Sunday, July 31, 2011

Obama agrees to the hostage taker's demands


First time the crust turned out pretty even
A couple of months ago, decided to make a cheesecake for I'm pretty sure the first time.  It was fun and since then I've made 6 or 7 of them.  I've tried several different recipes, but have been unable to bring myself to make any that call for 2 1/2 lbs of cream cheese, the heavy New York style.  This is my current favorite from the food network and my 4th time making this one.  The crust on the previous entries was very uneven, but they all tasted just as good.   It's light and very creamy wonderful with fresh strawberry or raspberry sauce.

The Ultimate Cheesecake
  • 1 pound cream cheese, 2 (8-ounce) blocks, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 dash vanilla extract 
Similar to most of the comments on the recipe, we found it necessary to cook the cheesecake an additional 30 minutes more than the 45 minutes listed.  The water bath is annoying but haven't had a crust crack yet.  I'm told that a cracked crust is a NO NO, shrug.  Sometimes, it also takes more than 4 hours for it to fully set up, but it is a great recipe.  The only other change I make to the recipe is I use regular graham crackers and mash them up myself in a plastic bag and a rolling pin.  Freshly, crushed graham crackers have a delicious odor, that I just don't find from the boxed crumbs.
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The Daily Bread

rolled oats top

Rep. Raúl Grijalva on the debt deal, or more appropriately, the debt dupe

When a crisis faces our nation, and decisions have to be made, we look to our elected officials to provide the guidance and direction that will help us persevere.  In the face of this manufactured debt ceiling crisis, many Members of Congress have failed to lead and are willing to substantially weaken many of the programs that make our nation great.

I will not support the emerging debt deal.

I will have no part of a deal that cuts Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to appease the farthest reaches of the right wing of the Republican Party.  It is unconscionable to put these programs on the chopping block and ignore the voices and beliefs of the millions of Americans who trust us to lead while continuing to give handouts to the ultra wealthy and the largest corporations.  There is no human decency in that.

Rather than fly the standard of the working Americans who voted them into office, some Members of Congress are content to raise the white flag and call it “bipartisanship” or a “grand bargain”.  Many elected officials yearn to be leaders, but this debt deal shows that too many of them settle for being politicians.

We Progressives have stood strong against the GOP’s shameless political maneuverings and disastrous ideas.  When the GOP introduced the Ryan Plan to cut taxes for the rich and kill Medicare while adding $6 trillion in new debt over the next decade, we stood strong against their irrational and irresponsible plans.  We offered another path and introduced the People’s Budget, a straightforward and realistic plan to address our nation’s short- and long-term economic needs without placing the burden on the backs of working Americans.  It would balance the budget by 2021, protect the social safety net, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and importantly, put Americans back to work.

We have made our position clear for months: any deal must balance cuts and revenue. It is morally unjust to ask those Americans who are hurting the most in this recession to shoulder the burden of the GOP’s irresponsible fiscal policies. Today, Progressives and everyone we represent were thrown under the bus.  Rather than upholding the commitments made to our seniors and working families, this deal allows the wealthy and big corporations to keep their expensive federal handouts while cutting aid to the families who need it most.

My Progressive colleagues and I pressed Democratic leadership and the Obama administration to join us in opposing cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  To accept this deal is to weaken the credibility of the Democratic Party. If we do not stand up for working Americans now, who will be their voice?  If we do not stand up for working Americans now, will they ever trust us to again?

I reject this deal, and the American people reject this deal.  The only thing we have left to do is repair the damage the GOP has done to our nation as soon as possible.

Be sure to read the comments by Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake On Grijalva's opposition to the bill he voted for yesterday
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Additional, placards and demonstration signs from the other 98% here

“Dear President Obama,
I’m writing because this is an emergency: the GOP is holding our parents and grandparents hostage to the debt ceiling – and the rumor is you’re about to go along with it.

This is simply not acceptable. The President of the United States does not negotiate with hostage takers – especially over Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, the most significant progressive achievements of the last 100 years.
Fight for me, and I’ll keep fighting for you.
And if you're looking for an online action to match your protesting in the streets, check out our Emergency Letter to President Obama, letting him know Social Security and Medicare need to be #OffTheTable.
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How did we get here? Dylan Ratigan explains excellently

 Dylan and a panel examine the structural problems that led to the current economic crisis and how nobody is dealing with the root causes: nafta and the deregulation of the financial sector.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Why American's are So Angry, by Bernie Sanders

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.  It's a must read. 

While all of this is going on in Washington, the American people have consistently stated, in poll after poll, that they want wealthy individuals and large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. They also want bedrock social programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to be protected. For example, a July 14-17 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 72% of Americans believe that Americans earning more than $250,000 a year should pay more in taxes.
In other words, Congress is now on a path to do exactly what the American people don't want. Americans want shared sacrifice in deficit reduction. Congress is on track to give them the exact opposite: major cuts in the most important programs that the middle class needs and wants, and no sacrifice from the wealthy and the powerful.

