In the Belly of the Beast: 7/6/11: It takes a Democrat to Destroy Social Security

INDEX (full text of stories follow Democracy Now headlines)
“POLITICS”

Obama proposes cuts to Social Security and Medicare

Why aren’t the Democrats rebelling?

David Frum: “The president’s own weakness” has the perverse effect of exaggerating Republican concessions and diminishing his own

Obama put Social Security and Medicare on the table. Will Hill Dems. go along?

September Surprise: Israeli Attack on Iran?

Boehner just again said the stimulus didn’t create jobs – which is a lie – where is the administration response?

Greg Sargent on debt limit debate and “how much Democrats appear to be on the verge of trading away”

Obama summons Hill leaders to talk debt limit, wants “to do something big”

Podhoretz: Obama is worried that he will get only 1/2 the Jewish money he got in ’08

from Mondoweiss by Philip Weiss

A Bill Clinton trial balloon on a temporary budget deal?

Frank Rich: Obama’s failure to take on Wall Street may cost him re-election

RACISM, SEXISM, CIVIL LIBERTIES TODAY
“Fascism is the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary sector of monopoly capital”
THE ECONOMY

      
THE ULTRA-RIGHT


      
ENVIRONMENT





NUCLEAR POWER


      
“POLITICS”

White House pushes back on Social Security cut story

from AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth by John Aravosis (DC)

I’d like to believe them. I’m just not entirely sure why we should.  The President has never been one to hold firm to his convictions without some serious duress, so while a statement from the White House might possibly reflect where the President is today, it doesn’t say anything about where he’ll be tomorrow.  Yes, a girl has the right to change her mind, but in this case, it’s less a right than a guarantee.  Which makes statements, and promises, from the West Wing somewhat less than reassuring.  From Sam Stein at HuffPost:

The Obama administration is pushing back against a Wednesday night report that the president is prepared to offer cuts to Social Security as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

“The story overshoots the runway,” said a senior administration official. “The President said in the State of the Union that he wanted a bipartisan process to strengthen Social Security in a balanced way that preserves the promise of the program and doesn’t slash benefits.”

“While it is definitely not a driver of the deficit,” the official added, “it does need to be strengthened.”

That sounds a bit like “it’s a lie that we’re caving on Social Security today, we did that yesterday.”

Obama proposes cuts to Social Security and Medicare

Unfortunately, I doubt anyone is going to be surprised by this development. Deeply disappointed, yes. Amazing frustrated, yes. Beyond annoyed, yes. And, wondering what the hell they’re thinking at the White House, definitely.

Maybe the President has been negotiating with himself for so long that he’s lost all perspective. In exchange for what might possibly be some minor tax revenue increases, the President is giving GOPers what they couldn’t get from George Bush, a GOP-controlled House and a GOP-led Senate. Yes, from Obama, Republicans are getting what they’ve always wanted. Lori Montgomery at the Washington Post broke the story:

President Obama is pressing congressional leaders to consider a far-reaching debt-reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue.

At a meeting with top House and Senate leaders set for Thursday morning, Obama plans to argue that a rare consensus has emerged about the size and scope of the nation’s budget problems and that policymakers should seize the moment to take dramatic action.

As part of his pitch, Obama is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security, according to people in both parties with knowledge of the proposal. The move marks a major shift for the White House and could present a direct challenge to Democratic lawmakers who have vowed to protect health and retirement benefits from the assault on government spending.

“Obviously, there will be some Democrats who don’t believe we need to do entitlement reform. But there seems to be some hunger to do something of some significance,” said a Democratic official familiar with the administration’s thinking. “These moments come along at most once a decade. And it would be a real mistake if we let it pass us by.”

That “hunger to do something of some significance” is fed by the GOPers and the DC pundits. The White House bought it. They’re selling out on core Democratic priniciples. For what?

And, if GOPers don’t agree on tax increases, hard to see how Obama takes Social Security and Medicare off the table — after he put them there.    

