Watering Hole: December 6, 2010 – Say It Ain’t So, Kitty

First, they came for my retirement 401K/IRA.  Then, they devalued my investment properties.  Now, they want to dismantle the only thing between me and living on the streets.  They want my Social Security.

Instead of focusing on a commission to create jobs which would increase tax revenues and increase demands for goods, Obama decided that it was better to go along with the Tea Party’s and Club for Growth wishes reducing Government spending so he opted for a Deficit Commission instead.

So how does the recommendations from the Deficit Commission (Cat Food Commission) effect seniors?  Here’s how…

The plan calls for eliminating most popular tax breaks, while preserving smaller breaks for mortgage interest on primary residences, charitable contributions and employer-paid health insurance. While broadening the tax base, it would lower individual and corporate tax rates from a maximum of 35% to no more than 29%.

It includes higher Medicare copayments and reduced Social Security benefits for many future retirees, as well as an increase in the retirement age from 67, where it’s headed in 2027, to 69 by 2075. Both defense and domestic spending would be slashed, and new rules put in place to lock in those reductions.

Really?  They want you to work until you drop dead on the job.  If you do manage to survive,  there could be a boost for the cat food industry.

Fortunately for Americans, the recommendations did not receive the 14 votes that were needed to move these recommendations to Congress for a vote.  Some members of the commission had this to say:

… co-chair Erskine Bowles (transcribed more or less verbatim). Saying that the the threat of these deficit is “real”, he said: “The solutions will be painful, and there is not easy way out but at the end of this journey America will be a better place.”

The bi-partisan insanity was represented by Senate Budget Chair Kent Conrad: “Other than the terrorist threat to America, this is the greatest threat to America.”

That’s a bit frightening.  In my opinion, high unemployment with few available jobs is a greater threat to America.

This is our Open Thread.  Feel free to Speak Up!

(All politics are local)

Jonathan Tasini at Huffingon Post had more to say…

To Erskine Bowles, who believes that the pain in his plan is needed, and to Kent Conrad who believes that this is the greatest threat to the country aside from terrorism, I say this (from my book, It’s Not Raining, We’re Getting Peed On: The Scam of the Deficit Crisis):

• For thirty years, corporations have shipped jobs abroad, moving millions of good-paying jobs to places where human slavery cost pennies.

• For thirty years, Wall Street drained the foundation of the American Dream, figuring out ways to rip millions of good-paying jobs out of the soul of the country, using leveraged buy-outs to boost stock prices and enrich CEOs under the cover of the “free market” and “efficiency”.

(More excepts from Tasini’s book can be found at the Huffington Post link)

80 thoughts on “Watering Hole: December 6, 2010 – Say It Ain’t So, Kitty

  1. The terrorist threat to America is a red herring taking our attention away from the fact that we are doing exactly what the Soviet Union did.
    We have over extended ourselves with an enormous military presence around the world while failing to recognize our problems at home.
    Afghanistan handed the Soviet Union their ass and the same is about to happen to the U.S. as Obama caves in to the pentagons insatiable lust for an ever increasing military budget and republicans endless deficit spending and tax breaks for the uber wealthy.
    It’s called the graveyard of empires for a reason.

  2. The deficit commission should have been looking at long term infrastructure (read green technology) investments that will help us revive our manufacturing base.

    If they want to fix SS, eliminate the effing cap.

  3. Oh, and yes, Vinyl, the military budget of 750 billion could be reduced by a third by removing our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, shitcanning useless boondoggles like the F22 and de-privatizing the military.

  4. Democrats, under Clinton, eliminated the deficit and began paying down the National Debt.

    Republicans, under Bush, created the current deficit and put this country deeper in debt.

    Now we’re told that the deficit and debt are dire threats to our National Security. Yet we continue to live the lie that Bush made us safer.

    If this is, indeed, such a dire threat, why are we even debating extending any tax cuts?

    It’s all just a show, and I’m getting sick and tired of all this political ______ .