Is it any wonder, therefore, that the American people are so angry with what's going on in Washington? I am too.

Sign Alan Grayson's petition to save our Social Safety Net

A lot of people in Washington say that to prevent America's ruin with a debt default, we have to throw seniors and students and struggling families under the bus.

We don't buy it. Tell Congress and the President: Do NOT cut Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security »

Washington is spinning its wheels. People from both sides of the aisle claim to be speaking for the "American People," yet they plan to steamroll the very programs Americans consistently support and want to balance the budget without making sure rich people and corporations stop getting tax breaks.

Is this the kind of America Washington wants? Where hedge fund managers and oil execs can fly their tax-subsidized private jet to their second mortgage interest-deducted home for vacation while their money continues to pile up in bank accounts? Where, meanwhile, a retired couple forgoes meals at the end of the month because social security runs out and a cancer patient is left to die because her treatment costs more than Medicare or Medicaid is willing to pay for her life?

That is not the America I believe in. But if we're going to prevent a future like that, we need to stand up for our safety net.

Tell Washington to listen to the American people for real and protect the programs

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why is congress doing the opposite of what the majority of Americans desire?

According to the latest ABC/Washington Post poll  72% of Americans are opposed to cuts in Medicaid spending.  In addition, 72% want to raise taxes on those making over 250,000 dollars a year.  This poll confirms a solid trend in recent polls that a majority of Americans want to raise taxes on the wealthy and not cut our social safety net.  Any sane person looking at the polls would agree that a consensus has been reached.  Then why is it that all 3 plans being considered in Washington to avoid the debt ceiling crisis, NOT a single one of them raises taxes on those making over a quarter million dollars a year.  In addition, every single one of those 3 plans involves cuts to programs vital to the poor, elderly and the middle class.
Graph from Pollwatch daily here

  • To sum up 
  • 72% of the American population want to raise taxes on the wealthy---Plans in congress to raise taxes on the wealthy= 0 plans. 
  • 72% of the American population do not want cuts to Medicaid---Plans in congress that cut Medicaid= 3
Congress is doing exactly the opposite of what the American people want.  What happened to government of the people by the people and for the people?  What we have now is government of millionaires, by millionaires and for millionaires.  

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Carrot Cake

My good friend and fellow culinary explorer, Jay asked for our carrot cake recipe.  Thought I'd post it here so everyone can enjoy it.  My wife found this recipe about 25 years ago in a magazine.  She cut it out and we've only made this one for years.  Hope you enjoy it.  
  •  Diamond Walnut Carrot Cake recipe
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 3 cups flour sifted
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger *
  • 1/2 tsp allspice *
  • 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 can crushed pineapple, drained *
Chop 1/2 cp walnuts fine.  Grease 3 (9in.) layer cake pans well.  Sprinkle each with about 2 1/2 Tbsp. walnuts to coat.  Chop remaining walnuts a little more coarsely; set aside.  Resift flour with baking powder and salt.  Combine sugar, eggs, oil and spices.  Beat at high speed until light and well mixed.  Add half  of flour mixture , stir until well blended.  Add milk, then remaining flour.  Stir in carrots and chopped walnuts and pineapple.  Divide batter evenly ip pans.  Bake at 350 F 25 minutes or until cake tests done.  Let stand in pans on wire racks 10.  Turn cakes onto racks to cool.  When cold frost with a butter cream frosting.  12 servings
The original Diamond Walnut recipe did not call for the starred items: ginger, allspice or pineapple.  We have added those over the years.  We also don't have a sifter but I just whisk the dry ingredients together.  Most of the time we cook this in a large 9X14 large ceramic lasagna pan.  We set the timer for an hour and then about every 5 or 10 minutes till done. 
 Butter Cream frosting
  •  8 ounce package cream cheese
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla

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Stewart skewers the Fox on its own barbs

John Stewart with his usual wit, eloquence and style deals effectively with Fox's hypocritical victimization claims.  Apparently its a "liberal media bias" if you mention that the christian psycho from Norway, was a christian.  It's a must see, unless you love Fox. 

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
GOP - Special Victims Unit
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

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I send mail to Speaker Boehner

 After watching both President Obama and Speaker Boehner give their back to back speeches this week.  I was rather incensed that the Speaker wasn't addressing the issues.  So in the spirit of, "Hey you can do much better than this, I print my letter."  If you want a great letter to send I recommend this letter by SW from Redmond, Wa.
There is nothing wrong with writing and sending your own.  Nothing is more effective than YOUR voice speaking from your unique and individual situation.  Let Washington hear your voice.
Speaker Boehner
What is wrong with you?  You, George Bush and McConnell went on an 8 year credit card spree and now you want to skip out on the bill?  You want the middle class and the elderly to pay for the Bush tax cuts to the rich?  You sir, have lost touch with the average American.  Go find an unemployed person and talk to them.  Find out what is important to the average american not the rich, super rich and with names ending in Koch.  How dare you ask a radio jockey if your plan meets his approval.  Talk to average Americans.  Average means no jets, no yachts, no millions in the bank, no vacation home or no home at all.  Pass the debt ceiling and write a damn jobs bill. 

