|Progressive Calendar 07.21.11 14x||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: shove001 (shove001umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2011 16:06:59 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 07.21.11 1. Eagan peace vigil 7.21 4:30pm 2. Northtown vigil 7.21 5pm 3. FreeDinner/MN-CSFR 7.21 5:30pm 4. Palestine vigil 7.22 4:15pm 5. CUAPB 7.23 1:30pm 6. Northtown vigil 7.23 2pm 7. Union/FedEx 7.23 2pm8. Pedal for peace 7.23
9. Atheist radio 7.24 9am 10. Eroding rights 7.24 1pm 11. Stillwater vigil 7.24 1pm 12. Honduras/BBQ 7.24 4pm 13. Ralph Nader - Time for impeachment? The corporate Supreme Court 14. Ralph Nader - Obama's latest act of cowardice: dumping Elizabeth Warren 15. Dave Lindorff - Blowing it: How the Democrats are sinking themselves 16. Michael Brenner - Debt roulette: the big rollback --------1 of 16-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 7.21 4:30pm PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------2 of 16-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 7.21 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------3 of 16-------- From: MN Committee to Stop FBI Repression <MnListserv [at] stopfbi.net> Subject: FreeDinner/MN-CSFR 7.21 5:30pm Two events on Thursday. Free Community Dinner + our regular meeting. Free Community DinnerThursday, July 21 - from 5:30 to 7pmWalker Church basement - 3104 16th Ave. S., MinneapolisPlease come enjoy a free
dinner and get an update on the case. Stay afterwards for our meeting if you can! MN Committee to Stop FBI Repression MeetingThursday, July 21 7:00 p.m.Walker Church basement 3104 16th Ave. S., MinneapolisCome to our bi-weekly MN-CSFR meeting. See if you can help in the fight to Stop the FBI Repression!
--------4 of 16-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine vigil 7.22 4:15pm The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs available. --------5 of 16-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: CUAPB 7.23 1:30pm Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue South http://www.CUAPB.org Communities United Against Police Brutality 3100 16th Avenue S Minneapolis, MN 55407 Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867) --------6 of 16-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 7.23 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------7 of 16--------From: Socialist Appeal <new [at] socialistappeal.org> + Subject: Union/FedEx 7.23 2pm
Stop Union-Busting at FedEx! National Day of Solidarity, Saturday, July 23 2pm - 5pm FedEx Office location in Uptown 1430 Lake Street WPackage handlers at the FedEx Ground warehouse in Brockton, Massachusetts are fighting to form a union. If the workers win the union election, scheduled for August 3rd, it will be the first time workers have ever won a union at FedEx Ground.
Over the next three weeks, these workers face a David versus Goliath type of struggle to overcome FedExâs vicious anti-union campaign. That's why we are appealing for the full support of working people everywhere by urgently organizing solidarity actions around the country, targeting FedEx locations on July 22-23. In Minneapolis, weâll be protesting at FedEx Office in Uptown Minneapolis (1430 Lake Street W) from 2:00-5:00 pm on July 23rd. Also, sign the solidarity petition and pass it on. Their fight is our fight!
Why a Union? Brockton FedEx workers looking to unionize contacted Teamsters Local 653 months ago and quickly signed up 75 percent of their co-workers to the union. Like so many workers nowadays, FedEx package handlers work part-time for poverty wages starting at $10.50 and maxing out at $14.50 after four years. They work short pre-dawn or late night shifts, lifting heavy packages and working in trailers where extreme temperatures range from 2 degrees in winter to 115 degrees in the summer!
The work is exhausting and the management is demanding. But, while 90 percent of the 71 Brockton workers are African American, all the supervisors were white. Workers received no health benefits, no job security, and no guarantee of securing decent full-time positions at FedEx, one of the largest companies in the world.
American Nightmare Jobs like this are part of the 21st century âAmerican Nightmareâ that corporate America and Wall Street have thrust on communities everywhere. Simply quitting and finding a âbetter jobâ is not an option. Brockton has one of the highest unemployment rates in Massachusetts, and the job market is only getting worse.
