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News and Opinion
U.S. Drone Strikes Breed Hatred; Serve as Recruitment Tool for America’s EnemiesThe propaganda machine is strong. The president already told the country that the defense dept. sequestration cuts were not going to happen. The people have forgotten about the other cuts on the domestic side that were set more than a year ago. The left grassroots, who pretend to be the defender of the little guy, are veal penned and only work for the best interests of the people when there is a Republican in the White House, apparently.
Interview with Medea Benjamin, co-founder Code Pink and author of “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control”, conducted by Scott Harris
Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Medea Benjamin, who is the author of “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.” Here she explains why the group she co-founded, Code Pink Women for Peace, and a growing number of other citizens are opposed to the nation’s drone program, and why she is working to defeat Barack Obama’s nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA.
Medea Benjamin is also co-founder of Global Exchange. Learn more about the growing opposition to the U.S. drone Warfare program by visiting www.codepink4peace.org/.
It Looks Like We're Headed For Sequestration Doom, But No One Is Freaking Out About ItArticle from early January.
Now that the Senate has voted to suspend the debt ceiling, the focus turns to the next fiscal battle: Sequestration, automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that will affect most areas of government spending beginning on March.
The cuts are expected to amount to $1.2 trillion over 10 years — including $85.3 billion in fiscal year 2013 alone.
But neither Republicans or Democrats seems concerned about the impending austerity cuts — not yet, at least. That has the potential to change in the coming weeks, however, especially in light of Wednesday's unexpected GDP report that showed the economy shrinking for the first time in three years, largely due to a 22 percent drop in military spending.
Democrats, meanwhile, have said that they won't give in to a revised sequester deal without new revenues from closing tax loopholes.
Most surprising is Republican restraint over the massive defense cuts scheduled to start taking effect on March 1. Sequestration would force the Pentagon to make across-the-board cuts of 16.3 percent in this year alone. It's worth nothing that the surprise drop in GDP was due in large part to a 22 percent reduction
John Boehner Says Obama Made A 'Miscalculation' That Could Haunt Him In The Next Big FightThis is Jeff Cohen from FAIR, a guy whose point of view I tend to agree strongly with and have for more than a decade now. This is another part of the answer as to why "nobody is freaking about" about the upcoming sequestration, compromises, cuts, even though the drumbeat is right there in front of our faces.
The most telling part from Stephen Moore's interview with John Boehner in The Wall Street Journal today is that the House Speaker views the coming spending cuts in the sequester — not the debt ceiling — as Republicans' main point of leverage in coming budget talks with President Barack Obama.
The sequester — part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 — trims the non-war defense budget to $491 billion in 2013, which is down about 9 percent from 2012. Defense programs would see cuts up to 10 percent.
But where Boehner sees his leverage is in the other cuts of the sequester. In 2013 alone, the White House's Office of Management and Budget projects that payments to Medicare providers will be reduced by 2 percent. Cuts to non-defense spending, such as some elementary and secondary education programs, will be slashed either 8.2 percent or 7.4 percent.
Boehner told the WSJ that he has Republican support for letting the sequester go into effect, even from defense hawks. The cuts to entitlements, Boehner rationalizes, will bring Obama to the table because of pressure from the left.
Preaching to the ChoirA meme worth spreading and reinforcing, IMHO. Memes are one of the only ways of being effective in the asymmetrical warfare of independent media and activism.
Published on Jan 31, 2013Jeff Cohen: "I've been concerned about this accusation that if I get interviewed in independent media or write columns for independent media I'm just preaching to the choir. And what bothers me about that is the implication that if you're just preaching to the choir, meaning people that see themselves as progressive or genuinely on the left, that you're talking to a group that's so sophisticated, that's so well informed, that you're wasting your time, that you should just talk to the centrists and the rightists. The problem with that is, a couple of days ago I kept seeing this email going around: "Tell Hillary Thank you", and you know, I see all the comments on the columns I write. There's a lot of people who see themselves as progressive or being on the left who are really deluded in many ways about the Democratic party and the Democratic party's policies and Obama's policies and it's why I really believe the choir, the so called choir... we need to be talking to each other and raising consciousness and sharing information because they aren't so totally great[ly] informed."
