Why I Voted No on the Deficit Deal

From Reader Supported News:  http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/279-82/6911-why-i-voted-no-on-the-deficit-deal

By Sen. Bernie Sanders, Reader Supported News
05 August 11

$2.5 trillion deficit-reduction deal brokered by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, and President Barack Obama is grotesquely unfair. It also is bad economic policy. In the midst of a terrible recession, it will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.

At a time when the wealthiest people in this country are doing extremely well, and when their effective tax rate is the lowest in decades, the rich won’t contribute one penny more for deficit reduction. When corporate profits are soaring and many giant corporations avoid federal income taxes because of obscene loopholes in the tax code, corporate America will not be asked to contribute one penny more for deficit reduction. On the other hand, working families, children, the sick and the elderly – many of whom are already suffering because of the recession – will shoulder the entire burden.

The corporate media – which, by and large, covered this debate as if it were a baseball game with political “winners and losers” – mostly glossed over the real-life implications of $917 billion in cuts over the next 10 years. Nobody can predict exactly what programs will fall under the knife or say how much they will be cut. Those decisions will be made over the coming months and years by the appropriations committees. But here’s what’s at stake:

  • At a time when there are long waiting lists for affordable childcare and Head Start, it is likely that these programs will be cut significantly.
  • At a time when the United States is falling further and further behind other countries in the quality of our education, it is likely that tens of thousands of teachers and school personnel will be laid off.
  • At a time when working families are finding it harder to send their kids to college, it is likely that there will be cuts in federal student aid programs.
  • At a time when hunger among seniors and children is rising, it is likely that there will be cuts in various nutrition programs.
  • At a time when 50 million Americans have no health insurance and many of them are utilizing community health centers for their medical needs, it is likely that there will be cuts in primary healthcare.
  • At a time when states, cities and towns already laid off over 500,000 public service employees, it is likely that there will be even more police and firefighter layoffs and large reductions in federal support for roads, bridges, water quality, sewage and public transportation.

That’s just for starters. There likely will be cuts in home heating assistance, affordable housing, support for family-based agriculture, and research in finding cures for cancer and other diseases. There likely will be major staffing reductions in agencies charged with protecting the physical health and economic well-being of our people. It is quite likely that the EPA, which enforces clean water and clean air rules, will be cut. The Securities and Exchange Commission, which regulates Wall Street, will be undermined. It is also very possible that the Social Security Administration, which assures that seniors and the disabled receive the benefits to which they are entitled in a timely manner, will also be cut.

That is just the first round of $900 billion in cuts.

In the second phase of the $2.5 trillion package, sweeping new powers are given to a 12-member, evenly-divided House and Senate super committee. The panel’s mandate is to look at every federal government program and come up with $1.5 trillion more in savings. With Republicans and an increasing number of Democrats calling for major cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, all of those programs will be in jeopardy.

If the committee is unable to agree, cuts will happen anyway. A sequestration process would require $500 billion in cuts to defense spending and $500 billion more in across-the-board cuts to domestic discretionary spending. In that scenario, Social Security, Medicare benefits and Medicaid would be spared, but even more draconian cuts would occur in programs that sustain working families.

There is a great irony in all this. The deficit deal does exactly the opposite of what the American people wanted. In poll after poll, the American people said they believe in shared sacrifice. Instead of putting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education and environmental protection on the chopping block, overwhelming majorities say the best way to reduce the deficit is to end tax breaks for the wealthy, big oil, and Wall Street and take a hard look at military spending. What President Obama and Congress did, however was to let the wealthy and large corporations contribute nothing while making major reductions in services for working families and the most vulnerable people in our country.

Enough is enough! The American people must fight back. We need a government which represents all the people, not just the wealthy, campaign contributors and lobbyists. In these tough and discouraging times, despair is not an option. This fight is not just for us, it is for our children and grandchildren and for the environmental survival of the planet.

Tottenham in flames as riot follows protest

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/05/man-shot-police-london-arrest

Man shot dead by police in north London during attempted arrest

Mark Duggan died instantly at scene as ‘exchange of fire’ heard with police after Trident officers stopped minicab

, crime correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Friday 5 August 2011

A father of three died instantly after an apparent exchange of fire when police attempted to arrest him in north London, it emerged on Friday.

A police marksman escaped with his life when a bullet lodged in his radio during the confrontation that ended in the death of Mark Duggan, 29. The Scotland Yard firearms officer was taken to hospital and later released.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is investigating the fatal shooting, said the bullet and a non-police-issue handgun found at the scene had been sent for forensic tests.

IPCC investigators believe two shots were fired by an armed officer. A spokesman for the IPCC said that at around 6.15pm on Thursday officers from Operation Trident, the Metropolitan police unit that deals with gun crime in London’s black communities, with officers from the Specialist Firearms Command (CO19), stopped a minicab to carry out a pre-planned arrest.

“Shots were fired and a 29-year-old man, who was a passenger in the cab, died at the scene,” said the spokesman. Photographic and forensic examination was continuing, and a search for CCTV footage was continuing, the spokesman said. A postmortem examination would be carried out as soon as possible.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/05/man-shot-police-london-arrest

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/06/tottenham-riots-protesters-police

Two police patrol cars, a passenger bus and several shops were attacked and set alight in north London as violence erupted

, , , and The Observer, Sunday 7 August 2011

Two police cars, a bus and ­several shops were attacked and set ablaze in north London on Saturday night as violence and looting erupted following a protest demanding “justice” over a fatal police shooting.

Officers on horseback and others in riot gear clashed with hundreds of ­rioters armed with makeshift missiles in the centre of Tottenham after Mark Duggan, 29, a father of four, was killed on Thursday.

