The 2010 elections have changed the direction of government only half way through the primary season, with voter anger and economic jitters causing lawmakers to balk at their most basic duties as well as key elements of President Barack Obama's agenda.Read more
“Truth to Power!”
Since: Apr 07
#22 Jun 8, 2010
Obama’s $13 Trillion Debt Poised to Overtake GDP: Chart of Day
By Garfield Reynolds and Wes Goodman
June 4 (Bloomberg)-- President Barack Obama is poised to increase the U.S. debt to a level that exceeds the value of the nation’s annual economic output, a step toward what Bill Gross called a “debt super cycle.”
The CHART OF THE DAY tracks U.S. gross domestic product and the government’s total debt, which rose past $13 trillion for the first time this month. The amount owed will surpass GDP in 2012, based on forecasts by the International Monetary Fund. The lower panel shows U.S. annual GDP growth as tracked by the IMF, which projects the world’s largest economy to expand at a slower pace than the 3.2 percent average during the past five decades.
“Over the long term, interest rates on government debt will likely have to rise to attract investors,” said Hiroki Shimazu, a market economist in Tokyo at Nikko Cordial Securities Inc., a unit of Japan’s third-largest publicly traded bank.“That will be a big burden on the government and the people.”
IMPEACH THE MAGGOT!
#23 Jun 15, 2010
When Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk says he repeatedly deployed to Afghanistan with the Navy, he's referring to two-week training missions as part of his annual reservist requirements.
After acknowledging a series of misstatements that embellished his Navy service, Kirk is being challenged over his use of the military term "deployment," and this could be yet another opportunity for critics to parse his words in what has recently become a resume-bashing battle with Democratic Senate opponent Alexi Giannoulias.
Deployment can mean more than one thing in the military, but it is often used to describe service members going off to war for an extended time.
Navy Cmdr. Danny Hernandez said there is a difference between annual training and being deployed, which can sometimes last more than a year.
"I would think that would be (considered) two weeks of annual training," Hernandez, a Navy spokesman, said of Kirk's stints. "A deployment is a deployment and annual training is annual training."
Officials with Kirk's campaign said the five-term North Shore congressman and commander with the Navy Reserve was accurate because deployment encompasses any relocation of forces.
"Congressman Kirk was proud to deploy to Afghanistan in 2008 and 2009 on military orders issued by the United States Navy," said Kirk spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski.
Kirk's recent stumbles over his military record — and his attempts to put the focus back on Giannoulias' own resume issues — have dominated the high-profile race to fill the seat once held by President Barack Obama.
Kirk's campaign tried to even the score by pointing out Giannoulias had stated on a campaign Web site resume that he was a director of a little-known banking association when, in fact, he sat on a committee for the group. The shot also was an attempt by Kirk to remind voters of the biggest political baggage for state Treasurer Giannoulias, whose family-owned Broadway Bank was taken over by federal regulators and once made $20 million in loans to a pair of convicted felons.
The Giannoulias campaign admitted the error and changed the Web site. "It doesn't rise to the same level of what Kirk did," Giannoulias spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said.
Kirk has been hammered by Democrats after acknowledging he misstated his Navy record, including that he served in the Gulf War, that he once commanded the Pentagon war room and that he came under fire while flying intelligence missions over Iraq.
Last week, he was hit again after publication of a Defense Department document that suggested he had engaged in "partisan political activities" during his last two tours of duty.
The wording was part of a waiver written last year that Kirk needed in order to serve in Afghanistan. Politicians — particularly members of Congress — are not allowed to serve in imminent danger areas unless the Department of Defense specifically allows it.
Kirk insisted he never conducted any political activities while he was in Afghanistan. "Congressman Kirk never violated Defense Department policies," his campaign said in a statement. "The memorandum in question is simply off the mark."
Asked to explain the wording, a Defense Department spokeswoman said Friday the Pentagon was still examining the topic and couldn't comment.
Kirk's campaign also pointed to the congressman's fitness reports, in which supervisors praised his work in Afghanistan.
#24 Jun 15, 2010
Sharron Angle Goes After the VA!
THE ANGLE FOLLIES, CONT'D.... Sharron Angle, the strikingly ridiculous Senate candidate in Nevada, is already on record demanding the elimination of two cabinet agencies -- the Departments of Education and Energy. It looks like we can now add a third to the list.
Here's the Nevada Republican talking to a local NPR affiliate last month, talking about her desire to privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs.
ANGLE: He's 87 years old and has Parkinson's and we have to pay more and more for his health care. I know he pays over $800 a month in prescription drugs that we can't get through his VA nor through Medicare -- they just won't cover those things. And I know lots of seniors --
BECKER: Should they cover those things?
ANGLE: No, not if you're working towards a privatized system. And he can pay for them. That's my whole point.
As Greg Sargent explained, "It isn't entirely clear what Angle's overarching policy prescription is here. She says it's proper that the VA isn't covering her father's prescription drugs 'if' we 'are working towards a privatized system.' It's hard to read that as anything but an endorsement of the idea."
For good measure, it's also worth noting that in the same interview, Angle also argued, "The idea of privatizing and getting out of Medicare and Social Security is not up for grabs."
In other words, she not only wants to eliminate these bedrocks of American society, Angle considers the matter non-negotiable.
And before we go, let's also note that Angle condemned Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) yesterday, saying he "has pretty much waterboarded our economy for the last year and a half."
Substantively, that's obviously ridiculous -- Reid backed the recovery effort that rescued the economy from a tailspin -- but simply as a matter of rhetoric, aren't Republicans supposed to like waterboarding?
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