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This is so wrong it makes my jaw hurt, please sign the petition

Lets show the principle and the other school staff what a "big mess" really looks like.  From the Color of Change:

18-year-old Kymberly Wimberly did everything right. She challenged herself with honors and Advanced Placement courses, leading the pack as the highest achieving student in this year’s graduating class at McGehee High School.
But when her principal agreed with other school staff that Kymberly’s status as valedictorian would cause a “big mess,” he demanded that a White student with a lower GPA be appointed co-valedictorian.1
Please join us in telling the McGehee district’s superintendent and school board to acknowledge Kymberly as her class’s sole valedictorian and explain what they intend to do to ensure all students have equal opportunities at McGehee High School. When you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same:
What's unfolding in McGehee is an outrage, and it sends the wrong message to Black students everywhere. The implication is clear: "No matter how hard you work, we won't give you full credit for your achievements." School leaders in this small Arkansas town have denied a student an honor she deserves because of their own racial prejudice and narrow-minded ideas about who is worthy of success and praise.
Arkansas is ground zero in the history of efforts to desegregate our nation’s schools. It’s where nine Black students faced down state troopers, angry mobs, and a governor intent on keeping them from integrating Little Rock Central High School more than 50 years ago.
Today, in nearby McGehee, Kymberly’s situation has exposed another brand of racial segregation. Principal Darrell Thompson’s decision to appoint a co-valedictorian this year is just the latest example of an ongoing pattern to undermine and derail the academic efforts of Black students. According to the equal protection lawsuit Kymberly’s family has filed, administrators and teachers routinely discouraged Black students — who made up nearly half of the high school’s enrollment this year — from taking honors and AP classes.2 They would use school-wide assemblies to make the course work sound daunting, then pull individual White students aside to encourage them to sign up for the more rigorous classes. As a result, Kymberly was the only Black student in her AP literature class and one of two in her calculus class.3
A problem nationwide
McGehee and other school districts around the country should be encouraging all prepared students to challenge themselves academically. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case. Last year, Black students made up 15% of graduating seniors, but accounted for just 9% of students taking AP exams.4 Black students trail far behind White, Asian and Latino students in terms of participation in AP classes, and educators have a responsibility to provide equal access to and preparation for college-level coursework.
Kymberly is the rare example of the student whose family believed she could excel in high-level classes, despite what some adults at school told her and students who look like her. Her case reveals why the school establishment consistently counsels half the student body into a lower academic track. It appears that they fear the eventual success of Black students and choose to limit Black students’ ability to compete in the classroom and, by extension, in life.
Hiding the truth
The district should be celebrating Kymberly’s story, and holding her up as an example of what’s possible. She is a young mother whose report cards throughout high school were filled with straight As until her junior year, when she had her baby and received a B in a class. Determined to hold onto her position at the top of the class, Kymberly took as many honors and AP classes as she could her senior year. Her plan worked, and in early May the high school counselor approached Kymberly’s mother, who worked at the high school, with news that Kymberly had the top GPA. But district officials soon started backtracking. The school’s principal told Kymberly’s mother that he had decided to appoint a co-valedictorian. The district sent out a press release amending a public announcement the counselor had already released. The superintendent even kept Kymberly’s mother from appealing the decision to the school board by claiming she had filled out the wrong participation form.5 District officials don't deny Kymberly had the highest GPA but have explained their actions by saying that the co-valedictorian had half a credit more6,7— a balancing act Kymberly and her family say would never have been considered necessary had the top student been White.
Please join us in demanding that Kymberly’s superintendent and school board publicly acknowledge that she is her class’s sole valedictorian and explain how they plan to make sure that students have equal opportunities at McGehee High School. When you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same:
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I get progressive mail from Kirsten Gillibrand

Here is a Senator; Kirsten Gillibrand,(D-NY) that effectively vocalizes important values that are worth fighting for.  Yeah, its a fund raising letter, but I'll fund this kind of progressive candidate and I hope you can too.

Dear Stephen,

Cut Medicare. Destroy Social Security, as we know it. Increase the burden for the middle class.

When it comes to solving the serious economic problems our country is facing, the GOP keeps coming back to the same solutions. They expect students, the elderly and hardworking families to pay more, but refuse to require anything of the wealthy and corporate America.

It isn’t right, and it isn’t fair.

I know you’re counting on me to stand up for what we believe in and not allow the Republicans in Congress to ignore the plight of ordinary Americans as they look out for special interests. But I need your help so I can stay in the Senate and keep on working for what’s right.

Click here to contribute today and help me raise $25,000 by July 31. With your support, I can keep on defending programs like Medicare and Social Security and keep on fighting for the middle class.
We’re all concerned about the fate of the Senate next year because we know how important our Senate majority has been to keeping the Republicans’ radical agenda at bay. The fact is, they need just four seats to take control, and my seat is one of those up for grabs.

