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Chamber plays Chicken Little (again)

Chamber plays Chicken Little (again) | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Note: Public Citizen runs U.S. Chamberwatch, a project designed to shed light on the funding and practices of the largest private interest lobbyist in America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
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Coffee Party USA's insight:

These are comments form the Public Citizen group that is a Chamber watch group that follows the US Chamber of Commerce activities. This is their analysis of the Chamber State of American Business 2013 speech.

 

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Former Cabinet Members On Being Part Of The President's Team

Former Cabinet Members On Being Part Of The President's Team | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
President Obama nominated Jack Lew, his current chief of staff, for Treasury Secretary today. Former cabinet members explain what it takes to put together a good cabinet, and how to get the members to work together.
Coffee Party USA's insight:

This NPR show offers a good basic discussion about the ideas that are considered in organizing cabinet team members together for the best outcome. This covers a number of the possible 2013 cabinet members..

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Panetta to Pentagon: Get ready for cuts

Panetta to Pentagon: Get ready for cuts | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

The secretary calls a triple crisis facing the government in March a "perfect storm."


Excerpt from article by PHILIP EWING, Politico


“The fact is, looking at all three of those, we have no idea what the hell’s going to happen,” Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon. “All told this uncertainty, if left unresolved by the Congress, will seriously harm our military readiness.”

He said the Pentagon would pull back on military maintenance that wasn’t critical to immediate missions, freeze civilian hiring, stop issuing certain contracts and take “other steps” against the possibility of a roughly $45 billion budget across-the-board spending cut that could take effect in March, unless Congress intervenes.

An even larger cut would have taken place on Jan. 2, but Congress and the White House agreed to postpone it for two months as part of their deal to avert the fiscal cliff. [MORE]

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Giffords gun control group wants $20 million for 2014 elections

Giffords gun control group wants $20 million for 2014 elections | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by David Ingram and Tim Gayno, Reuters

A new gun control group led by Gabrielle Giffords, the former U.S. congresswoman wounded in a Tucson shooting rampage, wants to raise $20 million for the 2014 congressional elections, matching the National Rifle Association's spending in last November's elections, the group's treasurer said on Wednesday.

Giffords and her husband, former U.S. astronaut Mark Kelly, have turned to Houston trial lawyer and Democratic donor Steve Mostyn to act as treasurer. He gave $1 million of his own money to help kick start a campaign launched on Tuesday calling for what Giffords and Kelly describe as common-sense measures to curb gun violence.

The move marks the entry of the high-profile couple, both gun owners, into a heated national debate over gun control fueled by the massacre of 20 children and six teachers at a Connecticut elementary school last month. [MORE]

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What You Need To Know About Jack Lew, Obama’s Treasury Nominee

What You Need To Know About Jack Lew, Obama’s Treasury Nominee | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
President Obama will nominate his chief of staff and former director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jacob “Jack” Lew, as the next Treasury Secretary, Bloomberg reported today.
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Berwick eyeing run for Mass. governor

Berwick eyeing run for Mass. governor | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
He stepped down as administrator of CMS, knowing he could never be confirmed by the Senate.
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Former Sen. Scott Brown May Be Eyeing Quick Return To Washington : NPR

Former Sen. Scott Brown May Be Eyeing Quick Return To Washington : NPR | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
The Massachusetts Republican left Congress this week after losing in a contentious race to Democrat Elizabeth Warren. But if John Kerry is confirmed as the next secretary of state, Scott Brown could be back on the campaign trail in weeks.
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SEC moves to shine a light on corporate political spending

SEC moves to shine a light on corporate political spending | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
A significant move by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) takes aim at a glaring loophole in the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
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America’s European moment

America’s European moment | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
FOR the past three years America’s leaders have looked on Europe’s management of the euro crisis with barely disguised contempt. In the White House and on...
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Monica S Mcfeeters's comment, January 7, 2013 7:01 AM
Read the related article "Fun with Pensions" to see what pension ages are in the various countries around the world.
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Big Oil's Billions in Tax Perks Survive Fiscal Cliff Deal

Big Oil's Billions in Tax Perks Survive Fiscal Cliff Deal | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Among the big winners from the budget deal: BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell.
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Rep. King Rips GOP For Blocking Sandy Aid Vote: "Knifed" New Yorkers In The Back | RealClearPolitics

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) ripped House Republicans for wrapping up the 112th Congress without a vote on Hurricane Sandy aid. The bill, which would give about $60 billion to those affected by the Hurricane, was tabled.
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What was Boehner thinking? The Atlantic interviews a man who knows

What was Boehner thinking? The Atlantic interviews a man who knows | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Exerpt from interview with Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH), who left the U.S. House this week, by MOLLY BALL, The Atlantic


Former Rep. Steve LaTourette: The Sandy thing could have been handled better. But Boehner had expended so much political capital on the tax bill, and now these same 20 to 60 people were grousing that [the aid money] was unpaid for. You look at the roll call on the tax bill -- Boehner votes yes, and every other [member of the GOP leadership] except Cathy McMorris Rodgers voted no.

