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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Seeking The Truth, Let Rolling Stone do the Interview

We all know that big business can wave a fistfull of money at a senator and change his mind.     Now we find out specially trained PSY-OPS troops can manipulate their thoughts with the presentation of controlled materials.     What we have been reluctant to ask is  "How hard do you have to twist the truth to get over on a senile old warrior like John McCain?"     We have all seen Johnny have one of his old age fits and deny facts and reality. Would any man with a functional mind dump Sarah Palin on America?
                           You are such a manly man Joe.

Those reportedly singled out in the  "information operations" campaign included Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Al Franken, D-Minn.; and Carl Levin, D-Mich.     Other diplomats and think-tank analysts were also targeted.     The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 was passed by Congress to prevent the State Department from using propaganda techniques against U.S. citizens.      This law seems not to be followed and as of yet there is no protection against politicians selling out for money and other favors from big business.

How can we the people elect someone to go to Washington and represent our interest?     Is such a thing possible any longer and if someone discovers a way to do this how long will it be before the Supreme Court strikes it down and returns control of everything to big business?


This type of thing begs the question of why the military and most of our politicians are so hell bent on perpetual war?     They keep the fear machine going 24/7 and constantly tell us there is no other option.     No progress is made and lives and money are spent fighting for what exactly?      War is and always has been big business.
Madison Heights Virginia News
In the above photo Gen. David Petraeus is attempting to use mind control on John McCain and failing due to McCain's advanced years.     John is so old he can't control his own mind.

Gen. David Petraeus has ordered an investigation into claims that a top Army official instructed a military team to manipulate visiting U.S. dignitaries using  "psychological operations"  so they would approve more resources for the Afghanistan war.     Our country is so broke we can't pay teachers and cops and somebody is running an illegal PSY-OPS operation to get more war money.     Its time to shut the defense contractors down.
Faulconerville Virginia News

Rolling Stone reported that the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, who is in charge of training Afghan troops, tried to tap members of the military's  "information operations"  unit to use their skills on visiting senators and congressmen, among others.     The goal, according to the article, was to convince the officials to provide more troops and money.


Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said Thursday that the investigation will seek to determine whether the actions taken were inappropriate or illegal and will conclude they weren't.     For some reason I see a cat in a sand box and the cat is very busy.


Lapan, while not offering any denial of the claims, said it's not unusual for "psy-ops" personnel to be asked to do things outside their normal duties.     For instance, it would not be inappropriate for Caldwell to ask one of the officers in the unit to get data on visiting congressional delegations.    We do this on a frequent and regular basis.    The critical question concerns what information was being gathered and how it was intended to be used.

The Rolling Stone article centered on allegations by Holmes, a leader of the "information operations"  unit.     He said Caldwell was looking for more than typical background information about visiting senators.      Holmes told the magazine the office wanted a "deeper analysis of pressure points we could use to leverage the delegation for more funds."


A senior U.S. military official whose unit deals with "psy-ops" said Holmes was not officially trained by the Army in this kind of warfare.     Is the key phrase not officially trained by the Army? Does that mean the CIA trained him or some other as yet unknown government agency or just that the Army familiarized him with the techniques but did not officially train him?
Monroe Virginia News


The amazing thing here is that the military still grants interviews to Rolling Stone Magazine since they end up revealing all kinds of messy truths to RS.     It appears the writer for Rolling Stone has some special OPS training of his own and the ability to make the military put its combat boot in its own mouth.      Seriously the military should be embarrised to be so easily done in by its own words.      Here's the key to their bad luck, lying is harder than it at first seems so you must keep it a secret in the first place.
All of the politicians said they were unaware of any pressure or trickery being used on them however Joe Lieberman and John McCain said they could read the serial number on a fifty dollar bill from a football field away.     They also stated that everytime they saw a brown paper bag their hearts skipped a beat until they could get a peek at what was inside.
Madison Heights Virginia News


Here's a brainwashing tip.     On old codgers like Joe and John knock the dust and spider webs off them first.     After that success is just a soft soaping away.


Here's a snippit of the published story.


A high-ranking U.S. General in Afghanistan illegally ordered psychological operations officers to influence political figures, Rolling Stone’s Michael Hastings reports.

Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, the man charged with the training of the Afghan government’s troops, ordered a group of  “information operations”  specialists led by Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes to help influence visiting Senators and Congressmen and garner more political support for the unpopular war.      Holmes tells the magazine that when he and his fellow intelligence officers resisted the order, Caldwell’s staff and military investigators set out to ruin their careers.


“My job in psy-ops is to play with people’s heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave,”  Holmes says.     “I’m prohibited from doing that to our own people.     When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressman, you’re crossing a line.”      An officer attached to another psy-ops team in Afghanistan agreed:   “Everyone in the psy-ops, intel, and IO community knows you’re not supposed to target Americans.     It’s what you learn on day one.”
Faulconerville Virginia News
If Senator AL were still on SNL he would have a blast with this story.      Al is amused by McCain sleeping on the senate floor.     Naps are the right of senators and it is the duty of the pages to wake them up to vote.
                 John is dreaming about being a maverick.

According to Holmes, his unit’s targets included Senators Jack Reed, John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Al Franken and Carl Levin;   Congressman Steve Israel of the House Appropriations Committee;  the Czech Republic’s ambassador to Afghanistan and Germany’s interior minister; and even Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen.

Holmes says that Caldwell, an ambitious three-star general, ordered him to profile members of visiting congressional delegations and provide  “deeper analysis of pressure points we could use to leverage the delegation for more funds.”      The general’s chief of staff also asked Holmes what they would need to  “plant inside their heads”  to get more troops sent to the country.


“We called it Operation Fourth Star,”   Holmes says.     “Caldwell seemed far more focused on the Americans and the funding stream than he was on the Afghans.     We were there to teach and train the Afghans.     But for the first four months it was all about the U.S. Later he even started talking about targeting the NATO populations.”


Federal law forbids the use of psychological operations on U.S. citizens, and every defense authorization bill includes a “propaganda rider”  reiterating the point.      Holmes also suspected that Caldwell’s orders were in violation of the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, passed by Congress to ensure that U.S. citizens would never become subject to Soviet-style propaganda campaigns. Col. Gregory Breazile, the spokesperson for Caldwell’s operation, disagreed with Holmes’ assessment.      “It’s not illegal if I say it isn’t!”      Holmes recalls Breazile shouting when the two discussed the legality of Caldwell’s order.