Jeff Cohen: Illusions about Obama and the myth of the need for bipartisanship are reasons why progressives and liberals must have a vigorous debate - there really is no choir
"The problem is that there's many progressives, left liberals, people who see themselves on the left who get taken in by rhetoric as opposed to reality."
Paul Jay: "Seems to me you really saw that with the inauguration speech. Some of the people I've interviewed and talked to who were very very critical of President Obama over the last four years and then his inauguration speech, they're back kind of cheerleading again."
Jeff Cohen: "Yeah, it's why the choir needs constant information and analysis because that Obama inauguration was a real victory of rhetoric over reality and a lot of people, when Obama said these comments about global warming, you had perhaps a couple million people were doing acrobatics about how great it was, apparently unaware that every time there is an international conference on global warming the United States and the Obama administration are among the main obstacles to actually addressing that problem. Obama's inaugural speech made all these comments about democracy around the world and I'm scratching my head when people think that was a great speech because they don't seem to know what was even in the Wikileaks cables, which showed that the Obama administration was intervening in democracies, from Germany to Spain to England, to try to make sure that the U.S. officials engaged in kidnapping, torture or all the lies around the Iraq invasion. The point is that there's all this empty rhetoric about ending ten years of war, of bringing democracy or we've got to address global warming, and there hasn't been a damn policy from the Obama administration that matches up with that rhetoric.
Paul Krugman Battles 'Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop,' And Not By Himself
Paul Krugman is no stranger to going on teevee and encountering, well, people of an addled aspect -- he's done "Squawk Box", after all! But there was something very special about one of his most recent appearances on MSNBC. You thought that Felix Baumgartner dude who fell to earth for Red Bull was extreme? Take a seat, balloon boy. Paul Krugman has become the first human I've ever witnessed escaping from the gravitational pull of something with black hole-like density: Joe Scarborough and his gang of deficit hacks.
Krugman has this interesting thesis about the way "thinking" congeals among media elites. He thinks that they are overly obsessed with a deficit crisis that is decades from happening, if it happens at all. He observes that in this time of widespread unemployment and grievous economic dislocation -- a continuing condition of the lightly tended to 2008 economic calamity -- and against all evidence, the media elites have become convinced that the long-term budget deficit is the actual crisis that's emerged in America, to claim its future. And then you get a cycle -- blather, wince, repeat -- in which all of these cosseted simps reinforce one another until this bizarre line of thinking is deeply entrenched and inalterable.
It's an old yarn, and Krugman's far from the first person to notice. Greg Sargent calls it the "Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop," and as the National Journal reported back in May of 2011, it's been unfolding within the media and distorting its coverage -- mostly to the expense of the more serious unemployment crisis. (There is no comparable feedback loop on the unemployment crisis. Aside from occasionally speculating on how high unemployment rates could affect the electoral hopes of prominent political celebrities seeking re-election, it's almost never discussed.)
Students: Cut Defense Spending, Not Financial Aid
According to the Office of Management and Budget, a total of $4,021 million would be cut from the Department of Education’s Budget in the sequester. Included in this number are two offices that provide funding or direct program support to students, the Office of Federal Student Aid and the Office of Postsecondary Education.
In the Office of Federal Student Aid, students would be in danger of losing $133.4 million in cuts to the Federal Work Study Program and the Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG). That means approximately 162,120 students could lose direct funding that makes college affordable for them.
As for the Office of Postsecondary Education, cuts to programs like Gear Up and Trio, meant to increase college access for low-income and disadvantaged students, would suffer cuts of $90 million, leaving approximately 118,000 students high and dry.
Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest
mccain: "does your name rhyme with bagel? yes or no? YES OR NO?!" #hagel— brooks bayne (@brooksbayne) January 31, 2013
Dem Senator Mark Udall: "deeply disappointed" in John Brennan's inability/refusal to discuss the Senate torture reportis.gd/lePyFp— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 31, 2013
We mad at the Chinese for not obeying computer hacking rulz. What are the rulz? That's classified. nyti.ms/VE3WY8— Ryan Singel (@rsingel) February 4, 2013
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