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Topsail Island.  December, 2012.  Photo by joanneleon.

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Topsail Island.  December, 2012.  Photo by joanneleon.

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Topsail Island.  December, 2012.  Photo by joanneleon.

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Topsail Island.  December, 2012.  Photo by joanneleon.




Ted Lewis - Buy American (And Good Times Will Come Thru') 1933



News and Opinion


Today is day four of the Social Security Defenders blogathon. OPOL is up at 3pm today.  The rest of the schedule is below. Support is much appreciated.  They are gunning for Social Security.  We need every voice to fight back.  Hard.

Dean Baker provides, in his post below, a link to Ezra Klein.  Just scroll through the charts in his post.  This is out of the world ridiculous.  Bring those health care costs into line and we have no freaking Medicare problem. The Medicare and Medicaid systems are not the problem.  The costs in the health industry are the problem.  But what are the politicians gunning for?  The Medicare and Medicaid systems themselves.  Yes, they pay lip service to bringing down costs, but the "entitlement reforms" that they propose make changes to the systems, eligibility, etc., when it's blazingly clear that the costs in this country are way, way out of line.  Why should the systems be "reformed" or people cut out of programs or Medicaid privatized when the costs from this private, for-profit are extremely out of control?  The same think tanks and politicians making these proposals are funded by the same companies causing the wildly out of control costs.    The article by CEPR and the Klein posts are must reads.  Arm yourselves with information because the propaganda blast in the media has been going at a good clip for a long time but it is about to go full force as these corrupt politicians go after these systems.  Klein serves the 1%, IMHO, and his charts may just be serving to soften us up for radical changes to Medicare, but in this case, the charts are too important to miss.  It's not that you haven't seen these comparisons before, but this set is particularly good.

The War on Social Security and the War on Excessive Health Care Costs

Ezra Klein put up a blog post last night on the corruption of national politics and the media. It showed graphs from the International Federation of Health Care Plans that compared the cost of various medical procedures and products in the United States with the cost elsewhere in the world.

The graphs showed that the United States is a huge outlier, paying two or three times as much as other countries (sometimes more) for nearly every item on the list. The bottom line is that we spend 8.1 percentage points ($1.3 trillion a year) more of our GDP on health care than the average for other wealthy countries. We have nothing to show for this in terms of better health care outcomes. (The gap is actually larger, since average income in these countries is around 25 percent less than in the United States. We would expect to have better outcomes even if we spent the same share of our income on health care, just as we would expect better housing if we spent the same share of our larger income.)

The reason why Klein's charts reveal the corruption of politics and the media is that this information is news to anyone. The media and politicians harp endlessly on the cost of Social Security routinely yelling about how outrageously expensive it is. In fact, National Public Radio just did a major piece on the Social Security disability program and proclaimed to listeners that it was unaffordable.

The Medicaid expansion was one of the very few promising things about the program now called "Obamacare" that was otherwise just a boon to private insurance, PhRMA and other for-profit health industries.   So how the hell did we end up moving some of the Medicaid program into the wildly out of control for-profit world too?  If governors can use federal Medicaid money to buy private insurance now, does that mean that fewer people will be covered because the private insurance is more expensive?  Or is the federal government going to kick even more money to those states in order to cover the same number of people that govt. Medicaid would have covered?  How long before all the states ditch their Medicaid program and hand over the federal money to private insurance companies?  The private health insurance industry is failed system and one of the things at the root of our problems.  Shoveling all the Medicaid money to it makes the problem worse.  When selling the Obamacare bill to the Congress and the country, Pres. Obama never said a word about privatizing Medicaid.  How did this happen?  
When the Affordable Care Act Becomes Unaffordable

The New York Times reports that U.S. President Barack Obama's administration is encouraging Republican-led states to follow Arkansas’s lead and use Medicaid expansion dollars to buy private insurance for people with low incomes. This is going to make a lot of people happy. But it's not good for taxpayers or for the project of making medical costs sustainable.

