Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Can Progressives an Libertarians Find Common Ground on The Budget?

In This edition:

- Judge Napolitano Interviews Ron Paul & Ralph Nader Together

- Democracy Now! on Obama's Budget

- Tell Congress: Don't pull the plug on NPR and PBS! (Added 2/16/11)

- Alan Simpson On NPR's Morning Edition (Added 2/16/11)

- Liberty Radio's Scott Horton (Libertarian) Interviews Chris Hedges (Progressive)

- More on Obama's Budget

- Wolf Articles


Judge Napolitano Interviews Ron Paul & Ralph Nader Together


Democracy Now! on Obama's Budget

AMY GOODMAN: Obama’s plan includes two modest tax hikes for banks and oil companies. It also calls for ending the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in 2013 and returning the estate tax to its higher 2009 levels. But it comes less than two months after Obama signed into law a measure that temporarily extended the tax cuts and reduced the estate tax, adding over $500 billion to the federal deficit. According to the White House, the deficit will reach a record $1.6 trillion next year.

The Pentagon meanwhile will see its first spending reduction since the 9/11 attacks, but only at modest levels. The budget allots $553 billion for the Pentagon’s regular spending—$12 billion less than what the military expected, but still three percent higher over fiscal year 2011. Another $118 billion is earmarked for war-time spending.
. . . .


And the important thing is, here you have President Obama saying that they’ve gotten down to the lowest level of domestic spending, domestic discretionary spending, since the Eisenhower era. That certainly sounds good as a sound bite, but understand what that means. It means that now Pentagon spending, defense spending, is a dramatically higher level of what our budget goes to. And I wish President Obama would remember what Dwight Eisenhower said about defense spending versus domestic spending. Dwight Eisenhower said, every time you buy a bomb, every time you pay for a bullet, that’s money that comes out of building a school or putting a roof on a house. I just think the President is making a lot of wrong choices here.


Tell Congress: Don't pull the plug on NPR and PBS!

Your Voice Matters-Defend Federal Funding for Public Broadcasting and Call Today

David Wu, Oregon 1st (202-225-0855)
Greg Walden, Oregon 2nd (202-225-6730)
Earl Blumenauer, Oregon 3rd (202-225-4811)
Peter DeFazio, Oregon 4th (202-225-6416)
Kurt Schrader, Oregon 5th (202-225-5711)
Jaime Herrera Beutler, Washington 3rd (202-225-3536)
Doc Hastings, Washington 4th (202-225-5816)
Senator Jeff Merkley, Oregon (202-224-3753)
Senator Ron Wyden, Oregon (202-224-5244)
Senator Maria Cantwell, Washington (202-224-3441)
Senator Patty Murray, Washington (202-224-2621)

Alan Simpson On NPR's Morning Edition (Added 2/16/11)

Alan Simpson: Cut Entitlements, Defense; Not Aid To Poor

"STEVE: Do you think that it is possible, however you figure out the numbers, to balance the budget or move it close to balance while preserving what we call the social safety net that has grown up in this country across many decades?

SIMPSON: Heating. That Leap group.


SIMPSON: Yup, that's a critically important thing. That shouldn't even be touched.

You don't need to touch that, you need to go get rid of 250,000 contractors in the Defense Department where you can really pick up some small change.

STEVE: So you think the safety net can be preserved – that's not really where the big money is anyway."

On Defense related spending:

"SIMPSON: Without any question. We have a defense budget now which is larger than all 14 other countries (with the largest economies.) That ought to get you somewhere.

SIMPSON: Yes, except China, of course, and now they're gearing up.

We found stuff in the Defense Department that you can't believe. Here's one for ya. There's a DOD health system, its separate from the Veterans Administration, its separate from Obamacare. It affects 2.2 million military retirees.

Their premium is $460 a year and no co-pay and includes their dependents and the cost to the U.S. is $53 billion a year.

STEVE: So maybe people ought to pay in a little more that's what you're saying...

SIMPSON: And, I'll tell you what, you mention that, here come the reserve officers, here comes the VA, the veterans groups and they'll rain boulders on your head.

That's how you pass or kill something in this country, you use emotion, fear, guilt or racism, and I've been in them all – I did immigration, nuclear, Social Security, ageing – I learned where the long knives are.

And as long as people are buffaloed by that, and fogged by that on the basis of protecting their hide from any peril, as H.L. Mencken once said, we're in deep trouble."


Antiwar Radio's Scott Horton (Libertarian) Interviews Chris Hedges (Progressive)

February 14, 2011| Democrats, Left, Republicans, Tyranny | Scott Horton

Chris Hedges, author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, discusses the present state of affairs, best described as a convergence of the fictional dystopias in 1984 and Brave New World; the language of tyranny, ranging from soft seduction to overt threats, depending on the audience; how working class outrage is diverted away from the entrenched elite, and focused on scapegoats and fantastic conspiracies; the destruction and co-option of traditional Leftist institutions; and how federal debt is currently serviced by issuing more debt, a problem of sustainability that neither party will address.

