Tag Archives: obama

The Man who said “Nay” and more stories/columns on the “fiscal cliff” debacle

I’m disappointed in President Obama/Democrats re: fiscal cliff. It was supposed to be: Raise taxes on a person who makes $150,000 + a year – that’s what our prez said a few years ago. Then it went up to $250,000. Yesterday it was settled: Now it is don’t raise taxes on anyone unless they make  …. $450,000+  a year.  Insane! Where is Obama’s backbone? … And as far as Medicare goes, YES, I think we need to start cutting back in terms of benefits for folks making more than, say, $110,000 a year. We shouldn’t raise the age that folks are eligible to receive social security but if you are super wealthy, your benefits should be cut. You don’t need the dough. We DO need to look at the Great Society programs, etc. and start cutting back for the wealthy.  …  My list goes on … . Some stories/columns on the issues.  – R. Tirella

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

The Man who said “Nay”
Published: January 02, 2013


Michael Bennet was supposed to be going off a cliff in Vail.

But instead of his usual New Year’s trip to a ski lodge with his wife and three daughters, the junior senator from Colorado found himself in a strange, unfamiliar place in the middle of the night: breaking with the president and his party to become one of only three Democratic senators and eight senators total to vote against President Obama’s fiscal deal.

“I was a little surprised that the margin of the vote was so big,” said a weary Senator Bennet, who seemed a bit taken aback to be such an outlier. He was munching on a late-afternoon cheese steak sandwich at “George’s, King of Falafel and Cheese Steaks.” (The senator loves falafel, which his girls call “feel awful.”)

“I almost ordered extra cheese,” he said sheepishly, “but I would have been embarrassed.”

Long before Bennet came to work in the “land of flickering lights,” as he mockingly calls the dysfunctional nation’s capital where he grew up, Frank Capra dreamed him up. In a Congress that has become opéra bouffe, Bennet is the freckled blond choir boy singing a cappella. The 48-year-old senator looks like the Yale law student he once was, wearing a Jos. A. Bank plaid shirt, gray sweater and khakis. “These are the only clothes I have in Washington that’s not a suit,” he grins.

As Katherine Boo wrote in The New Yorker, back when Bennet was the crusading Denver schools superintendent, his open face and amiable manner “only partly masked the intensity and severity of his judgments.” He was, Boo wrote, “an overachiever. He liked to announce improbable goals, then defy expectations of failure.”

Voting to let the country fall off the cliff was an audacious, even precocious, move by the Democratic golden boy and presidential pet – one that, oddly, put him on the side of Marco Rubio and Rand Paul rather than Obama and Joe Biden. “It is an interesting group,” he deadpanned about the naysayers.

He also had to go against Majority Leader Harry Reid, who anointed the freshman to be the new leader of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. …

to read more, click on link below:



David Brooks

Josh Haner/The New York Times David Brooks

Another Fiscal Flop
Published: January 01, 2013

Over the course of the 20th century, America built its welfare state. It was, by and large, a great achievement, expanding opportunity and security for millions. Unfortunately, as the population aged and health care costs surged, it became unaffordable.

Public debt as a percentage of gross domestic product was around 38 percent in 1965. It is around 74 percent now. Debt could approach a ruinous 90 percent of G.D.P. in a decade and a cataclysmic 247 percent of G.D.P. 30 years from now, according to the Congressional Budget Office and JPMorgan.

By 2025, entitlement spending and debt payments are projected to suck up all federal revenue. Obligations to the elderly are already squeezing programs for the young and the needy. Those obligations will lead to gigantic living standard declines for future generations. According to the International Monetary Fund, meeting America’s long-term obligations will require an immediate and permanent 35 percent increase in all taxes and a 35 percent cut in all benefits.

So except for a few rabid debt-deniers, almost everybody agrees we have to do something fundamental to preserve these programs. The problem is that politicians have never found a politically possible way to begin. Every time they tried to reduce debt, they ended up borrowing more and making everything worse.

So Congress and President Obama set up the “fiscal cliff,” an artificial disaster scenario that would force them to do the right thing. Obviously, the fiscal cliff negotiations were not going to lead toward the deep structural reforms that will eventually be needed. But they could have begun the reform process.