Many Republicans are drawn to the Arkansas plan because, though it is an expansion of government-funded health care, it works through private channels. Doctors and hospitals, who already liked the Medicaid expansion because it was going to give them more customers and diminish the problem of uncompensated care, like this plan even better because it will pay them more. Low-income patients will probably be better off, too, because private insurance is more widely accepted than Medicaid, though some could be hurt by the need to make higher co-payments. And the Obama administration will be happy because more states will participate in the Medicaid expansion.

The only losers will be everyone else. Pleasing all those constituencies will cost money. Medicaid expansion through private insurance, if spread to many states, will sharply drive up the cost of implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe admits to the Times that his plan will likely cost more than a regular expansion of Medicaid, with federal taxpayers picking up nearly the whole tab.

A small committee decides who gets the award and it's pretty clear where they stand.  Some are trying to revoke the award and if that can't be done, change the rules so that the whole board decides who gets it in the future.  
An honor for Alice Rivlin roils Social Security faithful

Alice M. Rivlin is a distinguished budget expert at the Brookings Institution whose willingness to promote "entitlement reform" (read: cut benefits) as a deficit nostrum has given her a reputation as a danger to Social Security and Medicare.

So when Rivlin was named the ninth recipient of the annual Robert M. Ball Award for Outstanding Achievements in Social Insurance this week, Social Security advocates erupted in fury.
[...]
They have a point. It doesn't help that Rivlin, 82, has affiliated herself with groups funded by  hedge fund billionaire Peter G. Peterson, whose hostility to Social Security and Medicare is legendary and who isn't above using ginned-up panic over government deficits as a weapon.
[...]
"This is not a battle of ideas," says economist Dean Baker, who fights ceaseless battles to correct public misimpressions fostered by groups of which Rivlin is a member, such as the Peterson-funded "Fix the Debt" campaign. "This is a battle in which the other side routinely lies, cheats and steals to push its agenda."

McConnell on the Fox Business channel.
http://www.foxbusiness.com/...

Hours after Congress voted to avert a government shutdown next week, congressional leaders were already staking out positions on what will be this year’s most contentious Washington fight.

Without an increase, the federal government likely reaches its debt limit this summer.  In an exclusive interview with FOX Business, Senate Minority Lead Mitch McConnell said Republicans will refuse to agree to an increase in the government’s borrowing limit without entitlement reforms.
“It's just that we're not going to agree to raise the debt ceiling without doing something about entitlements … this is what brings him to the table,” said McConnell of President Obama.  “He is, in effect, being drawn, kicking and screaming to the table, when there's some event that pulls him in. And the event that pulls him into discussion this summer is his request for us to raise the debt ceiling, so we'll be back at it again, trying to get him to join us to fix the entitlements and fix the country.”  

Everyone in the world, including the people of Cyprus... everyone except their deer in the headlights new president and the Troika seem to realize that Cyprus needs to leave the Euro.  Krugman:
Cyprus, Seriously

A correspondent whom I respect has (gently) challenged me to say plainly what I think Cyprus should do — leaving aside all questions about political realism. And he’s right: while I think it’s OK to spend most of my time on this blog working within the limits of the politically possible, and relying on a combination of reason and ridicule to push out those limits over time, once in a while I should just flatly state what I would do if given a chance.

So here it is: yes, Cyprus should leave the euro. Now.

The reason is straightforward: staying in the euro means an incredibly severe depression, which will last for many years while Cyprus tries to build a new export sector. Leaving the euro, and letting the new currency fall sharply, would greatly accelerate that rebuilding.

If you look at Cyprus’s trade profile, you see just how much damage the country is about to sustain. This is a highly open economy with just two major exports, banking services and tourism — and one of them just disappeared. This would lead to a severe slump on its own. On top of that, the troika is demanding major new austerity, even though the country supposedly has rough primary (non-interest) budget balance. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 20 percent fall in real GDP.

