I'm with Digby on this. Anyone who doesn't understand that Obama has been planning to do his Grand Bargain since before his first inauguration just hasn't been paying attention. That's why, if you hear from the Obama campaign, it's important to tell them you won't vote for him unless he pledges not to cut Social Security benefits (because that's what the chained CGI does):
One of the most progressive voices in the caucus, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), said he was heartened to hear Obama tell the AARP last week that he'd be open to raising the cap on income that's taxed for purposes of paying into the Social Security trust fund. Sanders also applauded the president for taking off of the table any reform language that resulted in the "slashing" of benefits (several Social Security advocates, disagreeing with Sanders, said they were worried such language was counterproductive, as it opens the door for cuts that could be deemed minor).
But the Vermont Independent worried that all of this could be posturing for the lame-duck session immediately after the election, when lawmakers are expected to rush to find another "grand bargain" on tax and entitlement reform to stave off the so-called fiscal cliff.
"That's exactly what's going to happen," Sanders said of Social Security being on the proverbial table, "Unless someone of us stops it -- and a number of us are working very hard on this -- that's exactly what will happen. Everything being equal, unless we stop it, what will happen is there will be a quote-unquote grand bargain after the election in which the White House, some Democrats will sit down with Republicans, they will move to a chained CPI."
Chained CPI, or consumer price index, is an alternative measure of calculating inflation that would lessen the cost of living increases for Social Security payments. When the president and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) attempted to craft a deal on the debt ceiling last summer, Obama offered the chained CPI as a concession.
Sanders is one of 29 Senators who have signed a letter to "oppose including Social Security cuts for future or current beneficiaries in any deficit reduction package." In addition Sanders has supported legislation that would enact the proposal that Obama put forward as a candidate for president in 2008, which entails putting in place a payroll tax on income over $250,000, in the process creating a gap between the current cap of $110,100 and that new level.
Obama's openness to the tax proposal at the AARP forum prompted Sanders to call The Huffington Post to try and get the president's commitment to that approach.
"When he says that he's willing to look at changing the cap, that's not good enough," said Sanders. "Four years ago, he told us that, in fact, that was a proper solution, and he was right. I've introduced legislation to do just that ... I think we've got to make sure that we reduce the wiggle room for the president, and he has got to make a very simple statement that, 'If reelected, I will not cut Social Security.'"
By Monday morning, the Obama campaign had moved slightly in the opposite direction, with top adviser David Axelrod refusing to unveil any specifics about what the president had planned for Social Security reform.
Today I met with former president William J. Clinton. My staff had noticed that presidential candidates who appear in the general vicinity of Mr. Clinton while he is explaining things appear to gain considerable support themselves, so we decided to visit with him in order to test the theory. I feel slightly more popular already, but we must wait a few days to be sure.
My schedule then led me to Vandalia, Ohio, as part of our new four-day tour of the state. I believe Vandalia is olde German for banker's town. The Vandals were a proud and industrious people, and were pioneers in the fields of business expansion, hostile takeovers, and profit maximization protocols. I was therefore somewhat surprised at the rather small size of the Ohio version, but I suppose the Obama economy has been quite difficult for these people. (Note: Their chanting skills are sub-par, at best.)
This is to be the start of a four day bus tour. Nominally the tour will include the vice presidential unit as well, but we have arranged it so that he and I travel to separate towns whenever possible: A little of that fellow goes a long way, to use a modern colloquialism. He will not, for example, be traveling on the bus with me. I have made that very, very clear to my advisers. He can ride on top if the need arises, but that is the most I am willing to concede.
This week should be a pleasant one, Mr. Diary, and yet I am feeling sullen. I have still not gotten over my staff's previous betrayal as to the matter of Mr. Bus. This newest bus is satisfactory enough, although I could do without the inclusion of my vice presidential unit's name on the side lettering. It is of adequate height, and the other dimensions seem in proportion. Still, it is not Mr. Bus, the bus that I bonded with while touring a commoner fueling station, those many weeks ago. Knowing that these buses are merely interchangeable entities, like foreign policy advisers or vice presidential units, has sullied that relationship considerably. Still, I will give this bus a chance. A man should be judged by the manner in which he treats his vehicles, as I have repeatedly said.
In other news, we have now been "rebooting" the campaign on a daily basis, sometimes even two or three times in a single day. My staff finally explained to me that the term campaign reboot is meant as a metaphor, meaning to change the direction of the conversation. This makes me feel considerably better?I had thought it meant something else?but as a term representing the more standard business practice of proactive paradigm-shifting, it makes more sense. I have, however, asked them to refrain from using that particular term in the future. Perhaps there is some other term that would be better? Message rightsizing? Topic deportation? I will have to think on it.
