation leading to protective excess super-expensive tests when cheaper tests will do if even necessary), an “if we build it they will come” mentality (hospital expansions and purchase of expensive equipment which causes the equipment to be used excessively to justify its purchase, outrageous profits by “non-profit” hospitals, conflicts of interest on the part of medical providers who have ownership in facilities and medical device providers, and the list goes on and on.  It was refreshing (depressing actually) to finally a hear a good discussion of why our health care is so expensive vs. other countries rather than a just throw our hands up explanation.  Unfortunately as a result of the fault of most of our politicians of both parties, the new health care bill will not solve the most important question raised in the article, “why does our health care system cost so much”, but will simply try and address the issue that the health care system wants us to focus on of “we need to get someone to pay for it”.  So the most important issue, “how can we insure more people while spending less money in line with most other industrialized nations, will continue to be ignored due to our broken political system.  Washington fiddles while America burns.

    • jefe68

      I’m reading that article now. Had to stop a few times as it does have the tendency to raise ones blood pressure.
      Not that I have any health issues… but the level of out right criminal extortion going on here is astounding.
      The double charge thing happened to my girlfriend.
      She caught it and they still insisted she pay! 

      The healthcare industry is going to bankrupt our nation if this does not stop in the next 10 years or less. 
      My thought on this is nothing will change, nothing. 
      Except the increase of people going bankrupt from healthcare bills. It’s the entire political system that’s at fault here that we have a health care system that basically uses extortion or so it seems.

      • Don_B1

        Certainly change WILL be SLOW, but it WILL come as the current system is clearly unsustainable. The major questions are HOW will it be changed and to WHAT type of system.

        The PPACA is a FIRST STEP in turning the huge tanker on the high seas, and will need more efforts in the future. But the seeds of moving from payment per procedure to payment per case, as practiced at places like the Cleveland Clinic, is coming and PPACA will help in making that transition.

        The Republicans offer NOTHING to change this, just let it go on with patients having to do without treatment when they cannot afford to pay for it, no matter what the end result is. This is captured in their approach to Medicare, turning it into a voucher system that will become unaffordable for even most in the middle class over time.

        • jefe68

          In my view the entire health care system needs to be overhauled. From the ground up. Both parties are being controlled by the special interest here. The lobby for big pharma is one of the largest, dwarfing the defense industry and that’s only one segment of the healthcare mess we are in. It’s a huge task, that’s for sure.

          • Don_B1

            Exactly. The question is HOW to effect the necessary change.

            That is why I favor the small step of the PPACA, which can be a platform for further reform, first, enabling a public option in the Health Exchanges, and then, as they show their cost superiority, the diminishing enrollment in the offerings of the health insurance company making them untenable. Thus the system can move to single payer.

            But even this path will require a restructuring of campaign finance to be at least mostly publicly financed. Professor Lawrence Lessig, at Harvard Law School, is working on ways to achieve this, possibly with a Constitutional Amendment though that may have been dropped in the transition from past efforts, through the new organization, RootStrikers:

            http://www.rootstrikers.org/

            which started as FixCongressFirst and has set up a webpage, Corruption is My Issue:

            http://corruptionismyissue.org/

            for crowdsourcing resources, presentations and individual’s thoughts.

  • JONBOSTON

    Today our pretend president will have a photo-op meeting at the White House with Congressional leaders to go through the pretense of trying to solve problems that he bears much responsibility for creating. It’s a joke that he’s doing it to today, the start of the sequester. Too bad this meeting didn’t happen weeks ago when he was  instead golfing in Florida or traipsing all over to demonstrate his parade of fake horrors. This most awful president would rather inflict pain on the country than solve real problems. What’s really sad is how many of the uninformed, ill-informed or hopelessly stupid voted for this accomplished demagogue.

    • Fredlinskip

      I’m sure prez would have cut any vacation short had GOP shown any willingness to negotiate.
      In an environment where compromise is understood to be traitorous, with real consequences to political careers, it’s difficult to move forward.

    • MrNutso

      Yeah, what’s wrong with him.  Why doesn’t he just do what House Republicans want.

    • anamaria23

      Is this not what was intended for  ”this most awful President’  when the Repubs had that four hour meeting the night of his 2009 inaugauration vowing to give “unyielding opposition” to any of this President’s economic policies?   You should be delighted that your plan worked and is still working.  

      Name one thing that Obama tried to do that was  not obstructed or diminished by the dour faced Repubs who refuse to admit that they brought the country to the brink(unfunded wars and tax breaks during those wars, unfunded Medicare Part D)
      and bear some responsibility for our plight.
      Even with this obstruction, Obama has solved ,more problems than the Repubs ever have including keeping more of us out of the bread line, bad as it is for too many now.

      • Gregg Smith

        The Republicans have failed to stop his dastardly agenda. They’re all talk. This is awful.

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

          “Dastardly”?

          I look forward to the President’s memoirs coming out years from now:

          “March 1st, 2013: Curses! Foiled again!”

          Just proving my point that any time a Democrat goes out of their way to gain Gregg’s favor, that Dem is doing something wrong, politically, policy-wise, or both.

          • Gregg Smith

            What democrat ever went out of their way to gain favor with me? Why would I hate on a Democrat just for being a Democrat?

          • Don_B1

            Because you enjoy it! Acting the troll role seems to tickle something inside you.

    • StilllHere

      He leads from the backseat, in other words not at all.

      • Don_B1

        The original comment appeared in Ryan Lizza’s article in the New Yorker and when asked about it’s use and abuse by others in a chat session, Lizza said, regarding the “leading from behind” phrase (note that the phrase was first used by Nelson Mandela in describing how he had achieved a lot of his successes):

        “I think that phrase has been wildly over-emphasized and misunderstood in the Twitter and Blogospheric reaction to the piece. But what I meant in the blog post was that it’s possible that an administration that wasn’t showing leadership on some issue, could say, “Oh no, we were just leading from behind!” But in the case of Libya, the evidence is that the US was the single most important actor in getting the United Nations to pass the resolutions authorizing all necessary means to save Benghazi. That is, historically speaking, a major achievement. The wars in Kosovo and Iraq did not have that kind of legitimacy. And this was all accomplished in a matter of weeks.”  

        Source: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/ask/2011/04/obama-foreign-policy-ryan-lizza.html#ixzz2MNTGOUGI ”

        I think you need to drop this trope, as it does not imply anything NEAR what you want it to.

  • Jasoturner

    I’m not overly partisan, and don’t have a dog in the sequester fight, but I am astounded that the republicans seem willing to take their party right over the cliff.  Many republicans are middle and lower middle class.  They may not be so enthralled with their party if important government support and services disappear.

    I understand that the press, and republican advocates, like to spin this as if the president is just as much (or even more) to blame for the impasse.  But from where I stand, you’d have to be an idiot to claim the sides have been equally sincere and flexible trying to get a deal done.

    Anyway, I’m a professional and will get by just fine.  But for the first time in my life I am considering donating money to political campaigns.  Out of state campaigns.  Guess which party?

    • StilllHere

      Me too, not overly partisan, however everyone recognizes that the sequester was created by the Administration and it was the administration that threw the middle and lower class under the bus with the payroll tax increase to the tune of $120 billion.  You’d have to be an idiot not to recognize the facts and from your post it’s clear an idiot and his money are soon parted.

      • jimino

        The temporary payroll tax cut was the first successful incursion in the decades long campaign by right wingers to destroy Social Security.  Its support by the third most right wing president in modern times, Barack Obama, is indicative of his true beliefs.  Socialist/ Marxist/liberal?  “My ass”, as they say ’round here.

      • sickofthechit

         Allowing a TEMPORARY tax cut to expire is not a “tax increase”.
         

      • Don_B1

        Over half of the history of budget negotiations between the House Republicans and the White House since January 2011 would have to be totally ignored to come to your interpretation of events.

        Neither Republicans (who had fought tooth and nail to prevent the extensions in 2012) or the President ever intended that the payroll tax reduction (what you call a tax increase) be extended beyond 2012. It was ALWAYS a TEMPORARY reduction, called a “payroll tax holiday” in the initial legislation.

        You are really claiming to not be “overly partisan?” Maybe you could explain your definition of those terms?

    • William

       This so called “spending cut” shows exactly what the Conservatives have warned about for decades. The failure of “Big Government”.

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

        Ah, the True Principled Conservatives. I remember you storming the barricades during the Shrub years.

        Oh, wait.

        Look, bub. You don’t statistically exist. Get your side to do your bidding when you’re in power, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll stop scoffing at your claims.

        • William

           Look Junior, Conservatives were right and this lie by the political elites proved it.

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

            You and your “conservatives” can all meet in a phone booth.

            Plus, you can’t even sell your crap without a healthy dose of ersatz “bothsidespoliticalelites”. You had your chance, and the misgynistic, racist, gay-bashing Teatards came to the fore and every bicurious moderate and liberal and Democrat fled for the hills about four years ago when the Tea Party was revealed for what it really is.

            So, whenever the rightwing nutjobs wish to stop redefining “conservative” with every shift in power, we’ll be here.

    • Gregg Smith

      I think one would need to be very partisan to take the view you just espoused. I don’t consider myself overtly partisan either. One of us is wrong. 

      • sickofthechit

         Shall we take a vote?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=52502251 Kevin Frost

         You are.

  • Gregg Smith

    Republicans have done their job and passed bills to avoid sequester which is a joke. Obama is a master snake oil salesman. He has convinced people his idea was not his idea and that Republicans are responsible for this calamity which actually will have us spending $15 billion more than last year. He released 100s of detained immigrants into America to make his point. Really? Why not just quit the classes teaching the Moroccans how to paint pottery? That’ll save $27 million. He is purposely hurting our country for political gain and that gain is turning the public into a stupid, selfish dependency class. His horror speeches of late have been nothing less than fear-mongering BS fed to sheep. 

    So now he is the savior. The Republicans are the evil ones and Obama is just trying to clean up their mess. There’s no spending problem. No cuts necessary, they will make the economy worse. And people buy it! And look at the shameful press circling the wagons and lining up to call Bob Woodward a dottering old fool because he dared report the truth.

    It’s a sad state of affairs.

    • MrNutso

      Please identify legislation passed by the House of Representatives of the 113th Congress that addresses the sequestration.  Hint, you can’t.  The current Congress has not passed any legislation.  You are referring to bills pass by the 112th Congress, which constitutionally never existed.

      There is much conservative rhetoric that the President or the Senate or Democrats have not proposed an alternative to the sequester while Republicans have twice  voted on bills.  The President has a proposal, and one was just filibustered in the Senate.  Meanwhile Boehner says he will not do anything if the Senate can’t get off their ass.  Well he should know that constitutionally, all spending bills must originate in the House.

      There is only one impediment to this nonsense, John Boehner does not want to loose the Speakership by allowing a non-Republican majority bill to pass the house or even come to a vote.

      • Gregg Smith

        The House has passed a budget every year. It passed legislation to avoid the sequester and the down grade. The Senate won’t vote on them.

        You are correct about the 113th Congress but this has been going on for a while now. One could even say since the beginning. How different would things be if Obama had EVER passed a budget?

        • J__o__h__n

          Passing legislation that they know isn’t going to have any chance of passing in the Senate is grandstanding not legislating.

          • Gregg Smith

            Then vote. I don’t get it. Vote in the Senate and out the radicals. Prove it.

          • northeaster17

            Filabusters tend to not allow the vote to happen.

          • Gregg Smith

            There has to be a vote before there can be a fillibuster.

          • Don_B1

            You seriously need to look up the Senate rules on filibusters!!!!

          • Gregg Smith

            What I wrote is true. 

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            That is an example of circular logic.  And pointless in our current debate. 

        • northeaster17

          If Obama passed a budget we would be livig in a parlimentary democracy like Britain or Canada. The Repubs have no reason to be reasonable as they are just trying to muck things up until the next election

  • NewtonWhale

    Sad to see the shambling wreck Bob Woodward has made of his credibility. 

    For the last few days he has been claiming he was threatened by The White House because he reported that Mr. Obama was “moving the goal posts” by insisting that a substitute for the Congressionally mandated automatic spending cuts include new revenue. 

    “That was not the deal he made” back in 2011, Mr. Woodward wrote.

    The threat?

    “I think you will regret staking out that claim.”

    “Woodward repeated the last sentence, making clear he saw it as a veiled threat. “

    You’ll regret.’ Come on,” he said. “I think if Obama himself saw the way they’re dealing with some of this, he would say, ‘Whoa, we don’t tell any reporter ‘you’re going to regret challenging us.’”

    http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/woodward-at-war-88212.html#ixzz2MIIgxKXh

    Within 24 hours, the entire email thread was released, and it has made Woodward’s claim a laughingstock:

    “When the emails were released in full by Politico on Thursday, though, their cordial tone angered many journalists, who thought Woodward had mischaracterized the nature of the exchange.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/28/bob-woodward-hannity-white-house-threat_n_2785739.html

    Moreover, Woodward was simply wrong about his claim that revenue was not the deal Obama made back in 2011.That is clear from the actual language of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which says this: 

    “Unless a joint committee bill achieving an amount greater than $1,200,000,000,000 in deficit reduction as provided in section 401(b)(3)(B)(i)(II) of the Budget Control Act of 2011 is enacted by January 15, 2012, the discretionary spending limits listed in section 251(c) shall be revised, and discretionary appropriations and direct spending shall be reduced.

    ”Key words: “deficit reduction.” Not “spending cuts.” If Republicans wanted to make sure sequestration would be replaced with spending cuts only, that would have been the place to make a stand. Some of them certainly tried. But that’s not what ultimately won the day. Instead the, law tasked the Super Committee with replacing sequestration with a different deficit reduction bill — tax increases or no.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2013/02/woodward_misses_the_mark.php

    Woodward screwed up because for decades he has practiced “access journalism”, in which a reporter cultivates sources, then gives them a forum to air their complaints. Judith Miller served this role for Dick Cheney. Woodward has previously done it for George Bush and now for John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. The reporter is much less concerned with whether his source has an axe to grind than he is with keeping the source satisfied in order to ensure more access and more stories. Woodward has become rich this way.

    Once upon a time he accomplished a great feat of journalism. However, if you remember, Bernstein was the actual investigator and Woodward was the one with the contact, Deepthroat.

    Woodward had a long history of access to Deepthroat, who was revealed to be Federal Bureau of Investigation Associate Director Mark Felt. Woodward himself described their relationship:

    Woodward wrote that he first met Felt by chance in 1970, when Woodward was a Navy lieutenant in his mid-twenties who was dispatched to deliver a package to the White House’s West Wing. Felt arrived soon after, for a separate appointment and sat next to Woodward in the waiting room. Woodward struck up a conversation, eventually learning of Felt’s position in the upper echelon of the FBI. Woodward, who was about to get out of the Navy at the time and was unsure about his future direction in life, became determined to use Felt as a mentor and career advisor and so he got Felt’s phone number and kept in touch with him.

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

    That was a great career move. It taught Woodward that reporting was easy and extremely lucrative if you just cultivated your sources. What he didn’t learn was how easy it was to get burned if your source played you like a fiddle.

    So now, at the end of a long and successful career, Woodward has emerged as the poster child for all that’s wrong with access journalism.

    • Gregg Smith

      Woodward is right, it was Obama’s idea. Obama got his tax cuts. This whole deal is a mashed up mess of mashed up deals over years now. It’s easy for the left wing spin machine you cite to distract you. And  now you dutifully bash Woodward. Terrific.

      • NewtonWhale

        Saying it was Obama’s idea is like one spouse blaming the other for their divorce because “You asked me to marry you.”

        • Gregg Smith

          This is the way Obama rolls. It’s my way or the highway; it’s moving the goalpost; it’s threats and fear-mongering.

          • NewtonWhale

            Woodward a few minutes ago on Morning Joe:

            “No, I did not feel threatened,” Woodward responded.  

          • Gregg Smith

            I don’t care if he felt threatened or not. He was right. It was Obama’s idea, he owns it. The whole thing is based on a threat and Obama is fanning those flames. That’s the threat that matters. He’s moving the goal post and Woodward has already documented the inconsistencies in Obama’s rhetoric.

          • NewtonWhale

            The first part of Woodward’s claim — that Obama’s side came up with the sequestration idea — is very narrowly true, but it’s a meaningful point only if you ignore everything that happened before and after. The reason Obama came up with sequestration is that House Republicans had threatened a global economic crisis by refusing the raise the debt ceiling, so the two sides needed a way to get them to lift the debt ceiling. If a mugger demands your wallet, you say you left the wallet at home but offer your watch, it’s a wee bit unfair to describe the plan to give him a watch as “your idea.”
             
            Woodward’s second point — “moving the goalposts” — has been torn to shreds like a hunk of meat tossed into the lion cage. Brian Beutler points out that the law didn’t call for spending cuts to be put into place, it called for “deficit reduction.” David Corn adds that Boehner himself conceded the possibility, however remote, that sequestration could be replaced with some mix of higher revenue and lower spending. Dave Weigel points out that Woodward’s own book says the same thing. There’s nothing left at all to the point Woodward is trying to argue here.

            http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/02/weird-philosophy-of-bob-woodward.html#sthash.c9eFnTZI.dpuf

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

            I guess I was ahead of the curve noticing that Woodward has morphed an unreliable narrator, self-aggrandizing hack, and quote hoor.

