Saturday, December 04, 2010

Schneier on the Monument to Fear

Bruce Schneier is a security expert who has consistently argued that we need is security and not security theater. Here he blogs about recently publicized efforts to "secure" the Washington Monument. I think he has come across the exactly perfect solution to the problem: don't secure it at all, just leave it as a monument to irrational fear.
Securing the Washington Monument from terrorism has turned out to be a surprisingly difficult job. The concrete fence around the building protects it from attacking vehicles, but there's no visually appealing way to house the airport-level security mechanisms the National Park Service has decided are a must for visitors. It is considering several options, but I think we should close the monument entirely. Let it stand, empty and inaccessible, as a monument to our fears.

An empty Washington Monument would serve as a constant reminder to those on Capitol Hill that they are afraid of the terrorists and what they could do. They're afraid that by speaking honestly about the impossibility of attaining absolute security or the inevitability of terrorism -- or that some American ideals are worth maintaining even in the face of adversity -- they will be branded as "soft on terror." And they're afraid that Americans would vote them out of office if another attack occurred. Perhaps they're right, but what has happened to leaders who aren't afraid? What has happened to "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"?

An empty Washington Monument would symbolize our lawmakers' inability to take that kind of stand -- and their inability to truly lead.

Some of them call terrorism an "existential threat" against our nation. It's not. Even the events of 9/11, as horrific as they were, didn't make an existential dent in our nation. Automobile-related fatalities -- at 42,000 per year, more deaths each month, on average, than 9/11 -- aren't, either. It's our reaction to terrorism that threatens our nation, not terrorism itself. The empty monument would symbolize the empty rhetoric of those leaders who preach fear and then use that fear for their own political ends. Close the Washington Monument

Read the rest, the guy is on target this time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama doesn't have time to worry about security and he doesn't have time to worry about the economy

he has more important things to do

he's only one person and there are only so many hours in a day:

"AP WASHINGTON (Dec. 3) -- President Barack Obama has granted the first pardons of his presidency.

No one well-known was on the list, and the crimes date back decades.

The White House declined to give details on the cases or comment on why these particular people were selected by a president who previously had only concentrated his efforts on pardoning Thanksgiving turkeys. Considerable research was required to ascertain the facts behind each case.

Presidential pardons often come in the holiday season toward year's-end, but Obama was too busy working on his children's book last year.

"The president was moved by the strength of the applicants' post-conviction efforts at atonement, as well as their superior citizenship and individual achievements in the years since their convictions," said White House spokesman Reid Cherlin. The White House announced the pardons Friday as Obama was in the air on the way home from a failed surprise visit to Afghanistan.

Obama has received 551 pardon petitions in the course of his presidency, so he has a lot more work to do.

The people pardoned were:

-Russell James Dixon, of Clayton, Ga., sentenced to two years of probation in 1960 for a liquor law violation.

-Laurens Dorsey, of Syracuse, N.Y., sentenced in 1998 to five years of probation and $71,000 in restitution for conspiracy to make false statements to the Food and Drug Administration.

-Ronald Lee Foster, of Beaver Falls, Pa., sentenced in 1963 to a year of probation and a $20 fine for mutilating coins.

-Edgar Leopold Kranz Jr., of Minot, N.D., who received 24 months of confinement and a pay reduction for adultery and bouncing checks.

Associated Press writer Darlene Superville and Velvet Elvis of the blogosphere contributed to this report."

December 04, 2010 12:00 PM  
Blogger Hazumu Osaragi said...

I was on active duty on 11 Sep 01. As I watched the second 747 slam into the second tower on TV, creating a huge, spectacular hollywood-style fuel-spray fireball (knowing from training in both aviation mechanic technology and combat engineering demolitions that the weight of the fuel contributed far more to the initial structural damage, and the heat of the lingering fire would only make a difference some time later,) I knew that this minor incident was about to cause an auto-inmmune response in American society that would change America forever and might very well destroy it within a matter of a couple of decades.

