In a zero-sum contest, that’s good enough. But the problem for President Obama’s re-election campaign is that he needs to run against Perry/Romney/Bachmann not Boehner/McConnell.
Those cuts are below the $400 billion over ten years that President Obama called for back in November, but additional defense cuts are among the so-called “triggers” that may happen automatically if Congress cannot agree on an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by the end of the year.
In a letter, Panetta warned that if a Congressional super committee could not agree on cuts to the nation’s deficit, “it could trigger a round of dangerous across-the-board defense cuts that would do real damage to our security, our troops and their families, and our ability to protect the nation.” Defense cuts are viewed as one of the few concessions to Democrats in the deal.
Panetta followed up his letter with a briefing to reporters this afternoon. Sitting next to Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Panetta called the spending triggers a “doomsday mechanism” and said deeper defense contained in the triggers cuts are “completely unacceptable to me as Secretary of Defense, the President, and to our nation’s leaders.” Watch it:
When asked if he would resign in protest if additional cuts to the defense budget occurred, Panetta answered, “I didn’t come into this job to quit, I came into this job to fight.” In his fight to keep military spending at record levels, Panetta is joined by powerful defense sector lobbyists, who are already rallying to protect their enormous 20 percent share of the federal budget. Defense spending has doubled over the past ten years.
Ironically, when Panetta was first tapped by Obama to replace outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates, several publications confidently predicted his appointment signalled major defense cuts were in the works. But Panetta is quickly proving his allegiance to preserving the military establishment. Democrats may worry that Panetta, who claimed to be speaking for President Obama as well, is giving away a key bargaining chip in the upcoming deficit battle with Republicans, who are trying to protect defense pork.
– Hottest month ever (July)
– Hottest July ever, average temperature 87.2°F (previous record 86.5°F in 1998)
– Hottest June ever (fifth hottest month ever), average temperature 85.2°F
– Least year-to-date precipitation, 6.53 inches (historical average 16.03 inches; previous record 9.36 inches in 1917)
– Driest consecutive 8, 9, and 10 months, 7.25 inches 8.35 inches, and 9.17 inches respectively
– Driest 12 months ending in July, 15.16 inches (previous record 16.46 inches in 1925)
– 99.93 percent of the state is in some level of drought
– 73.49 percent of the state is in exceptional drought
“These statistics rank the current drought as the most severe one-year drought ever for Texas,” Nielsen-Gammon explains. “Never before has so little rain been recorded prior to and during the primary growing season for crops, plants and warm-season grasses.”
In coming years, the climate is expected to worsen for Texas, in large part because of the fossilized carbon extracted from underneath the now-dying land. “Triple-digit temperatures will be the norm in Texas within a few decades, and 115-degree heat won’t be surprising,” Nielsen-Gammon warned last year.
Santorum Opposes Early Childhood Education: Government Wants To ‘Indoctrinate’ Children ‘From The Womb’
Last month, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) — a long-shot contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination — said American students scoring low on history tests is proof of “a conscious effort on the part of the left, who has a huge influence on our curriculum, to desensitize America to what American values are so they are more pliable to the new values that they would like to impose on America.” During a campaign appearance at the Perry Public Library in Perry, Iowa this week, Santorum took this line of thinking a step further, explaining that he is opposed to early childhood education programs because he feels they are a government attempt to “indoctrinate your children“:
It is a parent’s responsibility to educate their children. It is not the government’s job. We have sort of lost focus here a little bit. Of course, the government wants their hands on your children as fast as they can. That is why I opposed all these early starts and pre-early starts, and early-early starts. They want your children from the womb so they can indoctrinate your children as to what they want them to be. I am against that.
“Obviously, socialists love children, just like they love people in groups of one million or more,” Santorum added.
Santorum’s bizarre conspiracy-theorizing aside, study after study has shown that federal early childhood education programs have substantial benefits. For instance, students enrolled in Head Start are more likely to be reading and writing at the appropriate level in their early school years, have better health outcomes, earn more money, and commit fewer crimes. Parents with students in Head Start and Early Head Start are also more likely to be involved in their child’s education and cost states less in Medicaid outlays.
One long-term study in California found that “our society receives nearly $9 in benefits for every $1 invested in Head Start children.” Meanwhile, conservative projections show that the real fiscal rate of return overall on public early education investments is about 10 percent. The Center on Children and Families has found that investments in pre-school not only boost GDP, but pay for themselves in the long-term.
As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said when discussing the value of investments in education, “the payoffs of early childhood programs can be especially high.” But Santorum would rather play the socialist card than ensure that the richest nation on Earth do all it can for its youth.
Gingrich Says ‘Our Very Survival As A Country’ Depends On U.S. Manufacturing, Buys Campaign T-Shirts In El Salvador
Twitter-challenged Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich went on Sean Hannity’s radio show yesterday where he attacked President Obama’s economic policies and called for “put[ting] Americans back to work” by rebuilding “American manufacturing.” “We can’t have a national security system if we don’t make anything,” Gingirch said, “so our very survival as a country requires us to rebuild our manufacturing base.” Listen here:
While Gingrich is right to call for more American manufacturing, he apparently isn’t interested in contributing to this vital industry himself, as his campaign’s t-shirts are made in El Salvador, ABC News discovered last week. His campaign blamed the embarrassing fact on the campaign’s “volunteers.”
