Archive for held hostage

VIDEO: President Obama accuses Republicans of extortion

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obama talks debt ceiling

Via FreakOutNation

One more time, the debt ceiling is not about authorizing new spending, it is authorizing the government to pay the bills on what they already spent, on what they owe. If the GOP thinks that's a problem, then I'd love to see how they handle their own debt and how many bill collectors come knocking on their hypocritical doors once they're back home during one of their eleventy thousand recesses.

President Obama zeroed in on the usual, tiresome, destructive Republican obstructionism, or as they call it, "bargaining." The president (rightfully) has another word for it: "extortion":

And if there is a budget package that includes the debt ceiling vote, it's not the debt ceiling that is driving the negotiations; it's just it's stuck into the budget negotiations, because if you're going to take a bunch of tough votes anyway, you might as well go ahead and stick that in there.

You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt ceiling being used to extort a President or a governing party, and trying to force issues that have nothing to do with the budget and have nothing to do with the debt.

So here's where we are — and I think this is the bottom line, and I want to make sure everybody is clear here. I have presented a budget that deals with — continues to deal with our deficit effectively. I am prepared to work with Democrats and Republicans to deal with our long-term entitlement issues. And I am prepared to look at priorities that the Republicans think we should be promoting and priorities that they think we should be — we shouldn't be promoting. So I'm happy to negotiate with them around the budget, just as I've done in the past.

What I will not do is to create a habit, a pattern, whereby the full faith and credit of the United States ends up being a bargaining chip to set policy. It's irresponsible.

The last time we did this in 2011, we had negative growth at a time when the recovery was just trying to take off. And it would fundamentally change how American government functions.

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Hoyer: "You cannot... get our country on a fiscally sustainable path without additional revenues." Well, if he insists...

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Via FreakOutNation

Via FreakOutNation

Revenues are swell-- mandatory, in fact-- but Steny Hoyer also said that President Obama and the Dems are ready to accept significant spending cuts, or as The Hill called them, reductions. Define "significant" por favor. "Significant" cuts to Medicare? Social Security? Those reductions?

Meantime, Republicans are pleased as punch with themselves and their threats to shut down the government. Crash that economy! Go-o-o GOP! Rah! America first! Aren't they just totes adorbs?

cheerleader6

Via The Hill:

Rejecting GOP ultimatums, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that new revenues must accompany spending cuts as Congress prepares to jump headfirst into a series of high-stakes budget debates. [...]

Hoyer, the Democratic whip, said it's "categorically not true" that the last deal takes new revenues off the table in the coming talks.

"I certainly reject it out of hand," Hoyer said during his weekly Capitol press briefing. "You cannot get to where we need to get — to get our country on a fiscally sustainable path — without additional revenues."

It starts to get comical now, because Eric Cantor opened his big mouth and this WTF Moment fell out:

"It’s time for President Obama to stop putting our credit rating at risk and acknowledge we need a credible deficit reduction plan attached to any increase in the debt limit."

I'msorrywhat?

That would be the spending that Congress approved, that Congress put on the Giant U.S. Visa card, the bills they racked up and voted for, the same ones Republicans are now refusing to pay now that they're coming due.

They are the ones who are willing to hold everyone in the country hostage and put our reputation and the world economy at risk in order to get their ridiculous, disastrous spending cuts. It's all explained in this post: You are about to enter another dimension, a dangerous land of debt ceiling negotiation. Next stop, the Deadbeat Zone!

All the projection in the universe won't convince America that it is the president who is playing with lives when it is those on the right who have publicly and proudly said they are using the debt ceiling as leverage, as ransom. Stick that in your debt deal and smoke it, Cantor.

seriously, stfu

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VIDEO: President Obama On Debt, Guns- Full Press Conference

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obama presser january 14, 2013

Via UpTakeVideo:

President Obama holds a press conference to mark the end of his first term and answers questions about the upcoming fight over the debt ceiling with Republicans in Congress and potential legislation or executive orders to prevent gun violence.