It's interesting to see how softly WaPo reports this.  The article says that the capital control restrictions will remain in place for at least a week.  A week!  LOL.
Cyprus readies capital controls, hires extra security ahead of banks’ reopening to prevent run

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus has imposed limits on money transfers and hired extra security guards as it prepares for the planned reopening Thursday of its banks, which have been closed for almost two weeks to avoid a run during the country’s financial drama.

A banking official said Wednesday that new controls will include restrictions on large-scale transfers from the country’s two largest and most troubled lenders, Bank of Cyprus and Laiki, when they reopen Thursday. Both are being restructured and big depositors face losses of as much as 40 percent.

And the NYT this morning, also softballing this story, especially if you only read the title and the first few paragraphs of the article.  Down further, past the halfway point, it's more hard hitting.  But it's really interesting to see how this article is written.  IMHO, financial masters of the universe are curious to see  what will happen today and in the next few days and weeks.  How much trust in banks has been destroyed? How many people will pull out money and make changes to their financial arrangements?  Yes, the banks open in Cyrus today, but with the stringent capital controls in place, it's there is not a lot they can do.  The NYT article does not mention anything about the heightened security.
Calm Reigns in Cyprus as Banks Prepare to Open

NICOSIA — Bags of coins were piled high on one bank teller’s desk. A manager wearing a dark suit stood at the front door waving away a retiree who was trying to get in.

It was only 9 a.m. in Nicosia, but employees at a branch of Laiki Bank in the main square of the Cypriot capital were already gearing to open their doors around noon Thursday for the first time in nearly two weeks.

Next door, at the Bank of Cyprus, the country’s largest bank, a cleaning lady wiped down automated teller machines emblazoned with the bank’s teal and yellow insignia. The machines stood ready to spit out a maximum of €300 per person; for the past few days withdrawals have been capped at €100.
[...]
“If you don’t impose the controls, the money is going to fly,” said Mujtaba Rahman, a senior analyst at the Eurasia Group. “But when you remove those controls, clearly the money is going to leave anyway. So they’re in a Catch-22.”

To make sure enough cash is on hand, the European Central Bank sent an airplane filled with about €1.5 billion in a container to Larnaca airport near Nicosia on Wednesday. The container was loaded onto a truck and escorted by police to the Cypriot central bank for safekeeping, said a person with knowledge of the operation who was not authorized to speak publicly.
[...]
Despite those strictures, the Cypriot authorities are bracing for as much as 10 percent of the €64 billion on deposit in the country’s banks to be pulled out on Thursday.

Mainstream types of writers like Richard Eskow, going all CT on us (because it's not CT).  Cyprus changed everything.  
Cyprus Has the Global Money Elite's Fingerprints All Over It

They don't seem to be all that interested in principles of national sovereignty, either.

The world's economy isn't run by some secret organization -- unless it's very secret -- but its financial leaders do form a loosely affiliated elite of banking executives, elected officials, influential advisors, and power brokers.

The Cyprus mess has their fingerprints all over it.
[...]
Their operating principle is "Bankers, Bankers über alles ..."
[...]
They're a law unto themselves.
[...]
"It's springtime for Merkel and Germany ..."
[...]
Chief Red Cloud was right.

There is a Native American tribe named the Oglagla Lakota. Like all Native American tribes, they made numerous treaties with the U.S. government, most of which the U.S. government promptly broke.

One of the tribe's chiefs was called Makhpia-sha -- in English, "Red Cloud." The Dakota-Lakota-Nakota Nation's Human Rights Advocacy Coalition reminds us of the famous quote attributed to Red Cloud:

"They made us many promises, more than I can remember. But they kept but one -- they promised to take our land... and they took it."
[...]
They promised to take our money -- and they took it.

David Dayen: OCC, Fed Stonewalling Congressional Oversight of Independent Foreclosure Reviews

A couple months ago, Elizabeth Warren and Elijah Cummings opened what they described as an investigation into the Independent Foreclosure Reviews. We all knew the IFRs deserved some form of response by Congress, and we knew that the OCC and the Fed wanted no part of any questioning of their latest gift to predatory banks and their fraudulent practices.