They could have shown the world that the two parties can work together to avert the eventual calamity. They could have produced a balanced program that would have combined spending cuts and targeted tax increases. They could have reduced Medicare spending on the rich to free up more money for young families.

President Obama and Speaker John Boehner both earnestly wanted to achieve these things. But the deal we are heading toward is discouraging. Yes, the deal does raise $600 billion in revenue over 10 years from a tiny sliver of the population (compared with the $8 trillion in new debt likely to be accrued over that time).

But the proposal is not a balance of taxes and spending cuts. It doesn’t involve a single hard decision. It does little to control spending. It abandons all of the entitlement reform ideas that have been thrown around. It locks in low tax rates on families making less than around $450,000; it is simply impossible to avert catastrophe unless tax increases go below that line.

Far from laying the groundwork for future cooperation, it sentences the country to another few years of budget trench warfare. There will be a fight over drastic spending cuts known as sequestration, then over the debt limit and on and on. …

to read more, click on link below:

Lines of Resistance on Fiscal Deal
By Jonathan Weisman
Published: January 1, 2013

— Just a few years ago, the tax deal pushed through Congress on Tuesday would have been a Republican fiscal fantasy, a sweeping bill that locks in virtually all of the Bush-era tax cuts, exempts almost all estates from taxation, and enshrines the former president’s credo that dividends and capital gains should be taxed equally and gently.

But times have changed, President George W. Bush is gone, and before the bill’s final passage late Tuesday, House Republican leaders struggled all day to quell a revolt among caucus members who threatened to blow up a hard-fought compromise that they could have easily framed as a victory. Many House Republicans seemed determined to put themselves in a position to be blamed for sending the nation’s economy into a potential tailspin under the weight of automatic tax increases and spending cuts.

The latest internal party struggle on Capitol Hill surprised even Senate Republicans, who had voted overwhelmingly for a deal largely hashed out by their leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. The bill passed the Senate, 89 to 8, at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, with only 5 of the chamber’s 47 Republicans voting no.

Twenty-one hours later, the same measure was opposed by 151 of the 236 Republicans voting in the House. It was further proof that House Republicans are a new breed, less enamored of tax cuts per se than they are driven to shrink government through steep spending cuts. Protecting nearly 99 percent of the nation’s households from an income tax increase was not enough if taxes rose on some and government spending was untouched. …

to read more, click on link below:

We thank the Occupy Movement …

… for opening the country’s eyes … for changing the political discourse (made a big difference election time!) … for advocating for the poor, the dispossessed, the average guy/gal, the working class bloke/blokette, the middle class … . For showing the world the USA is more liberal, more multi-voiced, much more INTERESTING than Romney and the Republicans want to admit. … Love this Shepard Fairey … R. Tirella


Shepard Fairey images: The Protester

The work of Shepard Fairey

The Protester (2011)

“I really identified with the Occupy movement when it began. So when Time magazine came to me at the end of 2011 and said: ‘We’d like you to do our Person of the Year cover, which is about The Protester,’ I only really wanted to do that if I could make as much about Occupy as possible. They sent me a lot of reference images and this photograph of [Occupy LA protester] Sarah Mason was really powerful.” – Shepard Fairey

We also love these silk screens. This guy is political – a street artist.  Spread his messages around. Maybe make some cool holiday cards …   R. Tirella:



Clues could come early in state-by-state battle

The most expensive presidential race in American history now becomes the biggest show on television, a night with enough uncertainty that it could become a telethon lasting well into morning.

For the third time in the last four presidential campaigns, the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees went into Election Day close in the national polls, with not one of the major opinion surveys giving President Obama or Mitt Romney a lead of statistical significance.

But presidential races are decided in the states, and the nation will get an answer to the opposing cases for victory that each candidate has made for so many months. It will finally know, as one of Mr. Obama’s top aides has put it, “which side is bluffing” and whether battleground-state polls, which have given Mr. Obama a slim but consistent edge where it matters most, accurately foretold the outcome. As the night unfolds, clues to the outcome will spill out well before the votes are counted.

If exit polling indicates that Mr. Romney is substantially exceeding the share of the white vote that went to Senator John McCain four years ago, that will be a sign that he is replicating the coalition that gave President George W. Bush a second term. If Mr. Obama can win Virginia, a battleground with an early poll-closing time, Mr. Romney’s options for getting an Electoral College majority will be substantially reduced. And in Ohio, the vote in Hamilton County, which Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush both won, could signal who takes the state. … .