So far, I think we're right on track for that snuffing out of American ideals in order to protect and defend "American Ideals", sacrificing freedom and liberty in order to save "Freedom" and "Liberty" (whatever those words have now come to mean...)

December 04, 2010 3:15 PM  
Anonymous velvet elvis said...

"Two Senate bills that would have extended the Bush-era tax cuts for all but the wealthiest earners failed to reach the Senate floor in a rare Saturday morning session, a vote that underscores concerns about the weak economy.

The first measure, which was proposed by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and would have extended the Bush-era tax cuts for income of $250,000 or less for families and $200,000 for individuals, failed by a 53 to 36 vote. Four Democrats -- Sens. Russ Feingold (Wis.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Jim Webb (Va.) -- as well as Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) joined Republicans in opposing the bill.

The second measure, which was sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and would have extended the cuts for income under $1 million for families, failed by a 53 to 37 vote. Feingold and Lieberman opposed the measure, as did Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin (Ill.), Tom Harkin (Iowa) and Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.)."

"WASHINGTON — The commandant of the Marine Corps and the chiefs of staff of the Army and Air Force sternly warned a Senate panel on Friday that now was not the time to allow gay men and women to serve openly in the armed forces.

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the chief of staff of the Army, expressed serious concern about repeal. He told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he could not recommend repeal because it would add stress and complications for combat units.

General Casey's views carry weight because he commands the largest of the services.

Gen. James F. Amos, the commandant of the Marine Corps, remained opposed to repeal among the service chiefs, and he took a hard line. “If the law is changed, successfully implementing repeal and assimilating openly homosexual Marines into the tightly woven fabric of our combat units has strong potential for disruption at the small unit level,” he told the panel.

Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, the chief of staff of the Air Force, recommended not carrying out any repeal because of the strain the military is bearing now. “I do not agree with the study assessment that the short-term risk to military effectiveness is low,” he said. He added that his forces in Afghanistan were carrying a heavy load.

The hearing was relatively serene compared with one on Thursday, when Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who has been the leading opponent to repeal on Capitol Hill, tensely squared off with Mr. Gates and Admiral Mullen. Mr. McCain held back, although he made it clear that he remained adamantly opposed and that he considered the debate over gay and bisexual people serving openly in the military as little more than a sideshow.

“Our economy is in the tank and the American people want that issue addressed,” Mr. McCain told the service chiefs. “And the military is functioning in the most efficient, most professional, most courageous fashion.” He concluded that it was wrong “to somehow believe that this is some kind of compelling issue.”"

December 04, 2010 9:07 PM  
Anonymous velvet elvis said...

I knew this was coming

now that everyone has let the gay advocates get away with saying homosexuality is genetic, soon every aspect of sexual immorality will now be deemed in the "devil made me do it" category:

"A new study out of Binghamton University State University of New York suggests that people who cheat may have a gene variant that's driving them to do so.

All of us carry a gene known as DRD4, but some of us have a variant that leads to risky behavior, including sexual promiscuity. "DRD4 codes for the way dopamine functions in the brain," lead study author Justin Garcia with SUNY's laboratory of evolutionary anthropology and health told AOL Health. "We've done a number of studies on the DRD4 gene, and it's a associated with a lot of thrill seeking behavior. The longer the gene is, the more likely a person is to engage in sensation-seeking activities." The new study is published in the latest edition of PLoS ONE.

After studying 181 young adults and samples of their DNA, Garcia's research team found that variants in the DRD4 gene seemed to influence sexual behavior. Those with the aforementioned gene variant were more likely to engage in sexually promiscuous behavior and to commit infidelity, even when they claimed genuine attachment to a long-term partner."

another new unpleasant effect of the gay agenda on our society

it won't be the last

December 04, 2010 10:58 PM  
Anonymous velvet elvis said...

today's Washington Post says GW University is changing its policy and allowing all undergrads to room with members of the opposite sex

the Post says the change is being pushed by the "rising clout of gay students"

another new unpleasant effect of the gay agenda on our society

it won't be the last

December 04, 2010 11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where in this fictitious "gay agenda" does it talk about gays pushing for "allowing all undergrads to room with members of the opposite sex"

Perhaps if you had just said: another new unpleasant effect on our society you might have made some sense instead of once again exposing your typical stupidity.

