What is the Matter with Obama?
INDEX (full text of stories follow Democracy Now headlines)
- Japan Dumps Water on Reactor; Radiation Levels Rise
- Deaths, Arrests in Bahraini Protest Crackdown
- Thousands Protest as Michigan Enacts Emergency Management Laws
- Wisconsin Prosecutor Challenges Anti-Worker Bill
- Florida Advances Restrictions on Teachers
- CIA Agent Accused of Murder Freed in Pakistan
- Hundreds Protest Clinton in Tunisia
- Clinton Visits Tahrir Square; Won’t Stay on Past 2012
- Palestinian Factions to Hold Unity Talks
- Study: 800,000 to Contract Cholera in Haiti
- EPA to Regulate Coal Power Plant Emissions
- Former Chicago Police Commander Begins Prison Term
from The Wrong Stuff by Kathryn Schulz
Top Democrats reject Lieberman/Coburn plan to slash Medicare. Post says proposal “echoes GOP demands”.
Leading congressional Democrats immediately recoiled Tuesday from a new proposal to cut $600 billion in Medicare spending over the next decade — in part by raising the eligibility age.
Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) unveiled the proposal as part of a bipartisan effort to produce the kind of savings necessary to achieve the $2 trillion in debt reduction both parties say is needed to convince reticent lawmakers to vote to raise the debt ceiling. It would raise Medicare’s eligibility age from 65 to 67 and assess higher premiums on wealthier seniors.
Cutting Medicare and Social Security is a top priority for the GOP. Democrats should not only NOT be talking about cutting those programs, period, but it certainly shouldn’t even be discussed at all while the GOP continues to say “no tax increases.” This budget negotiation has been on their terms from day one. It needs to stop. This is a good first step. My favorite part of the Post story:
The proposal echoes Republican demands that entitlement reform — especially deep cuts in Medicare spending — be a part of any agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
from AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth by John Aravosis (DC)
Because the good lord knows Democrats don’t want a winning campaign issue, the party is desperately trying to hand back its Medicare advantage to Republicans. Joe Lieberman today teamed with Tom Coburn to push legislation that would cut Medicare by $640 billion over the next ten years by reducing benefits and making old people pay more for their care. That’s called courage in Washington. President Obama, meanwhile, is floating heavy Medicare cuts in his talks with Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, meaning that Lieberman and Coburn’s proposal could become the basis for some type of bipartisan knifing of grandma any day now.
That would be the Joe Lieberman who helped kill the public option, thus ensuring that when seniors get their Medicare benefits cut they won’t be able to afford this country’s exorbitantly expensive, and ever-growing, medical costs.
But hey, I was getting tired of Democratic control of the congress and the White House anyway. [/snark]
from AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth by Gaius Publius
A quick follow-up to this report from Chris in Paris on the ongoing attempt by Greece to substitute austerity for default (and the parallel attempt by the governments of creditor banks to loan Greece enough money to indirectly bail out its bankers — remember, those loans will end up in bankers’ pockets).
My first post at AMERICAblog was this one: The Greek economic crisis: Cui bono? in which I wrote this:
So what do we have, if this analyst is right? Not melodrama, with large cartoonish national groups, but that old familiar combo — predators and prey:
■ Cash-rich big business eager to buy up public goods for pennies
■ Cash-starved governments in crisis
■ Easily corrupted pols
But the near-term reason may be this — that the German big-business types whispering into Chancellor Angela Merkel’s shell-like ear (and through her ear to Brussels) will make out like bandits if Greece has to sell itself off to survive.
“Welcome to the Athens-Peiraios Causeway, brought to you by Deutsche Telekom. €4.00 please.”
Prime Minister George Papandreou announced an immediate sale of state assets on Monday evening, including its shares in the telecom operator OTE and the ports of Piraeus andThessaloniki.
Following a cabinet meeting, Papandreou announced 1.6 billion euros ($2.3 billion) in savings along with the privatization measures. … “Now we take the necessary decisions to avoid the danger once and for all, and to change the country,” read his statement.
The Greek state has a 16-percent stake left in OTE, the largest shareholder being German telecommunications firm Deutsche Telekom.
Other assets up for sale include Hellenic Postbank – one of Greece’s major lenders – theThessalonki water company, gas company DEPA and the train operator Trainose. The exact contents of the list for privatization have yet to be finalized with the Greek Finance Ministry. … Greece has been urged to press ahead with a 50-billion-euro program of privatization as part of the conditions to smooth the way for a loan instal[l]ment of 12 billion euros.
The article also mentions selling off “interests in airports, weapons contractor OPAP, as well as regional ports and highways.”
As always, the real prize: All your assets are belong to us. The Billionaires Coup abroad.
from AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth by Chris in Paris
Again, Wall Street showered him with campaign contributions in 2008 and he’s been having private fund raising dinners with the CEOs of Wall Street this year. His campaign and staff can say what they like about that, but you would have to be a fool to miss the connection between the meek financial reform that the White House promoted and his campaign contributions. Also, let’s think for a moment about the extension of tax breaks for the wealthy. If you are not part of the deep pocket crowd, you’re really not very important to this administration, but I’d like to be proven wrong. Bloomberg:
Donors who pledge $75,800 to the Obama Victory Fund will be named “Presidential Partners” and will be invited to quarterly campaign briefings that are sometimes attended by the president, said a Democratic official who wasn’t authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The program secures two years’ worth of a supporter’s allowable donations. Presidential Partners contribute $5,000 to the Obama campaign, $61,600 to the Democratic committee and an additional $9,200 to a committee that the campaign and the national committee use in statewide races.
The big-money fundraising program is the latest weapon in a campaign-financing arms race. It was reported by the Los Angeles Times. The 2012 election may dwarf previous races with the campaigns, party committees and independent political groups projected to raise and spend a combined $2 billion before Election Day.