To read more, please click on the link below. – R.T.:



Letter to a Non-Voter

By Michael Moore, filmmaker

To my friend who is not voting tomorrow:

I get it – and I don’t blame you. You’re fed up and you could care less whether Tweedledee or Tweedledumber wins on Tuesday – because on Wednesday, your life will be the same, unchanged, regardless who is president. Your mortgage will still be underwater. You will still owe $50,000 on your student loan. Your son will still be in Afghanistan. Your daughter will still be working two jobs to make ends meet. And gas will still be at $4.

Four years ago you gave in and voted – and you voted for Obama. You wanted to believe he would go after the Wall Street crooks who crashed the economy – but instead the banks that were “too big to fail” four years ago are now even bigger and more dangerous. You thought there’d be universal health care – but the new law only went so far (with most of it not taking effect until 2014). You were tired of war and homeland security measures that violated our civil liberties – but we’re still in Afghanistan, we’re sending in drones to Pakistan and basic constitutional rights to privacy and a fair trial have been ignored. And you thought you’d have a middle-class, good-paying job like your dad had – but you didn’t know that Goldman Sachs was Obama’s #1 private campaign donor in 2008, and well, he was beholden to corporate America in more ways we cared to think about. 

So, I get it why you’ve had it with all these politicians and elections. In the end, it doesn’t really seem to be our country any more. It’s run by those who can buy the most politicians to do their bidding. Our schools are made a low priority and women are still having to fight for just the basic human rights we thought they already had.

So, it’s hard for me to ask you for this very personal favor. It’s OK if you say “no,” but I’m hoping you don’t.

I cannot believe it is possible that, after a group of rich plutocrats wrecked the economy, threw people out of work and stole our future, we may actually hand the keys to our country over to…a rich Republican plutocrat who made millions by throwing people out of work! This is insane, and despite all the legitimate criticisms of Obama, he is nothing like the tsunami of hate and corporate thievery that will take place if Mitt Romney is president. As bad as it feels now, it will only get worse. I need your help to stop this.

I can’t promise you that your life will get better, easier under Barack Obama. I do think he cares and I know for sure that if the other guy is sitting in the Oval Office, I can guarantee you that not only will your life not get better, it will get much, much worse. Don’t take my word for it. Just ask your parents what life was like before a 30-year pillage by the Republicans of the middle class. Your parents bought a house and eventually owned it outright. They weren’t in debt. College was free. They bought a new car every 3 or 4 years. They took vacations and were home for dinner by 5 or 6 PM. They had a savings account in the bank. They didn’t live in fear of not knowing if they’d even have a job next year. 

That’s all gone. I don’t know if we can get it back, but I do know that Mr. Romney would love the chance to complete the final elimination of the middle class and the American Dream. 

He must be stopped. Take 20 minutes on Tuesday and go vote. If you don’t want to do it for your country, then do it for me! It’s the only favor I’ll ever ask of you.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I know that you care, and care deeply, about your future and your kids’ future. You have every right to be cynical about all this. And you hold the power to stop the bastards who plan on squeezing every last dime out of you that they can. Take a stand. And make a statement to those who are hoping against hope that you’ll stay home on Tuesday. Your presence at the polls is what they fear most.

Go scare the s**t out of them! For me.

Culture art and design Beyond Obama’s Hope: the work of Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey images: Love is the Drug

Shepard Fairey images: You Don’t Need a Weatherman

From The Guardian: “The artist who created the iconic 2008 poster of the US president talks us through that and other key works. Shepard Fairey’s exhibition, Sound & Vision, is showing at The Old Truman Brewery, London, from 19 October – 4 November 2012″

To see other posters by Shepard Fairey,  click on the link below  R. T. :



Is the T & G’s opinion page writer/editor – Chris Sinacola – a right-wing toadie?

By Rosalie Tirella

That’s what I asked myself a week or so ago when I saw turned to the Telegram and Gazette’s Op/Ed page and saw the paper’s editorial on Prsident Obama’s trek to Indonesia, etc. It seems Sinacola got his “facts” straight from the Drudge Report and Fox News’s Glenn Beck! He wrote that the president’s trip would cost millions and millions of dollars – a day. He, like Bill O’Reilly, Hannity, Rush and all the other Obama-haters/Tea Baggers went wild with this misinformation. It was all over cable, radio and tv – and apparently the Telegram and Gazette’s editorial page. This is why so many Americans think our president wasn’t born in this country and is not a Christian. The Indonesial trip was just another way for the Obama haters to NOT validate his presidency.