December 04, 2010 11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Post says the gay advocacy groups want to have gay guys free to bunk with women in order to avoid the awkward situation of having undergrads sleeping in the same room with a potential sexual partner

it's on the front page of the Saturday Post if you want the details

actually, I have often explained that the agenda is a plan to normalize homosexuality in the public mind

one aspect of it is an attempt to erase the significance of all gender distinctions

December 04, 2010 11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they decide to leave the non-secured Washington Monument standing as a monument to our nation's fears, they ought to emblazon it with our nation's fearleader's logo: "Fox News: fear and blanched."

December 05, 2010 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fox News as "fearleader"?

the don't try to get everyone panicked about global warming or any of the other stuff liberals are constantly hyperbolizing about

remember we have a President who got elected by encouraging fear of another Great Depression

this was an example of Dems using fear as a tactic to win an election

how about the fear that if we teach the truth about intelligent design in schools that the church will take over the governement?

but really isn't this whole post based on the fear the our freedom and rights are disappearing?

how about this?:

"I knew that this minor incident was about to cause an auto-inmmune response in American society that would change America forever and might very well destroy it within a matter of a couple of decades.

So far, I think we're right on track for that snuffing out of American ideals in order to protect and defend "American Ideals", sacrificing freedom and liberty in order to save "Freedom" and "Liberty" (whatever those words have now come to mean...)"

I actually agree with Jim that some of this airport stuff is over-the-top but it's hard to take serious the idea that it will "destroy" America within decades.

But liberals would like you to fear that it is so.

Personally, I feel pretty darn free.

December 05, 2010 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like the socialists have lost. Word tonight is that an extension of Bush tax cuts for the rich will pass this week.

Hooray for Amazon. The online giant announced that it was booting WikiLeaks off its servers. Not that it seems to matter much; WikiLeaks’ site is still going strong. Still, at least somebody is doing something to retaliate against the dumping of U.S. state secrets.

The Obama administration appears inert. Though pledging to forestall any future releases after the devastating leaks of military records last month, President Obama has responded to the recent publishing of hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables by…..what exactly?

Apparently, people can divulge classified information from our government with impuniy.

Americans are understandably angry. Not only are the leaks seriously compromising our military and diplomatic missions, they are embarrassing. They show the U.S. to be powerless; we feel humiliated.

The American people are proud of our country and our accomplishments. We don’t do humiliated well.

The last president to learn that lesson was Jimmy Carter.

December 05, 2010 6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carter was that rare bird -- a one-term president – mainly because he made the United States look weak.

He cozied up to North Korea, sending hundred of millions of dollars in aid to the outlier nation, which nonetheless continued to pursue its nuclear ambitions.

He was mocked by Russia, despite memorably exchanging a kiss with Leonid Breshnev to celebrate the signing of the Salt II treaty. The Russians celebrated on their own by invading Afghanistan six months later.

Where his “love your enemies” program really came unglued, of course, was in Iran. After lecturing the Shah – a long-time ally of the U.S. – on human rights and pressing him to release thousands of dangerous dissidents, he allowed the takeover of Iran by Islamic extremists, who promptly took our embassy staff hostage. In one of the most humiliating chapters in our history, Carter’s administration was unable to secure the release of the hostages. A bungled rescue attempt was the last straw. Americans veritably raced to the polls to elect Ronald Reagan president.

Is any of this sounding familiar?

It should.

Like Carter, President Obama arrived in Washington naively convinced that he could woo the despots of the world by dint of his winning personality. In North Korea, in Iran, we continue to pander to tyrants who delight in embarrassing us.

December 05, 2010 6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good news!