Take my word: I will not be one of those four seats. So I’m going to fight to stay put and keep standing up to the GOP’s extremist proposals.

As you know, I’ve been in this position before. I’ve already had to protect my seat from the Republicans and I know how hard it is to weather their attacks. That’s why I’ve always come to you for help—and you’ve always been there to support me. I hope you’ll be able to do that once again.

Click here to make a donation to my campaign and help me raise $25,000 by July 31. I really need your help to ensure I keep my seat—and the Democrats keep our majority.

The GOP is certainly persistent in their efforts to slash our social safety net. But I’m even more persistent in protecting it.
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I get mail from Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA)

Dave Reichert                                      Image via WikipediaI support nothing Dave Reichert does.  He voted against the Lilly Ledbetter fair pay act.  Rep. Reichert voted for the Paul Ryan budget, ending medicare as we know it.  Even the draconian Cut, Cap and Balance met his approval.  He voted to extend the Bush tax cuts.  I made hundreds of phone calls for his opponent in the last election - Suzan DelBene.  But, there is no doubt after reading this letter what he stands for. It's noteworthy that Rep. Reichert makes no references to the 14 million unemployed in his letter.  He makes no mention of two unpaid for wars, the unpaid for Bush tax cuts and the unpaid for medicare part D.  He also doesn't mention raising revenue.  80% of the American population believe that millionaires, billionaires and corporations should pay more taxes.  Rep. Reichert believes it would be irresponsible to raise the debt limit without spending cuts.  But he doesn't think its irresponsible to call into question the full faith and credit of the US government because he and a few other tea-addled conservatives think the government is spending too much money.  Reichert see nothing wrong with holding the nations economy hostage in order to foist his conservative agenda on the entire country.  When Reichert worked for the King County Sheriffs department he was a Commander-Hostage Negotiation.  Obviously he learned well how to make the hostage situation work for him. 
"I strongly believe the debt limit should not be raised without corresponding spending cuts. It would be irresponsible to allow the federal government to continue borrowing without insisting on reforms and cuts that can begin to reduce record deficits."
He is absolutely incorrect in all of his assumptions, and statements but they are there for you to see and judge. Compare this with the milk toast letter from my Senator, Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Perhaps if she had said:
I will allow no cuts to social security, medicare or medicaid at this time.  I will fight to see that tax loopholes for corporations and individuals are eliminated and the Bush Tax cuts for the millionaires and billionaires eliminated.   I will not allow  the poor, the elderly and the unrepresented middle class to suffer the consequences of an 8 year spending spree by the republicans followed by a financial collapse caused by unregulated greed on wall street.  I realize that 14-20 million Americans are unemployed and that is my number one priority
But, no she didn't say anything close to that.  If you have someone committed like Rep. Reichert and "a go along, la te da, get along" like Senator Cantwell who is going to do better in a negotiating room?  The middle class,the poor and all minorities are doomed. 

Dear Mr. Sarbiewski,
Thank you for contacting me to share your concerns about our nation's debt.  I appreciate hearing your views and welcome the opportunity to respond.
According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the federal government reached the statutory debt limit of $14.294 trillion, on May 16, 2011.  The Treasury Department used what Secretary Geithner called "extraordinary measures" to extend the government's borrowing authority through August 2, 2011.  Nearly all federal debt is subject to a statutory limit that cannot be raised without an act of Congress.  The Administration has said the debt limit would need to be increased by $2.4 trillion in order to take the government through November 2012 without defaulting on its obligations.  The President, Vice President, and House and Senate Leadership have met multiple times since May in an effort to reach agreement on legislation to raise the debt limit, but thus far a deal has not been reached and a specific plan has not been put forward by the Administration.   If an agreement is not reached and passed by Congress before the August 2nd deadline, the government will default on its obligations, and no longer be able to pay its bills on time because it will not have the borrowing authority or revenues necessary to cover all of its expenses.  These expenses include everything from Social Security payments, veterans benefits, pay for members of the military, Pell Grants for college students, interest payments on our debt, and other federal programs. 
To address this issue, various proposals have been put forward in both the U.S. House and Senate that range from a straight increase of the statutory debt limit, raising the debt limit with corresponding spending cuts, and raising the debt limit with a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes.  The U.S. House of Representatives considered and passed one such proposal, the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act (H.R. 2560), on July 19, 2011 by a vote of 234-190.  I supported this bill, which would permit the President to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion, only if corresponding spending cuts are enacted and a constitutional balanced budget amendment is adopted. The legislation proposes immediate reductions in federal outlays in Fiscal Year 2012 and would advance more fiscal restraint in the future by setting caps on government spending. The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration. 
I strongly believe the debt limit should not be raised without corresponding spending cuts.  It would be irresponsible to allow the federal government to continue borrowing without insisting on reforms and cuts that can begin to reduce record deficits.  Financial markets, military families, and Social Security beneficiaries need the assurance of a stable government on a sound fiscal footing to plan for the future.  That is why I have consistently supported a balanced budget amendment to ensure greater fiscal accountability within the federal government. 
It's time for Congress to set aside partisan bickering and work together to evaluate all responsible savings options and forge an agreement.  Reducing federal spending is a tough task, but all representatives share the responsibility to protect taxpayers, tighten Uncle Sam's belt, and put our nation on a sustainable fiscal path that will provide certainty to the markets and create an environment that stimulates job growth. Working together in this manner, we can and we will keep America great for generations to come.  America has been through tough times throughout our history.  We must succeed in restoring fiscal responsibility and economic prosperity for the sake of our children and for the sake of our great nation.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to get in touch with me. Your interest and input are valued and I will keep your views in mind as the debt limit debate continues to unfold.  I encourage you to visit my website and sign-up for my monthly e-newsletter at to learn more about other issues impacting the 8th Congressional District and our nation.  You can also follow my work online and receive frequent updates on legislation being considered in Congress by visiting me on Twitter ( and Facebook ( 


