|March 30, 2013||And The Beat Goes On...||3 comments|
|March 30, 2013||Caturday: Happy Easter Egg Edition!||2 comments|
|March 29, 2013||Escalation.||2 comments|
|March 23, 2013||Texas Mile!||no comments|
|March 22, 2013||Battleground Texas.||2 comments|
|March 17, 2013||The Boehner Admits It's All A Manufactured Crisis.||3 comments|
|March 16, 2013||Blah, Blah, Blah...||5 comments|
|March 16, 2013||St. Patty's Day Prep.||1 comments|
|March 16, 2013||Caturday: Spring Break Wrap-up.||no comments|
|March 10, 2013||GOP SOP SOS: Living In The Past.||1 comments|
SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un ordered preparations Friday for strategic rocket strikes on the US mainland and military bases after US stealth bombers flew training runs over South Korea.
The order came as US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, with tensions soaring on the Korean peninsula, said Washington would not be cowed by Pyongyang's bellicose threats and stood ready to respond to "any eventuality".
Kim directed his rocket units on standby at an overnight emergency meeting with top army commanders, hours after nuclear-capable US B-2 stealth bombers were deployed in ongoing US joint military drills with South Korea.
In the event of any "reckless" US provocation, North Korean forces should "mercilessly strike the US mainland... military bases in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea", he was quoted as saying by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
While North Korea has no proven ability to conduct such strikes, Kim argued that the stealth bomber flights went beyond a simple demonstration of force and amounted to a US "ultimatum that they will ignite a nuclear war at any cost".
The United States rarely acknowledges B-2 flights to the Korean peninsula, which remains technically at war. The aircraft, which dodge anti-aircraft defenses, bombed targets in conflicts in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
The flights came as part of annual drills between the United States and South Korea, which North Korea each year denounces as rehearsals for war.
Pyongyang has been particularly vocal this time, angered by UN sanctions imposed after its long-range rocket launch in December and the third nuclear test it carried out last month.
Kim's order formalized steps already taken by the Korean People's Army (KPA), which put its strategic rocket units at combat-ready status on Tuesday. The following day it cut the last remaining military hotline with South Korea.
The bulk of the threats emanating from Pyongyang have been dismissed as bluster, and North Korea has no confirmed missile capability to reach the US mainland -- or indeed Guam or Hawaii in the Pacific.
But Washington has opted to match the threats with its own muscle-flexing.
"We will be prepared -- we have to be prepared -- to deal with any eventuality," Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon.
"We must make clear that these provocations by the North are taken by us very seriously and we'll respond to that," Hagel said, defending the B-2 deployment.
US military intelligence has noted that the North's warlike rhetoric has not, so far, been matched by any overtly provocative troop movements or build-up.
Pyongyang has also been careful not to allow tensions to affect the Kaesong industrial complex, a joint South-North venture that provides the regime with crucial hard currency.
Present at the emergency meeting convened by Kim in Pyongyang, were the KPA chief of general staff, director of operations and commander of strategic rocket operations.
KCNA, which rarely even mentions which day events have taken place, provided an unusually precise timing for the meeting of 00:30 am (1530 GMT Thursday) in an apparent effort to underline the urgency and import of Kim's order.
But analysts warned against reading too much into what is the latest in a long series of incremental rhetorical upgrades.
"It shouldn't be taken to mean war is imminent," said Kim Yong-Hyun, a North Korea expert at Dongguk University.
"It's an inevitable and calibrated reaction to the B-2 deployment, and this who-blinks-first game with the United States will continue for a while yet," he said.
On the assumption that the North would never invite a full-scale conflict it would surely lose, experts believe it may opt for a limited provocation, similar to its 2010 shelling of a South Korean island that killed four people.
However, the stakes have been raised by a new pact South Korea signed with the US military last week, allowing it to call on US forces for a joint response to even a low-scale act of aggression.
By AFP -
My question: Is a balanced budget worth the risk of this madman getting ONE nuke off the ground?
It's official. Battleground Texas has launched, Deep in the Heart of Texas.
Yesterday evening in Austin, Jeremy Bird, Senior Advisor to Battleground Texas, gave an exciting and thorough look into what Battleground Texas is and what it hopes to accomplish.
"Texas isn't as red of a state as people say it is, if you look at the numbers," Bird started off, "...not by looking at the number of donors, not by looking at the number of volunteers who made some 400,000 calls to Florida in the last three days of the election, and not by looking at the 300 people who showed up yesterday in San Antonio."
There was standing room only at the kickoff in Austin last night. During the last several days of the 2012 presidential election, volunteers in the Austin area alone made around 125,000 dials to voters in Florida. Their hard work did not go unnoticed, and there is much more hard work to be done in Texas over the next several years that, hopefully, will also not go unnoticed.
According to Bird, Battleground Texas will be many things, but foremost it will be a "100% grassroots organization." It will be "digitally sophisticated" and use a message strategy working with partners across the state. He also noted that Battleground Texas is not a national organization, and that the money raised here will be spent right here in Texas.
In terms of being digitally sophisticated he went on to explain that they will be tracking everything they do with analytics to be "stewards of your money." Essentially they will be able to see what is working and what isn't, and where things are working and where they need improvement. This kind of sophisticated data, combined with the professional 'donor etiquette' in a campaign is nothing short of a dream come true for organizers, donors, fundraisers, and basically anyone who has ever worked in Democratic politics.
