For reference purposes, the total population of the United States is currently about 315 million people. Have politicians actually taken the time to do some actual math before launching their scare tactics?
The latest twist in the war of words over the pending sequester between journalist Bob Woodward and the Obama White House is what Woodward called a “threat” aimed at him by National Economic Council Gene Sperling, reports say…
Woodward said on CNN’s “The Situation Room” Wednesday that he was threatened by a senior Obama administration official over his reporting, in which he identified the administration as the architect of the cuts.
Reports then identified that official as Sperling, a veteran Democrat who also worked in the Clinton administration.
“It was said very clearly, you will regret doing this,” Woodward told CNN. The political news website Politico published what it said was the full email exchange between Woodward and Sperling.
While the Obama administration says automatic spending cuts will mean budget pain for Americans everywhere, lawmakers say the government is sitting on more than enough money to soften the blow. The sequester is expected to take a $85 billion bite out of the fiscal 2013 budget, though only half of that impact is expected to be felt this year.But lawmakers say the government already has $45 billion in unspent money which could be used to offset the shortfall “There are pots of money sitting in different departments across the federal government, that have been authorized over either … a number of months or a number of years,” Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., said. Fresh legislation would authorize that money, which hasn’t yet been spent, to be used elsewhere. Price introduced that legislation Tuesday along with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. It would require the director of the White House budget office to rescind funds that haven’t yet been obligated.
Republican Sen. Tom Coburn has also identified several programs at the Pentagon he’d set aside, including a video called “grill sergeants” in which the instructors show their favorite recipes; money for a plan to send a space ship to another solar system; funds to find advancements in beef jerky from France; and $6 billion on questionable research, including what lessons about democracy and decision-making could be learned — from fish.
This pretty much sums up the democratic point of view on the looming sequester cuts. Can you see the problem?
With the ax set to fall on federal spending in five days, the question in Washington is not whether the sequester will hit, but how much it will hurt.Over the past week, President Obama has painted a picture of impending disaster, warning of travel delays, laid-off firefighters and pre-schoolers tossed out of Head Start. Conservatives accuse Obama of exaggerating the impact, and some White House allies worry the slow-moving sequester may fail to live up to the hype.
“The good news is, the world doesn’t end March 2. The bad news is, the world doesn’t end March 2,” said Emily Holubowich, a Washington health-care lobbyist who leads a coalition of 3,000 nonprofit groups fighting the cuts. “The worst-case scenario for us is the sequester hits and nothing bad really happens. And Republicans say: See, that wasn’t so bad.”
Robert Gibbs, President Barack Obama’s former press secretary, says that he was once instructed by the White House not to acknowledge the administration’s use of drones.”When I went through the process of becoming press secretary, one of the first things they told me was, you’re not even to acknowledge the drone program,” Gibbs said on MSNBC’s “Up With Chris Hayes” on Sunday. “You’re not even to discuss that it exists.”
… “You’re being asked a question based on reporting of a program that exists,” Gibbs, who served as White House press secretary from 2009 to 2011, said. “So you’re the official government spokesperson acting as if the entire program—pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”
… Obama’s former spokesman said that while the administration has recently expressed the need to be more transparent about its use of drones, certain aspects of that program are “highly sensitive” and will likely remain secret. “I have not talked to him about this, so I want to be careful,” Gibbs said, “but I think what the president has seen is, our denial of the existence of the program when it’s obviously happening undermines people’s confidence overall in the decisions that their government makes.”
Is anyone really surprised at the lack of transparency and outright instructions to deny the truth at this point? Still think we got the truth regarding Benghazi and Fast & Furious?
Bloomberg’s large-soda ban also prohibits 2-liter bottles with pizza orders and some bottle-service mixers at nightclubs – NYPOST.com
Nanny Bloomberg unleashes his ban on large sodas on March 12 — and there are some nasty surprises lurking for hardworking families.Say goodbye to that 2-liter bottle of Coke with your pizza delivery, pitchers of soft drinks at your kid’s birthday party and some bottle-service mixers at your favorite nightclub.They’d violate Mayor Bloomberg’s new rules, which prohibit eateries from serving or selling sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces.Bloomberg’s soda smackdown follows his attacks on salt, sugar, trans fat, smoking and even baby formula.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – “Zero Dark Thirty,” about the decade-long U.S. hunt for Osama bin Laden, has received more attention in the U.S. Congress than it did at the Oscars on Sunday, amid political fallout over its depiction of torture and alleged intelligence leaks to the movie’s makers.