      • Don_B1

        “Obama got his tax cuts”???

        Obama campaigned on preserving the Bush tax cuts for those earning under $250,000; he ended up NOT getting the revenue increase from those earning between $250,000 and $450,000, just for starters.

        Just last December, John Boehner was advocating eliminating tax expenditure loopholes and now is adamantly rejecting any movement on that course of action.

        Woodward was his own worst enemy in this, exposing his inability to properly analyze the facts he can dig up either because he is not that smart, or because he is playing a self-aggrandizing pit the players against themselves game.

        Try reading Jonathan Chait:

        http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/02/weird-philosophy-of-bob-woodward.html

        Of course you won’t, or if you do, you will ignore the message and keep arguing that Obama “created” the sequester, when he did it ONLY to meet the House of Representatives Tea/Republicans’ demand for across-the-board spending cuts. The mistake President Obama made was misreading the total intransigence of the Tea/Republicans on ANY increase of revenues from the wealthy, who, by the way, are most responsible for the way the big investment banks used subprime mortgages to back derivatives used for overleveraged speculation, crashing the financial system.

        Get real instead of just trying to use snark to win “debating points,” which do NOTHING toward solving the REAL problems, the chief one being unemployment, for which Republicans have NO, repeat NO, solutions.

  • Gregg Smith

    Joe Biden advised women just blow a hole through the front door and whoever is on the other side with a double barrel shotgun. That’s illegal.

    HE advocates a shotgun over an AR-15 because it’s easier for women to shoot. Is he nuts? This is hilarious:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0IVSGctQIg&feature=player_embedded

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      I don’t suppose ANY of those women were trained to fire the weapon and had practiced with it before the videos were shot.

      • Gregg Smith

        I know, Biden’s a hoot!

  • jimino

    Regardless of whose idea the sequester is, its across the board cuts are precisely what so-called conservatives have long advocated.  The tea partiers now in control of the republican party have finally given them the opportunity to implement their policy.  No self-claimed conservative posting here could possibly be critical of cutting government spending, could they?  

    • Gregg Smith

      That’s a great point. What bugs me is the purposefully created deluge of fear out of a drop in the bucket… and willy nilly at that. Nothing gets done, we’re still spending more and more. How can real solutions ever be reached? 

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      I agree we need cuts.  The double digit growth in spending is unsustainable regardless of what we spend the money on.  We need to stop growing the Federal government at the expense of everything else.  It is regrettable that there are those in the Federal government that are willing to, “throw out the baby and keep the bath water.”  But enough petty and unpatriotic people have wormed their way into the halls of power that they will make this as ugly a process as it can be.  Can anyone seriously believe that in a budget of $3,600 Billion that $41 Billion can only be cut by empting jails?  It is more believable that 175 million Americans will loose their jobs.  

  • Coastghost

    How in this world can it be that NPR and “On Point” are not regaling us with countless stories about just how dire sequestration is about to impinge upon their operations? How many interns will be let go? How many producers? How many assistant and associate producers? How many reporters are being furloughed? Which shows are being cancelled? How many stations will have to shut down? Won’t we see the ill effects immediately, as advertised? Ten minutes of silence each hour? TELL US, PLEASE, YOUR PUBLIC HAS A NEED TO KNOW! 

    • ensteph

         No wait, wasn’t the sequester officially supposed to start in Janurary and go till September? Which brings us down to seven months. And after everything is sliced and diced and divided up the powers that be offer up a new budget reflecting new realities of reapportioned monies to the back end rather than the front end of the fiscal year expressing a major gambit of ‘one of these days they’ll get their shit together and we’ll be none the wiser.’ Or this game of chicken doesn’t end today but just reinvents itself ad nauseum!

    • toc1234

      since you brought it up, it appears the Boston chapter (WGBH/WBUR), where I believe TOm works, has room for cuts…

      In 2011, a Herald review found that more than a dozen WGBH execs at the taxpayer-subsidized flagship station were making more than $200,000 a year while working in an $85 million multimedia headquarters dubbed the “Taj Mahal.”

      • J__o__h__n

        The stations are not connected.  Tom only works for WBUR.

    • nj_v2

      ^ Nearing the bottom of the descent to useless, irrelevant trolldom.

      Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

    • Don_B1

      Because NPR gets less than 10% of its money directly from CPB, etc., the effects are probably not well known as other CPB support goes to individual stations, which is most significant at public broadcasting stations in rural areas, and is used by them to purchase programs from NPR, APM, etc.

      The cumulative effects on NPR programming is probably not yet known.

  • Michiganjf

    I SO welcome many Republicans’ new-found acquiescence to modern mores:

    1) acceptance of gay marriage
    2) acceptance of reasonable restrictions on fire-arms
    3) acceptance of the fact that MOST Americans don’t want the religion of others IN THEIR FACE

    … BUT these are the three pillars (3-Gs) of post-Reagan conservativism: Gods, Guns, and Gays.

    Republicans have long been able to rally their base almost exclusively on the 3-Gs, appealing to the most worst nature of Haters and the intolerant in America in order to build and retain a successful political coalition.

    … without the 3-Gs, Republicans have nothing to offer post-Reagan social conservatives!!!

    Conservativism will have to go back to its pre-Reagan fiscal emphasis, and not much else… and fiscal conservativism alone is pretty unappealing these days, coming from a party which serves ONLY the interests of 1-3 percent of the population, with NO balance regarding the fiscal interests of the vast majority of the populace.

    Will the relative disappearance of the 3-Gs mark the end of Republicanism?

    Do Republicans have anything at all to offer a modern, diverse America?

    • Acnestes

       You forgot Greed.

      • Michiganjf

        That’s the Republican “fiscal conservative” part… “conserve” wealth for use by the rich.

        • Acnestes

           Just going with the “G” theme. :-)

          • Gary Trees

            Ooh ooh, me too!

            Gridlock?

          • Don_B1

            Greed was ALWAYS the foundation of their motivation, but it was silent as they knew it would not be a big seller among the middle and lower income voters.

            Class warfare cannot be naked except when you claim the other guy is waging it when he calls you for waging it.

    • DeJay79

       ”Do Republicans have anything at all to offer a modern, diverse America?”

      No.

    • William

      Other than becoming Greece what do the Democrats offer us?

  • northeaster17

    I think today’s sequester deadline is just another false deadend. I’ve heard that the more sustantial effects of the sequester are not supposed to be felt for around 30 days. I’m sure the principles know this. What’s a few speed bumps if they can agree sometime this March. It’s called poker. But still this deadline stuff is for the birds.

  • Coastghost

    Oh, and a swoon of violins, if you please (BEFORE sequestration ensues), for conscientious traitor and brave self-righteous sniveling twerp Bradley what’s-his-name (I know people of that surname possessed of actual moral fiber and backbone). What courage the little soldier has shown, betraying brothers-in-arms and his own country just so he could advertise his vast ethical pomposity, his horrifically stupendous naivete, and his enormous stores of emotional composure and intestinal fortitude. Go, little Bradley: retire to the prison cell you’ve earned for yourself, while your pal Julian inspects the interior of the Ecuadoran embassy in London for the nth time.

    • northeaster17

      The emperor with no cloths hates to be called out.

    • nj_v2

      ^ Sniveling, vile tripe from a small, shriveled mind.

    • sickofthechit

       If you want to rail against a traitor, might I suggest Dick Cheney?  He, much more than Bradley Manning deserves to be tried for Treason.  It was Cheney who outed
      Valerie Plame, a CIA operative.  While she may not have been covert at the time, it was her contacts (both inside and outside the agency) then and in the past that Cheney exposed to the enemy.  If that isn’t aiding and abetting the enemy then I don’t know what is.  I say indict that coward first, before Bradley Manning.
      Charles A. Bowsher

      • Gregg Smith

        “ It was Cheney who outed 
        Valerie Plame, a CIA operative.”

        Didn’t happen.

        • sickofthechit

           When Cheney finally grows a pair or when the Scooter no longer fears for his life it will come out.  That of course was delayed by the heart transplant…

          • StilllHere

            You must have some deep-seated feelings of testicular inadequacy or your boyfriend’s short one.

          • sickofthechit

             Wrong on both counts.  I am just furious that Cheney’s bullying manner is still an acceptable mantle for a so called leader to wear.  His hubris is sickening. Wait for the upcoming Documentary to get a better glimpse inside the psycopath that is Dick Cheney.

      • William

         Ask Colin Powell who outed Valerie Plame.

  • StilllHere

    Incredible, sequestration is here and the sun still rises.  If it does so tomorrow and the days that will follow, this will be bad for Obama.  His minions better get to sabotaging the government pretty soon or we’ll soon learn what we have known at the state and local level, you can get just as much done with a lot less from taxpayers and lenders.

    • sickofthechit

       Spoken like one from the party that every  time it gets in power by every action they take attempt to prove that government can’t do good things.  Why any intelligent, educated, aware American ever votes Republican is beyond me.

      • StilllHere

        That says more about you than it does about Americans.

    • hennorama

      StilllHere -  A day early and a fact short.  Not that one is surprised, of course.

      Sequestration is not here, yet.  Pres. Obama has until 11:59 PM tonight to “order a sequestration” according to law.

      “On March 1, 2013, the President shall order a sequestration for fiscal year 2013 pursuant to section 251A of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.”

      Pres. Obama has until 11:59 PM tonight to “order a sequestration”.

      “Brilliant!!” as usual.  Perhaps you should do what you typically do and simply recycle your diatribe tomorrow.

      http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57571644/when-does-the-sequester-start-dont-ask-washington/

      • StilllHere

        You are a joke.

  • toc1234

    can you explore why Obama won’t accept the discretion that the GOP is trying to give him in order to make the cuts more targeted and less painful? 

    and perhaps Obama already has the discretion: ” Programs, projects and activities are a technical category of the federal budget, but the sequester actually occurs at the roughly 1,200 broader units known as budget accounts. Some accounts are small, but others contain hundreds of PPAs and the larger accounts run to billions of dollars. For the Pentagon in particular, the distinction between PPAs and accounts is huge. This means in most cases the President has the room to protect his “investments” while managing the fiscal transition over time. “  wsj 27feb

    • StilllHere

      Great question.  I also like a discussion of budgetary authority versus spending cuts.  The whole sequestration thing is very squishy.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      The whole discretion thing sounds like an opportunity for the Republicans to take credit for the cuts while being able to criticize Obama for each that cut that was made.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        That sounds about right.  But a leader would expect that and not be detered from doing the right thing for our nation.  President Obama feels more comfortable campaigning than leading.

        • J__o__h__n

          Who says that the cuts are the right thing for the nation?

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

          Your comment has been put on anonymous hold and will not qualify for an up or down vote until 60% of the board approve.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            That’s funny. I didn’t realize you had it in you.

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

            Hey, at some point, no matter what our Beltway Inbreds say, whiny-ass GOP babies will be whiny-ass GOP babies. That they’re cloaking it in their concerned, adult voices on the evening news doesn’t make their tantrums any more infantile.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            …and the moment of wit passes, replaced by the same-old talking points.  

    • J__o__h__n

      The point of the sequestration was to make the cuts too stupid and painful to make so that they would have to negotiate a solution.  The Democrats don’t want cuts this large.  Why should we make cuts without more revenue from closing loopholes?  Why should Obama be forced to make cuts that he doesn’t want?  Obama did make a mistake in not thinking the Republicans would be this irresponsible when this stupid solution was proposed. 

    • MrNutso

      The cuts are across the board.  Every program must be cut by the same percentage.

      • BHA_in_Vermont

        Yet we are hearing of 1 day per week furloughs.
        “In 2013, non defense programs will be cut by nine percent, and defense programs will be cut by 13 percent.

        How is someone losing 20% of their paycheck equate to a 9% or 13% cut “across the board”?

  • JGC

    I am still trying to figure out Dr. Benjamin Carson and all the conflicting ideas he laid out; for instance, how he applauds public infrastructure being built thanks to generous private donations over the past 100+ years or so, as if privately supported infrastructure has had a larger impact than government (taxpayer) supported infrastructure projects.

    I am thinking, from his point of view, maybe that is what has had the largest impact on the ability to practice his profession in a modern facility with the best, newest equipment. Most large individual private donations tend to go to vanity projects like the expansion of a hospital center with the donor’s name attached.   

  • DeJay79

    sequestration is on (good or bad) and yet both sides would rather point fingers at each other than find a solution.

    my support goes to people (not parties) that work this out.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Does anyone believe that they can’t cut $85B from $3.6T annual Federal spending without pain if they wanted to?

    Obama’s insistence on new revenue is damaging.  If he was an honest player he would save that fight while pushing for pro-growth tax reform.

    Obama claims he wants a balanced approach but he had ZERO balance when he just raised taxes $600B two months ago.

    • sickofthechit

       That $600B was only a down payment on what needs to be clawed back from the wealthy for all the largesse of the Temporary Bush Tax Cuts they enjoyed that never did  “create” any real measurable number of jobs as they claimed.  Add to that the need to start taxing as ordinary income the so called “Carried Interest” as well as special treatment of dividends and Interest and we might actually be able to do a little debt reduction and investment in America’s future.

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

      That dream about what Obama should do (after which you’ll approve I guess you mean) is a bit delusional given the gobstopping GOP holding everything up.

      Any Democrat going out of their way to get your approval is doing something wrong.

  • MrNutso

    Well Mr. Speaker, how much more money will you be stealing from the American people by claiming you are actually doing your job?

    • StilllHere

      Now I understand what your name means.

      • nj_v2

        ^ Troll

  • sickofthechit

    Sequestration is a four syllable word that the President should answer with a four letter word,  VETO!  charles A. bowsher

    • StilllHere

      He already passed it, after he created it.  He’s dumb, but not that dumb.

      • sickofthechit

        Actually the Senate and the House passed it after he or the Whitehouse came up with the idea. Maybe he issued a “Double Secret Veto”….?

  • nj_v2

    Jackassery of the week; Rethuglicon, right-wing edition.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/01/us/politics/house-republicans-cheer-boehners-refusal-to-negotiate-on-cuts.html?hp&_r=0

    Boehner Halts Talks on Cuts, and House G.O.P. Cheers

    WASHINGTON — Speaker John A. Boehner, the man who spent significant portions of the last Congress shuttling to and from the White House for fiscal talks with President Obama that ultimately failed twice to produce a grand bargain, has come around to the idea that the best negotiations are no negotiations.

    As the president and Congressional Democrats have tried to force Mr. Boehner back to the table for talks to head off the automatic budget cuts set to take effect on Friday, Mr. Boehner has instead dug in deeper, refusing to even discuss an increase in revenue and insisting in his typical colorful language that it was time for the Senate to produce a measure aimed at the cuts.

    (excerpt)

    http://www.bradblog.com/?p=9891

    Dark Day at the U.S. Supreme Court as Voting Rights Act Comes Under Rightwing Attack

    Early word on what happened today during the U.S. Supreme Court’s hearing on the crucial Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County, AL v. Eric Holder is not encouraging. This could come to be seen as a very dark day for voting rights in this country, as a landmark provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act may be on the verge of being dismantled and, arguably, a half a decade of civil rights advancements along with it.

    (snipped)

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/02/scalia-attacks-congress-for-renewing-voting-rights-act.php

    Scalia: Voting Rights Act Is A ‘Perpetuation Of Racial Entitlement’

    In expressing his deep skepticism Wednesday for the constitutionality of a centerpiece of the Voting Rights Act, Justice Antonin Scalia questioned the motivations of Congress for repeatedly reauthorizing it since it was initially passed in 1965.

    “I don’t think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act,” Scalia said during oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder. “They are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act. Even the name of it is wonderful — the Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?”

    (snipped)

    http://mtcowgirl.com/2013/02/26/hero-rep-david-halvorson-takes-a-stand-against-the-devils-fruit-that-is-science/

    MORE JUNK SCIENCE FROM THE GOP

    Today’s TEA Party Republican idiocy comes from David Halvorson (R-Sidney). Speaking on the floor of the Montana House of Representatives, this former director of Montana Right-to-Life offered fake “scientific information” he’d found on the Internet shows “the evil, the absolute evil” that results from allowing women to decide whether and when they will have children.

    Halvorson held forth on the classic crank argument that “abortion causes cancer,” and that women who get abortions are “six times more likely to commit suicide.”

    (snipped)

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/02/27/idaho-lawmaker-force-all-adults-into-militias-to-protect-gun-rights/

    Idaho lawmaker: Force all adults into militias to protect gun rights

    A Republican lawmaker in Idaho has proposed an amendment to the state Constitution that would require all adults to be militia members in an effort to preserve their right to bear arms.

    At a Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday, state Sen. Jim Rice (R) said that he feared that the U.S. Supreme Court would change the definition of the Second Amendment and allow the federal government to confiscate guns owned by individuals, according to The Associated Press.