Asked about the upcoming deadline to raise the debt ceiling, President Obama said the debt ceiling is not about authorizing any new spending, it is authorizing the government to pay the bills for the expenses it has already incurred. He said not doing so would be like going out to eat and then deciding to not to pay the bill.

He also said that the start of his second term was a good time to stop negotiating with congress about fiscal matters "through crisis."

Full transcript here:

"I want to be clear about this: The debt ceiling is not a question of authorizing more spending. Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending. It simply allows the country to pay for spending that Congress has already committed to. These are bills that have already been racked up, and we need to pay them. So while I’m willing to compromise and find common ground over how to reduce our deficits, America cannot afford another debate with this Congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they’ve already racked up.

"If congressional Republicans refuse to pay America’s bills on time, Social Security checks and veterans’ benefits will be delayed. We might not be able to pay our troops or honor our contracts with small business owners. Food inspectors, air traffic controllers, specialists who track down loose nuclear materials wouldn’t get their paychecks. Investors around the world will ask if the United States of America is in fact a safe bet. Markets could go haywire. Interest rates would spike for anybody who borrows money, every homeowner with a mortgage, every student with a college loan, every small business owner who wants to grow and hire. It would be a self-inflicted wound on the economy. It would slow down our growth, might tip us into recession, and ironically, would probably increase our deficit.

So to even entertain the idea of this happening, of the United States of America not paying its bills, is irresponsible. It’s absurd.

"The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip.

"... What you can count on is, is that the things that I’ve said in the past -- the belief that we have to have stronger background checks, that we can do a much better job in terms of keeping these magazine clips with high capacity out of the hands of folks who shouldn’t have them, an assault weapons ban that is meaningful -- that those are things I continue to believe make sense. (Inaudible) -- will all of them get through this Congress? I don’t know.

"Well, Chuck, the issue here is whether or not America pays its bills. We are not a deadbeat nation. And so there’s a very simple solution to this. Congress authorizes us to pay our bills.

Now if the House and the Senate want to give me the authority so that they don’t have to take these tough votes, if they want to put the responsibility on me to raise the debt ceiling, I’m happily (sic) to take it. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, had a proposal like that last year, and I’m happy to accept it.

"But there’s one way to get around this. There’s one way to deal with it, and that is for Congress to authorize me to pay for those items of spending that they have already authorized. And you know, the notion that Republicans in the House or maybe some Republicans in the Senate would suggest that in order for us to get our way on our spending priorities that we would risk the full faith and credit of the United States -- that, I think, is not what the founders intended. That’s not how I think most Americans think our democracy should work.

"Congress has not been able to identify $1.2 trillion in cuts that they’re happy with, because these same Republicans say they don’t want to cut defense. They claim that they don’t want to gut Medicare or harm the vulnerable, but the truth of the matter is, is that you can’t meet their own criteria without drastically cutting Medicare or having an impact on Medicaid or affecting our defense spending. So the math just doesn’t add up.

"I mean, this is not a complicated concept. You don’t go out to dinner and then, you know, eat all you want and then leave without paying the check. And if you do, you’re breaking the law... If Congress wants to have a debate about maybe we shouldn’t go out to dinner next time, maybe we should go to a more modest restaurant, that’s fine.

"We’ve got to stop lurching from crisis to crisis to crisis when there’s this clear path ahead of us that simply requires some discipline, some responsibility and some compromise.

"I’m confident that there are some steps that we can take that don’t require legislation and that are within my authority as president... I think, for example, how we are gathering data, for example, on guns that fall into the hands of criminals and how we track that more effectively -- there may be some steps that we can take administratively, as opposed -- through legislation.

As far as people lining up and purchasing more guns, you know, I think that we’ve seen for some time now that those who oppose any common-sense gun control or gun safety measures have a pretty effective way of ginning up fear on the part of gun owners that somehow the federal government’s about to take all your guns away. And you know, that -- there’s probably an economic element to that. It obviously is good for business.