That's why this fight is part of a broader struggle. A union at FedEx Ground would enable workers to bargain for living wage jobs in Brockton. And in this era where most union drives end in defeat, a victory at FedEx â âthe Walmart of the trucking industryâ â would inspire workers everywhere to stand up to corporate America. It would raise workersâ confidence and could help spark a badly needed movement to organize a new generation of workers and young people into the unions.
That's why it's in the interest of working people everywhere that Brockton FedEx Ground workers win the election on August 3, and secure a decent contract.
Union Busters and Tax Evaders FedEx is a notorious union buster, and keeping unions out is vital to maintaining their enormous profits. FedEx fights tooth and nail at the legislative and judicial levels to keep unions out. They will fight equally hard on the shop-floor level to keep a union out in Brockton.
Already, they have flown in their top union-busting executives to Brockton to wage a campaign against the union drive. They are trying to kill the union with a sudden kindness not known before the union drive started. All the white supervisors have been replaced by âniceâ African American managers; the workers have been treated to cookouts and finally offered (terrible) health care benefits.
But this is just a cynical ploy, and it goes on while the managers spread lies and misinformation about unions to whip up fears about unionization. They are having one-on-one meetings with workers, showing anti-union videos, and spreading glossy anti-union literature among the workers. Meanwhile, union activists at FedEx have been isolated from coworkers.
FedEx is also a notorious tax dodger. According to US Uncut, âWhen it comes to paying their fair share of taxes, FedEx simply does not deliver. When FedEx made $1.9 billion in profits, they managed to pay less than .0005% of it in taxes by using 21 tax havens. FedEx also spent 42 times (4200%) more on lobbying Congress than they did in taxes.â
What YOU Can Do to Help We are calling on unions, activists, workers, and young people across the country to organize for a day of action in support of the Brockton FedEx Ground workers on Saturday, July 23.
Saturday, July 23: Target FedEx Office (formerly Kinkoâs) stores Join the Workers International League, Socialist Alternative, US Uncut and others at the FedEx Office location in Uptown (1430 Lake Street W) for a protest and picket on July 23rd from 2:00-5:00 pm. Spread the word through Facebook, Twitter, email, and word of mouth. See the Facebook event here.
For more info and updates: Check out the Facebook Days of Action event and FedUp Ground group pages.
--------8 of 16-------- From: Friends for a Non-Violent World <info [at] fnvw.org>Subject: Pedal for peace 7.23
Pedal for Peace invites you to join us on Saturday July 23 at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis. We hope to raise $15,000 for Nonviolent Peaceforce's unarmed civilianpeacekeepers in Sri Lanka, Philippines, and South Sudan. There are three bike rides (8, 20 and 40 miles). After the ride, we'll come together with music, speakers and lunch. Kids and people of all abilities are welcome.
Learn more here. [http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=kkynpkcab&et=1106266061315&s=4143&e=001l800wtt9hvP7PvQ2fZVJenkhYuK1U3iOObFXgNTzlkCNa2TQu3ubUdZuHrjKIj-KCFU2QICnvM4Ni3OkliLrRbdlF09nGI_hHTkLcvzeGHhah-mfiv8VQa7yzMi6_b8GEj7w_QeD9dFubox94rDQmw==] --------9 of 16--------From: Minnesota Atheists <web [at] mnatheists.org> + Subject: Atheist radio 7.24 9am
Sunday, July 24, 9:00am-10:00am_ âAtheists Talkâ Radio AM 950 KTNF in the Twin Cities or stream live at http://www.am950ktnf.com.