The US PTO is finally going to adopt the same principle as the rest of the world and allow (no encourage!) public comment.The post Obama helps fix the US Patent system appeared first on AMERICAblog.
I’m here at the office a bit late, and was Googling around, and stumbled onto Johnny Mathis’s recording of Kol Nidre, which he recorded in 1958, and a glorious reminder of both the emotion behind what’s technically a contract and the complex history of black and Jewish collaborations in music: And as someone who writes [...]
Benedictine and BrandyBrandy is probably the oldest distilled beverage since wine has such an ancient heritage and in this drink it's paired with Benedictine which seems ancient because we associate that with the monkish lifestyle and discipline, but is[...]
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Go figure. A lot of people object to the multi-millionaire paying a lower tax rate than them:
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We knew this was coming, so it didn't raise many heads last week when a federal judge cleared the way for Arizona to begin enforcing its "papers please" provisions in the anti-immigrant law, SB1070, it passed two years ago:
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled Tuesday afternoon that police officers can begin enforcing SB 1070?s provision that mandates officers, while enforcing other laws, to question the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally.
Gov. Jan Brewer has repeatedly said she?s confident SB 1070 will not lead to racial profiling but immigrant rights advocates disagree and are teaching undocumented immigrants how to defend themselves during encounters with police.
?We still see people who think that because they don?t have papers, they don?t have rights, but they do and we?re educating them about those rights,? Dulce Juarez, a member of the civil rights group Respect-Respeto, told VOXXI.
Amy Goodman at Democracy Now, bless her heart, was paying attention, and so on Monday she invited author Jeff Biggers -- whose new book, State Out of the Union, tackles the underlying issues at stake in Arizona -- on to talk about this quiet sea change:
BIGGERS: You know, I think, in effect, Amy, we?re talking about one of the?a new chapter and one of the darkest chapters in civil rights violations that we?re going to be facing in the future, because this goes beyond just looking at immigration policy. This now affects all Americans who are reasonably suspicious. And, of course, I think many think tanks and many investigations have looked at?this is not only going to open up a state of confusion, we?re talking about all levels of local law enforcements who have to make this call as, you know, who is a person who?s reasonably suspicious to be a so-called undocumented alien. I think we?re really looking at potentially some of the worst racial profiling in American history.
This is especially the case, as we've explained previously, for drivers from out of state who do not have Arizona drivers' licenses -- and especially for drivers from states such as Washington that do not require proof of citizenship or residency. That's why the ACLU issued that travel warning about Arizona.
As Biggers explained to Goodman, this fiasco is the kind of thing that always happens when right-wing extremists obtain political power and begin enacting their agendas:
When the former governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano, went off to Washington to become head of Homeland Security in 2009, Jan Brewer, our governor, took power. Jan Brewer was someone who was navigating the politics and really was not part of this anti-immigrant fervor. There was this fringe movement, led by this state senator named Russell Pearce, part of this 10th Amendment movement who believe they?re not citizens of the United States but citizens the sovereign states of the United States, that really believes to the core of states? rights, going all the way back to folks like in the 1950s. And it?s that small fringe that managed to take power and ram through this very anti-immigrant, extremist agenda that went beyond immigration policy. It went to all levels of government, be in healthcare, in guns, in education and, of course, down to the fact of banning Mexican-American studies.
Goodman also played a lesser-aired segment of the secret Mitt Romney videotapes -- a segment in which Romney muses about his own family history in Mexico, and makes a backhanded reflection on how lousy his Latino outreach program is going:
AMY GOODMAN: Mitt Romney, you mentioned. I want to talk about this notorious video of Mitt Romney telling a crowd of wealthy donors in Florida he doesn?t worry about the 47 percent of Americans who are, quote, "dependent" on government and see themselves as, quote, "victims." In comments that have received less attention, Romney is also heard on the original tape joking to his audience that he would have a better chance this election had he been born a Latino.
MITT ROMNEY: My heritage, my dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company, but he was born in Mexico. And had he been born of Mexican parents, I?d have a better shot at winning this. But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. And he lived there for a number of years. And, I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.
AMY GOODMAN: The significance of this secret tape that was made of Mitt Romney speaking to these wealthy donors in Florida, Jeff Biggers?
JEFF BIGGERS: You know, once again, here?s the true Romney coming out, a man who is open?openly, he was the first presidential candidate in the Republican Party to embrace 1070, the attrition through enforcement policy. His informal adviser was Kris Kobach, of course, the secretary of state from Kansas, who actually shaped the bill with Russell Pearce in Arizona. Romney has been lockstep with Arizona every step of the way from the beginning. At the same time, they do realize that in 15 states of the swing states you have the vote hinging on about 3 percent in these same states where you?re going to have an increase of 6 to 8 percent of Latino voters. And so they know the Latino voter is going to be the most important vote in this election, and they want to try to coddle it sometime, but at the same time they have completely rejected and dismissed the Latinos and their needs and their rights.