During the roll call on the tax bill, I walked into the cloakroom, and Boehner was sitting there. I said, 'This Sandy thing is really important. We've got to do something.' He said, 'Not tonight.' I asked if we were going to do it tomorrow, and he said no. He said, 'After this mess, I just can't do it tonight.'


Q: I don't understand. Was he just exhausted? Was he afraid the votes wouldn't be there?

LaTourette: He had expended a lot of political capital to get the 85 votes [on the fiscal-cliff deal], and he felt a little betrayed that the other members of the elected leadership walked on him. And the last piece was, as you saw during the Speaker election [Thursday], this sort of insurrection was forming against him. There was a fear that if he put $60 billion, no matter how worthy, of unpaid-for emergency spending on the floor, the insurrection would become bigger than it was.

Q: How about that insurrection -- doesn't that prove that Boehner is a weak leader who can't control his caucus?

LaTourette: I think it's ridiculous. They should kick them all out of the Republican conference. The picture in Politico of a sitting Republican member of Congress on the floor with an iPad showing a screen with a whip count to deny the Republicans the speakership of the House is asinine. This is what I'm talking about: These guys are OK when it comes to ideology and dogma, but they don't have a clue how to participate in the legislative process.

I don't know what their objective is. If it was to deny the speakership to Boehner and hand it to Mrs. Pelosi, I don't know how their cause would have been furthered. If it's to force the vote to a second ballot to make some demands, well, who the hell do these people think they are? Twelve out of 233, and they're making demands? That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Q: Is there any way for Boehner to assert some leadership now that he's been reelected and bring the insurgents into line?

LaTourette: He resisted, the entire last Congress, until the very end, the temptation to punish anybody. I sat on the steering committee, and there were cries from all parts of the conference: 'These guys are ruining everything!' He wouldn't chastise them or do anything until the recent mini-purge.

I don't think his inclination is to punish people. But I have to tell you, I don't know how he does it. You look at the very beginning of the last Congress, H.R. 1, the omnibus, there were hundreds of amendments from the stupid to the sublime. One was offered to defund the president's teleprompter. Another was to defund the electrical upgrades needed to bring the White House up to code. But Boehner's deal was, OK, go for it, let people participate. There was an expectation that, given the opportunity to improve the bill, they would then vote for the bill. But beginning with that bill there have been 20 to 50 members who will make adjustments to the bill that guarantee you're not going to get one Democrat to vote for it, and then they still vote against the bill themselves and deny Boehner the 218 votes he needs to bargain with.

Q: Are the insurgents motivated by ideology?

LaTourette: I'm sure they have a certain ideology, but if the purpose of the place is to govern -- if your ideology is you don't believe in governing, I can't say anything to that. But if you want a smaller, more responsible government, you have to go for the achievable. Or you can say 'no' all you want, but then you can't squawk if leadership has to go across the hall to get Democrats to vote for it. [MORE]

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Coffee Party USA's curator insight, January 6, 2013 2:11 AM

Scooped by Eric Byler through Coffee Party USA Scoop.it account.  The Middle Ground would really love to interview former Rep. LaTourette...

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Budget battles threaten to limit Obama's second-term agenda

Budget battles threaten to limit Obama's second-term agenda | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by JOHN WHITESIDES (Reuters)


After a brutal "fiscal cliff" battle, President Barack Obama's looming budget confrontation with Congress threatens to sharply curtail his second-term agenda and limit his ambitions on priorities such as immigration reform and gun control.


Obama has vowed to push ahead with other legislative priorities during the fiscal fight, but faces the likelihood that they will be elbowed aside in a fierce struggle with Republicans over approaching deadlines to raise the limit on federal borrowing, cut spending and fund government operations.

Obama and Congress must agree by the end of March on increasing the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling, the fate of $85 billion in delayed automatic spending cuts and passage of a bill to fund the government after a temporary measure expires.


Those budget battles could be even more intense than the weeks-long "fiscal cliff" fight that ended on New Year's Day with an agreement to raise taxes on the wealthy, leaving divided Republicans itching for revenge and a fractured relationship between Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner.


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Via Michael Charney
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The State of American Business 2013 | U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The State of American Business 2013 | U.S. Chamber of Commerce | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Coffee Party USA's insight:

This is the speech that was delivered this week on "The State of American Business" by the US Chamber of Commerce.

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White House Considers School Police

White House Considers School Police | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Funding for school police will be proposed to the president. (White House Considers School Police http://t.co/lbCCLhsA #cheatsheet)
Coffee Party USA's insight:

The school safety initiative, one of several under consideration, would make federal dollars available to schools that want to hire police officers and install surveillance equipment, although it is not nearly as far-ranging as the National Rifle Association’s proposal for armed guards in every U.S. school.

