Posts tagged US
Posts tagged US
Kerry says efforts focused on “all we can to support opposition” amid reports of sectarian killings by Sunni rebels.
I’m really not sure what to think about this — our track record in getting involved with conflicts in the Middle East is less than stellar.
From ABC News:
In his last official act of business in 2011, President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act from his vacation rental in Kailua, Hawaii. In a statement, the president said he did so with reservations about key provisions in the law — including a controversial component that would allow the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States, without charge. Recently two retired four-star Marine generals called on the president to veto the bill in a New York Times op-ed, deeming it “misguided and unnecessary.”
"Due process would be a thing of the past," wrote Gens Charles C. Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar. "Current law empowers the military to detain people caught on the battlefield, but this provision would expand the battlefield to include the United States – and hand Osama bin Laden an unearned victory long after his well-earned demise."
The president defended his action, writing that he signed the act, “chiefly because it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, crucial services for service members and their families, and vital national security programs that must be renewed.”
I don’t care what he says - the bill allows for indefinite detention. If he saw no problem with it, he would not have signed it on a Saturday, on the last day of the year. This is a horrific bill. The U.S. has been detaining foreign citizens for years without trial. We’re moving towards American citizens. When are we going to wake up and realize the human and civil rights abuses our country is committing and has the potential to commit under this bill.
Obama may not think it will happen under his administration and says as much. How are we to believe he has the backbone to stop it?
From The Maddow Blog:
This sign - and commentary - is hanging outside a food pantry in Manhattan’s East Village. Maybe it’s time we did something about the economy.
Food banks all over the country are seeing record demand and having difficulty keeping the shelves stocked. I don’t know about you, but I’m taking a few cans to my local food banks this week. And there’s this:
The number of Americans receiving food stamps reached a record 45.345 million in July, the government said. The number was 0.4 percent higher than the previous month and 8.4 percent more than a year earlier.
Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program had set records every month since December 2008. Texas had the most food-stamp recipients in July, 4.051 million.
A record 1 in 5 people in the US receive federal assistance to feed themselves once WIC is factored in. The average monthly allotment per household is $283.68. Of course, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) thinks the program is out of control. Here’s what he said in an interview with ABC News:
"Well, look, do you think there are four times as many people that need food stamps today as they did in 2001? This year, they are proposing another 14 percent increase in food stamps without any real reform to understand how it is that it surged so dramatically. We cannot do this. We don’t have the money. If Congress doesn’t understand that we can’t continue to double the food stamp program every three years, they don’t understand how deeply we are impacted by the debt. The debt is already pulling down economic growth, costing jobs. We need people working with jobs, not receiving food stamps."
The past year was an excellent one for Sen. Sessions. His net worth increased 124% in 2010 - raising him from millionaire to multimillionaire - which is likely why he said it was "rather pathetic" to expect multimillionaires to shoulder a little more of the burden. Meanwhile, in his state of Alabama, 36% of people receive food stamps and the unemployment rate is 9.8%.
Yes, we need to have people with jobs - though Sessions voted against the jobs bill - and I have a hint as to the why this “surge” occurred: We have a government, specifically Congress, that cares more for dick waving contests and petty infighting than giving a damn that the food stamp usage rate has dramatically risen. American families are going hungry while Congress collectively twiddles their thumbs or butts heads over to what degree the richest 1% deserve to be subsidized.
American exceptionalism? How about being the most unequal industrialized country? How’s that for number one? This is unsustainable and unconscionable. Period.
Warning about the link above: There’s a graphic photo of a man attacked by Lord’s Resistance Army displayed within the article.
First, what Limbaugh said:
"Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them. That’s what the lingo means, "to help regional forces remove from the battlefield," meaning capture or kill. […] Lord’s Resistance Army objectives. I have them here. "To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people." … The objectives of the Lord’s Resistance Army, what they’re trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following: To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty, and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the LRA ideology."
Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting, or who are being fought and we are joining in the effort to remove them from the battlefield.
As ThinkProgress writer Matthew Yglesias says (and I agree):
"I think reasonable people can disagree as to whether or not chasing a relatively small band of depraved mass murderers around central africa is a reasonable thing for American military personnel to be doing. But let’s make no mistake—these are depraved mass murderers. And yet Rush Limbaugh is pleased to welcome them as fellow Christian allies."
The LRA is on the terrorist exclusion list drawn up by the United States. The TEL means known associates of the group are banned from the U.S., plus U.S. citizens and aliens within the U.S. alike are banned from providing any kind of support to that group. The LRA has committed several terrorist acts, including kidnapping children to be sex slaves and child soldiers (after murdering their parents); using clubs to attack a bus full of people, causing 22 fatalities; engaging in systematic rape as a weapon of war; bombing nightclubs; and murdering World Food Group volunteers.