David Frum: “The president’s own weakness” has the perverse effect of exaggerating Republican concessions and diminishing his own

David Frum, of all people, gets this right (h/t Digby):

To the uninstructed eye, however, it looks like Obama has set up yet another lopsided bargaining table: He needs the Republicans to give him something, anything, that he can claim as a victory. … [But] if they give him something, anything, it will be represented as a defeat. The president’s own weakness has had this perverse effect on his political opponents: it has reduced the value of his own concessions (no matter how big) and hugely exaggerated the significance of any offset he achieves (no matter how small).

Digby ominously (and also correctly) adds:

I’ve written before that I think Boehner wants to let his Tea Partiers run free, so I suspect everyone will play this out until the very end and then Obama will get his symbolic face saving concession. The majority that votes through these massive, painful spending cuts in the House will likely be composed of far more Democrats than Republicans. It may take all of them. Isn’t that special? [Emphasis hers]

Obama’s need to concede is much discussed. Frank Rich chalks it up to this: “He falls hard for the best and the brightest white guys.” I’m not so sure. Ken Silverstein has Obama’s number in 2006, long before “hope and change,” in an article called Barack Obama, Inc. Maybe he’s just doing it because he wants to.

Why aren’t the Democrats rebelling?

from AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth by John Aravosis (DC)

From David Frum writing on CNN.com. He’s a conservative who rather often speaks sense.

Why aren’t the Democrats rebelling?

The debt ceiling negotiations have amounted to a succession of retreats and concessions by President Obama.

How in the world did the president arrive at this disastrous predicament?

You can blame his opponents if you want. Yes, the House Republicans have played politics very rough. Not since the era of the Vietnam War has a house of Congress used the threat of national bankruptcy to gain its way on a policy point.

But the roughness of the president’s opponents does not excuse the president’s own mistakes and weakness. On the contrary: from the point of view of the president’s supporters, the roughness of the president’s opponents makes all the more inexcusable the president’s mishandling of the situation.

As Marc Ambinder of the National Journal suggested at the time, the president could have included an increase in the debt ceiling in the December deal to extend the Bush tax cuts. The Republicans dearly wanted that extension. Obama did not use leverage when he had it — and so he became a victim of leverage when he lacked it.

Then, as Republicans discovered the power of their new tool, the president decided to assume they were bluffing, that they would never actually do anything so reckless. Waking up to the reality of the situation too late, he commenced bargaining by offering what he assumed would be an irresistible deal. Wrong again. The Republicans did resist. So Obama offered an even better deal — which predictably only whetted the GOP appetite for still more.

Obama put Social Security and Medicare on the table. Will Hill Dems. go along?

The NYT confirms the news we first learned last night — the President is going to propose cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Yes, the GOPers are getting from Obama what they could not get from Bush — and it’s not altogether clear what the GOPers are giving in return, if anything. Think about that:

The president’s renewed efforts follow what knowledgeable officials said was an overture from Mr. Boehner, who met secretly with Mr. Obama last weekend, to consider as much as $1 trillion in unspecified new revenues as part of an overhaul of tax laws in exchange for an agreement that made substantial spending cuts, including in such social programs as Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security — programs that had been off the table.

The intensifying negotiations between the president and the speaker have Congressional Democrats growing anxious, worried they will be asked to accept a deal that is too heavily tilted toward Republican efforts and produces too little new revenue relative to the magnitude of the cuts.

Congressional Democrats said they were caught off guard by the weekend White House visit of Mr. Boehner — a meeting the administration still refused to acknowledge on Wednesday — and Senate Democrats raised concerns at a private party luncheon on Wednesday.

House Democrats have their own fears about the negotiations, which they expressed in an hourlong meeting Wednesday night with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.

So, the President is cutting his own deal with Boehner — and cutting out the Hill Democrats. I’m sure the geniuses at the White House have concocted some rational for the President’s latest scheme, which none of the rest of us will ever understand. But, we’ll get to see if Democrats in Congress stand up for their beliefs and values — even if Obama won’t.

