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Thank You Richard Eskow !!! - 'The Road From Here: What About Medicare and Social Security?'

The Road From Here: What About Medicare and Social Security?
Richard Eskow - HuffPo
Posted: 10/20/2013 9:02 pm


As the Bob Dylan song says: "Things should start to get interesting right about now." You may think they're already interesting -- what with government closings, threats of a debt default, and extremist rhetoric under the Capitol Dome -- but chances are we ain't seen nothin' yet.

In twelve weeks or so our new system of government-by-crisis will resume its regularly scheduled programming: more threats, more confrontations, and even more extreme rhetoric.

There are only a few ways this could play out, and most of them involve cuts to Medicare and Social Security. The ones which don't probably involve either A) catastrophic gridlock or B) a mobilized citizenry.

Your personal level of optimism probably correlates closely to whether you think A or B is more likely.

Vox populi

Any scenario which leads to Social Security or Medicare cuts would be bad for seniors. It would also be bad for any politician who supported it.

A recent poll by Lake Research shows that 82 percent of all Americans oppose cuts to Social Security, including 83 percent of Democrats, 78 percent of independents, 82 percent of Republicans -- and, in one of the most startling findings of all, fully three-fourths of all self-described Tea Party members (74 percent). (Social Security Works has a video:

and a petition: http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/6405/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=8723 on this subject.)

Democrats hold the advantage on this issue right now, which means it's theirs to lose...


Much More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rj-eskow/entitlement-cuts_b_4133753.html

Scientists Discover A New Twist In Light From The Early Universe - Space.com/MSNBC

Scientists discover a new twist in light from the early universe
Megan Gannon - Space.com/MSNBC
Oct. 18, 2013 at 8:42 PM ET

This artist’s impression shows how photons in the cosmic microwave background (as detected by the Planck space telescope) are deflected by the gravitational lensing effect of massive cosmic structures as they travel across the universe. (ESA / Planck Collaboration)


Researchers have discovered a subtle twist in the primeval light that formed shortly after the universe came into being. They hope it can reveal new secrets about the moments after the big bang.

This afterglow, called Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB, was created out of hot ionized plasma some 13.7 billion years ago, when the universe was just 380,000 years old. A small fraction of this light is polarized,meaning the light waves vibrate in one plane.

Researchers had already detected this polarized light in one pattern, known as "electric" or E-mode polarization. But using the South Pole Telescope in Antarctica and the European Space Agency's Herschel space observatory, researchers for the first time detected polarized light from the cosmic microwave background in the "magnetic" or B-mode.

The observed B-mode pattern arose from gravitational lensing, in which light gets bent and deflected by massive cosmic objects such as galaxy clusters and lumps of mysterious dark matter, researchers said. But there is another way to produce B-modes: primordial gravitational waves produced during the earliest moments of the universe, when it was in its rapid "inflation" phase, mere trillionths of a second after the big bang.

During inflation, the idea goes, the universe expanded faster than the speed of light, doubling in size 100 times or more in just a few tiny fractions of a second. (Einstein's theory of special relativity holds that no information or matter can travel faster than light through space, but this rule does not apply to inflation, which was an expansion of space itself.)

The new detection should provide a baseline to aid future...


More: http://www.nbcnews.com/science/scientists-discover-new-twist-light-early-universe-8C11422949

Heads-Up !!! - 'Why Democrats Might Cave On Social Security Cuts' - HuffPo

Why Democrats Might Cave On Social Security Cuts
Zach Carter - HuffPo
Posted: 10/20/2013 11:19 am EDT | Updated: 10/20/2013 11:24 am EDT

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Sunday opened the door to Social Security cuts as part of a budget deal with congressional Republicans. But Durbin pushed back against GOP calls for entitlement cuts as the negotiating price to curb or extinguish the economically damaging sequester cuts.

"If this is the bargain that the Republicans are now pushing for, that we have to cut Medicare to avoid cuts at the Department of Defense, they need to take a step back," Durbin said on "Fox News Sunday."

Congress is currently negotiating a new budget, with a December deadline. The talks were mandated by last week's deal to raise the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown.


Durbin said that Republicans had to put tax revenue on the table to get entitlement cuts. Fox host Chris Wallace noted that Durbin has previously supported entitlement cuts, and asked why Republicans should have to give up tax increases to get something that many Democrats support. President Barack Obama has repeatedly endorsed Social Security cuts as part of budget deals, and Durbin acknowledged that he did support Social Security reforms.