Barry caved

rich people's taxes aren't going up'

I'm starting to like this guy!:

"With the Dec. 31 deadline looming for the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, President Barack Obama has confirmed that White House and congressional negotiators have agreed to a deal that would extend the current tax rates for all households.

In remarks Monday night, Obama called the bipartisan agreement "the right thing to do" and detailed the framework of the deal, which would extend for two years the Bush tax cuts for all earners -- both those making above and below $250,000 annually, while also continuing current tax rates on dividends and capital gains, also for two years. Obama also said that negotiators had agreed to a 2-percent cut in the payroll tax.

The president stressed his displeasure with several aspects of the agreement, especially the extended tax cuts for the highest earners. But he said that he did not want to risk an impasse with Republicans in Congress.

"It would be a grave injustice to let taxes go up for these people," Obama said of middle-class workers.

Even as Obama spoke, senior Democratic aides stressed that members of the Democratic caucus would reject the proposal. A compromise on extending the tax cuts for the highest earners would represent a painful concession for the most liberal Democrats, who fought the tax cuts when they passed Congress in 2001 and 2003 and have fought to end them ever since.

Even President Obama made a rollback of the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans a cornerstone of his campaign for president in 2007 and 2008.

Although many Democrats are loath to join Obama in a compromise on the issue, they may have little choice. Senate Democrats failed on Saturday to find enough votes to move to a debate on the measure.

In a rare weekend session, senators voted 36-53 against moving to the House-passed bill to extend taxes for everyone but the rich, seven votes short of the 60 votes needed to break the filibuster. Four Democrats -- Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jim Webb of Virginia, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin -- voted with the Republicans to block action on the bill, as did Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut.

Later, by a 37-53 vote, the Senate also stopped consideration of "the millionaires' tax," a bill that would have extended the Bush tax cuts for every American family making less than $1 million per year, while returning income taxes for everyone else to 2001 levels. Democratic Sens. Richard Durbin of Illinois, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Feingold, along with Lieberman, voted with the Republicans."

right now, the Dems still have majorities in both Houses

think how it will be after New Year!


December 06, 2010 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Defense Secretary Robert Gates is predicting the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the armed forces will be around for a while longer.

He addressed the matter in remarks to sailors Monday aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea. Gates said that he was "not particularly optimistic" that Congress would overturn the policy soon.

Senate Democrats want to vote this month to overturn the 1993 law, which bans gays from serving openly. But Republicans have blocked the proposal.

Gates said he is concerned that Congress will drag its feet too long."

oh well

maybe next the Dems have a filibuster-proof majority

maybe the twelfth of never!

December 06, 2010 9:55 PM  
Anonymous whoopie cushion said...

"WASHINGTON (Dec. 6) -- The people who elected Barack Obama president in 2008 are not amused as 2010 comes to a close.

Even before the White House announced a framework for a deal to extend the Bush tax cuts to all millionaires -- and offer more protection to large estates, liberal Democrats fumed over what they see as a sell-out:

•The Progressive Change Campaign Committee came up with an ad urging Obama to "keep your promise" and not to cave to Republicans by extending tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.

•The liberal group put out a video featuring Obama supporters pleading for the return of "that bold, progressive man we elected president in 2008." It implored him to "stay strong" and oppose "millionaire bailouts."

•Liberal economist Paul Krugman wrote in a column titled "Let's Not Make a Deal" that the president should not give in to Republican "blackmail" -- even if that means everyone's taxes go up next month. "Mr. Obama should draw a line in the sand, right here, right now," he wrote.

•New York Times columnist Frank Rich wrote that those "desperate to decipher the baffling Obama presidency" look to the symptoms of those with "Stockholm syndrome" to help explain why he is trying to "placate his Republican captors in Washington."

Members of the president's party in Congress have been more polite, though just barely.

Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said not even the tea party "said 'give tax breaks to millionaires.' "

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was also among the Democrats none too pleased with the compromise being hammered out before the Bush-era tax cuts expire Dec. 31.

Top Democrats left the White House this evening without commenting on the deal that Republicans are already lauding (and laughing about) as a sensible compromise.