At 11 AM, the President will be meeting with Congressional leaders (Reid, Durbin, McConnell, Kyl, Boehner, Cantor, Pelosi and Hoyer) to discuss the debt limit.

September Surprise: Israeli Attack on Iran?

from Tikun Olam-תקון עולם: Make the World a Better Place by Richard Silverstein

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panetta with obamaWith specter of willing president looming, will new Defense Secretary Panetta abandon pragmatism of predecessor and support Iran attack?

A retired journalist who covered the intelligence beat, and with extensive senior intelligence sources, reports to me that Israel is planning to attack Iran before the September UN meeting at which Palestinian statehood will be discussed and possibly approved.  He wrote to me some weeks ago:

…Some U.S. intelligence officials think that such a surprise [attack] on Iran could possibly take place in…September when [Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman] McMullen retires. It would [be] political war with its object to divert attention from Palestine.

…Senior US intelligence officials are saying that just recently a big US military force has been conducting large contingency planning drills in preparation for an intervention if Israel attacks Iran. Planning for a U.S. intervention is very far advanced.

…But perhaps the chief thing that counts here is that senior members of the US intelligence are resisting such notions with all the force that they can.

More recently, he sent this:

…The news is dismaying. Israel is planning a surgical strike against Iran.  I’ve been talking to former senior agency officials and officials in military intelligence. Not only is [it] “very far along” in planning for a regional war, the Obama administration has signed off on it.

It will  happen soon, before September…This is no drill.

If this is right, the timing of the attack couldn’t be more propitious for Israel, as it will certainly either derail entirely, or at the least delay the matter.  It would also further reinforce the conviction of many that the Netanyahu government is using the issue of Iran as a pressure valve to deflect world attention from something that is a much higher priority for the current Israeli government: maintaining the Occupation.

To be fair, I find the statement that the U.S. is “planning for a regional war,” and that Obama has “signed off on it” to be overly alarmist.  If the U.S. has signed off on an Israeli attack and possible U.S. support for it, I doubt we’re wishing or willing to instigate a regional war.  Though on the other hand, just about every serious analyst warns that this is what will occur if Israel does attack.

Yesterday, I spoke with a former intelligence analyst who is one of my heroes of the Vietnam era.  He told me that while he believed the U.S. president would not approve in advance an Israeli assault on Iran, the former analyst said the former would not stand in the way of one, as Eisenhower did in 1956 when he found out about it after hostilities began.  Rather than going to the mat to oppose Israel, once he discovered the attack was too far along to stop it, Obama would, the analyst believes, fall into line and participate in whatever supporting role he felt was appropriate.

Given the resounding ‘success’ of, and approval generated by the Bin Laden assassination, I too think it likely Obama would support an Iran attack.  A September attack could complicate the November elections, but if it was deemed successful it would further inoculate the Democrats and ensure success at the polls.

My source did, however, add that he found it unlikely that, in this day and age, Israel would be able to get far enough along operationally for such an attack without the U.S. finding out about it enough in advance to kill it or at least severely crimp Israel’s style.

Turning to Israel, you’ll remember Meir Dagan’s recent public excoriation of Netanyahu and Barak, who he accused of planning to mount a 2010 attack on Iran, which the former Mossad chief foiled when it was brought before a meeting of senior cabinet ministers for approval.  The reason Dagan uncharacterisitcally went public is that he stated that all of the senior military and intelligence figures (himself, Yuval Diskin of Shabak, Gabi Ashkenazi of IDF, and Amos Yadlin of Aman [military intelligence]) who universally opposed war against Iran, are all now gone.  There is a new cast of characters running each of these agencies, each of whom will be outdoing himself to ingratiate his way into the hearts of Barak and Netanyahu.  Which would make it much more likely they would support such an attack.

Believe me, someone like Meir Dagan, a man famous for his silences and hatred of public attention and media interviews, does not open his mouth unless it is important.  Very important.  For this reason alone, I’d say that such an attack is not only possible, but likely.

