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Photos by: joanneleon. September, 2013.


Andrew Bird - Tenuousness

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Bob Costa has gone silent on Twitter for 18 hours.  I don't know if he's doing a hundred tv appearances or has a hangover.

h/t bmaz

As of last night, two different deals were being floated. One from the House GOP and one from the Senate GOP, and the media was hinting that the two of them were battling each other with the Senate trying to "jam" the House.  

The House wanted to do entitlement cuts now, just to open up the govt. and raise the debt ceiling temporarily and then still do more cuts later.  They were choosing entitlement cuts from Obama's own budget. Cuts to Medicare were mentioned specifically.

The Senate GOP wanted to repeal or delay the medical device tax but since that provides the revenue for Obamacare subsidies, they would replace that revenue by raiding the pensions, oops, pension reform.  I don't know what pension reform is in the mind of a Senate Republican. This is Susan Collins' plan, supposedly.  Maybe pension reform means giving govt pensions to Wall Street to gamble with!  Something like hey, let's split that pension money. You take half to spend on Obamacare subsidies and we'll take the other half and "invest" it for you and double your money!  I'm joking, of course, but you realize that this is the kind of thing that Wall Street did to some state and local govt's who had failed to pay into their pensions for years and then came up short.

And the kabuki goes on.  I'll put shutdown updates here today, I guess.  The most important development, IMHO, is that while people are lulled by the earlier reports that they're just doing a temporary extension to the funding and debt ceiling, this is morphing into something else, a piecemeal Grand Bargain, getting bits of their cuts now and bits later.  Who knows what? But real cuts are on the table today and nobody is organizing against it, thinking they are just going to extend the deadline, not make actual cuts.  We're in a really dangerous situation, mired in circus details while they might put through a vote on entitlement cuts just like that, while everybody is watching the shutdown circus, and football.
Boehner: No deal with White House

On Saturday morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told House Republicans in a closed meeting that there is no deal, and no negotiations going on with the White House, according to two sources present.

Read more:

Yves Smith, a couple days ago, with some big picture stuff.
Obama, Republican Leadership Groping to Break Shutdown Impasse, Revive Grand Bargain-Type Deal

But while the official meeting, and the fact that the two sides are also talking behind the scenes, represents progress, don’t labor under any delusions. Obama is looking for a stopgap deal that will keep pressure on in the hope that he can cinch his long-sought Grand Bargain Great Betrayal. Remember, Obama was disappointed that the sequester didn’t inflict enough pain to force Democrats and Republicans to the negotiating table. Don’t be fooled that Obama is unhappy that most House Republicans would reject a one year extension of the debt ceiling and continuing resolution. Both he and the corporate Republicans are looking to steer things back to where they’d hoped they’d be before the Tea Party went off the reservation.

While Congress has 22 different bills to rein in the NSA, Keith Alexander wants them to give him more power.
NSA head says Congress needs to pass cybersecurity bills to let him stop attacks

The release of several national surveillance leaks put the brakes on cybersecurity legislation, which was already under scrutiny by civil liberties groups. But NSA head Keith Alexander thinks Congress needs to get the bills back on track, letting federal agencies and companies share information about potential attacks. "How do you defend Wall Street from a major crisis?" he asked during a Tuesday interview hosted by Politico and defense contractor Raytheon. "We have to have the rules in place that you can defend Wall Street from being taken down, and inform the civilian leadership." Those rules, he said, would need to be put in place with "cyber legislation" before somebody decided to launch a "cyberpacket" assault.

Alexander, as head of US cyber command, discussed the offensive capabilities he's been building for some time. He also, however, said that Congress needed to untie his hands when it came to sharing information with companies that aren't part of critical infrastructure. Referencing Representative Mike Rogers' (R-MI) and Dutch Ruppersberger's (D-MD) controversial CISPA bill, he argued that the NSA, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security needed legislation to proactively prevent cyberattacks. "We have a great forensics team," he quipped. "It's all over, bad things have happened, we can come down and say 'It's really bad!'"

Malala meets US President Obama

WASHINGTON: Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning education for girls, called on US President Barack Obama, Geo News reported.

In the meeting, Malala expressed reservations over drone strikes in Pakistan, saying that innocent lives were being lost in such attacks.


Stop Watching Us.

The revelations about the National Security Agency's surveillance apparatus, if true, represent a stunning abuse of our basic rights. We demand the U.S. Congress reveal the full extent of the NSA's spying programs.

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