Caldwell’s chief of staff then launched an investigation of Holmes that reported the Colonel drank alcohol, dressed in civilian clothing, improperly tried to start a business, made jokes of a sexual nature (“LTC Holmes’ comments about his sexual needs are even more distasteful in light of his status as a married man”), and carried on an “ inappropriate” relationship with a Maj. Laurel Levine. According to the Maj. Levine, who has received 16 service awards in her 19 years with the military and has a spotless record, Caldwell’s vendetta against Holmes “will probably end my career.”      In civilian life this is dropping a dime on somebody, destroying an enemy with a mountain of charges that are hard to defend.      When you are accused of dressing in civilian clothing, having a drink and trying to start a business What Do You Say?


The whole experience has left Holmes seemingly heartbroken by the military he served in.     “My father was an officer, and I believed officers would never act like this,”   he says.     “I was devastated.     I’ve lost my faith in the military, and I couldn’t in good conscience recommend anyone joining right now.”


A spokesperson for Caldwell denied all of Holmes’ charges to the magazine.

ACVDN Bottom Line,  Lt. Gen. William Caldwell is on track for a quick return to civilian life.     I am amazed at how poorly these folks are at keeping secrets.     Beyond this incident the Rolling Stone Magazine has used their own loose lips to sink their boat before and there are hunreds of thousands of secret memos and emails floating around the net courtesy of WIKI Leaks.     It appears that if our top brass are ever captured by the enemy the whole story is just one talk with one reporter away from daylight.     Is this what all the tax money we send to the military buys?

Amherst County News



Madison Heights News






Madison Heights Virginia News

The Two Obamas....The Two Obamas



Campaign Obama
"If American workers are being denied their right to organize when I'm in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes and I will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States."

Whats wrong, can't find your shoes?
Monroe Virginia News

President Obama
"Some of what I've heard coming out of Wisconsin, where you're just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally seems like more of an assault on unions.    And I think it's very important for us to understand that public employees, they're our neighbors, they're our friends...... And I think it's important not to vilify them or to suggest that somehow all these budget problems are due to public employees."

This is lame and wimpish.    This is a man backing down and walking back his words.


Did you spot the difference in these two statements?
Madison Heights Virginia News

Campaign Obama is about action and taking a clear stance and working for a solution.
Amherst County Virginia News

President Obama is just a lot of words and no follow thru.    Is this guy the Hot Air Kid?     If you couldn't see the difference in the two statements how about the differences in the two photos?

Remember when Obama said,  " I’d rather be a good one-term president than a mediocre two-termer."     Who does Obama think

he's kidding?     He is a medicore one termer at the moment and it will require some spine from him to rise above that level.


The First Lady ought to have a talk with the President and let him know the word good doesn't go in a sentence with his name unless he puts it there.     To put it there he will have to do some work.

Living up as President to what he lipped off about while campaigning would go a long way toward improving Democrats thoughts about him.      Nothing he can do will make Republicans like him so any gesture in that direction is wasted effort.     Obama needs to concentrate on pleasing the Democratic members of the Democratic party.      They are the ones who got him elected the first time.      Without them there is no second time.

Let me take a crack at some new bumperstickers for Obamas next run.

"Disreguard My Words, They're Just Hot Air"


"Forget What I said but Believe I Care"

"Yes I Could but Not For Union People" 
Monroe Virginia News

"I didn't mean it then and I won't do it now"

"I was running then, I'm elected now"

"Don't Despair, Imagine I 'm There"

President Obama, If You Want to become a laughing stock go for it.    I'm pretty sure you'll make it.

ACVDN Bottom Line,  Sometimes you gotta rise to the occasion and deliver the goods.    Especially if your mouth has committed you.    A promise to a group of people at election time is not a statement you walk back with a finely crafted statement.    It is something you live up to.    What kind of joke do you want to be?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Will You Get Social Security?

Here's the answer in case you aren't into reading.     Not if The Republican Party gets its way.
                                                                                   Agricola Virginia News
Let me put it to you straight up.   If it made sense to you to vote for republicans in the last election you probably won't notice the things they take away from you and those around you as they balance the budget on your back and protect big business and the rich from pain.   You have volenteered to fill in and look out for your parents and grandparents as their benefits diminish and you have demonstrated that you couldn't care less about your own retirement and future medical coverages.   You were gullible enough to think the republican party cared about you.   To the point, you are well below average in thinking ability, you are a republican.   The GOP represents big business period,  Not You.

Here's the sad part.     You and people who think like you are controlling the United States House of Representatives.     The rich are getting richer, jobs routinly are outsourced to foreign shores and the middle class is disappearing into the ranks of the working poor. 

Republicans support the dismanteling of social security and the end of medicare and the eradication of unions.     Taxes on the upper classes and big business are being reduced at the same time that taxes on the poor and middle class are rising.     What in the name of God do you people stand for?     The GOP has No Positive Agenda.     You have No answers.     As was once said   "Any Jackass can kick down a barn. We need someone who can build one."

It appears that our country will be destroyed from the ignorance within and not from enemies invading our shores.     Here is how the republicans have the future planned.     Medicare is privatized. Seniors get a voucher to buy private insurance, and the voucher's growth is far slower than the expected growth of health-care costs. Medicaid is also privatized.     The employer tax exclusion is fully eliminated, replaced by a tax credit that grows more slowly than medical costs.     And beyond health care, Social Security moves to a system of private accounts that CBO says will actually cost more than the present arrangement.      In a few short years under the Republican plan seniors will know a level of poverty that is unimaginable.      Republicans want to rob the social security fund of its surplus trillions of dollars and send it to their business buddies on wall street.

The proposal would shift risk from the federal government to seniors themselves.     The money seniors would get to buy their own policies would grow more slowly than their health-care costs, and more slowly than their expected Medicare benefits, which means that they'd need to either cut back on how comprehensive their insurance is or how much health-care they purchase.  
                                                                                       Alhambra Virginia News
Medicare currently pays providers less and works more efficiently than private insurers, so seniors trying to purchase a plan equivalent to Medicare would pay more for it on the private market.     A functioning system that provides health care to seniors is being dismanteled rather than fine tuned and adjusted.

Drip . . drip . . . drip . . .

Little by little, chink by chink, SS will become ever more elusive, more impermanent.      Republicans will steal it by making it the opposite of a lockbox - they'll borrow against it,  put more and more contingencies on it,  make it ever more incorporeal by raising the retirement age.      They'll demonize those who take it - heck, they do that now.      They'll sow the seeds of despair . . . in conversations over the water cooler,  people nearing their retirement years will express their disolutioned, skeptical opinion that they'll ever receive their first dime before they die of cancer or hard work.

