Something must change or President Obama will be a one-term president
You need to know this about the tax cuts debate. The House yesterday passed legislation to extend the Bush tax cuts for ALL Americans on their first $250,000 of income per year. In response – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is planning on holding two similar votes tomorrow – extending tax cuts for everyone on their first quarter-million in income, but no tax cuts above that. However – all of this – may be for naught. News is emerging from the White House that a deal has been made to extend the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires in return for an extension of unemployment benefits for the nation’s jobless. So it looks like the Republican’s tactic to hold hostage poor and working class Americans this holiday season in return for their buddies getting billions in tax cuts – just may work. How can they get away with this? Whether it’s a failure of our President – our media – our Senate rules – or all of the above - something must change. Or else Obama will be a one-term president.
I find myself more disheartened by everyone telling me how disheartened I should be.
I wish I knew where to find the balance between not tearing down our side and the lemming like walking in lockstep that we see on the Right, but I fear that in an environment where the Right is extremely HYPO-critical of itself, and HYPER critical of the other side, while the left is extremely HYPER critical of itself, and the big money goes to the Right, and the media leans right or "neutral", we are forgetting that a lot of those in the middle, who are not wonks, who do not know what credit default swaps or CDOs are, simply know that half of those they hear from support Republicans and EVERYBODY hates Democrats, including liberals.
I fear in the end that we are helping to move the country more to the Right, making it that much harder for the next Democrat, (as Clinton's move to the right and Bush's eight years of SCOTUS picks ), have made it harder for Obama.
Various activist and labor groups have opposed the nomination of Stacia Hylton on the grounds that she received $112,000 from GEO Group since "retiring" nine months ago.
The groups included the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). They represent over a million and a half civil servants.
While Hylton served as Trustee, she awarded GEO $85 million in contracts.
For unknown reasons, Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee voted to confirm her nomination this week. There was no excuse for that. One presumes they didn't want to further embarrass the President in his hour of distress. It will be far more damaging if her appointment goes through and she faces criminal charges while heading the US Marshals Service.
The GEO contract conflict of interest issue that called this nomination into question pales in comparison to the CCA award for Pahrump. According to its own statistics, there was no government need for the beds, but the feds guaranteed daily payments for 750 detainees or prisoners for the next five years. The government will pay for that many beds whether they're empty or full. That's a $137 million contract for prisoners who didn't exist. The contract is renewable after that in five three year increments. The total cost, in today's dollars, could be over $700 million.
By getting naive local leaders to believe that this contract for operations would be permanent, they deluded them into thinking the guards and other staff would be paid federal prevailing wage. In fact, if the contract ends, they could pay guards minimum wage for say, holding California State Department of Corrections gang members who had been convicted of murder, kidnap or rape. Those officials concealed the true prison location and details from the public with the aid of the marginal local news media.
To give CCA this prize, Hylton's office had to chronically violate both the letter and the spirit of the National Environmental Policy Act. They gave the contract to a company that is regularly found to have overcharged for their contractual services by millions of dollars.
Under her leadership, the Office of the Federal Detention Trustee became little more than a sales office for CCA, and presumably, it may have been for GEO as well. If government agencies, such as the US Marshals Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and/or the Federal Bureau of Prisons had an actual need for beds, the OFDT could have simply arranged to lease the Southern Nevada Correctional Center at Jean, on Interstate 15, 30 miles south of the Las Vegas Federal Courthouse. Rather than a two-year delay in building, it would have been an economical turnkey operation, ready for immediate occupancy with a willing landlord, the Nevada Department of Corrections.
Instead, they promoted this fraudulent, wasteful and abusive contract. Not only will the taxpayers be footing the bill so that many CCA executives can get millions annually in salaries and stock awards, but CCA's subsidiary TransCor will be transporting the prisoners back and forth, 65 miles each way to Pahrump, for prices that would make a limo service blush.
In order to cover up this breach of the public trust, the OFDT under Hylton stonewalled legitimate Freedom of Information Act requests for over a year. The paper trail seems to have been fed to the Ollie North/Fawn Hall signature model shredder, if indeed FOIA'd materials no longer exist.
If Hylton was not personally guilty of criminal fraud and collusion, in the award of this contract, for it to have been done in her small office under her nose would demonstrate that she's impossibly stupid and not fit for another managerial position.
What an incredible disappointment Obama is. The change he spoke of is nonexistent. He gave up on healthcare; he refused to prosecute anyone in the Bush Administration for war crimes; he has caved on every issue to the republican MINORITY--including the most heartless, soulless, individual in the Senate--McConnell--who is being treated by Dems and the press alike as though he is Majority Leader. Yes, it is time to look seriously for someone to run against this wet-noodle-of-a-president. We have nothing to lose; he will be defeated anyway (if he runs).
