Archive for sequester

Open your eyes, voters-- U.S. Attorney: “We’re OK now but at some point that will cease to be true.”

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open your eyes smaller

Crackerjack move, Republicans, keep it up. Continue to reveal what true geniuses you are. See, by slashing federal jobs, by cutting resources needed to litigate important matters that affect all of us, you're allowing bad guys to skate. America first! Go GOP!

Then again, since when have Republicans worried about the commission of financial crimes (or war crimes, for that matter)? In fact, this situation, in and of itself, is a crime.

Via Bloomberg:

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said a federal hiring freeze is threatening his office’s ability to carry out its job of prosecuting financial and other crimes.

People are going to get away,” Bharara said today at a Practising Law Institute event in New York. “We’re OK now but at some point that will cease to be true.”

Other governmental departments and offices have faced financial constraints as a result of federal budget cuts known as sequestration. Bharara said he’s not able to replace prosecutors who leave through normal attrition.

When do voters open their eyes widely enough to notice that the GOP is and has been terrible for this country? Between...

  • limiting the ability to prosecute crimes,
  • limiting women's (and everyone else's) ability to get health care,
  • limiting Americans' ability to vote,
  • limiting the little guys' ability to fight corporations,
  • limiting immigrants' ability to make it here and contribute to the nation and its economy,
  • limiting the LGBT community's ability to acquire the same rights and protections as the straight community,
  • limiting children's ability to get a decent public education,
  • limiting families' ability to eat,
  • limiting workers' ability to join unions and collectively bargain for workplace rights,
  • limiting all our ability to generally attain equal rights and equal pay,
  • limiting the president's ability to simply get his cabinet and judicial nominees through...

...between all of that, self-serving, shortsighted Republicans have shown that they are intent on destroying everyone and everything except the things that benefit them directly.

Open. Your. Eyes. America! Vote Democratic in 2014.

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Despite Pres. Obama Beating Back Barbarians at the Gate, #Sequestration Is Still Harming Many Americans

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cancel the sequester

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

Yes indeed, with "The Tea Party and the Economy: It's Like Putting an Arsonist in Charge of the Fire Department."  Paul Krugman also opined on the ruinous impact of the rabid Right Wing in a column, "The Damage Done":

Elections have consequences, and one consequence of Republican victories in the 2010 midterms has been a still-weak economy when we could and should have been well on the way to full recovery.

But why have Republican demands so consistently had a depressing effect on the economy?

Part of the answer is that the party remains determined to wage top-down class warfare in an economy where such warfare is particularly destructive.

Think of Obama's sudden emergence of spine as having kept the dam of the American economy from bursting, wreaking havoc throughout the nation -- with a devastating global impact had the nation defaulted.  Yet, due to the Tea Party (financed largely by the likes of the Koch Brothers) and Republican Ayn Randians such as Paul Ryan and the opportunistic Ted Cruz (along with the less fanatic, but, nonetheless, austerity-driven Mitch McConnell) the dam is still leaking like a sieve.  It hasn't burst, but the jury is still out on whether or not the dam will break open from all the holes blasted open by the alliance of libertarian oligarchs with neo-Confederate populists.

Let's look at just one example: sequestration.  The Republicans in Congress insisted on potential sequestration (automatic cuts in the domestic and military budgets) as a condition of raising the debt in 2011. [...]

This summer, the AFL-CIO blog listed "25 Ways the Sequester Causes Real Harm to Real People." These include: "kids kicked out of Head Start"; "increased homelessness"; "elderly adults not being able to eat"; "loss of unemployment benefits"; and much more damage to a large swath of US citizens, not to mention the economy. [...]

Given that the Republicans in Congress continue to oppose new sources of revenue (higher taxes on the rich and the closing of corporate and financial institution loopholes, along with perhaps some financial transaction taxes), the likelihood of the austerity juggernaut continuing is high.

Basically, the federal budget and debt have been negotiated since Reagan largely on Republican terms...

Please read the entire post here.