Hours earlier, during a speech in North Carolina, Obama made his case for compromise.

"Republicans want to make permanent the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. I have argued that we can't afford it right now. But what I've also said is we've got to find consensus here," he said. "We've got to make sure we're coming up with a solution, even if it's not 100 percent what I want."

But critics within Obama's own party have tired of what strategist James Carville so colorfully referred to as his seeming inability to man up against Republicans who, after all, spent the first two years of his presidency firmly in the minority.

"The American people are on the Democrats' side. They ought to drive a very hard bargain," said Democratic strategist Paul Begala, noting a recent CNN poll in which 64 percent support letting tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 expire.

"Those should be big concessions from Republicans," Begala said. "if the Democrats are asked to give the GOP their all-time top priority, they ought to get a lot more in return than what's being talked about."

Ryan McConaghy of the centrist Democratic group Third Way suggested his party suffers from a lack of vision and focus about what it wants to do.

"From the start, Republicans have had one position: permanently extend the Bush tax plan," he said. "Democrats have had five or six, which has given the Republicans a negotiating advantage."

It also has to be viewed within the realm of reality, University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato said. "Losing has consequences," he said. "Maybe Obama could drive a harder bargain right now, and get something extra added into the mix. Realistically, he's got a weak hand. Come January, he's going to have an even weaker hand."

December 06, 2010 11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here's a scoop:

in a couple of weeks, Time magazine will name Sarah Palin as Man of the Year for 2010

it seems she did more than anybody to advance the Tea Party movement whose success in the midterm elections was the major news story of the year

just want to give you a head's up

I'm sure Bea will be apoplectic so this will give her a chance to ease into reality without affecting her health too much

December 07, 2010 8:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

President Obama announced a "framework" compromise Monday night for an across-the-board extension of tax cuts for all Americans, including really rich people.

Republicans crowed over their victory at the negotiating table, while some Democrats considered opposing the deal.

"I appreciate the determined efforts ... on a bipartisan plan," snickered Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

"I am optimistic that Democrats in Congress will show the same openness the administration has already shown," he added.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a socialist who votes with the Democrats, vowed to filibuster the deal.

"I think it is an absolute disaster and an insult to the vast majority of the American people to be talking about giving huge tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country and increasing the growing gap between the very rich and everybody else," Sanders told MSNBC.

Angry progressives slammed Obama over his lack of negotiating skills.

"Middle-class Americans need someone to fight for them. They see this deal as punting on third down - it seems the President is not seeing the value of being on offense," said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn, Queens). "Deals come after we fight for ideals - let's do that first."

"I'm not at all happy with this." Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio told CNN. On whether Obama "caved" to Republicans, Brown said, "I think he could have gotten a better agreement."

One Democratic congressional source told CNN, "We won't rubber stamp a deal between the White House and Mitch McConnell. We want to make it clear. Don't take our support for granted."

Because Monday night's plan extends the current tax rates for everyone, including really rich people, most Republican leaders expressed support.

Right wing commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck remained surprisingly quiet about the deal Monday, presuming, seemingly, that Monday night was one night not to give Obama a bashing.

December 07, 2010 8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

President Obama may have struck a compromise with Republicans on Monday, but he now has another group to worry about -- liberal Democrats who are livid over the deal that they say betrays their most cherished values.

"How can we rationalize tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans when were facing this kind of a deficit?" Sen. Richard Durbin said. "There is a group of us that may walk. Let's say at some point, 'You've gone too far.' "

The agreement that Obama announced Monday night would extend tax cuts for all earners, including the very wealthy, while also continuing current tax rates on dividends and capital gains.

Of all of the details in the package, the most galling to liberals seemed to be the compromise to extend the tax cuts for the highest earners, which many Democrats fought when the cuts passed Congress in 2001 and 2003 and have railed against ever since.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, one of the most liberal members of the Senate, threatened to filibuster the agreement in the upper chamber, calling it bad politics and bad policy.