Further confirmation of the thesis advanced by the former intelligence reporter comes from no less likely a source than Jeffrey Goldberg, who’s known to have a long interest in Israel bombing Iran.  In writing of the reasons behind Meir Dagan’s “going native” on Bibi & Barak, he describes the thinking of Israeli sources who explained Dagan’s motivation:

[They] suggested that Netanyahu wants to change the subject from his difficulties with the Palestinians.  It’s no secret that the prime minister has been outfoxed by the Palestinian leadership lately, and that Israel is desperately trying to stop a Palestinian independence initiative at the United Nations. Netanyahu is capable of great cynicism, and he has made clear that the peace process doesn’t interest him very much.

While a former senior IDF commander and political leader who has served as a past source, refused to confirm this specific story (in order not to expose Israeli operational plans), he did not rule it out.  Further, he did confirm that there is a specific Israeli military contingency for such an attack.  In fact, Maariv’s Ben Caspit, who’s uncharacteristically becoming a bit of a dove regarding the Iran attack scenario, notes it prominently (Hebrew) in this article:

When Bibi Netanyahu became prime minister he received a briefing on the [Iran] military option being planned.  The one [Barak] now claims didn’t exist.  The meeting was prolonged.  Then another was planned.  And another.  Till finally Bibi spent a full 20 hours considering the matter.  And according to an aide, “his eyes sparkled” the whole time.

We know that Ehud Olmert asked George Bush for a green light to attack Iran and that while Cheney pushed for it, Bush ultimately declined.  If Olmert was willing to go to war, why would we doubt that Bibi would too?  Bibi, who casts the Ayatollahs practically as Satan’s demons on earth.  We also know that Bibi is obsessed with Palestinian and world efforts to “delegitimize” Israel.  And that the September UN vote is one of the top threats on this list.  So why would anyone think he’d be too dainty to use Iran to foil Palestinian statehood?  Especially if he was reasonably certain it would redound to his credit (as delusional as such an assumption might be).

Returning to the words of the source quoted at the beginning of this post, where he noted an attack could come after the retirement of Admiral McMullen–the latter has made some statements indicating he’s less than enthusiastic about the prospect of the U.S. supporting an attack on Iran.  Defense Secretary Gates has just retired and before he did he made a very specific statement that he frustrated Dick Cheney’s war camp in their lobbying for war with Iran.  Now, in their (Gates and McMullen’s) stead we will have Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey.  One would presume that these newcomers would be much less willing to go out on a limb and be iconoclasts than their predecessors, and more likely to support an Iran attack if the president did.  It’s almost a mirror image of the situation in Israel.  And grounds for fear of what may lie ahead come September.

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Boehner just again said the stimulus didn’t create jobs – which is a lie – where is the administration response?

from AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth by John Aravosis (DC)

HuffPost Hill reports that the Republicans, with John Boehner taking the lead, tried to spam the President’s Twitter Townhall held today:

Republicans tried to swamp the #AskObama hashtag with politically embarrassing questions. “With 9.1% unemployment & ‘shovel ready’ jobs a bust, will you admit the ‘stimulus’ was a mistake? http://bit.ly/oTK17f #askobama,” Boehner tweeted. “We’re excited the President is taking questions on jobs and the economy,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck told Jen Bendery. “He’s got a lot of questions to answer — starting with, ‘Where are the jobs?'”

Where are the jobs? They’re in Olympia Snowe’s purse. You might recall she demanded that $100 billion be cut from the stimulus. That was a good chunk of jobs gone thanks to Senator Snowe. As for the rest of the jobs, they disappeared in the form of GOP tax cuts that the President included in the stimulus, to the tune of 35% of the plan, to woo GOP votes. Had we not given away 35% of the stimulus to near-worthless GOP tax cuts, perhaps we’d have stimulated a few more jobs.

We know for a fact that the stimulus created millions of jobs and significantly improved GDP. That’s a fact. Did the stimulus create ENOUGH jobs, no. Partly because the GOP was against any stimulus at all, so it wasn’t big enough, and partly because the President didn’t ask for a bigger one (God knows why).