    But Rice argued that the federal government could never take away people’s guns if the Idaho Constitution was changed to make all adults members of the state militia as a “backstop.”

    (snipped)

    • 1Brett1

      Always enjoy these! Keep ‘em coming!

    • William

      You forgot Obama’s war on the country class with his lies on this spending cut.

  • LianeSperoni

    You know where the money that we need is buried? Under Wall Street, but evidently no one in Washington has the guts to go get it.
    You don’t need to tax- just charge them with criminal activity already and confiscate all their ill-begotten profits.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The sequester is just a camouflage word for “austerity” – austerity is always painful and always a weight on economies in the short term. And Washington is ready to deal with this by turning it into a 365x24x7  blamefest.

    • MrNutso

      How well has austerity worked in Europe?

  • sickofthechit

    Every State in the Union needs to have recall petitions available to recall their idiots from Washington.  Would that we had that here in Kentucky, McConnell would have been gone a long, long time ago!

    • J__o__h__n

      He has been elected six times.  They have had many opportunites to get rid of him if they wanted to. 

      • sickofthechit

         He’s had a close call or two, maybe this time…

    • StilllHere

      You get a chance to recall every six years, and yet you don’t.  This must reflect that you are completely out of touch with your fellow residents, please stop speaking on their behalf.

      • sickofthechit

         No, I am not out of touch with my fellow Kentuckians, they are just not as willing as I am to invest time in learning what Mitch is actually doing up on Capital hill.

    • DeJay79

       I agree that Mitch ‘I don’t get sarcasm’ McConnell should go. but do you really think he would lose this state?

      • sickofthechit

         All I have at this point is Hope….

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      Yeah wish we could put Elizebeth Warren on trial for practicing law without a licence. 

      • StilllHere

        She only practices Indian law!

        • nj_v2

          ^ Troll

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

          If we were going backwards, that’d get more funny and pointed every time you tell it.

      • John_in_Amherst

         when WAS the last time anyone from a major bank was prosecuted?

      • jefe68

        The level of inanity is astounding.

        The General Council of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers is sating that Warren is in the clear.

        Rule 5.5 of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct states that an attorney cannot, without a license to practice in Massachusetts, “establish an office or other systematic and continuous presence in this jurisdiction for the practice of law.” It also states an attorney cannot, without a license, “hold out to the public or otherwise represent that the lawyer is admitted to practice law in this jurisdiction.”Michael Fredrickson, general counsel for the BBO [Board of Bar Overseers], says he does not believe a law professor would be considered to have “a continuous presence” or “an office practicing law.”

        “If they actually practice here – as some part-time law professors at some of the smaller schools do – they might,” Fredrickson says. “But being a professor at one of the large schools, their office is a professor’s office, and the fact that they tend to dabble in the practice of law doesn’t run afoul of our rule. I don’t think Elizabeth Warren would fall within that, such that she would have to register here.”

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          Again laws are for little people and Senator/Professor Warren one of the select.  Just like David Gregory.  Sad that Aaron Swartz didn’t make the it into the club.  

          • jefe68

            Typical. Change the subject when you are proven wrong.

            What does David Gregory have to do with Senator Warren?

            And what does Aaron Swartz have to do with your biased comment about Senator Warren?

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

             It seems as clear as crystal.  If you are a special person you can receive large sums for consulting work with out the need for a law license.  Or you can flout weapons laws on national TV and avoid prosecution while others rot in jail.  But you can break no law except having the wrong opinion and be hounded by vindictive prosecution.

          • jefe68

            Again, Senator Warren did not practice law illegally in the the state of Massachusetts.
            But you don’t care about the facts and twist in other incidents in an a effort to go off topic. Your original disparaging post was about Warren.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            That you are eager to turn a blind eye to the law breaking of politicians you support is not news to anyone. In fact you seem to have many here that support your opinion. Perhaps it is a low form of argument, but you would never stand for such conduct by a politician from the Republican Party. Because of that a wolf in sheep’s clothing like Elizabeth Warren can be elected to high office. It should embarrass you that you are so easily played by those that work against your stated goals.

            http://legalinsurrection.com/2012/09/elizabeth-warren-represented-massachusetts-client-in-massachusetts/

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

            I’m seriously confused about the vantagepoint of someone who’ll put Warren and Dancin’ Dave Gregory in the same group.

          • jefe68

            It’s a way of avoiding the truth. 
            This tea party guy made a false statement about Senator Warren which was easy to disprove. When confronted by this he changes the subject in a hope that people wont notice his inanity.

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

            Yeah. But the “go to” claim is pretty telling nonetheless.

            Sen. Warren and Dave Gregory, just putting on a Punch and Judy show? That’s a hoot.

            Warren has the potential to be the most trouble-makinist (in a good way) pol to march into the Beltway in many a year. Dave Gregory is a hack, a supplicant, a knob-slobberer. Anyone who can’t tell the two apart…

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    AS USUAL.

    The Republicans want government spending cut, as long as it doesn’t hit THEIR district, THEIR pet ‘projects’. We are going nowhere, just as we have since the “too horrible to happen” sequester was passed a year and a half ago 

    Is there an approval rating lower than ZERO??

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Funny how austerity is a good thing when we’re talking about somewhere else (like Greece) doing it. Not so much when it’s our turn.

    • StilllHere

      Calling this austerity is Washington hyperbole at its worst.

    • DeJay79

       I have not heard many people say that austerity is a good thing anywhere. the banks forced it on Greece and I would not say it is going well.

      • StilllHere

        The banks didn’t force it, the other countries of the EU did.  They’ve provided the bailout.

        • DeJay79

           I’m sorry your right.
          The banks, thru controlling the EU and its currency forced it on Greece.

          But don’t get me wrong its not like Greece was total innocent they did spend themselves into a deep deep hole.

          • StilllHere

            Where’d they get the money to spend?

  • sickofthechit

    John Boner is a liar, and a pox on the House of Representatives (The People’s House).  Flood their offices with emails and calls telling them to do their jobs!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Patrick-Dwyer-Jr/100002088204784 James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

    Don’t worry one bit about sequestration, the president will fold, he ALWAYS does. The republicians play him like a cheap fiddle.

  • fencyr

    There are some of us that are just lovin’ watching America screw itself into the ground. Your entire country is a crock.

    • DeJay79

       please inform us what country you live in so that we can compare apples to apples.

    • Gregg Smith
      • StilllHere

        Good times, thanks for the memories.

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

        Keep linking to Rush. It confirms what so many of us think about you.

        • Gregg Smith

          Do you mean you don’t like Rush?

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

            Well, what do you say about a thin-skinned glass-housed flamethrower who runs screaming to mama about being given 1% of the dirt he dishes out. Who can’t appear in public without holding the whip hand, cutting off people who can cross him with anything resembling a two-minute conversation.

            He wilts when taken out of his little hothouse, away from preaching to his self-involved audience and getting fluffed the mainstreamers who’re scared of saying “boo” to him, Rush has literally become incapable of picking on someone his own size.

            If that puts me into “I don’t like Rush”, then you caught me out.

          • Gregg Smith

            Rush os a harmless, lovable fuzzball. I didn’t say Ed Shultz.

          • nj_v2

            That’s sick.

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

            Nothing is more harmless than calling someone a slut, a prostitute, you cocksucking crackwhore.

            But I guess that makes me shrill.

      • jimino

        And to think that he started as a tongue-in-cheek comedy act until he realized there were actual people who took him seriously.  I would be ashamed too.

  • LianeSperoni

    If the government taxes Wall Street they are technically receiving stolen goods.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    It really comes down to one thing – how do you painlessly start shrinking an economy that requires growth to be viable? You can’t.

    • http://www.facebook.com/drpmeade Paul S Meade

       You have put so simply and correctly. All we have to do is look at what the severest austerity measures done to prop up the EU and Eurodollar. Some compromise is necessary but no one is going to blink. Yet.

      • StilllHere

        The Euro’s been strong against the Yen.  What do you make of that?

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          People are realizing that the Chi-comms are lying about GDP.

          • sickofthechit

             Amen

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Correct.

      Government spending pays people to work. It doesn’t matter if they work directly for the government, make military hardware that the govt buys and gives to other countries or they are repairing roads with federal transportation funds. Those people pay taxes and buy goods that provide jobs for other people that pay taxes and buy goods that ……

      Unless the private sector starts taking over some of the “programs” now run by the government, the only thing cutting government spending will accomplish is to increase the number of unemployed people and decrease tax revenue, thus increasing the deficit. Then we can watch “Groundhog Day” over and over and over because it will cause more cries to cut government spending.

    • jimino

      And what makes it even more painful is that almost all the growth over the past several decades has benefited an increasingly smaller number of people, a trend that has continued under the Obama administration.

      http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~saez/saez-UStopincomes-2011.pdf

  • OnpointListener
  • MrNutso

    The President has a deal.  Why don’t Republicans let the House and Senate vote on it?

    • StilllHere

      The Senate is going to vote and it won’t go well.

  • nj_v2

    Bipartisan jackassery:

    http://www.propublica.org/article/under-obama-more-appointments-go-unfilled

    Under Obama, More Appointments Go Unfilled

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services haven’t had a Senate-confirmed administrator since 2006. The Federal Labor Relations Authority has had only a single member since January and can’t issue decisions. And the Election Assistance Commission hasn’t had any commissioners at all since 2011.

    All presidential administrations have vacancies. But an analysis of appointments data by ProPublica shows that President Obama hasn’t kept up with his predecessors in filling them. A greater share of presidentially appointed positions that require Senate confirmation were sitting vacant at the end of Obama’s first term than at the end of Bill Clinton’s or George W. Bush’s first terms.At least 68 of the positions remain vacant, including 43 that have been vacant for more than a year.

    The vacancies have been spread across dozens of different departments and agencies, with some hit harder than others.  At the Department of the Interior, for instance, six of its 18 appointed positions were vacant at the end of Obama’s first term. The department had three vacancies midway through Clinton’s presidency and only one midway through Bush’s.The lack of appointed leaders can create problems. Too many vacancies can put agencies “in stand-down, waiting for policymakers to show up,” said Terry Sullivan, a political science professor at the University of North Carolina who has studied appointments.

    (clipped)

    http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/02/28/1650441/graham-menendez-backdoor-war-iran/?mobile=nc

    Hawkish Senators Ready Backdoor To War With Iran

    Two hawkish Senators want to set U.S. policy in favor of prematurely pulling the “military option” trigger against Iran, pledging American backing of absolutely any strike by Israel against Iran and its nuclear program.

    …Couched in such seemingly benign language, the resolution saves its most worrisome clauses for the end, including an open-ended policy of U.S. support for any Israeli strike against Iran:

    Urges that, if the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in self-defense, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence.

    (excerpts)

    • Ray in VT

      How about the criticism of Michelle Obama at the Oscars or last week Herman Cain saying that 51% of Americans have a severe ignorance problem?

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

        Part of me loves that Cain has no handlers at this point. I cannot otherwise explain his “severe ignorance problem” comment, except by comparing it to a stilt-walker on a greased tightrope over a shark tank. Really, Herman Cain, don’t go there. It will not end well for you.

        • Ray in VT

          We should give the man a break, though.  I heard that he was really tired after his trip to Beki-beki-beki-stan.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT – Mr. Cain’s entertainment value seems boundless:

            From making up a language (“How do you say ‘delicious’ in Cuban?”)

            And using pizza toppings as an indicator of ‘manly vs. sissy’ (“The more toppings a man has on his pizza, I believe the more manly he is…. Because the more manly man is not afraid of abundance…. A manly man don’t want it piled high with vegetables! He would call that a sissy pizza.”)

            And his odd sources of inspirational quotes, from both a Donna Summer song in Pokémon: The Movie 2000, and “President Schwarzenegger” in The Simpsons Movie.

            To making up a an entire country “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan”.

            This guy is a true job creator … for comedians.

            Quote source:
            http://theweek.com/article/index/221608/9-most-ridiculed-herman-cain-quotes

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

            Not to “go there”, but Georgian and NECI (New England Culinary Institute grad) Alton Brown’s show about making pizza at home said (paraphrase) “Adding more ingredients to a pizza is done to hide a mediocre crust. If you have a great crust, all you need is a touch of sauce and cheese.”

            Whereas Herman Cain mass-marketed pizza, claiming the more toppings, the more manly. (Don’t worry, womenfolk: I’m sure he means you  can be manly with toppings too–in the complementary Thatcherite way, not the bad lesbian way.)

            Who to believe? Whoooooo to believe?

          • hennorama

            TF – TY for your response. Alton Brown is a real character, and his show was usually very entertaining and always informative. I agree that the crust is everything when it comes to pizza, followed by the sauce, and only then the cheese and other toppings.

            Cain is just another in the series of flawed Republicans from the 2012 Presidential primaries. If Republicans wanted a businessman with a flat tax proposal, they could go to the far more experienced and well-known Steve Forbes. (Cain was Forbes’ campaign co-chair the last time Forbes ran, BTW). Instead, Cain gets pushed forward despite having gotten his [John Boehner expletive] kicked when Cain ran in the 2004 Georgia Republican Senate primary, by a 2-to1 margin.

            But he sure is entertaining, the way the royal court jester is entertaining.

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

            What can I say about Alton Brown besides I’m a big fan? I’m a sciency sort who was never taught to cook, and I find that he can teach on TV very well.

            I do think I caught you out on one thing: The classical role of the jester was to speak the truth to power because he did it in an outrageous, funny manner, and was often a dwarf or other marginalized type.

            I submit that none of our outlandish, entertaining, right-wing media figures qualify as jesters. They don’t have that kernel of truth at the core of their speeches.

          • hennorama

            TF – an excellent point about the jester’s role in literature and the theater.

  • LianeSperoni

    Wall Street bonuses in 2012 rose 8%- that’s 20 billion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JFrog.Stevens Jeremiah Stevens

    Every branch of the government is failing at their job. Democrat or Republican doesn’t matter at this point. They won’t compromise at all and because of that, the American people will lose.

    • StilllHere

      American’s voted for the status quo.  We had a chance for a different way, but decided better.

      • BHA_in_Vermont

         Only “kind of”. Republicans lost seats in both the house and senate.

        • StilllHere

          Well, that “kind of” didn’t matter since all the same players are back in the same positions of power, aka the status quo.

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

            “When the GOP loses an election, it doesn’t mean anything. Except status quo. And bothsidesdoit. And people were really voting for notgovernment.”

            Wow.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Obama doesn’t want control over the sequester because he has zero interest in governing or leading.  He never has.

    • StilllHere

      Hey, he just created it and signed it into law.  No fingerprints there!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    It’s not surprising the Republicans want to give the President “discretion” over the cuts to be made. The Republicans had a clear playing field to make any cuts they wanted 10 years ago and they wouldn’t go there on their own then, either.

  • MrNutso

    Unfortunately caller, the President can’t put congress in time out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Young/1000735999 Kevin Young

    “Democracy is the uncommon notion that the American people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”     – H.L. Mencken

  • toc1234

    it doesnt have to be this painful if Obama would accept the discretion.  unfortunately he has made the politcal calculation that the more painful the cuts the more political gain for him.  btw Jack – the president’s plan doenst cut:


    “For a look at this “balance” in action, consider the sequester-reprieve bill offered Thursday by Senate Democrats and endorsed by the White House. To replace the $85 billion in cuts this year, the bill proposed various tax increases and some defense and farm-subsidy cuts over 10 years that add up to—zero net spending cuts.
    The Congressional Budget Office “estimates that S. 388 would increase direct spending by $62.4 billion and revenues by $55.1 billion over the 2013–2023 period. Thus, the cumulative deficit would increase by $7.2 billion from those changes,” said CBO in its report on the Senate bill.
    So a bill that purports to reduce the deficit as much as the sequester, only in a more “balanced” fashion, doesn’t even reduce the deficit at all. It increases it.”  wsj 1mar

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Taxes were raised to pay for WWII and stayed high through the Korean War, they didn’t drop until the deficit dropped.

    THAT is the difference between responsible government and what we have now.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       You are forgetting that spending was slashed after WWII.  The sequester doesn’t even cut spending.  It only slows the growth in spending.

      • Kiep99

        Cold war spending increased in the DOD. Aircraft, missiles, etc.  It looks smaller because of the economic growth & the yet to be matched tax receipts.

      • BHA_in_Vermont

         Spending was “slashed” because we were no longer pumping money into wars on two fronts.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      There are several tax policy corrections I would agree with.  Let us start by removing the non profit status from the NFL?  I can name more if you will name the spending cuts you would support.

  • Loblanco

    I am concerned with another Goldmen Sachs former exec. being appointed to the Treasury. Government in the pockets of the Big Banks on Wall Street. Also the appointment of a former Citi Group VP to head the DCCC. These appointments just further show the corruption and money in our politics.

    • StilllHere

      Was he a Goldman guy?  I thought he was at Citi sucking at Rubin’s teat.

      • jimino

        I thought your ilk called them “job creators.”  Why so negative?

        • StilllHere

          Not Rubin, he’s the devil.

          • jimino

             What makes him so special?