But we didn’t know how much they would try to stonewall this investigation right from the outset – at least not until today, when Warren and Cummings released some of their recent correspondence with the federal regulators. First of all, in the general niceties, acknowledging that Comptroller Thomas Curry and Fed Chair Ben Bernanke responded to their request for information about the reviews and the settlement, they note that the response only arrived last Friday – they requested the information January 31.
[...]
So what we have here is a penalty for banks robbing people of their homes (Warren and Cummings are quick to point out the 700-plus illegal foreclosures banks have admitted to in the course of the reviews), where shadow regulator “reviewers” like Promontory Financial Group made out at twenty times the rate of the actual victims who were harmed.

World Derivatives Market Estimated As Big As $1.2 Quadrillion Notional, as Banks Fight Efforts to Rein It In

Yves here. Readers have asked us to write about the ginormous scale of the derivatives market. This article is a layperson-friendly discussion of bank efforts to stymie the not-onerous safeguards in Dodd Frank and why you should be up in arms about it. Derivatives, specifically credit default swaps, were the reason what would otherwise been a contained subprime crisis into a global financial meltdown. If you have not done so already, we strongly encourage you to call your Senator and Representative and tell them you are strongly opposed to this stealth effort by banks to keep taxpayers on the hook for the derivatives casino and allow it to continue to operate with minimal supervision.
[...]

By Gaius Publius. Cross posted from Americablog

We wrote earlier about the recent move by bankers — and the politicians who serve them — to unreform the derivatives market, to return it to its pre–Dodd-Frank, pre–Crash-of-2007 state. This is a serious move by banks and bank lobbyists, and it could well happen soon. The seven bills in the House package of “tweaks” — as the House Agriculture website dishonestly puts it — have cleared the committee with Democratic support and are headed to the House floor. In the meantime, there are companion bills in the Senate.

What will happen in the Senate? Well, Dick Durbin (always an Obama surrogate) famously said of the Senate that “the banks own the place.” And of course the White House has been notoriously bank-friendly since day 1. As a friend told me last week, “Bank lobbyists are good; they really earn their money.” Indeed.

Our earlier story focused on both aspects of this push — the “bad Dems” side and the derivatives side. Let’s now look at just the derivatives aspect.

And the secret Trans Pacific trade agreement has not even been finished yet -- the biggest free trade agreement ever.
Free Trade and Unrestricted Capital Flow: How Billionaires Get Rich and Destroy the Rest of Us

Yves here. This post highlights an issue that gets far too little attention: how the “free trade” agenda has been used to promote a capital mobility agenda, and why that works to the detriment of ordinary citizens.

As Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart found in their study of 800 years of financial crises, high international capital flows are strongly correlated with more frequent and severe financial crises. A very important BIS paper that has not gotten the attention it deserves, “Global imbalances and the financial crisis: Link or no link?” Claudio Borio and Piti Disyatat, discusses how the crisis was the direct result of what they call excess financial elasticity. That means having a banking system that was way too accommodating to the pet wishes of bank customers.
[...]
My point, though, is a little different. My point is about unrestricted free trade and capital flow in general and why understanding both is crucial to understanding:

▪ The neoliberal free-trade project, and
▪ Wealth inequality in America

This was written on March 19, before the Cyprus deal changed, but still relevant, I think.
Why the Cyprus Bailout Could Set Banking Back 300 Years

Even by the standards of the EU bureaucracy, raiding the private deposits of Cyprus' banks is spectacularly foolish.

For a measly $5.8 billion euros, the EU has now put the entire Eurozone on edge-not to mention the entire global economy.

It revolves around something as simple as trust. And as a former banker, I can tell you that there's no substitute for the belief that your deposits are safe and sound.

It's a thin line and once it's been crossed it's nearly impossible to repair.

Where will the 1% stash their money in order to avoid deposit confiscation?
Cyprus: Could it Happen Here?
Confiscation has been avoided for the moment. But the plan was long in the making, and it isn’t limited to Cyprus.