“That’s a pretty inexcusable freshman campaign mistake,” Scott Paul of the Alliance for American Manufacturing said of Gingrich and the other GOP presidential candidates whose swag is not “Made in the U.S.A.”
Average Income Falls To Lowest Level Since 1997 | According to newly released tax data, “U.S. incomes plummeted again in 2009, with total income down 15.2 percent in real terms since 2007.” 2009′s average income of $54,283, which is the latest available data, “was at its lowest level since 1997 when it was $54,265 in 2009 dollars, just $18 less than in 2009.”
The Jerusalem Post’s editorial board apologized for its July 25 column responding to Anders Breivik’s attack on Oslo’s government headquarters and a youth camp. The editorial board observed that their column “inappropriately, raised issues that were not directly pertinent, such as the dangers of multiculturalism, European immigration policies and even the Oslo peace process.”
Perhaps Brievik’s inexcusable act of vicious terror should serve not only as a warning that there may be more elements on the extreme Right willing to use violence to further their goals, but also as an opportunity to seriously reevaluate policies for immigrant integration in Norway and elsewhere. While there is absolutely no justification for the sort of heinous act perpetrated this weekend in Norway, discontent with multiculturalism’s failure must not be delegitimatized or mistakenly portrayed as an opinion held by only the most extremist elements of the Right.
The Jerusalem Post column brought a torrent of negative publicity on the paper, leading the paper to apologize for it’s kneejerk response which had come dangerously close to defending the ideologies held by Anders Breivik. The column today read:
The editorial squarely condemned the attack, saying that “as Israelis, a people that is sadly all too familiar with the horrors of indiscriminate, murderous terrorism, our hearts go out with empathy to the Norwegian people.”
However, it also, inappropriately, raised issues that were not directly pertinent, such as the dangers of multiculturalism, European immigration policies and even the Oslo peace process. [...]
[We] hope that the Norwegian government and people will accept the Post’s apology and forgive us for any offense or hurt caused by our editorial and columnists at this sensitive time.
The paper’s apology noted that the Islamophobic views expressed in Breivik’s manifesto ran eerily close to the “Nazis’ attitude toward Jews.”
In light of the sustained drought, Governor Mary Fallin today asked all Oklahomans to set aside time this Sunday, July 17, to pray for rain.
That was two week ago. The result is that Oklahoma went from the drought condition below on the right below to the one on the left in just two short weeks:
Yes, in a mere two weeks, another 30% of the state went into extreme or exceptional drought! Now the entire state is under severe drought or worse.
For some reason, science-denying southern Republican governors keep returning to one particular ineffectual ‘adaptation’ strategy: “Texas Drought Now Far, Far Worse Than When Gov. Rick Perry Issued Proclamation Calling on All Texans to Pray for Rain“ (7/15/11).
And speaking of Gov. Perry, who apparently is edging closer and closer to a presidential run, his state has been utterly devastated since his proclamation. Texas A&M reports:
As Texas continues to bake in record heat, the drought news for the state continues to be bleak – Texas is now in the midst of its most severe one-year drought on record, according to John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist and professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University….
Nielsen-Gammon explains [,] “Never before has so little rain been recorded prior to and during the primary growing season for crops, plants and warm-season grasses.”
The Texas drought monitor is as shockingly blood-red as its reservoirs:
MSNBC contributor and long-standing bigot Pat Buchanan has a new book coming out called: Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? This upbeat future “best-seller” will hit the shelves in October, but this morning, Politico Playbook provided those waiting with race-baited breath a preview of the wisdom within. Chapter 4, entitled “The End of White America,” lauds:
“[The] radicalization of the working and middle class, such as occurred in the Truman-McCarthy era, during the George Wallace campaigns, and in the anti-amnesty firestorm that killed the Bush-Kennedy-McCain push for a path to citizenship for illegal aliens.”.
To Buchanan — a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans — these “movements” shared a “populist rage” and a “sense that they are losing their country. And they are right.” George Wallace, of course, was the stauchly pro-segregationist former governor of Alabama and presidental candidate, know for his most famous quote: “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” Other chapters of Buchanan’s book include, “The Death of Christian America,” which explains President Obama’s “campaign to expel Christianity;” and “Demographic Winter,” which links the West’s downfall to the fact that “children are no longer desirable” here.
#KeystoneXL #Astroturf: Tar Sands Supporters Now Polluting Twitter | The handful of right-wing supporters of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline are resorting to Astroturf tactics to plead their case. The pipeline, if it garners President Barack Obama’s approval, will transport dangerous tarsands crude from Canada to Texas refineries. Rainforest Action Network’s Brant Olson has discovered that a Republican operative working on behalf of the Nebraska Energy Forum, a pro-tar sands front group, has created multiple Twitter profiles in order to create the illusion of grassroots support for the toxic pipeline.