          • StilllHere

            He’s the puppet master when it comes to financial posts in the Clinton and Obama administrations.

  • Loblanco

    I am concerned with another Goldmen Sachs former exec. being appointed to the Treasury. Government in the pockets of the Big Banks on Wall Street. Also the appointment of a former Citi Group VP to head the DCCC. These appointments just further show the corruption and money in our politics.

  • 1Brett1

    The Domestic Violence Law passed the House! (I guess House Republicans didn’t succeed enough in spinning issues associated with this law as bad for the American people or that Democrats were trying to harm the American people with this law, so they had no political choice but to vote in a nonpartisan manner.)

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

      Did it pass with or without the un-carveouts no longer protecting LGBT victims?

      The House GOP rewrote a version earlier this week without it.

      • 1Brett1

        That earlier version (which had included LGBT victims) passed the Senate but was defeated in the House by…wait for it…House Republicans. This one passed the House (and included LGBT victims and American Indian victims on tribal lands)…So, some good news! 

  • beeste

    The Republicans have not compromised 1 cent on taxes.

    To claim that they have conceded any of the tax rates that were already expiring is equivalent to saying that Obama has ceded spending by letting the stimulus expire.  The Bush tax cuts were written as temporary taxes.  No matter the intention, there has never been a law stating that in 2013 tax rates would be lower than they are today.  Republicans LIE when they say they’ve given on taxes.  Already expiring tax rates were never their’s to give.  

    • StilllHere

      Were alive in early January, or sleeping one off?

      • beeste

         I was alive then, as well as in 2001 when the Republicans passed tax cuts with an expiration date.  That was the day they conceded on future tax increases.

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

          If I remember, the GOP pinky-swore that the cuts were temporary.

      • BHA_in_Vermont

        To Republicans, “temporary” apparently means PERMANENT when it comes to tax cuts.

        And it wasn’t only the “rich” who took a hit. The amount of pre-tax money one could put in a health care savings account dropped from $5,200 to $2,500. That means I (who would really love to make a quarter mil a year) will be paying taxes on $2,700 more “income” even though my income will not increase. And I will, again, pay over $5,200 in medical expenses.

        And the TEMPORARY SS tax reduction went back up. Everyone with a job is affected by that. It means I will pay 2% more on every dollar my employer sends my way. But the rich don’t. The tax only applies to the first $113,700 of earned income.

        • StilllHere

          Please, Democrats love making temporary tax increases permanent; and this is about stealing people’s earnings permanently.  Tragic injustice of democracy.

      • jefe68

        You are such a nasty little man.

      • nj_v2

        ^ Troll

      • jimino

         See.  I told you it was over their heads.

    • jimino

      Way too complicated a thought for a right-wing brain to understand.

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB
    • nj_v2

      I’m not sure who you’re referring to.

      Real leftists opposed him. The corporodems gave Obummer his Wall Street/bankster guy.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        Thanks for clearing that one up for me.  So Prersident Obama isn’t a leftist.  Got it.  President Bush wasn’t a conservative and President Nixon wasn’t a crook.  

        • jefe68

          Ah yes, the right wing meme on Obama being some kind of left winger. He’s not, but obviously to you he is. From what one garners from your comments anyone left of Attila the Hun is a socialist.

        • nj_v2

          I’m still not sure who you were referring to. 

          And now i’m not sure what kind of dictionary you’re using. Or, maybe, you’re just making up your own definitions.

        • jimino

          Government jobs under GW Bush increased by 1.75 million.  Government jobs under Obama have been reduced by 692,000.  You tell me.

        • northeaster17

          Obama’s biggest achievement, the ACA, was a republican bill. Any leftist worth his salt would have seriously entertained a single payer plan.

    • jimino

      What would you expect from the 3rd most right wing post-WWII president?

      Yet a huge number of ignorant/brainwashed/stupid Americans consider him a socialist/Marxist/liberal. 

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        Who are the top two?  

        • jimino

          Reagan and W.

          Please note I said right wing, not conservative.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            Thank you for your response. I find the terms right-wing and left-wing increasing irrelevant. If your expanding the power of government and reducing the oversight of the people then you an enemy of liberty. It matters even less if you have a (D) or an (R) after your name.

  • MrNutso

    Tom, it was not a question of the White House not liking what Woodward had to say, it was a question that what Woodward said was wrong.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Can you cut $85B out of government spending?

    Probably.

    Can you do it in a day?

    NO. 

    BUT: They had a year and a half to figure it out.

    Can the people who are purportedly running this country AGREE on WHAT to cut to save $85B?

    NO WAY

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Washington made a bet that they would not be so stupid as to end up here. They lost.

    • hennorama

      WE lost, if this nonsense goes through as is.

  • Scott B

    That Woodward email is such a non-issue. It’s new organizations parsing one word in one phrase to make it sound horrible, and Woodward seem to be playing it up for face time.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Enough talk from ALL sides and sources. Never in Human History have more words been uttered and accomplished less. Wake up people it is time for action. Flood your Congressional Representatives, start seeking out facts and stop ingesting soundbites gleefully fed to us by Balking Heads. Are we going to stand idly by and applaud as we strangle ourselves out of existence? Apparently we are and if that’s how it plays out we couldn’t deserve it more.

    It’s ALL a tempest in a TeaPot Tom.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      On that we agree, but nothing more.  We must talk about this issue.  It is your job to present your plan and I will present ours.  It is through that debate (contest of ideas) that we will convince our fellow citizens of what needs to be done. 

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Gee Jack, what about Lanny Davis confirming the WH threatened him too? And what about Ploufffffe dissing Woodwards age?

    • StilllHere

      Give up on Jack, he only provides the NH recluse perspective.

  • sickofthechit

    Instead of trying Bradley Manning might I suggest Dick Cheney?  He,
    much more than Bradley Manning deserves to be tried for Treason.  It
    was Cheney who outed Valerie Plame, a CIA operative.  While she may
    not have been covert at the time, it was her contacts (both inside and
    outside the agency) then and in the past that Cheney exposed to the
    enemy.  If that isn’t aiding and abetting the enemy then I don’t know
    what is.  I say indict that coward first, before Bradley Manning.  Why do I call Cheney a coward?
    -Five deferments to avoid the possibility of being drafted to fight in a war (Viet Nam) he was busy supporting.
    -He helped send us to war in Iraq with his over the top Rhetoric -He supported torture as only a coward or a bully would (not much difference between a coward or a bully)
    -He was unwilling to admit that he was the one who outed Valerie Plame instead letting Scooter Libby take the fall for his cowardice
    -Shot a friend in the face and the friend ends up apologizing all over himself for causing problems for Cheney. 
    Dick Cheney, our most embarrassing Vice President ever.
     charles A. bowsher

    Charles A. Bowsher

    • Kyle

      No one is going to try Dick Cheney.  Let it go.  I didn’t like the man either but its foolish to say that Bradley Manning deserves to go free because Dick Cheney was a bad VP.  Manning didn’t expose some pinpointed information to blow the whistle on torture or something like that.  His file dump contained properly sensitive information that our country had a right to keep secret, and he deserves to go to prison

      • northeaster17

        Cheney was and is a criminal who profited greatly from the very war he worked so hard to commence.

      • sickofthechit

         Sorry, you are correct that I should not have said don’t try Bradley Manning. What  I should have said is “As well try Dick Cheney for Treason…..

  • sickofthechit

    Bob Woodward is a backstabbing sniveling whiner.  Grow a pair!

  • sickofthechit

    Anyone else notice how well dressed the Syrian Fighters are in the picture at the top of the page here?  Almost like they just unloaded their gear for a Photo Op.

    • hennorama

      sickofthechit – I don’t know about that.  The photographer is Hussein Malla, and he has been quite prolific in his coverage of the unfortunately far too common warfare in the Middle East and seems unlikely to have staged the shot.

      Put his name in your favorite search engine and you’ll find more of his photos, such as in this article from last year:

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/05/13/lebanon-clashes-syria.html

      The guy standing up appears to be using some variant of the Kalashnikov PK machine gun, probably the PKM.  The regular Syrian Army uses them, so it would be likely the Free Syrian Army rebels could acquire them fairly easily.  These weapons have a tripod, which when folded up helps to hold the magazine in place.  There’s a great deal of shadow in the photo so it’s tough to tell.

      These are similar to the M-249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon) the US military uses.

  • OnPointComments

    January 1, 2013 changes in tax rates for high income taxpayers:
     
    0.9% Medicare surtax on wages 
    3.8% Medicare tax applied to net investment income 
    5.0% Increase in capital gains rates
    4.6% Increase in top federal income tax rate
    >0%  Phase out of personal exemptions
    >0%  Phase out of itemized deductions
     

    >14.3% Increase in taxes on high income taxpayers
     

    Isn’t it odd that a greater than 14.3% increase in tax rates for high income earners isn’t enough for “the rich” to pay their “fair share,”  yet trimming the increase in spending by 2.5% is a cataclysmic, crippling, terrible, unwise, damaging, massive (just some of the adjectives used to describe the sequester) fiscal Armageddon.

    • Ray in VT

      I think that your 14.3% number is highly suspect.  You’ve added numbers together, although it would be highly unlikely that any high end tax earner would actually see that sort of increase.  For instance, Mitt Romney had has some $22 million in unearned income in 2011, so wouldn’t he only at most see an 8.8% increase in his tax burden, which would bring him about up the levels paid on capital gains throughout much of the 1990s.  If one only has earned income, then one doesn’t get hit by that 8.8%, and I think that the 4.6% only applied to income above a certain level, so the increase on that person’s total income would not reach that number.  So tops for such a person it would be 5.5%, wouldn’t it?

      • sickofthechit

         Also, Don’t forget that some or all of the Medicare Taxes are on a limited amount of income

        • Ray in VT

          Thanks, I forgot about that cap.

    • hennorama

      OPC – c’mon you know what you’ve posted is hyperbolic nonsense.

      There would only be “a greater than 14.3% increase in tax rates for high income earners” if ALL of their income was subject to ALL of those taxes simultaneously.   It’s not.

      If you don’t have wages, there’s no worry about the 0.9% increased Medicare withholding.

      If you don’t have investment income, you don’t have to be concerned about the 3.8% surtax.

      If you don’t have net long term capital gains or qualified dividends, you have no added tax to pay on them.

      If your TAXABLE income is under $400,000 (single) or $450,000 (married), there’s no increase to your marginal income tax rate.

      Let’s stop exagerrating, OK?

      • OnPointComments

        Note that I specified high income taxpayers.  I’m not going to research this statement, just go on gut feeling, but my bet is that most high income taxpayers have wages, investment income, long term capital gains, qualified dividends, and will be subjected to the phase out of personal exemptions and itemized deductions.  I’m sure if my gut feeling is wrong you’ll provide us with the evidence.  Regardless of whether I’m right or wrong, do you believe that the increase in taxes for high income taxpayers will be greater than 2.5%, an amount described as gigantic by those in hysterics over the sequester cut?

        • jimino

          The right wing goes histrionic,and claims imminent economic catastrophe at the mention of ANY tax increase, so you really have no valid point in distinguishing the two reactions.  I guess that’s just how the elite figures they have to communicate to the masses.

          • Ray in VT

            But the CBO says that low top end tax rates promote massive growth, which is why the GOP trotted out this report and ran with it all through the fall campaign:

            http://graphics8.nytimes.com/news/business/0915taxesandeconomy.pdf

          • Gregg Smith

            Tax hikes in a strong economy are fine. This ain’t that.

          • OnPointComments

            In government-speak, I bet the answer is “We CUT tax rates for high income taxpayers.  We wanted to increase the top federal income tax rate for high income taxpayers by 7%, but we only increased it by 4.6%, therefore we cut the top tax rate for high income taxpayers by 34%.”

        • hennorama

          OPC – TY for your response. I appreciate and respect your views.

          My point is that you cannot be an honest critic of people you describe as “those in hysterics over the sequester cut” if you yourself present inaccurate and/or exagerrated arguments.

          My point is not that those in the highest income groups don’t have different types of income. Rather, it is that the tax differences you listed do not apply to ALL types of income simultaneously, which is the implication of your inaccurate “a greater than 14.3% increase in tax rates for high income earners”.

          Both sides are exaggerating the impacts of the all-but-certain sequestration. But there WILL be significant impacts if they go through. The cuts will be neither equal, nor “across the board,” as they range from Sequestration is a very crude tool if one’s goal is to reduce Federal spending. There is no doubt that such cuts will reduce economic growth and cost some people their jobs.

          If your goal is instead to compare the relative sizes of various issues versus the political theater surrounding them, let me present another topic: illegal/unauthorized aliens (I/UAs).

          There is a range of estimates of the number of I/UAs – generally 11.1 million (Pew Hispanic Center’s number) to 24.54 million (a made up number from a website another poster cited). The Census Bureau’s “U.S. POPClock Projection” currently is 315.4 million, which makes the relative size of the issue in the range of 3.5 to 7.8 percent of U.S. Population.

          Given that some have labeled sequestration, with spending category changes of 2.0% to 10.0%, as small, unscary, minor, etc., then one might think those very same persons might consider the issue of I/UAs being 3.5% to 7.8% of the US population to also be small, unscary, minor, etc.

          Wouldn’t you agree?

          That’s what happens when one uses percentages to compare unlike issues.

          • OnPointComments

            In my opinion, discussing the two fiscal issues of raising taxes and cutting spending, and stating that a percentage increase in one is greater than the percentage decrease in the other, is not comparing unlike issues; if it were, why would the President consistently link spending cuts and tax revenues?

          • hennorama

            OPC – fair enough.

            To answer your question – Pres. Obama “link[s] spending cuts and tax revenues” because the stated goal of this debate is to reduce the deficit. There are only 3 ways to do so:

            1. Increase revenue

            2. Decrease spending

            3. Do both

            The President’s idea is to do both. Kinda easy to understand why he would then discuss both revenue increases and spending cuts together then, no?

            Your original post discussed ONLY tax changes for those you describe as “high income taxpayers” and “high income earners” as if ONLY those groups were impacted by changes in tax law for 2013.
            That’s clearly not the case. You also discussed “the rich” and their “fair share,” again as if only those you described thusly were affected, and that only they are somehow being treating unfairly, tax-wise.

            I really don’t want to get into the “fairness” argument, but let’s look at another tax change by using percentages, OK?

            The Social Security tax reverted back to its pre-2011 rate for employees and the self-employed. For employees with wages up to $113,700, this particular tax went up by 47.62% (from 4.2% to 6.2%). Is this “fair”? For those with SE income, this particular tax went up 19.23% (from 10.4% to 12.4%). Is that “fair”?

            Again, using percentages as your argument distorts the issues. It’s not really very constructive.

          • OnPointComments

            In today’s press conference, President Obama mentioned, multiple times, tax breaks for the well-off and well-connected; at the end of last year, we all heard arguments and comments, time and time again, about asking the rich to pay a little bit more.  When I pointed out that the rich are paying more in 2013, it’s not like it’s the first time the rich have been singled out for discussion.  You may have inferrred that my comment was intended to cover the universe of all tax changes, but that was not the intent.
             
            We’ll have to agree to disagree about whether discussing tax increases and spending cuts in the same conversation is constructive.  I believe that it is.

          • hennorama

            OPC – one final stat, OK?

            The CBO estimates that with the recent tax law changes, TOTAL Federal Revenues as a percentage of GDP will go from 15.8% in FY 2012 to 16.9% in FY 2013.

            This is an increase of 1.1 percentage points, less than half of the 2.5% figure you’ve cited, so it’s no big deal, right?

            See:http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/43907-BudgetOutlook.pdf

          • OnPointComments

            We could go on ad infinitum about whether the government needs more revenue or more spending cuts, but I sense we’d never come to a resolution.  I am firmly and unapologetically in the spending cuts camp, and believe that the government is rife with inefficiency, waste, fraud, abuse, and extravagant spending.  My primary quibble with sequestration is that the spending cuts aren’t nearly large enough.

    • StilllHere

      Exactly right.

  • Coastghost

    Gee, and Obama was SO decisive in overruling his Pentagon and intelligence advisors! Whenever will he get another comparable chance?

    • nj_v2

      Zzzzzzzzzzzzz…

  • MrStang

    The Plutocrats are skimming too much cream. They own the Republicans and rent key Democrats. Our productive gains in the past 30 years have gone to the 1%.

    We need a “RobinHood Tax“.

    ” A small tax on Wall Street that could
    transform Main Street, and more.
    This tax on the financial sector has the
    power to raise hundreds of billions
    every year to provide funding for jobs to
    kickstart the economy and get America
    back on its feet. It could help save the
    social safety net in the US and around
    the world.”
    http://www.robinhoodtax.org

    • OnPointComments

      And the number one rent-to-own key Democrat is President Obama through his nonprofit Organizing for Action, which will engage in influence peddling and pay for presidential access.
       
      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/23/us/politics/obamas-backers-seek-deep-pockets-to-press-agenda.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 
       
      “In private meetings and phone calls, Mr. Obama’s aides have made clear that the new organization will rely heavily on a small number of deep-pocketed donors, not unlike the “super PACs” whose influence on political campaigns Mr. Obama once deplored.
       