  5. RU, eliminating the SS cap hasn’t even come up in discussions, that I’m aware of. It’s all about reducing benefits and increasing the eligibility age.

  6. Being able to work until I dropped dead was one of the secondary reasons for going into academia. Since, at this point, the likelihood of my ever having a full time job of any sort appears to be nil, that plan has pretty much tanked.

  7. Dr. Herstein,

    I believe that part of our dilemma is the fact that our value system is upside down.
    When I was in China, teachers, doctors and educated individuals are held in very high esteem within their society.
    In the U.S., being a football star or a bankster are our measures of success.
    It is upside down because it is blasted at us 24/7 by a spineless media that wants to keep us distracted and off balance, spending money we don’t have to keep that feel good experience from ever going away until it is too late.
    Then it gets reposessed and sold off again.
    Our public educational system has been spiralling down the drain since the fifties.
    We do not demand performance from our students, we are more worried about their self esteem and the robotic adherence to testing methods that yield false statistics which are then used against the educators and the schools.
    I’m thinking strongly about going back to school for my doctorate and our current situation in the world is further galvanizing my resolve.
    I need to end this before my head implodes.

  8. BnF,

    Wait ’til the national debt gets back below 10 trillion, and the Republicans will use tax cuts to buy votes all over again! It’s all about threshholds with the investor class, like right now, the DJIA is above 11,000, so everything is great.

    Raising the cap on SS won’t help much, unless the exclusions for passive investments are eliminated, or at least partially. Capital gains don’t require any SS or Medicare deductions, even on the first $106,000. It’s only on W2 and self-employment income.

  9. Some things to keep in mind, Vinyl, that I did not know when I did mine.

    (1) Astonishingly, there is an intense (and evidently well known within academia) ageism prejudice. If you will be over 35 when you finish your Ph.D., you will have a major strike against you in an already brutal job field.

    (2) Regardless of your age, use the time to cultivate secondary job options, such as doing summer internships with non-profits and writing grant proposals. Coupled with an advanced degree, this will give you a leg-up in the non-profit sector.

    (3) Consdier getting a law degree first. Law schools will accept you based purely on your graduate test scores, whereas many graduate schools are concerned about your “pedigree.” Do well at law school and you can get into ANY top-end graduate school. Academic hiring committees DEFINITELY look at pedigree, so if you are coming from a top school, you’ve got vastly better job prospects than if you come from a mid-level school. This has nothing to do with your qualities as a scholar, and everything to do with bald-faced bigotry. (People have literally admitted to simply throwing away every application from other than a top 10 school w/o even reading them.) I would also note that a law degree coupled with a Ph.D. also makes you a very desirable candidate in the non-profit and governmental sectors.

  10. I’m 48 and I have a Master’s.
    Part of the problem I have is “Academic hiring committee’s”
    I was originally told that I was not strong enough academically to get into the school that I got my Master’s from.
    We had a come to jesus meeting and I very politely but very succinctly informed them that they were being employed to work for me, not the other way around.
    I layed out the fact that they already have jobs for life and that they exist to provide me with the ability to earn the credentials to venture into the professional world.
    Their job is to make me look good, not the other way around.
    A bunch of them got indignant that I had the audacity to address them in that fashion.
    I then took the opportunity to remind them that me and my checkbook could gladly look elswhere for the same or greater value.
    They then had there own come to jesus meeting.
    I graduated with honors and completed an undergrad degree and a Master’s degree in 4 years.
    I also worked my ass off while many other students thought it was party time.

  11. “whether the small group of women who began the case can represent a gigantic class of women.”

    He will rule that a small percentage is not indicative of overall Walmart policy, I’ll bet, and I’ll bet heavily on that one.

    Thanks again George for that gift that keeps on giving.

  12. June is only seven months away – guessing SCOTUS would wait until the last minute to release its decision.

    From the reading – this is only to see if the women bringing the suit can represent all in the ‘class action’.
    WM contends it would be millions (doesn’t speak well for them) – where as the women’s lawyers say nearly half of one million.

