Fuck the elites

So Pete Peterson-surrogate David Walker is pushing a new deficit plan, I guess because people are connecting the dots about Simpson Bowles. Check out the insight into how the Very Serious People think:

To most Democrats’ chagrin, Walker’s group wants to block-grant Medicaid, repeal and scale back parts of the Affordable Care Act, and raise taxes on Americans who are above the poverty live but pay no federal income taxes, as it outlined in a 2011 fiscal reform plan.

“There are a lot of people well above the poverty rate who aren’t paying income tax,” says Walker, the former Comptroller General who previously ran Pete Peterson’s foundation. He acknowledges that the tax change won’t be a big money saver. “That’s not going to generate a lot of money, but we’ve got to have more people have a stake in government finance,” he explains, adding that the framework would hold middle-class taxpayers harmless.

Punitive taxation! The man is a genteel monster.

We’ve seen this kind of “gentle” character guidance from our betters again and again. These are the same geniuses who decided people were being wasteful with their medical benefits, and instituted significant co-pays that did exactly what they wanted: kept sick people from going to the doctor’s. It worked so well that people were getting seriously ill, because they delayed seeing a doctor until their condition was serious. Progress!

God, I hate these people.

Quote of the day

David Sirota:

After months on a conservative station, I’ve concluded there arent more liberals/independents in such venues mainly because it is a withering psychological assault. Hearing the intense hate & vitriol from callers everyday can undermine one’s faith in humanity – and that’s a major occupational hazard that many choose to avoid. I’m not complaining, of course – but I’ve found a deeper understanding of why our media is the way it is. I will also add any reporter/activist who hasn’t listened to local talk radio in the heartland simply cannot appreciate the strain of hate that’s now pervasive in America.

Virtually Speaking Science

Virtually Speaking Science – Live 4pm pacific – 7pm eastern

Science Writer and author Jennifer Ouellette welcomes Annie Murphy Paul, author ofThe Cult of Personality Testing(why the Myers Briggs and similar tests are little more than modern horoscopes), and Origins, the latter about how processes happening while we’re still in the womb can shape who we become, inspired by her own experience as an expectant mother.

Jen says Annie’s newest – ‘BRILLIANT: The Science of Smart’ – is about how we learn, and the implications of the latest cognitive research for education and child-rearing. They will likely chat about all of those things…’

Follow @anniemurphypaul @JenLucPiquant


Listen live or later: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/virtually-speaking-science/2012/10/10/jennifer-ouellette-annie-murphy





Via Avedon, some bizarre news:

CHICAGO (CBS) — The President of the South Suburban Branch of the NAACP alleges a director of the re-election campaign of Barack Obama has threatened and intimidated him because he doesn’t support the president.

WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser has the exclusive story.

David Lowery says he believes he was threatened during a phone conversation with Louis Raymond, the Illinois political director for Obama for America.

Lowery says he doesn’t personally support the president because he’s not addressing issues important to the black community. He said he was explaining that to Raymond when the Obama campaign official told him, “You know what? I know everything about you.”

Lowery says Raymond added, “We’ve been watching you, and since you don’t support Obama, we’ll deal with you,” before hanging up.

Lowery filed a report with the Oak Forest police report, he says, “in case something happens.”

He says it was suggested the NAACP should automatically back the president. Lowery notes a non-profit cannot support a particular candidate.

He says it’s a clear signal the Obama campaign is concerned about the black vote.

Lowery hosts an internet radio program called “Let the Truth Be Told,” where he’s made no secret of his displeasure with the president.


Alex Karras, 77:

Karras played for the Lions from 1958 to 1970 and was suffering from several illnesses, including dementia, over the last two years. He is one of 3,500 NFL players suing the league over its treatment of head injuries.

Following his NFL career, Karras went Hollywood, starring in Mel Brooks’ 1974 classic Blazing Saddles. In addition to other appearances on TV and in film, Karras starred in the ‘80s series Webster.

The tweaker

Dean Baker:

When President Obama links arms with Romney on Social Security, it is not good news for supporters of the program. Nor was the situation made better by the desire to “tweak” the system.

