GOP To Slash Social Services, 1 in 5 U.S. Childen Live In Poverty

Homeless Family

Youth Homelessness in Today’s Tough Economy

Around the country, runaway and homeless youth organizations are facing the challenge of accommodating more youth as a result of the current economic downturn. The relentless surge of home foreclosures, massive unemployment, stifling consumer debt and bankruptcies are  conspiring to break up families and force more young people to the streets, youth workers say.

“Unfortunately, there has been a drastic increase” in young people needing emergency shelter, says Maria Mayola, director of community relations for Covenant House Florida in Orlando. “For two and a half to three months, we were well over capacity. We have been making special arrangements, using our chapel to accommodate more youth. For the first time in our history, we are operating off a waiting list.”

Steve Jella, associate executive director of San Diego Youth Services, says he’s seen a marked increase  in youth seeking services for a variety of reasons, most of which can be associated with our troubled economy.

“Some of the programs I serve here focus on the eastern part of our county, which encompasses urban and rural areas. We’re noticing a lot of trends. [One community] has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the county and at the same time, it also has the highest rate of where parolees go. So there are a lot of youth and families that we traditionally serve now coming in with significantly more severe problems,” he says.

For the entire article: .


In the United States, on a per capita basis one of the richest OECD member countries, has a child poverty rate of 21.6 percent — meaning that more than one in every five children there lives in poverty per Globallist.



Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Department of Justice filed a statement of interest today arguing that making it a crime for people who are homeless to sleep in public places, when there is insufficient shelter space in a city, unconstitutionally punishes them for being homeless.  The statement of interest was filed in federal district court in Idaho in Bell v. City of Boise et al., a case brought by homeless plaintiffs who were convicted under Boise ordinances that criminalize sleeping or camping in public.

As stated by the Justice Department in its filing, “[i]t should be uncontroversial that punishing conduct that is a universal and unavoidable consequence of being human violates the Eighth Amendment. . .  Sleeping is a life-sustaining activity—i.e., it must occur at some time in some place.  If a person literally has nowhere else to go, then enforcement of the anti-camping ordinance against that person criminalizes her for being homeless.”

“Many homeless individuals are unable to secure shelter space because city shelters are over capacity or inaccessible to people with disabilities,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.  “Criminally prosecuting those individuals for something as innocent as sleeping, when they have no safe, legal place to go, violates their constitutional rights.  Moreover, enforcing these ordinances is poor public policy.  Needlessly pushing homeless individuals into the criminal justice system does nothing to break the cycle of poverty or prevent homelessness in the future.  Instead, it imposes further burdens on scarce judicial and correctional resources, and it can have long-lasting and devastating effects on individuals’ lives.”

“No one wants people to sleep on sidewalks or in parks, particularly not our veterans, or young people, or people with mental illness,” said Director Lisa Foster of the Office for Access to Justice.  “But the answer is not to criminalize homelessness.  Instead, we need to work with our local government partners to provide the services people need, including legal services, to obtain permanent and stable housing.”

For more:


Homelessness Assistance

Who Needs Homelessness Assistance?

More than 1 million persons are served in HUD-supported emergency, transitional and permanent housing programs each year. The total number of persons who experience homelessness may be twice as high. There are four federally defined categories under which individuals and families may qualify as homeless: 1) literally homeless; 2) imminent risk of homelessness; 3) homeless under other Federal statues; and 4) fleeing/attempting to flee domestic violence.

Where Can Individuals Find Assistance?

Individuals looking for assistance can:


A GOP party goal is to make severe cuts to social service in America’s dire hour of need ……WILL YOU LET THIS HAPPEN ON YOUR WATCH? 

 Vote Democratic in 2012 to stop the GOP


175 thoughts on “GOP To Slash Social Services, 1 in 5 U.S. Childen Live In Poverty

  1. WH

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    9:30 AM
    The President signs the Korea, Panama, Colombia Free Trade Agreements and the renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance for workers.
    Oval Office
    Pool Spray

    10:00 AM
    10:30 AM
    The President drops by a reception in the Rose Garden
    Closed Press

    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    12:30 PM
    White Housed Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press.
    James S. Brady Briefing Room
    Open Press

    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    2:30 PM
    The President honors recipients of the 2010 National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
    East Room
    Open Press

    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

    • POTUS podium

      October 21, 2011

      9:00 AM EDT
      Pay for Success: Investing in What Works I
      The White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation brings together government officials, nonprofits, academics and intermediaries to identify the potential of the Pay for Success concept and opportunities to pursue Pay for Success pilot projects
      The White House

      12:30 PM EDT
      White Housed Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press.

      2:00 AM EDT
      Pay for Success: Investing in What Works II
      The White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation brings together government officials, nonprofits, academics and intermediaries to identify the potential of the Pay for Success concept and opportunities to pursue Pay for Success pilot projects
      The White House

      2:30 PM EDT
      The President honors recipients of the 2010 National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation.



      8:30 AM EDT
      Council of Foreign Relations: U.S. Challenges in Afghanistan & Pakistan

      12:30 PM EDT
      White Housed Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press.

      12:30 PM EDT
      State Department briefing
      The State Department holds its daily briefing with reporters. Topics expected to be discussed include the death of Moammar Gadhafi and the future of Libya.

      2:30 PM EDT
      The President honors recipients of the 2010 National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation.



      8:31 AM EDT
      Council on Foreign Relations
      Challenges in Afghanistan and Pakistan
      Carl Levin

      12:30 PM EDT
      White Housed Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press.

      12:30 PM EDT
      State Department briefing
      The State Department holds its daily briefing with reporters. Topics expected to be discussed include the death of Moammar Gadhafi and the future of Libya.

      2:30 PM EDT
      The President honors recipients of the 2010 National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

  2. Child Poverty (in the United States of America)

    Nearly 15 million children in the United States – 21% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level – $22,050 a year for a family of four. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 42% of children live in low-income families.

    Most of these children have parents who work, but low wages and unstable employment leave their families struggling to make ends meet. Poverty can impede children’s ability to learn and contribute to social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Poverty also can contribute to poor health and mental health. Risks are greatest for children who experience poverty when they are young and/or experience deep and persistent poverty.

    Research is clear that poverty is the single greatest threat to children’s well-being. But effective public policies – to make work pay for low-income parents and to provide high-quality early care and learning experiences for their children – can make a difference. Investments in the most vulnerable children are also critical.

    For the entire article:

    • The Globalist Quiz

      10/15/2011 12:57:39 AM PDT

      Child Poverty in Rich Countries
      The weekly quiz is provided by the Globalist, a daily online feature service that covers issues and trends in globalization. The nonpartisan organization provides commercial services and nonprofit educational features.

      Child poverty is a particularly harmful societal scourge because its effects often persist into adulthood. It diminishes educational opportunities, has a detrimental effect on health and may even stunt physical growth. Unfortunately, it is still relatively widespread in countries that are widely considered rich. We wonder: Which of the following country pairings has the highest child poverty rates?

      A. France and Germany
      B. U.K. and Japan
      C. Italy and Spain
      D. United States and Israel

      D. United States and Israel is correct.

      In the United States, on a per capita basis one of the richest OECD member countries, has a child poverty rate of 21.6 percent — meaning that more than one in every five children there lives in poverty.


    • A Job-Loss Recovery Hurts Children Most
      Statistics tell an alarming story

      September 15, 2011

      New York City– Although children account for less than a quarter of the total population in the U.S., they make up more than a third of the poor population. They also account for a disproportionate share – 36 percent in 2010 – of the population that lives in deep poverty, that is, in families with incomes equivalent to less than half of the poverty threshold, which is $22,113 for a family of four with two related children.

      While this week’s Census report on poverty, income, and health insurance came as no surprise to researchers at the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), a research center based at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, it was nonetheless alarming.

      “Until we as a nation really make a commitment to tackling the problem of sky-high unemployment, we’re going to continue to see these high poverty rates,” says Curtis Skinner, PhD, head of Family Economic Security at NCCP. “Although the recession officially ended in June 2009, what we’re seeing is even worse than a jobless recovery – it’s a job-loss recovery. The new Census data show that the number of American workers with earnings fell by 1.6 million in 2010, the first calendar year following the recession. This number rose for all other comparable years following recessions dating back to 1969.”

      The Census data also reveal that:

      — at 22 percent, the child poverty rate is now the highest it has been since 1993 and almost six percentage points higher than it was in 2000. Only three years have recorded higher child poverty rates dating back to 1965.

      — the poverty rate for black children is now almost forty percent (39.1 percent) and the rate for Hispanic children is 35 percent. For both children and adults in these groups, poverty rose the fastest in percentage point terms between 2009 and 2010. In the course of the Great Recession and its aftermath, black and Hispanic workers have endured particularly high, double-digit unemployment rates.

      — more than one-quarter (28.1 percent) of children living in families with a single father and nearly one-half (46.9 percent) of children living in families with a single mother, are poor.

      For the entire article:

    • Poor Hispanic, Black Children Have Greater Health Hurdles Than White Children
      Examining Health Disparities by Race, Ethnicity

      July 19, 2011

      New York City – Among poor children in America, race and ethnicity are significant indicators for outcomes regarding a host of health-related issues, including birth weight, exposure to lead, and access to adequate food and medical care.

      A new report from the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), a policy research center at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, examines how the health of poor children varies by race and ethnicity. For example, say the NCCP researchers, “Hispanic households are significantly more likely to be food insecure (51 percent versus 36 percent for non-Hispanic whites and 35 percent for non-Hispanic blacks).”

      Some other findings:

      • Poor black children are twice as likely as poor Hispanic and white children to have levels of lead in their blood of at least 2.5 micrograms per deciliter (33 percent versus 17 and 13 percent).
      • Twice as many poor Hispanic children have no place to go for healthcare when sick, compared to poor black and white children (10 versus six and five percent).
      • Low birth-weight births are highest among poor black children (20 percent), followed by white (15 percent) and Hispanic (12 percent) children.
      • Poor black children are more likely than poor white or Hispanic children to have been diagnosed with asthma (25 percent versus 16 percent and 13 percent).
      • Among children ages 2 to 17, Hispanic children are most likely to be overweight (19 versus 13 percent for whites and 14 for blacks) and obese (21 versus 17 and 18 percent).

      For the entire article:

    • Poverty rates up in most U.S. states, cities: Census

      10/20/11 By Lisa Lambert | Reuters – 2 hrs 15 mins ago

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The ranks of the poor rose in almost all U.S. states and cities in 2010, despite the end of the longest and deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression the year before, U.S. Census data released on Thursday showed.

      Mississippi and New Mexico had the highest poverty rates, with more than one out of every five people in each state living in poverty. Mississippi’s poverty rate led, at 22.4 percent, followed by New Mexico at 20.4 percent.

      New Hampshire had the lowest poverty rate, at 8.3 percent, making it the only state with a poverty rate below 10 percent.
      Twelve states had poverty rates above 17 percent, up from five in 2009, while poverty rates in 10 metropolitan areas topped 18 percent, the data showed.

      “We saw the recession hit and unemployment increase, but we haven’t seen a dramatic drop in unemployment,” said Elizabeth Kneebone, a senior research associate focusing on metropolitan issues at the Brookings Institution.

      “Because we’re still in this weak recovery, we could see these numbers get worse before they get better,” she added.

      The U.S. recession that began in 2007 took a steep toll across the country, sparing only a few places from rising joblessness and crashing incomes. More than a year after the recession officially ended in 2009, the U.S. unemployment rate remains above 9 percent; the poverty rate rose to 15.3 percent in 2010 from 14.3 percent in 2009.

      “No state had a statistically significant decline in either the number of people in poverty or the poverty rate between 2009 and 2010.” the Census reported.

      For the entire article:

    • Historic American High: 45.8 Million Citizens On Food Stamps

      NOVEMBER 02, 2011 obamafoodorama.blogspot

      The number of Americans using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also called Food Stamps, has increased each month since President Obama entered office. Food Stamp use hit an all-time high in August, the latest month for which data is available, the US Department of Agriculture reported on Tuesday. 45.8 million Americans received Food Stamps, an increase of 1.1% from July. It’s more than an 8.1% increase since August 2010. There were 31.9 million Americans on Food Stamps when President Obama was sworn into office in January of 2009. The Food Stamps program became a permanent federal component in 1964

      Spending on Food Stamps also hit an all-time high in August: The government spent $6.13 billion on benefits. Texas was the #1 state for Food Stamp use in August, with 4.1 million beneficiaries, and California was #2, with 3.82 million citizens.

      For the entire article:

    • How the Recovery Act Lifted Millions from Poverty

      Posted by Jason Furman, Danielle Gray, and Mark Zuckerman on November 07, 2011

      On Monday morning, the Census Bureau released findings that provide a more accurate look at the impact public policy has on poverty. These data demonstrate that policies supported and extended by the President to give a helping hand to those hit hardest by the recession – tax cuts for working families, assistance for basic food costs and school lunches, and help with housing – kept millions of Americans out of poverty last year.

      Additionally, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a new report based on the Census Bureau’s new data which found that provisions passed as part of the Recovery Act directly lifted nearly 7 million Americans out of poverty in 2010 and reduced poverty for 32 million more. This is on top of 6 million people lifted out of poverty by these policies in 2009. And these numbers are conservative estimates that do not reflect the indirect benefits from the jobs created through these policies.

      In contrast to this approach, Republicans in Congress opposed all of these measures and passed a budget that would both cut back on many of these programs and also convert them into block grants, which would prevent them from automatically expanding in hard times. Had we followed that path, many more Americans would be in poverty today.

      For the entire article:

    • White House Poverty stance:

      The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included broad investments to alleviate the poverty made worse by economic crisis.

      To fight hunger, the Act includes a $20 billion increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, as well as funding for food banks and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);

      * The Act also provides for $2 billion in new Neighborhood Stabilization Funds to help maintain ailing neighborhoods and $1.5 billion in Homelessness Prevention Funds to keep people in their homes or rapidly rehouse them;

      * The Act increases funding for the Community Services Block Grant by $1 billion;

      * The Act increases the Weatherization Assistance Program by $5 billion to help low income families save on their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient;

      * The Act increases job training funds for those who need them most, with $3.95 billion in additional funding for the Workforce Investment system, which will support green job training, summer jobs for young people, and other opportunities;

      * The Act provides increased income support, including an increase of $25 per week for Unemployment Insurance recipients and incentives for states to expand unemployment insurance eligibility, as well as an extra $250 payment to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries and new resources for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program; and,

      * The Act provides tax breaks to working families through the Make Work Pay and Child Tax Credits. These changes will reduce the marriage penalty and provide a larger credit for families with three or more children.

      Guiding Principles

      President Obama has been a lifelong advocate for the poor. As a young college graduate, he rejected the high salaries of corporate America and moved to the South Side of Chicago to work as a community organizer. As an organizer, President Obama worked with Chicago residents, churches, and local government to set up job training programs for the unemployed and after-school programs for kids. As President, his life experiences inform his efforts to create a path of opportunity for all hard-working Americans to enter the middle class. President Obama will lead a new federal approach to revitalize communities stricken by the economic crisis as well as communities that were hurting before it began.

      * Expand Opportunity
      Too many Americans live without hope for a better future or access to good, family-supporting jobs. President Obama is committed to creating the opportunity for all Americans to grab the first rung on the ladder to the middle class. That includes investing in strategies to make work pay, expanding access to affordable housing, and helping low-income Americans build the job skills to succeed in the workforce.

      * Stem the Tide
      The economic crisis has hit low-income American families particularly hard. President Obama will help vulnerable Americans through this crisis by making sure they have the resources they need to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads, while also extending tax credits to low-wage workers.

      * Strengthen Families
      President Obama was raised by a single parent, and knows the difficulties that young people face when their fathers are absent. He is committed to responsible fatherhood, by supporting fathers who stand by their families and encouraging young men to work towards good jobs in promising career pathways.

      * Mothers who are struggling in poverty also need support to raise healthy children. The President has proposed an historic investment in providing home visits to low-income, first-time parents by trained professionals. The President and First Lady are also committed to ensuring that children have nutritious meals to eat at home and at school, so that they grow up healthy and strong.


      • Reaching Out to Fight Veteran Homelessness

        Rosye Cloud June 05, 2012 02:01 PM EDT

        The White House would like to congratulate the finalists dedicated to providing resources to our homeless veterans. On March 19, 2012, the VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2) launched Project REACH (Real-time Electronic Access for Caregivers and the Homeless), which involved public and nonprofit collaboration between the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, and the Jon Bon Jovi (JBJ) Soul Foundation.

        VA Deputy Secretary W. Scott Gould, Mr. Bon Jovi, and HUD Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones announced the finalists today at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Data Initiative Forum in Washington D.C., and each finalist received a $10,000 prize.

        Project REACH challenges the nation’s developers to create a convenient mobile application so that local resources are available to those who need them most – our homeless veterans. The ultimate goal is to create a national platform that allows for identifying available services such as health clinics, food kitchens, housing services, and shelters at any location around the country.

        These finalists were chosen because they were the first five contestants to meet the selection criteria as outlined on Simply put, they provided a free, broadly accessible application that produces real or near real-time information on where someone can find a bed, a place to eat, or seek medical services. A pilot program between Veterans Affairs and Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation will select a program among this list of finalists that can be scaled nationwide.

        For more:

    • “During this past decade, profligate spending in Washington, tax cuts for multi-millionaires and billionaires, the cost of two wars, and the recession turned a record surplus into a yawning deficit, and that left us with a big pile of IOUs. If we don’t act, that burden will ultimately fall on our children’s shoulders. If we don’t act, the growing debt will eventually crowd out everything else, preventing us from investing in things like education, or sustaining programs like Medicare….

      So I am ready, I am eager, to work with Democrats and Republicans to reform the tax code to make it simpler, make it fairer, and make America more competitive. But any reform plan will have to raise revenue to help close our deficit. That has to be part of the formula. And any reform should follow another simple principle: Middle-class families shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires. That’s pretty straightforward. It’s hard to argue against that. Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett. There is no justification for it….”