David G. Reichert
Member of Congress
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I get bland mail from Maria Cantwell, (D-WA)

I received this from Cantwell's office.  What the hell?  She says nothing in this letter.  Yeah, we'll spend but not too much and carefully.  We'll tax but not too much.  Everything will be just right. 
Official photograph of Maria Cantwell, U.S. Se...                                          Image via WikipediaIn this time of economic crisis, I believe it is especially important that Congress prioritize those measures that will foster long-term economic growth. We must reinvest in our education system, in our workers, in our nation's infrastructure and in the development of clean energy technologies that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. By making these important investments today and helping revitalize our economy, we can leave our children with prosperity not debt.
I agree with everything in the above statement but in the last 6 months, the exact opposite of that has occurred.  All across the country education is being cut, lots of things are being done that deny workers rights, the oil companies and the Koch brothers bought and paid for republicans are laughing clean energy out of congress.  Our lagging sagging infrastructure is last on the priority list after, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia.  I can name 2 big name infrastructure projects that republican governors have cancelled in the last 6 months.  Can you think of one large infrastructure project that has been approved in the last 6 months? So yes, those are great goals but you need money to invest and all of ours already belongs to the wealthy or is going to Defense.  The wealthy aren't paying taxes and of course no one but those "silly progressives" want to cut defense.  Don't misunderstand I'm very happy that Senator Cantwell is my senator instead of Dave Reichert, but instead of just being better than X how about being a real Y, senator? 
Dear Mr. Sarbiewski,

Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts on federal spending. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

Government has a responsibility to spend taxpayers' dollars wisely, but it also has a responsibility to provide certain services and guarantees to the American people. I take both of these very seriously. To ensure that we have the ability to maintain our infrastructure, defend our borders, educate our children, and more, it is imperative that we keep our financial house in order. 

It is critical that we carefully evaluate all spending proposals that come before the U.S. Congress; we have to focus on investing taxpayer dollars wisely.  In this time of economic crisis, I believe it is especially important that Congress prioritize those measures that will foster long-term economic growth. We must reinvest in our education system, in our workers, in our nation's infrastructure and in the development of clean energy technologies that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. By making these important investments today and helping revitalize our economy, we can leave our children with prosperity not debt.

As a member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee I will continue to work with President Obama and with my colleagues to draft legislation that strikes the right balance in how we collect and spend federal tax dollars so we can leave more than debt to the next generation. I understand that this issue is especially important to you; be assured that I will keep your views in mind as we craft legislation.

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter.  You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents.  If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at  Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA)

"When someone is overextended and broke they don't continue paying for expensive automobiles, they sell the expensive automobiles and buy a cheaper one. They don't continue paying for country club dues, they drop out of the country club," Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) said Wednesday on MSNBC.
If you thought republicans were out of touch with the average American.  Rep. Paul Broun will only reinforce your opinion.  Paying for country club dues?  I'm 61 and I've never paid for country club dues, neither have I known anyone who paid country club dues.  "Sell the expensive automobile and buy a cheaper one"?  Yeah, right.  I'll just sell my Porsche and buy a Lexus.  One solution to a financial problem that none of these republican elites ever mentions is raising income.  Many families I know, including our own family,  have had a situation where one or both parents had to take on an additional part-time job to raise revenues.  You can only cut so much and then you have to increase income.  No family I know would decide not to pay for school supplies or vaccinations for their children.  But the republicans, unlike average American families instead of raising taxes (raising income) will make public education, the elderly and the poor suffer. 
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What happens to minorities and the unemployed if we default