Meek Democrats and Blue Dogs won't reveal the Republicans plan or put up much opposition because they get their campaign monies from big business also.      There is not much time left to see the light, big business owns the republican party lock stock and barrell and has made impressive inroads into purchasing the democratic party.     Democrats need to take a close look at the weakened sell outs in their mist.

 Tomorrow every Democrat in the House should be lined up for their chance to address the body at the podium on CSPAN and point out what the Republicans are up to.     Democrats should push this story on the media and make every American knows what the republicans are up to.     And every single GOP House member that appears on CNN or MSNBC or one of the morning shows should HAVE to answer the question of if they agree with these "visionaries" in the Republican Party.     Once you lose something it is double hard to ever get it back.      I am dam tired of our governments every action being something to help big business or wall street.

If this is allowed to slide under the radar, if the big business interests that controll the republican party are allowed to win then shame on every person in any leadership position in the Democratic Party.     You will have shown without a doubt that you do not deserve to lead this country.     Democrats need to develop a fight back instinct.     Democrats today seem to have a hide and keep quiet and hope the problems go away instinct.     Only the corrupt republicans who get money from coperate interests are vested in this fight.     Regular non thinking republicans might just get their backs up when they realize how big money is using them.     It could take a little time for these small time servant republicans to open their eyes but it is up to us to try and get their attention.
                                                                      Amherst County   Allwood Virginia News
Republicans Really Do Want To Cut Social Security And Medicare and regular working repulicans are blissfully unaware of the effect his will have on them, their children, parents and grandparents.     Regular working republicans do two things.    They hate liberals and democrats and President Obama and they believe anything republican leadership tells them without question. Questioning the sanity of what republican leadership tells them will take care of their hate.     If anyone thinks only liberals and democrats get social security and medicare they are mistaken.

After their attempt to privatize Social Security in 2005 was met with widespread public outcry, the GOP’s strategy on Social Security has been two-fold.     First, Republicans deny they are interested in privatization.     Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) recently told the Wall Street Journal that “no one has a proposal up to cut Social Security,” (his own book proposes doing so), while conservatives in the media have tried to argue that Republicans don’t actually want to privatize Social Security.

The second tactic has been to obfuscate their privatization plans by sugarcoating them in flowery, palatable language.     President Bush’s privatization plan is a prime example.     In his 2005 State of the Union, President Bush said we needed to “save” Social Security and give younger workers a “better deal” by having “voluntary personal retirement accounts,”  the poll-tested language for privatization.     Bush now says his greatest failure was not privatizing Social Security.     George W. Bush had so many failures it would take a panel of wise men to pick the worst.
                                                                                Amherst Virginia    Brightwell Mill News
However, such rhetoric belies their record.     A thorough review of the voting records and statements of Republicans in Congress reveals a critical mass of GOPers who have supported privatizing Social Security.     In total, 47 percent of House Republicans and 49 percent of Senate Republicans are on record supporting the privatization of Social Security.     Some, including Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), want to go even further and “wean everybody” off of Social Security altogether.

Republicans in Congress have long operated by the “majority of the majority” principle, whereby legislation is only advanced by a GOP Speaker if it is supported by a majority of Republicans.     With many prominent GOP candidates in favor of privatizing or eliminating Social Security, including Rand Paul, Ken Buck, Dan Coats, Sharron Angle, Dan Benishek, Ben Quayle, Star Parker, and Jesse Kelly, it’s likely that a GOP-controlled Congress would have the necessary votes to revisit the issue.


Each year there is a report on Social Security so let's look at the encouraging findings by the agency's trustees, who include the secretaries of Labor, the Treasury, and Health and Human Services.

The trustees indicated that the program has made it through the worst economic downturn in its life span essentially unscathed.     In fact, by at least one measure it's fiscally stronger than a year ago:  Its projected actuarial deficit over the next 75 years  (a measurement required by law) is smaller now than a year ago.

The old age and disability trust funds, which hold the system's surplus, grew in 2009 by $122 billion, to $2.5 trillion.     The program paid out $675 billion to 53 million beneficiaries — men, women and children — with administrative costs of 0.9% of expenditures.     For all you privatization advocates out there, you'd be lucky to find a retirement and insurance plan of this complexity with an administrative fee less than five or 10 times that ratio.

This year and next, the program's costs will exceed its take from the payroll tax and income tax on benefits.     That's an artifact of the recession, and it's expected to reverse from 2012 through 2014.    The difference is covered by the program's other income source — interest on the Treasury bonds in the Social Security trust fund.
                                                                                    Amherst County    Clifford Virginia News
And that, in turn, leads us to the convoluted subject of the trust fund, which for some two decades has been the prime target of the crowd trying to bamboozle Americans into thinking Social Security is insolvent, bankrupt, broke — pick any term you wish, because they're all wrong.     The trust fund is the mechanism by which baby boomers have pre-funded their own   (OK, our own) retirements.     When tax receipts fall short, its bonds are redeemed by the government to cover the gap.

Despite what Social Security's enemies love to claim, the trust fund is not a myth, it's not mere paper.     It's real money, and it represents the savings of every worker paying into the system today.

What trips up many people about the trust fund is the notion that redeeming the bonds in the fund to produce cash for Social Security is the equivalent of "the government" paying money to "the government."       Superficially, this resembles transferring a dollar from your brown pants to your gray pants — you're no more or less flush than you were before changing pants.

But that assumes every one of us contributes equally to "the government," and by equal methods — you, me and the chairman of Goldman Sachs.

The truth is that there are two separate tax programs at work here — the payroll tax and the income tax — and they affect Americans in different ways.     The first pays for Social Security and the second for the rest of the federal budget.



Most Americans pay more payroll tax than income tax.     Not until you pull in $200,000 or more, which puts you among roughly the top 5% of income-earners, are you likely to pay more in income tax than payroll tax.      One reason is that the income taxed for Social Security is capped, at $106,800.     (My payroll and income tax figures come from the Brookings Institution, and the income distribution statistics come from the U.S. Census Bureau.)
                                                                                 Amherst County    Naola Virginia News
Since 1983, the money from all payroll taxpayers has been building up the Social Security surplus, swelling the trust fund.     What's happened to the money?      It's been borrowed by the federal government and spent on federal programs — housing, stimulus, war and a big income tax cut for the richest Americans, enacted under President George W. Bush in 2001.     Thats right, your SS money paid for the Bush tax cuts and now Republicans don't want to pay the SS Fund back.


In other words, money from the taxpayers at the lower end of the income scale has been spent to help out those at the higher end. That transfer — that loan, to characterize it accurately — is represented by the Treasury bonds held by the trust fund.