      President Barack Obama 9/19/2011


      US House Slashes $35.8 Billion From Nutrition Programs With Passage Of H.R. 5652

      MAY 10, 2012 obamafoodorama.blogspot

      President pledges to veto; Dems blast the measure…

      The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). The measure slashes $35.8 billion from nutrition programs under Agriculture Committee jurisdiction. The White House on Wednesday issued a statement opposing the legislation, and pledging that President Obama will veto it, saying the bill’s “unbalanced provisions fail the test of fairness and shared responsibility.”

      “At the same time as the House is advancing tax cuts that benefit the most fortunate Americans, H.R. 5652 would impose deep budget cuts that cost jobs and hurt middle class and vulnerable Americans – especially seniors, veterans, and children,” the White House said.

      The measure was designed to reduce the budget deficit, while also overriding deep cuts to the Pentagon’s budget included in last summer’s debt deal, which are mandated to begin in 2013 because of the failure of the so-called Supercommittee to agree to a deficit-reduction plan. But the GOP focused solely on cutting social services programs. The vote was 218-99. 16 Republicans opposed it, as did 100% of the Democrats who voted.

      “Today, my Republican friends have brought to the floor a reconciliation bill that actually makes sequestration look good,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass).

      In the bill, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka Food Stamps) eligibility is tightened; the Social Services Block Grant, which funds Meals on Wheels, is ended; the Prevention and Public Health Trust Fund under the 2010 healthcare law is ended; the Federal Medicaid match to states is reduced, and there are new stricter eligibility standards for Medicaid required. The bill leaves pending mandatory cuts in place, including cuts to Medicare. It overrides $72 billion in cuts to the Pentagon and on defense spending mandated by sequestration, but adds $315 billion total in new cuts.

      For more:


        House farm bill cuts deeper

        By DAVID ROGERS | 7/5/12 3:35 PM EDT Updated: 7/5/12 8:51 PM EDT

        The House Agriculture Committee leadership rolled out its vision of a new five-year farm bill Thursday, a 557-page draft that builds on the Senate passed-plan but makes deeper cuts from food stamps while restoring target prices sought by Southern growers.

        The action begins a long uphill climb for Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), who must contend with tepid support from the top GOP brass and a fractious class of Republican freshmen who have never been through a farm bill debate before.

        But with Iowa in play and President Barack Obama in Cedar Rapids next week, farm issues can no longer be ignored this presidential year. And the draft bill promises both real savings and certainty for an important segment of the economy, now faced with a Sept. 30 deadline when the current farm program expires.

        Going into next Wednesday’s committee markup, Lucas has a strong partner in his ranking Democrat, Minnesota Collin Peterson.

        But the Oklahoma Republican is also tacking right and left at once: demanding deeper cuts from nutrition programs for the poor while embracing a greater government role in supporting farmers — something that won’t sit well with tea party conservatives.

        Congressional Budget Office estimates, released Thursday evening, credit his bill with saving $35.1 billion over 10 years or roughly $11 billion more than what that emerged from the Senate in June.

        Virtually all of that difference is explained by the much larger savings from food stamps — a $16 billion-plus package that triples what the Senate approved and imposes tougher income and asset tests that will disqualify hundreds of thousands of working-class households now getting aid.

        Read more:


        Text of the FARRM draft [PDF]
        Comprehensive summary of FARRM [PDF].

      • Paul Ryan Mis-Reads Catholic Teachings To Defend ‘Immoral’ Budget

        Published on Apr 27, 2012 by politicalarticles

    • Champions of Change: Fight Against Youth Homelessness

      Published on Jul 13, 2012 by whitehouse

      The White House honors leaders who have made a significant difference in the way their communities combat homelessness among children and youth. July 12, 2012.

    • AARP fighting House food stamp bill

      9/17/13 09:55 AM ET By Erik Wasson – TheHill

      The powerful seniors group, AARP, on Tuesday came out against a House Republican bill that it says would “punish” people on food stamps.

      The bill, which is headed to the House floor on Thursday, cuts $39 billion from the program over 10 years, and according to the Congressional Budget Office would remove up to 3.8 million people from food stamp eligibility next year.

      A letter to all members of the House from AARP urged a “no” vote.
      “AARP opposes H.R. 3102, ‘The Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act of 2013,’ especially the cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and we urge you to vote against it.

      “The new House nutrition bill retains the provisions opposed by AARP and other anti-hunger advocates in earlier House Farm Bill efforts while adding more stringent conditions to discourage participation in SNAP and generate cost savings that will harm millions of documented hungry and food insecure Americans,” the letter states.

      Democrats are hoping that enough Republicans from poor districts will defect to defeat the bill, handing House leaders another embarrassing defeat just ahead of major fiscal fights over government funding and the debt ceiling.

      They also hope that despite a defeat, House leaders will allow a House-Senate conference on a 2013 farm bill. The Senate farm bill contains $4 billion in food stamp cuts.

      The AARP’s voice significantly ups the opposition to the House bill, which has already drawn opposition from groups focused on hunger and from Catholic bishops.

      “The slow economy, higher prices for food and energy, and the impending November 1, 2013 elimination of the SNAP benefit boost from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) have made the situation acute for all concerned,” AARP said.

      Read more:

      • Obama threatens veto on farm bill

        7/11/13 6:48 AM EDT By TAL KOPAN – POLITICO44

        The White House late Wednesday night responded to a new farm bill posted by House Republicans, threatening to veto it in part over it not including food stamps.

        The House Rules Committee held a hearing on the new version of the so-called farm bill, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, beginning at 9 p.m. on Wednesday night and posted the more-than 600 page bill not long thereafter, with a vote expected Thursday.

        The White House statement decried the last-minute move in its veto threat late Wednesday, saying “because the 608 page bill was made available only this evening, the administration has had inadequate time to fully review the text of the bill. It is apparent, though, that the bill does not contain sufficient commodity and crop insurance reforms and does not invest in renewable energy, an important source of jobs and economic growth in rural communities across the country.”

        The veto threat was widely expected because of the bill’s lack of renewal of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, an amendment on which was a major sticking point in the failure of the House’s last attempt to pass the bill.


        House votes to cut food stamps by $39 billion

        9/19/13 06:09 PM ET By Pete Kasperowicz and Erik Wasson – TheHill

        The House approved legislation Thursday that would cut $39 billion in funds over the next decade for food stamp programs.

        Members approved H.R. 3102, the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act, in a close 217-210 vote. No Democrats voted for the bill, and 15 Republicans voted against GOP leaders.

        The bill would authorize food stamp programs for three years.

        The legislation, part of which was developed by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), passed in the face of fierce opposition from House Democrats, a White House veto threat, and warnings that it is already dead on arrival in the Democratic Senate.

        Several Democrats warned today that cutting $39 billion from the program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a cruel step that would only hurt people in need.

        The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that up to 3.8 million people will lose food stamp benefits next year.

        The vote was expected to be close, as a few Republicans had said they were undecided on how to vote. Just a day earlier, House Appropriations Committee Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said he was “looking at it,” and two others said they were similarly undecided.

        Rogers waited until the nearly last minute before voting for the measure.

        Most of the Republicans defections came from the Northeast, including most of the New York GOP delegation.

        “I have a lot of families that are struggling. This is a tough economy and I didn’t think it was the right time to be going that deep,” said Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.) of his “no” vote.

        Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) cited victims of Hurricane Sandy in his district who needed food stamps.

        “I just felt the cuts were a little too steep, especially because right now I have a lot of Sandy victims who have never been on assistance ever in their life,” Grimm said. “And a lot of these hard-working families have lost everything, and for the first time, they’re needing food stamps. So I didn’t want to affect those Sandy victims.”

        Other Republicans voting against the bill were Reps. Shelly Moore Capito (W.Va.), Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Jeff Fortenberry (Neb.), Chris Gibson (N.Y.), Richard Hanna (N.Y.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Peter King (N.Y.), Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), Gary Miller (Calif.), Chris Smith (N.J.), David Valadao (Calif.), Frank Wolf (Va.) and Don Young (Alaska).

        Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who frequently opposes leadership, waited until near the end before voting yes.

        “That was a tough vote, yes,” Amash said. “It’s got some reforms that are important. I think these issues should be handled by the states, not by the federal government. But it’s good to have a method for phasing these in while we transition over to the states.”

        Republicans stressed that the bill is needed to stop runaway spending in the food stamp program, which has roughly doubled under the Obama administration. They also said the bill is focused on reducing payments to able-bodied adults and focusing payments on more needy populations.

        “There’s no denying that SNAP provides important support for many Americans who are struggling,” said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.). “It serves a noble purpose to help you when you hit bottom. But it’s not meant to keep you at the bottom.”

        Democrats criticized the measure.

        “Cutting the investment is a full assault on the health and economic security of millions of families,” said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “I know one thing for sure: Every person who votes for this Republican measure is voting to hurt his or her own constituents.”

        Read more:

    • Perry: ‘Social Security is Ponzi scheme’

      11/21/10 By Gautham Nagesh – TheHill

      Republican Governors Association Chairman Rick Perry (R-Texas) called Social Security a Ponzi scheme on Sunday and said young workers know they will never receive any of the money they currently pay into the fund.

      “What I’m saying is that between Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, there’s $106 trillion of unfunded liabilities and not one dime saved to pay for them,” Perry said on “Fox News Sunday.” “My children who are in their 20s know that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.”

      When challenged by host Chris Wallace, who pointed out that when Social Security started there were seven or eight workers for every retiree, Perry doubled down on his criticism by arguing the program would even shame Charles Ponzi, who inspired the term by paying returns to early investors using money from later investors.

      “It probably is a program that even makes Mr. Ponzi feel pretty bad if he was still alive. The fact is our children know that the money that they’re putting into Medicaid, they’ll never see,” Perry said.

      For the entire article:

      • Gov. Rick Perry: Medicaid Would Make Even Mr. Ponzi Feel Bad

        Uploaded by jackohoft on Nov 21, 2010

        Governor Rick Perry today told Chris Wallace on FOX News Sunday that Medicaid is such a Ponzi scheme that it would even make Mr. Ponzi feel bad.

      • Rick Perry Clueless On Use Of Executive Presidential Powers To Kill Obamacare

        8/22/11 By Rick Ungar | Forbes

        Looking toward to a not-s0-distant future where Rick Perry could occupy the Oval Office, candidate Perry had this to say when speaking last week in South Carolina-

        “If I’m so fortunate to be elected the president of the United States, on Day One, when I walk into the Oval Office, there will be an executive order on that desk that eliminates as much of ObamaCare that I can have done with an executive order.”

        Via MSNBC

        What should disturb you about this vision of the future is not so much that a President Perry would try to bring Obamacare to an end as that is to be expected from any GOP contender.What should give you pause is that, in a Perry White House, our 45th president would begin his term by signing an executive order that would be, for all real purposes, a blank page.

        Talk about an inauspicious beginning as representative of what I fear we might continue to expect from a President Perry.

        Like it or not, there is virtually nothing a president can do by executive order to overturn this legislation passed by the Congress and signed into law by the current President.

        For the entire article:

      • Studies challenge wisdom of GOP candidates’ plans

        10/30/11 By CHARLES BABINGTON – Associated Press | AP

        WASHINGTON (AP) — Key proposals from the Republican presidential candidates might make for good campaign fodder. But independent analyses raise serious questions about those plans and their ability to cure the nation’s ills in two vital areas, the economy and housing.

        Consider proposed cuts in taxes and regulation, which nearly every GOP candidate is pushing in the name of creating jobs. The initiatives seem to ignore surveys in which employers cite far bigger impediments to increased hiring, chiefly slack consumer demand.

        “Republicans favor tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, but these had no stimulative effect during the George W. Bush administration, and there is no reason to believe that more of them will have any today,” writes Bruce Bartlett. He’s an economist who worked for Republican congressmen and in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

        As for the idea that cutting regulations will lead to significant job growth, Bartlett said in an interview, “It’s just nonsense. It’s just made up.”

        Government and industry studies support his view.

        The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks companies’ reasons for large layoffs, found that 1,119 layoffs were attributed to government regulations in the first half of this year, while 144,746 were attributed to poor “business demand.”

        Mainstream economic theory says governments can spur demand, at least somewhat, through stimulus spending. The Republican candidates, however, have labeled President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus efforts a failure. Instead, most are calling for tax cuts that would primarily benefit high-income people, who are seen as the likeliest job creators.

        “I don’t care about that,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry told The New York Times and CNBC, referring to tax breaks for the rich. “What I care about is them having the dollars to invest in their companies.”

        Many existing businesses, however, have plenty of unspent cash. The 500 companies that comprise the S&P index have about $800 billion in cash and cash equivalents, the most ever, according to the research firm Birinyi Associates.

        The rating firm Moody’s says the roughly 1,600 companies it monitors had $1.2 trillion in cash at the end of 2010. That’s 11 percent more than a year earlier.

        Small businesses rate “poor sales” as their biggest problem, with government regulations ranking second, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Of the small businesses saying this is not a good time to expand, half cited the poor economy as the chief reason. Thirteen percent named the “political climate.”

        More small businesses complained about regulation during the administrations of Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, according to an analysis of the federation’s data by the liberal Economic Policy Institute.

        Such findings notwithstanding, further cuts in taxes and regulations remain popular with GOP voters. A recent Associated Press-GfK poll found that most Democrats and about half of independents think “reducing environmental and other regulations on business” would do little or nothing to create jobs. But only one-third of Republicans felt that way.

        The GOP’s presidential hopefuls are shaping their economic agendas along those lines.

        Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says his 59-point plan “seeks to reduce taxes, spending, regulation and government programs.”

        Businessman Herman Cain would significantly cut taxes for the wealthy with his 9 percent flat tax plan. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota said in a recent debate, “It’s the regulatory burden that costs us $1.8 trillion every year. … It’s jobs that are lost.”

        The candidates have said little about another national problem: depressed home prices, as well as the high numbers of foreclosures and borrowers who owe more than their houses are worth.

        After the Oct. 18 GOP debate in Las Vegas, a center of foreclosure activity, editors of the AOL Real Estate site wrote, “We didn’t hear any meaningful solutions to the housing crisis. That’s no surprise, considering that housing has so far been a ghost issue in the campaign.”

        To the degree the candidates addressed housing, they mainly took a hands-off approach. “We need to get government out of the way,” Cain said. “It starts with making sure that we can boost this economy and then reform Dodd-Frank,” which is a law that regulates Wall Street transactions.

        Bachmann, in an answer that mentioned “moms” six times, said foreclosures fall most heavily on women who are “losing their nest for their children and for their family.” She said Obama “has failed you on this issue of housing and foreclosures. I will not fail you on this issue.” Bachmann offered no specific remedies.

        Romney told editors of the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Don’t try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom. Allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up.”

        Perry spokesman Mark Miner said the Texas governor’s “immediate remedy for housing is to get America working again. … Creating jobs will address the housing concerns that are impacting communities throughout America.”

        Bartlett, whose books on tax policy include “The Benefit and the Burden,” recently wrote in the New York Times: “People are increasingly concerned about unemployment, but Republicans have nothing to offer them.”

        The candidates and their supporters dispute this, of course. A series of scheduled debates may give them chances to explain why their proposals would hit the right targets.

    • Perrycare 101: Rick Perry’s Medicaid record

      08/15/2011 By Sarah Kliff- washingtonpost

      As a joint state-federal program, Medicaid has long been riddled with tension over who gets to make what decisions. Both parties foot a significant part of the bill, so it’s no surprise that each wants a big say in how that money gets spent. The federal government sets certain parameters — particular populations and benefits that every state has to cover — but beyond that, it’s an ongoing negotiation with states over what changes they can or cannot make. Most states have about a dozen or so Medicaid waivers, which allow them to try new ideas or cover a new population.

      Playing a central role in this debate lately has been Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who has not been shy about advocating for greater state flexibility under the Medicaid program.

      Last November, Perry gave legs to the idea that states might drop out of the program altogether, telling Fox News’s Greta Van Sustren that he’d “like to see the states be given the opportunity to opt out of the Medicaid program that we are looking at today.” As chair of the Republican Governors Association, Perry petitioned the Obama administration to drop a health-care law provision that requires states to keep all current Medicaid patients on the rolls through 2014.

      In the regulatory realm, too, Perry has pursued some ambitious waivers to reshape his state’s Medicaid program. In 2008, under the Bush administration, Texas applied for a waiver allowing it to limit the number of beneficiaries and create a comparatively sparse benefits plan, among other changes. This year, Perry signed legislation that compels the state to apply for a Medicaid block grant. The idea is that Texas would accept a capped amount of federal Medicaid funding in return for more flexibility on how to spend this money.

      For the entire article:

    • New GOP Frontrunner Herman Cain Is Even Worse Than Old Frontrunner Rick Perry On The Constitution

      Oct 14, 2011 By Ian Millhiser –

      The defining feature of fading former GOP frontrunner Rick Perry is his radical understanding of the Constitution. Perry believes that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional. He considers Medicaid and federal school programs unconstitutional “nonsense.” And has even suggested that themost basic national labor protections may be unconstitutional.

      Herman Cain is worse.

      In case there is any doubt that Cain shares Perry’s bizarre view that federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid violate the Constitution, consider a clip from Cain’s radio show that was recorded during the debate over the Affordable Care Act:

      CALLER: Um, I want to thank you for keeping everybody informed as to the constitutional problems we’re having right now. And, ah, quick question, can you find anything constitutional in the health care bill?

      CAIN: No. No. Nothing at all.

      If it were actually true that nothing in the Affordable Care Act survived constitutional scrutiny, then Medicare, Medicaid, and all other programs that provide Americans with health coverage would also be unconstitutional. The backbones of the Affordable Care Act are a Medicaid expansion that provides health care to low-income Americans and new subsidies to help middle class Americans afford insurance. Both of these are constitutional for the same reason that America is also allowed to provide coverage to older Americans and the very poor — the Constitution gives Congress the power to “to lay and collect taxes” and to “provide for the…general welfare of the United States.”

      Yet Cain’s vision of the Constitution doesn’t stop at ignoring America’s power to provide Medicare to seniors and affordable coverage to all Americans. At another point on his radio show, Cain made the bizarre claim that all national bankruptcy laws are unconstitutional, even though the Constitution expressly states that Congress may establish “uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States.” Not even Rick Perry has endorsed Cain’s textually indefensible understanding of the Constitution and bankruptcy.