Guest: Matthew Chapman, "The Ledge." Mike Haubrich (http://tuibguy.com) interviews, Scott Lohman hosts. Contact us during the show with questions or comments at (952) 946-6205 or radio [at] mnatheists.org._ Links: 31. mailto:radio [at] mnatheists.org --------10 of 16--------From: Minnesota Atheists <web [at] mnatheists.org> + Subject: Eroding rights 7.24 1pm
Sunday, July 24, 1:00 â 2:00pm "Our Eroding Civil Rights: Women as the Canary in the Mine Shaft" Southdale Regional Library, 7001 York Ave. S., Edina 55435 Jamila Bey, a journalist in Washington D.C., including 10 years with National Public Radio, will speak on the eroding of our civil rights and liberties and how the current legislative assaults on women portend the diminishing of all our rights. This presentation is one of a series of public forums on working together for the common good sponsored by Atheists for Human Rights._ Links: 32. http://www.meetup.com/minnesota-atheists/events/25667271 --------11 of 16-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 7.24 1pm A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2 p.m. Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be positive. Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers. If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it. Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleype... For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560 --------12 of 16--------From: From: Meredith Aby <riot369 [at] gmail.com> + Subject: Honduras/BBQ 7.24 4pm
BBQ Fundraiser for the Hands Off Honduras Coalition Sunday, July 24 at 4:00 pm at 121 N. Cedar Lake Rd., Minneapolis, (This is the home of Emily Peabody) We will have food and beer, recorded music. Suggested donation - $6 for food. Directions - from 394 & Penn, go north on Penn to Cedar Lake Rd., turn right, you must go past 121 S. Cedar Lake to get to 121 N. Cedar Lake Rd. The house sits back from the street and up above the street. Phone - 612-926-7197. --------13 of 16-------- Time for Impeachment? The Corporate Supreme Court By RALPH NADER CounterPunch July 19, 2011Five Supreme Court Justices--Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito and Kennedy are entrenching, in a whirlwind of judicial dictates, judicial legislating and sheer ideological judgments, a mega-corporate supremacy over the rights and remedies of individuals.
The artificial entity called "the corporation" has no mention in our Constitution whose preamble starts with "We the People," not "We the Corporation."
Taken together the decisions are brazenly over-riding sensible precedents, tearing apart the state common law of torts and blocking class actions, shoving aside jury verdicts, limiting people's "standing to sue", pre-empting state jurisdictions--anything that serves to centralize power and hand it over to the corporate conquistadores.
Here are some examples. (For more see thecorporatecourt.com). Remember the disastrous Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska's Prince William Sound twenty two years ago? It destroyed marine life and the livelihoods of many landowners, fishermen and native Alaskans. Its toxic effects continue to this day.
Well, after years of litigation by Alaskan fishermen, the Supreme Court took the case to review a $5 billion award the trial court had assessed in punitive damages. A 5 to 3 decision lowered the sum to $507.5 million which is less than what Exxon made in interest by delaying the case for twenty years. Moreover, the drunken Exxon captain's oil tanker calamity raised the price of gasoline at the pump for awhile. Exxon actually made a profit despite its discharge of 50 million gallons.
The unelected, life-tenured corporate court was just getting started and every year they tighten the noose of corporatism around the American people.
In Bush v. Gore (5-4 decision), the Court picked the more corporate president of the United States in 2000, leaving constitutional scholars thunderstruck at this breathtaking seizure of the electoral process, stopping the Florida Supreme Court's ongoing state-wide recount. The five Republican Justices behaved as political hacks conducting a judicial coup d'Ãtat.
But then what do you expect from justices like Thomas and Scalia who participate in a Koch brothers' political retreat or engage in extrajudicial activities that shake the public confidence in the highest court of the land.
Last year came the Citizens United v. FEC case where the Republican majority went out of its way to decide a question that the parties to the appeal never asked. In a predatory "frolic and detour," the 5 justices declared that corporations (including foreign companies) no longer have to obey the prohibitory federal law and their own court's precedents.
Corporations like Pfizer, Aetna, Chevron, GM, Citigroup, Monsanto can spend unlimited funds (without asking their shareholders) in independent expenditures to oppose or support candidates for public office from a local city council election to federal Congressional and Presidential elections.
Once again our judicial dictatorship has spoken for corporate privilege and power overriding the rights of individual voters.
Eighty percent of the American people, reported a Washington Post poll, reject the Court's view that a business corporation is entitled to the same free speech rights as citizens.
Chances are very high that in cases between workers and companies, consumers and companies, communities and corporations, tax payers and military contractors--big business wins.