But I think that, you know, those of us who look at this problem have repeatedly said that responsible gun owners, people who have a gun for protection, for hunting, for sportsmanship -- they don’t have anything to worry about. The issue here is not whether or not we believe in the Second Amendment.

The issue is, are there some sensible steps that we can take to make sure that somebody like the individual in Newtown can’t walk into a school and gun down a bunch of children in a -- in a shockingly rapid fashion? And surely we can do something about that... I think it’s a fear that’s fanned by those who are -- are worried about the possibility of any legislation getting out there.

"You know, when I’m over here at the congressional picnic and folks are coming up and taking pictures with their family, I promise you, Michelle and I are very nice to them, and we have a wonderful time -- (scattered laughter) -- but it doesn’t prevent them from going under the floor of the House and, you know, blasting me for being a big-spending socialist."

At the end, the president said this:

"...Personal relationships are important, and obviously I can always do a better job, and the nice thing is, is that now that my girls are getting older, they don’t want to spend that much time with me anyway. (Laughter.) So I’ll be probably calling around, looking for somebody to play cards with or something, OK, I -- because I’m getting kind of lonely in this big house."

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VIDEO-- Peggy Noonan: "People are buying guns like crazy now. Not because they're nutty..."

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condescendingVia

Good grief, speaking of "nutty," can Peggy Noonan sound any more sanctimonious? Her level of "concern" and condescension is only surpassed by her phony sincerity and inability to stick to facts.

Thankfully, Paul Krugman was there to counter all that with reality checks and reason.

From the ABC transcript:

NOONAN: I think it should be noted that we have a president. I think it should be noted that he should be sitting down and talking with those who would move -- attempt to move forward on spending. I consider it unusual that this president can never make a deal with those folks.

KRUGMAN: But this is not something you negotiate over. You do not negotiate with hostage-takers. That's the White House position. They're right about that. You just don't negotiate on this. You can negotiate on the sequester, you can negotiate on taxes, but not on someone who is threatening to blow up the world economy if he doesn't get his way.

NOONAN: My goodness. That appeared to be the White House attitude on the fiscal cliff just a month or two ago.

KRUGMAN: It's very different.

NOONAN: Why can nothing ever be worked out? We do have a president. We do have legislative leaders. We do what should be noted, have a spending crisis in America. It is not an eccentric thing to worry about the amount of spending that America does. The income, the outcome and the long-term promises.

KRUGMAN: This is really -- this is a doomsday -- this is really saying I will blow up the world unless you give me what I want. And you don't negotiate on that.

***

NOONAN: Yes, two things I'd like to say, one is that people are buying guns like crazy now. Not because they're nutty, not enough because they're angry, but because I really think they fear their country is falling apart.

It's defensive and it's something that I think we all have to be talking about. There's so much anxiety out in America. And they also fear their government.

Second thing, I guess connected to that, leave gun control and gun reform issues in the Congress of the United States, the president should not be issuing executive orders in this area. It would really be unwise and it will cause great problems, I would think. [...]

STEPHANOPOULOS: It seems that the White House believes that if the president doesn't move quickly, nothing is going to happen.

KRUGMAN: That's right. This is the moment. And he certainly has to be seen to be doing something. And by the way, it is crazy to be out there buying guns right now. People are afraid, you know, the reality of life in America is that it's safer than it has been in decades.

If we walk out of this studio and walk through Manhattan, your chance of getting mugged are less than they have been since, I don't know, 1960. I mean, this is a -- so this is an odd thing, this is a mental state, not about the reality of America.

NOONAN: No, no, no...

KRUGMAN: The big revelation here has been we've realized -- I didn't know, that the NRA is no longer about gun owners. It's actually representing the firearms industry. And that's something we've learned. So...

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You are about to enter another dimension, a dangerous land of debt ceiling negotiation. Next stop, the Deadbeat Zone!

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deadbeat

You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a dangerous land of debt ceiling negotiation. Next stop, the Deadbeat Zone!

But when it comes to that pesky debt ceiling issue, the proverbial platinum coin solution is out, and negotiations are out, which means playing hardball is apparently in.