      Similarly, Cain touted an unconstitutional plan to effectively lock his regressive “999″ tax plan in place permanently, even though the Supreme Court held more than a century ago that newly elected legislators “have the same power of repeal and modification which [past legislators] had of enactment.” Perry has not claimed the unconstitutional power to make laws functionally unrepealable.

      For the entire article and audio of Q&A:

    • Cain’s Social Security Model Risks Miring U.S. in Deeper Debt

      Oct 16, 2011 By Sebastian Boyd – bloomberg

      Herman Cain, the former pizza executive surging in polls for the Republican presidential nomination, wants to replace Social Security with what he called the “Chilean model” of private pension funds. Full adoption of that model may push the U.S. deeper into deficit than Greece.

      Chile’s system, introduced under the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, diverted workers’ contributions into privately run funds, slashing government revenue over the next few decades in exchange for a reduction in state pension payments 30 years down the line.

      The military regime prepared for the new system in 1981 by cutting spending, building up a fiscal surplus and clamping down on all forms of dissent. The U.S. by contrast, had a deficit equal to 8.9 percent of gross domestic product last year, the Congressional Budget Office estimates, and no political consensus on how to eliminate that shortfall.

      “For the U.S. right now it would be impossible,” said Alejandro Micco, who was the chief economist at Chile’s Finance Ministry until last year. To change to a private pension system “you either need to have a very big fiscal surplus to pay retirees without income from workers, or go into debt.”

      An NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll taken Oct. 6-10 found that Cain led the Republican field with 27 percent, followed by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with 23 percent and Texas Governor Rick Perry with 16 percent. The poll interviewed 336 people who said they would vote in the Republican primary and had a margin of error of 5.35 percentage points. Cain had 5 percent in an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll taken in August.

      For the entire article:

    • Romney Offers More Details On Medicare Plan: ‘We’re Going To Give People Vouchers’

      10/19/11 Igor Volsky

      Mitt Romney has praised Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to privatize Medicare for future enrollees as making “important strides in the right direction” and promised that his own proposal “will differ” but “share those objectives.” During a discussion with the editorial board of the Las Vegas Review Journal earlier this week, Romney revealed that he would give seniors “vouchers” to enroll in private managed care plans, but preserve the traditional CMS-sponsored coverage as an option:

      ROMNEY: You have a program like Paul Ryan has proposed, which says we’re going to give people vouchers to let them choose among private plans. I would not at the same time would want to remove the option for people who have standard Medicare. But I would probably move to a more managed care approach even in Medicare itself.

      The proposal is a small tweak to the Ryan approach and will only save the federal government money by shifting costs to seniors rather than lowering national health care spending. Managed care — as it currently exists as an option through Medicare Advantage — lacks the bargaining power of the traditional Medicare program and has produced only limited savings. In fact, private plans are receiving a subsidy from the federal government to offer additional benefits, but are often less efficient and charge more for the same coverage. That means, as the Congressional Budget Office has concluded, “under the proposal, most elderly people would pay more for their health care than they would pay under the current Medicare system.” “[T]he beneficiary’s share in 2030 would be 68 percent under the proposal” but only “25 percent” under current law. Their share will only increase over time, since the “voucher” Romney is proposing will probably not keep up with health care costs.

      For the entire article:

    • Romney plan calls for Medicaid block grants, repeal of Obama health law

      09/06/11 By Sam Baker – TheHill

      Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney said Tuesday he would issue an executive order to slow implementation of the healthcare law on his first day in office if he were elected president. Romney also proposed major changes to Medicaid and said his plan for Medicare will be similar to Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) controversial proposal.

      The economic plan that Romney released Tuesday is highly critical of President Obama’s healthcare reform law, which was modeled largely after the reforms Romney implemented as governor of Massachusetts. Romney’s plan says the federal law is a burden to businesses and is contributing to economic uncertainty.

      If elected president, Romney said, he would issue an executive order on his first day in office that “directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services and all relevant federal officials to return the maximum possible authority to the states to innovate and design health care solutions that work best for them.”

      Romney, like all of the GOP contenders thus far, has said he wants to “repeal and replace” the healthcare law. That would require action from Congress.

      Romeny’s plan also proposes converting federal Medicaid spending into block grants for states. The federal government currently pays a certain percentage of total Medicaid costs, meaning it spends more when more people need the program. Romney said the switch to a fixed grant amount could save the federal government $200 billion per year.

      House Republicans’ budget proposal also calls for Medicaid block grants.

      For the entire article:

    • Bachmann Would Cut Social Security, Medicare

      August 12, 2011 Margaret Talev and John McCormick- Bloomberg

      Representative Michele Bachmann said she would cut Social Security and Medicare benefits for all but current recipients as part of a broader effort to reduce the federal deficit.

      “We will reform the entitlement programs now, not five years from now, not 26 years from now, now,” Bachmann said on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital With Al Hunt” airing this weekend. “Anyone who is not yet on those programs, we are going to change them.”

      Bachmann, who is seeking the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2012, also said her experience in creating jobs in the private sector gives her an advantage over Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry, who is set to announce his own White House candidacy tomorrow in South Carolina.

      “We have created jobs. We’ve signed both sides of a paycheck. I get it,” Bachmann said, in a reference to a mental health care practice she founded with her husband, Marcus.

      Her comments came on the eve of the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames, an event that analysts say will winnow the Republican field that wants to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012.

      Bachmann also said she would have allowed Citigroup and General Motors to go bankrupt rather than intervene with a federal government bailout. “I am an unashamed apologist for the free market,” Bachmann said.

      For the entire article:

    • Bachmann called Social Security ‘a tremendous fraud’ in 2010

      9/12/11 By Chris Moody | The Ticket

      At Monday’s Republican presidential debate in Tampa, Fla, Michele Bachmann is reportedly planning to criticize Rick Perry for calling Social Security “a Ponzi scheme,” but she may want to tread lightly: Bachmann, who is trying to recapture some of the momentum her presidential campaign had built earlier this summer, made similar comments about the program just last year, and she also said last year that younger workers should be “weaned off” the program.

      During an interview with the Fox Business channel in February 2010, Bachmann, a Republican representative from Minnesota, called Social Security’s structure “a tremendous fraud” and said that anyone who ran a business modeled after the program would be “thrown in jail.”

      “It’s a tremendous fraud,” Bachmann told Fox Business host David Asman after he called the program “one of the biggest frauds ever perpetrated on the American public.”

      “No company could get away with this, they’d be thrown in jail if they ever tried to do what the federal government did with people’s Social Security money,” Bachmann said. “What we need to do very quickly is take the money that is coming in for Social Security, and truly lock it up so that we aren’t putting it out the door anymore.”

      Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart did not immediately return a request from The Ticket for comment.


    • Michele Bachmann Medicaid Payments

      From: TheYoungTurks | ‪Jun 28, 2011‬

      2012 Republican presidential hopeful and Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann’s husband has collected Medicaid payments for several years for a Christian Counseling Clinic. Cenk Uygur an Ana Kasparian discuss.

    • Republicans: On the side of Wall Street, not consumers

      October 06, 2011 Posted by Elizabeth Chan –

      Three years ago, Wall Street risk taking almost destroyed our economy. But last summer, Presient Obama signed a bill to prevent that from ever happening again. Now, while GOP presidential candidates are vowing to repeal Wall Street reform, Senate Republicans are trying to undermine the law.

      It’s up to us to tell Republicans to leave Wall Street reform alone and put consumers first—and that means confirming Richard Cordray to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

      GOP candidates would cut federal judges’ power

      10/24/11 By MARK SHERMAN – Associated Press | AP – 20 hrs ago

      WASHINGTON (AP) — Most of the Republican presidential candidates want to wipe away lifetime tenure for federal judges, cut the budgets of courts that displease them or allow Congress to override Supreme Court rulings on constitutional issues.

      Any one of those proposals would significantly undercut the independence and authority of federal judges. Many of the ideas have been advanced before in campaigns to court conservative voters.

      This time, though, six of the eight GOP candidates are backing some or all of those limits on judges, even though judges appointed by Republican presidents hold a majority on the Supreme Court and throughout the federal system.

      A group that works for judicial independence says the proposals would make judges “accountable to politicians, not the Constitution.”

      Bert Brandenburg, executive director of the Justice at Stake Campaign, said, “Debates like these could threaten to lead to a new cycle of attempts to politicize the courts.”

      Only the former governors in the race, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Jon Huntsman of Utah, have not attacked federal judges in their campaigns.

      Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been the most outspoken critic of the courts. He would summon judges before Congress to explain their decisions and consider impeaching judges over their rulings.

      Texas Gov. Rick Perry, in his book “Fed Up,” has called for an end to lifetime tenure for federal judges and referred to the high court as “nine oligarchs in robes.”

      Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann, in criticizing Iowa judges who ruled same-sex marriage legal in the state, described judges as “black-robed masters.” Bachmann said Congress should prevent the courts from getting involved in the fight over same-sex marriage, among other high-profile social issues.

      Texas Rep. Ron Paul has advocated cutting the jurisdiction of federal courts and has introduced a bill to that effect in the House. A judge’s violation of Paul’s proposed “We the People Act” would be “an impeachable offense.”

      Paul told Iowans in March that the country ought to come up with a way for voters to remove federal judges from office, much like several states that have retention elections for state judges.

      At a Tea Party forum in South Carolina in September, Republican candidate Herman Cain joined Bachmann and Gingrich in endorsing legislation that would overturn the high court’s rulings declaring that women have a constitutional right to abortion. The proposal challenges the widely held view that Congress can’t overrule the court’s constitutional holdings.

      For the entire article:


      GOP backs tax hike — for the poor

      10/24/11 By ROBERT L. BOROSAGE – POLITICO44

      Texas Gov. Rick Perry this week will try to revive his flagging presidential campaign by embracing an old conservative fancy — the flat tax, while calling for “scrapping the 3 million words of the current Tax Code.” Embracing the flat tax trumps the “9-9-9” tax proposal that levitated Herman Cain’s candidacy. And it puts Perry at the head of what has become a bizarre GOP fixation — the need to tax the poor.

      Taxing the poor has become a badge of honor among conservatives. When Occupy Wall Street protesters launched their cry of “We are the 99 percent,” the right-wing blogosphere responded, “We are the 53 percent,” meaning the 53 percent of American households that they say pay federal income taxes.

      Conservatives have become fixated on the notion that largely because of the Earned Income Tax Credit — passed under Ronald Reagan and expanded under Bill Clinton — almost half of all Americans pay no income taxes.

      Perry launched his presidential campaign expressing dismay at the “injustice that nearly half of all Americans don’t even pay any income tax.” And he was not alone. Every (GOP) major candidate — Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Mitt Romney and Cain — has suggested that too many of the working poor aren’t paying income taxes, a position The Wall Street Journal describes as “GOP doctrine.”

      “We don’t have enough people paying taxes in this country,” said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a GOP vice presidential hopeful, who trumpets conservative gospel. “We need to broaden the base so that everybody pays something,” said Bachmann. Only Ron Paul dissents — saying he doesn’t want to raise taxes on anyone.

      The argument is disingenuous. Working poor people do pay taxes. They pay a larger portion of their incomes in payroll taxes and sales taxes than the wealthy. And they pay property taxes indirectly in their rental costs. Poor workers pay about one-eighth of their incomes in taxes, on average.

      For the entire article:

      • Rick Perry’s Tax Plan Is Another Campaign Blunder

        Oct. 24, 2011 Michael Brendan Dougherty – businessinsider

        Like the current tax code? Rick Perry says you can keep it. Want to daydream about being rich enough to pay a much lower flat-tax? Rick Perry has another tax-code he’d like to create just for that purpose.

        Rick Perry has just unveiled his tax-plan. It institutes a 20 percent flat tax that maintains the charitable and mortgage interest deductions. But Perry doesn’t have all that much faith in his scheme, as he would allow anyone who wants to file under the current code the option to do so.

        This is an admission that for many Americans the status quo is actually better than anything Rick Perry’s team can devise.
        Perry’s tax plan would preserve all the confusion, waste, and market distortions in the current code, and add another layer. The politicians who manage that would get a new tax code to fiddle with as a bonus — one that has little substance beyond massively cutting taxes for the wealthy. Perry is selling simplicity to the GOP’s base voters — that’s the most appealing thing about a flat-tax — but most of these voters would actually pay less under the current more confusing code.

        Perry claims that tax filers could fill out their taxes on a post-card. That’s true, but most taxpayers would have to at least calculate what their tax bill will be under both plans. Perry’s GOP rivals should feast on him for making Americans calculate two bills for themselves.

        Perry’s plan also calls for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. Many Republicans claim that this kind of Constitutional solution works on the state level. But states don’t have central banks or their own Treasury Department. A Balanced Budget Amendment is an invitation to make federal finances more opaque, or to encourage outright fraud — especially when you add Perry’s idea to cap federal government spending at 18 percent of GDP.

        Perry’s plan is not as simple as Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan or even Jon Huntsman’s more progressive tax-simplification plan. Perry has managed to release a tax plan that is bad politics on top of bad policy.

        For the entire article and video:

      • Cain’s ‘9-9-9’ tax plan hits poor, helps wealthy, experts say

        10/14/11 By Michael A. Fletcher – washingtonpost

        The “9-9-9” plan that has helped propel businessman Herman Cain to the front of the GOP presidential field would stick many poor and middle-class people with a hefty tax increase while cutting taxes for those at the top, tax analysts say.

        The plan would do away with much of the current tax code and impose a 9 percent personal income tax, a 9 percent business tax and a 9 percent national sales tax, which tax experts say would mean that low- and middle-income Americans would pay more.

        “Right now, we have a strongly progressive income tax. High-income people are paying a higher share of income in taxes than lower-income people,” said Alan D. Viard, a former Federal Reserve Bank economist and a resident scholar at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. “That is a pattern that would be disrupted by adoption of the Cain plan.”

        The 9-9-9 plan has helped define Cain’s candidacy. Coupled with his buoyant, plain-spoken style, it has helped transform the former long shot into a front-runner. Cain has touted the proposal’s apparent simplicity and fairness, but he rarely delves into details. His campaign Web site shows that the plan is only a step toward achieving his ultimate goal: to eliminate the Internal Revenue Service after replacing all federal taxes with a national sales tax.

        Meanwhile, analysts said the 9-9-9 part of Cain’s vision would place a further burden on those hit hardest by the nation’s economic problems.

        Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, is working on an analysis of Cain’s signature policy proposal. Although the plan’s details remain sketchy, Williams said that it would increase taxes for the poor and middle class, despite Cain’s statements to the contrary.

        For the entire article:

      • Romney, Once a Critic, Hedges on Flat-Tax Plans

        10/23/11 By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr. and ASHLEY PARKER – nytimes

        As several leading Republican presidential candidates embrace a flat tax as a core campaign position, one contender stands out in not doing so: Mitt Romney, who has a long record of criticizing such plans and famously derided Steve Forbes’s 1996 proposal as a “tax cut for fat cats.”

        Lately, though, his tone has been more positive. “I love a flat tax,” he said in August.

        Flat-tax plans have come and gone before, and analysts note that they have tended to lose support once they come under scrutiny. But Mr. Romney’s support of the concept of a flat tax underscores the tightrope he is walking as taxes become a larger focus of the Republican presidential race and he faces rivals’ accusations of inconsistency on the issues.

        That is because Mr. Romney also is always careful to emphasize — as he did in his comments two months ago — that he would never support any plan that hurts the middle class and helps the wealthy. But by replacing the graduated income tax with one single rate everyone pays, that is precisely what flat tax plans generally do, at least those that try to generate anywhere near the same tax revenue.

        Politically, Mr. Romney’s favorable comments about flat taxes speak to the deep frustration many Republican voters share about the current system. While Herman Cain’s “9-9-9” tax overhaul proposal has been criticized by his rivals because it includes a new national sales tax in addition to a flat income tax, the catchy plan has nonetheless helped vault the relatively unknown businessman to the fore of the party’s field. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is now trying to channel that same energy to rescue his campaign, and this week he is expected to unveil a flat-tax proposal resembling the one put forward 15 years ago by Mr. Forbes, who is advising him.

        But flat taxes, despite Mr. Romney’s favorable comments, are not part of his campaign plan, which calls for extending Bush tax cuts and lowering corporate tax rates. Some conservative tax activists say his murky flat-tax stance highlights a broader complaint: his lack of consistency on conservatives’ core issues, like abortion.

        “His problem is that people don’t have confidence that they know what he believes in, and I think there is a pretty good reason for that,” said Chris Chocola, a Republican former congressman from Indiana who is president of the Club for Growth.

        For the entire article:

      • Study: Gingrich tax plan would worsen deficit

        12/12/11 By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER | AP – 4 hrs ago

        WASHINGTON (AP) — The tax plan by GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich would provide big tax breaks to the rich and blow a huge hole in the federal budget deficit, according to an independent study released Monday.

        The analysis by the Tax Policy Center says households making more than $1 million a year would see their taxes drop by an average of 62 percent. Overall, federal tax revenues would drop by an estimated $850 billion in 2015, a figure that would dramatically worsen the budget deficit unless it is offset by unprecedented spending cuts, the study said.

        “The revenue losses are enormous,” said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center.

        Gingrich proposes an optional 15 percent flat tax on income. Under the plan, taxpayers could stay in the current system, which has a top tax rate of 35 percent on taxable income above $379,150, or switch to the new 15 percent tax. The new tax would apply to income at all levels, but there would be a variety of tax deductions and credits.

        Gingrich would eliminate taxes on capital gains, dividends and interest, and reduce the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 12.5 percent. The plan would provide a personal deduction of $12,000 for every American, while maintaining the $1,000 per-child tax credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, which benefits low-income people. Deductions for mortgage interest and charitable donations would also be maintained.

        Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond disputed the projections on the budget deficit, saying the study doesn’t account for the economic and job growth that such a tax system would generate.

        The campaign’s website says a new flat tax would make it easy for families to file their returns while eliminating taxes that discourage investment.

        “An optional flat tax reform will be simple: Tax returns can be done on one sheet of paper,” the website says. “Subtract from income a standard deduction and deductions for charity and home ownership, multiply the result by the fixed, single rate of taxation of at most 15 percent, and the process is over.”