The interest on those bonds, and the eventual redemption of the principal, should have to be paid for by income taxpayers, who reaped the direct benefits from borrowing the money.

So all the whining you hear about how redeeming the trust fund will require a tax hike we can't afford is simply the sound of wealthy taxpayers trying to skip out on a bill about to come due.     The next time someone tells you the trust fund is full of worthless IOUs,  try to guess what tax bracket he's in.


It should come as no surprise that one of the leading advocates for cutting Social Security benefits or raising payroll taxes is the Wall Street billionaire Peter G. Peterson, who has pumped millions into an alarmist campaign about the federal deficit.

But ask Peterson, who made his money as a hedge fund manager, about closing the enormous tax loophole enjoyed by hedge fund managers — it costs the Treasury a couple of billion dollars a year — and he warns that it would force hedge funds to move overseas, which would be bad for the U.S. economy.     This is the sort of argument my mother used to describe as:   "I like me, who do you like?"
                                                                               Amherst County   Peddlar Mill Virginia News
The trust fund may not last forever, but reports of its demise are certainly premature.     The trustees say it will be drawn down to zero in 2037, at which point the program will only have enough money coming in from taxes to pay 78% of the benefits due under current law.     So sometime in the next quarter-century — but by no means right now — does anything have to be fixed, say through a hike in the payroll tax ceiling (or, better, its elimination)?

That 2037 deadline, in truth, is a moving target.     It's based on long-term projections, which become more uncertain the further out you look.      The estimated date is very sensitive to forecasts of immigration, wage and economic growth, and birth and death rates, all of which are uncertain.      Over the last 10 years, it has fluctuated between 2037 and 2042, mostly due to economic factors. It has held steady at 2037 for two years despite the downturn, but that's still better than the projection in 1998, which was for exhaustion in 2032.

In short, if the new trustees report gets examined wisely and responsibly, it should put an end to all the current talk about raising the retirement age or cutting benefits.     Social Security doesn't contribute a dime to the federal deficit, and in these days of market stagnation and cutbacks in pensions, it has never been more important to millions of Americans.     The Pete Petersons of the world should find themselves a different target.

Now that Republicans have made huge gains in the last election they are being asked about what specifically they would to balance the budget in the future.     Throughout much of the 2010 campaign Republican candidates would simply speak of "cutting spending." Even the Republican "Pledge to America" contained no specifics plan that would actually balance the budget.     As many journalist pointed out, cutting "pork barrel" spending and other discretionary projects gets the country nowhere near a balanced budget.     Really balancing the budget would require either raising tax rates or cutting the politically sacred programs of Social Security and Medicare.

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) both signal a willingness to cut the benefits to Social Security and Medicare in order to achieve their spending cut goals.


In the first part of the interview Senator DeMint is pressed as to how he would cut spending enough to balance the budget.    Sen. DeMint claims that the GOP would not cut Social Security and Medicare, but Demint cites Rep. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future" as a path that Republicans could follow to balancing the budget.     Either Senator DeMint does not know of Rep. Ryan's plan or he does not think everyone else knows what is in it.     Rep. Ryan's plan would dramatically reduce the benefits people would receive under Social Security within ten years.     Rep. Ryan's plan would also completely privatize Medicare by giving seniors a voucher to purchase their own health care insurance.     Seniors, under Rep. Ryan's plan, would be left to fend for themselves in the private market with their voucher.     The voucher's value would not even come close to keeping up with the pace of increasing health care costs.     If seniors could not find a plan that was cheap enough they would either have to make up the difference or simply go without insuarance.     If this is the only realistic plan that Republicans have   (by all indications it certainly is)   then the GOP certainly plans on cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits in the future.
                                             
Senator-elect Rand Paul is less coy about his plans to balance the budget.     Paul admits that he will have to consider reducing benefits in the future under Social Security and Medicare.    

However, Paul claims that he will not be reducing benefits for current seniors or those about to retire.     What Paul neglect to mention is that nearly every working American is already entitled to full benefits under Medicare and Social Security.     Anyone who gets a paycheck stub can see that a portion of their pay goes to Social Security and Medicare.     If Paul reduces benefits in the future, he effectively reduces the benefits that everyone is currently paying for through the current system.     Every working American has effectively bought a future benefit plan, and Paul has has admitted that he will seek to reduce the benefits of that plan.

This is how senior citizens are rewarded by the Republicans they were duped into voting for.

New Republican legislation in the House and Senate would force the U.S. government to reroute huge amounts of money to China and other creditors in the event that Congress fails to raise its debt ceiling.



“I intend to introduce legislation that would require the Treasury to make interest payments on our debt its first priority in the event that the debt ceiling is not raised,” Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

If passed, Toomey’s plan would require the government to cut large checks to foreign countries, and major financial institutions, before paying off its obligations to Social Security beneficiaries and other citizens owed money by the Treasury — that is, if the U.S. hits its debt ceiling.     Republican leaders insist they will raise the country’s debt limit before this happens.     But first, they’re going to try to force Democrats to accept large spending cuts, using their control over the debt limit as leverage.     That means gridlock, and the threat that they’ll come up short.

That’s where Toomey’s idea supposedly comes in.     And yet, according to the Treasury Department, his plan wouldn’t actually avoid a default, or its catastrophic consequences.


“his idea is unworkable,” said Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin in a statement.     “It would not actually prevent default, since it would seek to protect only principal and interest payments, and not other legal obligations of the U.S., from non-payment. Adopting a policy that payments to investors should take precedence over other U.S. legal obligations would merely be default by another name, since the world would recognize it as a failure by the U.S. to stand behind its commitments.”

Now the thing you have to remember here is Social Security is a pay-go system.     It works like this.     The money taken out of my paycheck goes directly to supporting my 88 year old grandfather now.     I get an I.O.U.     When I retire, my children and grandchildren pay into the system and their money goes to support me.     It’s the best form of social security system in the world and the most successful government program to date in many ways. What’s more, it doesn’t impact the deficit or the debt in any way.     Not one penny of our national debt can be traced back to social security.      Thing is, Republicans have wanted to cut the program since it began back in the thirties and are still after it.    

Mark my words, in some way they’re going to have a vote on cutting the program, be it through a rather pitiful looking Trojan Horse like this bill or through some other manner like raising the retirement age.     Contrast that with the position taken by Democratic Leader Harry Reid who said simply, “Social Security is off the table.”

ACVDN Bottom Line
I am tired of Republican lies.
Faulconerville Virginia News   


 



Thursday, February 17, 2011

$174,000 a Year and No Place to Sleep

You make $174,000 a year and can't afford an apartment or room to sleep in, who are you?
                                          Congressional Approved Bed
       A United States Congressman

First lets look at job benefits that come with being elected to congress.