But to suggest that the stimulus was a bust is an outright lie. It’s a lie that’s caught hold in much of the country – hell, it caught hold a long time ago, what with only 6% of the American people I believe thinking the stimulus created any jobs, in one poll from a year or so ago. And guess why the public is so hell bent on deficit reduction right about now?  Probably because they think we “wasted” a trillion dollars in a stimulus that “was a bust.”  It’s all tied together.

The White House needs to hit back hard when the GOP Speaker of the House outright lies about one of the most important initiatives of Obama first term.  So where is the push back?  And I mean REAL push back.  The kind that tells you “don’t ever try this again.”

Greg Sargent on debt limit debate and “how much Democrats appear to be on the verge of trading away”

I have to agree with Greg Sargent’s take on the politics surrounding the debt limit talks:

Obama and Dems appear to be trying to box Boehner in: If he agrees to real revenue increases, Dems will agree to Medicare cuts as a way to allow Boehner to ease the weight of the political problem Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan has created for Republicans. But Boehner has repeatedly insisted he won’t support new revenues, and if he walks away after having been offered substantial Medicare concessions by Dems, the GOP risks looking as if they’re hostage to anti-tax fanaticism, unconcerned about the fate of the country, and are “not fit to govern,” as David Brooks put it yesterday.

But even if the GOP is in a difficult spot, it also needs to be pointed out yet again how much Democrats appear to be on the verge of trading away. If the GOP has dug itself a political hole, Dems appear to be on the verge of cheerfully supplying the dirt Republicans need to fill it.

As it is the debate is unfolding almost entirely on GOP turf, in a place where Republicans are getting far more than anyone thought possible in exchange for a debt ceiling hike that they themselves already agreed months ago was inevitable. Any concessions Dems win from Republicans on new revenues will be dwarfed by what Dems are giving up. And we don’t even know yet precisely what sort of Medicare cuts Dems are offering. If they agree to benefits cuts it could deprive them of some of the political advantage they have carefully built up on the issue in recent months. But it’s looking increasingly like the White House and Dems are willing to trade that advantage away in exchange for a deal and an opportunity for Obama to reap the anticipated political advantages that come with having presided over one.

Voters are not going to reward Democrats for being magnanimous, despite what the political geniuses at the White House may think. Americans have been looking for leadership, for someone who will fight for them. Still are.

I’m hoping the President seizes the moment, starting at the meeting with Hill leaders tomorrow. I’m hoping that the “something big” isn’t another cave to the GOP, but rather, is the President showing leadership by fighting the GOP hostage-takers.

Obama summons Hill leaders to talk debt limit, wants “to do something big”

Tomorrow, the President will meet with the top leaders from both parties to talk about the debt limit. Expected at the meeting are Senators Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Mitch McConnell and John Kyl along with House leaders Boehner, Eric Cantor, Nancy Pelos and Steny Hoyer. And, the President wants “something big”:

President Obama on Tuesday rejected calls for a short-term increase in the legal limit on government borrowing and summoned congressional leaders to the White House to restart negotiations over a long-term plan to restrain the deepening national debt.

With an Aug. 2 deadline closing in, Obama urged lawmakers in both parties to break the stalemate that halted talks nearly two weeks ago and seize what he called “a unique opportunity to do something big” to rebalance the nation’s finances.

“There may be some in Congress who want to do just enough to make sure that America avoids defaulting on our debt in the short term but then want to kick the can down the road when it comes to solving the larger problem of our deficit. I don’t share that view,” Obama told reporters during a late-afternoon appearance at the White House.

With the surprise announcement, Obama sought to take charge of a situation that was rapidly devolving into a dangerous game of chicken: Republicans have refused to discuss any debt-reduction deal that includes higher taxes, while Democrats have rejected any deal based solely on spending cuts.

And, my worry is that the White House will offer “something big” and the GOPers won’t.

Those Republican leaders want Obama’s presidency to fail. They’re willing to tank the economy and the nation’s credit rating to do that. The GOP’s policies got us into this mess. They haven’t lifted a finger to fix it. They only make it worse.

Republicans expect Obama to cave. Be great to see what they would do when he doesn’t.