As a progressive, I was proud to vote for candidate Obama in 2008, but President Obama has presided as a moderate Republican. IMHO, it could persuasively be argued that he is to the right of Richard Nixon on most issues.
I believe that President Obama has alienated his base to the point that he cannot be reelected and if we don't start pushing for a replacement now we will be facing a Republican House, Senate, and White house in 2012.
President Alan Grayson
Vice President Russ Feingold
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer
LAME DUCKS CAN FLY!
Just say No to take cuts for upper 2%. I hope Pres. sticks to his promise about tax cuts.
President Alan Grayson
Vice President Russ Feingold
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer
Don't forget Russ Feingold voted with the Republicans.
This will get us a Santorum or a Huckabee.
This is how the GOP wins and drags the country down further, thus making it harder and harder for the next Democrat.
They chip and chip away and make incremental change over thirty years, while we whine and threaten to withdraw support when we don't get what we want in two years, in the face of Nelsons and Liebermans, and the media screaming,"Marxist! Maoist! Stalinist!" or more mainstream media, simply repeating the GOP talking points about out of control government spending, and death panels.
I fear we do a lot of heavy lifting for the right.
I think Maureen Dowd nailed it when she said, that Fox News built up a Republican president while MSNBC is tearing down a Democratic one.
So, if this keeps up, we can get the House, Senate and WhiteHouse going even further right wing, and they will get 8 years , there will be even MORE corporate money in the system, and and we will trash the next Democrat when when he/she can not get an even more centrist agenda passed because it will be viewed as far, far left.
Many Democrats still refuse to open their eyes and see that Obama is a right wing corporatist Republican in spite of every move he has made since he came into the Oval Office, which proves without a doubt who and what he is. Many Democrats are so emotionally and intellectually invested in their choice of Obama for President they are incapable of admitting they were wrong.
I knew exactly who and what he was before the campaign and urged my fellow delegates in Washington not to support him. But they would not listen. Now we have a liar and a hypocrite who has done just enough for the Democrats in Congress to stop outright rebellion, but when it comes to the most important issues; prescription drugs, health insurance, oil drilling, and tax cuts for for the rich, he made his deals with his corporate cronies behind closed doors.
He has no shame about breaking his campaign promises and uses lies and spin to convince those who still have blinders on that he has the good of the middle class and poor at heart. He was an excellent con man during the campaign and continues to be an excellent con man after occupying the Oval Office.
Until all Democrats recognize Obama for the liar he is we have no hope of replacing him with a true Democrat. And that would be a disaster. I have no doubt that after Obama shoves through tax cuts for the rich he will begin to help his fellow Republicans destroy Social Security. I expect him to do that sooner rather than later; as soon as his tax cuts for the rich drive up the deficit and he explains to us all how we have to sacrifice for the good of the country.
He and his rich Republican cronies however, will sacrifice nothing.
I hate to say it, but I think Obama is the only grown up in the room.
If someone had told me, in 2008, how healthcare and Gitmo and would have turned out, I would have been stunned.
If they had told me the lengths that the Republicans were willing to go to sabotage the administration, and that conservative Democrats would join them, and that voters who supported him would allow the tea party people to go unanswered, I would have been one thousand times more stunned.
It’s a shame that the Right was willing to sacrifice the middle class to give tax cuts for the rich, while the left is willing to sacrifice the middle class to deny them.
As Bill Clinton once said to William Greider, “The problem is you, Bill Greider. You are a faulty citizen. You don’t mobilize or persuade, because you only worry about being doctrinaire and proud. You are betraying your own principles with self-righteousness.”
For all of those of ideological purity who are whining now, if you get your way, I hope you enjoy your 7-2 far right wing Supreme Court.
Hi Louise and Thom – Just in case you are not aware of the following on this, "anything goes” Friday I write this FYI.
President Obama nominated recent head of the OFDT (Office of the Federal Detention Trustee), Stacia Hylton, to assume the post of Head of the US Marshals Service and a Senate committee has now approved that appointment despite letters to the contrary from individuals and an alliance of many noteworthy organizations against the appointment in light of her very apparent conflict of interests concerning her oversight role relative to GEO (the for-profit prison giant) as head of OFDT, establishing a consulting company right before retiring from the OFDT, and then accepting a lucrative consultant position working for GEO, her only client to date. Further her ties to CCA have also aroused concern regarding her role - despite great public outcry - in facilitating the CCA Pahrump Prison in Nevada, a facility to be used by the US Marshals Service now to be under Ms Hylton’s oversight. Please check the following URLs for more information on this subject.