"Social Security is gonna run out of money in 20 years," Durbin said. "The Baby Boom generation is gonna blow away our future. We don't wanna see that happen."

Social Security will not run out of money in 20 years. The program currently enjoys a surplus of more than $2 trillion. Social Security will, however, be unable to pay all benefits at current levels if nothing is changed. If a 25 percent benefit cut were implemented in 20 years, the program would be solvent into the 2080s.

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/20/democrats-social-security-cuts_n_4132087.html

How Old R U ???

You're Paying A Ton To Subsidize Fast Food's Poverty Wages - HuffPo

You're Paying A Ton To Subsidize Fast Food's Poverty Wages
The Huffington Post
Posted: 10/18/2013 2:39 pm EDT


Taxpayers spend about $7 billion per year to help pay workers who are employed by an industry that rakes in $200 billion annually.

That's because the fast food industry's notoriously low wages force more than half of fast food workers to rely on some form of government assistance like food stamps or Medicaid to get by, a study from the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently found.

An analysis of the Berkeley/UI data from the left-leaning National Employment Law Project breaks down how much low-wages at the 10 biggest fast food chains are costing taxpayers.

Infographic by Alissa Scheller for the Huffington Post

These findings reflect the bleak reality of the low-wage recovery. Nearly 70 percent of the new jobs created since the end of the recession have been in low-wage sectors like fast food and retail and they’ve replaced largely middle-income jobs...


More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/18/fast-food-industry-taxpayers_n_4123733.html?utm_hp_ref=business

N.S.A. Plan To Log Calls Is Renewed By Court - NYT

N.S.A. Plan to Log Calls Is Renewed by Court


WASHINGTON — The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court released a new legal opinion on Friday that reauthorized the once-secret National Security Agency program that keeps records of every American’s phone calls. The opinion also sought to plug a hole in a similar ruling made public last month.

In the six-page opinion, which was signed on Oct. 11, Judge Mary A. McLaughlin said she was personally approving for the first time the extension of the call log metadata program, which must be approved every 90 days. But she wrote that she endorsed a lengthy legal opinion written by a colleague, Judge Claire V. Eagan, who was the previous judge to approve extending it.

Judge Eagan’s opinion, which was made public last month, held that the N.S.A. could lawfully collect the bulk data about all Americans’ calls without warrants, in part because of a 1979 case, Smith v. Maryland. In that matter, the Supreme Court held that call records were not protected by the Fourth Amendment because suspects had exposed that metadata to their phone companies and had no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Judge Eagan’s opinion has been criticized, in part, because she made no mention of a landmark privacy case decided by the Supreme Court in 2012. That case, United States v. Jones, held that it was unconstitutional for the police to use a G.P.S. tracking device to monitor a suspect’s movements without a warrant.

Although the Supreme Court decided the case on narrow grounds...


More: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/19/us/nsa-plan-to-log-calls-is-renewed-by-court.html?_r=0

About Time Journalism Got Real !!! - 'Haters Gonna Hate... But I LOVE THIS !!!'

Pierre Omidyar, Investigative Journalism’s New Patron Saint
The Iranian-American founder of eBay plans to sink millions into a new investigative media project with journalist Glenn Greenwald. Friends and employees tell Lloyd Grove his big move into media is driven by his passion for American democracy.

Pierre Omidyar, backer of a new investigative journalism outlet in partnership with Glenn Greenwald, the American journalist who first published the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. (Brian Harkin/Getty)

More than anything else, eBay founder Pierre Morad Omidyar—who is ready to plow as much as $250 million of his nearly $9 billion fortune into an as-yet-undefined journalism venture—has impressed colleagues and acquaintances with his refreshingly modest personal style. “He’s a very normal person,” says New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen, who interviewed the press-shy Iranian-American about his plans to join forces with lawyer-turned-investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald, the impresario of the Edward Snowden revelations in Britain’s The Guardian, to create a major media enterprise from the ground up.