The lowest paid Congressman makes $174,000 per year.    Those in leadership roles make more.    They enjoy good benefits and conditions of employeement.     They can retire on a full pension at fifty years of age with 20 years of service.     20 years of service means being re-elected 10 times.     Thats not impossible as many reach that goal such as our Congressman Bob Goodlatte and some even double those years such as Charles Rangall of New York.

The requiement of 20 years of service for full retirement explains the lack of interest in term limits.      After 5 years of service a congressman receives a reduced pension.     Members are eligible at any age after completing 25 years of service or after they reach the age of 62.      The amount of a congressperson's pension depends on the years of service and the average of the highest 3 years of his or her salary, but it can’t exceed 80 percent of final salary.


Lets use the lowest salary for 2009 and not increase it for the next 20 years and compute a pension payment.     The annual retirement benefit would be .8 X $174,000 or $139,200 per year.     That is figured on the minimum level of pay.      In real life it would be figured on the three highest years’ salary.      Congressmen vote on heir own salary level and raise the amount regularly reguardless of the state of the economy in the country so over the years that 2009 salary level of $174,000 would rise.     In 1989, Congress passed an amendment allowing for automatic raises, unless lawmakers specifically voted to reject it.     The fiscal year 2004 Transportation and Treasury Department Appropriations bill included Congress' 2.2 percent pay raise.     Congress can hide a pay raise almost anywhere and no longer has to vote on it in the dead of night to get it passed as its passage is automatic unless specifically rejected.

Congressmen can fly around in government luxury jets from a fleet of 24 jets our government keeps for them and other government personnel.     Congress has the only job in the country that can set their own salary without regard to performance, profit, or economic climate.     With a Trillion dollar deficit, the cost of the war in Iraq and Afganstan, and a stagnant economy, Congress should be curbing spending, not slipping in another pay raise.     The 108th congress raised their base by $3,400.     Since 1990, congressional pay has increased from $98,400 to $154,700 in 2003.     That was a $56,300 jump, a 57 percent increase in only 13 years.     In 2009 pay went up to $174,000 base.     Thats another $20,000 in increases since 2003.


From 1789 to 1815, members of Congress received only a per diem (daily payment) of $6.00 while in session.     Members began receiving an annual salary in 1815, when they were paid $1,500 per year.


House and Senate Leaders are paid more than rank-and-file members.

Both the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, and Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, get $193,400.     The Speaker of the House, John Boehner, gets $223,500 and a jet airplane.     President Obama makes $400,000 per year plus expenses.     A cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase takes effect annually unless Congress votes to not accept it.

Now I've told you this so I can tell you something else and that is over 30 of these Congressmen can't afford or won't pay $1,200 to $1,800 a month for a place to live and are sleeping in their offices.     Congress is getting to be much like a frat house.
Union Hill Virginia News
 
Among the members sleeping in their offices, rather than paying for their own apartments or other housing, are 8th District Rep. Joe Walsh, a McHenry Republican, and 5th District Rep. Mike Quigley, 3rd District Rep. Dan Lipinski and 1st District Rep. Bobby Rush, all Chicago Democrats.     33 members of Congress (7 Democrats and 26 Republicans. all men) sleep in their Congressional offices.


These 33 pennypinchers hail from as close to Washington as Delaware and Virginia, and from as far away as California and
Arizona.      Five of them represent Arizona districts, reportedly including freshman Rep. Ben Quayle, son of former Vice
President Dan Quayle.
Plesant View Virginia News
Ben Quayle, writer of articles for a porno website and man who would go to Washington and knock the hell out of the place is sleeping in his office on a cot.     Ben is a lot like his old man Dan Quayle.    He can't spell potato either.

 
Most House members commute from their districts, many of them have the burden of assuming both a house payment and monthly
rent -- or in some cases two house payments.     They make $174,000 annually, but most maintain their primary residences and
families in their home districts and travel back and forth throughout the year.     Some save by sharing spartan apartments near the Capitol.      All are aware of the challenges that go with the job when they run for it.

No one knows how many members have their offices do double duty as residences.     Neither the Committee on House Administration nor the Office of the House Chief Administrative Officer keeps a list.     Nor does the sergeant-at-arms’ office, which might be interested in knowing which offices contained sleeping members if there were an emergency on the Hill.




Outgoing Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) told the Gannett News Service in 2007 that, based on what he saw in the health club each morning, as many as 40 other congressmen sleep in their offices. Members and their office staffers aren’t so keen on giving out names, and no offices would confess to knowing who or how many are asleep near their desks.

Fred Beuttler, the deputy historian of the House, said that, in the 1980s, Democratic leaders advised members to move their families to Washington with them.    
                                                                                                    Riverville Virginia News
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia advised Republicans to do the opposite to minimize their footprint in favor of more time spent in their districts.     Newt was deeply involved in an exta marital affair at the time so his advice served his interest well.

A number of Republican members are known to sleep in their offices.     Among them:   Reps. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, Denny Rehberg of Montana, Lee Terry of Nebraska and John Sullivan of Oklahoma.


After decamping from a room in a nearby town house, Sullivan sleeps on a mattress in his office.    Terry recently graduated
from a succession of air mattresses to a rollaway bed, an aide said.


Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) used to sleep in his office.     But spokesman Chris Crawford said Kingston eventually moved out
for the benefit of staffers who got tired of finding containers of ramen noodles around.
Salt Creek Virginia News

Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz, 41, was sworn in as a member of the 112th Congress.     The Republican freshman has since set up his humble sleeping quarters in his office - in a bid to maximise work and save the odd dollar or two.    He estimates that in turning his back on a hotel while in Washington he is able to save around 1,500 US dollars a month.    Mr Chaffetz, believes his actions should serve as an example to others finding themselves needing to cut back during the recession.    Can you say nut job boys and girls?
Snowden Virginia News
This is a homeless person and not  someone practicing to be a Congressman.     He has no other place to sleep and he is not saving $1500 a month by sleeping in the box.     He probably draws no salary from the government.    If he were making $174,000 a year he would be sleeping at the Holiday Inn with the tv on.


If members didn't want to find housing in Washington, they shouldn't have run for Congress in the first place.  
  
ACVDN  Bottom  Line:   
Stapleton Virginia News

If they can't live on the minimum pay of $174,000 a year they are unfit to handle our nations business.     I can think of no other occupation that suffers from such a high opinion of itself and such a low level of dignity as a politician.    Get a life fellas.