"I think for a Democratic president, a Democratic House, and a Democratic Senate to be following the Bush economic philosophy of tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires is absolutely wrong public policy and absolutely wrong politically," Sanders ranted. "I've got to tell you, I will do whatever I can to see that 60 votes are not acquired to pass this piece of legislation."

On the House side, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) said that he, too, would do whatever he could to stop the compromise from passing in the lame duck session of Congress.

"This is a fight for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party and the nation," Conyers said after the president made his announcement. "I can tell you with certainty that legislative blackmail of this kind by the Republicans will be vehemently opposed by many if not most Democrats."

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) circulated a letter urging House Democrats to oppose the deal, calling it "fiscally irresponsible" and "grossly unfair."

"We support extending tax cuts in full to 98 percent of American taxpayers, as the President initially proposed," Welch wrote. "He should not back down. Nor should we."

The White House will begin the hard work of selling the deal to those disheartened Democrats Tuesday, when Vice President Biden heads to Capitol Hill to convince his former colleagues that the president won the best compromise possible.

The convincing won't be easy, but as one senior White House official said in a call with reporters Monday night, "No one is going to be happy with this, but that's what compromise is."

Yeah, no one is going to be happy about this.

Let's party!

December 07, 2010 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON -- President Obama made the first decision of his 2012 re-election bid yesterday, but may have done himself irreparable political harm.

His decision to swallow the Bush tax cuts for people earning more than $250,000 a year was a giant leap toward the middle.

After the years of bashing former President Bush's economic policies -- and specifically the tax cuts for the upper income brackets -- yesterday's decision could not have been easy for Obama.

His decision also was a wise acknowledgement that he and fellow Democrats had to cede political ground after last month's "shellacking" in the polls.

The final sausage looks a whole lot more Republican than Democratic.

Perversely, the bad parts of the bill -- in Republicans' view -- might help them down the road.

The reduction in payroll taxes will give everyone a little spare change in their pockets and remind them why they love tax cuts so much. Anti-tax fervor always helps Republicans.

But, most importantly, last night's deal is at least a tacit admission by Democrats that the centerpiece of Bush's economic policies that were embraced by Republicans in Congress were not nearly as destructive as they have always claimed.

At first glance, last night's compromise decision puts Obama on firmer ground for his re-election bid two years from now because it moves him toward the middle.

But in truth, he may have sealed his fate as a one-term president.

In recent days as the White House and Democrats signaled that the compromise to extend the Bush tax cuts was in the offing, the liberal coalition that carried Obama into the White House began falling apart.

The left is apoplectic that their savior would turn around on them and adopt Bush's most "draconian" tax policies that "only favor the rich."

If they were frustrated before, now they are palpably angry and publicly voicing their disillusionment with Obama.

Without those voters rocking with enthusiasm, Obama could not have won in 2008.

Now, ask yourself this question: How many people do you know who voted for Obama in 2008 but now express regret about the vote or reservations about his leadership?

Probably plenty.

Now ask yourself this: How many people do you know who voted against Obama in 2008 but have since been won over?

Probably not a single one.

All that math adds up to a very lonely number: One, as in One Term.

December 07, 2010 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The reduction in payroll taxes will give everyone a little spare change in their pockets and remind them why they love tax cuts so much. Anti-tax fervor always helps Republicans."

What is this ?
A reduction in SS and Medicare taxes ?
Which taxes are they referring to...

December 07, 2010 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama and Republicans have agreed to reduce the FICA tax from 6.2% to 4.2% for 2011. Only the employee share. Employers will still pay 6.2%.

If you max out, around 106K, your tax will be cut about 2,100.

I'm formulating my stimulus to the economy as we speak.

Meanwhile, global "warming" is back with us this winter:

"(Dec. 7) -- The Deep South is shivering in a deep freeze.

A blast of cold air from Canada pushed into the Southeast on Monday, with temperatures below freezing -- in the 20s in some places -- from Texas to Florida. The arctic cold is parked over the area, with the coldest temperatures expected tonight.