      Giving or raising $500,000 or more puts donors on a national advisory board for Mr. Obama’s group and the privilege of attending quarterly meetings with the president, along with other meetings at the White House. Moreover, the new cash demands on Mr. Obama’s top donors and bundlers come as many of them are angling for appointments to administration jobs or ambassadorships.”

      • StilllHere

        Sick.

  • BloodSweat

    The President is right to avoid opening a war chest to Syrian rebels.  The Iraq War and our history arming and funding Saddam Hussein should be a cautionary tale for the USA and our  involvement in other countries especially the middle East.

  • OnPointComments

    Histrionics on the sequester:
     
    Rep. Maxine Waters:  Sequestration could cause the loss of over 170 million jobs.
     
    For reference, there are about 314 million people living in the US.  So if you don’t count the elderly, children, and the disabled, it looks like everyone will lose their jobs because of a $44 billion cut from a $3.5 trillion dollar budget.
     
    Rumor has it that Rep. Waters wanted to send all of the unemployed to live on Guam, but Rep. Hank Johnson pointed out to her that an island can tip over if there are too many people on it.

    • StilllHere

      It’d be funny, if it wasn’t so sad. 

      • Ray in VT

        Haters of the Democrats shouldn’t cast too many stones if they are holding up GOP and the TEA Party politicians as alternatives:

        http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/shouts/2012/09/a-conservative-history-of-the-united-states.html

        • WorriedfortheCountry

           That is just a hitt piece.

          • Ray in VT

            It may not be pretty to read if one supports those who were quoted, but if one is going to rip Democratic politicians for their inaccurate comments, then one should be willing to take it when teh tabels are turned.  Do you dispute the accuracy of any of the comments listed, or do you merely dislike that it makes some in the GOP and the TEA Party sound like idiots?

          • 1Brett1

            With the Waters gaffe, she corrected the statement herself moments later in the same press comment (to $750,000 jobs). I guess to these guys that is horrible stupidity and all of the quotes in the New Yorker piece are a collective “hit job”….

          • OnPointComments

            I think you’ll find that attempts at humor frequently go over a liberal’s head.

          • Ray in VT

            That must be true.  I’ve been told for years that Rush is funny, and I’ve yet to hear anything come out of his mouth that I find even remotely amusing.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT – IMO, Rush “The OxyMoron” Limbaugh is comical, not funny – that’s a distinction with a difference.

            Just not in a good way.

          • Ray in VT

            Perhaps the distinction should be between comedy and farce.

          • 1Brett1

            Humor is usually something with wit, is clever, or otherwise is funny in some remote way…I’m hard-pressed to see “humor” in your comment. Could you explain the joke you were attempting to make? 

            Oh, also, interesting that you put “the” elderly and “the” disabled in a category of non-working folks (in the same category as children, I might add). I guess neocons are nothing if not anachronistic.

          • OnPointComments

            My comment to WorriedfortheCountry was specifically about his “hitt piece,” a reference to the author’s name in the New Yorker article, that appeared to elude Ray in VT, and perhaps you.

          • 1Brett1

            Oh, yeah, Worried, at least, has a sense of humor…you, on the other hand…

          • 1Brett1

            I was speaking about you comment about Maxine Waters

          • StilllHere

            It’s less funny when you have to walk them through it step by step, but it’s a good lesson for us.

        • hennorama

          Ray in VT – gotta love The “I’m eruditer than you” New Yorker.  Of course, erudition appears to not be the strongest suit of those quoted in the piece.

          Thanks for sharing.

  • RandyHD

    We have lost our way. Rampant change is the order of the day. Conservatives are trying to find a rooted place to stand, often drifting into reactionary hatred. Liberals are trying to adapt, with a moral compass that has lost its magnetism. We are overwhelmed by an avalanche of incomprehensible and meaningless data masquerading as wisdom.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      Not, “overwhelmed by an avalanche of incomprehensible and meaningless data masquerading as wisdom” so much as tired of the same bad ideas dressed up and trotted out as new.  

    • William

       Well said.

  • LianeSperoni

    NYT 1.28.2009

    By almost any measure, 2008 was a complete disaster for Wall Street — except,
    that is, when the bonuses arrived.

    Despite crippling losses, multibillion-dollar bailouts and the passing of
    some of the most prominent names in the business, employees at financial
    companies in New York, the now-diminished world capital of capital, collected an
    estimated $18.4 billion in bonuses for the year.

    That was the sixth-largest haul on record, according to a report released
    Wednesday by the New York State comptroller.

    While the payouts paled next to the riches of recent years, Wall Street
    workers still took home about as much as they did in 2004, when the Dow Jones
    industrial average was flying above 10,000, on its way to a record high.

    Some bankers took home millions last year even as their employers lost
    billions.

    • LianeSperoni

      At the height of the housing boom-fraud in 2006 Wall Street bonuses totaled over $35 billion.

      In 2007, they totaled just under $30 billion.

      Should that wealth be taxed or confiscated?

      • sickofthechit

        YES! YES!

      • nj_v2

        Sequester cuts = Wall Street subsidy

        http://www.globalresearch.ca/this-years-subsidy-to-wall-street-the-amount-of-this-years-sequester-cuts/5324725

        This Year’s Subsidy to Wall Street is Equal to the Amount of This Year’s Sequester Cuts

        On February 20th, Bloomberg News editors headlined, “Why Should Taxpayers Give Big Banks $83 Billion a Year?” and issued the first-ever thorough and current analysis of the taxpayer-subsidy to the Wall Street mega-banks. They found that this subsidy is $83 billion this year, but they made no note of the fact that this amount is only $2 billion less than this year’s sequester cuts are estimated to be, so that all that would need to be done, in order to avoid those cuts, would be to have those mega-banks that we bail out every year forego their subsidy from taxpayers, for just one year. Unfortunately, this would be easier said than done. 

    • LianeSperoni

      Were these bonuses or hush money?

  • Coastghost

    What an ambivalent violin virtuoso Jack Beatty is! (I’d hate to hear Jack being decisive and unambiguous.)

    • nj_v2

      Zzzzzzzzzzzz…

  • MrStang

    http://www.robinhoodtax.org

    ” Not complicated. Just brilliant.
    The Robin Hood Campaign – A
    Movement, and Now Legislation Too
    For many months, nurses, healthcare,
    environmental, labor, consumer, faith-
    based and other community activists
    have rallied on Wall Street, at banks and
    legislative offices, and outside the White
    House and Treasury Department, saying
    it is time to tax Wall Street to help revive
    our economy and nation.
    Now it’s no longer just a movement. It’s
    also legislation, H.R. 6411, the Robin
    Hood tax, introduced in Congress by
    Rep. Keith Ellison, one of the most
    progressive voices in Washington.”
    http://www.robinhoodtax.org

    • nj_v2

      Not a bad start, but a lot more than a .005% tax on Wall Street transactions is needed to fix the mess we’re in. 

    • twenty_niner

      This is a good idea on another level; it will effectively nuke HFT (high-frequency trading), which has turned the stock markets into an algorithm-driven high-speed betting parlor.

      Plan for heavy opposition from Democrats like Chuck Schumer, who’s the little marionette underneath Goldman Sachs’ hand.

      • jimino

        So which Republican do you expect to lead the charge on this?

        • twenty_niner

          Doesn’t matter, it has to get by the Senate Finance Committee which is owned by Wall Street.

    • William

      What prevents Wall Street, bankers from passing that tax on to the backs of their customers?

      • MrStang

        Maybe the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

  • twenty_niner

    The administration convulsing over the sequester like a crack addict with his pipe being snatched out of his mouth mid draw is ridiculous and does not bode well going forward. Even with the sequester, which amounts to $.024 cents on the dollar, outlays in 2013 will be more than 2012. You can’t print and borrow your way to prosperity, and currently, printing is far outweighing borrowing – about 90% of each Treasury auction is being monetized. 

    The feedback loop for printing/monetization when you have a reserve currency, which we have, is dangerously long, which is to stay that things are going to look hunky dory right up to the day they won’t be. At that point, the government will have used its last trump card, and the term, belt tightening will have a whole new meaning.

  • Iowa_Bob

    Aid to Syrian rebels?  After that do we send military equipment?  After that do we send ‘military advisors’?  Then troops?  Then try to bomb them into the stone age? Seems to me we wandered into that minefield in the 60s – and it did not work out well.

    • nj_v2

      “War is the health of the state.”
      —Randolph Bourne

  • MrStang

    ” The sequester was
    a punt. The point
    was to give both
    sides a face-saving
    way to raise the
    debt ceiling…. The
    hope was that…
    something would…
    change… the
    supercommittee…
    [would come] to a
    deal… [or] the 2012
    election [would
    resolve things]….
    [In 2012] the
    American people
    voted for the guy
    who wants to cut
    the deficit by
    increasing taxes….
    They also voted for
    a Senate that would
    cut the deficit by
    increasing taxes.
    And then they
    voted for a House
    that would cut the
    deficit by
    increasing taxes,
    though due to the
    quirks of
    congressional
    districts, they
    didn’t get one….”
    Ezra Klein
    http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/23/on-the-sequester-the-american-people-moved-the-goalposts/?hpid=z2

  • OnPointComments

    As annoying as that pop-up window on the OnPoint website is, I clicked on the one for “The Circus: Past And Future” to get a historical perspective of the Congress and Presidency.  It wasn’t what the show was about.

    • J__o__h__n

      Never click on them, it only encourages them.

  • Bruce94

    As we head for another fiscal crisis manufactured by an obstructionist, extortionist GOP, I wonder how many Tea Partiers does it take to change a light bulb or hold a Congressional caucus?

    Answer:  four paranoid, anti-government, conspiracy-theory wingnuts including

    –One laissez-faire, States’ rights libertarian stuck in the 18th century before light bulbs were invented

    – One flat earth, evolution and climate change denying, anti-choice, anti-gay religious zealot stuck in the Middle-Ages before electricity was discovered

    –One delusional militia-birther stuck in prehistoric times among the cave dwellers still learning how to make and control fire, and

    –One Mad Hatter (e.g. Eric Cantor or John Boehner) once again caving to the Tea Party extremists intent on plunging the nation headlong Through the Looking-Glass and over a Fiscal Cliff of one kind or another.

    These mad (i.e. crazy) Tea Partiers and their lackeys in the GOP leadership seem bent on planning the Misadventures of All-of-Us in Double Dip Recession Wonderland or at the very least a whole year of economic growth that is slower and unemployment that is higher than necessary.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       You forgot to blame Bush.

      • Ray in VT

        I don’t know, the more that I look at some of the more recent characters to emerge in the GOP the better former President Bush looks.  That is relatively speaking, of course.

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

          Why stop there?

          I didn’t even know if I was kidding when I started saying “GWB was loosed onto the world, into the White House, by GHWB, who wanted to look better by comparison.”

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t think that George H.W. Bush as too bad.  He seemed to have a fairly pragmatic foreign policy.  I think that he was less wedded to ideology than either his son or much of the current GOP.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Bush tax cuts, wars, and medicare part D forbidden by law to negotiate prices are a big part of any problems we have now. That is a fact. The day Obama took office they did not suddenly stop contributing to the deficit, y’know. Or do you?

        Sure I blame my ‘ol buddy W. He was a disaster. However a Ray says, he looks like Lincoln compared to the whack jobs speaking for the current GoP.

        Speaking of Lincoln, every day it looks more like the civil war was a mistake. It would be SO nice to have the radical right in another country.

    • twenty_niner

      Exactly. Why have a budget when you have a printing press? Need $85 billion? Print some money. Need a bridge? Print some money. Need to run payroll? Print some more money. This is not a gag. This is what’s happening.

      The tech bubble was replaced by a housing bubble, which is now being replaced by a government spending/printing bubble and a little housing mini bubble on the side, courtesy of the Fed’s MBS easing. Now guess which one will have popped the loudest.

      • Bruce94

        Instead of printing money, we could always close tax loopholes, thereby, raising revenues at the same time we cut spending or reform entitlements–what I would call a common sense ‘fair and balanced’ approach that is patently obvious to anyone except those suffering from collective amnesia or unable to understand the concept of walking and chewing gum at the same time.

        Recall what happened in the mid-1980′s when we had sequestration during the second term of Saint Reagan’s administration–the national debt quadrupled!

        All indications are that this time around sequestration will slow growth to such an extent that the deficit (as if it really matters to the Tea Party and their apologists) will get worse, while the working poor and middle-class once again bear the burden of an ostensible “deficit reduction” program so that the mega-corporations and super rich can continue to exploit the tax code.

        Actually, this Congressional abdication is not so much about “deficit reduction” as it is about individual wealthcare and corporate welfare.  It totally ignores the real driver of the national debt, which is spiraling health care costs.  Hence, the pain imposed by these budget cuts (made without regard to the efficacy of the specific programs and services impacted) is without justification.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Tired talking points. It’s normal for the gvt to borrow money, the deficit is no big deal, and it’s expected following the biggest economic crash since 1929. Besides, what do you expect with romney types paying under 13% and big corporations paying nothing?

    • Steve__T

      When you said mad this picture came to mind. I thought it Appropriate, considering they are MAD.

      http://media.dcentertainment.com/sites/default/files/MAD-Magazine-Alfred-for-President-Brink.jpg

      • Bruce94

        Thanks for your take on MAD.  Didn’t we have Alfred E. Newman in the last election masquerading as the GOP contender…the “What me, worry about the poor?” candidate who wrote off 47% of the electorate as “takers” :)

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

    Having to remind John Boehner that bills passed in a previous Congress don’t count now, then hearing him asking the Senate to “get off its ass” reminds me of a dating couple.

    SHE: You’re afraid of commitment! Will you ever propose?
    HE: I’m not afraid. Ask my last two girlfriends–I proposed to them!

    John Boehner is not good at his job.

  • Gregg Smith

    Americans just saw their income drop the most it has in 20 years. Damn that Bush.

    • Fredlinskip

      I agree with you for a change.
      Incomes dropped a whole lot after the Great Depression hit as well (quite a bit more actually). 2008  was almost as devastating a crash- but handled better, as soon as W& co left that is

      • Gregg Smith

        You’re still blaming Bush?

        • Fredlinskip

           I am of the belief that ’08 crash, unlike Dotcom bubble crash was a serious event.
          . Handled poorly the situation could be much worse. Obama admin reversed a lot of these trends, but it is a LONG uphill struggle. This wasn’t your Daddy’s recesion. Even the  ”tools” Obama admin had to deal with issue were limited, because for one, interest rates were already zero. (when big recession hit under Reagan, interest rates were lowered from 20′s to 7% thereby granting cover for his self-destructive policies).
          I believe we’ve had these discussions before.
          One things for sure, nothing would have changed had we continued the same policies that got us there.
             It’s also obvious that GOP has not offered a whole lot of help in this process and have just regurgitated the same policy- nothing new.
             Sure wish Congress worked together, because we need to work out some major issues still, including improving health care system, which unlike GOP claims is FAR from best in world- certainly in cost efficiency.
             Lock Congress in a room without camera, without, journalists and don’t let’ em out until they get something done- like constitutional convention.
             We seem to be on long slow positive trajectory, which is a lot better than trying what’s going on in England, for example.
             Income inequality is still way out of wack. Because of this consumer spending is not stimulating economy properly. Until this becomes more balanced- our economy will struggle. This is going to take a while to repair- that is – if it is still possible at all. W admin screwed us in plethora of ways. Not everything is totally his fault but “he” was supply-side on steroids AND the results were predictable.
             I know what it’s like to live under an admin THAT YOU BELIEVE is detrimental to American way of life. I went through that under previous admin. I “feel your pain”, but respectfully disagree with your assessment
           Sorry you asked?

          • Gregg Smith

            You’re entitled to your misguided opinion. 

        • StilllHere

          Does Obama lie?

    • StilllHere

      Obama has crated American confidence over the last 5 years, only 3 years to go.  Hopefully it won’t get worse.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    The “sequester” is a disgusting low point for the USA. The anti gvt, anti tax, deficit hysteria chickens have come home to roost. Our righty pols and their plutocrat puppet masters, and our inept Rockefeller republican administration, make me wanna puke.

    • Gregg Smith

      So I guess returning to 2006 spending levels is out of the question?

      • TomK_in_Boston

        I guess that would require a careful look at the numbers without ideological posturing. It seems very improbable to me, but I’m open to a real argument.

        Some questions that immediately come to mind: 

        Do you think you could tell your health insurer to roll your cost back to 2006 levels?

        Do you think the VA can roll back their costs to 2006 with all the new iraq/afghan vets needing help?

        Mil spending would be cut by about $150 bil to get to 2006 levels. That’s fine with me, but I doubt that it can be done.

        We’ve been incarcerating people at an amazing rate. Can we roll back prison expenses to 2006 levels? Fine with me, but….?

        I’m sure I can think of more, but you get the picture.

        Furthermore, even if we cd do what you ask, very few economists would suggest it in an economy struggling to recover from the bush crash, a “systemic banking crisis” that was the worst shock to the system since 1929.

