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Archive for April 18th, 2011

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Why you can’t trust conservative deficit warriors: Remembering the George Bush budget of 2001

Crooks and Liars- By John Amato
April 18, 2011 09:00 AM

As we are witnessing, the Beltway media are pushing the theme of that we need to cut, cut, cut, so that our national debt can be lowered. They call this “shared sacrifice” — though it’s clear that they won’t be sharing in the sacrifice. The rest of us will.

This is a common assumption that news pundits are weaving into their narratives every day. The Democrats and President Obama have also embraced this idea and shifted the goal posts to the right of center. Austerity rules, even though it’s proved to be anything but effective. If we look at what’s happening in the UK now, and remember what happened under FDR when the deficit hawks stepped in to curtail the federal government, it’s clear that this nonsensical approach to budget writing just makes economic recovery regress.

To many of us watching the wealthy thrive in this economy while the working class struggles is very frustrating. I’m starting to finally hear some pundits question the wisdom of why Republicans refuse tax increases and instead push for more tax breaks for the rich at this time when they are already wealthy. Bob Schieffer asked Paul Ryan that yesterday on FTN.

There is one thing certain, though: The Bush budgets, and especially the tax cuts that accompanied them, caused catastrophic harm to our country and to the world. Paul Ryan wants to continue the work that Bush, Cheney and Rove started. Well, here’s a flashback to what George Bush  told America in 2001.

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Sen. Mark Warner: ‘Gang Of Six’ Looking At Social Security Changes, Not Raising Tax Rates

Amanda Terkel- HuffPost

First Posted: 04/17/11 01:29 PM ET Updated: 04/17/11 05:38 PM ET

WASHINGTON — The bipartisan “gang of six” may recommend changes to Social Security as part of its deficit-reduction plan, even though some Democrats have insisted such a proposal would be a non-starter.

“You know, part of this is just math — 16 workers for every one retiree 50 years ago, three workers for every retiree now,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), a member of the group, told CBS “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer on Sunday.

Warner credited House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for producing a “serious” budget plan but criticized him for not proposing any way to raise revenues while transferring “more responsibility onto our seniors in terms of paying for health care.”

“What we’re doing is we’re saying everything has to be on the table,” he said. “Entitlement reform, dramatic spending cuts, looking at tax reform.” While Ryan’s plan primarily talks about lowering tax rates, Warner said the gang of six is also looking at raising revenue by eliminating some of the tax expenditures.

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Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY) addressed a crowd of over 2000 construction union leaders and members at the Building and Construction Trades Department 2011 Legislative Conference on April 5th in Washington, DC. Weiner spoke about the need to be on the offensive in policy battles. In the clip above, he added some colorful commentary on Tea Party frontwoman, Michele Bachmann.

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Lobbying Report: Drones Fly Through Congress to Enter US Skies

Saturday 16 April 2011
by: Nick Mottern, Truthout

Within weeks and possibly days, President Obama is likely to sign into law a bill that will bring unmanned aerial vehicles – drones – into US general airspace, crisscrossing the country in company with passenger planes and other human-carrying aircraft.

The story of how planes without on-board pilots will gain entry into our crowded airspace, where birds are life threatening, possibly within the next three years, is one involving campaign contributions, jobs and fear. As we will see, safety appears not to be the top priority.

I became aware of the pro-drone legislation from a February 10, 2011, Syracuse Post Standard report that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) was supporting an amendment to the pending Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill (S. 223) that would create test zones for the introduction of drones into general airspace.

Senator Schumer was interested in the pro-drone amendment because MQ-9 Reaper drones, killer drones that are flying over Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, are stationed at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse. However, FAA safety restrictions have limited drone flights out of Hancock.

“If Schumer’s legislative move succeeds this week,” said the Post Standard, “it would help ensure the future of 1,215 jobs at the (air) base in Mattydale (New York) and potentially lead to millions of dollars in radar research contracts for local defense companies.”

Bad Drones – Good Drones?

Drones have a grisly war history of misidentification. For example, on April 11, 2011, The Los Angeles Times carried a story of how a failure of US Air Force drone operators at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to accurately identify the enemy led to the deaths in February 2010 of at least 15 non-combatant Afghani men, the wounding of 12 more and the deaths of a woman and three children.

“Technology can occasionally give you a false sense of security that you can see everything, that you can hear everything, that you know everything,” said Air Force Major Gen. James O. Poss, who oversaw the Air Force investigation, according to the Times. “I really do think we have learned from this.”

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