At this point, I have to wonder: Is Limbaugh just testing his audience to see if they’re actually paying attention? I can picture someone taking up a collection plate at church for this “Christian” group, Googling to found out where to send the funds, and being absolutely horrified. Better yet, someone calls into Limbaugh’s show to ask where to send the cash. Either way, sending them cash could be a crime.
I think what the LRA is doing is horrible and I can’t picture the person who would endorse them. Oh, wait:
Nicholas Kristof, “America’s Primal Scream”
Kristof hits the mark in this column. In light of the mass arrests across the nation, let’s remember how this has grown since its beginning on September 17th. The Occupy movement has gone global in about a month.
September 17th was the beginning. October 15th is not an ending. It marks the commencement of occupying everywhere.
(Source: The New York Times)
YEAH! Go home, hippies! Never mind the people at Occupy Wall Street and occupy protests across the nation come from all walks of life, all political parties, all races, genders, etc…
I’m going to Occupy Casper this weekend, and I’m wicked excited.
Up until this announcement, the Occupy Wall Street movement has been unwieldy and somewhat lacking in a coherent voice, but that’s all about the change. New York City labor unions have decided to descend upon the streets of Lower Manhattan on Friday.
The leadership of the Transit Workers Union Local 100—comprised of subway and bus workers—voted unanimously to support the protestors. With a membership of 38,000, 5 Oct. will easily be the largest day yet in the protest. On 12 Oct., SEIU 32BJ, representing doormen, security guards, and maintenance workers around the city, is also staging a rally in support of the cause.
It’s unclear for now whether the transit system will be completely shut down while the 38,000 workers are participating in the protest. If it is, the Occupy Wall Street movement will definitely make its mark in history. And either way, it now has a substantial footing to make a real statement about American economy policy.
Jackie DiSalvo, an #OccupyWallStreet organizer, summarized the movement’s policy as such: "Occupy Wall Street will not negotiate watering down its own message."
You have no idea how excited I am to see this.
Update: Conflicting reports online have this set for Wednesday or next Friday. Tell you what - join Occupy Wall Street in NYC or a nearby city both days!
God has apparently had it with us, but for much different reasons than Pat Robertson preaches. This was written by one of those progressive, social-justice oriented reverends Glenn Beck said we should fear.
There are serious fears for the U.S economy today after it was revealed that there was not enough money to pay for paper to print more money for the economy.
"We’re asking congress to raise the debt ceiling so we can buy ink and paper to print more dollars so we can then pay for the ink and paper we just printed," Dan Fenster, a U.S. Federal Reserve worker told the Washington Times.
Emailed to me by a conservative with the subject line: “TOLD YOU SO!” I haven’t got the heart to tell him the truth after counting the 102 email addresses he sent this to yesterday.
Conservative German Die Welt: “[T]here are few signs of self-doubt or self-awareness in the U.S. … [The Tea Party movement] sees the other side as their enemy. Negotiations with the Democrats, whether it’s about appointing a judge or the insolvency of the United States, are only successful if the enemy is defeated. Compromise, they feel, is a sign of weakness and cowardice.”
The German mass-circulation Bild: “What America is currently exhibiting is the worst kind of absurd theatrics and the whole world is being held hostage… Most importantly, the Republicans have turned a dispute over a technicality into a religious war, which no longer has any relation to a reasonable dispute between the elected government and the opposition.”
French newspaper Le Monde: ”The American politicians supposed to lead the most powerful nation in the world are becoming a laughing stock.”
Chinese state-owned newspaper Xinhua: “Given the United States’ status as the world’s largest economy and the issuer of the dominant international reserve currency, such political brinksmanship in Washington is dangerously irresponsible.”
(Source: socialuprooting, via )
Oh sweet baby jeebus, SMBC nails it.
What if we try to ignore raising the debt ceiling? Well, those proposing this are arguing that we simply prioritize spending. If we enact this plan, the first thing covered would be servicing our debt’s interest, plus paying bondholders. Then we pay Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and military payroll. This will halt most federal spending.
Many economists have pointed out this would have drastic consequences, and the US Treasury said in a statement that this would be seen as a default anyhow.
But let’s go to Tea Party fantasy land, where it’s not. Megan McArdle, senior editor at The Atlantic, takes a look at what this will mean for the country:
Let’s say that we refuse to raise the ceiling. Does the prioritization mean that we don’t need to cut politically untouchable programs? No. Let’s think through what would happen if we tried to use this plan:
- You just cut the IRS and all the accountants at Treasury, which means that the actual revenue you have to spend is $0.