        • Gregg Smith

          I do think priorities are a must, help the vets. There are certainly better ways to lower healthcare cost than Obamacare. We will spend $15 billion more than last year after the sequester and everybody’s freaking. It’s nuts.

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

          I have watched with bemusement the MSM’s straight-faced coverage of people near military bases in red states who are finally understanding what this sequester does to their local economies, while said media distinctly avoiding lumping that spending in with other, lesser gummint outlays.

          Hope it knocks some sense into them. But I’m hoping against hope there.

    • StilllHere

      You seem to be puking tired talking points.  

    • William

       A few pennies per dollar not spent goes a long way. It is a sad state of affairs to see Obama going after Woodward.

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

        Hahahaha. “Going after Woodward”. “Sad state of affairs”. Back in the day, concern trolls weren’t such whiny pearl-clutching couch-fainters.

        Actually, strike that. Back in the day is now: Your ability to zero in the imagined threat and the hurt feefees the Beltway Inbreds are all feeling puts you on a par with Wolf “Bob, did Obama threaten you like Nixon did?” Blitzer.

        Someone needs to tell Bob Woodward to put on his big-boy pants and stop crying every time he skins his knee in politics.

        One woudld think a four-decade veteran reporter would know that. Unless, of course, Woodward’s just a shell of a hack of what everyone thinks he used to be.

  • twenty_niner

    Liberals and statists need to get a grip. The charts do not lie, government spending is out of control and completely unsustainable. What most analyses seem to omit is state and local spending, which has increased from below 5% of GDP in the 40s to over 15% currently. Tack that on to Federal spending, which is hovering around 25% of GDP and you have chart 3, which shows a completely unsustainable trajectory. Couple this with the reaction from the left over the sequester, which is reminiscent of the dish of blood in the movie the “The Thing”, and we’ve got problems because were a long way from tackling this problem.

    In essence, we have no feedback loop, which usually comes in the form of higher rates for borrowing or higher taxes. Bond auctions are being bought by the Fed, so interest rates are being held artificially low; and we’ve only had one tax increase that amounted to the expiration of a previous cut and that was only for 1% of the population – not a lot of voters. There’s absolutely no real pressure, at the moment, to curb spending other than showdowns with Congress.

    In my view, and the view of others, the Fed and (other central banks) are playing with serious fire, because it’s very hard to predict how this will all unwind. Is it 70s style inflation? There are many parallels, but also differences. Is it Weimar? Who knows, but I highly doubt it will be pretty. I hope the Pollyannas are right.

    • Fredlinskip

      “dish of blood in movie ‘The Thing’”- that’s quite the analogy. 
      It ain’t the Depression- which it could have been had GOP kept control.
      Cut spending gradually. Let’s not mimic England (and others) 
      Go after off-shore tax havens. Let’s not just cut food stamps and education programs.

    • NewtonWhale

      Bruce Bartlett served as a domestic policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan and as a Treasury official under President George H. W. Bush:

      Why Government Spending Is Not Out of Control

      It is a standard talking point of Republicans and deficit hawks of all political stripes that federal spending is out of control; that major surgery is needed, especially on entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, to get the budget on a sustainable course.

      In fact, our long-term deficit situation is not nearly as severe as even many budget experts believe. The problem is that they are looking at recent history and near-term projections that are overly impacted by one-time factors related to the economic crisis and massive Republican tax cuts that lowered revenues far below normal.

      Taking a longer-term view, such as that in a recent Treasury Department report, shows that our longer-term fiscal problem is in fact quite manageable.

      As the chart below illustrates, federal spending ballooned in fiscal year 2009 mainly because of what economists call “automatic stabilizers” – programs already in law such as unemployment compensation that rises whenever a recession occurs. Spending rose from 20.7 percent of the gross domestic product in fiscal year 2008 to 25 percent in 2009.

      Getting back to the chart, we see that spending for every single government program going forward is remarkably stable as a percentage of GDP. Those who complain loudest about spending and deficits nearly always base their concerns on projections of nominal spending that are unadjusted for inflation, growth of the population or growth of the economy. This is intellectually dishonest.

      In conclusion, it is silly to obsess about near-term nominal budget deficits. What matters is the deficit as a share of GDP minus interest spending, which economists call the primary deficit. On that basis, we are much closer to fiscal sustainability than even most economists realize. Relatively small adjustments to the growth path of federal revenues and Medicare would be sufficient to eliminate the primary deficit. Taking a meat ax to every federal program, as Republicans demand, is neither necessary nor desirable.

      http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2013/01/25/Why-Government-Spending-Is-Not-Out-of-Control.aspx#w6rMfpg55MyEZYDB.99

      • Gregg Smith

        We have a spending problem.

        • StilllHere

          Consider also unfunded liabilities (entitlements) and off-balance items (agencies), not to mention the risk of rising interest rates creating runaway interest expense.  The time for spending cuts is now! Too bad we haven’t even started yet.

      • hennorama

        NewtonWhale – TY for bringing up Bruce Bartlett, who is quite an interesting character.  He seems to be both consistently conservative, and economically adaptable.  He’s a supply-sider who in 2007 wrote in an NY Times piece that “it was time to retire “supply-side economics” as a school of thought.”

        Bartlett has worked on economic matters for Reps. Ron Paul and Jack Kemp, Sen. Roger Jepsen, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, and the Pres. Bush I administration.  He also was with the National Center For Policy Analysis until he was fired for criticizing Pres. Bush II’s economic policies in his book “Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy”.

        Given Bartlett’s extensive experience and background, it’s difficult for “true conservatives”  and TEA shindiggers to criticize him.

        This is despite the fact that he says things like:

        “I was flabbergasted. Until that moment I had not realized how closed the right-wing mind had become.  Even assuming that my friends’ view of the [NY] Times’ philosophy [as having as much credibility as Pravda and a similar political philosophy] was correct, which it most certainly was not, why would they not want to know what their enemy was thinking? This was my first exposure to what has been called “epistemic closure” among conservatives—living in their own bubble where nonsensical ideas circulate with no contradiction.”

        AND

        “….  my utter disdain for Bush grew, as I recalled forgotten screw-ups and researched topics that hadn’t crossed my radar screen. I grew to totally despise the man for his stupidity, cockiness, arrogance, ignorance, and general cluelessness. I also lost any respect for conservatives who continued to glorify Bush as the second coming of Ronald Reagan and as a man they would gladly follow to the gates of hell. This was either gross, willful ignorance or total insanity, I thought.”

        AND

        “I came to the annoying conclusion that Keynes had been 100 percent right in the 1930s. Previously, I had thought the opposite. But facts were facts and there was no denying my conclusion.”

        AND

        “I finished the book just as the economy was collapsing in the fall of 2008. This created another intellectual crisis for me. Having just finished a careful study of the 1930s, it was immediately obvious to me that the economy was suffering from the very same problem, a lack of aggregate demand. We needed Keynesian policies again…”

        AND

        “For the record, no one has been more correct in his analysis and prescriptions for the economy’s problems than Paul Krugman.”

        AND

        “The final line for me to cross in complete alienation from the right was my recognition that Obama is not a leftist. In fact, he’s barely a liberal—and only because the political spectrum has moved so far to the right that moderate Republicans from the past are now considered hardcore leftists by right-wing standards today. Viewed in historical context, I see Obama as actually being on the center-right.”

        All of the above are from are from
        “Revenge of the Reality-Based Community
        My life on the Republican right—and how I saw it all go wrong.
        By Bruce Bartlett • November 26, 2012″

        See:http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/revenge-of-the-reality-based-community/

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

      • twenty_niner

        I was not showing recent history. The charts I posted go back 100 years and show a clear trend, which is unsustainable. 

        The other point is that Fed action has put us in lala land. The bond and CDS markets are perfectly capable of figuring out how to analyze long-term risks and price securities accordingly. If auctions on the 10-year, for example, weren’t being sterilized by the Fed, what handle would they be priced at? If we saw 6%, that would be a clear warning sign. If we saw 4%, maybe not so much. This is exactly what was happening in Europe just before the ECB stepped in, when auctions were getting just a little bit scary.

        We’re lowering borrowing costs through printing, but econ 101 teaches us that there is no free lunch. We’re not paying for it now, so what will be the price when the tab shows up? The Fed (and other central banks) are radically distorting the debt and stock markets and the real question is what will things look like when they’re forced to pull their fingers out of their respective dams?

        • NewtonWhale

          If it were unsustainable, we would see an increase in interest expense as a % of GDP.

          In fact, your charts show very little change in that ratio in the last 90 years.

          The reason interest rates are low is because aggregate demand is low. That is precisely why government spending should not be cut until employment recovers.

          Ironically, the recent Republican panic over sequestration proves that they actually understand that government must pick up the slack during such periods: they just want to spend it on guns instead of butter.

    • Bruce94

      Funny, the conduct of the Tea Partiers and gutless GOP leadership reminded me of the zombies in the cult classic, “Night of the Living Dead.”  The Dems delivered a stunning body blow in the last election & chopped off a limb or two, and they just keep coming, devouring everyone in sight, creating panic in the streets & chaos in our economy :) 

      I noticed that your last chart showing fed. spending at 25% of GDP puts us at or near the bottom of the list of the most advanced, industrialized countries in the world in terms of public spending.  Interestingly, many of these competitors, esp. the Nordic countries, have historically kept their debt-to-GDP ratios lower than ours.  The chart also indicates that under Obama fed. spending rose about 5% from what it was under Bush–hardly a spike that warrants the charge from the Far Right that the U.S. has embarked on reckless, unsustainable spending in pursuit of Obama’s “socialist” agenda.  Many observers argue that at least half of this increase was due to the severity of the Great Recession, which was deeper than most non-partisan experts predicted at the beginning of Obama’s first term.  In addition, it’s interesting that your charting begins some 30 years before the New Deal which re-defined the American social contract–a recalibration that your analysis seems to ignore or discount. 

      The “we only have a spending problem” argument disregards at least two realities:  it’s not the debt per se, but the debt-to-GDP ratio that counts AND indiscriminate budget cuts like the sequester can impose huge social costs esp. when demand in the economy is weak and unemployment is high with stagnant wages.  Look at the effects of austerity in Europe for a possible scenario that we don’t want to replicate in spite of the onslaught of the Tea Party zombies. 

      The irony is that these cuts are likely to increase unemployment while they shrink the safety-net available to our citizens during tough times.  Yes, the sequester is stupid, but also it could be politically & socially destabilizing while at the same time it contributes to more uncertainty in the financial markets–uncertainty which, I would assume from your comments, you would agree we don’t need especially now.   

  • Gregg Smith

    In his efforts to demonize Republicans by harming America, Obama released prisoners to grandstand. He could have prevented the furloughs of 341 for what his golf trip with Tiger cost. 

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/watercooler/2013/mar/1/sessions-obama-tiger-golf-cost-halt-341-furloughs/

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

      Ah, more crap from the WashTimes.

      We’re in the “let’s just post anything” portion of the weekend already?

      • Gregg Smith

        What part is not true?

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

          Your dedication to words which sound like journalism is showing.

          “Obama released prisoners to grandstand”. “He could have prevented.”

          All the conservative hack tricks of making exact numbers, which sound more real than mere conjecture. The fantasy of “golf trip with Tiger” having traction with anyone but the shitstormers whom you take your “news” from.

          Why not go all the way and credit the President with “Planned Parenthood doesn’t get its money, so 1529 taxpayer-funded abortions didn’t happen, and 26,113 slut coeds don’t get their Pill so they’ll have to do the right thing and carry their babies to term if they get pregnant tonight.”

          • Gregg Smith

            He is the one who set the terms with his hideous fear mongering. 

            BTW, a rubber cost 75 cents.

          • StilllHere

            If only TF’s dad had used one on that day he passed through the trailer park.

          • jefe68

            Ah yes the true colors show. That of the mind of a 10 year old petulant brat.

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

            Okay, cocksucker. We all know what you stand for.

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

            Hideous fear mongering?

            You forgot to call him “dastardly”.

            Every time you pretend you’re just another reasonable conservative, you make such odd choices. Language, strange words, stupid links that make no sense.

          • Gregg Smith

            IMO “hideous fear-mongering” is accurate. He’s releasing criminals into society and blaming Republicans. 

            Who said I was reasonable?

        • StilllHere

          Don’t hold your breath.  Engaging with TF is a complete waste of time, though he is not unique when it comes to liberal fact-free diatribes.

    • jefe68

      Don’t you have anything better to do?

      • Gregg Smith

        It doesn’t bother you a bit, does it?

  • gslouch

    Buckle and tighten your seat belts and get ready for the ride!  Here we go again.  Another four years sponsored by the party of no.  Wow! Lets block the president’s efforts to increase employment!  Lets block the president’s efforts to protect entitlements for the less fortunate! Lets let the sequester go through so more Americans can lose jobs and financial stability!  We couldn’t possibly close any loopholes for the fabulously rich, they may have to own only 6 Armani suits!   What a bunch garbage from a bunch of old, crotchety,reactionary twerps!  Make no mistake America, Republicans are only out for big business and the rich!!  
          May the spirits of congress or whatever, flush this smallminded group from “public service” in the next election!

  • StilllHere

    Happy Obama Sequester Day everybody!  Did the lights come on this morning? It’s a miracle!

    • hennorama

      Recycled diatribe, exactly as predicted.  At least you got the day right this time.

      “Brilliant!!” as usual.  Shall we expect the same for tomorrow?

      • StilllHere

        I see you rose on the wrong side of your refrigerator box this morning!  It’s amazing you still have a refrigerator box with the sequester and all.  You remain a joke.

        • hennorama

          Wow. StillRecyclingHere, huh? Less than a day for the “joke” trope. How long has it been for the “refrigerator box” one?

          Do you have an Invectives List that you just repeat over and over? You might want to add a few fresh ones, as those above are pretty stale.

          • StilllHere

            Stale suits you and really it’s all you’re worth.

          • hennorama

            StillRecyclingHere – “_________ is all you’re worth” is # 17 on your Invectives List, isn’t it?

            Here’s a challenge for you – what percentage of your posts over the last 1, 7, 10, 30, 60 or 90 days (you pick the time period) do not contain an insult to another poster?

            Do you think it’s closer to 1%, 47% or 99%?

          • jefe68

            This guy is the very definition of a cad.
            I’m being polite.

          • hennorama

            jefe68 – TY for your response. Polite is always good.

          • jefe68

            Troll.

        • jefe68

          Nasty little troll.

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

    The fever pitch calls by our pundits to President Obama to provide “leadership” of the unleadable continues. It’s actually been a pretty consistent them of savvy political coverage since Obama was inaugurated.

    The cute thing is, all Obama has to do to satisfy our chattering class is to  change politics as we know it to accomplish
    some otherwise unattainable political goal. If only President Obama
    tried a little harder, some critics claim, he could magically overcome
    legislative obstacles.

    Some folks call this fantasy the Green Lantern Theory of the Presidency. It’s a nod to comic books in which a hero’s ability to activate a magical “power rings”
    is totally dependendent on the wearer’s willpower. And some of us lefties have been onto the faults of the Green Lantern Theory before anyone knew what the word “sequester” meant.

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

    The fever pitch calls by our pundits to President Obama to provide “leadership” of the unleadable continues. It’s actually been a pretty consistent them of savvy political coverage since Obama was inaugurated.

    The cute thing is, all Obama has to do to satisfy our chattering class is to  change politics as we know it to accomplish some otherwise unattainable political goal. If only President Obama tried a little harder, some critics claim, he could magically overcome legislative obstacles.

    Some folks call this fantasy the Green Lantern Theory of the presidency. It’s a nod to comic books in which a hero’s ability to activate a magical “power ring” is totally dependendent on the wearer’s willpower. And some of us lefties have been onto the faults of the Green Lantern Theory before anyone knew what the word “sequester” meant.

    • Gregg Smith

      He’s not trying at all to overcome legislative obstacles. He’s getting what he wants.

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

        Gobstopping the government when a Democrat is the White House is what the President wants?

        You’re so cute.

        • Gregg Smith

          He is fundamentally transforming America. Divide and conquer. 

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      So is President Obama an ideologue over taken by the hard nosed
      politics of Washington DC, or is he a canny political actor
      advancing his policies as best he can regardless of corners need to be cut?

      (There are a few here that believe that he is a right-winger.)

  • Gregg Smith

    How is it possible for so many to believe the lies from the left:

    We don’t have a spending problem.

    Republicans failed policies of the past got us here.

    Obamacare didn’t hurt the economy and will save money.

    Al Qaeda is on the run and not a threat.

    Cheney outed Plame.

    The Bush tax cuts did not bring in more revenue.

    The “stimulus” worked, it could have been worse.

    NPR is fair and balanced.

    Obama is doing all he can, no budget necessary.

    The rich aren’t paying their fair share.

    You can create demand by passing around other people’s money.

    Investing in energy from fossil fuels is not a good thing, high gas prices are.

    Taxpayer money spent on wind, solar or electric cars always is worthwhile.