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Walkers Ford Virginia News

John Boehner Can't Do His Job and Republicans Look Like Fools

House Speaker John Boehner is violating his own small-government principles by meddling in local affairs, D.C. voting rights activists said Thursday morning.
                                                                            Amherst County Virginia Democratic News

Woodson Virginia News
About two dozen protesters held a tea party-style demonstration outside Boehner's Capitol Hill home Thursday morning.     They wore three-cornered, colonial-style hats and chanted, "Don't tread on D.C."

House Republicans have proposed a spending resolution that would prohibit the city from using local funds for a needle exchange program and abortions for low-income women.


Boehner shouldn't be telling residents of a city without full voting rights in the House how to spend their money, DC Vote Executive Director Ilir Zherka said.


"Of course, the Speaker is the Speaker of the House of Representatives because of the Tea Party, and one of the basic tenets of the Tea Party … is that the central federal government should do the things that it is elected to do, and not intrude on the rights of local governments," Zherka said.

Instead, Zherka said, Boehner and the GOP have tried to federalize D.C. policies.


When they attempted to deliver a letter and a tea bag to Boehner's door, protesters were ordered off the property.
                                                                                                  Willow Virginia News
Boehner did not speak to protesters when he left his home, organizers of the protest said.     The real challenge Boehner faces is making the tea party members think he respects them and is with them on the issues.     The GOP has been fooling poor working republicans for years by making them think that their interests and the interest of the GOP are one and the same.     They have managed to keep the wool over the eyes of these small time republican voters for years but it appears the tea party is not so easy to fool.     Even the more dense regular republican voters are waking up to the undisputed fact that the rich are getting tax breaks and the budget is being balanced on their backs.    

Note that the liberal democrats and the tea party are voting the same way and in opposition to the GOP.      The GOP is intent on destroying America and replacing it with a surfdom of poor people serving the needs and fancy of the wealthy and coperate interest.    Will the regular run of working republicans awaken from dream land in time to save the country?

PS:    For so long I kept seeing President Obama decorated up in clown makeup that I've decided to return the favor to some republican leaders.     Out of an abundance of good taste I don't use that tiny under the nose moustache on anyone.

Boehner Loses Vote to Tea Party and Democrats
                                                                                            Winesap Virginia News
In a career-defining victory for a young lawmaker, sophomore Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) corralled conservative freshmen to beat his own party leadership this week, spearheading a pivotal House vote to cut $450 million for a competitive engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.


It has been one of Washington’s most intensively lobbied issues in years, and big cuts to defense are among the rarest accomplishments on Capitol Hill, since every single line in the budget has ferocious, deep-pocketed defenders.
                                                                                            Beverlytown Virginia News
Top House leaders - Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Armed Services
Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) - were arrayed in favor of preserving the program, in part because the alternative engine is built by GE, a big employer in Boehner’s home state of Ohio.


The vote on the amendment to scuttle the program was 233-198, with 47 Republican freshmen tipping the balance.

The cut was victory for the Obama administration, which like the last Bush administration, sought to scuttle the engine.
                                                                               Angelo Virginia News         Amherst County
And it was a loss for Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, which has many of the GE engine jobs.


The vote was also seen as a test for how the influx of new budget-minded Republicans would behave, and whether an alliance
with Democrats could help at long last defeat the engine.


The tally on the amendment to strip the engine funds from the continuing spending resolution for this fiscal 2011 year was
233-198.     The House still must approve the CR, which it is expected to do yet this week, and send it onto the Senate for
consideration.


While no single vote can ever be counted on to doom a Pentagon weapons program, Wednesday’s House action appears to be
pivotal, since the Senate for the last two years has allowed the House to take the lead on the engine.


Still, GE noted that Congress has continued to support its engine for the last 15 years and pledged to move ahead. “We will continue to press the case for competition as the FY11 budget is finalized and as the FY12 budget debate continues,” said GE Aviation spokesman Rick Kennedy said in a statement.


The GE engine program has enjoyed congressional support for years, riding on a web of parochial ties and a strong endorsement from the House Armed Services Committee, which firmly believes that the $100 billion engine program is so large the Pentagon needs a competitor to Pratt and Whitney to control cost and quality.


The Pentagon has rejected that argument since the last Bush administration, trying repeatedly to end funding for the engine.   And this time, Defense Secretary Robert Gates used the full force of his office and reputation, making ending the engine in this fiscal year a major feature of his budget presentation for the new 2012 fiscal year budget and in some circles a “manhood” issue.


Gates, who was on Capitol Hill Wednesday to testify before the House Armed Services Committee, reiterated his opposition.


And Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen weighed in as well, declaring flatly:   “We cannot afford to buy the second engine.”

ACVDN Bottom Line:   Look for the Republicans with the assistence of John Boehner and Eric Canter to cram this into some bill and find a way to continue this useless program.     Republicans are about graft and corruption and pork and they will not be stopped easily.     The tea party has a battle on their hands if they are intending to make the Republicans straighten up and fly right.    They are begining to understand who the enemy is and thats a good thing.
Alto Virginia News

 


Amherst County Virginia Democratic News

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jim Webb Retires, Tea Party Trips Republicans

Since Jim has raised only $12,000 for his re-election run it should come as no surprise he's pitching in the towel.     He was too sensible to be happy in the role of politician and his years as an author allowed his mind to function too well.     Real politicians are dry, single level charcters who find a cushy spot to rest and hang there to the end.     Jim Webb has a lot of life to live and enjoy and even though we will miss him we wish him God Speed.      Also happy birthday.     Jim turns 65 today.
                                                                         ACVDN, The Top News Source for Amherst Virginia
One of the most compelling figures in the Democrat's Senate caucus won't seek re-election. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., will retire after one term.
                                                                                          Amherst Virginia NEWS
It's tough to imagine Democrats having trouble fielding a candidate to replace Webb.       Democrats had a rotten 2009 and a rotten 2010 in Virginia, and they're fighting uphill to hold the State Senate this year.       But former Gov. Tim Kaine, now DNC chairman (yes, he presided over those bad years), only ruled out a bid when failure to do so would have fired up speculation about Webb.      A November 2010 poll had Kaine slightly outperforming Webb in a race against George Allen;   Kaine, unlike Webb, will not have to worry about money.       And any Democrat in the New South next year will have a second surge of African-American Obama voters boosting his chances.