If Sinacola hadn’t ridden on the right wing band wagon and done his homework, he would have learned the president’s trip cost millions of dollars less – roughly the same amount of money spent on any US president for a similar trip abroad. Continue reading Is the T & G’s opinion page writer/editor – Chris Sinacola – a right-wing toadie?

US foreign policy under Bush/Obama: what’s wrong with this partnership?

By Mike True

Daily cartoons in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette ridicule President Obama, making no distinction between the success of his domestic policies and the failure of his foreign policies.

Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, vote NO on any Obama initiative, even when it helps to revive the economy and improve health care. They seem unwilling to concern themselves with governance. In their lust to return to power, they seem to care less about Americans victimized by a depression.

Ironically, after voting against economic aid to unemployed citizens, Republicans then approved billions of dollars in military aid to Pakistan. Does it matter to Congress that 60% of Pakistanis regard the U.S. as their enemy and that a significant portion of that aid ends up in the hands of insurgents in Afghanistan? Why do we continue to send our young men and women to die and to kill in such circumstances?

On matters of foreign policy, however, Democrats and Republicans mostly agree. Both of them appear satisfied with Obama’s abuse of executive authority, represented by his commitment to another failed policy, this time in Afghanistan. Continue reading US foreign policy under Bush/Obama: what’s wrong with this partnership?

Stupid, stupid Tea Baggers and our trough of stupidity

By Jack Hoffman

Not so long ago when the country and Congress were debating the health care bill InCity Times little TV group (Straight Talk on TV 13) was getting ready to tape our weekly show.

What angered me so much during that show was the stupidity vis a vis the new Health Care Reform bill that was being expressed by the opposition. I doubt if anyone doing the yelling ever took the time to read just a little of the bill. I doubt if many of the folks in Congress did, too. Oops! Sorry! They have congressional aides for that.

So I said to ICT editor and publisher Rose [Tirella]: let’s talk about this stupidity.

She said: Jack, this will never go over in Worcester.

I’ll bet the folks up there might be a little embarrassed about just how stupid we really are so I’m letting it ride … . Continue reading Stupid, stupid Tea Baggers and our trough of stupidity

Senator, have you no shame?

By Jack Hoffman

It’s about the second week of September: It didn’t take long for the post convention Pailin balloon to begin loosing some air – Two interviews on ABC and Katy Couric and we now understand why the McCain campaign is keeping her away from the press. The polls are beginning to turn the Mc Cain convention bounce around almost 4- 5 points -Obama once again regains the lead.

Continue reading Senator, have you no shame?

Talk about flip flopping

By Jack Hoffman

Almost five years has past since Rose Tirella, the publisher and editor, first approached me with the proposition of doing a political column. Make no mistake I was excited about the challenge since the closest I came to an op-ed was several pieces I had done on local politics here in Framingham. But I wanted to be sure I would be working with those that espoused the same progressive politics that I had over the years. I wanted to work with a true alternative progressive paper.

Throughout the years Rose and I had some differences of opinion. We never disagreed on the progressive ideals of the Democratic Party. Rose was not so happy with my support for Obama. But she never put me in a corner, or chopped and channeled some of my more inflammatory columns.

I always believed Hillary would be a lot of baggage for the party. Something that was evident from the conservative haters of the airways and press who fought her at every campaign stop- it was a clear and present danger signal that her winning would be great fodder for the Republicans and the big enchilada that awaited the Democrats if she was the nominee. But more importantly she ran a poor campaignwith lots of harm from papa Bill. When Obama was sure to be the nominee she began to show me a side I could not believe. If it wasn’t the nasty press and that bastard Chris Mathews etc, “It was the liberals who out of guilt voted for a black person.” I sought of let that last comment sit for awhile. After all it’s not so easy to digest that kind of comment coming from someone who has always shown support for whoever the democratic candidate was. She even admitted she might consider McCain. I figured that was enough for the time being -I went back to my Apple.

Continue reading Talk about flip flopping