    We can change the climate of the earth and stave disaster.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      I can intellectually understand that a person will agree
      with things that support their biases.  What
      I have problems with is the cognitive dissonance that seems to affect so many
      people.  How can a person claim to be
      protecting one group while support the policies that are causing them such
      harm.  It compels me to question their
      motives.  

      • Gregg Smith

        The irony is they are questioning your motives. It’s easy for them to assume you are brainwashed by the media because that’s what the media sells them. It’s easy to assume you hate Democrats just because they’re Democrats because that’s how they view Republicans.

        • JONBOSTON

          Psychologists would call it projection. It’s a persistent and universal problem plaguing Democrats.

          • Fredlinskip

            I project you’re all a bunch of goofballs.          Just kidding.

        • Fredlinskip

          Still Here admitted that he/she thinks Dems are hateful, racist, violent psychopaths. Hopefully most GOP are a bit less extreme in their views. Everyone is different.
          I question one’s motives, sometimes, when they deny facts.
          The  existence of man-influenced climate change for example.
          There are obviously those who ARE motivated to deny this fact- those related to oil industry, for example.
          Oil industry has tremendous resources to influence policy and your referenced “media”.
          It is up to citizenry to be aware of these influences and judge accordingly and use their best tool to influence policy- their vote.
          Which brings up another subject. GOP SEEMS to have record of going WAY overboard in attempting to SUPPRESS the vote. Why?
          Apparently democracy doesn’t appeal much to them?

      • Fredlinskip

        You are referring to GOP, are you not?

    • JONBOSTON

      It amazes me that so much of what the left says is devoid of reason ,logic and common sense. No critical analysis –just  the familiar emotional appeals.

      • Fredlinskip

        I can only assume you are speaking of the reason, logic, and common sense espoused by Murdoch media infotainment outlets?

    • jefe68

      Yawn.

    • Fredlinskip

      Hmm- why do I bother (as I learned long ago facts aren’t relevant when discussing issues with you)?

      1) We have Spending problem, a revenue problem & income inequality problem (brought about by policies which soaked the poor and the middle so as to benefit the few).
      2) Most Americans seem to believe that GOP failed policies got us here - 
      3) ACA- Something had to be done to address skyrocketing costs crippling economy- Too bad GOP decided that it was WAY more important during Health Care debate to attempt to weaken Obama presidency than it was to serve interests of American people & attempt to address issue.
      4) Al Qaeda- I suppose 10 or 20 more years in Afghanistan & would help?
      5) Plame was just another casualty of W policy of  retribution against anyone who had temerity to question that admin policies and (should I use the word)…. lies.
      6) It should go without saying that NPR is WHOLE lot more balanced then Fox “news”
      7) I kind of hope rich are paying some towards paying down the national debt accumulated while they gorged themselves- there IS a link there that SHOULDN’T take rocket scientist to connect.
      8) Solution isn‘t simply “Passing around others $” but let me ask- you apparently think tremendous income inequality is somehow a good thing? Yes?
      9) “Investing in fossil fuels is not good thing- high gas prices are.” It’s not as if producing more oil lowers gas prices- it just means we get to ship more abroad, correct? Currently our largest export IS fuel, no? Unless we somehow  produce so much to create worldwide glut. That’s one of several reasons why it is MUCH more sensible to be on forefront of technologies that wean OFF of fossil fuel. Enlighten me.
      **10) We already have undeniably proven we can change climate of the Earth. 
      To stick head in sand and pretend problem doesn’t exist is unbelievably irresponsible and course of action only a dyed-in-wool W fan could appreciate.

      • Gregg Smith

        Thank you.

        • Fredlinskip

          Since you chose not to address the couple of straightforward questions posed to you in comment, I “project” (see Jon’s comment below) there may be some lack of sincerity?
             But for now, I’ll assume the best and that I’ve helped spread enough light to clear up some some of these issues for you;
           in which case- 
          A sincere, 
          You’re welcome!!
          Glad to help!

          Come join the party where facts actually matter- we’d be glad to have you.

          • Gregg Smith

            If you believe what you wrote then I’m not going to argue, you’ve made my point. You are entitled to your misguided opinion.

          • Fredlinskip

            Alas you’re colors show again.
            Thought maybe I’d made a “breakthrough” for a second

            Let’s just expound on one of your alleged “lies”:
            Vast majority of scientists and others of all persuasions have expressed belief that man has influenced our climate.

            Reality- what a concept. 

            Jefe was correct to ignore you’re uninformed diatribes since all you are interested in, is posting nonsense- and hearing your echo.

            Should have learned  long ago- Silly me.

            Nice day.

          • Gregg Smith

            I have no idea what that has to do with anything I wrote, but again, thanks.

          • Fredlinskip

            Pardon me Gregg. I thought for sure that you posted:
            Alleged “Lie from the left” (final line): “We can change the climate of the earth ….”We can and we have. 
            Now we need to do what we can to change this trend- unless that is we are so arrogant and ignorant as to not give a *#> about our planet.

             The world is round and circles the sun. 
            Women should have rights. 
            Slavery was not justified. 
            Evolution occurred and is occurring.
            Was a good idea to “free” ourselves form England.

            It sure seems to take Conservatives a LONG LONG LONG (did I say long yet?) LONG time to grasp simple concepts.

          • Gregg Smith

            You’re right. I don’t give a $hit about the planet, Slavery was justified, women should have no rights. You pegged me. Alrighty then.

          • StilllHere

            Careful,Fredwillbetaking this out of context and cuttingand pastingall voer the place.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        6) It should go without saying that NPR is WHOLE lot more balanced then Fox “news”

        Juan Williams would disagree with that statement.

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

          JW got away with a lot of breaking NPR’s rules when it came to going on another media outlet and letting himself being labelled “NPR talent”. It’s there to keep their employees from sullying the name of NPR by going on Fox News and other lesser places.

          Mara Liasson is also riding that train. NPR seemed awfully weak-kneed when it came to applying their own rules of employment.

          Not sure if Fox News has a rule like that and if any of their stars break it.

        • Fredlinskip

          Must admit- I was a fan of Juan long time ago. Not so much even before he left NPR. BUT I saw him a couple times on Hannity a recently recently and thought he was a “voice of reason” in an otherwise “unbalanced” atmosphere.

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

    From the White House:

    Starting today, our government will need to grapple with a set of arbitrary budget cuts that will hurt the economy, make life harder for middle-class families, and threaten our national security. That’s what Washington means when it talks about the sequester.

    Not everyone will feel the consequences of these cuts immediately, but if sequestration is allowed to continue, it will make life more difficult for Americans all across the country. That’s a fact that no one disputes.

    And the reason we are here is because some members of Congress have made a choice to prioritize these cuts over closing tax loopholes for the wealthy. But there is still time for them to make a different choice and undo this manufactured crisis.

    Today, President Obama discussed this situation and answered questions from the press. “This is not a win for anybody,” he said. “This is a loss for the American people.”

    • Fredlinskip

      There was no point to this post other than some factual reporting, apparently.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

         Compare and contrast. 

        • Fredlinskip

          Fairness and balance is a good thing. 
          Thanks.

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

    From the Speaker:

    House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivers this week’s address, calling on President Obama and Senate Democrats to negotiate a solution to the President’s devastating spending cuts, known as the sequester. The President’s sequester went into effect March 1st. The Democrat-led Senate has not passed any replacement plan, and the President has not put any solution forward. The House has acted–twice–to replace the sequester with responsible cuts and reforms. Washington Democrats must act.

    http://youtu.be/V9Fy_Tqztqc

  • davecm

    Well! It is sequester day!!!!!
    All the players are pointing fingers and beating their chest.
    The Repubs. are saying one thing about the problem and the Dems. are blaming somebody else for the problem.
    Obama is changing his statements as a Chameleon on pile of crayolas crayons.
    As for those hanging off the Govt. teet, panic!! Reason being, if the milk is free, or being paid for by somebody else, the thought of being booted off the teet and paying up is unheard of.
    The thought of the Govt. teet from cradle to grave being cut back causes the world to end, as Obama has alluded to this week.
    Well, who do we go to for truth about all this???????
    Lets check the track record.
     Obamacare will save money they said, Obama stated NO ONE would loose their present healthcare and cost would not go up a single DIME! Obama said the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “would not add one dime to the deficit”
    Fact:
    *GAO states Obamacare will add a measly 6.2Trillion to the nation’s deficit. WOW!! we didn’t see that coming did we.
    http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-perspective/022613-645865-obamacare-will-add-far-more-to-deficits.htm?ref=SeeAlso
    *CBO states some 7 Million will loose their present healthcare plans under Obamacare. WOW! I knew that was coming.
    http://money.cnn.com/2013/02/08/news/economy/employer-health-insurance/index.html

    These are the facts about the promises of Big Govt. and those of the Dems. and liberals. They will say I am wrong!!!!!!
    Actual fact.  My insurance has GONE UP more than a DIME!!!!
    My company now tells me that starting in 2014, I will no longer have BCBS, they will start their own healthcare plan.

    So!!!!!! who do you think I trust with the truth????
    In reality, neither, especially Democrats and liberals.

  • JGC

    majorityleader.gov/sequester 

    “…the sequester will result in a 10% across the board cut”

    • Gregg Smith

      It’s a reduction in growth not a reduction in spending. But this meat cleaver approach to the military is misguided. It’s a dangerous world, I understand the need to curb military spending but in the greater context it should not be job 1. There is so much waste and redundancy. Other things don’t work but are untouchable like Head Start. Entitlement reform is a must for the long term but we can’t debate it honestly. Ditto immigration. Don’t even try to have a sober assessment of energy policy. No, we can’t even get a budget done. 

    • hennorama

      JGC – Exactly.

      The interesting thing is that those who are saying things along the line of “this is only 2.5 % of the budget, so what’s the big deal?” don’t realize how this tactic can be used in the opposite way.

      For example – recent tax law changes are projected to amount to 1.1% of GDP, less than half of the 2.5% you’re citing, so that’s no big deal, right?

  • anon

    And we really believe that our system of government is a model that everyone else in the world is supposed to yearn for?

  • Gregg Smith

    So a Connecticut politician makes a very lewd comment to a 17 year old girl and the local paper somehow forgets to mention he’s a Democrat. Go figure.

    http://www.ctpost.com/default/article/Politician-stripped-of-title-after-lewd-snake-4317889.php

  • Gregg Smith

    This chart puts the sequester circus in perspective.

    http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/2013/03/the-sequester-in-one-chart.html

    • pete18

       Perfect illustration. Clearly shows the world coming to an end.

    • jimino

      So why don’t the Republicans in Congress take ownership of the cuts and the credit for accomplishing the reduction in spending?  Isn’t this EXACTLY what they have been saying is necessary?

      • Gregg Smith

        No one, except of course Obama, wants to cut military spending and little else. So there’s that, but Republicans ought to embrace the cuts which aren’t even cuts, it’s nuts.

  • pete18
  • hennorama

    Revenues – Spending = Surplus/(Deficit).

    For some reason, many seem to be oblivious of that very basic equation.  There are TWO factors involved in determining Surplus/(Deficit):

    1. Revenue 2. Spending

    Some say things like “We have a spending problem!” as if Revenues either do not exist, or do not matter when discussing “THE DEFICIT”.  Some of these same people absolutely adore Pres. Reagan, but seem to ignore Reagan’s actual fiscal record.

    A few pieces of data, using the latest figures from the CBO and OMB:

    40 year average Federal Revenue as a percentage of GDP:  17.9%

    Average Federal Revenue as a % of GDP last 4 years:          15.35%
    (hmmm …looks like there was a REVENUE problem)

    CBO Estimated Federal Revenue as a % of GDP FY 2013:      16.9%
    For FY 2013, Individual Income Taxes are going up by:            0.6% 
    CBO Estimated Federal Revenue as a % of GDP FY 2014:      18.0%

    Reagan Era average Federal Revenue as a % of GDP:           18.2%
       ——————
    OK, now let’s look at Federal Spending.

    40 year average Federal Spending as a percentage of GDP:  21.1%

    Average Federal Spending as a % of GDP last 4 years:          24.4%
    (This is what some term a SPENDING problem – 3.3 points above average)

    CBO Estimated Federal Spending as a % of GDP FY 2013:     22.2%
    CBO Estimated Federal Spending as a % of GDP FY 2014:     21.7%

    Reagan Era average Federal Spending as a % of GDP:          22.4%
       ——————
    Now let’s look at THE DEFICIT.

    40 year average Federal Deficit as a percentage of GDP:        3.2%

    Average Federal Deficit as a % of GDP last 4 years:                9.1%
    (Due to BOTH lower Revenues AND higher Spending)

    CBO Estimated Federal Deficit as a % of GDP FY 2013:            5.3%
    CBO Estimated Federal Deficit as a % of GDP FY 2014:            3.7%

    Reagan Era average Federal Deficit as a % of GDP:                4.2%

    So … CBO estimates for FY 2013 show Federal Revenue MUCH lower than Reagan’s average AND lower than the 40 year average.

    CBO estimates for FY 2013 show Federal Spending lower than Reagan’s average.

    CBO estimates for FY 2014 shows a Federal Deficit that is lower than Reagan’s average.

    So was Reagan wrong?  Deficits under Reagan were nearly one third higher that the 40 year average that includes all 8 of his years in office, and almost 50% higher than the average of the 32 years that exclude his administration.

    BOTH Federal Revenue AND Federal Spending need to be changed going forward.  Ignoring half of the factors involved in THE DEFICIT makes no sense.

    FY 2014 is projected to be very close to the 40 year averages, with Revenues of 18.0% of GDP (vs.17.9% 40YA); Spending of 21.7% of GDP (vs. 21.1%); and a Deficit of 3.7% of GDP (vs. 3.2%).

    • Gregg Smith

      And growth is chopped liver?

      During the Clinton years we spent an average of about 20% of GDP. Under GWB it was a tad lower. 24.4% is huge. HUGE!. You also seem to be conflating revenue with taxes. Revenue doesn’t come from taxes, it comes from taxpayers. The reason there is no revenue is because there are no jobs. The reason there are no jobs is because of Obama’s policies and regulations. There is zero initiative to put money at risk and innovate but there are reasons to cut back hours and employees. There is zero confidence in a government that can’t even pass a budget. And we spend like there’s no tomorrow.

    • OnPointComments

      OMG.  Who was it that said “You cannot be an honest critic…if you yourself present inaccurate and/or exagerrated arguments” and “using percentages as your argument distorts the issues. It’s not really very constructive.”  That’s right — it was you.
       
      Exaggeration is likely in the eye of the beholder, which may explain how a revenue decrease of 2.55% warrants a more unequivocal “looks like there was a REVENUE problem,” but the larger 3.30% increase in spending gets a more wishy-washy “This is what some term a SPENDING problem.”
       
      Let’s assume you’re correct that percentages distort the issue, so we’ll switch to dollars.  What was Reagan’s average annual deficit over 8 years?  About $167 billion a year, for an 8 year total of $1.3 trillion.  What was Obama’s average annual deficit in the first four years of his presidency?  $1.3 trillion a year, for a 4 year total of $5.3 trillion.  Wow.  Obama’s annual deficit for one year is as much as Reagan’s total deficit for 8 years.
       
      If percentages distort the issue, how about per capita?  Reagan, in his biggest spending year, spent $4,300 per capita.  Obama, in his smallest spending year, spent $11,200 per capita.  How much did Reagan increase per capita debt during his 8 years?  Almost $7,000 per person.  How about Obama during his first 4 years?  Almost $17,000 per person.
       
      I see what you mean by percentages distort.  It’s like me saying I doubled my credit card balance and you say you doubled yours too, but I charged a tank of gas and you charged the purchase of the car.
       
      By the way, I didn’t go through the liberal gyrations of subtracting the first year of the presidency and adding the year after the presidency.  Does the CBO do that?  Or is it just a liberal thing?

      • hennorama

        OPC – TY for your response. I’m glad to see that someone was paying attention. However, there is nothing inaccurate about any of the data I presented. All figures are percentages of GDP and therefore are “apples to apples” comparisons.

        Using percentage of unlike items can distort things, but that’s not what I’ve done at all. I’m not comparing Federal individual income tax rates to percentages of the Federal budget, for example.

        My point was that, as a % of GDP, BOTH Federal Revenue declined AND Federal Spending increased over the last 4 years. That’s why it seems silly to focus ONLY on Spending. It’s a “single-eyed view” IMO.

        The Federal Revenue (FR) and Federal Spending (FS) numbers do indeed look much larger now compared to the Reagan days, but the percentages of GDP are the percentages of GDP.

        To highlight the differences in magnitude of the dollars involved, under Reagan in FY 1982, FR (in then-current dollars) was $617.8 Billion. Under Obama in 2012, FR was $2,449 Billion, or about 4 times as large. In the same FY 1982 under Reagan, FS was $745.7 B, and in FY 2012 it was $3,538 B, which is 4.75 times as large.

        Over the same 30 year timeframe, annual (calendar year) GDP went from $3.2532 Trillion in 1982 to $15.6815 T in 2012, an amount 4.82 times as large.

        It’s all relative, which is one reason percentage of GDP comparisons are useful.