MP3 here. (20:10)

Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City. He spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

Hedges was part of the team of reporters at The New York Times awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. He also received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2002. In 2009 the Los Angeles Press Club honored Hedges’ original columns in Truthdig by naming the author the Online Journalist of the Year and granting him the Best Online Column award for his Truthdig essay “Party to Murder,” about the December 2008-January 2009 Israeli assault on Gaza.

He has written nine books, including Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, I Don’t Believe in Atheists and the best-selling American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.

[ See also “Death of the Liberal Class.”]

In case you missed the link above to Chris Hedges' article, Recognizing the Language of Tyranny, here are two excerpts:

"Those who administer empire—elected officials, corporate managers, generals and the celebrity courtiers who disseminate the propaganda—become very wealthy. They make immense fortunes whether they deliver the nightly news, sit on the boards of corporations, or rise, lavished with corporate endorsements, within the vast industry of spectacle and entertainment. They all pay homage, even in moments defined as criticism, to the essential goodness of corporate power. They shut out all real debate. They ignore flagrant injustices and abuse. They peddle the illusions that keep us passive and amused. But as our society is reconfigured into an oligarchic system, with a permanent and vast underclass, along with a shrinking and unstable middle class, these illusions lose their power. The language of pleasant deception must be replaced with the overt language of force. It is hard to continue to live in a state of self-delusion once unemployment benefits run out, once the only job available comes without benefits or a living wage, once the future no longer conforms to the happy talk that saturates our airwaves. At this point rage becomes the engine of response, and whoever can channel that rage inherits power. The manipulation of that rage has become the newest task of the corporate propagandists, and the failure of the liberal class to defend core liberal values has left its members with nothing to contribute to the debate.

. . . .

All centralized power, once restraints and regulations are abolished, once it is no longer accountable to citizens, knows no limit to internal and external plunder. The corporate state, which has emasculated our government, is creating a new form of feudalism, a world of masters and serfs. It speaks to those who remain in a state of self-delusion in the comforting and familiar language of liberty, freedom, prosperity and electoral democracy. It speaks to the poor and the oppressed in the language of naked coercion. But, here too, all will end up in the same place."


Obama’s Budget and the Rot of American Capitalism

By Patrick Martin

February 15, 2011

"Behind the “debate” in Washington and the media over the budget is a massive lie—the claim that the budget deficits are a product of excessive social spending. Obama’s budget director Jacob Lew summed up this grotesque falsification an op-ed column published in the New York Times February 6, under the headline, “The Easy Cuts Are Behind Us.” Lew claimed that the causes of the projected budget deficits were “decisions to make two large tax cuts without offsetting them and to create a Medicare prescription drug benefit without paying for it, combined with the effects of the recession…”

This list is notable for what it leaves out: the cost of two wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, which runs into the trillions; and the bank bailouts, where more trillions in public funds were placed at the disposal of the financial aristocracy, with no questions asked. The military budget by itself accounts for the lion’s share of the ten-year deficit: more than $7 trillion of the projected $10 trillion."


Wolf Articles (From Wally Sykes)

OPB (ran on hourly news)


East Oregonian

AP article was picked up broadly

Oregon Wild blog article

GOP budget bill lifts wolf protections
Seattle Times
February 14, 2011
BILLINGS, Mont. — A Republican budget bill would strip gray wolves of Endangered Species Act protections across most of the Northern Rockies.
A provision tucked into the continuing budget resolution directs Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to reissue a 2009 rule that took wolves off the endangered list in Montana, Idaho and parts of Oregon, Washington and Utah.

Rocky Barker: Are wolves still “non-essential” in the West?
Idaho Statesman
February 14, 2011
When U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy placed wolves in the Rocky Mountains back on the endangered species list in 2010, the main impact was on hunting.
Ranchers have still been able to have wolves that attack their livestock killed —with little argument.

Montana pols could imperil wolves
Arizona Republic - Opinion
February 14, 2011
Montana's 2012 Senate race could doom wolves in Arizona. It's politics. And it stinks. The long-fought effort to restore endangered Mexican gray wolves to the wilds of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico is threatened by posturing between two politicians. Montana's Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg, who intends to run for Senate, are each trying to look more appealing to anti-wolf factions in that state. Wolves are pawns.

Inflammatory words inflame
Helena Independent Record – Opinion - from Judge Molloy’s children
February 13, 2011
We are writing to express our disappointment and voice our concerns over the comments that Congressman Rehberg recently made at a joint session of the Montana Legislature. Although Congressman Rehberg didn’t identify by name U.S. District Judge Don Molloy — our dad — it was clear to whom he referred.
For the benefit of those not there, here is what was said: When referring to a recent federal court decision about wolves and the Endangered Species Act, Rehberg stated, “When I first heard his decision, like many of you I wanted to take action immediately. I asked: ‘How can we put some of these judicial activists on the endangered species list.’ I am still working on that!”

The great wolf debate: hunt them down or let them flourish
The Ecologist (includes NYT video)
February 15, 2011
Long a symbol of the US wilderness - and a totem for the environmental movement - wolves are now the focus of a bitter conflict between those who want to increase the species' numbers and those that want to kill them.
[Link may require subscription]

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