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Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

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How Much Of The Big 3 Will Obama Give Away Just To Make A Deal?

We heard plenty of rhetoric from Obama super-supporters leading up to the November election: how we had to vote for Obama because crazy ol’ Mitt Romney would destroy the country.  It turns out Democrats are just as eager to scare-monger as Republicans are when it comes to protecting those in power from accountability.  Largely left unsaid was what Obama would do if re-elected.  I argued with many friends about this topic.  I saw what the first-term was all about: taking progressive policies off the table prior to negotiation, negotiating for too long, yielding concession after concession while not getting anything of equal value in return from Republicans who only wanted to see him lose the 2012 election.

Now that Obama has been reelected, a political “crisis” that Obama and Congress purposefully created for themselves needs our attention.  The fiscal curb is approaching.  For a couple of weeks, Obama made a good show of touring the country and showing voters how smart they were to vote for him, because he wasn’t going to capitulate and concede on tax cuts for the obscenely rich or the Big 3: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.  Social Security doesn’t add to the deficit because it has a guaranteed revenue stream.  Medicare and Medicaid could be made solvent for decades with minor adjustments that have nothing to do with things Republicans think they do.

I had no doubt we would see the following.  Obama made the following proposal yesterday: in exchange for extending middle-class tax cuts, raising the debt limit, extending unemployment benefits, and new spending on infrastructure, he would continue Bush’s high-income tax cuts for income up to $400,000 and would cut Social Security benefits.  That’s $1.3 trillion in revenue for $850 billion in spending cuts.  Obama has already given up on raising taxes for incomes over $250,000.  And he threw Social Security under the bus.  For nothing in return.

Mark my words: the Big 3 will take massive hits.  And unlike in 2005 when the country resisted a Republican President doing it, a Democratic President will do it in 2012.  Republicans will successfully get even more spending cuts in programs that need only slight tweaks while raising the income limit that gets subjected to a return to tax rates under Clinton than is present in this offer.  How do I know?  Speaker Boehner quickly rejected the President’s offer.  Why?  Because it ensures that Obama will continue to foolishly engage with the Speaker in closed-door meetings instead of speaking in front of the American people.  If he did the latter, as was his initial strategy, Boehner would have to agree to the President’s proposal.  Because Republican plans consist of everything Americans don’t want to see: slashing unemployment insurance, tax hikes on the middle class while the rich walk away untouched, cuts to the Big 3, etc.

And here is why that will happen: Barack Obama wants his legacy to be defined by his ability to make deals with Republicans.  The specific details don’t matter that much to him.  He wants to be perceived as someone who gets things done, regardless of who came up with the idea in the first place.  Health care?  Let’s try the Republican plan Mitt Romney got through in Massachusetts.  Climate Change?  Let’s try the Republican plan from the 1990s.  Budget balancing?  Let’s try what Republicans have wanted for decades: no social programs and lots of defense spending.

The best part?  We’ll all do it together!  Yay!  Be happy, Democrats!  You prevented the world-ending Mitt Romney from being elected and now your party’s President will dismantle the most successful programs that kept millions of Americans out of poverty in the 20th century.  Because we all had to vote for the lesser of two evils.  Phew, disaster was narrowly avoided, wasn’t it?


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“Bipartisanship” In Action

How successful has the bipartisanship only strategy of governing by “Democrats” worked for Americans?  Pretty damn well … if you’re a Republican Teabagger.  One only need look at recent developments to see just how well this strategy has worked to enact liberal policies:

Michiganders face lower unemployment insurance payments and stricter eligibility rules.

Kansas is trying to become the state with the fewest abortion-licensed facilities: 0.  Remember, abortion is a legal medical procedure.  Other states are trying to ban this legal procedure, regardless of rape, incest, or health of the mother.  Are the Teabaggers screaming that this is a prime example of a big, intrusive government limiting freedom?  Hell no, they’re not.  They have a Black Man in the White House to delegitimize.

Democratic “leaders” are seriously considering ending Social Security and Medicaid.  Perhaps they’re volunteering to do it just so the Republican Teabaggers won’t have to.

The cost of illegal, undeclared, unpaid invasions and occupations the U.S. has perpetrated since 2001?  $3.7 trillion.  Perhaps those Democratic “leaders’ should work to stop the occupations.  That could just stop our hurtling into greater and greater debts and deficits.

Atmospheric CO2 concentrations set another record high this year: 394.35ppm.  The globe was the warmest in 2010 than at any other point in recorded history – and likely at any time in tens of thousands of years.  2010 and 2011 have seen more extreme weather events as a result of climate change than at any point in recorded history.  These conditions will only get worse as long as Democrats keep acting “bipartisanshipy” with Republican Teabaggers and never stand up to the dirty energy industry.

So to all the pro-“centrists”: how well is the country doing?  This list took less than 5 minutes to assemble.  There are hundreds of other similar examples.  Maybe it’s time Democrats demanded their elected officials do what they promise on the campaign trail or go work to elect a different Democrat.  This is what voting for the lesser of two evils has brought us.  We’re still walking down the path toward evil.  It’s time to do something else.

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Economy: Post Bail-Out & Election: Post VP-Debate

There was a lot of news and commentary this weekend after Bush’s Bailout was passed and Sarah Palin demonstrated just how unknowledgable she is about important domestic and foreign policies.  The economy has been bad for average Americans for years and this election is critical.  So I’m going to stay on top of both issues by pointing to aspects of news and commentary I found.  I’ll update this post throughout the day due to the volume of material I want to cover.

1. Democratic Rep. Mark Udall and Republican Bob Schaffer were profiled in the Rocky Mountain News. Here’s a short bio on both: Rep. Udall has spent a good portion of his career trying to improve our energy policies – in Colorado first, and then nationally.  There is a long road to walk until we have a renewable energy-based society, which is needed for a healthy climate and national securtiy.  Mark Udall will make a decent Senator (note I didn’t say good or great.  I have real problems with his centrist approach in general and his recent vote to retroactively immunize telecom corporations who illegally wiretapped domestic traffic).  Bob Schaffer used to be a Jack Abramoff yes-man.  His actions tell us he is in favor of forced abortions, sweatshops and fossil fuels.  His past is well-paved with corruption and Colorado can’t afford to have a 20th century fringe CONservative blocking work to move forward in the 111th Congress.

2. Bush admitted on Friday as he signed his Bailout that the legislation is just “the beginning”. Really?  The beginning of what, exactly?  The beginning of more taxpayers Bailouts of immoral corporate gambling?  Overall, Americans recognized this Bailout is just that.  There is no part of the legislation that addresses the actual problems in the economy.  No homeowner assitance.  No path towards more jobs.  No increase in income.  The Bush administration will not prosecute the fools that set up this economic collapse.  The bottom line: trickle-down (voodoo) economics does not work.  Dumping larger sums of money at the top will not make any more fall to the bottom.

3. The Bailout passed because of the tax breaks attached to it. There are many reasons why that fact is odious, but I’ll focus on one for now: all of them already exist.  That’s correct: the tax breaks were merely extensions!  Entities like the Denver Post, in fact, spent more time opining about the tax breaks than they did about the underlying Bailout.  The Senate hadn’t extended any of the tax breaks all year, but managed to stick it on the Bailout so it would pass.  Oh, the corporate media also hasn’t reported the reason those extensions hadn’t passed all year: a CONservative Senator from Oklahoma issued a record number of filibuster threats this Congress.  One person alone managed to hold up about 100 necessary bills.  All so the CONS could run ads saying Congress didn’t do anything all year.  CONS put all their focus on elections and none of their focus on governing.

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