Inanimate corporations created by state government charters have risen as Frankensteins to control the people through one judicial activist decision after another. It was the Supreme Court in 1886 that started treating a corporation as a "person" for purposes of the equal protection right in the fourteenth amendment. Actually the scribe manufactured that conclusion in the headnotes even though the Court's opinion did not go that far. But then it was off to the races. These inanimate giants, astride the globe, have privileges and immunities that "We the People" can only dream about, yet they have equal constitutional rights with us (except for the right against self-incrimination (Fifth Amendment) and more limited privacy rights.)
What is behind these five corporate Justices' decisions is a commercial philosophy that big business knows best for you and your children. These Justices intend to drive this political jurisprudence to further extremes, so long as they are in command, to twist our founders clear writings that the Constitution was for the supremacy of human beings.
To see how extreme the five corporate justices are, consider the strong contrary view of one of their conservative heroes, the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist in a case where a plurality of justices threw out a California regulation requiring an insert in utility bills inviting residential ratepayers to band together to advance their interests against Pacific Gas and Electric. The prevailing justices said--get this--that it violated the electric company monopoly's first amendment right to remain silent and not respond to the insert's message.
Conservative Justice Rehnquist's dissent contained these words--so totally rejected by the present-day usurpers: "Extension of the individual freedom of conscience decisions to business corporations strains the rationale of those cases beyond the breaking point. To ascribe to such artificial entities an "intellect" or "mind" for freedom of conscience purposes is to confuse metaphor with reality."
It was left to another conservative jurist, the late Justice Byron White, dissenting in the corporatist decision First Nat'l Bank v. Bellotti (1978) to recognize the essential principle.
Corporations, Justice White wrote, are "in a position to control vast amounts of economic power which may, if not regulated, dominate not only the economy but also the very heart of our democracy, the electoral process." The state, he continued, has a compelling interest in "preventing institutions which have been permitted to amass wealth as a result of special advantages extended by the State for certain economic purposes from using that wealth to acquire an unfair advantage in the political processâ. The state need not permit its own creation to consume it." (emphasis added)
Never have I urged impeachment of Supreme Court justices. I do so now, for the sake of ending the Supreme Court's corporate-judicial dictatorship that is not accountable under our system of checks and balance in any other way.
Ralph Nader is the author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!, a novel. --------14 of 16-------- Obama's Latest Act of Political Cowardice Dumping Elizabeth Warren By RALPH NADER CounterPunch July 18, 2011To dump Elizabeth Warren, the most qualified, most motivated and most articulate candidate for the directorship of the Consumer Financial Regulatory Bureau is an act of political cowardliness by President Obama and a boon to anti-consumer Republicans and their corporate paymasters in Wall Street.
Elizabeth Warren apparently is just too good, too smart, and too able to arouse the just concerns of millions of American families about the need to put the law-and-order wood to the corporate criminals, defrauders and reckless speculators with the savings and pensions of millions of Americans.
President Obama should realize that his back-of-the-hand attitude to his liberal and progressive supporters â who sent him to the White House â can have consequences. He believes they have no where to go. But they do. They can stay home in 2012, as so many did in 2010 to the detriment of the Democrats and many Congressional races.
Ralph Nader is the author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!, a novel. --------15 of 16-------- How the Democrats Are Sinking Themselves Blowing It By DAVE LINDORFF CounterPunch July 18, 2011The smoking ruin that is the the Obama White House, and the rotting corpse that is the Democratic Party, have, incredibly, together been boxed into a corner by, of all things, the certifiably insane Republican Party.
This amazing situation has resulted not through any brilliant strategy on the part of the Republicans, but by the self-inflicted wounds of the Democrats.
Faced with a collapsing economy that is at serious risk of performing a reprise of the Great Depression, Congressional Democrats and President Obama were in a perfect position to grab the flag and run home with it by declaring war on unemployment and on the party that has unequivocally declared itself openly to be the standard bearer of the wealthy and powerful.