The deposit confiscation scheme has long been in the making.   US depositors could be next . . . .

The Long-planned Confiscation Scheme

The deal pushed by the “troika” – the EU, ECB and IMF – has been characterized as a one-off event devised as an emergency measure in this one extreme case. But the confiscation plan has long been in the making, and it isn’t limited to Cyprus.

In a September 2011 article in the Bulletin of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand titled “ A Primer on Open Bank Resolution,” Kevin Hoskin and Ian Woolford discussed a very similar haircut plan that had been in the works, they said, since the 1997 Asian financial crisis.  The article referenced recommendations made in 2010 and 2011 by the Basel Committee of the Bank for International Settlements, the “central bankers’ central bank” in Switzerland.

The purpose of the plan, called the Open Bank Resolution (OBR) , is to deal with bank failures when they have become so expensive that governments are no longer willing to bail out the lenders.
[...]
JPMorgan . . . Is the largest derivatives dealer in the world. Trillions of dollars in such instruments sit on its and other big banks’ balance sheets. The ease with which the bank hid losses and fiddled with valuations should be a major concern to investors.
[...]
The large institutional banks not only could fail; they are likely to fail.  When the derivative scheme collapses and the US government refuses a bailout, JPMorgan could be giving its depositors’ accounts sizeable “haircuts” along guidelines established by the BIS and Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

From an article in 2010 (which was referenced in the Alternet article above).
Financial Crisis Alters Russian Banks

State banks. The ownership structure of the Russian banking system differs from those in other emerging eastern European markets. It more closely resembles China's: Both markets are characterized by the dominance of state institutions and the relatively small role of foreign banks.
[...]
In the precrisis period the authorities sought to improve the system through better regulation--while simultaneously preserving strong state control and not relying on foreign ownership to transform the sector. As in other countries, the crisis prompted the state to take on a greater role in the banking system. State-owned systemic banks, in particular Vneshekonombank (VEB), have been used to carry out anticrisis measures, such as driving growth in lending (however limited) and supporting private institutions.
[...]
--By contrast, Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin has stressed that the immediate focus should be on improving regulation and reestablishing the flow of lending.

Activist investors?  Long article in Forbes.  Very interesting.
Carl Icahn Unleashed: Wall Street's Richest Man Is On The Attack -- Just Ask Michael Dell

That brings us to today. With no one to answer to except himself, Icahn is unleashed. He has never had so much cash. Nor have the balance sheets of corporate America. This confluence translates into Icahn’s recent fox-in-the-henhouse antics, as he’s now perfectly positioned to wield his fear-inducing brand of activist investing–shaking up companies by snatching up their publicly traded stock, grabbing board seats and demanding they do something with their cash.

“He has the guts to do things in size and make big bets, and, frankly, he has more money now than ever,” says Keith Meister, a former Icahn lieutenant who now runs his own $2 billion-plus hedge fund. “Activists have become cults of personality, and there is no one bigger and better than Carl in that world.”

Icahn says he respects the new breed of activist investors like Meister, Daniel Loeb and Barry Rosenstein. (“Good guys,” he calls them.) But what separates him is that they run money that can be recalled by their investors. Icahn, by virtue of his postmeltdown revamp, wages proxy battles and issues tender offers with so-called permanent capital–money under his complete control. And given how large that permanent war chest is, he can target companies previously thought unassailable. “Right now,” says Icahn, waving around an aluminum ruler like a cavalry saber, “without selling anything, we can write a check for about $10 billion.” With that kind of ammo Icahn can take on a cash-rich company with a market cap of as much as $50 billion.

