The Shock Doctrine style dog and pony mini-series we just witnessed in D.C., quite probably choreographed by our recently our recently re-elected President and his neo lib advisor...and whose cast included the Dem Party Leadership with of course the Republicans is appalling, sickening, and disgusting in its lack of jobs and remedies for the millions suffering today.
kos-- you know, our fearless leader, the one who brilliantly led the site in pushing for an Obama win, who wore his ban finger out chasing away many who could not stomach voting for BO and dared to even mention voting third party... Kos whose party loyalty is now unquestionable and whose FP writers racked up an astounding number of anti-Mitch missives -- well kos was not too happy about this political mini-series:
But the fact that he would even consider offering something like a Social Security benefits cut is disappointing, and without the tax rate issue as leverage, Obama will have little to pressure Republicans into making major concessions of their own.While some are happy dancing all around this big sheet sandwich, kos and others are not sugar coating our current reality. Take Congressman Lloyd Doggett, for example...
So this is all fantastic for Republicans. They extract major concessions on the Bush tax rates, and in two months they get to go after government spending in a major way holding the nation's economy hostage, negotiating with a president who has zero history of standing up to this sort of economic terrorism. All of this just months after getting their asses kicked in the election.link
A Real Democrat in Congress Speaks
Lloyd Doggett, D Austin,probably most gerrymandered TX congressman ever who just keeps on fighting and getting re-elected no matter how much the Republicans move the goalposts on his district, had this critique of the process yesterday afternoon:
Sorry, no transcript, but in an email this morning he talks about the crap process and result:
The substance of that agreement is very mixed and the process that produced it is atrocious. The Senate approved the measure in the middle of the night before its 157 pages were available for public view.Whitehouse STILL Planning Cuts?
With so many matters unresolved by the agreement, more “cliffs” lie ahead. Last year Republicans used the threat of default on the full faith and credit of the United States as a bargaining chip. Their intransigence cost over $1 billion in additional costs and restrained THE economic recovery. We face the same predicament in February.
The across the board spending cuts known as “sequestration” were only postponed two months to about the time that the current appropriations bills expire for financing the government this year. And, of course, our long term debt challenges, which require getting a better handle on health care costs without jeopardizing retirement security, remain unresolved. IN SHORT, A DEAL IS BEING ACHIEVED BY AGREEING TO THE LUMP OF SUGAR NOW, LEAVING THE MEDICINE DEBATE FOR ANOTHER DAY.
Today, I am carefully reviewing the provisions of the legislation to ensure that the fine print matches the claims and evaluating the trade offs that were made in seeking common ground. From my initial review, I am very pleased to see that the higher education tax credit, which I authored in 2009, has been extended for another five years—that means up to $2,500 directly off family tax bills for the cost of tuition and instructional materials.
On the other hand, not only do corporations appear to have contributed no new revenues, they also got some very questionable tax loopholes, which I have long been challenging, enshrined into permanent law.
And the very generous $250,000 income definition of middle class that the President has emphasized throughout the past year has now been permanently hiked to $450,000. All of this when the median family income in Central Texas is well below $100,000.
As our work continues, know how much I value the encouragement and advice of so many Texans. This week our San Antonio office is getting underway at 217 W. Travis and, as always, our Austin office remains ready to serve.
Excerpt from the transcript
AMY GOODMAN:So this is going to be taken up in a few months. Juliet Schor, what is going to happen to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security?
JULIET SCHOR: Well, it’s hard to say, but I think that, given that the president has already put these on the table, he’s already indicated a willingness to go to the chained CPI, meaning to change the way that inflation is calculated for benefits in the Social Security program, that it’s—I think it’s likely that Social Security and Medicare will be back on the table. And it’s unfortunate, because the Democrats negotiated quite a good deal with the sequester deal, because they are off the table. Social Security is not part of the problem of the deficit. It’s a fiscally solvent program. It’s solvent until 2030. We shouldn’t be talking about Social Security at all. Medicare, of course, is another story. But on the other hand, maybe we should be waiting to see what happens with the healthcare program and how that plays out in terms of costs, before we make dramatic changes to a program that people are, by and large, very satisfied with.
We need to be talking about other things, things that are not in the conversation right now and that—we also need to be talking about cutting those military expenditures a lot more. I think one of the reasons that the—my feeling is the Democrats are not going to get a good deal 60 days from now is that Republicans know they don’t have much of a spine for cutting military spending. But if they did, I think they could get a pretty good deal, or at least a much better deal than what it looks like they’re going to get right now.
President Saying For Years Interested in Cuts
And today The Whitehouse made clear in a press release that entitlements are still on the table, and will surely be seen as still more evidence if any were needed that Obama is planning to go for the cuts like he said he would in the presidential debates:
Establishes a foundation for additional balanced, pro-growth deficit reduction through tax and entitlement reform: The agreement leaves substantial scope for reducing tax expenditures for high-income households, reforming corporate taxes to broaden the base and cut the rate to make America more competitive, and to take further steps to reform entitlements.
Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO issued this statement today:
SNIPIt has been somewhat reassuring to see kos talking reality and writing along similar lines to Doggett and Trumka, but would like to see DailyKos join with the Unions in facilitating actions opposing this continued fail. For those who want to see an all out effort to take more seats in the next congressional elections this should be a no brainer.
The agreement passed by the Senate last night is a breakthrough in beginning to restore tax fairness and achieves some key goals of working families. It does not cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits. It raises more than $700 billion over 10 years, including interest savings, by ending the Bush income tax cuts for families making more than $450,000 a year. And in recognition of the continuing jobs crisis, it extends unemployment benefits for a year. A strong message from voters and a relentless echo from grassroots activists over the last six weeks helped get us this far.