In Washington, tweak is a code word used by people who want to cut Social Security but lack the courage to say it explicitly. For example, their favorite “tweak” is changing the cost of living adjustment formula in a way that reduces retirees’ benefits by 0.3 percentage points annually. This would add up to a 3 percent cut in benefits after 10 years, a 6 percent cut after 20 years and a 9 percent cut after 30 years.

In other words, this tweak is real money, especially for the oldest beneficiaries who also tend to be the poorest. In fact, this tweak of Social Security is likely to have more impact on the income of most retirees than taking back President Bush’s tax cut on the wealthy would have on their income. The other items that are usually part of the tweak package are phasing in a further increase in the age for getting full benefits (beyond the increase to age 67 which is already in current law) and a reduced benefit formula for workers who earned more than $40,000 a year in their working lifetime.

The public has every reason to be furious at President Obama for suggesting that he would cut Social Security. We know that the retirees and near-retirees are not wealthy as a group. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that the typical elderly household had net wealth of just over $170,000. This is slightly less than the median house price of $180,000.

That means that if the typical household headed by someone over age 65 took all of their money, they would have almost enough to pay off the mortgage on their house. They would then be entirely dependent on their Social Security check, which averages $1,200 a month, for their income. And President Obama wants to cut these people’s Social Security.

The situation is especially infuriating because the poor state of the finances of retirees and near retirees is largely the fault of the people in both the Obama and Romney camps who steered the economy into a huge ditch. In the 90s, they thought the stock bubble was cool and in the last decade they thought the housing bubble was the way to boost growth.

As a result, many middle class retirees and near-retirees saw much of their savings disappear when the stock bubble burst in 2000-2002. They took another hit when the markets crashed again at the start of the last recession. And many saw the equity in their home vanish when the housing bubble burst. In addition, recent spells of unemployment has forced many older workers to dip into their retirement savings. In other words, people who took the advice of the experts and tried to do the right thing got nailed.

The government has also badly failed workers in pushing them to rely on 401(k)s for retirement instead of traditional pensions. These tax subsidized accounts can easily siphon off more than one third of annual returns as administrative expenses. While this allows the financial industry to pocket tens of millions annually from these accounts, few workers are able accumulate substantial savings by the time they reach retirement.

Given all the harm that economic policy has done to the current generation of retirees and near-retirees, it is incredible that President Obama would tell us that we have no choice; we have to vote for someone wants to kick them in the face yet again.

Trojan attack warning

Update your browsers!

An international gang of cyber crooks is plotting a major campaign to steal money from the online accounts of thousands of consumers at 30 or more major US banks, security firm RSA warned.

In an advisory Thursday, RSA said it has information suggesting the gang plans to unleash a little-known Trojan program to infiltrate computers belonging to US banking customers and to use the hijacked machines to initiate fraudulent wire transfers from their accounts.

If successful, the effort could turn out to be one of the largest organized banking-Trojan operations to date, Mor Ahuvia, cybercrime communications specialist with RSA’s FraudAction team, said today. The gang is now recruiting about 100 botmasters, each of whom would be responsible for carrying out Trojan attacks against US banking customers in return for a share of the loot, she said.

[…] The latest discussion suggests that they now have individual consumer accounts in their crosshairs, Ahuvia said, warning that the gang plans to attempt to infiltrate computers in the US with a little known Trojan malware program called Gozi Prinimalka.

The malware is an updated version of a much older banking Trojan, Gozi, which was used by cyber criminals to steal millions of dollars from US banks. The group’s plan apparently is to plant the Trojan program on numerous websites and to infect computers when users visit those sites.

The Trojan is triggered when the user of an infected computer types out certain words — such as the name of a specific bank — into a URL string.

Unlike the original Gozi, the new version is capable not only of communicating with a central command-and-control server but also of duplicating the victim’s PC settings. The Trojan essentially supports a virtual machine cloning feature that can duplicate the infected PC’s screen resolutions, cookies, time zone, browser type and version and other settings. That allow the attacker to access a victim’s bank website using a computer that appears to have the infected PC’s real IP address and other settings, Ahuvia said.

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