- The nation’s nuclear arsenal is no longer being watched or maintained
- The doors of federal prisons have been thrown open, because none of the guards will work without being paid, and the vendors will not deliver food, medical supplies, electricity, etc.
- The border control stations are entirely unmanned, so anyone who can buy a plane ticket, or stroll across the Mexican border, is entering the country. All the illegal immigrants currently in detention are released, since we don’t have the money to put them on a plane, and we cannot actually simply leave them in a cell without electricity, sanitation, or food to see what happens.
- All of our troops stationed abroad quickly run out of electricity or fuel. Many of them are sitting in a desert with billions worth of equipment, and no way to get themselves or their equipment back to the US.
- Our embassies are no longer operating, which will make things difficult for foreign travelers
- No federal emergency assistance, or help fighting things like wildfires or floods. Sorry, tornado people! Sorry, wildfire victims! Try to live in the northeast next time!
- Housing projects shut down, and Section 8 vouchers are not paid. Families hit the streets.
- The money your local school district was expecting at the October 1 commencement of the 2012 fiscal year does not materialize, making it unclear who’s going to be teaching your kids without a special property tax assessment.
- The market for guaranteed student loans plunges into chaos. Hope your kid wasn’t going to college this year!
- The mortgage market evaporates. Hope you didn’t need to buy or sell a house!
- The FDIC and the PBGC suddenly don’t have a government backstop for their funds, which has all sorts of interesting implications for your bank account.
- The TSA shuts down. Yay! But don’t worry about terrorist attacks, you TSA-lovers, because air traffic control shut down too. Hope you don’t have a vacation planned in August, much less any work travel.
- Unemployment money is no longer going to the states, which means that pretty soon, it won’t be going to the unemployed people.
These are just the very immediate, very theatrical outcomes. Obviously, over any longer term, you’d have issues from bankrupt vendors stopping work funded with federal highway money, forgone maintenance on things like levees and government buildings, and so forth. Averting any of these things would require at least small cuts in Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid spending, or military payrolls.
Even though these seem theatrical, it could happen. This is the kind of fire the Tea Party is playing with - do we really want to test these possibilities?
Right?! At least one reason…
Johnathan Alter, writing for Bloomberg, rips apart House Speaker John Boehner’s speech last night. A sample:
Speeches by politicians are usually full of spin, biased use of facts and appeals to emotion. President Barack Obama’s address to the nation last night on the debt ceiling was no exception. House Speaker John Boehner’s response was in a different league. It was chock full of statements that simply aren’t true.
Let’s go to the videotape.
Boehner: “Here’s what we got for that spending binge: a massive health-care bill that most Americans never asked for. A ‘stimulus’ bill that was more effective in producing material for late-night comedians than it was in producing jobs. And a national debt that has gotten so out of hand it has sparked a crisis without precedent in my lifetime or yours.”
Facts are stubborn things. Whatever one thinks of it, the Obama health-care law wasn’t part of the “spending binge.” The law has yet to significantly contribute to the budget deficit because most of it hasn’t been phased in yet.
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus bill created millions of new jobs, which as a factual matter is at least as “effective” as a David Letterman monologue. And anyone with the most rudimentary knowledge of the 2008-09 economic meltdown knows that it was “sparked” by a crisis in private debt, not “the national debt.” The latter wasn’t a big problem when, say, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. went bust.
Emphasis is mine. The health care bill is being targeted simply because they don’t like it. The national debt sparking crisis is one of the GOP’s own creation, as Alter rightly observes:
Boehner: “You see, there is no stalemate in Congress.”
We do see, and our eyes tell us the plain truth: There is in fact a stalemate in Congress.
Boehner: “If the president signs it,” meaning the House bill, “the crisis atmosphere he created will simply disappear.”
Boehner is right that if Obama fully capitulated and signed the House bill, the crisis would end. But it’s simply untrue to suggest that the president “created” the “crisis atmosphere.” Saying so is Orwellian.
Conservatives can legitimately argue that they were right to turn the debt ceiling into a crisis to achieve their ends. But it’s unfair to blame someone else for creating something you created yourself - and, make no mistake, the Republican Party has turned what should be a standard procedural increase to the debt ceiling into a potential calamity.
Your move, Mr. Speaker.
I took a screen shot of this because I want to show I did not edit this submission in the least.
I wish I could be certain this is the only person out there who holds such abhorrent beliefs, but I’m not that naive.
I just really don’t know what to say to this. Its logical leaps and paranoia are astounding. It’s like every fear of the far right in America was put into a blender, whipped to a frothy frenzy, and poured out into my submission box.