        The analysis comes as the former House speaker has surged to the top of the polls in the race for the Republican nomination for president. Several other candidates have offered variations of the flat tax, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Gingrich’s chief rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, has proposed changes to the tax system that are less sweeping.

        Gingrich’s plan, however, would make it even more difficult for Congress to reduce the federal budget deficit, which was $1.3 trillion in the budget year that ended in September, according to the study. The issue consumed Capitol Hill for several months in the summer and fall, leading to a deficit reduction plan that both Democrats and Republicans dislike.

        For the entire article:


        Romney on spending: Guns triumph over butter

        4/23/12 By Andrew Taylor – Associated Press

        WASHINGTON — Reducing government deficits Mitt Romney’s way would mean less money for health care for the poor and disabled and big cuts to nuts-and-bolts functions such as food inspection, border security and education.

        Romney also promises budget increases for the Pentagon, above those sought by some GOP defense hawks, meaning that the rest of the government would have to shrink even more. Nonmilitary programs would incur still larger cuts than those called for in the tightfisted GOP budget that the House passed last month.

        Differences over the government’s budget and spiraling deficits are among the starkest that separate Republican Romney and Democratic President Barack Obama. Obama’s budget generally avoids risk, with minimal cuts to rapidly growing health care programs such as Medicare and Medicaid while socking wealthier people with tax increases. It’s all part of an effort to close trillion-dollar-plus deficits.

        Romney, by contrast, proposes broad cuts in government spending, possibly overpromising on reductions that even a Congress stuffed with conservatives might find hard to deliver.

        Estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office put current government spending at $3.6 trillion, or about 23.5 percent of the gross domestic product this year, slipping to 21.8 percent by 2016.

        The math can get fuzzy. But the Romney campaign says it needs to come up with $500 billion in cuts in 2016, the target year. The GOP front-runner suggests raising the Social Security retirement age and reducing cost-of-living increases for better-off retirees.

        He generally endorses a plan by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to gradually transform Medicare from a program that directly pays hospital and doctor bills into vouchers for subsidizing future beneficiaries in buying health insurance.

        Because Romney promises to protect current Social Security and Medicare recipients from cuts, he cannot get much savings from those programs by 2016.

        Combined, they are projected to make up about 44 percent of the budget that year. Interest costs, which cannot be touched, would make up an additional 9 percent of the budget, while Romney promises to add almost $100 billion to the Pentagon budget that year, based on his pledge that military spending reach 4 percent of GDP.

        So what’s left to cut?

        Medicaid: The program now provides health care for about 50 million mostly poor and disabled people, including nursing home care for 7 of 10 patients nationwide. Obama’s health care law sharply would sharply boost Medicaid enrollment to cover more people above the poverty line, a move that Romney promises to repeal.

        Like House Republicans, Romney promises to transform Medicaid into block grants for states and shed federal supervision of it. He would cap the program’s annual growth to inflation plus a percentage point. His campaign says the approach would unshackle states to innovate and, by the end of a decade, cut costs by more than $200 billion a year.

        Domestic agency budgets: If Social Security is mostly off the table and current Medicare beneficiaries are protected, domestic Cabinet agency budgets would take a major hit in ways that could fundamentally alter government. The future growth of those discretionary programs funded through annual appropriations bills was already cut greatly in last year’s deal to raise the government’s borrowing limit.

        At issue are these programs, just to name a few: health research; NASA; transportation; homeland security; education; food inspection; housing and heating subsidies for the poor; food aid for pregnant women; the FBI; grants to local governments; national parks; and veterans’ health care.

        Other benefit programs: Like Ryan’s budget, the Romney plan would also cut benefit programs other than Social Security and Medicare. They include food stamps, school lunches, crop subsidies, Supplemental Security Income for very poor seniors and disabled people, unemployment insurance, veterans’ pensions and refundable tax credits to the working poor.



      “Don’t try to stop the foreclosure process.Let it run its course and hit the bottom.”


      Don’t worry about fuel emissions—investors will pitch in to buy a new planet when the time comes. #romneyplan

      If we’re talking about creating jobs, I guess I could double up on staff at the vacation home. #romneyplan

      Our schools already have plenty of funding—I know a luxury jet, on the other hand, that could really use a facelift… #romneyplan

      Tweet Your #romneyplan

    • Rick Perry’s ‘truly bizarre’ speech: Was he drunk?

      Oct 31, 2011 By The Week’s Editorial Staff – The Week

      A Friday speech that is charitably being called “passionate” raises new doubts about the Texas governor’s presidential viability

      The video: Texas Gov. Rick Perry raised some eyebrows — and questions about his sobriety — with an unusually expressive speech to a conservative group in Manchester, N.H., on Friday. In the speech, Perry ditched his typically reserved style and instead employed “the sort of tics, facial contortions, mimes, and muggings that one would expect from a comic performer,” says Thomas Lane at Talking Points Memo. The media scuttlebutt is largely based on an anonymously posted YouTube compilation of “highlights” from the speech (watch the clip below), but even some in attendance were perplexed. “It was different,” Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas told The Huffington Post. Another GOP operative said it reminded him of Democrat Howard Dean’s race-ending “scream” in 2004. Perry’s campaign’s response? The speech simply proves that Perry is “passionate about the issues he talks about.”

      The reaction: Perry’s performance was “truly bizarre,” says Libby Spencer at The Impolitic. “He comes off as pretty well drunk. Or drugged.” Yes, and though it’s not a crime to be “pretty publicly lit,” it’s almost certainly bad politics for a presidential hopeful, says Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast. Well, I doubt he’s drunk, says Josh Feldman at Mediaite. But his exuberance is “fun to watch.” I bet “Alec Baldwin will appreciate the material for his next Perry impersonation. Look, “we’re not saying that he’s definitely drunk,” says Max Read at Gawker, “we’re just saying, watch the whole thing” and judge for yourself.


      Is Rick Perry drunk??? Full Cornerstone speech

      Uploaded by LoopyRick420 on Oct 29, 2011

      Rick Perry speaks at Cornerstone Action’s Annual Fundraising Dinner and Awards Gala in Manchester, New Hampshire, on October 28, 2011.

    • Why 2012 is about tax cuts for the wealthy

      11/2/11 By Suzy Khimm – washingtonpost

      Now that we’ve heard from the number-crunchers on Rick Perry’s tax plan, how does it stack up against Herman Cain’s? As expected, Perry’s plan leaves the poor and middle-class with more after-tax income, while Cain’s plan is significantly more regressive—it leaves everyone earning under $100,000 with less after-tax income, according to the Tax Policy Center. But both plans would leave wealthy Americans—particularly those earning $500,000 or more—with a lot more after-tax income income, with rich Americans benefiting slightly more under Perry than Cain.

      Here’s a chart showing how much income Americans in different economic classes would have after taxes, if the Perry and Cain plans were enacted:

      Cain vs Perry vs Obama tax cuts

      The graph above also includes Tax Policy Center’s analysis of how President Obama’s American Jobs Act would impact U.S. households, which incorporates both the sweeping payroll tax cuts and the tax increases on the wealthy that are used to pay for them. It’s not Obama’s full tax reform plan, so it’s not meant to be an apples-to-apples comparison. But it’s one indication of the stark differences between Republicans and Democrats in terms of tax policy.

      For the entire article:


      What Romney would cut

      11/04/2011 Posted by Suzy Khimm – TheHill

      Mitt Romney is making a big push today to cast himself as a budget-slashing fiscal conservative who isn’t afraid to wield a hatchet when it comes to government spending. But what specific cuts would he actually push for? The same ones that House Republicans were demanding earlier this year. And it’s worth remembering exactly what those were.

      According to Romney’s budget proposal, he’d “send a bill to Congress on Day One” with a 5 percent, across-the-board cut to non-security discretionary spending. On top of that, he’d also pass the House Republican version of the 2011 budget, which capped spending at below 2008 levels, before Obama took office. Compared to the 2010 budget, it would have cut spending by about $86 billion. But in the process, it went after some programs far more aggressively than others.

      The GOP budget plan that Romney wants to adopt would make steeper cuts to Head Start, Pell Grants and workforce training than to other programs. Romney would completely eliminate funding for a program backing remedial literacy in low-income schools, as well as federal assistance that helps low-income families pay their heating and cooling bills. Ultimately, as a result of such cuts — combined with the budget reductions passed on Obama’s watch — “157,000 at-risk children up to age 5 could lose education, health, nutrition, and other services under Head Start, while funds for Pell Grants that help students go to college would fall by nearly 25 percent,” according to a CBPP analysis of the House GOP proposal.

      And that’s just the beginning. Romney’s first two steps to cut the budget would reduce spending by about 8 to 9.4 percent compared to 2012, though that’s setting aside whatever happens with the debt “supercommittee.” However, that’s outside of the entitlement reforms that he wants to pass, which would block-grant Medicaid and offer a private alternative to Medicare. Romney is also pushing additional budget-cutting measures that would reduce the size of the federal workforce and its salaries. All this would build toward $500 billion in spending cuts per year, which Romney promises to reach in 2016.

      Romney, however, is selective when it comes to the specific discretionary spending cuts that he’s campaigning on. Though he’s endorsed the House GOP budget for 2011 upfront, he’s singled out just a few programs for item-line reductions: slashing money for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and Title X family planning funding, for instance. Those kinds of cuts wouldn’t save much money, relatively speaking, but they are more appealing to ideological social conservatives who are a key voting block in the primary. But it will be interesting to see whether and when Romney defends the rest of the budget-slashing demands that House Republicans have made this year.


        Opinion: The radical dangers of Mitt Romney’s America

        As president, the shape-shifting Republican would bow to the far Right — and sacrifice many of the programs and ideals that make this nation great

        Dec 2, 2011 By Robert Shrum | The Week

        One of the nation’s most prominent columnists told me in the past few days that he had almost written that Mitt Romney was the inevitable Republican nominee, but at the last minute, pulled back and hedged his prediction with a formulaic qualifier. Not me. For months, I’ve been boldly stating that it’s Romney. After all, I asked, who the hell else have they got?

        Well, right now, Newt Gingrich — ahead in Iowa, closing in New Hampshire, pulling away in South Carolina, beating Romney by the astounding margin of 47 percent to 17 percent in the probable rubber-match state of Florida. Can it last? Is the year so weird that the traditional metrics — money, organization, a long-term strategic plan — don’t matter, or won’t make enough of a difference? I still believe, logically, perhaps stubbornly, that in the end, the unpalatable Romney is likely to prevail over the improbable Gingrich or some last hour, unthinkable incarnation of yet another non-Mitt.

        The resistance to the obvious nominee reflects the nagging instinct of the GOP’s dominant right wing that, whatever his peccadilloes and his pyrotechnic deviations from orthodoxy, Newt is at heart a conservative, and that Mitt is at heart a con man.

        Both propositions are amply justified on the public record, but for conservatives, the judgment about Romney should be irrelevant. The Right shouldn’t be afraid of him; it’s the rest of us who should. If elected, Romney would be imprisoned in his presidency by wary Republicans who would watch his every move and threaten his renomination if he ever dared to be pragmatic. Whether he means what he says, doing it would be his only politically viable choice in the White House.

        Romney often invokes Ronald Reagan, the man he blithely disclaimed during his 1994 Senate race in Massachusetts. But Romney is no Reagan, who so embodied the conservative principles to which he did genuinely subscribe that he was free to transcend them — to compromise and event to commit moderation — when he decided that was the sensible course, or even essential to the national interest.

        Thus, Reagan raised taxes after cutting them. He worked with Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill to save Social Security despite his earlier view that it “should be made voluntary.” Then he worked with Ted Kennedy to pass sweeping immigration reform that provided for amnesty. He denounced “the evil empire” and then made peace with Mikhail Gorbachev. This was, to certain conservative elites, the most unthinkable transgression of all. William F. Buckley Jr. called Reagan’s nuclear arms control treaty a “suicide pact.” Rep. Dick Cheney rebuked the president, who in turn said of his critics: They “have accepted that war is inevitable.”

        And long before his second-term treaty-making with the Soviets, Reagan’s pragmatism had riled the self-appointed keepers of the right-wing flame. For permitting grain sales to the Soviet Union, columnist George Will attacked the administration “for lov[ing] commerce more than it loathes communism.” William Safire delivered his harsh verdict on the president’s move toward the middle on Social Security and taxes, including his move away from the flat tax. All this, he wrote, was “Reagan’s white flag” — which “invited… grinning contempt.”

        Yet none of this noise mattered, and no one inside his own party seriously thought to challenge the president in 1984. He was simply, unassailably “Mr. Conservative” — and he could bend or change the rules, holding his base in the country while inside-the-Beltway critics spoke mostly to themselves. As the Moral Majority’s Ron Godwin conceded in a 1982 Washington Post piece (subscription required) reporting on complaints about Reagan’s “liberal” and “moderate” advisers, the president had a bond of trust with GOP voters: “They like him and are pleased with them.”

        In contrast, Romney is seeking — and at best, will have to settle for — grudging acceptance from skeptical Republicans. As president, he would be on permanent probation because he lacks fundamental strength with a GOP base that is decidedly more hard-line than it was during the Reagan era. Romney more closely resembles the first George Bush, who, after courageously recognizing the fiscal folly of his famous pledge of “no new taxes,” was harried and wounded by Pat Buchanan in the 1992 Republican primaries. Bush had been Reagan’s vice president, his natural successor, but like Romney now, Bush senior faced a wall of conservative skepticism, both when he lost the nomination in 1980 and when he finally won it in 1988. Then he violated his parole by agreeing to a tax increase. Romney knows this history, and would not choose to repeat it. As president, he would not be that Bush. He would have to be the anti-Reagan — because he would not be less right wing, but more reliably and inflexibly just that, incapable of dispensing with his party’s dogma where and when it was wrong.

        For the entire article:–the-radical-dangers-of-mitt-romney-s-america-.html

    • Catholic group criticizes Paul Ryan

      4/13/12 1:43 PM EDT By TIM MAK – POLITICO

      Nearly 60 progressive Catholic leaders released a statement Friday, condemning Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s assertion that his budget proposal was shaped by his Catholic faith.

      “When a high-profile Catholic congressman is mangling church teachings, that should be challenged,” John Gehring, Catholic Outreach Coordinator for Faith in Public Life, the organization that put together the statement, told POLITICO.

      In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network released Tuesday, Ryan said that his religious convictions influenced his budget plan, claiming that the proposal reflects Catholic teachings of local control and concern for the poor.

      “[T]he preferential option for the poor, which is one of the primary tenets of Catholic social teaching, means don’t keep people poor, don’t make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life, help people get out of poverty out onto life of independence,” said Ryan.

      But some Catholic leaders disagree strenuously that Ryan’s policies represent their faith.

      “If Rep. Ryan thinks a budget that takes food and health care away from millions of vulnerable people upholds Catholic values, then he also probably believes Jesus was a tea partier who lectured the poor to stop being so lazy and work harder,” said Gehring. “This budget turns centuries of Catholic social teaching on its head. These Catholic leaders and many Catholics in the pews are tired of faith being misused to bless an immoral agenda.”

      Indeed, 59 Catholic leaders and theologians took issue with Ryan’s claims, signing a scathing letter that slammed the Ryan budget plan.

      “Simply put, this budget is morally indefensible and betrays Catholic principles of solidarity, just taxation and a commitment to the common good. A budget that turns its back on the hungry, the elderly and the sick while giving more tax breaks to the wealthiest few can’t be justified in Christian terms,” argue the signatories.

      The signatories include the leadership team of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, a women’s Catholic organization, a retired Priest in Ryan’s district, and the former Associate General Secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

      For the entire article:

      • James 5:14
        Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;

        Matthew 10:8
        “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give

    • Republicans to slash food stamps

      By DAVID ROGERS | 4/16/12 12:04 PM EDT

      Food stamps moved front-and-center in the budget wars Monday morning, as House Republicans began rolling out a first wave of $33.2 billion in 10-year savings that will have an immediate impact in the farm bill debate and come November, the 2012 elections.

      An average family of four faces an 11 percent cut in monthly benefits after Sept. 1, and even more important is the tighter enforcement of rules demanding that households exhaust most of their savings before qualifying for help. This hits hardest among the long-term unemployed, many of whom never before used the aid –now titled SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)—but have found it valuable in trying to stay afloat in the current recession.

      Indeed food stamp enrollment and costs have exploded since the financial collapse four years ago, making SNAP a target for the right— but also far bigger political issue in swing states like Florida, Nevada and Ohio.

      National food stamp enrollment reached 46.4 million people in January 2012, a nearly two-thirds increase from the average participation in fiscal 2008. The annual costs—now running in excess of $80 billion—have more than doubled in the same period. And even the most ardent food stamp proponents will sometimes say SNAP is a program “asked to do too much.”

      The White House deliberately increased monthly benefits in 2009 by about $20 per person as a way to pump stimulus dollars into the economy. And in this post welfare-reform crisis, hard-strapped governors have sought to maximize food stamp dollars as a cheap way to help families without tapping state funds.

      Read more:


      ‘They’re (GOP) rooting against the economy’

      By Steve Benen – Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:19 AM EDT

      After last month’s disappointing job numbers were released, and Republicans seemed a little too pleased, the Obama campaign argued that the GOP is, as Stephanie Cutter put it, is “rooting for failure.” David Axelrod accused Republicans of “high-fiving each other” when bad economic news comes out.

      On Capitol Hill, GOP leaders denied the accusations, but yesterday, Travis Waldron highlighted a clip of a Republican who was willing to be surprisingly candid on the subject.

      For those who can’t watch clips online, Rob Gray, a senior adviser on Romney’s gubernatorial campaign, was asked whether GOP lawmakers might be dragging their heels when it comes to improving the economy. Gray responded:

      “Well, I’m not buying that they’re dragging their heels. I am buying that they’re rooting against the economy somewhat because they think that, you know, the short-term pain of, you know, the next four months is much better than having additional four years of pain under Obama. They believe the government should spend less and that they have better economic ideas than the president does. So, you know, if we have to suffer between now and November to get a better president for four years, they’re all for it.”