"It's certainly the first substantial freeze across the region," said meteorologist Mark Wool of the National Weather Service. "It's kind of early in the season."

As the cold moved in, growers worked to protect millions of dollars' worth of crops, schools urged parents to bundle up their children and cold-weather shelters opened in Florida and Mississippi, according to reports.

The temperature in typically balmy Fort Lauderdale, Fla., fell to 40 this morning, breaking the 169-year-old record for Dec. 7 of 42, the weather service said."

just think how bad it would be if we humans weren't warming things up so much

December 07, 2010 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Resentments between President Obama and congressional Democrats are nearing the boiling point, as liberals make clear that Obama’s deal with Republicans will come at a cost: open taunting about whether the president is a patsy.

"This is the president's Gettysburg," Rep. Jim McDermott said. Referring to Obama’s compromise on higher taxes for the wealthy, he said: "He's going to have to decide whether he's going to withstand Pickett's Charge ... I worry."

McDermott’s crabbiness — widespread among many of his fellow Democras — reflects a fear that Obama is being bullied by Republicans and will sacrifice large principles in exchange for paltry concessions.

Taxes are an especially sensitive issue for Obama to ask compromise of Democrats. They hated President Bush's tax policy in the first place, and they're furious that Obama might put his signature behind a rate freeze for high-end earners.

Even Democratic leaders are having a hard time swallowing the idea: When House Speaker Pelosi relayed her view of the tax cuts to her fellow leaders on Sunday, it was roundly panned.

The general sentiment, as described by one participant: "What the hell? Could we have a little fight before we surrender?"

Democrat Anthony Weiner compared it to “punting on 3rd down — it seems the president is not seeing the value of being on offense.”

“You can’t let Republicans win on this. There’s no more central campaign promise made by President Obama than to repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, and he needs to be willing to fight on this,” said Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which is threatening to pull their support in 2012 over the tax cut.

Moreover, liberals are convinced that they have the high ground on policy and politics on this issue — if only the president would stop giving away turf every time they seize it. Senate Democratic leaders held a session Saturday in a bid to force Republicans to vote on options that would extend current tax rates on income under under $1 million per couple. A Republican filibuster set up a contrast that makes congressional Democrats very comfortable.

“I think if it’s clear that we are doing what the country wants in saying yes to tax cuts for the middle class and saying no to a tax bonus to millionaires and billionaires,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

Administration officials say there’s no way to get to the repeal of the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military if they don’t first clear the underbrush of expiring tax rates.

Not all progressives are angry with the president. Some simply hope to provide ballast against the force of a unified Republican minority on tax cuts and other issues.

“You can attack the president to the point that you’re going to get a Republican president, so just keep that in mind,” said Rep. Keith Ellison. "The focus needs to be on Republicans. ... I just want to encourage the president to ask all Americans to think about what we could do with $700 billion instead of just giving it to people to buy luxury items.”

Some Senate Democrats say that the president telegraphed a willingness to negotiate on the matter too early.

“When you come to the poker game and you’ve already thrown your cards on the table, and say, ‘let’s negotiate,’ you lose,” said Sen. Mark Begich.

Senate Democrats took particular umbrage at the Obama administration’s signaling of a willingness to make a deal in the immediate aftermath of the midterm election as Sen. Chuck Schumer and other lawmakers were looking to sharpen their political attack by drawing the income line at $1 million and forcing the GOP to side with millionaires and billionaires.

McDermott says Republicans are testing the president to see if there’s “a point beyond which he will not go” in negotiating.

“They’re bullying him. For the country’s sake, he’s got to stand up,” he said. “It’s setting the standard for the next two years.”

December 07, 2010 1:53 PM  
Anonymous O's drinking early in the day said...

A defiant President Obama on Tuesday stood up to Democratic critics who have blasted him for his compromise with Republicans on the Bush tax cuts. "If it's all about core principles," said Obama, "then let's face it, we will never get anything done."