        Source: http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/data/GDPA.txt

        Certainly Reagan had difficult economic issues to deal with, but nothing close to the magnitude of the Great Recession. As a result of the Great Recession, BOTH Federal Revenues AND Federal Spending have been distorted when compared to GDP. This was magnified by the fact that GDP declined as well.

        Pres. Reagan never had a year-over-year decline in GDP, and also NEVER reduced Federal Spending. Pres. Reagan never had to deal with FR that fell by one sixth from the previous year, as Pres. Obama did in 2009. The biggest FR decline Reagan had to deal with was less than 3 percent, in 1983.

        When one uses both eyes, one can get a better perspective. As to recent changes in Federal Revenues and Spending, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) notes the following:

        “2009-2011 Budget Outcomes Skewed by the Recession

        Due to one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression – and the policies enacted to combat it – 2009-2011 tax and spending levels diverged from recent patterns. Federal revenues plunged to 15 percent of GDP in 2009 and remained at 15 percent through 2011, the lowest levels in decades. The efforts to prevent collapse of the financial system and to deal with the failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the automatic expansion of programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps (which always grow during economic downturns to meet rising need), and spending from the February 2009 stimulus package together pushed federal outlays to 25 percent of GDP in 2009 and 24 percent of GDP in 2010 and 2011. As a result, deficits reached record levels.

        “It will take the economy several years to fully recover, and during that time federal revenues and expenditures will continue to differ from historical experience. However, the composition of the budget in 2011 largely resembles recent federal spending patterns.”

        See:http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258

        BTW – all the figures I used for both Pres. Reagan AND Pres. Obama use FYs that include the first year they were in office, 1981 and 2009 respectively. Not a perfect comparison, of course, since that first FY is largely the result of the prior administration’s policy and budget. I can’t speak to the CBO’s practices.

        • OnPointComments

          I can only speak for myself, but I think others likely feel the same way, that if the federal government spent money wisely and needed more money, then I would go along with tax increases.  When was the last time you read a report on government waste, and then saw an immediate response to correct the problem?  Not often.  How many of the recommendations from the government’s own GAO to reduce potential duplication in services have been implemented?  I don’t know of any.  The latest waste report I’ve read is about the luxury jets used by the FBI and Justice Department for flights not directly related to their respective department’s mission operation, at a cost of $11.4 million.  I don’t know of a single private business where wasting $11.4 million dollars wouldn’t result in firing and possibly prison, but for the government it’s business as usual.  I get tired of hearing it’s only a drop in the bucket of a $3.5 trillion dollar budget; if that drop is put into the bucket a million times it’s real money.  ANY waste should be immediately rectified, and the person or persons who caused the waste should be fired.  What does it say about a system when one person at the GSA can decide to spend $1 million dollars on a conference in Las Vegas, and nobody knows about it until after the fact, too late to stop the wasteful expenditure.
           
          I’m not an economist, but conceptually it doesn’t seem to me that the ratio of government spending to GDP should remain constant; economies of scale would dictate that the economy can grow without the government growing at the same rate.

          • hennorama

            OPC – TY for your thoughtful response. I appreciate and respect your views.

            As to Federal Spending being some constant level of GDP – this is completely unworkable, just as a balanced budget amendment would be completely unworkable.

            But I hear ya as to ” economies of scale”. It’s a nice concept, but one that’s difficult to implement in an organization with such varied responsibilities. A crisis can pop up from almost anywhere, so it’s important to have a deep bench and some redundancy. This is far different from how businesses operate, due to the fact that businesses generally focus on small ranges of products and/or services.

            One good thing is that Federal civilian employment levels have dropped by 45,000 (1.6%) over the last year, from 2.841 million in Dec. 2011 to 2.796 million in Dec. 2012. Since Dec. 2008, it is up 21,000 (0.8%). In addition, the soft Federal pay freeze that has been in effect since mid-2010 has saved a reported $60 Billion.

            http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/12/federal-workers-complaining-but-not-quitting/?page=all

            As to waste fraud and abuse – no one wants any of that, but the trick is how to get rid of it.

            One idea would be to have something like a Citizens Review Committee, sort of like a Grand Jury with investigative powers, but also with some power to make budgetary changes.

            I’m just spitballing here, but this is an outline of the idea:

            1. Committee members would be selected in a way that’s similar to the way Commissioners are selected for the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. This process involves an initial application followed by in-depth essay questions and answers, then a winnowing process conducted by independent auditors. The applicants are then divided into three equal numbers of Republicans, Democrats, and those in neither party. This is followed by interviews, another cut, review by the Legislature, then random selections from the remaining applicants.

            2. CRC members would serve an odd number of years (3?) in order to get some overlap of sessions of Congress and to avoid political influence. The members could also be rotated, with one third of the CRC being replaced annually, for example. They would be paid a modest salary, or alternatively could be paid an amount equal to their average wage/SE income over some prior period (5 years?) if that average was higher than the minimum salary. The alternate pay method would allow for those with higher incomes to not have to sacrifice income in order to serve.

            3. The CRC could review any budget item they wished. They might have some limited authority to change appropriations up to a certain level. (Perhaps Dr. Evil’s infamous ONE MILLION DOLLARS? Just kidding – that’s too low to give the CRC any real teeth).

            For proposed changes above this level, their reports and recommendations would be submitted to both the public and Congress for review AND action. Congress would have to vote on all recommendations.

            4. To incentivize the public and promote interest in the CRC, any registered voter could submit ideas, and would be awarded some tiny percentage of any one year savings – say 1%. All politicians and their staffs would be excluded, of course.

            Anyway, that’s just off the top of my coffee-fueled head. Others may have better ideas.

            http://wedrawthelines.ca.gov/faq.html

            http://blog.mainstreethost.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Dr.-Evil-One-Million-Dollars.png

          • OnPointComments

            If I were king, I’d hire the big accounting firms and have them, along with the GAO, make specific recommendations.  Unless the recommendations were overturned by a majority vote of the House and the Senate, the recommendations would take effect immediately.
             
            As Mel Brooks said in “History of the World,” it’s good to be the king.

          • pete18

            “As to waste fraud and abuse – no one wants any of that, but the trick is how to get rid of it.”

            Cut off the funds. That’s the only way. People always live up to their incomes and find a way to justify every expense
            as “necessary.” That’s just human nature. You could triple government revenues tomorrow and within two-years it would all be accounted for in a new budget of “essential” spending. Anyone that then suggested this new budget be cut back  by a few percentage points would be accused of being cruel

            troglodytes trying inflict pain on the most helpless citizens. This would go on ad-infinitum as there’s never enough.

            Governments, with some exceptions, are filled with humans and all their predictable weaknesses. If they are used to budgets raising every year beyond the rate of inflation and have the ability to take money from taxpayers as they see fit, there is no incentive for them to cut unnecessary programs, waste or fraud.

            Like the teenager who doesn’t learn to budget until the family funds stop rolling in, the government, both Republicans and Democrats, needs a wake-up call. I say a sequester cuts for the next five-years, then a balanced budget amendment (with override provisions for emergencies).

          • hennorama

            pete18 – TY for your response. I appreciate your views.

            I’m not arguing with the main thrust of your post, but the point of my comment was HOW to, as you say “Cut off the funds.”

            All expenditures got into the budget and continuing resolutions via Congressional votes, as did all revenues. That’s why I suggested an independent non-elected body with some modest powers. It’s not a perfect solution of course, but there’s also no magic wand that allows for anyone to say “SHAZAM! I smite thee, wasteful spending program!”

            The sequester is too crude a tool to achieve useful spending reductions, and it does not affect the programs that many believe are most in need of change.

            The other issue is that we have medium-term and long-term budgetary issues, yet these issues are being addressed in the short term. Our economy has far more pressing issues, namely jobs, jobs and jobs, yet the sequester will only result in fewer jobs. This is not smart.

            Thanks again for your response.

          • pete18

             Your points are well taken but a citizen’s committee would fall into the same traps that the politicians do and would ultimately be ignored (just like Obama ignored Simpson Bowles the committee HE set up) since they would have no constitutional powers. Crude cuts are far more preferable to no cuts. We will survive them. The world will not end.

  • hennorama

    And another thing …

    73 year Federal averages 1940-2012:

    Revenue as a % of GDP: 17.33%
    Spending as a % of GDP: 20.61%
    Deficit as a % of GDP:   3 28%

    ON AVERAGE SINCE 1940, there have been Federal deficits of 3.28% of GDP.

    So this new “religion” that many have recently found – claiming that deficits and debt are horrible for the U.S. – is not borne out by the actual data. Overall, the US has fared quite well since 1940.

    Current CBO estimates show a federal Deficit of 3.7% of GDP for FY 2014, dropping to 2.4% in 2015.  In other words, a reversion to the norm.

    For the “We have a Spending problem!” crowd – Federal Revenues during Pres. Obama’s administration have averaged 15.35% of GDP.

    Only two other 4 year periods since 1940 have seen FR this low, and both were during and after WWII – 1940-1943 (9.45%) and 1948-1951 (15.3%).

    Looking only at Spending while ignoring Revenue is like driving with one eye closed – you lose perception.  It can be done, but only a fool would do so on purpose.

    • Gregg Smith

      Here’s the thing. If you are suggesting more revenue through taxation that is anti-thetical to growth and an expanding economy. That is the only way (if it’s not too late) to fix this mess. So revenue is fine, taxes are not. The rich have never paid a larger percentage of the bill. 

      Our debt surpassed the entire economy for the first time since 1946 in 2011. We haven’t seen spending like this since WWII. 

  • Gregg Smith

    Here’s my problem: We are loosing our collective work ethic. Libs scoff when we say America is becoming Greece. Comparing social structure or fiscal concerns misses the point. It’s a mindset. Personally, when I was hungry with no one to turn too it was a great motivator. I subsequently learned I had no idea what I could endure if push came to shove. It’s a liberating lesson. 

    On the other hand, when you wake up in the morning and know your rent is subsidized, you have food stamps and can collect unemployment for a couple of years it changes you. You expect things. You become miserable. You riot in the streets. Then you realize you’re the majority and can elect willing accomplices to run the show. It’s a miserable choice.We’re screwed.  

    • jefe68

      No you have it wrong. The reason people scoff when people of your ilk say that the US is becoming like Greece is because it’s a fallacy. It’s an idea cooked up by right wing pundits as a scare tactic. Funny how you use the word “collective”, which is what a union is.

      What we are losing is our ability to believe that government can work due to it being run by special interests. Of course on the right they want government to fail as it proves that it does not work even while they are benefiting from it. 

      You seem to love mixing up the personal with overblown memes about the lot of other peoples suffering. As if you’re example is somehow a barometer of how people should act. You seem very one dimensional in your ability to parse other peoples experiences.

      Wealth inequality is a real issue that like climate change and science you seem to deny. 

      http://mashable.com/2013/03/02/wealth-inequality/

      • Gregg Smith

        Who cares about wealth inequality?

        • Fredlinskip

          Consumers “stimulate” the economy- When they can’t purchase, the whole system gets dragged down.
          Basic economics.

    • StilllHere

      All that separates us from Greece’s fate is the confidence of investors in Treasuries.  If they start to believe that the Fed is condoning inflation for the sake of devaluing the dollar or if they start to question the commitment of politicians to paying off the debt they’ve squandered, look out, Greece here we come!

    • ExcellentNews

      I hear what you say and it is well written. It sounds like something straight from an Ayn Rand novel (who I admire BTW). The problem however is that our world looks less and less like that of Ayn Rand, and more and more like that of Charles Dickens. People were rioting back then too – and there were no food stamps.

      As to the comparison with Greece – Up until few decades ago, Greece was an oligarchy ruled by a military dictatorship. Few obscenely rich magnates and generals, everybody else dirt poor. No industry, no research, no nothing except tourism and agriculture. Then, thanks to the selfless help of few global bankers (Goldman Sachs mainly), an insane amount of euros poured in the country. The bankers got their 12% fee, every Greek got more euros than he knew what to do with, and the EU was saddled with a mountain of noncollectable loans. You draw your own conclusions as to how similar that is to the US. 

  • Fredlinskip

       In response to Gregg in conversation below “You’re right. I don’t give a $hit about the planet, Slavery was justified, women should have no rights. You pegged me. Alrighty then.”

      I don’t know if you care about the planet, but I know you have been in denial of existence of man-influenced climate change.

      Nor was I “pegging” you personally for the beliefs you mention
    My statement was that “Conservatives”  were originally on the wrong side of each of the following issues: slavery, women’s rights, evolution, the world being round and circles the sun, and that it was a good idea to separate ourselves from England.

    Praise the lord that He blessed us with Progressives to guide us on these issues.

    • Gregg Smith

      When have I ever denied “man-influenced climate change”?

      • Fredlinskip

        Now you’re going to make me go back and search former shows?
        You post a lot of stuff- sometimes just to be contrary, I think. I’d cut you some slack if you had just done it once or twice, but a # of times you posted denying the evidence.
        But that’s all right- if you now concede it exists – that’s a good thing.
        Peace.

        • Gregg Smith

          My position has not changed, only your perception has.

          • Fredlinskip

            My perception is that you are in denial of fact in favor of “infotainment”.In that you are consistent.

  • JGC

    WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) –  The spending cuts mandated by the sequester may hamper the United States’s ability to invade countries for absolutely no reason, a Pentagon spokesman warned today.  The Pentagon made this gloomy assessment  amid widespread fears that the nation’s ability to wage totally optional wars based on bogus pretexts may be in peril.

    “Historically, the United States has stood ready to throw billions of dollars at a military campaign with no clear rationale or well-defined objective,” said spokesman Harland Dorrison.  ”Our capacity to wage war willy-nilly is now in jeopardy.”…

    The cuts are already being felt in a tangible way at the Pentagon, which today cancelled an order for a nine-thousand-dollar pen.

    • hennorama

      Dammit!  But what about UAVs?  We can still buy, arm and use them to assassinate people, right?  (fingers crossed).
      ;-)

    • Gregg Smith

      I don’t think we should go to war willy nilly. We should only go if for example, a known harborer of terrorist invades a sovereign country, violates the cease fire agreement, uses sanctions to swindle the world and otherwise violates 17 UN resolutions, shoots at our jets on a regular basis, tortures it’s people, threatens WMD and throws out inspectors in a post 9/11 world; If then we get congressional approval, the public is informed  and we give them another last last chance to come clean and they stick a finger in our eye then I say go.

      • Ray in VT

        I could probably agree with most of those, were the public to be fully informed and not misinformed, and had such a regime been barring weapons inspectors in the immediate leadup to the war, which was not the case for the case to which you are referring.

  • ExcellentNews

    The defense cuts are okay, because the oligarchy is winning the class war anyway. It is totally ok for millions of middle class Americans to suffer from the cuts, just so that hedge fund managers and billionaire CEOs keep paying less taxes than their secretaries. After all, it is not like caviar supplies or private island marinas need government to function. Besides, the “you did not built that” country club crowd will stand to benefit from an ever more abundant oversupply of cheap labor to build their fortunes in exchange of peanuts.

  • StilllHere

    In America gas sells for around $3.40 per million British thermal units (mBTU). In Europe it costs around $12. In gas-poor Asia, spot cargoes change hands for as much as $20 per mBTU. Since it costs roughly $5 per mBTU to liquefy the stuff, ship it and turn it back into gas, America could be making a fortune from gas exports. To the extent that such exports displaced dirty coal, they would also help curb global warming.

    • Fredlinskip

      You’re scaring Hell out of me by submitting  a thought -provoking reasonable post.
      Unfortunately lots of folks who frequent these pages don’t take your posts seriously, because of all your belligerent disrespectful ones.

      Hey! I’ll save you the time and respond for you in your elegant manner

      “Fred, you are a  %^*> and your mother sucks.”

ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 23, 2014
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

Apr 23, 2014
Attendees of the 2013 Argentina International Coaching Federation meet for networking and coaching training. (ICF)

The booming business of life coaches. Everybody seems to have one these days. Therapists are feeling the pinch. We look at the life coach craze.

RECENT
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Apr 22, 2014
This undated handout photo, taken in 2001, provided by the Museum of the Rockies shows a bronze cast of the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton known as the Wankel T.rex, in front of the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. (AP)

As a new Tyrannosaurus Rex arrives at the Smithsonian, we’ll look at its home – pre-historic Montana – and the age when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

 
Apr 22, 2014
Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in the town of Suwayrah, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 21, 2014. Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed and wounded dozens on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month. (AP)

We look at Iraq now, two years after Americans boots marched out. New elections next week, and the country on the verge of all-out civil war.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Week In Seven Soundbites: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Holy week with an unholy shooter. South Koreans scramble to save hundreds. Putin plays to the crowd in questioning. Seven days gave us seven sounds.

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Our Week In The Web: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Space moon oceans, Gabriel García Márquez and the problems with depressing weeks in the news. Also: important / unnecessary infographics that help explain everyone’s favorite 1980′s power ballad.

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Some Tools And Tricks For College Financial Aid
Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Some helpful links and tools for navigating FAFSA and other college financial aid tools.

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