      For more:

  3. October 18, 2011

    National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon to travel to China and India

    WASHINGTON, DC – On October 21, 2011, National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon will travel to Beijing, China for meetings with Chinese leaders and policymakers, including Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo. Mr. Donilon will discuss a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual concern. Mr. Donilon will then travel to India for meetings with Indian leaders including the National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon. Mr. Donilon and Indian leaders will review recent developments in the U.S.-India strategic partnership, and discuss ways to advance key elements of the relationship, including both countries’ participation in the upcoming East Asia Summit. Mr. Donilon’s visit underscores this Administration’s commitment to growing U.S. leadership in Asia, and our work with emerging powers, such as China and India, as a core component of this commitment.

  4. October 18, 2011

    President Obama to Sign Korea, Panama, Colombia Free Trade Agreements and Trade Adjustment Assistance

    WASHINGTON, DC – On Friday, October 21st, President Obama will sign the Korea, Panama and Colombia Free Trade Agreements and the renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance for workers in the Oval Office before making remarks in the Rose Garden. In his remarks, President Obama will underscore that these trade agreements will significantly boost American exports, support tens of thousands of American jobs and protect labor rights, the environment and intellectual property. President Obama will be joined in the Rose Garden by business and labor leaders as well as workers who will benefit from these bills.

    • October 20, 2011

      FRIDAY UPDATED: President Obama to Sign Korea, Panama, Colombia Free Trade Agreements and Trade Adjustment Assistance

      WASHINGTON, DC – On Friday, October 21st, President Obama will sign the Korea, Panama and Colombia Free Trade Agreements and the renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance for workers in the Oval Office. There will be a stills only pool spray of the signings. The President will no longer make remarks in the Rose Garden following the signings.

    • Yes, it is a very important thing that needs a spotlight shined on it!


  5. Zero $ added to the deficit to fund the American Jobs Act

    American Jobs Act by the Numbers: Zero

    Posted by Nikki Sutton on October 20, 2011

    Over the last few days, President Obama traveled through small towns and communities on the American Jobs Act Bus Tour, talking with folks about how the American Jobs Act will fuel economic growth, get people back to work and put more money in the pockets of those who are working without adding to our deficit.

    By rebuilding America’s infrastructure, modernizing America’s schools, providing tax credit incentives for hiring veterans and more, the American Jobs Act will begin creating jobs right away, if Congress answers the President’s call to pass each piece of the bill. That is why we’re featuring numbers that highlight how sections of the bill will impact you. Today’s number is zero — the amount added to the deficit by the American Jobs Act, because it is paid for in full.

    As the President has said, we can invest in our long term prosperity without adding to the deficit:

    I laid out a plan to pay for the American Jobs Act, and then some — a plan that not only pays for the bill to put folks back to work to raise our growth rate, but to also pay down more of our debt over time. It builds on the $1 trillion in spending cuts that I already signed this summer, making it one of the biggest spending cuts in history.
    So, look, I believe we’ve got to make cuts in programs that don’t work and things that aren’t helping the economy grow so we can pay for the things that are. Right? We all believe that a government needs to live within its means. We all agree with that. But we also believe that how you bring down the deficit is important. If we want to actually close the deficit — not just talk about closing the deficit, not just using it for a campaign slogan, not just playing politics — if we want to actually close the deficit, then you’ve got to combine the tough cuts with a strategy to ask the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations to do their part, to pay their fair share.

    Jack Lew, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget explained the President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction (pdf) “pays for the American Jobs Act and produces net savings of more than $3 trillion over the next decade, on top of the roughly $1 trillion in spending cuts that the President already signed into law in the Budget Control Act – for a total savings of more than $4 trillion over the next decade.”

    Asking millionaires and billionaires to contribute their fair share will make the additional deficit reduction necessary to meet the President’s goal of stabilizing our debt as a share of the economy and pay for his plan to put Americans back to work.

  6. October 20, 2011

    Statement by the President on the Senate Confirmation of John Bryson as Secretary of Commerce

    As Secretary of Commerce, John Bryson will be a key member of my economic team, working with the business community to promote job creation, foster growth, and help open up new markets around the world for American-made goods. At such a critical time for our economy, I nominated John because I believe his decades of experience both in the public and private sector have given him a clear understanding of what it takes to put America on a stronger economic footing and create jobs. I’m confident he will help us do that, and I look forward to working closely with him in the months and years ahead.

  7. Watch: First Lady Michelle Obama’s First Tweet

    Posted by Kori Schulman on October 20, 2011

    Before the first pitch at Game One of the World Series, First Lady Michelle Obama sent her very first tweet calling on all Americans to support our nation’s military families.

    As part of their Joining Forces initiative, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden teamed up with Major League Baseball at a game dedicated to veterans and military families. The Joining Forces initiative and MLB’s Welcome Back Veterans program encourage all Americans to recognize and support America’s veterans and military families.

    Earlier in the day, the First Lady joined President Obama to announce a commitment from the private sector to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses. Before the game, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden spent time with veterans and military families at the St. Louis Veterans Center and answered MLB fans’ questions in an online chat.

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden are asking Americans to get involved in any way they can. Get started at

    FLOTUS 10/20 Joining Forces Tweet

  8. President Obama to Present the 2010 National Medals of Science & National Medals of Technology and Innovation


    Office of the Press Secretary

    October 18, 2011

    President Obama to Present the 2010 National Medals of Science & National Medals of Technology and Innovation

    WASHINGTON, DC — On Friday, October 21, the President will honor the recipients of the 2010 National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation—the highest honors bestowed by the United States government on scientists, engineers, and inventors. He will also announce additional steps to speed the process of moving new ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace. The ceremony will be carried live by satellite feed and webcast on the White House website at:

  9. Hey CR just checking in. The young man in the photo breaks my heart. Thanks for this thread.

  10. Senate rejects slimmed-down Obama jobs bill

    10/20/11 By ANDREW TAYLOR – Associated Press | AP – 7 mins

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite a campaign-style push this week by President Barack Obama, the Senate on Thursday scuttled pared-back jobs legislation aimed at helping state and local governments avoid layoffs of teachers and firefighters.

    Obama’s three-day bus tour through North Carolina and Virginia — states crucial to his re-election race next year — didn’t change any minds among Senate Republicans, who filibustered Obama’s latest jobs measure to death just as they killed his broader $447 billion jobs plan last week.

    The 50-50 vote came in relation to a motion to simply take up the bill and fell well short of the 60 needed to break a filibuster.

    Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut broke with Obama on the vote. Two Democrats who voted with the president, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana, however, said they couldn’t support the underlying Obama plan unless it’s changed.

    For the entire article:

  11. Now Streaming…

    9:00 AM EDT
    Pay for Success: Investing in What Works I & II
    The White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation brings together government officials, nonprofits, academics and intermediaries to identify the potential of the Pay for Success concept and opportunities to pursue Pay for Success pilot projects
    The White House

    • Pay for Success: Investing in What Works Part I

      From: whitehouse | Oct 21, 2011

      The White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, in partnership with the Nonprofit Finance Fund, host Pay for Success: Investing in What Works, bringing together officials from federal, state and local governments, as well as nonprofits, philanthropists, academics and intermediaries to identify the potential of the Pay for Success concept and opportunities to pursue Pay for Success pilot projects in the US. October 21, 2011.

    • Pay for Success: Investing in What Works Part II

      From: whitehouse | Oct 21, 2011

      The White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, in partnership with the Nonprofit Finance Fund, host Pay for Success: Investing in What Works, bringing together officials from federal, state and local governments, as well as nonprofits, philanthropists, academics and intermediaries to identify the potential of the Pay for Success concept and opportunities to pursue Pay for Success pilot projects in the US. October 21, 2011

  12. 9:30 AM EDT
    The President signs the Korea, Panama, Colombia Free Trade Agreements and the renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance for workers.

    • President Obama Signs Historic Legislation Signaling Progress on Trade and Jobs

      Posted by Ambassador Ron Kirk on October 21, 2011

      This morning, President Obama signed legislation implementing three job-supporting trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama. These trade agreements will help put Americans back to work and grow America’s economy.

      At the same time, the President signed legislation renewing Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) that helps workers who have been hurt by increased global competition. He also signed legislation to renew trade preference programs that sustain the United States’ commitment to trade and economic development that lifts up some of the world’s poorest people.

      With all the stories and speculation flying around the news these days, I know it’s hard to separate fact from fiction sometimes. So let me share three quick points that I hope will help you understand why this is good news for all American workers and families.

      First, these agreements will increase U.S. exports and American jobs. The Korea agreement will support an estimated 70,000 U.S. jobs and increase U.S. GDP by at least $11 billion due to increased exports of goods alone. Chances are you’ll benefit from these agreements if you work for or with anyone who makes, grows, or provides goods and services to Korea, Colombia, or Panama. These agreements make it easier and more cost-effective to sell Made-in-the-USA products to consumers in each of these countries. In turn, increased exports of U.S. goods and services will support more and better jobs for farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, service providers, workers, and businesses all across the United States. And all three agreements have groundbreaking protections for labor rights, the environment, and intellectual property, so American workers and businesses will be able to compete on a level playing field.

      Second, the President worked to improve these agreements when he came into office. All three faced significant opposition from Congress. But instead of surrendering to the status quo, the President told me to get to work. With Korea, he sent me back to the negotiating table to secure additional market access for U.S. automobile manufacturers. With Colombia, he stood firm on the principle that U.S. trade agreements must reflect American values, including respect for and protection of workers’ rights. And with Panama, he made sure that we addressed key concerns related to tax transparency and labor conditions. In each case, the President held out for a better, more balanced deal.

      That brings me to the third and final point: President Obama also signed today legislation that strengthens and streamlines TAA, and renews key preference programs – the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA). Both TAA and our preference programs are key elements of President Obama’s balanced approach to trade. TAA helps those workers whose jobs are displaced by trade by providing job re-training programs, lower health insurance premiums, and assistance that keeps families on their feet. And GSP and ATPA uphold our commitment to support trade and economic growth that lifts up some of the world’s poorest people while helping American businesses get inputs they need and American consumers.

      For the entire article:

    • October 21, 2011

      Readout of the President’s calls with Colombian President Santos and Panamanian President Martinelli

      Earlier this afternoon, President Obama called President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and President Ricardo Martinelli of Panama to congratulate each after having signed the implementing legislation for the Colombia and Panama Trade Promotion Agreements. The President noted that the agreements indicate the deep and enduring ties between the United States and both Colombia and Panama. In the calls the President underscored the importance of meeting the obligations of the agreements as each country moves toward implementation, as well as continued progress on implementation of the Colombia Labor Action Plan. Finally, the presidents discussed issues of mutual interest, including the upcoming Summit of the Americas, the Middle East, and trade.

  13. October 21, 2011

    Op-ed by National Economic Council Director Gene B. Sperling in Today’s Wall Street Journal: The Case for the President’s Jobs Act

    The full text of an op-ed by National Economic Council Director Gene B. Sperling is printed below. The piece, published in today’s Wall Street Journal, can be read online HERE.

    The Case for the President’s Jobs Act

    Nearly 45% of unemployed Americans have been out of work for six months or longer.

    By Gene Sperling

    For all the political posturing and handicapping by pundits over President Obama’s American Jobs Act, too little attention is being paid to the economic costs if Congress fails to act on bold measures to spark job creation and growth over the next 12 to 18 months.

    Put simply, the economic challenges we face create an overwhelming imperative for action now. Setting aside the merits of taking out insurance against the possibility some forecasters see of a renewed downturn in the U.S. or financial instability in Europe, the current outlook suggests that the failure to pass bold measures would lead to serious harm to our economy, our small businesses and tens of millions of working families.

    Indeed, the Blue Chip consensus is for only 2% growth in 2012. The International Monetary Fund predicts 1.8%. The Conference Board projects 1.1%. With growth at such anemic levels, all project unemployment to average 9% or higher next year.

    In any recovery, that would be an unacceptable outcome. But the depth of the recession that began in 2007, combined with the fact that recessions induced by severe financial crises take a particularly long time to climb out of, has left us with the worst legacy of long-term unemployment in our lifetimes. Nearly 45% of the unemployed have been out of work for six months or longer. The average spell of unemployment is 40.5 weeks, the highest since this figure was first collected in 1948; the peak before this recession was in 1983, at just 21.2 weeks.

    Economists have long worried that long-term unemployment produces “hysteresis” when workers lose their skills or become disconnected from the work force, causing lasting damage to the economy. Research by the University of Warwick’s Andrew Oswald has shown—as paraphrased by Don Peck in an Atlantic Monthly article last year—that “no other circumstance produces a larger decline in mental health and well-being than being involuntarily out of work for six months or more.”

    To make matters even worse, the National Employment Legal Program recently found, in a span of four weeks, over 150 Internet job postings that include “do not apply” notices discriminating against those who are currently unemployed.

    To see this type of economic hardship and choose not to put forward any immediate measures for job creation means turning a blind eye to the national crisis of long-term unemployment. It means saying that it is acceptable to sit on our hands in the face of projections of 1.5% to 2% growth in an economy where over 14 million people are already out of work and high unemployment is feeding weakness in the housing market. President Obama categorically disagrees. His American Jobs Act attacks this challenge in two ways.

    First, it provides a strong and immediate boost to demand that could create up to 1.9 million jobs, increase growth by up to 2%, and lower unemployment, according to independent economists such as Moody’s Analytics. It does so by cutting payroll taxes in half for nearly all workers and small businesses, preventing teacher and first-responder layoffs, and creating jobs rebuilding our infrastructure, our schools and our blighted neighborhoods.

    Second, it is specifically designed to take on the problem of long-term unemployment. It includes a tax credit for hiring the long-term unemployed and veterans, and a ban on hiring discrimination against the unemployed. It also calls for major reforms to our unemployment-insurance system, including wage insurance to assist workers whose new job pays less than their old, a “Bridge to Work” program to help the unemployed reconnect with the labor force through temporary work, job-search assistance for all long-term unemployed, and support for unemployed workers looking to become entrepreneurs.

    Certainly, we are disappointed that Republicans have so far blocked passage of the American Jobs Act. Yet what is most surprising and disturbing is that Republicans have thus far made no serious attempt to put forward a strategy that would ensure that growth is strong enough over the next 12 to 18 months to start bringing the unemployment rate down.

    Some of our Republican friends protest this depiction because they’ve repackaged a variety of long-term measures and stuck a “jobs plan” label on them. Yet while we agree with some of these ideas and have signed them into law, such as patent reform and free trade agreements, they are not designed to create jobs in the immediate term or to address the current crisis of long-term unemployment.

    In fact, Gus Faucher, the director of macroeconomics at Moody’s Analytics, after reviewing the latest Republican jobs plan (the Jobs Through Growth Act), told the Washington Post that it would do nothing to create jobs in the short-term and could even make matters worse. Likewise, Macroeconomic Advisers wrote just this week that the bill “would not materially change our forecasts for either economic growth or employment through 2013.”

    This aversion to measures designed to move the needle on jobs and growth is particularly disappointing given that many Republicans supported them only a short time ago.

    Earlier this year, the heads of the AFL-CIO and U.S. Chamber of Commerce came together to support increased infrastructure investment and back the same bipartisan Senate proposal for a new infrastructure bank—sponsored by Sens. John Kerry and Kay Bailey Hutchison—that is included in the American Jobs Act.

    The president’s proposal to cut payroll taxes in half for workers and small businesses closely resembles a provision included last year in the Economic Freedom Act put forward by 50 House Republicans, including Michele Bachmann and Jeb Hensarling.

    It simply cannot be the case in a serious economic moment like this that good ideas are transformed into bad ideas solely because President Obama supports them.

    Our economy cannot afford Republicans to both say no to the American Jobs Act and to have no meaningful alternative. The moment is too serious. The stakes are too high.

  14. West Wing Week: 10/21/11 or, “Right Now!”

    From: whitehouse | Oct 20, 2011

    Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, the President traveled to Detroit with the President of South Korea, dedicated the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, embarked on a three day American Jobs act bus tour, bestowed the Presidential Citizens Medal and hosted the Norwegian Prime Minister. That’s October 14th to October 20th or: “Right Now!”

  15. Good Friday, CR and O’family!

    This is a sad thread topic, CR, but one that needs to be discussed. Thanks for presenting the facts, as usual.

    Just heard that Herman Cain is now calling his 9-9-9 plan “9-0-9” – and he’s trying to say now that if you are “at or below the poverty line, you won’t have to pay income taxes” (hence, the “0”). Can anybody say flip flop? Can we all agree he’s another Republican who has no clue?

  16. October 21, 2011
    Statement by National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor on ETA Renouncing Violence

    Yesterday’s announcement by ETA in Spain that it has renounced violence holds out the prospect of a historic step toward peace, although there is a long road ahead to realize this promise. In this moment of hope, our thoughts go out to the many victims who have suffered due to ETA’s actions over many decades. We recognize the courage of the Spanish government and the Spanish people in their enduring efforts to advance democracy and freedom in Spain and around the world. Spain and the United States are close allies in NATO and work together to promote shared values and interests within Europe and beyond.

  17. U.S. Embassy Reopens in a Free Libya

    The American flag flies once again over the newly reopened U.S. Embassy in post-Qadhafi Libya.

    At ceremonies held in Tripoli September 22, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz told Libyans: “The American people hail your success and will be your steadfast partner in building a new Libya.” He added: “Our partnership will encompass economic cooperation, educational and cultural exchanges, technology sharing, and training and assistance for the nation’s civil society — shared interests that include, and extend beyond, our common security.”

    In overthrowing the regime of Muammar Qadhafi, the Libyan people won their freedom through “great sacrifice, steely determination and unity of purpose,” Cretz said. “Your actions and success to overthrow the chains of dictatorship and repression and establish a system that provides freedoms and rights for all citizens is an inspiration to people around the world.”

    President Obama, speaking at the United Nations General Assembly earlier that day, said Libyans are “writing a new chapter in the life of their nation. After four decades of darkness, they can walk the streets, free from a tyrant.”

    • Clinton’s Remarks with Libyan Prime Minister Jibril in Tripoli

      18 October 2011

      Office of the Spokesperson

      Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
      And Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril

      World Islamic Call Society
      Tripoli, Libya

      SECRETARY CLINTON: (In progress) on the soil of a free Libya. And on behalf of the American people I congratulate all Libyans. It is a great privilege to see a new future for Libya being born. And indeed, the work ahead is quite challenging, but the Libyan people have demonstrated the resolve and resilience necessary to achieve their goals.