(excerpt from article)

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AIG and big banks are the 'Takers' taking from the rest of us

AIG and big banks are the 'Takers' taking from the rest of us | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by David Horsey, LA Times


In “The Fountainhead” and her other tomes of hyper-libertarian fantasy, Ayn Rand posits that society is composed of “Makers and Takers.” In her vision, it is the creative supermen of industry who are the Makers and it is the work-averse, collectivist leeches who feed off the wealth of capitalist empire builders who are the Takers.

This week’s news about AIG and the big banks suggests that Ayn Rand was wrong.


A pretty strong argument can be made that the Makers in American society are the millions of men and women who raise their children the best they can, take part in the life of their communities as coaches, classroom helpers and volunteers for a thousand good causes and put in long hours as employees keeping the nation’s businesses and industries going while receiving diminishing pay and benefits.

The Takers, on the other hand, include quite a few of Rand’s heroes. They are the big-time bankers, speculators, derivatives traders and others in the financial industry who operate in an alternate economic world that has little to do with making things or providing quality services and everything to do with devising esoteric, barely legal and frequently unethical methods of amassing fortunes for themselves. [MORE]


Via Eric Byler
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Poll: Republicans back NRA plan

Poll: Republicans back NRA plan | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
A slight majority of Americans oppose the plan to put armed guards in every school in the country.
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Smart Health-Care Strategy Hidden in ‘Cliff’ Deal

Smart Health-Care Strategy Hidden in ‘Cliff’ Deal | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Peter Orszag, Bloomberg


One little-noted provision I was encouraged to see tucked in last week’s fiscal-cliff legislation is Section 601(b): an incentive for doctors to expand their use of something called clinical data registries.

These registries collect information on patient characteristics, patterns of care and outcomes that can be crucial to evaluating what medical techniques and strategies work and which ones don’t. Unfortunately, registries are not as widespread as they should be -- and the ones that exist often are limited to particular types of care. [MORE]

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Before you talk about the deficit, take a look at these charts

Before you talk about the deficit, take a look at these charts | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Before you talk about the deficit, take a look at these charts: http://t.co/GpPUcH8I (via @suzykhimm)
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Why Hagel? Let Us Count The Reasons : NPR

Why Hagel? Let Us Count The Reasons : NPR | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
President Obama wants Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel to run the Pentagon. Hagel's confirmation would put four men with close ties from their Senate days at the center of the nation's foreign policy and national security policymaking.
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This is what would happen if we breach the debt ceiling

This is what would happen if we breach the debt ceiling | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Ezra Klein


Want to make sure your calendar is clear when we hit the debt ceiling? Then don’t schedule anything between Feb. 15 and March 1. 


That, according to a new analysis by the Bipartisan Policy Center, is the likely range for debt-ceiling doomsday: The day when the Treasury Department runs out of room to maneuver and we actually begin to default on obligations. Either Congress figures out the debt ceiling before that date or things get very bad, very fast.


Imagine we hit the debt ceiling Feb. 15. The BPC's analysis suggests that federal spending over the next month will be about $450 billion. Federal revenues will be nearer to $277 billion. That means that the government will have to default on about 40 percent of its obligations.


The choices it will face quickly become stark. It can cover interest on the debt, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, defense spending, education, food stamps and other low-income transfers, and a handful of other programs, but doing all that will mean defaulting on everything - really, everything - else. The FBI will shut down. The people responsible for tracking down loose nukes will lose their jobs. The prisons won’t operate. The biomedical researchers won’t be funded. The court system will close its doors. The tax refunds won’t go out. The Federal Aviation Administration will go offline. The parks will close. Food safety inspections will cease.


This is the difference between a debt-ceiling shutdown and a government shutdown. As Shai Akabas, a research at the Bipartisan Policy Center, puts it, "in a government shutdown, the government is shutting down future obligations. With the debt ceiling, They've already obligated the money. They owe these people the payments now, and they can't make them."


Then, of course, there’s the financial-market chaos. Trillions of dollars in derivatives and other financial products are based on the interest rate that the federal government pays when borrowing. U.S. government debt is, after all, supposed to be the safest investment in the world, and so it’s used to "benchmark" all other sorts of debt. A spike in the Treasury rate would mean a spike in credit card rates and mortgage rates, not to mention all manner of more esoteric financial derivatives. The damage to the economy would be tremendous, and it would occur at every level, from individuals looking for a loan to buy a house to hedge funders trying to play the markets.

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Fun with pensions

Fun with pensions | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
The burden of increased longevity in the rich worldON JUNE 6th François Hollande, France's new president, unveiled plans to reverse a planned rise in the official...