There were many questions regarding the inclusion of all the different types of Democratic groups and the nature of the involvement of these groups. The responses from both Jeremy Bird and Jenn Brown, former Field Director of Ohio for the Obama Campaign and current Executive Director of Battleground Texas, were confidently and consistently answering "yes" to every question of inclusion, even mentioning the great meetings they've had already with big time organizations such as the Texas Democratic Party, and Annie's List.
There was also a strong emphasis on training, with the understanding that if you want to do things correctly, the investment must be made in training everyone. Bird, as he has clarified in almost every notable appearance, qualified that there is much work to be done, and it will not happen overnight:
"The hardest thing to do in politics, I think, is to take people who think that their voice doesn't matter, and show them that it does."
When referencing Rick Perry's "pipe dream" comment, Bird said that Perry "is not discounting me, but he is discounting you," the people of Texas, and it's time that he and all the other Republican leaders are finally held accountable to the people of Texas. Bird's efforts and intentions are obvious. This movement is about us: the people who believe they haven't been heard from or represented fairly in Texas over the past 20 years.
Bird finished up noting that Republicans "want us to be afraid" and are quick to discount this effort, to which Bird declared, "I love that."
Clearly Jeremy Bird (not unlike like Texas Democrats) is no stranger naysaying critics. If Democrats can work hard, and together as a team, turning Texas Blue will be a probable possibility. We'll win some, we'll lose some, but it's going to be a game of the long season, no matter what.
One thing is sure. Battleground Texas has come out swinging, and Republicans have not let that go unnoticed. Game on.
By Chaille Jolink -
On ABC’s This Week, Speaker John Boehner admitted that there is no immediate debt crisis, but in the next breath argued that the country should gut Medicare and Social Security anyway.
Transcript from ABC News:
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA VIDEO: We’ve already cut– $2.5– $2.7 trillion out of the deficit. If the sequester stays in, you’ve got over $3.5 trillion of deficit reduction already. And, so, we don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt. In fact, for the next ten years, it’s gonna be in a sustainable place.
MARTHA RADDATZ: Is he right that we don’t have an immediate crisis?
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: We do not have an immediate debt crisis. But we all know that we have one looming. And we have– one looming– because we have entitlement programs that are not sustainable in their current form. They’re gonna go bankrupt. Washington has responsibility– to our seniors and our near seniors– that we firm up these programs so that they’re there for the long term. Because if we don’t do it, not only will they not get benefits, we will have a debt crisis right around the corner. We have time to solve our problems. But we need to do it now.
MARTHA RADDATZ: H– how long do we have to solve our problems?
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: Nobody knows where this is. It could be a year or two years, three years, four years. The– it’s not an immediate problem. But we can all–
MARTHA RADDATZ: So, you agree with the president on that?
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: The Amer– yes. But his point, as he went on to say in that interview, is that we don’t– we don’t really need to do anything at this point. And I would argue that we do need to do something.
The Speaker claimed that nobody knows how long we have to deal with the debt, but this was a total lie. Social Security will be solvent until 2033, and the Republican claim that Medicare is going bankrupt is an epic exaggeration. The Medicare hospital trust fund is expected to be exhausted by 2024, but this is nothing new. As FactCheck.org pointed out, “In 1980, insolvency was expected in 1994. In 1990, the exhaustion date was 2003. But those dates have been pushed back mainly by repeated tax increases.”
If there is no immediate crisis, why are Republicans so hellbent on cutting Social Security and Medicare? The answer is ideology. Republicans have hated Social Security and Medicare from the day they each became law. The ginned up fake immediate debt crisis as championed most loudly by Paul Ryan is the latest cover story for the right wing war on the social safety net.
By Jason Easley -
From The Hill -
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Sunday said he will not back down from the battle to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act even though some Republicans think the party should move on.
Ryan dismissed criticism that House Republicans have virtually no chance of dismantling the signature legislative accomplishment of Obama’s first term and their efforts might be better expended elsewhere.
He said his budget assumes the repeal of the healthcare law, in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
When host Chris Wallace challenged him on that assumption, Ryan said he would not give up the fight.
“That’s not going to happen,” said Wallace.
“We believe it should,” Ryan shot back. “That’s the point. This is what budgeting is all about. It’s about making tough choices to fix our country’s problems. We believe ‘ObamaCare’ is a program that will not work.
“We believe ObamaCare will actually lead to hospitals and doctors and healthcare providers turning people away,” he said.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) suggested shortly after Election Day that the political calculus had changed on repealing the controversial law, which fired up conservatives in the 2010 midterm election.
“Well, I think the election changes that,” Boehner told ABC News’s Diane Sawyer when asked whether Republicans would still pursue repealing the law.
“It’s pretty clear that the president was reelected, Obamacare is the law of the land. I think there are parts of the healthcare law that are going to be very difficult to implement and very expensive,” he said.
Ryan, however, said he would accept the year-end fiscal deal that raised $620 billion in tax increases compared to 2012 policy but made most of the Bush-era tax rates permanent.
“We don’t want to refight the fiscal cliff. That’s current law. That’s not going to change,” he said.
Ryan said his budget would cut spending by about $5 trillion over the next 10 years.
He said his plan would slow spending growth to 3.4 percent per year, down from its current trajectory of 4.9 percent per year.
“Instead of spending $46 trillion over the next ten years, we’ll spend $41 trillion,” he said.
By Alexander Bolton -