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Essential? Boehner’s office orders exclusive gyms for Congress members to stay open during #GOPshutdown

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can we talk

John Boehner, you and the rest of us "need to have a conversation."

The GOP shutdown has denied fallen soldiers survivor's benefits.

The GOP shutdown has disrupted Head Start.

The GOP shutdown has halted loans to small businesses.

The GOP shutdown has furloughed thousands and thousands of government workers.

The GOP shutdown has denied cancer patients clinical trial treatment.

Via Think Progress, here's what the GOP shutdown kept open, because apparently this was deemed "essential":

[E]xclusive gyms available only to members of Congress have remained open throughout the shutdown.

A House aide confirmed to ThinkProgress that the House member’s gym is open. The House gym features a swimming pool, basketball courts, paddleball courts, a sauna, a steam room and flat screen TVs. While towel service is unavailable, taxpayers remain on the hook for cleaning and maintenance, which has been performed daily throughout the shutdown. There are also costs associated with the power required to heat the pools and keep the lights on.

According to the aide, the decision to keep the gym open — even while other critical government services were shelved — came directly from Speaker Boehner’s office. Meanwhile, the staff gym available to Congressional staff has been closed.

Yes, we most certainly "need to have a conversation."

But, whew! At least Paul Ryan's Very Important Routine won't be disrupted:

Via Gregg Segal for TIMEVia Gregg Segal for TIME

More at the link.

can we talk 95 percent v top 5 percent

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New Mom With Stage IV Cancer Denied Promising Treatment Due to #GOPShutdown: "This Is a Matter of Life or Death"

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life death

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

Michelle Langbehn, 30, has a one-year-old daughter.  She also has stage IV sarcoma, with a life expectancy of one year.  That is unless she is able to beat the odds as a result of promising new treatment undergoing clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

But Langbehn, according to the Washington Post (WP), won't be receiving the treatment that she was scheduled for due to the House GOP not passing a new federal budget.  The resultant cutbacks at NIH (for what are deemed non-essential services) have stopped clinical trials dead in their tracks. [...]

She has a message for Congress as she told the WP:

I want to tell them that lives are at stake. This isn't just a matter of inconvenience. This is a matter of life or death. I’m not just doing this for myself. There are 200 people that are trying to get into clinical trials each week. I want to speak for all of us.

[...]

RT online reports that some of the cancer patients denied clinical trial treatment are children [...]

There is no guarantee that the clinical trial Langbehn is being denied because of the House GOP government shutdown will prolong her life indefinitely, but it does provide a great deal of promise and hope -- to her young daughter and family.

"Lives are at stake," she told the WP -- and indeed they are.

Please read the entire post here.

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VIDEO: Andrea Mitchell clashes with GOP Rep. Duffy over military death benefits, #GOPshutdown, #Obamacare

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andrea mitchell vs sean duffy

As Paddy said to me on the phone, this is about as close as we'll ever get to Andrea Mitchell saying "F*** you" to someone. I was right there with her, he was obnoxious. The look on her face in my screen grab above says it all:

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Here are some excerpts: Andrea Mitchell:

We are now in day eight of the government shutdown that we have been told was unthinkable and wouldn't happen. Now we learn that the families of our soldiers killed in Afghanistan are being denied benefits because of this colossal failure of leadership. [Please read David's post, U.S. Shutdown Denies Fallen Soldiers Survivor's Benefits] How do you tell that to the families whose loved ones gave their lives for all of us?...

But the larger point, Congressman Duffy, is these mini CRs-- mini continuing resolutions-- that's the whole question of taking little pieces of the government. The issue is not that this is a small matter, it's a very big matter, but so is the matter of the kids in Head Start.

So is the problem of the single moms who aren't getting food stamps and aren't getting their help.

So down the road are the survivors benefits and that fund is going to run out in weeks if not months.

So you can't take this piecemeal, Congressman. Isn't the issue that someone has to sit down and figure out what to do about the stalemate that has led to this disgrace?...

Congressman, you're asking him -- that's a nonnegotiable demand. Why not sit down and negotiate over entitlement reform, which is something you all have been demanding and that he has offered in his initial budget? You're putting on the table a nonnegotiable demand.

