The man who preached Hope, is working to deprive future retirees of hope by cutting their already meager social security.He has appointed a “deficit commission” thoroughly stacked with wealthy individuals determined to cut social security for those who don’t get to serve on commissions and corporate boards.
Richard (RJ) Eskow, in the Huffington Post, gives us the lowdown on the commissioners from Obama’s “deficit” (aka, cut our social security) commission. In particular, Eskow points out that none, repeat none, of these commissioners will need to rely on social security for any meaningful share of their retirement. In other words, their all loaded:
Events of the last week have made the Deficit Commission an embarrassment. Co-Chair Alan Simpson is a one-man disaster movie, compulsively offending one key voting bloc after another. Commission member Paul Ryan faced an angry crowd over his anti-Social Security stance, while another Commissioner locked experienced workers out of a nuclear facility rather than provide retirement benefits.
That’s right: He’s cutting retirement benefits.
But if the political blowback is obvious, here’s what isn’t: The Commissioners who are determined to cut your Social Security benefits are going to enjoy their own retirements in comfort. Their own pension plans insulate them from the fears that many other Americans face, and they don’t have the professional expertise that would help them understand those concerns. In fact, the Commission’s only expert on retirement is Rep. Jan Schakowsky, and she apparently opposes benefit cuts. The rest of the Commission is dominated by people who’ve expressed their desire to cut Social Security, despite their own secure futures. Millions of working Americans who have contributed to Social Security all their lives will lose out if these Commissioners have their way.
Happy Labor Day.
He goes on to describe the attitudes, and retirement finances, of each of them. Picking a favorite is hard. But former SEIU leader Andy tern just may win:
Former SEIU President Andrew Stern, who once might have been counted on to defend Social Security, recently sneered at Commission critics as “assassins of change” while saying that “all entitlements should be on the table.” Mr. Stern’s annual pension is $152,000 – and he retired at the age of 59, not 70. Nevertheless, Stern now publicly muses about “whether defined benefit pensions can really exist in the long run in a globalized economy.”
As pensions have largely dissappeared, Stern ought to be fighting and mobilizing wo9rkers for the large increases in social security to make up for their lost. But he’d rather play his designated role as assassin of hope for today’s workers and future retirees. After all, as he taught us through his dictatorial style as union leader, the little people should shut up and let their betters decided what’s good for them.
Can we put Stern’s entitlement to that $152,000 pension, paid for by the members of his union, on the table?
September 3rd, 2010
Torture lawyer Jay Bybee, now a Federal judge has seen the light. When it comes to littering to keep immigrants from dying, the law has that crystal clarity that prohibitions on torture lacked. The logic is clear: promotes humanity, clearly illegal; obviously inhumane, clearly legal.
David Luban explains in Balkinization:
Torture and Littering
>By David Luban
Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the conviction of Daniel Millis, convicted of littering because he left sealed bottles of drinking water in a desert wildlife refuge. He explained that he left them “along frequently traveled routes for unlawful entrants to the United States.” He belongs to a group called “No More Deaths,” and the opinion quotes his testimony: “humanitarian aide [sic] is never a crime.”
The majority overturned his conviction because a reasonable person might not understand that leaving drinking water for people dying of thirst is littering. The United States countered that the water bottles constitute “garbage” in the sense of the statute. After foraging through some dictionary definitions of “garbage” and “discarded,” the majority concludes that the regulation is too ambiguous to enforce in this case.
Judge Jay Bybee – he of the torture memo – dissents. Littering is littering, and Bybee finds that the regulation is as clear as a sunny day in the desert. This is the same Jay Bybee who thinks that terms like “torture” and “severe suffering” are so vague that it would be unfair to apply statutes prohibiting them to interrogators who waterboard people and keep them awake for a week at a time, naked and hanging in chains.
Unless Bybee is impeached, he’ll be spreading his inhumanity from the bench for life.
Also, note how much energy the “Justice” Department devoted to prosecuting someone for daring to help people in danger of dying. Obviously, the Yoo-Bybee ethic runs deep in our society.
UPDATE: emptywheel explains:
Mind you, when the issue was whether waterboarding someone constituted prolonged mental harm, Bybee was not really a stickler for precise meanings.
Which I guess means Bybee is consistent: he has the remarkable ability to read a phrase with that meaning that will cause the utmost pain to brown people.
September 3rd, 2010
Yet another example of horrific brutality by police armed with Tasers. In this case, they Tase a man in his own home, after he fell and hurt his leg and the paramedics helped him. They Tase him after his wife tells them he has a heart condition. They Tase him 3 times, twice while he’s on the ground.
Even if, a BIG “if”, there was any reason to take the man in, given the number of police in the room, and the fact that the man had just been injured, and the fact that there wasn’t a hint of a threat to the police or anyone else, and the fact that multiple police were present, use of the Taser should have been unthinkable.
Further, imagine this man was suicidal. Is this the type of brutality we should teach him to expect from those claiming to help him? If so, the mental health system will be indelibly associated with horrific brutality.
Listen to the screaming and think of what is happening to police who could do this. The existence of the supposedly “nonlethal” [despite hundreds of Taser-associated deaths] weapon that can cause such excruciating pain is further dehumanizing our police forces. If this can happen in a man’s home in Marin county [Marin county!], to a mother stopped for speeding as she’s driving her young kids, to a man asking a politician a difficult question, to a patron in a college library, it can happen anywhere, to anyone. We must remove these weapons of brutality from the police before Tasering becomes an accepted occurrence.
For some reason I am unable to embed the video. So watch it here.
September 3rd, 2010