This is a must read both for its points about the media and propaganda, and the set of bullet points that I did not excerpt here.
AVAILABLE

Everyone knows the stock market reflects the true health of the nation – multi-millionaire Jim Cramer and his millionaire CNBC talking head cohorts tell me so. Ignore the fact that the bottom 80% only own 5% of the financial assets in this country and are not benefitted by the stock market in any way.
[...]
The mainstream corporate media that is dominated by six mega-corporations (Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Comcast, Viacom, and Bertelsmann), has one purpose as described by the master of propaganda – Edward Bernays:

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.
These media corporations’ task is to use propaganda and misinformation to protect the interests of the status quo. The ruling class has the power to manipulate public opinion, obscure the truth, alter government data, and outright lie, but they can’t control the facts and reality smacking the average person in the face every day. [...]
F'ing ridiculous and thievery.  Thievery is all the rage these days.
Entire library journal editorial board resigns, citing 'crisis of conscience' after death of Aaron Swartz
Publishers demanded $2,995 for each open-access article

In a dramatic show of support for the open access movement, the editor-in-chief and entire editorial board of the Journal of Library Administration announced their resignation last week. In a letter to contributors, the board singled out a conflict with owners over the journal's licensing terms, which stripped authors of almost all claim to ownership of their work.

[...] The board had worked with publisher Taylor & Francis on an open-access compromise in the months since, which would allow the journal to release articles without paywall, but Taylor & Francis' final terms asked contributors to pay $2,995 for each open-access article.

Brandon Webb at SOFREP (author of Benghazi: The Definitive Report book) had this story before CNN.   If that's where they got the story, they didn't credit him.
Esquire Is Screwed: Duped By Fake UBL “Shooter”

The actual shooter at Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSW DEVGRU or SEAL TEAM 6) has continued to maintain his professional integrity and has not come forward with the story, and most likely never will. Looks like Esquire and Bronstein are the ones who are really screwed, not their interviewee; our sources say he’s off cashing large checks from unsuspecting donors who bought the Esquire pity piece.

Here are some interesting insider facts:
-The “Shooter” was removed from his DEVGRU Squadron for talking about the operation openly after being warned to “can it’
-He was encouraged by leadership to remain in the SEAL community to finish out his career and gain his full retirement benefits
-Apparently against his concerns about personal security he has been very active on the public speaking circuit

[...]

Everybody within JSOC knows the shooter is full of it. Shortly after the raid, he was FIRED from DEVGRU because of his mouth and talking too much. This is something that is not told in the article either. He’s the stereotypical guy who was running around at the bar telling all the chicks that he was the shooter. While indeed he did shoot, he shot the body as it was 99.9% dead and dying on the floor. The POINT MAN up the stairs landed his shots to the head, which is why he changed his focus to the women.

Interesting turn of events. Sorry to rain on your parade, Phil, but your guy is not the actual shooter. Perhaps the UBL raid and direct personnel associated with it are better left in the shadows for now.

Some truth.  And now you see why the major media in the U.S. had almost no Iraqi voices in their 10th anniversary articles.  Instead we got to hear from all the tools who helped to sell the war.  Truth and transparency is out of fashion in these United States.  Hardly anyone wanted to tell the story of the Iraqis and they still don't.  Bradley Manning told it and look where he is right now.  Nobody wants to tell the stories of the people living under drones either, unless they are showing stock footage of angry Muslims burning American flags in the streets to boost the fearmongering propaganda well loved by the war, oil and banking industry.  Stop these effing wars.
America, You Crushed My Country and Now It Has No Future
Iraq of 2013 staggers onward in a climate of perpetual crisis toward a future where the only givens are more chaos, more violence, and yet more uncertainty.

Back then, everybody was writing about Iraq, but it’s surprising how few Americans, including reporters, paid much attention to the suffering of Iraqis.  Today, Iraq is in the news again. The words, the memorials, the retrospectives are pouring out, and again the suffering of Iraqis isn’t what’s on anyone’s mind.  This was why I returned to that country before the recent 10th anniversary of the Bush administration’s invasion and why I feel compelled to write a few grim words about Iraqis today.