The film, which has sparked outrage among both Democrats and Republicans in Washington over its depiction of torture, and allegations that the Obama administration leaked classified intelligence to help the making of the film, won no major Oscars on Sunday and only one award overall.
… They called the film “grossly inaccurate and misleading” for suggesting torture helped the U.S. track the al Qaeda leader to a Pakistani compound, where he was killed in 2011.
Has anyone provided proof that the following statement is untrue? … They called the film “grossly inaccurate and misleading” for suggesting torture helped the U.S. track the al Qaeda leader to a Pakistani compound, where he was killed in 2011.
Related Article @ Bin Laden Raid Revives Debate on Value of Torture – NY Times
The American middle class is “hollowing out” as the U.S. economy fails to compete effectively in a globalized world, Harvard economist Michael Porter told CNBC’s “Closing Bell” this week. “America used to be a uniquely productive, low-cost place to do business,” Porter said on Thursday. “We had efficient infrastructure. We had limited regulation. We believed in the market.”
But bit-by-bit this position has eroded. Regulatory costs have gone up, Porters said, the legal system is more cumbersome, infrastructure is eroding and the country is falling behind on skills. That means the many Americans do not have the skills needed to earn a decent living and for the first time in 50 or 60 years, incomes are stagnating and the middle class, which Porter called the bedrock of America, is “hollowing out.”
“Being an American doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed a high wage,” in the era of globalized competition, Porter said. “You have to be productive, and we have to create a very low-cost efficient place to do business and we’ve let all that slip in America.”
Read the Rest @ Economist: Why the Middle Class Is Declining – Yahoo! Finance.
His administration basically came up wit the idea, but now he’s gotta shift the blame, and the news media is more than happy to play along. Why not play this clip on the news to remind Americans?
WASHINGTON AP — Republicans and other fiscal conservatives keep insisting on more federal austerity and a smaller government. Without much fanfare or acknowledgement, they’ve already gotten much of both.
Spending by federal, state and local governments on payrolls, equipment, buildings, teachers, emergency workers, defense programs and other core governmental functions has been shrinking steadily since the deep 2007-2009 recession and as the anemic recovery continues.
This recent shrinkage has largely been obscured by an increase in spending on benefit payments to individuals under “entitlement” programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans benefits. Retiring baby boomers are driving much of this increase.
Read the Rest @ Gov’t downsizes amid GOP demands for more cuts – Yahoo! News.
Read the third paragraph carefully, despite the Associated Press’ best efforts to instigate further division against the GOPs favor, it spells out exactly WHY they keep insisting on even smaller government. That “entitlement” spending will only continue to increase as the number of retiring baby boomers continues to boom, so it is only logical to continue diminishing the size of government that tax payers fund as one of the ways to cover those costs.
WASHINGTON — The White House is refusing to share fully with Congress the legal opinions that justify targeted killings, while maneuvering to make sure its stance does not do anything to endanger the confirmation of John O. Brennan as C.I.A. director.
Rather than agreeing to some Democratic senators’ demands for full access to the classified legal memos on the targeted killing program, Obama administration officials are negotiating with Republicans to provide more information on the lethal attack last year on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, according to three Congressional staff members.
Read the Rest @ Strategy Seeks to Ensure Bid of Brennan for C.I.A. – NYTimes.com.
MSNBC’s hiring of former high-ranking Obama staffers David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs once again puts the network in the position of having to defend itself against allegations of being decidedly “pro-Obama” in its reporting and analysis. Speaking with CNN’s Howard Kurtz this morning, the two pushed back against such accusations and instead claimed the mantle of “independent analysts.”
Gibbs is Obama’s former White House press secretary and played a big role in the 2012 presidential campaign; Axelrod has long been a close adviser to Obama. Their hiring at MSNBC renewed the widespread criticism that the network is “in the tank” for the president, including shots from Guardian‘s Glenn Greenwald who likened MSNBC’s “purpose” to how Fox News uses GOP loyals like Karl Rove on a regular basis.
But speaking with Kurtz this morning, the Obama confidantes said they plan to act as “independent” analysts for the network.
The main difference between this and FOX New’s use of people like Karl Rove is that Axelrod and Gibbs will also be advising NBC news, not just MSNBC. While most people realize that MSNBC is clearly biased, NBC News at least pretends to be an legitimate source of news coverage.