      Think about what has been achieved already. In crowded squares and mountain passes, Libyans stood up against a dictator’s aggression, and claimed the rights and dignity of a free people.
      Libyans were called rats by their own leaders and they were confronted by every possible tactic to break your spirit. But no threats dimmed the courage of the Libyan people. The United States was proud to stand with you, and we will continue to stand with you as you continue this journey, respecting your sovereignty and honoring our friendship. This is Libya’s moment. This is Libya’s victory and the future belongs to you.

      The United States knows something about revolution and liberty. That is how our nation was born more than 230 years ago. And we know that democracy takes time; it will not be easy or quick. But we are filled with admiration for what you have already accomplished and confident in your ability to move forward.
      Now, we recognize that the fighting, the bloody fighting, continues. We know that Qadhafi and those close to him are still at large. But the NATO and international coalition that came together on your behalf will continue to protect Libyan civilians until the threat from Qadhafi and those who hang to the past is ended.

      Read more:

    • Africans Shed Few Tears for Gadhafi

      10/21/11 Gabe Joselow | Nairobi – VOAnews

      The reaction to the death of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been mostly subdued across sub-Saharan Africa.
      While Gadhafi’s strongman governing style may not be missed, his economic contributions to the continent certainly will.

      The death of a man who once declared himself the King of Kings of Africa, has been met with more relief than grief across the continent.

      Lessons from Gadhafi’s fall
      On Twitter and Facebook, Africans are mostly cheering Gadhafi’s demise, and wondering if other African strongmen will be next, with fingers pointed at Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe.

      Gadhafi’s death is an unfortunate example of African leaders wanting to stay in power forever, says Nigerian social worker Mary Ene.

      “This is a lesson to our leaders in this part of the world to know that power belongs to God and that God can take power from anybody anytime. It is time for our leaders to look beyond trying to grab all the things that belong to the public for their own pockets, for their own families,” Ene said.

      For the entire article:

    • Libya ops to cease Oct. 31

      10/21/11 By JOSH GERSTEIN – POLITICO

      NATO decided Friday night to cease its military operations in Libya on Oct. 31, the alliance announced.

      “After a good discussion with the 27 other NATO allies and the five partners who are part of the Operation Unified Protector, we agreed today that the operation is coming to a close and we took the preliminary decision to end the operation on Oct. 31. That’s exactly seven months after the operation started,” U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder told reporters on a conference call. “The council will meet next week for a formal decision.”

      Oct. 31 marks exactly seven months from when NATO took over in Libya — the U.S. ran the operation for the first 12 days or so after it launched on March 19.

      In the wake of Libyan strongman Muammar Qadhafi’s death on Thursday, NATO has concluded that there is no further need for its military operations aimed at maintaining a no-fly zone and striking Qadhafi forces who threatened civilians.

      “Now that Libya is truly in the hands of the Libyan people…it is time for NATO to end its operation,” Daalder said. “There is no requirement any more for NATO aircraft. There isn’t an organized loyalist opposition anymore that’s capable of….threatening civilians.”

      “Overall, it’s a great success for the people of Libya, a great success for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and a great success for the United States, which made these operations possible,” he said.

      Daalder indicated is likely to continue some sort of monitoring operation for the next ten days or so but shut down “completely” by Halloween.

      “We’ll move to an overwatch role over Libya to make sure that the situation moves in a positive direction,” he said. “The no fly zone doesn’t need to be enforced any more.”

  18. Qadhafi death blunts GOP’s critique

    10/21/11 By Josh Gerstein | Politico – 3 hrs ago

    The death of Libyan strongman Muammar Qadhafi Thursday has sharpened the contrast between President Barack Obama’s recent successes on the foreign policy front and the scattershot criticism offered by his Republican challengers.

    Qadhafi’s death came seven months after Obama and European leaders launched a military campaign, eventually headed up by NATO, aimed at preventing the Libyan leader from massacring his own people. The NATO effort eventually became closely integrated with rebel forces in Libya and carried out thousands of air strikes aimed at protecting them from Qadhafi’s regime and his loyalists.

    Republican presidential hopefuls have criticized Obama from all sides of the Libya issue — arguing that he acted too slowly and deferred to U.S. allies, that he ramped up the effort without adequate explanation, and that he shouldn’t have acted at all.

    But the death of the Qadhafi, following the triumph of rebel forces in overthrowing his government, allowed Obama to declare success in a statement in the Rose Garden. “Today, we can definitively say that the Qadhafi regime has come to an end,” he said, adding that “we achieved our objectives.”

    Vice President Joe Biden, speaking in New Hampshire, argued that the decision to tackle the problem through NATO, with the U.S. in a supporting role, was a wise one. “NATO got it right. NATO got it right,” he said. “America spent $2 billion total and didn’t lose a single life.”

    After enduring years of Republican attacks for a feckless and weak foreign policy, Obama has scored a couple of dramatic victories abroad in recent months. In May, U.S. Navy SEALs killed Al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden in a daring nighttime raid inside Pakistan. And just last month, a U.S. drone strike in Yemen killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Islamic militant viewed as a key recruiter of terror operatives for Al Qaeda affiliates.

    But on the campaign trail in Iowa Thursday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, while welcoming the news of Qadhafi’s death, dodged questions about whether Obama deserved any credit for the outcome.

    “About time,” Romney told KSJC-AM. “This was a tyrant who has been killing his own people and of course is responsible for the lives of American citizens lost in the Lockerbie attack. And I think people across the world recognize that the world is a better place without Muammar Qadhafi.”

    In March, however, Romney faulted Obama for “following the French into Libya.”

    And in July, the former Massachusetts governor complained to a New Hampshire audience that Obama’s handling of Libya reflected “mission creep and and mission muddle.”

    A Romney adviser, Eric Fehrnstorm, defended Romney’s approach Thursday and said Qadhafi’s death was no vindication for Obama.

    “Mitt Romney has responded to the situation in Libya as it has developed. It is the president who has been completely unclear regarding what his intention was with respect to our military’s involvement in Libya,” Fehrnstrom said. “The fall from power and subsequent death of Qaddafi brings to end a brutal chapter in Libya’s history – but that does not validate the president’s approach to Libya.”

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement Thursday welcoming Qadhafi’s demise, but expressing no view on the process that led up to it.

    “The death of Muammar el-Qaddafi is good news for the people of Libya. It should bring the end of conflict there, and help them move closer to elections and a real democracy,” Perry said.

    Other Republicans, reflecting what has been criticized by some party elders as isolationism, have been against the Libyan intervention from the beginning. At a debate last month, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said flatly that “it was wrong for the president to go into Libya.”

    At another debate Tuesday, she faulted Obama for military adventurism both in Libya and elsewhere.

    “He put us in Libya. He is now putting us in Africa. We already were stretched too thin, and he put our special operations forces in Africa,” Bachmann complained.

    Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman issued a statement Thursday calling Qadhafi’s death “positive news for freedom loving people everywhere,” but he suggested he was still opposed to U.S. participation in the NATO mission there.

    “I remain firm in my belief that America can best serve our interests and that transition through non-military assistance and rebuilding our own economic core here at home,” he said.

    While the 2012 GOP field offered no credit to the White House, one of the party’s major foreign policy voices, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has criticized Obama for not acting more aggressively in Libya, quickly bestowed such praise.

    “It is a great day. I think the administration deserves great credit,” McCain said on CNN. McCain, who repeatedly pressed Obama to be more assertive in pressing for Qadhafi’s ouster and aiding the rebels added: “Obviously, I had different ideas on the tactical side but…the world is a better place.”

    The fact that some in the GOP criticized Obama for leading from behind while others said he is too quick to send U.S. troops abroad suggests a growing lack of foreign policy consensus within the Republican Party, one Democratic foreign policy analyst said.

    “The Republican Party right now has attacked both its ‘neo-con’ elite and its ‘traditional-con’ elite,” said Heather Hurlburt of the National Security Network. “They sort of don’t know what they think. They don’t listen to their own people…they just don’t have a coherent worldview.”

    Still, some foreign policy experts said Obama’s ability to claim credit for Qadhafi’s downfall or the broader NATO success is limited because the U.S. was not at the forefront of those pressing for military action in Libya.

    “They’re into the situation because the French and the British talked the United States into getting involved,” said Les Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations. “They had a stranglehold over us because they’re helping us in Afghanistan, which is not their favorite war.”

    While Obama has been hit repeatedly for “leading from behind,” even the limited U.S. role in Libya required some assertive executive action on his part, particularly after Congress failed to bless the operation. Obama defied some of his legal advisers by continuing to provide American Predator drones to the mission despite language in the War Powers Resolution that calls for the U.S. withdraw its forces from hostilities if Congress doesn’t endorse such a mission within 90 days.
    “Without putting a single U.S. service member on the ground,” Obama said Thursday, “we achieved our objectives, and our NATO mission will soon come to an end.”

    But while the White House claimed some vindication for the president’s approach, it took care to keep the spotlight on the Libyan rebels.

    “The president views this as a victory for the Libyan people,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said. “We believe — the president believes that the actions taken by his administration and by NATO have helped the Libyan people reach this day and that they now have an opportunity to secure a much brighter and more democratic future and that was the goal all along.”

    Libyans “own what happened and they should be rightly proud of what they accomplished,” Carney said.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, traveling in Pakistan, said Qadhafi’s demise lifted a burden from Libya’s fledgling government.

    “If it is true, then that is one more obstacle removed from being able to get on with the business of announcing a government and trying to unify the country. They have a very steep climb ahead of them,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Fox News during a trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan. “Having him out of the picture, I think, will give them more breathing space.”

    Many Republican officials who welcomed Qadhafi’s demise seemed intent on offering credit to anyone other than Obama.

    Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who visited Libya with McCain, said in a statement: “Today marks the end of Qadhafi’s reign and a new opportunity for freedom, prosperity and a voice in the global community for Libyans. The Administration, especially Secretary Clinton, deserve our congratulations.”

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who also traveled to Libya, told Fox News on Thursday that Europeans were at the forefront of the effort and deserve most of the credit.

    “Ultimately, this is about the freedom and liberty of the Libyan people. But let’s give credit where credit is due: it’s the French and British that led on this fight and probably even led on the strike that led to Qadhafi’s capture or, you know, to his death,” the Republican Senator from Florida said.
    Rubio added that Obama “did the right things, he just took too long to do it and didn’t do enough of it.”

    Carney suggested that many of the criticisms leveled at Obama were vague and opportunistic.

    “What alternative action were they suggesting? Were they suggesting U.S. troops on the ground…unilateral U.S. action?” he asked.

    After 42 years in power, Qadhafi went into hiding on August 21 with the fall of Tripoli to opposition forces. According to reports, several members of his family fled the country several weeks ago.

    • These are the outstanding results when America works WITH the world. Truly evil terrorists — bin Laden, Awlaki, Qadaffi — taken down one after another. Thank you NATO allies. Thank you, President Obama, showing us what leadership really looks like.

      Good and HOPEful Friday CR and all friends.


    • October 21, 2011

      Statement by the Press Secretary on the Passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2014

      We applaud the strong action taken today by the United Nations Security Council in unanimously adopting Resolution 2014, which addresses the ongoing crisis in Yemen. The United States co-sponsored the resolution, which calls for President Saleh to sign and implement a political settlement on the basis of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative without delay, demands all parties refrain from violence, and urges authorities to protect the universal rights of Yemen’s citizens.

      Over the past nine months, the Yemeni people have braved repression and violence to demand a more just, accountable, and democratic government. Today the international community sent a united and unambiguous signal to President Saleh that he must respond to the aspirations of the Yemeni people by transferring power immediately. Each day that passes without a political solution plunges Yemen deeper into turmoil. We continue to believe that only a Yemeni-led process will stop the bloodshed and allow the country to confront its serious economic, humanitarian, and security challenges. The United States stands with the Yemeni people, and we will work with international partners to provide much-needed assistance to Yemen upon implementation of a political transition.

  19. Unemployment rates fall in half of US states

    10/21/11 By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER – AP Economics Writer | AP – 9 mins ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates fell in half of U.S. states last month, a sign that September’s pickup in hiring was felt around the country.

    The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates dropped in 25 states, rose in 14 and stayed the same in 11. That’s an improvement from August, when unemployment rose in 26 states.

    Nevada reported the highest unemployment rate for the 16th straight month. It stayed at 13.4 percent for the second consecutive month. California was next. The rate there fell from 12.1 in August to 11.9 percent. Michigan had the third-highest rate, at 11.1 percent.

    North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate, staying at 3.5 percent for the second straight month. Nebraska had the second lowest rate; it fell from 4.3 percent in August to 4.2 percent.

    Nationwide, employers added 103,000 net jobs in September, nearly double the number created in August. And the number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to a six-month low, according to a four-week average calculated by the government. That has helped calm fears that the economy was sliding into another recession, as have other recent data.

    For the entire article:

  20. October 21, 2011

    Remarks by the President on Ending the War in Iraq

    James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

    12:49 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. As a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end — for the sake of our national security and to strengthen American leadership around the world. After taking office, I announced a new strategy that would end our combat mission in Iraq and remove all of our troops by the end of 2011.

    As Commander-in-Chief, ensuring the success of this strategy has been one of my highest national security priorities. Last year, I announced the end to our combat mission in Iraq. And to date, we’ve removed more than 100,000 troops. Iraqis have taken full responsibility for their country’s security.

    A few hours ago I spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki. I reaffirmed that the United States keeps its commitments. He spoke of the determination of the Iraqi people to forge their own future. We are in full agreement about how to move forward.

    So today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.

    Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq — tens of thousands of them — will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home. The last American soldier[s] will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops. That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end.

    But even as we mark this important milestone, we’re also moving into a new phase in the relationship between the United States and Iraq. As of January 1st, and in keeping with our Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq, it will be a normal relationship between sovereign nations, an equal partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect.

    For the entire article:

  21. Next Up…

    2:00 AM EDT
    Pay for Success: Investing in What Works III & IV
    The White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation brings together government officials, nonprofits, academics and intermediaries to identify the potential of the Pay for Success concept and opportunities to pursue Pay for Success pilot projects
    The White House

    • Pay for Success: Investing in What Works Part III

      From: whitehouse | Oct 21, 2011

      The White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, in partnership with the Nonprofit Finance Fund, host Pay for Success: Investing in What Works, bringing together officials from federal, state and local governments, as well as nonprofits, philanthropists, academics and intermediaries to identify the potential of the Pay for Success concept and opportunities to pursue Pay for Success pilot projects in the US. October 21, 2011.

    • Pay for Success: Investing in What Works Part IV

      From: whitehouse | Oct 21, 2011

      The White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, in partnership with the Nonprofit Finance Fund, host Pay for Success: Investing in What Works, bringing together officials from federal, state and local governments, as well as nonprofits, philanthropists, academics and intermediaries to identify the potential of the Pay for Success concept and opportunities to pursue Pay for Success pilot projects in the US. October 21, 2011.

    • October 21, 2011

      President Obama Presents the National Medals of Science & National Medals of Technology and Innovation, and Announces Additional Steps to Help Bring More Cutting-Edge Ideas to Market

      WASHINGTON, DC — Today, at a ceremony at the White House, President Obama honored the recipients of the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation—the highest honors bestowed by the United States government on scientists, engineers, and inventors. In addition, the President announced additional steps that will help convert more ideas from America’s universities, research labs and companies into new products, expanding our economy and creating 21st century jobs.

      “I’m pleased to recognize these extraordinary scientists, engineers, and inventors for their work exploring the very frontiers of human knowledge and making our world a better place,” President Obama said. “It’s important to recognize that work, and to help make it easier for inventors and innovators like them to bring their work from the lab to the marketplace and create jobs.”

      For the entire article:

  22. Obama cut personal checks to regular Americans

    10/21/11 By Rachel Rose Hartman | The Ticket – 55 mins ago

    Imagine you wrote a letter to the White House to share your personal struggle and instead of receiving a form letter in return, President Obama cut you a check.

    It’s happened, and more than once, according to Washington Post reporter Eli Saslow’s new book “Ten Letters: The Stories Americans Tell Their President.” Fellow Post reporter Nia-Malika Henderson writes Friday on a surprising excerpt from Saslow’s book:

    A few times during his presidency, Obama admitted, he had written a personal check or made a phone call on the writer’s behalf, believing that it was his only way to ensure a fast result. “It’s not something I should advertise, but it has happened,” he told [Saslow]. Many other times, he had forwarded letters to government agencies or Cabinet secretaries after attaching a standard, handwritten note that read: “Can you please take care of this?”

    • President Obama is just a good and decent person. We are so lucky to have him lead our country – and the free world!

  23. How Do We Help the Long-Term Unemployed?

    Posted by Matt Compton on October 21, 2011

    We’ve talked a lot about how President Obama came into office facing the worst recession since the Great Depression. We’ve spent less time discussing another looming economic crisis: the plight of America’s long-term unemployed.

    Right now, nearly half — 45 percent — of the unemployed in this country have been out of work for six months or longer. The average period of unemployment lasts 40.5 weeks, the highest average since we began collecting this data in 1948.

    At some point, the time you spend looking for a job itself becomes an impediment to finding work. Your skills erode and potential employers begin question to why other businesses haven’t hired you.

    Long-term unemployment is more than just a personal crisis. It can cause lasting and significant damage to the nation’s economy.

    In today’s Wall Street Journal, Gene Sperling, director of President Obama’s National Economic Council, argued that helping these individuals get back into the workforce is one reason why we need to take action now:

    To see this type of economic hardship and choose not to put forward any immediate measures for job creation means turning a blind eye to the national crisis of long-term unemployment. It means saying that it is acceptable to sit on our hands in the face of projections of 1.5% to 2% growth in an economy where over 14 million people are already out of work and high unemployment is feeding weakness in the housing market. President Obama categorically disagrees.