So I'm much less interested in that, much more interested in Webb's short career as a senator.      He was one of the least understood "stars" in the upper House.      When he returned from Vietnam and attended Georgetown Law, he was deeply offended by liberal anti-war sentiment.       "I’m one of these people,"  he told Tim Russert in 2006, "who — there, there aren’t many of us — who can still justify for you the reasons that we went into Vietnam, however screwed up the strategy got."      He joined the Reagan administration, and after he left it (in a disagreement over shrinking the Navy, which he opposed), he mostly endorsed Republicans.      He only turned on the party during the run-up to the War in Iraq. He wrote an op-ed opposing the war in 2002.

The connotations of  "a MacArthurian regency in Baghdad" show how inapt the comparison is.      Our occupation forces never set foot inside Japan until the emperor had formally surrendered and prepared Japanese citizens for our arrival.       Nor did MacArthur destroy the Japanese government when he took over as proconsul after World War II.      Instead, he was careful to work his changes through it, and took pains to preserve the integrity of Japan's imperial family.       Nor is Japanese culture in any way similar to Iraq's.      The Japanese are a homogeneous people who place a high premium on respect, and they fully cooperated with MacArthur's forces after having been ordered to do so by the emperor.      The Iraqis are a multiethnic people filled with competing factions who in many cases would view a U.S. occupation as infidels invading the cradle of Islam.


Indeed, this very bitterness provided Osama bin Laden the grist for his recruitment efforts in Saudi Arabia when the United States kept bases on Saudi soil after the Gulf War.


In Japan, American occupation forces quickly became 50,000 friends.      In Iraq, they would quickly become 50,000 terrorist targets.


It was on the basis of that essay and his biography that liberals, especially liberal bloggers, recruited Webb as a U.S. Senate candidate in 2006.      People constantly forget that liberals did this -- it didn't make sense that the liberals at Daily Kos would be enraptured by the author of an essay about why "Women Can't Fight."      But Webb found the right political moment, one in which liberals prioritized an end to the war over almost anything else.     He wore a pair of his son's combat boots throughout the campaign;  I was at his victory celebration, when he lifted the boots and said, with obvious delight,  "the campaign is over!"      He defeated George Allen (thanks to some self-inflicted wounds) when it was tough to imagine anyone else doing it.

The 2008 buzz over Webb as a possible VP candidate for Obama never made sense to me.     Like I said, he had found a moment -- the moment was over as the Iraq War faded as an issue.      He obviously cared less about politicking than almost anyone else with his level of prominence.       And in important ways, he was not a "progressive" -- he was a populist.      His big issues were economic opportunity, prison reform, and aid for veterans, and on at least the last issue he was very successful, passing a new GI Bill in 2008.


But he hated the health care debate, even though he voted for the bill.      He's privately raised issues throughout Barack Obama's tenure. Some frustration is tactical.       He told Rahm Emanuel last June that the president should provide a "very specific format"  for his vision of healthcare reform.      It would have offset the, in Webb's words, "complex amorphous leviathan that bubbled up out of five committees."


"A lot of people in this country, when they look up here, they want to see leadership. They want to see credibility.     And they are not always the same thing,"  Webb says.      "The healthcare issue really took away a lot of the credibility of the new leadership--Obama particularly--the Reid-Pelosi-Obama trio."

The image that emerges:    A man who passionately cared about ending the war in Iraq and was guardedly optimistic about making the economic playing field flatter, then got to Washington and discovered how much more he liked being a writer.

ACVDN Bottom Line.     For a short period of time we were more than adequately represented by a thoughtful and honest gentleman.     You could call it Virginia's Camelot.     Thank You Jim.
                                                                                        Source One for Amherst News
ACVDN Predicts,  Former Gov. Tim Kaine will be the Democratic  candidate and next Senator from Virginia

Whats Happening Amherst County?





House GOP Leaders Blindsided By Patriot Act Defeat

If the House's new Republican leaders were going to fail to pass any particular piece of legislation, you wouldn't expect it to be an extension of several Patriot Act provisions.


The Patriot Act, a Bush Administration legacy, has typically been more strongly supported by Republicans than Democrats.


But the House leadership was blindsided Tuesday evening when a Patriot Act extension was defeated.


Several new GOP lawmakers from the Tea Party wing who, in principle, are suspicious of federal power, joined other
Republicans as well as House Democrats to torpedo the extension.

The legislation failed on a 277-148 vote, coming seven votes shy of the two-thirds margin needed to pass bills under House rules normally reserved for non-controversial legislation.


It was the biggest defeat for the House's new GOP managers since they took charge last month.     Republicans will spin this as a victory.


House Republicans vow to bring the bill up again under chamber rules that would require just a simple majority.    The Obama Administration supports the extension.    It wouldn't hurt Obama to re-think some of the things he supports.

The FBI's authority to conduct some kinds of surveillance and get business records expires at the end of February.      So the defeat of a House plan to extend the deadline until the end of the year threatens to throw the law enforcement community into disarray.


A GOP aide blamed the situation on new lawmakers who don't understand the Patriot Act and on Tea Party favorites who reject broad federal powers.    Could it be that after a decade of living under the Patriot Act, these new members understand it only too well?    The Senate will try to push forward its version of the plan next week.


Now the question is whether Republicans in the House can work with Democrats in the Senate with only two weeks of room to maneuver.     Republicans haven't worked with Democrats for the last 10 years but you can bet the store the Democrats will fall in and help save face for the Republicans.


Aides to Republican leaders also blamed Democrats who had voted for such an extension during the last Congress but didn't this time.     Finally and for unknown reasons Democrats grow spines.    Could it be the smaller number of Blue Dogs fouling the House?
Kevin Can't Count
Thats not exactly true.     Kevin can't count too well is closer to accurate.     Kevin can get to within ten or twelve if the number is less than 300 so Kevin is generally within 8% of the correct number give or take a couple.      If you give him enough room to count with his foot (like Roy Roger's horse trigger) he does quite well but it is a OSHA violation to let him count with his foot in a crowded space like on the House floor.    To correct this Republicans will try and destroy OSHA completely.

They also blamed House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) whose job (hobby might be a better fit) it is to count the votes before the actual vote and twist enough arms to gain passage.     McCarthy is no different from most Republicans, they all have trouble with math and numbers.

From National Journal:



"I am surprised that so many Democrats who supported an extension of these very same provisions last Congress suddenly
changed their votes," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas.      "President Obama supports a
reauthorization of these important national security tools.      And the House bill provides Congress with the opportunity to engage in a thorough review of the provisions as we consider a longer reauthorization.      It's unfortunate that partisan politics seems to have prevented so many Democrats from doing what's best for America's national security."


GOP aides, however, were pointing the finger at House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. Aides said McCarthy failed to
whip the vote, which led to the embarrassment of the bill falling short and leaders being caught off guard.