Curator's questions

 

The debate over retirement needs to broaden. That debate is totally related to the Medicare debate in our country since we do not have a national health care program in place for all citizens as all of the other developed nations have put in place and our primary health care is obtained through employers or must be privately purchased.

 

Here are some questions that need to be considered:

 

1. Is there a direct relationship between living longer and leaving the 5+-day work place sooner?

2. Is there a relationship between the increased 30 year outsourcing of labor intensive jobs to countries that have mainly an oppressed and often exploited populations directly related to many of these earlier retirements? All wealthier countries have engaged in this to various degrees.

3. How many retire early because of long-term lack of work as age often means higher cost to employers for insurance and hiring more experienced workers mean paying a higher salary? Not to pay experienced workers higher will discourage loyalty from young workers and undermine reasons to improve skills.

4. How many are retiring because of lack of job transferable training or skills as many of their jobs have gone the way of the blacksmiths of yesterday?

5. How will young workers find a good place if older workers hold on to job longer.

6. Will far more less wealthy people be forced to retire with far lower amounts to live on during these longer life spans? Many right now retire at 62 only because they are no longer healthy enough to work full time. Trying to work till 70 for full benefits will increase by far the number trying to live on the lowest pension amounts. Many job pensions also peg to the Social Security age meaning those benefits may also be unavailable to people who want or need to retire.

7. Will this raise the Medicare age as well? This would force everyone to work 40+ weeks to maintain a status that holds employer insurance.

8. How do we find full time, living wage paid work for everyone? Not only are labor intensive jobs shipped off to oppressed workers, but we just don't need as many to plant, harvest, manufacture, be soldiers, dig ditches, type and take notes, collect payments, do book keeping and fish in a time where we have computers, robots and mega machines?

9. How many retire in their 60s to care for someone in their 80s or 90s? What happens when they cannot afford to do that?

10. How many retire early because they have more wealth and don't have to downgrade lifestyles just to live social security? Perhaps those with more should not draw unless they have hardship or loss of other wealth. Does Warren Buffet really need social security if he doesn’t fall on hard times?

 

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Sources: Obama to Pick Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense

Sources: Obama to Pick Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Sources tell Eli Lake that the president will pick the combat vet as the next secretary of defense.


Steve Clemons, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and friend of Hagel’s, said, “I think the fundamental issue is the White House has a number of compelling candidates that it could have chosen, that it has elected to bring someone who is the first combat veteran in over 30 years to head the Pentagon.”

While Hagel has a reservoir of support from elite journalists, foreign-policy intellectuals, and former government officials, he is not beloved by many other interest groups, including the pro-Israel lobbythe gay-equality lobby, and even Armenian-Americans.

The result has been an intense battle over Hagel even before any nomination has been announced. The ex-senator’s supporters have decried what they say is a smear campaign orchestrated by the likes of William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, and Josh Block, the head of the Israel Project, a pro-Israel nonprofit. Hagel’s critics say his defenders have not addressed concerns raised about the man’s record as a senator that suggest he holds positions out of sync with Obama on issues like Iran and Hamas.

(Excerpt from the article)
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A veteran hostage negotiator’s advice on handling the GOP

A veteran hostage negotiator’s advice on handling the GOP's debt-ceiling threats: http://t.co/fPg9iKwe
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GOP Congressmen Who Begged For Federal Aid When Disasters Hit Home Districts Vote Against Sandy Aid

GOP Congressmen Who Begged For Federal Aid When Disasters Hit Home Districts Vote Against Sandy Aid | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Excerpt from article by RICK UNGAR, Forbes Magazine


While it is not particularly remarkable that there would be members of the Republican caucus who would vote against honoring the obligations of the United States government (they are, after all, threatening to disavow debt that we’ve already promised to pay if we don’t do what they say in making budget cuts), what shocks even an old cynic such as myself are those Members who had the extraordinary nerve to cast a ‘no’ vote despite recently pleading for the very same relief when voters in their own districts were under water or picking up the pieces of their lives following a devastating tornado.

Members like Missouri Republican Sam Graves who—just two years ago—begged President Obama for an emergency declaration freeing up big time federal bucks to aid the people in his home district in their hour of need following a severe natural disaster.

And what do you imagine the money was for?

Would you believe it was for damages Graves’ constituents suffered from flooding-the very same problem in New York and New Jersey that today’s House vote was addressing?

Here is what Congressman Graves had to say when it was his neighbors who were under water:

“I urge the President to approve this assistance without delay. Many communities along the river have been stretched to the limit preparing for and fighting this unprecedented flood.”

Yes…he really said that.

And yet, today, the Congressman voted to deny similar aid to the victims of Sandy.

In 2009, Georgia Republican Paul Broun applauded the larges sums of FEMA money being spent in his Congressional district when parts of Stephens County suffered serious damage as a result of…wait for it…flooding. [MORE]

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