No Grand Bargain

Gaius Publius at AmericaBLOG is running a whip count on Social Security and Medicare cuts, and you can help. I suggest you do so, because it really sucks feeling depressed and helpless. You’re not, join the fight:

Get ready for the battle of 2013

So gear up, folks, and gird up as well. First fight, the lame duck itself, the last session of the old Congress before new members are sworn in. Sen. Sanders is leading this fight to make sure the bad deal doesn’t pass. Your help is needed:

  1. Sign Sen. Sanders petition at
  2. Call your senators and representatives. The phone numbers are here and here. Be polite but firm, seriously firm.
  3. Report your results to
  4. Watch the whipcount page for updates.

Then prepare to fight through the next six months. The good news is that we’re not only right, we have huge majorities of people behind us. In addition, if the Democrats do attempt this — driven by god-knows-what combination of Rubinesque wickedness and complicit Dem leadership (did someone mention Open Rebellion?) — they will likely write their party’s epitaph with it (scroll down to the Krugman comment). Obama will never again stand for election — his next job is to take million-dollar thank-you money for speeches and to tour the world in an endless victory lap — but most Democrats now in office will try to return.

My advice — tell them now, early and often, that cuts to the safety net are a bridge too far. Call them — again, the phone numbers are here and here.

Try this. Tell them you’re cancelling your vote for them — right now, this time, next week — if they don’t agree to the No Cuts plan. (It’s a secret, but I’ll tell you. What you actually do in the voting booth is your business, not theirs. If the threat is credible, you don’t have to pull the trigger if you don’t want to.)

Soften them up with a scare. Then call them again after November and keep it up.

Stay optimistic on this one

I’ll have more on this phase as it develops. You’re not alone; many good people are working to win this as well. Cuts to the safety net, tax cuts for the already-too-rich — the Grand Bargain really is a bridge too far. Stay optimistic; this one is winnable. Ultimately, only the hyper-rich (Our Betters) — and their eager enablers — are not on our side. We just have to learn to use our leverage. Time to learn that is now.

Class divide

This just makes me sick:

Stuck without power, many thousands of New York residents don’t just struggle to cook and preserve food — they can’t even buy it.

New Yorkers on the state’s food stamp program receive money for food necessities electronically, through Electronic Benefit Cards (EBTs). However, with Manhattan from 39th Street southward in power blackout along with parts of Brooklyn, most stores are only able to sell goods for cash. Power is expected to return by Saturday.

In a WNYC report (listen below) a resident of a Lower East Side public-housing complex in Manhattan explained, “The supermarkets don’t even really want to sell anything. They’re open but if you don’t have cash, you messed up. And everybody in these projects, they take EBT … food stamps.” [h/t Colorlines]

David Rhode wrote Thursday in the Atlantic that Sandy had further exposed the “hideous” inequality gap in New York City — which is currently the most economically divided it has been for 10 years. He noted, “Sandy humbled every one of the 19 million people in the New York City metropolitan area. But it humbled some more than others in an increasingly economically divided city … Those with a car could flee. Those with wealth could move into a hotel. Those with steady jobs could decline to come into work. But the city’s cooks, doormen, maintenance men, taxi drivers and maids left their loved ones at home.”

Bloomberg endorsement

Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed Barack Obama yesterday, influenced by his belief that the president is the candidate most likely to address the problems of global warming likely exemplified by Hurricane Sandy hitting New York City:

The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast — in lost lives, lost homes and lost business — brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief.

The floods and fires that swept through our city left a path of destruction that will require years of recovery and rebuilding work. And in the short term, our subway system remains partially shut down, and many city residents and businesses still have no power. In just 14 months, two hurricanes have forced us to evacuate neighborhoods — something our city government had never done before. If this is a trend, it is simply not sustainable.

Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week’s devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.

Here in New York, our comprehensive sustainability plan — PlaNYC — has helped allow us to cut our carbon footprint by 16 percent in just five years, which is the equivalent of eliminating the carbon footprint of a city twice the size of Seattle. Through the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group — a partnership among many of the world’s largest cities — local governments are taking action where national governments are not.

But we can’t do it alone. We need leadership from the White House — and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.

Mitt Romney, too, has a history of tackling climate change. As governor of Massachusetts, he signed on to a regional cap- and-trade plan designed to reduce carbon emissions 10 percent below 1990 levels. “The benefits (of that plan) will be long- lasting and enormous — benefits to our health, our economy, our quality of life, our very landscape. These are actions we can and must take now, if we are to have ‘no regrets’ when we transfer our temporary stewardship of this Earth to the next generation,” he wrote at the time.

He couldn’t have been more right. But since then, he has reversed course, abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported. This issue is too important. We need determined leadership at the national level to move the nation and the world forward.

I believe Mitt Romney is a good and decent man, and he would bring valuable business experience to the Oval Office. He understands that America was built on the promise of equal opportunity, not equal results. In the past he has also taken sensible positions on immigration, illegal guns, abortion rights and health care. But he has reversed course on all of them, and is even running against the health-care model he signed into law in Massachusetts.

He goes on to state his disappointment in Obama’s first term, but says that climate change is the deal breaker:

One sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.

Of course, neither candidate has specified what hard decisions he will make to get our economy back on track while also balancing the budget. But in the end, what matters most isn’t the shape of any particular proposal; it’s the work that must be done to bring members of Congress together to achieve bipartisan solutions.

Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan both found success while their parties were out of power in Congress — and President Obama can, too. If he listens to people on both sides of the aisle, and builds the trust of moderates, he can fulfill the hope he inspired four years ago and lead our country toward a better future for my children and yours. And that’s why I will be voting for him.

Defending Corbett

This will be a major issue in Corbett’s reelection campaign. I wonder if this guy is telling the truth?

A former agent with the state Attorney General’s office told The Patriot-News it was pure coincidence that police caught several breaks in the Jerry Sandusky case just as then-Attorney General Tom Corbett was elected governor.

Randy Feathers, who retired after Sandusky’s June conviction, supervised the AG’s side of the investigation.

The allegations that Corbett can’t seem to shake — that he let politics interfere with the pace of the case — are simply not true, Feathers said.

“Anyone who sat through that trial knows it was a thorough investigation,” he said. “I don’t care what it looks like. I know because I was there. There was no holding back.” 

It wasn’t until December 2010, more than two years after Victim 1 Aaron Fisher reported his abuse, that investigators unearthed the 1998 police report that was made at Penn State.

Two months before that, Mike McQueary had been interviewed about accusations he made in 2001.

Fisher met Sandusky through The Second Mile, not Penn State, but charity officials said they got their first subpoena for documents in January 2011.

That same month, Penn State coach Joe Paterno and administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz also testified.

“When you’re not getting breaks it doesn’t mean you’re not working,” Feathers said, adding that police had been looking for corroborating evidence up until that point.

Feathers also says he, not Corbett, made the decision to limit personnel on the case until January 2011.

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