All the president and Congressional Democrats had to do was announce that Social Security, Medicare, education and programs to protect the poor were all off limits in any discussion of the federal budget, and to declare an immediate 25% cut in military spending, as called for earlier by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee.
How hard would that have been to do? The polls show it's what the public wants. Any elected official who did this, particularly someone elected and re-elected as a Democrat, would have been hailed by voters for such a bold action.
According to a Pew Research Center poll conducted in late May and released June 11, 60% of Americans correctly attribute the nation's enormous deficit primarily to military spending, which eats up 52% of every tax dollar(Social Security and Medicare are entirely funded by separate payroll taxes, and not only have not contributed a single dollar to the federal deficit, but have been routinely borrowed from by the government to finance the deficit in the government's operating budget caused by military spending). Only 24% blame the deficit on domestic spending other than military (and probably every one of those is a Republican or right-wing independent who likely believes that the earth was created 6000 years ago, and is flat, and who will never vote Democratic no matter what).
That same poll showed that the vast majority of Americans (73%) object to proposals to cut the budget by reducing federal funding for social programs, or federal funding to the states for education, or by reducing Social Security benefits (59%), for example by raising the retirement age.
What the Pew poll finds Americans do support is raising the cap on income subject to the Social Security Tax (FICA), from its current meager level of $106,000, to cover all income (66% in favor). They also favor raising taxes on those households that earn more than $250,000 a year (65% in favor), and they favor getting rid of tax deductions for corporations, which have allowed many wildly profitable companies like Exxon, GE and News Corp to pay no corporate taxes despite earning billions of dollars in profits (62% in favor). They also overwhelmingly favor reducing America's military operations overseas, where the US currently maintains over 800 bases in countries all over the world, including wealthy allies such as Europe and Japan (62% in favor).
After being deluged with poorly written, simplistic and often ideologically-driven news stories all year hyping the supposed budget "crisis," the percentage of Americans who say they are worried about the budget deficit has crept up from 24% to 28%, but far more Americans say they are worried about the jobs crisis (38%, up from 34% in March).
If you were a political advisor in the White House, or in the Democratic Congressional Committee or the Democratic National Committee, one would think that seeing those numbers, the strategy going forward would be obvious: declare the country to be facing New Depression, call the Republican Party out as a bunch of know-nothings, end the wars, bring the troops home, slash military spending, call for higher taxes on the rich, and, in Congress, introduce a public jobs program every day of every week, forcing the Republicans to vote them down, one after another through the next election day.
But the Democratic Party, as I said, is a rotting corpse, and it certainly is not an organization that sees itself as fighting for the common man and woman.
As for the White House political team, and the president himself, they seem to have long since lost their grip on reality.
The president has been hanging around with Wall Street bankers, taking their money and their self-serving ideas, for so long now he actually thinks like them. Congressional Democrats, like their Republican colleagues, are so covetous of corporate campaign cash and lobbyist perks that, with a few exceptions, they can't imagine crossing any corporate interests.
This is not a case of Democrats being stupid. You'd have to be far worse than stupid not to see the correct political strategy to adopt at this point.
What has happened is that the Democratic Party is no more. It is, at this point, all about current incumbents gaining the favor of the corporate elite, lulling the public into a non-voting torpor or stupor, and of course, arguing that people worried about the nation's future should vote for them yet again because "the Republicans are worse."
In a press conference on Friday, President Obama made some incredible statements, all demonstrably untrue. He said "We are all part of the same country," and yet he surely knows that when it comes to the leaders of America's biggest corporations, including GE, whose chairman Jeffrey Immelt he appointed to head his Jobs Council, this is demonstrably false. While many of these leaders may be Americans by birth, the companies they run and represent earn the majority of their revenues and profits from operations abroad, and are thus, technically speaking, foreign enterprises, with foreign interests that trump any US interests. Obama said, "We are all in this together," speaking of the supposed debt "crisis," but of course, he has announced himself ready to cut Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid programs, upon which poor and working class families depend, while leaving the rich largely unscathed. He has said it is the "will of the people" to cut the budget, but to the extent that that is even true, which is highly debatable, the will of the people is actually to cut military spending, not to cut Social Security or Medicare or even budgets for education or Medicaid.