    The American Jobs Act lays out a specific set of proposals to offer targeted assistance to these people:

    It includes a tax credit for hiring the long-term unemployed and veterans, and a ban on hiring discrimination against the unemployed. It also calls for major reforms to our unemployment-insurance system, including wage insurance to assist workers whose new job pays less than their old, a “Bridge to Work” program to help the unemployed reconnect with the labor force through temporary work, job-search assistance for all long-term unemployed, and support for unemployed workers looking to become entrepreneurs.

    Of course, the President’s plan will also help to create as many as 1.9 million jobs, according to independent economists. It will also lower unemployment and grow the economy by as much as 2 percent.

    The time to take action is now; we can’t afford to wait. As Sperling said, “The moment is too serious. The stakes are too high.”


    GOP senators block bill to put teachers, first responders back to work

    Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Friday, October 21, 2011

    Last night, Republican Senators stood unanimously to block the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act, a stand-alone piece of President Obama’s jobs bill that would put Americans back on the job teaching our children and keeping our communities safe.

    The GOP is putting politics ahead of country yet again. DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz responded to this disappointing vote:

    “What will it take for Republicans to get serious about working with the President to create jobs and get our economy back on track? The American people have made it clear that they want Congress to act now. We can’t wait. Leading economists from across the political spectrum have said the American Jobs Act will create as many as 1.9 million jobs and prevent another recession—and they have warned that the Senate GOP’s alternative jobs proposal will do nothing to create jobs now and could actually do serious harm to the economy.

    “Our country can’t afford to keep waiting. America’s teachers and first responders continue to face uncertain futures as they do the work from which every American benefits. Middle-class families continue to struggle to make ends meet—this Senate bill and the American Jobs Act would help them get ahead. It’s time for Republicans to do the job they were elected to do and work with the President to create jobs and restore our economic security.”

    Tell your Republican senators that putting America back to work is more important than winning elections. Ask them to support the President’s American Jobs Act by calling or tweeting.


      The Root of Romney’s Comfort with Lying

      Published on Jun 14, 2012 by TheBigPictureRT

      Psychiatrist DR. Justin Frank – The same man who Analyzed Presidents Bush and Obama – has analyzed Mitt Romney – and says Romney is comfortable lying, in part, because of the way he was raised in his Mormon faith. But could the reason why Romney can’t tell the truth be something much more simple – and does it make him unfit to be President.

  25. Why There Is No Time to Waste In Putting Cops Back On The Beat

    Posted by Terrell McSweeny on October 21, 2011

    On Thursday night, Senate Republicans once again blocked a plan to put laid off cops and firefighters back to work protecting communities across the country. This partisan obstruction carries serious consequences – for the economy, and for the safety and wellbeing of all Americans.

    State and local budget cuts have proven devastating to cities like Flint, Michigan, where Vice President Biden visited last week. More than half of the police force has been laid off in the past three years. In 2008, Flint employed 259 police officers. Now they have just 125. At the same time, violent crime increased.

    Citing statistics from the City of Flint Police Department, Vice President Biden pointed to spikes in murder and rape to describe the heavy toll crime is taking in Flint.

    Some have questioned the validity of the Flint statistics, because they differ from FBI figures, but city crime data can vary from FBI crime data due to different definitions of crime. This is particularly true when it comes to rape. Just this week the FBI took steps to begin to update the definition it uses – a definition that hasn’t been updated since 1927. The City of Flint defines rape differently and, therefore, collects that information differently.

    City of Flint Public Safety Director Chief Alvern Lock said of the information provided to the Vice President, “This information is the most accurate data and demonstrates the rise in crime associated with the economic crisis and the reduced staffing levels.”

    According to Chief Lock,”The discrepancies with the FBI and other sources reveal the differences in how crimes can be counted and categorized, based on different criteria.” Experts agree that a police department’s statistics about local crime can be more up to date than the FBI’s.

    But make no mistake, the debate over crime statistics distracts from the real issue. What’s happening in Flint is troubling. And communities across the country are facing similar tough situations.

    The American Jobs Act contains $5 billion to help communities such as Flint rehire laid off cops and firefighters. It’s a shame that every single Republican in the Senate voted Thursday night to block putting those first responders back to work.

    For the entire article:

  26. WH

    Saturday, October 22, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    The President receives the presidential daily briefing.

    7:00 AM
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  27. $1,500 average tax cut for the typical American family in 2012

    The American Jobs Act by the Numbers: 1,500

    Posted by Nikki Sutton on October 21, 2011

    Following the Senate vote on jobs for teachers and first responders, President Obama made clear that blocking action on getting Americans back to work is unacceptable:

    For the second time in two weeks, every single Republican in the United States Senate has chosen to obstruct a bill that would create jobs and get our economy going again…We must do what’s right for the country and pass the common-sense proposals in the American Jobs Act.
    Every Senate Republican voted to block a bill that would help middle class families and keep hundreds of thousands of firefighters on the job, police officers on the streets, and teachers in the classroom when our kids need them most.

    Those Americans deserve an explanation as to why they don’t deserve those jobs – and every American deserves an explanation as to why Republicans refuse to step up to the plate and do what’s necessary to create jobs and grow the economy right now.

    Inaction won’t work for American families that are just scraping by. President Obama intends to keep working with Congress to bring up the American Jobs Act piece by piece. That’s why this week we’re pulling out different aspects of the bill to show how it will impact you, like the expansion of the payroll tax cut passed last year that will provide a $1,500 tax cut to the typical American family in 2012.

    Cutting taxes in half for 160 million workers next year is just one of the common-sense solutions included in the American Jobs Act to get the economy growing faster. The jobs bill will also invest in modernizing American schools, rebuilding American infrastructure, creating jobs for veterans and more–without adding to the deficit.

    Taking steps like putting an average of $1,500 back in the pockets of working families to help restore security for the middle class is what American’s are ready for and what the American Jobs Act is all about.

    • Supporting Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Who Keep Our Nation Safe

      Posted by Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano on October 25, 2011

      Keeping our nation safe from evolving terrorist threats requires strong partnerships at all levels. Nowhere are those partnerships more important than with our federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers who work on the frontlines every day to keep our cities and communities safe.

      These courageous men and women, who put their lives on the line to protect others, must have the tools, training, and resources they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.

      This week at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) General Assembly in Chicago, we each had an opportunity to reiterate our support for police officers and first responders across our country, many of whom are struggling to hire or retain personnel in the face of tough economic challenges.

      As part of ongoing work to better understand and overcome current fiscal challenges, this week, the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office released a new report on how the economic downturn has impacted police departments nationwide. According to the Department’s research, we expect that, by the end of this year, nearly 12,000 police officers and sheriff’s deputies will have been laid off. Already, law enforcement agencies nationwide currently have nearly 30,000 unfilled vacancies. And an estimated 28,000 more officers and deputies experienced week-long furloughs last year. In 25 years of collecting data, this is the first national decrease in law enforcement positions ever recorded.

      There is great demand for existing federal fire fighter hiring funding. In FY10 alone there were $1.8 billion in applications for $420 million in SAFER funds.

      Especially in these difficult economic times, the tough choices we are all facing should not come at the expense of public safety and national security. And, fortunately, they don’t have to.

      The American Jobs Act would provide $5 billion in assistance to states and local communities to create and save thousands of police and first responder jobs across the country. These funds would not only help to safeguard our national security and bolster public safety — they would strengthen our economy.

      For the entire article:

    • Keeping First Responders on the Job

      Posted by Matt Compton on October 25, 2011

      Tyrone Booth and Jesse Carpenter are police officers in Flint, Michigan — where Vice President Biden visited earlier this month. Because of budget cuts, they’ve seen their department shrink since the start of the recession. In fact, at various times in recent years, each has been laid off from the force. Both are keenly aware of the ways in which these reductions have put public safety at risk.

      Officer Booth says the Flint police must now prioritize the calls to which they respond. A shooting or an assault must come before a break-in or a burglary, which can be hard for citizens affected. “When someone’s home has been burglarized, it’s a very sensitive and serious offense to them,” he said. “And we’re just unable to get there in a timely manner.”

      For the entire article and videos:

  28. Senate Dems try again with third jobs bill

    10/21/11 By Erik Wasson – TheHill

    Rebuffed twice in their attempts to push through President Obama’s jobs proposals, Senate Democrats are ready to try again.

    The Senate will hold a vote the first week of November on the $60 billion infrastructure portion of Obama’s Jobs Act, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Friday.

    The bill contains $50 billion for direct spending on transportation projects and $10 billion in seed money to start a National Infrastructure Bank. The spending would be paid for by a 0.7 percent tax on annual income above $1 million.

    Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a $35 billion bill aimed at funding teacher and first responder salaries that was paid for by a 0.5 percent tax on millionaires. Before that, they blocked the overall $447 billion Jobs Act, which was offset by a 5 percent surtax on millionaires.

    Reid said he is including a millionaire surtax in the latest bill because it is popular with the public. He said the GOP is opposed to any new form of government revenue, no matter the specifics.

    “The Senate GOP has for many years now had a love affair with Grover Norquist,” he said, referring to the Americans for Tax Reform president and keeper of an anti-tax pledge. “They will not touch anything to do with revenue, nothing. Even though they are not in touch with reality, or their own constituents, but they are in touch with Grover Norquist.”

    Reid claimed polls show that 75 percent of the public supports raising taxes on millionaires to pay for key spending and that the teachers bill was supported by every American except the Senate GOP.

    “The Republicans in the Senate are the only group of people in America who feel this way,” he said of opposition to the failed measure.

    Support for the funding bill was not unanimous among Democrats, however. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) voted no, as did Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who caucuses with the Democrats.

    Senate Republicans have urged Reid to abandon the Jobs Act and focus on areas of agreement with the GOP. The party is pushing a Jobs Through Growth Act that includes budget cuts, limitations on regulations and tax cuts.

    One proposed tax change, the elimination of a 3 percent withholding tax on federal contractors, was blocked by Senate Democrats on Thursday. That provision was included in the Obama Jobs Act, but was paid for by tax increases — not by the spending cuts the GOP favors.

    Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said by enacting the infrastructure bill, “we can hand a very nice Thanksgiving and Christmas present to the American people,” one that is the best way to put “friends and neighbors” back to work.

    He said that $48 billion in transit stimulus money over the last two years created 65,000 jobs. He said the cost per job is $75,000

    Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) told reporters the bill includes $2 billion for airport improvement, $1 billion for new air traffic control systems, $27 billion for roads, bridges and ports, $4 billion for railways, $9 billion for mass transit and $5 billion in discretionary TIGER grants provided to states.

    Klobuchar noted that the National Infrastructure Bank has enjoyed broad bipartisan support. A bill creating the bank was co-sponsored by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and has support from both the U.S Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO.

  29. The GOP war on women’s health

    October 21, 2011 Posted by Elizabeth Chan –

    Our chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, just sent an email on the dangerous effort by House Republicans to “wage a war on women’s health and freedom” through the incorrectly named Protect Life Act. Read the chair’s email, watch her video message, and find out how you can fight back against the Republican-led attack on women’s rights:

    Guess what House Republicans are focused on.

    Are they pushing through legislation to get Americans back to work? No. Are they fighting to improve our education system? Nope. Perhaps they’re too busy repairing America’s roads and bridges, making vital investments in infrastructure? Wrong again.

    They’re using their majority in Congress to wage a war on women’s health and freedom.

    Last week, they passed the Protect Life Act, which is curiously named since it does precisely the opposite. This bill would override core patient protections and allow hospitals to legally deny life-saving treatment to women.

    You read that right: It would actually allow hospitals to let women die without treatment.

    I spoke out against this bill last week in Congress, and I recorded a message for you, too.

    For the entire article:

  30. Saudi crown prince dies, opening succession issue

    0/22/11 By ABDULLAH AL-SHIHRI – Associated Press | AP – 27 mins ago

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — The heir to the Saudi throne, Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, died undergoing treatment for illness in New York. The death of the prince, who was in his 80s, opens questions about the succession in the critical, oil-rich U.S. ally.

    Sultan was the younger half-brother of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, who is has also been ailing and underwent back surgery last week.

    The most likely candidate to replace Sultan as Abdullah’s successor is Prince Nayef, the powerful interior minister in charge of internal security forces, who is said to be closer to Islamic conservatives than the king. The king gave Nayef — also his half-brother — the implicit nod in 2009 by naming him second deputy prime minister, traditionally the post of the second in line to the throne.

    State TV announced that Sultan died abroad, without specifying where. Saudi official circles in Riyadh said he passed away at a hospital in New York. According to a leaked U.S. diplomatic cable from January 2010, Sultan had been receiving treatment for colon cancer since 2009.

    For the entire article:

    • Obama marks death of Saudi prince

      10/22/11 By POLITICO STAFF

      President Obama on Saturday marked the death of Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz Al Saud.

      In a statement, the president said: “It was with great regret that I learned of the passing of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abd al-Aziz of Saudi Arabia. As Minister of Defense and Aviation for almost 50 years, Crown Prince Sultan dedicated himself to the welfare and security of his people and country and was a valued friend of the United States. He was a strong supporter of the deep and enduring partnership between our two countries forged almost seven decades ago in the historic meeting between President Roosevelt and King Abd al-Aziz Al Saud. On behalf of the American people, I extend my deepest condolences to King Abdullah, the royal family, and the people of Saudi Arabia.”

    • October 23, 2011

      Readout of the President’s call with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

      President Obama called King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia today to express his personal condolences on the death of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abd al-Aziz. The President praised Crown Prince Sultan’s many contributions over the past five decades, including his critical role in building the strong and enduring partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia. The President informed the King that a senior delegation, which will be led by Vice President Biden, will travel to Riyadh to pay condolences during the official mourning period.

    • October 25, 2011

      President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Offer Condolences for the Passing of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud

      President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to offer condolences to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, on the passing of the Crown Prince and Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, HRH Prince Sultan bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud.

      The Honorable Joseph R. Biden Jr., Vice President of the United States, will lead the delegation on October 27, 2011.

      For the entire article:

  31. “The Arc of the Moral Universe is Long, But it Bends Toward Justice.”

    Posted by Deborah Ellis on October 21, 2011

    I am so grateful for the opportunity to participate with the other accomplished public service lawyers in the Champions of Change roundtable on access to justice. The 16 Champions represent a wide range of ways that lawyers work for justice; I am humbled and honored to represent the dedicated public interest counselors who advise law students across the country on how to become public service lawyers and provide opportunities for students to do pro bono work.

    For the past eight years as Assistant Dean for Public Service at NYU School of Law (read about NYU Law’s public service programs in its Law School blog), I have been privileged to serve students instead of clients. Law students yearn to do work that is meaningful and my role is helping students find their vocation. The lawyers I know who are happiest are those who have integrated justice into their work lives. The best part of my job is seeing the smiling law student who has helped a high school student in a suspension hearing or returned from a public defender summer internship and realizes that she has found her calling.

    To students who are committed to service but worried about the difficulty of finding jobs in this challenging economy, I advise flexibility and patience. Being flexible about geography and issues allows one to apply for a wider range of jobs. For example, if one’s passion is helping domestic violence survivors, but there are no jobs available in non-profit organizations, a student might consider a prosecutor’s office. Sometimes students have a fixed idea of a specific “perfect” job, so I try to encourage them to focus instead on the contributions they can make and the skills they can obtain in a wider range of jobs. Being patient means realizing that public sector employment processes are later and more episodic than much of corporate law firm hiring.

    For the entire article;

  32. Remarks of President Barack Obama
    Weekly Address
    The White House
    October 22, 2011

    This week, we had two powerful reminders of how we’ve renewed American leadership in the world. I was proud to announce that—as promised—the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of this year. And in Libya, the death of Moammar Qadhafi showed that our role in protecting the Libyan people, and helping them break free from a tyrant, was the right thing to do.

    In Iraq, we’ve succeeded in our strategy to end the war. Last year, I announced the end of our combat mission in Iraq. We’ve already removed more than 100,000 troops, and Iraqi forces have taken full responsibility for the security of their own country. Thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, the Iraqi people have the chance to forge their own future. And now the rest of our troops will be home for the holidays.

    In Libya, our brave pilots and crews helped prevent a massacre, save countless lives, and give the Libyan people the chance to prevail. Without putting a single U.S. service member on the ground, we achieved our objectives. Soon, our NATO mission will come to a successful end even as we continue to support the Libyan people, and people across the Arab world, who seek a democratic future.

    These successes are part of a larger story. After a decade of war, we’re turning the page and moving forward, with strength and confidence. The drawdown in Iraq allowed us to refocus on Afghanistan and achieve major victories against al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. As we remove the last of our troops from Iraq, we’re beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.

    To put this in perspective, when I took office, roughly 180,000 troops were deployed in these wars. By the end of this year that number will be cut in half, and an increasing number of our troops will continue to come home.

    For the entire article:

    • I’m so glad we have a President who’s telling the truth when he says, “This week, we had two powerful reminders of how we’ve renewed American leadership in the world.”

      Thank you, Mr. President. Great week.

  33. EPA chief: Obama not getting ‘enough credit’ on environment

    10/22/11 By Ben Geman -TheHill

    EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is sharpening her attack on GOP attempts to thwart pollution rules and defending President Obama’s environmental record at a time when some activists are questioning whether the White House has their back.

    “Their jobs plan is to protect old, dirty power plants,” Jackson said Friday of the GOP efforts.

    Jackson, appearing on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” Friday night, said Obama is committed to power plant emissions rules that House Republicans recently voted to block, and also touted the administration’s increase in auto mileage requirements.

    “I think [Obama] is not getting enough credit for being willing to take on these battles,” Jackson said.
    EPA is preparing to finalize standards to control mercury and other air toxics from coal-fired power plants, and recently completed rules to curb interstate power plant emissions that worsen smog and particulate pollution.

    The GOP-led House recently voted to block both rules, and has also passed bills targeting cement plant emissions rules, planned EPA standards for coal plant wastes, and other rules.

    Jackson’s defense of Obama follows similar early October comments by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who urged environmentalists to give Obama more credit for his green energy efforts.

    For the entire article:

  34. WordPress has a statistics page for each of the sites so you can keep track of the statistics for your website like:

    Views all time…for today…views for each thread
    Number of site followers
    Count of each of the links listed that people clicked on
    Referrers (Google, Twitter, Yahoo, etc)
    Search engine terms that people used to find your site

    One of the search engine terms that three people used today to find my site was:

    “Republican social care”…… does that translate into “You’re On Your Own Bucko!”