    “The question, to be argued in early 2011 with a decision likely by summer, is not whether Wal-Mart wrongly paid and promoted men more than women, as female workers claim, but whether the small group of women who began the case can represent a gigantic class of women.”

  13. I have a wikileaks window open and reading – thought the ‘ethernet gods’ might be ‘punishing’ me for gaining education ;>

    No, I’m not paranoid – I KNOW ‘big brother’ is watching my every move ///

  14. He’s watching me too. I keep flipping him a bird, but am not yet sure whether he can see me or not. Whenever I write something, I of course speak only with undying respect for and about big brother.

  15. Still working on site
    Have fifty-plus recovered
    Couple hundred left

    Thanks for your support,
    Inspiring cheeseflap dot com
    Cheeseflap is humbled

  16. Of last night, I couldn’t do anything on the internet. Comcast had a multi-state DNS server failure in the upper Midwest.

    I now have back-up DNS server IP’s available in case that ever happens again. (Which by virtue of me having the IP’s, it will never happen again.)

  17. cheese, how are you able to ‘rescue’ before TP’s rebirth?

    I visit your site for my 5-7-5 fix. Thanks for having them all so handy!


    zxbe – wow that’s some outage. Glad you’re back on line!

  18. In reference to Elizabeth Edwards:

    A grand lady. Met her during the 2008 campaign when she visited our local Dem office. Lots of people and she spoke to each and every one. A total class act and a damn shame to lose her.

    This is proof doG does not pay the slightest attention to the individual lives of the humans on earth. If he did I can think of several others who would deserve this. Either that or he has a real sick sense of humor.

  19. Even in dying Elizabeth is gracious –

    ” It isn’t possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know.”

  20. I remember an earlier discussion about atheists and their advertising from some months back — mostly because I mentioned the experience of our local transit system when they ran the ads. In Fort Worth, they take this stuff srsly.

    A group of Fort Worth African-American pastors is calling for a passenger boycott of city buses displaying advertising signs that they say are offensive to Christians.

    The disputed signs read “Millions of Americans are Good Without God” and were paid for by the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason, an atheist organization whose spokesperson said earlier this week that they were intended to let non-believers know they are not alone.

    How is it that advertising one’s own disbelief in God is insulting to people who do believe in God? The ads don’t say “Christians are dumb asses”. It doesn’t seem to me like these people’s faith is all that rock solid if a few bus sides is scary.

    • A group puts up a similar message on a billboard here in town — and it is regularly and proudly vandalized by local “Christians.”

      Seems like those pastors needed to find another way to keep the flock under control.

  21. Poor JFK. “Ask not what your country can do for you , ask what you can do for your country.”

    If you are a rich Republican what you can do for your country is suck up as much money as you can.

    If you are an average American…die young.

  22. Most people “of faith” aren’t. I’ve known some genuinely religious people, and none of them were dogmatic. This is because actual religious experience is about phenomenology, not text, not doctrine. As one such person once said to me, “Most people go to church to avoid having a religious experience.”

  23. Jonathan Alter on the Ed Show just said the tax cut extension should be a one year or 18 month extension, so the politicians would have to vote again before the 2012 election. He isn’t thinking clearly, tax rates have to apply to the entire calendar year, they don’t change at the end of June!

  24. 2ebb: google caches hold quite a few but it doesn’t always work. If the comments are “closed” on TP, then it seems invisible despite the fact that the search hit “knows” it’s there. Very frustrating.

  25. No worries Cheeseflap
    You are among good friends, but
    Don’t do it again!


    (Just kidding of course – feel free to let your hair down once in a while)

  26. Sam Seder is subbing for Keith tonight! Remember Maron v Seder from Air America? That Sam Seder!

    And Big Eddie is subbing for Rachel too.

  27. Cheeseflap in prose is all right!

    Vinylspear, if today was still fall, I don’t want to see winter! (See above comment if necessary!)

  28. House, I worked outside today. All I can say is I really wish I had your 31 degrees. (I no longer have wooden stumps in my boots where my feet belong.)