On Sunday morning police said there remained isolated incidents in the Tottenham area involving “a small number of people” and officers were still dealing with those situations. Eight officers were being treated in hospital, one with head injuries, following the violence overnight.

The London Fire Brigade said all fires were now “under control” after trouble spread overnight from Tottenham High Road to Tottenham Hale Retail Park and a supermarket was set on fire.

On Saturday night, rioters broke through police ranks and attempted to storm Tottenham’s police station, pelting officers with bricks, bottles and eggs. As a police helicopter flew over Tottenham High Road, youths in masks and hoods added combustible material to two burned out police cars, included a bundle of documents and an awning ripped down from one of the shops. Some attempted to persuade the rioters to disperse, one young man shouting: “Go home now people.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/06/tottenham-riots-protesters-police

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Israel Protests: Over 250,000 join biggest anti-govt rally in Tel Aviv

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The Tent City of New Jersey: Desperate victims of the economic slump forced to live in makeshift homes in forest

From The Daily Mail UK:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2021173/Americas-city-broken-dreams-50-jobless-destitute-people-set-forest-community-New-Yorks-doorstep.html

By Daily Mail Reporter
2nd August 2011

In scenes reminiscent of the Great Depression these are the ramshackle homes of the desperate and destitute U.S. families who have set up their own ‘Tent City’ only an hour from Manhattan.

More than 50 homeless people have joined the community within New Jersey’s forests as the economic crisis has wrecked their American dream.

And as politicians in Washington trade blows over their country’s £8.8 trillion debt, the prospect of more souls joining this rag tag group grows by the day.

Building their own tarpaulin tents, Native American teepees and makeshift balsa wood homes, every one of the Tent City residents has lost their job.

Welcome to Tent City: The community where ever person has lost their job and home because of the U.S. financial crisis

These people have been reduced to living on handouts from the local church and friendly restaurants and the community is a sad look at troubles caused as the world’s most powerful country struggles with its finances.

‘We have been in and out of the camp for a year,’ said ex-hotel worker Burt Haut, 43, who lives with his wife, ex-teacher Barbara, 48 in a tent styled like a teepee from the Old West.

‘Our financial difficulties since the credit crisis three years ago have caused us to camp on public ground, at the back of churches and down the backs of closed down stores.

‘We have had help from our friends and family, but we have run that well dry.

Continue reading at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2021173/Americas-city-broken-dreams-50-jobless-destitute-people-set-forest-community-New-Yorks-doorstep.html

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Obama Blows a Judas Kiss to the Poor

From Michael Moore:  http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/obama-blows-judas-kiss-to-poor

By Ray McGovern
August 6, 2011

The unconscionable result of the manufactured crisis over the debt ceiling shows that the political Right knows how to play hardball, and that President Obama and his hapless party know how to get rolled.  There are other options; and we, the people, need to press them home.

The Obama-brokered deal on debt and spending was certainly what the Germans call eine schwere Geburt (a difficult birth); this one should have been aborted.

The Obama surrender reminds me of a sermon that Dr. Martin Luther King gave during the turbulent 1950s, in which he peered into the future and issued a prescient warning:

“A nation or a civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.”

In promoting and then signing yesterday the so-called “deficit reduction” legislation, President Barack Obama has placed himself squarely in the ranks of those spiritual-death-dealing, “soft-minded” men about whom Dr. King warned so ominously.

Many dyed-in-the-wool Obama supporters may now summon the courage to let the scales fall from their eyes.  Obama’s one-sided “compromise” so clearly promotes the interests of the wealthy over those of the poor that, in Biblical terms, it can readily be seen — literally — as a God-damned deal.

I want to share some thoughts primarily with those among us — believers and non-believers alike — who shudder at the prospect of our children and our children’s children inheriting a country far different from the one promised by the American Dream, a nation approaching “’spiritual death.”

But wait; hold it one more second, those of you just about to press the “delete” key.  If you are not yet concerned over the growing disparity between the rich and poor in this country, take just one more minute to ponder another warning from Dr. King in the same sermon:

“Passively to accept an unjust system is to cooperate with that system, and thereby to become a participant in its evil.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/obama-blows-judas-kiss-to-poor

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Thom Hartmann: Has AFP election fraud been exposed in WI?

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Reporters say they were attacked by security guards at right-wing conference

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/08/05/reporters-say-they-were-attacked-by-security-guards-at-right-wing-conference/

By Muriel Kane
Friday, August 5th, 2011

Two reporters for ThinkProgress allege that they were “attacked by security guards for no apparent reason” on Thursday at a conference of the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The guards told Scott Keyes and Lee Fang that they had to stop filming and leave the lobby area, but when they attempted to comply, “they approached us, violently pushed us and twisted our arms. A guard approached Fang from behind, tackling him and later bending his arm to take his camera. Keyes, faced similar treatment: two security guards roughed him up on the escalator, taking his video camera, and cutting Keyes’ hand as he attempted to leave the premises. As Keyes asked why he was being forced to leave, he was shoved from the back.”

The guards claimed “they were acting on instructions from ALEC.” The two reporters were able to continue filming part of the incident, and the video does appear to confirm extreme belligerence on the part of the guards.

ThinkProgress had been denied credentials to cover the New Orleans conference, even though they had attended previous events. This may be because ALEC has come under increasing scrutiny recently as the organization which supplies much of the anti-labor and pro-corporate legislation that conservative Republican governors, such as Scott Walker of Wisconsin, have been attempting to enact.

Complete article at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/08/05/reporters-say-they-were-attacked-by-security-guards-at-right-wing-conference/

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