  35. WH

    Sunday, October 23 , 2011

    All Times Eastern

    The President receives the presidential daily briefing.

    7:00 AM
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  36. Sunday talk show tip sheet

    10/21/11 By ZACK HALE – POLITICO

    (Democratic excerpts only)

    The death of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi and the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq by year’s end are the pressing issues on this Sunday’s television talk shows.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears on four of the five major shows – ABC’s “This Week,” CNN’s “State of the Union,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” and “Fox News Sunday” – to discuss the implications of the dictator’s death and how the end of the war in Iraq will affect U.S. relations in the Middle East.

    On ABC, she’ll be followed by Arizona Sen. John McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    On CNN, Vice President Joe Biden also sits downs in a pre-taped interview to discuss the Obama administration’s jobs plan and other issues. And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky offers the Republican view.

    And C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” has Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, who’ll be questioned by The Hill’s Bob Cusack and Congressional Quarterly’s Lauren Smith.

    For the entire article:

    • Hi, CR! Looks like a better lineup for the Sunday shows, with Secretary Clinton and Vice President Biden out there! So glad to see that.

      Thanks for the information!

      Hope you are enjoying the weekend!

      • SOS Clinton and VPOTUS Biden will tell it like it really is!

        Good night Ms O’Boomer and all the ships at sea!

  37. From The Guardian:

    Another win for the Obama Doctrine: In contrast to Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama’s pragmatic approach of military restraint has borne fruit in Libya

    by Michael Williams

    …. In this age of austerity and public fatigue with foreign exploits, the Obama White House has diligently combined military force, technology, intelligence assets and patience to rack up an unassailable list of “wins” for the president on foreign affairs.

    The success and strength of the the president’s doctrine lies in the fact that it is not doctrinaire. The Obama Doctrine is based upon the very pragmatic concept that the United States should defend primary and secondary interests when it can, but that there is no hard-and-fast rule on intervention….

    The Bush Doctrine played right into Osama bin Laden’s hands; the Obama Doctrine killed Bin Laden….

  38. Tunisians Wake To Their Very First Election Day

    10/23/11 by ELEANOR BEARDSLEY – NPR

    Tunisians are voting Sunday in the country’s first free and democratic election. The small North African nation was the first to overthrow its dictator last January in a popular movement that soon spread to other authoritarian Arab nations.

    Now, analysts say what happens in Tunisia will be key to whether democracy is to take root across the rest of the Arab world.

    The streets of Tunis were calm and sunny Sunday morning, but there was an underlying excitement in the capital that even a visitor could feel. For the first time in their country’s history, Tunisians are going to the polls to vote for the candidate of their choice.

    Tunisians have lived under one-party, one-man rule since the country won its independence from France in 1956. Tunisians say the last 10 years under dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali were unbearable.

    A get-out-the-vote video airing on Tunisian television gives a feeling of the huge change the country is now going through.

    “We were depressed, broken, terrified and exploited,” says a voice, to scenes of despairing citizens. “But now we are motivated, ambitious and optimistic. Our heads are up. Tunisia will vote.”

    But with more than 100 parties and thousands of candidates to choose from, voting is not so easy. And some Tunisians say it’s also a bit stressful.

    In a working class neighborhood of Tunis, a group of middle-aged men who grew up together sat outside their usual cafe. Before, they said, they could only talk about football. Now they can’t stop arguing about politics.

    Mohammed Khelifa says the uncertainty is killing him.

    “Some of us don’t know who to choose, and it’s a mystery who’s going get the most votes,” Khelifa said. “Before, we always knew who would win, and I guess we kind of got used to that.”

    Tunisians are electing a 217-seat assembly that will draft a new constitution as well as choose a president. One of the biggest political debates at cafes and dinner tables is how much support the Islamist Party will get.

    Thousands of people showed up at a campaign rally for the Islamist Party, called Ennahdha, on Friday. The excited crowd sang the Tunisian national anthem. Many people there said they trust the Islamists because of what they’ve been through. Under dictator Ben Ali, religious people were persecuted and jailed. Many Islamists fled into exile.

    For the entire article and (longer) audio interview:

  39. What’s The Supercommittee Up To?

    10/23/11 NPR


    Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland is a member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, otherwise known as the supercommittee. The group is working on a plan to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. Host Audie Cornish gets an update from Van Hollen, who played a major role in Vice President Joe Biden’s debt talks earlier this year.

    For entire audio interview:


    10/23/11 POLITICO44

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, answering a question from David Gregory of “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning, about President Obama’s leadership abilities.

    “Let me begin by saying that President Obama has passed with flying colors every leadership challenge. I mean, look at what he has done. I mean, just to name a few things. I mean, you know, we were looking for bin Laden for, you know, 10 years. It was under President Obama’s leadership that he was finally– eliminated.

    “Libya with the kind of smart leadership that the president showed demonstrating that American leadership was essential, but it was important to try to bring others– also into a coalition of efforts. And– the– objective was achieved keeping the promise to withdraw from Iraq, but not leave Iraq– by having a robust security and training mission accompanied by a very large diplomatic presence. I could go on and on. I think this president has demonstrated that in a still very dangerous world, it’s important to have someone at the helm of our country who understands how to manage– what is an incredibly complex world now.

    “Yes, we have a lot of threats, but we also have opportunities. And I think– President Obama has grasped that and has performed– extraordinarily well. So– I don’t know what the other side will do. I’m out of politics as you know, David. I don’t comment on it. But– I think Americans are going to want to know that they have a steady, experienced, smart hand on the tiller of the ship of state, and there’s no doubt that that’s Barack Obama.”.

    • Well done, Secretary Clinton!

      Also enjoyed watching Bob Schiffer (sp?) on Face the Nation push back against the stupid statements of Santorum and Bachmann this morning. Usually I don’t watch, but he’s pro-Obama.

      Happy Sunday, O’family!

  41. Libyan Leaders To Declare Liberation, End Of War

    October 23, 2011 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    With dictator Moammar Gadhafi dead, Libya’s new rulers were to declare liberation Sunday, formally ending an eight-month-old civil war and ushering in a two-year transition to democracy fraught with uncertainty.

    Indecision over what to do with Gadhafi’s remains overshadowed what was to be a joyful day. The 69-year-old was captured alive Thursday, then taunted, beaten and killed in unclear circumstances in his hometown of Sirte. His body has been on public display in a commercial freezer in a shopping center in the port city of Misrata.

    Libyans seemed relieved the country’s ruler of 42 years was killed, with many saying his death cleared the way for a new beginning. “If he (Gadhafi) was taken to court, this would create more chaos, and would encourage his supporters,” said Salah Zlitni, 31, who owns a pizza parlor in downtown Tripoli. “Now it’s over.”

    Libya’s interim leaders are to formally declare later Sunday that the country has been liberated. The ceremony is to take place in the eastern city of Benghazi, the revolution’s birthplace.

    The long-awaited declaration starts the clock on Libya’s transition to democracy. The transitional leadership has said it would declare a new interim government within a month of liberation and elections for a constitutional assembly within eight months, to be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections within a year.

    • “A new era of promise”: President Obama on the Declaration of Liberation in Libya

      Posted by Kori Schulman on October 23, 2011

      Following today’s historic declaration of liberation in Libya, President Obama released this statement:

      On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the people of Libya on today’s historic declaration of liberation. After four decades of brutal dictatorship and eight months of deadly conflict, the Libyan people can now celebrate their freedom and the beginning of a new era of promise.

      Now that the fighting in Libya has reached an end, the Transitional National Council (TNC) must turn its attention to the political transition ahead. We look forward to working with the TNC and an empowered transitional government as they prepare for the country’s first free and fair elections. The Libyan authorities should also continue living up to their commitments to respect human rights, begin a national reconciliation process, secure weapons and dangerous materials, and bring together armed groups under a unified civilian leadership. As they take these steps, the United States will continue our close cooperation with our international partners and the UN Support Mission in Libya to help advance a stable, democratic transition.

      • All of these events are almost unbelievable! I’m firmly convinced, of course, that the catalyst for many was the President’s Cairo speech.

  42. Solar power is beginning to go mainstream

    10/23/11 By JONATHAN FAHEY – AP Energy Writer | AP – 16 mins ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Solar energy may finally get its day in the sun.
    The high costs that for years made it impractical as a mainstream source of energy are plummeting. Real estate companies are racing to install solar panels on office buildings. Utilities are erecting large solar panel “farms” near big cities and in desolate deserts. And creative financing plans are making solar more realistic than ever for homes.

    Solar power installations doubled in the United States last year and are expected to double again this year. More solar energy is being planned than any other power source, including nuclear, coal, natural gas and wind.

    “We are at the beginning of a turning point,” says Andrew Beebe, who runs global sales for Suntech Power, a manufacturer of solar panels.

    Solar’s share of the power business remains tiny. But its promise is great. The sun splashes more clean energy on the planet in one hour than humans use in a year, and daytime is when power is needed most. And solar panels can be installed near where people use power, reducing or eliminating the costs of moving power through a grid.

    For the entire article:


    10/23/11 POLITICO44

    President Obama responded to reports of an earthquake in Turkey with the following statement:

    “We have been following reports of the earthquake in Turkey’s eastern province of Van with great concern. On behalf of the American people, I express my deepest condolences to the families of the victims. Our thoughts and prayers are with the brave men and women who are working to bring assistance to this stricken region. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Turkish ally in this difficult time, and are ready to assist the Turkish authorities.”

    Turkey was hit Sunday by an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2, the Associated Press reported. The quake, which struck the nation’s mountainous eastern region, was blamed for at least 85 deaths, though there is every indication the toll will continue to rise.

    • The Earthquake in Turkey

      Posted by Matt Compton on October 24, 2011

      A powerful earthquake rocked eastern Turkey on Sunday, and even as rescuers hunt for survivors, the death toll has climbed into the hundreds.

      On hearing the news, President Obama issued the following statement:

      We have been following reports of the earthquake in Turkey’s eastern province of Van with great concern. On behalf of the American people, I express my deepest condolences to the families of the victims. Our thoughts and prayers are with the brave men and women who are working to bring assistance to this stricken region. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Turkish ally in this difficult time, and are ready to assist the Turkish authorities.

      The State Department is advising U.S. citizens who need assistance to contact Turkish Authorities or the U.S. Consulate in Adana, which is located at Girne Bulvari No. 212, Guzelevler Mahallesi, Yuregir, Adana, Turkey. The consulate’s telephone number is (90)(322) 346-6262; fax is (90)(322) 346-7916.

      Look for more updates on the U.S. Consulate in Adana website.

      9:15 PM EDT
      The President delivers remarks at a campaign event
      Local Event Time: 6:15 PM PDT
      Private Residence


    Lawyer: Cain May Have Violated Confidentiality Of Harassment Settlement

    11/1/11 by LIZ HALLORAN – NPR

    The lawyer for a woman who settled a sexual harassment complaint against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain in the late 1990s says that Cain may have violated the confidentiality terms of the agreement by commenting on its specifics over the past 24 hours.

    “Herman Cain and others have already disclosed that there was a confidential settlement,” says Joel P. Bennett, a Washington-based attorney specializing in employment law, who also represented the woman when she negotiated her settlement.

    Two women, including Bennett’s client, settled sexual harassment complaints against Cain when they worked for him during his late-1990s tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association.

    The revelations were first contained in a story in Politico; Bennett declined to confirm the identity of his client.

    “I don’t know if she’ll ever go public,” he said Tuesday.

    Cain may have waived the confidentiality requirements by talking publicly about the settlement, including disclosing details of the agreement, Bennett told NPR. That could potentially free up his client, as well as a second woman who settled a similar complaint, to speak publicly.

    Cain, in television interviews Monday and during a speaking engagement, first denied knowledge of any settlements. Later in the day, he acknowledged the existence of the agreements, suggested one may have included two or three months pay, and also disparaged the work performance of one of the claimants as “not up to par.”

    For the entire article:

    • Accuser attorney: Settlement dated 9/99, Kilgore signed


      Joel Bennett, the attorney for one of the women who complained about Herman Cain at the National Restaurant Association said Friday that his client’s settlement was dated in September of 1999 and signed by the trade group’s general counsel but not Cain.

      Cain had already left the organization by then, before his three-year term was up, as my colleagues reported last night.

      That the settlement was signed by the restaurant association’s counsel, Peter Kilgore, illustrates just how central he is in the allegations against Cain. As Vogel, Haberman and Burns reported last night, Kilgore was made aware by an association board member about the claim by a second woman that Cain made a sexual overture to her. Kilgore, according to sources, also looked into the charges of this woman. Citing a policy about not discussing personnel, Kilgore has remained mum since POLITICO broke the story on Sunday night.

      Bennett has requested that the association free his client, the first woman, from her non-disclosure agreement and let her speak. Bennett suggested that his client would not delve deeply into details, but would push back against the claims by Cain in recent days that her charges were “baseless.” The attorney has requested an answer by this afternoon from the association about whether his client will be allowed to issue a statement.

      POLITICO reported yesterday that Bennett’s client received a payout of about $45,000 in signing the settlement.

    • On Capitol Hill, Rand’s ‘Atlas’ Can’t Be Shrugged Off

      11/14/11 by ANDREA SEABROOK – NPR

      These days it can feel like the country is unsteady — politically, economically. In a search for the way forward, scholars and politicians often turn to their fundamental beliefs. NPR is taking a look at some of the most influential philosophers whose ideas molded the present and could shape the future. You might not know all their names, but you’re certainly familiar with their ideas. They are woven into the fabric of our society.

      Ayn Rand is best known for her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. The ideas behind them — her philosophy — have sunk so deeply into our political thought, most people don’t even recognize them as her ideas anymore.

      But Rand does have important admirers, like House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Recently, House Speaker John Boehner channeled Rand when he said, “Job creators in America basically are on strike.”

      Underpinning that statement is a philosophy Rand introduced through her best-selling novel Atlas Shrugged.

      However, when it was released in the late 1950s, the book wasn’t exactly embraced.

      Rand’s ‘Objectivism,’ Explained
      CBS News journalist Mike Wallace interviewed Rand years before he first appeared on the program 60 Minutes.

      “Throughout the United States, small pockets of intellectuals have become involved in a new and unusual philosophy, which would seem to strike at the very roots of our society,” he says, introducing the 1959 segment.

      Wallace is in a chair, on a stark set, holding his notes and a cigarette. Across from him sits Rand, a native Russian, small and sharp and a little nervous. Wallace asks her to outline the idea she calls “objectivism.”

      It is, she says, a system of morality “not based on faith” or emotion, “but on reason.”

      Rand wholly rejected religion. She called it a weakness, even a parasite — one that convinces people their purpose is to work for the betterment of others. In fact, she says, for man, the truth is just the opposite.

      “His highest moral purpose is the achievement of his own happiness,” she says.

      Wallace asks Rand how her philosophy applies to politics and government. And his question reveals a journalist’s assumptions about the America of that time — with Eisenhower in the White House and
      Leave It to Beaver on TV:

      “One of the principal achievements of this country in the past 20 years, particularly — I think most people agree — is the gradual growth of social, protective legislation, based on the principle that we are our brothers’ keepers.”

      Like welfare. Social Security. Fair labor standards. Public health programs.

      For the entire article and audio interview:

    • “Government research helped to create this plane” President Obama 2/17/12 Boeing Production Facility, Everett, WA

      Yes many things that we now have are the results from government research.

      Those naive people who want a Libertarian society mean they want a society that has:

      No laws to protect you or your family, your home, your workplace, your school or your job.
      No taxes paid by the RICH
      No research
      No advancement in science and technology
      No one to fix crumbling roads
      No food and drug regulations
      No 911 when you or your pet gets poisoned from inferior food, drugs and unsafe water
      No Police, No Firefighters
      No military to answer when America gets threatened
      No other countries to help America when we need it



GOP fakes trying


    OCT 16, 2011

    On Fox News Sunday this morning, Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor repeatedly claimed he wanted to work with Democrats to find common ground to create jobs and improve the economy. Cantor claimed he wanted to “work together” and “set aside” differences.

    In reality, Cantor has been the House Republicans’ chief obstructionist on job creation and deficit reduction since the start of this Congress. Cantor quit bipartisan negotiations with Vice President Biden on reducing the deficit and pushed Speaker John Boehner to break off discussions with President Obama and Democrats for a grand bargain to reduce the deficit and strengthen our economy. Cantor has refused to bring to the floor President Obama’s jobs plan and Republicans have refused to pass a single bill to create jobs. It was Cantor’s brinkmanship that nearly forced the U.S. to default on its credit and helped cause the nation’s credit downgrade. Last month Cantor led the Republican effort to block disaster relief and nearly sent the government to the brink of government shutdown.


    New York Times: Budget Talks Near Collapse as G.O.P. Leader Quits [New York Times, 6/23/11]

    Cantor’s Refusal To Compromise Helped Kill the “Grand Bargain” on Deficit Reduction

    Milbank: What Eric Cantor Wants is Power — and He is Prepared to Risk the Full Faith and Credit of the United States to Get It.

    Washington Post: Young Guns Directly Responsible for Bringing the Nation to the Brink of Default

    National Journal Said Standard & Poor’s Downgrade Explanation was a “Blast at Republicans.”

    For the entire article:

    • Getting at the Facts

      Jay Carney April 06, 2012 01:57 PM EDT

      On Tuesday, the President gave a speech in which he contrasted his vision for our economy – one where everyone pays their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules – with the Republican approach of giving massive tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires paid for by cuts to programs that the middle class and seniors depend on.

      Congressman Ryan and his staff has since taken issue with some of the critiques the President made about the Republican approach. We believe in backing up our facts – so here’s some further explanation of some of the core problems with the Ryan Republican Budget.

      1. The Republican budget enacts a drastic, unspecified 19 percent cut in non-defense discretionary programs that help the middle class and help our economy grow.

      2. The Republican approach would end Medicare as we know it.

      3. The Republican budget would mean 19 million Americans lose the health coverage they are already getting under current Medicaid

      For the entire article:

  46. *********************

    NBLB Come on over to my newest post

    titled: “ United Nations Day 2011”

    To get to newest post click on “HOME” at the top of the page and click on the title of the newest post

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