Podhoretz: Obama is worried that he will get only 1/2 the Jewish money he got in ’08

from Mondoweiss by Philip Weiss

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Thank you, John Podhoretz, in Commentary. He blows away the usual mystification about “Jewish voters” (which Robert Siegel of NPR likes to engage in) and explains why Obama has tacked on settlements/’67 lines/anything to do with Israel/Palestine. This is not just about Jewish success but Jewish identity:

Jews [will vote for Obama] again, and in landslide numbers, in 2012—especially if the Republicans put up someone Jews decide to despise. But which Jews vote or don’t vote for Obama doesn’t matter all that much except when it comes to conversations around the seder table.

Where it matters—where Obama’s team is clearly worried and where it is seeking to come up with counterarguments to give to surrogates—is money. It’s one thing to cast a single vote as the member of a small minority community to which outsized attention is paid. But Jews are uncommonly generous givers, both philanthropically and politically, and while they might still cast a vote for Obama, they might give him nothing. Or half what they gave him in 2008. And that decline in enthusiasm might be reflected not only in giving to the reelection campaign, but to Democratic campaigns generally. That’s the real fear, and that’s the real problem for the Democrats. They have Jewish support at the ballot box. They can bank on that.  They’re worried they won’t be able to bank on Jewish support in the other sense of the term, and that worry is very real, and very realistic, and can’t be argued away.

h/t Justin Elliott, who asks: “cf. what happened to Wesley Clark when he talked about Jewish money in U.S. politics:

A Bill Clinton trial balloon on a temporary budget deal?

from AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth by John Aravosis (DC)

And not a very welcome trial balloon at that:

If Republicans maintain their opposition to revenue increases, [Bill] Clinton said, Obama should pursue a short-term deal to extend the debt ceiling based on spending cuts both sides have already accepted in the negotiations between the administration and Congressional leaders from both parties.

So if the GOP refuses to give us anything, we should give them something for free, just make it smaller. And so on, and so on, and so on…

How is this winning? Strike that. How is this not losing?

So let’s just keep cutting spending in the near terms, instead of pushing for another stimulus – i.e., let’s do what the GOP wants instead of what the country needs – guaranteeing that economic growth will slow some more, and unemployment might even increase some more, in the months before the 2012 elections, thus risking a GOP win in the White House and the Senate.

But it will look like the President is a great conciliator.  I’m sure that will be great comfort when he’s retired back in Chicago in 2013 and the Republican Congress along with the Republican White House repeals health care reform.

Frank Rich: Obama’s failure to take on Wall Street may cost him re-election

from AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth by John Aravosis (DC)

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From Frank Rich writing in NY Magazine.

As good times roar back for corporate America, it’s bad enough that CEOs are collectively sitting on some $1.9 trillion in cash…. But what’s most galling is how many of these executives are sore winners, crying all the way to Palm Beach while raking in record profits and paying some of the lowest tax rates over the past 50 years.

The fallout has left Obama in the worst imaginable political bind. No good deed he’s done for Wall Street has gone unpunished. He is vilified as an anti-capitalist zealot not just by Republican foes but even by some former backers. What has he done to deserve it? All anyone can point to is his December 2009 60 Minutes swipe at “fat-cat bankers on Wall Street”—an inept and anomalous Ed Schultz seizure that he retracted just weeks later by praising Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein as “very savvy businessmen.”

Obama can win reelection without carrying 10021 or Greenwich in any case. The bigger political problem is that a far larger share of the American electorate views him as a tool of the very fat-cat elite that despises him. Given Obama’s humble background, his history as a mostly liberal Democrat, and his famous résumé as a community organizer, this would also seem a reach. But the president has no one to blame but himself for the caricature. While he has never lusted after money—he’d rather get his hands on the latest novel by Morrison or Franzen—he is an elitist of a certain sort. For all the lurid fantasies of the birthers, the dirty secret of Obama’s background is that the values of Harvard, not of Kenya or Indonesia or Bill Ayers, have most colored his governing style. He falls hard for the best and the brightest white guys.