Then Duffy went on a rant blaming the media for, well, everything. That didn't sit too well with Andrea Mitchell.

We've asked questions of both sides. that's not fair.

But Duffy kept ranting and browbeating.

Mitchell:

With all due respect, this is about military death benefits to kids, 19-year-old kids who died in Afghanistan and who are not returning home, this is about what their families are entitled to by law and what they are not getting.

This is not about what you want in Obamacare and not about what the president wants on the debt ceiling.

Duffy:

Don't spin that on me.

Pot. Kettle. Spin.

Mitchell:

You consider it a small ask that he gets rid of the central part of his health care plan that was upheld by the vote, of a presidential election and the United States Supreme Court?

Duffy:

Andrea, hold on. That's your spin.

Mitchell:

That's not spin.

Deaf ears, Andrea, deaf ears...

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Former Maine Senator Olympia Snowe: There must be "a counterweight to the extremism"

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bipartisan

Video added:

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Former Maine Republican Senator Olympia Snowe has an op-ed in today's Los Angeles Times about the "calamitous capacity for dysfunction" in the legislative branch of government. She's a firm believer in enacting laws "that genuinely improve the lives of" Americans, but sadly, the "corrosive political environment" is making that impossible.

Cooperation was once "the norm," but now, not so much; collaboration is fast becoming a thing of the past as Congress lurches from one crisis to another.

However, she ends her piece on a hopeful note, calling for a groundswell of grassroots support for bipartisanship. In the current hostile political environment, good luck with that. But who knows? We the People do have the power to create change, so there is a glimmer of hope:

Ultimately, we get the government we demand.

What is required is a political reward at the ballot box for those politicians who work toward common ground, and a penalty for those who do not. That's my message now. And to further it, I've established Olympia's List, a rallying point for those interested in identifying and supporting candidates who are willing to reach across the political aisle and follow the principles of consensus-building. And at the Bipartisan Policy Center, where I am a senior fellow, we are encouraging Americans to join a new effort called Citizens for Political Reform to demand bipartisanship.

There are already plenty of incentives for incendiary rhetoric and thwarting action. We can alter those incentives. What is necessary now is a counterweight to the extremism, a groundswell of recognition that there is strength in compromise, courage in conciliation and honor in consensus-building that will leave a legacy of responsible stewardship for the generations to come.

bipartisanship1Note: Edited to correct.

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Repubs to La. -- Don't Worry About Hurricane Karen, Gov. Shutdown No Problem

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What, me worry

But Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) tweeted Friday there was "no negative impact trickling down from the government shutdown."

Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) echoed that sentiment, telling National Review that he did not "think that many of my constituents even know that there is a shutdown — or even care."

Well, that's saying a lot about your constituency. Don't they have newspapers, radio or television down in the Gulf coast area? Or is it you, Rep. Fleming, who's unaware of the shutdown? You voted for it and continue to do so. You voted to shut down FEMA which annually makes loans available to your storm-ravaged area. You don't you think your people are paying attention? Ask the Katrina survivors? You might just be surprised when you run for re-election in 2014. Be worried if they come up to you and say you're doing a heck of a job, Brownie.

Perhaps the reason these two Louisiana elected officials aren't worrying about the safety of their folks back home facing a possible Hurricane Karen is because of responsible, Democratic action, not their Republican party's. The disaster-relief safety net (FEMA), despite all of GOP game playing with governmental funding has been covered, along with Louisiana's collective derrieres.

THE HILL:

The White House announced Friday it had recalled and deployed federal liaisons to emergency operation centers in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. It also recalled staff from furlough to a supply distribution center in Atlanta and activated its national response coordination center in Washington.

Of course, Mr. Vitter and Mr. Fleming, there's no problem. The Obama White House, not your Republicans fixed it. Somehow that got lost in the messages sent out by you two. I'm sure you'll be correcting that... soon. But no rush. According to Congressman Fleming's words, the folks back home don't even know what's going on, or care.

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