But lawmakers should have listened even better. The deal extends the Bush tax cuts for families earning between $250,000 and $450,000 a year and makes permanent Bush estate tax cuts exempting estates valued up to $5 million from any tax. These concessions amount to over $200 billion in additional tax cuts for the 2%.
And because of Republican hostage taking, the deal simply postpones the $1.2 trillion sequester for only two months and does not address the debt ceiling, setting the stage for more fiscal blackmail at the expense of the middle class.
#Occupy Wall Street
Hurricane Sandy vics got no relief in this crap sandwich of a deal.
Though the Wind tax credit was included there was nothing major for dealing with Climate Change... but never fear, the Pres recently said he was going to get right on to studying (?)that after the first of the year.
Will be interesting to see if we in #OWS will organize a nationwide civil disobedience response to our Dem leaders' joining hands with the Repubs in what amounts to an orchestrated huge push mainly for the benefit of the plutocracy with assorted tidbits thrown to the rest of us.
Maybe its time to dust off the old pledge:
http://occupywallst.org/...Too much? Then what? If you think this bill was a grand failure and, beyond that, think action should be taken to stop further harm, what ideas to you have?
Occupy's Pledge to FIGHT BACK
We Didn’t Start the Class War
The 1% wreck our economy, kill our jobs, seize our homes, assault our rights, destroy the environment, and sentence us to lives of debt and war. For years, we have petitioned our governments for change without redress and have fought tirelessly to elect politicians who only betray us. In a world where the 1% have usurped democracy and politicians refuse to serve the people, the people have but one choice—to fight back!
The relentless class war against the 99% must end. We’ve been deceived our whole lives into believing the only way to create change is by voting, but now we’re learning there’s another way. A revolution for real democracy is underway, and it falls on each and every one of us to fight together for our common future. We will cast the vote of resistance. We will take direct action to shut this broken system down and build a better world that works in the interest of all people, everywhere.
Will you help us wage resistance? (Check off all that apply)
I pledge to come out in the streets when Occupy calls for a day of action.This can be just about anything. Like a park, a farm, defending a foreclosed home, or holding a sit-in at your town hall or school. You might only need a half dozen or so dedicated people. Issue demands if you like, but don't go home until they're met. You can even use blockading to make it extra hard for them to remove you. Remember: Occupying is a militant nonviolent tactic meant to assert control over physical space by reclaiming it for a new purpose while disrupting the ability of your adversary to use that space, thus forcing recognition of your cause. You don't need a permit any more than Martin Luther King Jr. needed permission to hold sit-ins at lunch counters. This is the very meaning of civil disobedience, but it also means you'll be risking arrest so you should consider seeking legal counsel beforehand. How much does change mean to you?
I pledge to attend at least one meeting with my local Occupy group.
Click Here to find one in your area
I pledge to help promote #occupy news and actions via social media.
I pledge to donate what I make in one hour to an Occupy-related project.
Click Here for our curated list of places to donate
I pledge to never go to work during a general strike.
I pledge to help organize my co-workers to make demands. It doesn’t matter if I’m behind a desk, a cash register, or a machine—we deserve better treatment.
Click Here to learn how
I pledge to attend a direct action / civil disobedience training session.
Click Here for NYC Summer Disobedience School
Click Here for online video training
I pledge to dump my bank and join a credit union.
Click Here to find one in your area
I pledge to start an affinity group to occupy something.
Allow others to see my name and what I pledged
Or do we just throw up our hands, say thank you very much, and watch our fellow Americans who are unemployed, homeless, without healthcare continue to suffer while the War Profiteers and Wall Street continue to rake in our treasure ?
Liberals have assured us that after the election they will build a movement to hold the president accountable—although how or when or what this movement will look like they cannot say. They didn’t hold him accountable during his first term. They won’t during his second. They have played their appointed roles in the bankrupt political theater that passes for electoral politics. They have wrung their hands, sung like a Greek chorus about the evils of the perfidious opponent, assured us that there is no other viable option, and now they will exit the stage. They will carp and whine in the wings until they are trotted out again to assume their role in the next political propaganda campaign of disempowerment and fear. They will, in the meantime, become the butt of ridicule and derision by the very politicians they supported.
The ineffectiveness of the liberal class, as I saw in the former Yugoslavia and as was true in Weimar Germany, perpetuates a dangerous political paralysis. The longer the paralysis continues, the longer systems of power are unable to address the suffering and grievances of the masses, the more the formal mechanisms of power are reviled. The liberal establishment’s inability to defy corporate power, to stand up for its supposed liberal beliefs, means its inevitable disappearance, along with the disappearance of traditional liberal values. This, as history has amply pointed out, is the road to despotism. And we are further down that road than many care to admit.
Any mass movement that arises—and I believe one is coming—will be fueled, like the Occupy movement, by radicals who have as deep a revulsion for Democrats as they do for Republicans. The radicals who triumph, however, may not be progressive. Populist movements, from labor unions to an independent press to socialist third parties, have been destroyed in the United States. A protofascist movement that coalesces around a mystical nationalism, that fuses the symbols of the country with those of Christianity, that denigrates reason and elevates mass emotions will have broad appeal. It will offer to followers a leap from the deep pit of despair and frustration to the heights of utopia. It will speak in the language of violence and demonize the vulnerable, from undocumented workers to homosexuals to people of color to liberals to the poor. And this force, financed by the most retrograde elements of corporate capitalism, could usher in a species of corporate fascism in a period of economic or environmental instability.
That last paragraph scares me, but has been predicted by others for quite some time now. I would like to see our Party change, and such violence avoided. The Tea Baggers and militias are not to be taken lightly....
What can we do? What WILL we do ?
All the best, to all of us!