This chart from Pew Research Center shows how devastating the economic collapse was on blacks and Hispanics.  Their losses were catastrophic by any definition.  These findings should be setting off alarm bells in D.C.  They are reminiscent of the Kerner Commission findings.  In 1967 President Lynden B. Johnson created the Kerner commission after riots in Watts, Newark and Chicago.  The most infamous line from the report was widely quoted: "Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—-separate and unequal."  The Pew results point to the same unequal and seperate results except that one of the societies is composed of  blacks and hispanics.  The republicans are driving relentlessly towards the default cliff.  If the nation does default one of the effects that is postulated is the loss of about 10% of our net worth.   To the unemployed  roughly 14-20 million have very little net worth left.  Studies have shown the unemployed blow through their savings and other assets rather quickly.  Many have already had their homes in foreclosure, what is a 10% loss of almost nothing?  The average black family would lose 560 dollars in a default.  The average Hispanic would lose 632 dollars, peanuts compared to the 12,000 dollars they lost after the wall street speculating crash.  The average white family would lose 13,000.  The middle class has had so many tough breaks over the last decade this is just another smack in the face.  But a family with a million dollar net worth would lose 100,000 and billionaires, might not notice if they lose a million.  The good thing about all of these losses is that finally this country would have some shared sacrifice.  This whole crisis is created and maintained by the republicans.  What this country needs is jobs.  The deficit isn't causing joblessness.  Cutting spending will not create jobs.  The republicans for 2 years talked about how the uncertainty over the health care bill was hurting business and the recovery.  Creating all this uncertainty about the US paying its debt, isn't creating a negative impact on business?   The Republicans say this is about the debt.   Right, this winter when Obama offered to sign "pay as you go" every Republican in the Senate voted against it. This is all about Mitch McConnell's number one priority:
"The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

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Clarity from the press on the republican created debt crisis?

With every passing day, America is closer to defaulting on the nation's debts — with unknown consequences but you can expect the worst— due to Republicans' refusal to negotiate in good faith with President Obama and Congressional Democrats.  Republicans spent the money, now they don't want to pay the bill unless the entire country changes its values and does everything the narrow Republican way.  The Republicans have taken our economy hostage.  That is  blackmail.  I thought we didn't bargain with hostage takers? It's time to stick to our principles, no more inane bargaining with the republicans.  If they want to vote for a clean debt ceiling bill fine, otherwise we're not interested in their phony values and their miserly view of America.  It's on their head.  One great thing about a default is that finally we'll have some shared sacrifice. 

 Great article at the nation by Jamelle Bouie
 When will the press wake up and blame Republicans?
 Likewise, headlines at MSNBC, CNN and the Washington Post – “Boehner, Reid Appear to Give Ground” – imply a parity of intransigence, as if both Republicans and Democrats refused to compromise on their priorities.
Of course, the literal opposite is true. It’s the Republican Party that broke from decades of precedent in order to use the debt ceiling as leverage for right-wing policies, and it’s Republican leaders who pledged – from the beginning – to take this to the brink unless Democrats capitulated to their demands. Here, for example, is what House Speaker John Boehner said several months ago in an address to the Economic Club of New York:
“Without significant spending cuts and changes to the way we spend the American people’s money, there will be no debt limit increase,” Mr. Boehner told members of New York’s business and finance community. “And cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given.” Mr. Boehner said those cuts should be in the trillions of dollars, not billions.
After a month where Democrats have repeatedly given into Republican demands – even going as far as to raise the Medicare eligibility age as part of a deal – is it too much for the press to say that this is a crisis of GOP’s making?
 Apparently, it is asking way too much. 

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Daily Bread

Paul Krugman scores with "The Cult that is destroying America"

This is a short but great read.  It seems  that I'm not the only one who feels the US media is failing in its job of delivering the full debt ceiling story, and the cuts/taxes battle.  Reminds me of their total incompetence during the Iraq war buildup.   If the civil war was today, would the press be just as equivocal and inane saying: those Northerner's just won't compromise with the South? 

The Cult that is destroying America
You have to ask, what would it take for these news organizations and pundits to actually break with the convention that both sides are equally at fault? This is the clearest, starkest situation one can imagine short of civil war. If this won’t do it, nothing will.
And yes, I think this is a moral issue. The “both sides are at fault” people have to know better; if they refuse to say it, it’s out of some combination of fear and ego, of being unwilling to sacrifice their treasured pose of being above the fray.
It’s a terrible thing to watch, and our nation will pay the price.

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Stand with President Obama: End Tax Breaks for Billionaires and Big Oil

Over 200,000 people have already signed this petition. Click the link if you'd like to join them in encouraging Speaker Boehner and the republicans to wake up and work for the nation, not the nations elite.

"I've reached my limit. This may bring my Presidency down, but I will not yield on this."
- President Obama to Eric Cantor and Congressional Republicans in a closed-door meeting at the White HouseBarack Obama                               Image via Wikipedia

Critical budget negotiations have left the GOP refusing to give up even one penny of tax breaks for Big Oil and billionaires.

What do Republicans support? Recklessly slashing Social Security and Medicare to make sure their special interests donors never have to pay their fair share.

Sign our petition right now telling Speaker Boehner and the GOP to end special tax breaks for Millionaires and Billionaires and to stop pushing AmericaÂ’s economy to the brink of disaster.