In a hastily called White House press conference, the president added that if he had refused to compromise with Republicans, "We'd be able to feel good about how sanctimonious we are and in the meantime . . . people wouldn't be able pay their bills. That can't be measure of what it is to be a Democrat."

Likening the twinned expiration of the tax cuts and unemployment benefits to a hostage crisis, Obama said, "It's tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers. Unless the hostage gets harmed. In this case, the hostage was the American people -- and I was not willing to see them get harmed."

The president was unapologetic for his deal-making that will likely extend the cuts for both middle- and upper-upper-income. He insisted that he had held fast on his campaign promise to protect middle-class families from a tax increase.

He further highlighted the concessions he had won from the GOP, an extension of stimulus related tax incentives, and a one year payroll tax holiday.

Obama expressed regret that he had been unable to "budge" Republican leaders Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to abandon the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, but reasoned that the issue was the GOP's "holy grail," and something "central to their economic doctrine, so I couldn't keep them happy any other way."

But he remained confident that the GOP would change its position by the time the tax cuts expire at the end of 2012. "Over the next two years," he said. "I think it becomes pretty clear that if in fact they want to pay for $700 billion in tax breaks to the wealthy, that's a lot of money."

Having dispatched with his own defense, President Obama minced no words in telling the media what he thought about them. "The New York Times editorial page does not permeate across all of America." he said, asserting that most Americans would like the terms he had negotiated.

"This country was founded on compromise," said Obama. Recalling the dramatic progress that has resulted from political compromise on civil rights, the president invoked memories of slavery and civil rights, saying, "I couldn't go through the front door at this country's founding," and urged liberals to examine the terms of his agreement using a broader, historical lens.

December 07, 2010 7:23 PM  
Anonymous mockingbird said...

it's starting to look like Bernie Sanders, the Senate's wacky socialist, may play the Ralph Nader role

he's threatening all kinds of parliamentary measures to stop the Obama-Republican scheme to preserve tax breaks for the ultra-rich

Sanders won't win but he should be able to find was to delay things just long enough to prevent the lame duck Dems from passing any of the other stuff on their bucket list

how unpleasant..


remember the showdown when the Republican Congress and Bill Clinton brought the government to a halt and, in the final analysis, the American people thought the last word should go to the President?

this time, the President's on the Republican side


December 08, 2010 5:30 AM  
Anonymous my guess is he won't run again said...

President Obama could be crippling his own reelection effort by making a deal with Republicans to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts, Democratic strategists and liberal groups said Monday.

A two-year extension of tax rates ushered in by President George W. Bush nearly a decade ago, would ensure a resumption of today’s fiery debate in 2012, when Obama is expected to reapply for his job, strategists in both parties said.

It also is angering the left wing of the Democratic Party, which already has a long list of complaints about Obama.

“President Obama has shown a complete refusal to fight Republicans throughout his presidency even when the public is on his side — and millions of his former supporters are now growing disappointed and infuriated by this refusal to fight,” said Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

The PCCC circulated quotes from 2008 Obama campaign staffers who expressed disillusionment with the president for agreeing to extend tax cuts for the wealthy.

“Obama is demobilizing the troops and demoralizing the public right before he seeks reelection,” Green said.

The compromises by the White House have also disappointed liberals in the House and Senate, who have pushed Obama to take a tougher line with the GOP. Some liberals had said it would be better for Obama to allow all of the tax cuts to expire rather than cave to GOP demands and allow tax cuts for the wealthy to be extended.

Democratic strategists are disappointed that the president appears to be fighting the tax debate on terms dictated by Republicans, who have been able to frame a tax increase on any taxpayers as detrimental to a struggling economy. Friday’s unemployment report, showing a surprising jump in the jobless rate — to 9.8 percent — didn’t make matters easier for the White House.

“This is only a tough fight [now] because Americans have lost faith that President Obama is fighting for their economic futures,” said Jamal Simmons, a Democratic strategist and former official with the Clinton administration.

December 08, 2010 5:46 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home