The good news is that an increasing number of Americans appear to be finally realizing that this president is a fraud--a shill for bankers, the corporate interests and the neo-con military establishment who has just been posing as a man of the people.
The bad news is that there is little likelihood of any Third Party arising before 2012 that could seriously contest the national election, meaning that we are probably headed for either more of the same or a for Republican-led government.
The hope has to be that the blatant sell out of the public interest and the national interest by both parties and by the president is becoming so self-evident that the American public will actually wake up from its media-induced somnolence and will abandon them both.
The institutional obstacles to such an unprecedented rebellion are of course enormous, but then, these are unprecedented times.
DAVE LINDORFF is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent, collectively-owned, journalist-run, reader-supported online alternative newspaper.
--------16 of 16-------- Debt Roulette The Big Rollback By MICHAEL BRENNER CounterPunch July 15 - 17, 2011Washington is hyper-ventilating at the prospect of a failure to meet the deadline for raising the national debt limit. Technically speaking, that indeed would create a grave situation with immeasurable consequences. For the United States will have no legal authority to pay its bills â including the interest on its trillions of debt. A large portion of that debt is in the form of Treasury securities and is held by foreign governments, most notably China and Japan. The commonly held view is that this dire state of affairs is due to partisan party conflict with both Democrats and Republicans holding the national interest hostage to their own selfish interests. This depiction of things, which is purveyed by all the media, has been reinforced even by President Obama who, for his own personal olitical reasons in posing as the intrepid defender of the national welfare who stands above the squabbling politicians on both sides. The White House imprimatur notwithstanding, this is a false representation of what is happening.
The grim truth is that one political party (and only one) â the Republican â has broken with the ethic of responsibility that until now has governed thinking and behavior on the public debt. The Federal government's obligation to meet its financial obligations to honor debt never before has been questioned. The notion that some partisan faction should threaten the solvency of the United States by blocking technical requirements unless its parochial aims were accepted did not enter the mind of legislators.
Times have changed. The radical reactionaries who now control the Republican Party (e.g. Eric Cantor) are threatening in effect to bring down the financial structure of the United States. They insist that their agenda of drastic measures to return the American economy, and large swaths of social policy too, to the postulated heyday of the 1920s be enacted. Remarkably, they have succeeded in getting the country to see this reckless ploy in terms of a contest between the two parties rather than as the Republicans playing fast and loose with America's health and well-being. Moreover, they have intimidated the Democrats in Congress into a reticence that permits the Republicans to get away with this historic and unprecedented power grab.
As for President Obama, he has played along insofar as he has declined to condemn in stark terms the Republican blackmail - or even state what their reckless game is. Instead, he has bought the formulation that the crisis is all about budget deficits and the needs for long-term spending cuts. This makes no sense politically or in terms of economic policy since it is a guaranteed formula for ensuring a decade at least of economic anemia. Above all, it absolves the Republicans of accountability for their unconscionable conduct. It seems that Obama's overriding consideration is that this spin strategy will improve his chances for reelection. Whether that appraisal is correct or not, it does not auger well for the health of the Republic. He only benefit so long as most voters remain ignorant of the dismaying truth that they are being taken for a ride.
For Mr. Obama already has agreed to sacrifice Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. He has done so on specious financial grounds. Those dedicated trust funds are not in deficit; they do not contribute one dollar to the current deficits. Quite the contrary. The accounting device (legal) built into the federal budget numbers consolidates the standard budget, which draws its revenues from the IRS and makes expenditures through legislative appropriations, with those first two trust funds. The latter are financed by the FICA withholdings and make automatic payments according to stipulated formulas. They receive more than they expend. When that flow begins to reverse, there will still be a surplus in the Social Security Trust Fund to last until 2040 â even without modest adjustments like raising the earnings ceiling for FICA withholdings. But the siphoning of monies from the trust funds to the standard budget also will reverse itself.
The way the dodge has worked is that money taken from the S
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