Kirkpatrick, who usually runs into Pierre and his wife and fellow philanthropist Pamela in New York during the Clinton Global Initiative at their annual September cocktail party—“hundreds of the most earnest do-gooders that the world can offer up”—adds: “He doesn’t take himself too seriously. He genuinely views this extraordinary windfall he received from eBay as a gift he has to bear responsibility for, and not just act like a rich guy. He’s not into conspicuous consumption. He has a nice house in Hawaii, and probably a few others, but he’s not the kind of guy who’s going to be sailing around on a 350-foot yacht.”


Omidyar’s extensive philanthropic and investment activities are consistent with his avowed goals of solving public policy problems through innovation, citizen engagement, personal empowerment and holding politicians accountable. He’s had skin in the news game at least since he launched Civil Beat in 2010. And while Bezos, as Amazon’s CEO, is fully engaged with running his business empire, Omidyar is eBay’s chairman—meaning he has zero day-to-day duties.

And Finally...

All of which raises a skeptical journalist’s question: Isn’t this guy too good to be true? John Temple, for one, insists Omidyar is the real deal. As the son of two people who left a country riven by political oppression and religious fanaticism, “he really believes in the American Constitution and wants to see it upheld and the promise of America fulfilled. He is an immigrant and, like many of us in journalism, part of his motivation is he cares about the quality of our community and our country and thinks that journalism has a role in setting the tone. And he’s passionate about that.”

Link: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/10/18/pierre-omidyar-investigative-journalism-s-new-patron-saint.html


Jeremy Scahill, Laura Poitras Teaming Up With Glenn Greenwald On New Media Venture
Michael Calderone - HuffPo
Posted: 10/16/2013 9:36 am EDT | Updated: 10/17/2013 8:05 am EDT

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/16/glen-greenwald-media_n_4107289.html

US Has Killed Far More Civilians With Drones Than It Admits, Says UN - MSNBC

US has killed far more civilians with drones than it admits, says UN
By Michael Isikoff - NBC News National Investigative Correspondent

Tribesmen gather at a site of a missile attack on the outskirts of Miranshah, near the Afghan border, October 12, 2008. Suspected U.S. drones fired two missiles into a Pakistani region regarded as a safe haven for al Qaeda and Taliban militants, killing at least five insurgents, residents and an intelligence official said.


A new report from a special U.N. investigator says drone strikes have killed far more civilians than U.S. officials have publicly acknowledged – at least 400 in Pakistan and as many as 58 in Yemen – and chides the U.S. for failing to aid the investigation by disclosing its own figures.

U.N. Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson, who issued the "interim" report, said the U.S. had created "an almost insurmountable obstacle to transparency." "The Special Rapporteur does not accept that considerations of national security justify withholding statistical and basic methodological data of this kind," wrote Emmerson in the report, which is due to be presented to the U.N. General Assembly next Friday.

U.S. intelligence officials have consistently downplayed the number of civilian deaths from drone strikes. In a June 2011 speech, White House counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan, who is now CIA director, said that "for nearly the past year, there hasn't been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency [and] precision" of U.S. counter-terror strikes.

Later, the CIA acknowledged some civilian casualties, but told Congress that they were in the "single digits," according to a February 2013 statement by Senate Intelligence Committee chair Sen. Diane Feinstein, D.-Calif.

In a major speech on drone strikes this May, President Obama openly acknowledged civilian deaths, saying "they will haunt us for as long as we live" -- but didn't provide any hard numbers or estimates....


More: http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/17/21009870-us-has-killed-far-more-civilians-with-drones-than-it-admits-says-un?lite

Rachel Maddow Sums Up The Shutdown In One Incredible Graphic - HuffPo

Rachel Maddow Sums Up The Shutdown In One Incredible Graphic
Posted: 10/17/2013 8:56 am EDT

Rachel Maddow:

"Through this process, Republicans said they would shut down the government, or, once it was shut down, they would refuse to open the government unless they got each one of these things. Of all of these things that they demanded, they got none of them! None...these have been sixteen bad days for the country and the economy."

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/17/rachel-maddow-shutdown-republican-chart_n_4114662.html

What If... Just What If... President Barack Obama Has Had Enough ???

Item: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023865099

What if... he has tired of the standard "delegation" of duties...

What if... he has realized that he's been played by the "Boys of Summer" all along...

What if... for the next two/three years... he helps to keep the Senate, take the House, and promote the things that are good for the 99% ???

What if...

Hope... one strong drug.

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