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Rebuild the dream: update

The number for the US Capitol switchboard is (202) 224-3121 if you haven’t called already. Ask what your representative’s position is, and if they pledge to oppose cuts, thank them. If they want to force cuts in order to make a budget deal, or they’re not sure, tell them very firmly (but politely) where you stand.

Rebuild the Dream Website, to view pictures of rallies, join or donate 

Monday, July 25, 2011

An easy solution to the debt crisis

 From Jonathan Turley's guest blogger a great article and I heartily recommend it.  Most American families are familiar with the concept of economic shortfall, or "We can't pay our bills".  Almost always this involves some cutting of expenses, but that rarely solves the problem.  American families when money is short, one or both parents take on extra jobs to earn money.  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “We don’t have this problem because we tax too little. We have it because we spent too much.”  Duh, obviously Mitch McConnel is completely out of touch with American families.  We spent too much and we need to increase revenues.  No family would stop paying for vital medication when money is short, they would find a part time job to fill in the gap.  But not the republicans, lets cut vital services instead of raising taxes.  We need an American family approach to the debt crisis.  Read on to discover the easy solution.
A very easy solution to the U.S. Debt problem is to simply tax the wealthy and corporations at 1960 levels and according to one source, the debt would be erased within a decade. “Some numbers — from an Institute for Policy Studies report released this past spring — can help us better visualize just how monumental this political failure has been. If corporations and households taking in $1 million or more in income each year were now paying taxes at the same annual rates as they did back in 1961, the IPS researchers found, the federal treasury would be collecting an extra $716 billion a year. In other words, if the federal government started taxing the wealthy and their corporations at the same rates in effect a half-century ago, the federal debt to investors would almost totally vanish over the next decade.” Official photo of United States Senator and Mi...                                      Image via WikipediaOur Future

Raise taxes, Mitch

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Here's a reposte to Boehner's "Blank check" comment

Speaker Boehner's response to President Obama's speech

President Obama came to Congress in January and requested business as usual — yet another routine increase in the national debt limit — we in the House said ‘not so fast.’ Here was the president, asking for the largest debt increase in American history, on the heels of the largest spending binge in American history.

Here’s what we got for that spending binge: a massive health care bill that most Americans never asked for. A ‘stimulus’ bill that was more effective in producing material for late-night comedians than it was in producing jobs. And a national debt that has gotten so out of hand it has sparked a crisis without precedent in my lifetime or yours.

Boehner stuck his foot, ankle leg and thigh in his mouth when he said: "on the heels of the largest spending binge in American history."    It was his  Republican Binge!  Look at the figures, who is responsible here?  Obama, or the Republicans 8 year spending binge brought to you by Bush, McConnell and Boehner himself.  Obama's biggest "splurge" has been the recovery act, 27 days after he took office to save our country from another depression.

Finally, Boehner himself says the stimulus didn't create any jobs.  I'm sick of Republicans saying it didn't create any jobs, shall we re-post all the pictures of Republicans at new projects taking credit for jobs they voted against?  114 lawmakers block recovery while taking credit for its success. 
Speaker Boehner tell us Where are the jobs?  Oh yeah, the republicans have passed 0 job bills since they gained control of the senate.  20 million Americans out of work and Boehner is talking about history, incorrect history and a made up crisis to divert attention from jobs. 

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The Daily Bread

recipe and directions here
oops, I forgot to set the timer, but the bread was still excellent even though it was browned a little more than usual.

Contact your Representative and tell them you want a clean debt ceiling vote

From True
8 days until the US defaults and the Republicans just walked out
Dear Stephen,

One option left: a clean vote to raise the debt ceiling.

obama and Boehner, far apart
Tell your member of Congress to increase the debt ceiling with no cuts, taxes or tricks.
add your voice

Last Friday night, House Republicans walked out of debt ceiling talks after making it 100% clear that they would rather see America default and the economy ruined than make millionaires or corporations pay one penny more in taxes.1

Stock markets are dropping already. At many companies, hiring is on hold. And in eight days - we may have to stop mailing out Social Security checks, paying veterans benefits, and effectively shutting down the federal government as America defaults on its debt.2

But there's still ONE chance to avoid calamity:
Congress must vote NOW on a clean increase to the debt ceiling -- no spending cuts, no tax increases, no gimmicks. Just a clean vote that keeps the economy running and guarantees millions of working Americans won't get caught in the partisan crossfire.

Click here to tell your Representative to back a clean increase in the debt ceiling.
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I get mail from Bernie Sanders: update on debt ceiling talks

Bernie Sanders in his clear style explains what is occuring in the debt ceiling talks and the republicans attempts to crush the big three(medicare, medicaid, social security) and the whole social safety net .
 Bernie SandersImage via Wikipedia
The debate over raising the debt ceiling and deficit reduction is coming down to the wire and I wanted to take a moment to update you on what is going on in Washington.

Despite the fact that Democrats control the White House and the Senate, it is right-wing Republicans who are calling the shots and setting the agenda.  Unless we fight back vigorously, Congress and President Obama will give the American people exactly what they don’t want.