He stocked his administration with brilliant personnel linked to the bubble: liberals, and especially Ivy League liberals. Nearly three years on, they have taken a toll both on the White House’s image and its policies. Obama arrives at his reelection campaign not merely with a weak performance on Wall Street crime enforcement and reform but also with a scattershot record (at best) of focusing on the main concern of Main Street: joblessness. One is a consequence of the other. His failure to push back against the financial sector, sparing it any responsibility for the economy it tanked, empowered it to roll over his agenda with its own. He has come across as favoring the financial elite over the stranded middle class even if, in his heart of hearts, he does not.

The ultimate indignity, though, was a Washington Post / ABC News poll showing Obama in a dead heat with Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney! If any belief unites our polarized nation, it’s the conviction that Romney is the most transparent phony in either party, no matter how much he’s now deaccessioning hair products. It’s also been a Beltway truism that a Mormon can’t win the Republican nomination, let alone a Massachusetts governor who devised the prototype for “ObamaCare.” But that political calculus changed overnight. That this poseur could so quickly gain traction, even if evanescently, should alarm Obama.

“A nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous,” Obama declared at his inauguration. What he said on that bright January morning is no less true or stirring now. For all his failings since, he is the only one who can make this case. There’s nothing but his own passivity to stop him from doing so—and from shaking up the administration team that, well beyond the halfway-out-the-door Geithner and his Treasury Department, has showered too many favors on the prosperous. This will mean turning on his own cadre of the liberal elite. But it’s essential if he is to call the bluff of a fake man-of-the-people like Romney. To differentiate himself from the discredited Establishment, he will have to mount the fight he has ducked for the past three years.

The alternative is a failure of historic proportions. Those who gamed the economy to near devastation—so much so that the nation turned to an untried young leader in desperation and in hope—would once again inherit the Earth. Unless and until there’s a purging of the crimes that brought our president to his unlikely Inauguration Day, much more in America than the second term of his administration will be at stake.

RACISM, SEXISM, 
 CIVIL LIBERTIES TODAY
“Fascism is the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary sector of monopoly capital”

15 year old gay kid executed by white supremacist classmate for supposedly making flirtatious remark after being bullied

from AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth by John Aravosis (DC)

The hateful messages sent by the pedophile-enabling Catholic Church, their vindictive Catholic Charities, the hate groups of the religious right, and the Republican party all play a role in creating and sustaining a culture in this country where gays are considered an “abomination,” the word used by the white supremacist who killed this kid.  And what does the Bible say?  That gays shall surely be put to death.

And I know we shouldn’t take Leviticus literally, but guess what – lots of crazy people around the country do take it literally, and the Bible as currently translated feeds a climate of hate where white supremacists think they’re acting on God’s will.  Controversial notion?  Again, the book’s own words, on their face, say to kill gay people.  How much more explicit does it have to be for folks who say you should take the Bible literally?

I’ve written about this before.  Check out what nearly as I can tell, practically ever English language version of the Bible says about gays.  Kill kill kill kill kill.

THE ECONOMY

Roubini sees economic “perfect storm” in 2013 for global economic downturn

from AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth by Chris in Paris

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There’s no shortage of kicking the can down the road both in Europe and the US. In the US, we can no longer afford the war machine but nobody wants to say it. We couldn’t afford it when we had the mirage of an economy and we certainly can’t afford it now. In Europe, there’s a lack of reality when it comes to certain countries who really can’t afford to stay in the eurozone. As for China, time is not on its side. CNBC:

Known for his generally dour outlook that helped him see the financial crisis before it hit in 2008, Roubini said the US, European nations and others have become adept enough at forestalling their problems that a true crisis won’t hit until 2013.

But when it does, the effects are likely to be painful.

“My prediction for the perfect storm is not this year or next year but 2013, because everybody is kicking the can down the road,” he said in a live interview. “We now have a problem in the US after the election if we don’t resolve our fiscal problems. China is overheating…eventually it’s going to have a hard landing.”

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