For Democrats, it was an opportunity for a little payback, to bloody the noses of the House's new GOP managers.     But the vote also demonstrated the impact of the House losing so many of its more centrist Democrats.     Some of those who were defeated in the mid-terms or retired would have likely provided the necessary votes to pass the extension.     But they weren't there.


Instead, the House Democrats who remain are more liberal.     And they could hardly contain their joy at the House leadership's failure to pass the bill.


An excerpt from The Hill:


Veteran Democratic Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.) exited the House chamber boasting that the GOP unsuccessfully held the scheduled 15-minute vote open for a total of 35 minutes to twist enough Republican arms to change the outcome.


"They didn't have the votes! They kept trying to get them to switch, but couldn't get them,"  Frank exclaimed as he walked through reporters in the Speaker's Lobby, which is just off the House floor.


Democratic Rep. Lacy Clay (Mo.) laughed as he told The Hill, "We're so happy, I'm so happy. I voted against it.      They tried
to get enough Rs to switch their votes, because the Tea Party voted 'no' also... but it wasn't enough."
Faulconerville Virginia News
Is this enough to make John Boehner cry or what?     Or will the next story make the tears fall?

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Here's a family values story brought to you by the GOP.

Madison Heights Virginia Bulletin
Ditch the flag and suit and Rep. Chris Lee (Republican-N.Y.) becomes shirtless, woman chasing, family values guy

Rep. Chris Lee (Republican-N.Y.) resigned from the House Wednesday evening ( thats today Feb 9, 2011 about an hour ago) effective immediately, an announcement that came just hours after a Web site reported that the married congressman had sent a shirtless image of himself to a woman he met on Craigslist.     "Remember Friends, If you can't get it on Craigslist it ain't worth getting."      I think credit for that quote goes to Larry The Cable Guy.

"I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents,"  Lee said in a statement announcing his resignation.     "I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all.    I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness."

Lee's decision to vacate his Upstate New York seat came after Gawker, a gossip Web site, posted the shirtless image and what it said was correspondence between him and a 34-year-old woman.    ACVDN sends kudos to Gawker for being on top of his one.    Lee's quick action to fold the show and get out of town indicates Gawker is 100% on the trail of this GOP Hero.


The woman, who Gawker described as a 34-year-old government employee from Maryland but did not name, told the gossip site she posted an ad last month on the  "Women for Men"  forum seeking "financially and emotionally secure"  men who don't  "look like toads."      That same day, she got a response from a person who said his name was Christopher Lee, describing himself as 39-year-old lobbyist,  "a very fit  fun classy guy.     Live in Cap Hill area.   6ft  190lbs  blond/blue."     In follow-up e-mails he attached photos -- one in a blue polo, the other shirtless.


Lee, who is married and has one child, was elected to the 26th district in 2008 and easily re-elected in 2010.      His resignation will trigger a special election in a district where  Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) won with 52 percent of the vote in 2008.    That means there are Republicans up the yeng yang who can go to Washington and pick up where Lee left off, without missing a beat.     Yeng Yang is a technical and classier word than corn hole but the meaning is exactly the same.

The power to call the special election falls to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).      There is no set deadline for a special election to be called but once it is called, it must be held between 30 and 40 days after that date.


Then-Gov. David Paterson (D) exploited this loophole so the state would not have to hold a separate special election to replace Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) after Massa's resignation in March.    To save the state money  Paterson simply refused to call for the special election and then later set it for the same day as the November general election.


Given the amount of time between now and the next election though, it's likely Cuomo will call a special election.     The state held one each in 2009 and 2010.


This is the fourth time in two years that an upstate New York seat will hold a special election (the race the replace Massa was still technically a special election).     Send a water sample off and get it checked.     Four occurrences in two years means something though not to republicans who have them stacked  to the ceiling with bus tickets in hand and luggage packed for the trip to DC.


Among the Republican names mentioned as Lee's replacement are Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks and Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy and state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin with Corwin emerging as an early establishment favorite.     These upper State New Yorkers are nothing if not prepared.      Only a couple of hours since the resignation and three probable replacements already.   You would think they have been thru this before.

ACVDN Bottom Line.     When are Republicans going to start concentrating on JOBS-JOBS-JOBS like the American people want them to do?

House Republicans have now lost three straight attempts to pass bills in the past 24 hours.


As you’ve probably heard already, last night the Republican leadership was caught off guard when 26 of their rank-an-file members joined the Democrats to reject an attempt to extend the PATRIOT Act provisions under an expedited procedure, known as “suspension of the rules,” that limits debate and does not allow amendments to be offered.      Before that vote, the leadership was forced to pull another bill from the floor that would have provided job training to people who have lost their jobs due to trade issues when it became clear that they didn’t have the votes to pass it under the same procedure they tried for the PATRIOT Act bill.

This afternoon, they tried again to use the expedited suspension of the rules process and, for the third time in a row, failed.     This most recent attempt was on a bill that would have rescinded $179 million of U.S. funds form the United Nations.      It was rejected on a roll call vote of 259-169, which is short of the 2/3rds majority needed under the suspension of the rules procedure.     This time only 2 Republicans split off and voted “no,” but they didn’t pick up enough Democrats.

The Republicans’ preference for a closed process is coming to a head with the ideological diversity of the House.      The leadership clearly doesn’t have a good handle on its own caucus, having watched 26 Republicans vote against the PATRIOT Act provisions despite their last-minute attempt attempt at arm twisting.      They’re also overestimating how many Democrats they can win over, with only 23 moving to their side on the UN vote.      The House Democratic caucus is smaller this session, but it has become a bit more progressive since most of the losses last year were in competitive districts who had elected conservative Democrats to the House anyways.      There aren’t nearly as many Blue Dogs around this session to pad the Republicans’ efforts.

Most of the democraic losses in the last election were Blue Dogs and this strengthened the Democratic party.    Most of the republican wins in the last election were Tea Party and as yet we don't know what that means.      One thing we do know and that is Less Blue Dogs  means  Less Republican Votes.

The Republicans now have no choice but to revisit to their “Pledge to America” and use a more open floor process for more bills, one that at least allows more than 40 minutes of debate and a motion to recommit from the minority.      Of the 15 bills that have been bought to the floor so far this year, only one was done under an open rule, and it was a “modified open” rule, not a truly open rule.

Obviously, there’s some irony in the Republicans following a campaign pledge only because they have failed repeatedly in their attempts to go back on it.     But, hey, debate and amendments are good.      They let the House operate a little more closer to the will of the majority, and that’s something we should take however we can get it.
Faulconerville Virginia News

I'm sure I hear John Boehner sobbing now.     

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