Poll after poll shows that the American people want Congress to focus on job creation and that they want deficit reduction to be done in a way which is fair and which requires shared sacrifice.  They do not want the budget to be balanced on the backs of those people who are already hurting through massive cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, child care, nutrition, affordable housing, fuel assistance and environmental protection.  They want millionaires and billionaires to start paying their fair share in taxes, and they want the removal of massive loopholes which enable many large corporations to avoid taxes.  They also want a significant reduction in military spending.

Republican leaders talk about three or four trillion dollars in spending cuts over the next ten years, with no new taxes on the wealthy and large corporations and unless we turn the tide NOW, they will get pretty much what they want.

Please understand what they mean.  While no specific proposals have been adopted as of this date, here are some of the ideas which have been discussed.

SOCIAL SECURITY:  Revising the formula which determines cost of living increases (COLAs) so that in ten years, a 75-year-old will receive $560 a year less in benefits and in 20 years an 85-year-old will receive $1,000 a year less.  Further, another provision which would require that Social Security always be solvent for 75 years would likely mean even larger cuts in benefits.  All of this would take place despite the fact that Social Security has not contributed one penny to the deficit and has a $2.6 trillion surplus today.  This new formula would also cut back on the pensions of veterans.

MEDICARE:  Raising the eligibility age from 65 to 67 and/or cutting benefits by $250 billion over ten years.  Now you tell me, how are 66 year old Americans with modest means going to afford health insurance with a private company – especially if they have medical problems?  It’s not going to happen.  They are going to suffer.  Some will unnecessarily die.

MEDICAID:  At a time when 50 million Americans already have no health insurance, Republicans and some Democrats are proposing to cut hundreds of billions from Medicaid which means that many men, women and children will lose the health insurance they have.  According to a Harvard University study, some 45,000 Americans die each year because they don’t get to a doctor when they should.  How many more will die if Medicaid is slashed?  How many children will be thrown off of the Children’s Health Insurance Program?

EDUCATION:  Today, childcare and college education are already unaffordable for millions of working families and Head Start has long waiting lists.  If Republicans and some Democrats get their way, Pell grants and other educational programs will be deeply slashed.  Affordable childcare and a college education will no longer be possible for many families in our country.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND INFRASTRUCTURE:  Forget about the government having the ability to protect the people from corporations who want to evade regulations within the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.  With massive cuts in the EPA, the resources will not be there.  Forget about this country having the investment capability to transform our energy system to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.  Forget about creating millions of jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and improving our public transportation system.

At a time of growing hunger in America there will be massive cuts to nutrition programs.  We have a crisis in homelessness, and there will be cuts to affordable housing.  While we need more funds for research and development in disease prevention and other areas, fewer funds will be available.  And on and on it goes.

Yes, the time is late, but we can still make a huge difference.  

As, perhaps, the most progressive member of the Senate, I will continue to stand for a deficit reduction plan which is fair, which requires the wealthy and large corporations to begin paying their fair share of taxes and contribute at least 50 percent toward any plan which is adopted.  I will also demand that Congress take a hard look at excessive military spending.

This nightmare can be avoided, if, as progressives, we continue to stand together for social justice and common decency.  Thank you for all that you do.


Senator Bernie Sanders
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A great letter to send to republicans

Last week at the "rebuild the dream" meeting in Redmond, Wa.  I was fortunate to sit next to a wonderful lady who told me about her efforts to contact every republican in congress.  I was impressed with her letter writing campaign.  I was also impressed that she took the initiative to call Senator Orrin Hatch's office.  Even though she was told "tell it to someone who cares" by Orrin Hatch's staff she has perservered.  With her permission I reprint SW's great letter to republican Senators and Representatives.  Maybe we all need to talk to our republican reps and senators and let them know they work for us not the billionaires. SW told me: "It seems that if I talk to Republicans they will hear other voices and realize they are in the minority."  Maybe she's right, its worth trying.
The western front of the United States Capitol...Image via Wikipedia

     Dear Sir:

       This letter is to express that our nation, The United States of America, is a “We” society, not a “Me” society and our forefathers so stated in the Preamble to the Constitution.  Therefore, as an elected representative you need to fight to sustain our “we” society by creating a 90% tax rate on anyone with an annual income of one million dollars and higher. You can also take the lid off the Social Security plan to make it completely sustainable.
       This letter is also to say to you that I realize your ulterior motives in going against everything our President is trying to do.  By doing that you are taking our nation to its demise.  It is time to stop that nonsense and get on track.
       Ravi Batra, Paul Krugman,and David Cay Johnston are economists who have knowledge of our history and suggest increasing taxes on the wealthy, changing our trade policies to include import fees, and bringing an end to NAFTA.  You can consider their ideas and put them into action.
       The small minority of citizens, largely lacking historical knowledge, who share your philosophy, are few in number and are wrong-minded.  As a member of the Democratic Party I am observing your words and actions and am letting you know that you are doing wrong to our nation.  It is time to turn yourself around and do the job of getting us on a solid footing using the above methods.

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