Maybe we need an acronym for the biggest culprits who profit from perpetual war.  The Banking, Oil and War industries.  BOW.  Wags the dog.
Anti-drones activists plan month of protest over Obama's 'kill' policy
Organisers keen to build on renewed focus of president's targeted killing programme by holding series of protests in April

Dubbed "April Days of Action" by participants, organisers are hoping to capitalise on a series of recent controversies that have thrust the use of drones – especially when it comes to targeted killings of suspected terrorists – into the heart of American political debate.

The protests will begin on April 3 with a rally in New York, followed by three days of protest outside the facilities of companies that make drones, including at San Diego-based General Atomics which makes Predator and Reaper drones.

Corrente files this under: Department Of Stop it! You're killing Everything!
Obama Wants Turkey/Israel to Help Bomb Shit Outta Syria

Erdogan and Netanyahu cooperated with Obama for a win/win/win scenario that means more horror for the hapless Syrians and eventually, if these three hegemonic monsters have their way, the Iranians.

As far as Turkey and Israel are concerned, the enemy of my enemy can be my friend, pragmatically, holding-the-nose speaking, which is what Obama was bargaining for.

What Obama wants is to “take out” the Assad regime ASAP to get on with the steamrolling U.S. hegemony and Obama's next target, Iran, and the ever-shadow target, China.
[...]
Obama knows that U.S. troops put on the ground in Syria may finally elicit some serious blowback from a seemingly morally comatose but war-weary U.S. citizenry. (Would that Obama seriously respected the sanctity of human life.) Bhadrakumar claims that as Obama sees it, the U.S., NATO and Israel can give air cover and launch “devastating missile attacks” on the Syrian government's command posts. Obama calculates that if ground forces are needed, Turkey can handle that end of it, since it is a Muslim country that belongs to NATO.
[...]
PULVERIZE THE SYRIAN REGIME.

WTG, Barack. Enjoying that peace prize?






Blogathon





"HandsOffMySS" Blogathon: March 25th thru March 29th, 2013
Diary Schedule - All Times Eastern Standard



IT IS TIME TO TAKE A STAND

Social security is a concept enshrined in Article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security.

A limited form of the Social Security program began, during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's first term, as a measure to implement "social insurance" during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when poverty rates among senior citizens exceeded 50 percent.

Let your voice be heard.

Members of the Daily Kos group Social Security Defenders have organized this bogathon to promote the truth about the financial condition of the Social Security trust fund, and the impacts of various so called reforms and fixes.

Understanding how benefits are calculated, the History of Social Security, where the Wisconsin Idea came from, and how over the years changes have been made to Social Security, all increase awareness and hopefully improve the discussion.





  • Monday, March 25th

11:00am:Roger Fox
1:00 pm: Joan McCarter
3:00 pm: Roger Fox
5:00 pm: Jamess

  • Tuesday, March 26th

10:00 am: Roger Fox
11:00am: joanneleon
1:00 pm: joe shikspack
3:00 pm: Arshad Hasan DFA
5:00 pm: Roger Fox

  • Wednesday, March 27th

1:00 pm: teacherken
3:00 pm: priceman
5:00 pm: Bruce Webb

  • Thursday, March 28th

10:00 am:Roger Fox
11:00am: Jim Dean DFA
1:00 pm: BernardPliers
3:00 pm: One Pissed Off Liberal
5:00 pm: floridagal
6:00pm: Senaca Doane
  • Friday, March 29th

11:00 am: Economist Dean Baker
1:00 pm: VCLib
3:00 pm: Armando
5:00 pm: Liberal Thinking


Please remember to republish these diaries to your Daily Kos Groups.  You can also follow all postings by clicking this link for the Social Security Defenders Blogathon Group. Then, click 'Follow' and that will make all postings show up in 'My Stream' of your Daily Kos page.

Photobucket



Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest


Evening Blues
The Three SS 'Alternatives': Economic Projections, Uncertainty, Probability
Protecting Social Security from Inaccurate Accounting with an Agenda
A Baby Boomer on Social Security





Ramona with Roy Bargy - What Have We Got to Lose (1933)
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Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

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