    • We hovered around 25 degrees today, with an added bonus of freezing fog!

      Much more adventurous, since it looks like you’re walking on dry pavement, but really it’s slippery as hell. Awesome. 😯

  29. So, the puppies got a little frozen, Hoodathunk?

    I never could get a pair of work boots that didn’t make my feet sweat, no matter how cold it was, and then they would freeze like that. Trouble is, down here you can’t wear them but about ten days a year, so you never get your money’s worth out of owning them.

  30. If this is any indication of things to come I need to head further south.
    My pineapple plants won’t last through another winter like last year.

  31. From the Guardian:

    Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is expected to appear in a UK court today after his lawyers said he would meet police to discuss a European arrest warrant from Sweden relating to alleged sexual assaults.

    As the legal net continued to close around the whistleblowers’ website and US attorney general, Eric Holder, said he had authorised “a number of things to be done” to combat the organisation, Assange appeared to be reconciling himself to a lengthy personal court battle to avoid extradition to Sweden.

  32. A little over 200 miles to Miami which qualifies as a Cuban enclave.
    I’m happy they are here. Southern fried cooking gets monotonous and it clogs the arteries.
    I lost my citrus last year and I am not letting my pineapples go without a fight.
    I have a rare variety that is not commercially grown for the U.S. market and I have been propagating cuttings for last couple of years.
    Christmas lights are more than decoration, they keep the plants warm.

  33. I have a rare variety that is not commercially grown for the U.S. market and I have been propagating cuttings for last couple of years.
    Christmas lights are more than decoration, they keep the plants warm.

    Any chance you could share photos?
    Are you in the experimenting stage or have productive acreage?

    Will keep positive thoughts that cold/freezing weather stays away…

  34. I don’t know what’s the big stink about Julian Assange.
    He doesn’t post the information, he just provided the delivery vehicle.

  35. I wouldn’t call it acreage but prior to last years freeze I had 80 plants in the ground.
    The pineapple is actually a flower.
    It is very beautiful and the hues that it produces while it is forming the fruit is amazing.
    A very irridescent shade of orange/yellow/red.
    When they are ripe, they smell great. You can smell them when you are near them.
    Then the raccoons come and try to steal them.

  36. Prior to blooming a lot of people think they are a cactus.
    They are actually a bromeliad.
    A member of the air plant family.

  37. Because he’s the only ‘visible’ one to go after.
    He’s convinced the U.S. government is pushing Sweden to go after Assange.
    This is his lawyer:

    ” Stephens has said the claims stem from a “dispute over consensual but unprotected sex.”

  38. ah, yes ‘over the hill’ as we’d say when I lived on the Peninsula!
    Driving One is a ‘holy’ experiment if one has to equate such things.
    Ma Nature does give us gorgeous, breath taking scenery!

  39. I like Prescott, but the 30 deg. differences between AM lows and PM highs makes it impossible for my body to acclimatize.

    Living in Chicago, there was this brief time (mostly in the fall) when temps would hover in the low 40’s and just kill me. Once the temp dropped solidly below freezing, my metabolism would adapt. I was always more comfortable when the temp was 22 than 42, regardless of how I dressed for the latter. (I’m talking fahrenheit, of course.)

    But there is quite literally 30+ deg. differences here, so we go from 57 — 61 in the afternoon to 26 — 27 in the AM. Nothing I do works for that.

  40. I photographed it from the trail that goes along the cliffs…I couldn’t get access down there…I have more pics that I have to upload sometime…That remains one of my favorite pics. The stretch of 1 from Monterey to SLO is the most beautiful drive I have ever seen…although I want to try the Oregon Coast Highway and Great Ocean Road in Australia someday…

  41. BnF,
    I just forwarded your December 6, 2010 7:21 pm post to Julian Assange. You can read it in the NY Times tomorrow. 👿

  42. Walt,

    Think O’Reilly can pronounce my name correctly?

    (That may be one reason he doesn’t quote me when he picks on the posters at TP!)

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