Via LiveWire, here is White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's statement on the political game-playing:

"There are only two options to deal with the debt limit: Congress can pay its bills or it can fail to act and put the nation into default," said spokesman Jay Carney. "When Congressional Republicans played politics with this issue last time, putting us at the edge of default, it was a blow to our economic recovery, causing our nation’s credit rating to be downgraded. The President and the American people won’t tolerate Congressional Republicans holding the American economy hostage again simply so they can force disastrous cuts to Medicare and other programs the middle class depend on while protecting the wealthy. Congress needs to do its job."

Still, GOP Congress members are once again inanely threatening default. They see nothing wrong with holding everyone in the country hostage to get their precious, and equally inane, spending cuts (read: slashing Medicare, Social Security, among other vital programs at the expense of those who so badly need them). They really are heading down Sociopath Lane these days, are they not?

Sam Stein at HuffPo adds this:

"This now puts all the pressure back where we believe it belongs: on the Republicans," a senior administration official told the Huffington Post. "There are no magic coins. There is no way to get out of this. We feel fine about the politics of it. We think we are in a stronger position if Republicans realize there is no out."

To repeat what should now be clear to every American, but isn't: Approving the debt ceiling means paying off what Congress members themselves have already approved and spent. So Republicans are refusing to pay their own bills. How responsible of them.

CNN:

The debt ceiling needs to be raised periodically because both parties in Congress have approved tax cuts and spending increases over the years, knowing full well they will add to deficits. By doing so, they increase the country's future borrowing needs.

That's why raising the debt ceiling is not a "license to spend more," as some Republicans assert. It simply lets the Treasury Department continue to pay all the country's obligations that Congress has already approved -- whether it's a payment to a federal contractor, a Social Security check to a senior, or interest on the debt to a bond investor.

And by acting like stupid, recalcitrant little toddlers, they're once again putting our reputation and economy, along with the world economy, in danger. Wiki:

[O]n August 5, the credit-rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded the credit rating of US government bond for the first time in the country's history. Markets around the world as well as the three major indexes in the US then experienced their most volatile week since the 2008 financial crisis with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging for 635 points (or 5.6%) in one day. Yields on US Treasuries, however, dropped as investors, anxious over the dismal prospects of the US economic future and the ongoing European sovereign-debt crisis, fled into the safety of US government bonds and bonds of other safe haven economies.

The GOP seems to be vying for former Rep. Joe Walsh's "Deadbeat Dad" title, and that's pretty pathetic.

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VIDEO-- Welcome home Richard Engel. He was held hostage in Syria: "There were mock shootings."

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richard engel hostage in syria, home again

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Welcome home (NBC News correspondent) Richard Engel, from the bottom of my heart. You are a treasure, we worry about you constantly, and value you like crazy.

Nobody, but nobody, reports on wars, revolutions and political transitions the way you do, with such heart and soul, with such a deep and sympathetic understanding of the people you cover.

Now don't scare us like that again. Ever.

More here.

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VIDEO: Eric Cantor, stuff a sock in it

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Please note text at 1:30.

Eric, we have one thing to say: Stop the banter Cantor, stuff a sock in it.

The great debt ceiling debacle of 2011 was the inspiration for this creative collaboration with independent singer-songwriter Russell Miller. For months, we watched as Eric Cantor and the congressional Republicans moved further to the right and held America's future hostage.

We all have to stand up and be heard, take the message loud and clear everywhere that we can. We are continually inspired by the protest songs of the 60's and finally realized that was one way that we could help. Thankfully, Russell Miller shares our passionate belief in this mission.

Lyrics by Russell Miller and Joyce Weaver
Music by Russell Miller
Performed by Russell Miller
Produced and Directed by Fresh Rocket
Edited by Don Weaver
Stuff a Sock Project Conceived by Joyce Weaver and Carole Ann Borges
Join us on Facebook and RussellMiller.FreshRocket.com

Sing along!

H/t: @MBtheZee

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