AMY GOODMAN: And, of course, you have Mitt Romney pushing self-deportation.
JEFF BIGGERS: Right, self-deportation. And the irony, of course, is that Romney likes to invoke his family history. And so, as a historian, let?s look at his family history. In a nutshell, Romney?s family did not simply go to Mexico as polygamists, as Mormons. They fled the country on the lam in a perjury charge. They were complete outlaws. And he has completely misrepresented that in his memoir.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, explain.
JEFF BIGGERS: Well, his great-grandfather?in fact, there were a number of Mormon leaders, like the Udall family and the Flake family, who actually had to go to prison for polygamy charges. But at the same time, there was encroachment in land deals, and the Romney family was being persecuted for perjury over a land deal. They went?he revoked?he gave up his bond. He went on the lam. A community was left in the lurch, according to the historical documents, the diaries of the Udalls. And they actually ran off to Arizona as outlaws. And, of course, a few years later, they come creeping back to America as refugees when the Mexican Revolution?
AMY GOODMAN: When they went to Mexico.
JEFF BIGGERS: Mexico, right. And then, once again, they come creeping back as refugees looking for sanctuary when the Mexican Revolution comes by. There?s all sorts of historical contradictions with Romney?s whole relationship with Arizona.
Zombie-eyed granny starver Paul Ryan is very very angry right now that the Galtian Overlords who oversee our national pasttime are using free market right-to-work labor who are not complying with a strictly mandated regulatory system.[...]
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Around this time in 2004, liberals were panicking. The Democratic nominee for president, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, was lagging behind George W. Bush, who appeared to be on his way to a second term. This was baffling, and not in a Pauline Kael kind of way. It wasn?t so much that liberals couldn?t imagine the person who would vote Bush?at the time, it wasn?t hard to find a Bush voter?but that conditions were terrible, and it was a stretch to believe that America would re-elect a president who brought the country into two messy wars and the most sluggish economy since WWII.
Obviously, these liberals decided, the problem was the polls. A cottage industry of liberal bloggers and pundits arose to explain how ?biased? sampling had skewed the polls. If you weighted Republicans and Democrats correctly, they argued, then John Kerry would be ahead. But that was missing the point. Pollsters don?t weight the partisanship of the electorate in one way or another. They simply survey a large, randomly selected group of people, and report their party identification. If there are more Republicans than Democrats in a collection of samples, it?s because there are more Republicans than Democrats.
Bush won, as you might recall. One lesson that emerged: The party that complains about the polls is one that?s about to have an unhappy election night. Which brings us to today. In a bizarro version of 2004, conservative bloggers and activists are working to show that the polls are obviously skewed against Mitt Romney. After all, how could he possibly lose to a president presiding over the worst economy in a generation? One blogger, Dean Chambers, runs a blog called ?Unskewed Polls,? which weighs all polls to party identification used by Rasmussen. In his version of the presidential race, Mitt Romney is winning easily, 51.8 to 44 percent.
Nobody doubts this is a fun way to hone one's math skills. What it isn?t is a good way to measure public opinion or forecast an election. Here are the facts: Romney hasn?t led in a national poll since the spring, and he has never led in a polling average. Every single national and swing-state poll has Obama with a slight-to-moderate lead, and his approval rating has reached 50 percent. Unless the entire polling community is conspiring to elect Obama (now we're getting to the real truth, are we not, Mr. Limbaugh?), the simplest answer is that Mitt Romney is losing.
Sorry, conservatives. Better polling next time!
?My statement to the United Nations would have been, ?The future does not belong to those who attack our embassies and consulates and kill our ambassadors. The Angel of Death in the form of an American bald eagle will visit you and wreak havoc and destruction upon your existence?.?
?Allen West, Republican congressman from Florida, critiquing Obama?s speech to the U.N.
Why are Obama?s re-election chances looking so much brighter than anyone expected one year ago? A clue lies in the right track/wrong track polls. At this time last year, according toTPM?s polling averages, just 20 percent of Americans said the country was on the right track, and 73 percent said ?wrong.? Now that 53-point differential has narrowed to just nine, with 42 percent saying we?re on the right track and 51 percent saying we?re still going wrong.
Our regular featured content-On This Day In History Septmber 25 by TheMomCatPunting the Pundits by TheMomCatAnd these featured articles-Coming Soon by: ek hornbeckIt's a Puzzle by: ek hornbeckConservatism cannot fail... by: ek hornbeckWrite more and[...]
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