Afternoon News: The Brave and the Wimpy

THE BRAVE

Hunted man Julian Assange has agreed to talk to UK Police who now have a warrant for his arrest, sent to them from Sweden. Meanwhile, the Swiss bank that holds Wikileaks fund has frozen their account. It looks like Assange could be in police custody soon. Will that trigger the release of the documents that have not yet been revealed to the public?

From The New York Times:

The legal noose tightened around Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, after his lawyers said Monday that an Interpol notice and European arrest warrant would oblige the British police to arrest him for questioning on accusations of sexual offenses from Sweden.

The BBC, and a message on the WikiLeaks Twitter feed, reported that new warrants had been issued and that his arrest might be imminent.

Mark Stephens, a lawyer for Mr. Assange, told NBC News that a place and time were being negotiated for Mr. Assange to meet with Scotland Yard.

From the BBC:

The Swiss post office’s bank, PostFinance, has frozen the accounts of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

The whistle-blowing website says the freeze includes a defence fund and personal assets worth 31,000 euros.

Regarding the arrest warrant,

Sources have told the BBC that the European Arrest Warrant for Mr Assange arrived on Monday afternoon.

Swedish prosecutors want to question Mr Assange in connection with allegations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion, which he denies.

He is believed to be in hiding somewhere in south-east England. Once the police have located him, he would be expected to appear at a magistrate’s court within 24 hours, pending extradition to Sweden, says the BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner.

Mr Assange’s UK lawyer, Mark Stephens, told the BBC: “We are in the process of making arrangements to meet with the police by consent in order to facilitate the taking of the question and answer that is needed.”

On the secret cache of documents that Assange is using for insurance in case anything happens to him, The Daily Mail writes:

The founder of WikiLeaks today revealed he has sent out 100,000 encrypted copies of secret diplomatic cables so they will definitely be released whatever happens to him.

Julian Assange, breaking his silence in an online question and answer session, acknowledged there had been death threats against him and his colleagues because of the damaging leaks.

He told for the first time of the insurance policy he had put in place to ensure that his whistleblowing website will not be silenced, whatever drastic steps may be taken by his enemies.

Mr Assange also hailed the young American soldier suspected of leaking the classified U.S. cables as an ‘unparalleled hero’.

I know not everyone agrees with me, but I believe this release of documents is a good thing. It could lead to changes in policy and perhaps the closing of Gitmo. Frankly, as long as Daniel Ellsberg is supportive of Assange and Bradley Manning, I will be too.

THE WIMPY

You probably read the Shrill One this morning. Man, he is getting angrier and angrier. He’s really worked up about those Bush tax cuts and our wimpy President.

…while raising taxes when unemployment is high is a bad thing, there are worse things. And a cold, hard look at the consequences of giving in to the G.O.P. now suggests that saying no, and letting the Bush tax cuts expire on schedule, is the lesser of two evils.

Bear in mind that Republicans want to make those tax cuts permanent. They might agree to a two- or three-year extension — but only because they believe that this would set up the conditions for a permanent extension later. And they may well be right: if tax-cut blackmail works now, why shouldn’t it work again later?

America, however, cannot afford to make those cuts permanent. We’re talking about almost $4 trillion in lost revenue just over the next decade; over the next 75 years, the revenue loss would be more than three times the entire projected Social Security shortfall. So giving in to Republican demands would mean risking a major fiscal crisis — a crisis that could be resolved only by making savage cuts in federal spending.

And we’re not talking about government programs nobody cares about: the only way to cut spending enough to pay for the Bush tax cuts in the long run would be to dismantle large parts of Social Security and Medicare.

Krugman’s verdict on Obama’s “leadership”:

As long as Republicans believe that Mr. Obama will do anything to avoid short-term pain, they’ll have every incentive to keep taking hostages. If the president will endanger America’s fiscal future to avoid a tax increase, what will he give to avoid a government shutdown? [….]

Yes, letting taxes go up would be politically risky. But giving in would be risky, too — especially for a president whom voters are starting to write off as a man too timid to take a stand. Now is the time for him to prove them wrong.

Sorry, Paul, it’s not gonna happen. Obama just sold us down the river.

The Daily Caller: Obama and GOP reach deal on two-year extension of Bush tax cuts for all incomes

The deal will extend the current tax levels for two more years, preventing taxes from going up on any income levels, despite the wishes of many liberal Democrats — including Obama — that individuals making more than $200,000 a year and families with more than $250,000 a year in income see their rates go up.

In exchange, Republicans have agreed to extend unemployment insurance benefits for an additional 13 months.

Obama presented the proposal to Democratic congressional leaders at the White House Monday afternoon, seeking to obtain their approval for the deal.

This is way beyond disgusting This is criminal!

Other details include a temporary two percent reduction in payroll taxes to replace Obama’s “Making Work Pay” tax credit from the 2009 stimulus bill, and a compromise on the estate tax, which will be set for two years at 35 percent, with a $5 million exemption amount.

The tax rate for capital gains and dividends will be maintained at 15 percent.

The estate tax solution comes from Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Arkansas Democrat, and Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican.

This is bullsh&t!!

Stephen Stromberg at Wapo: Obama, Republicans’ ominous deal on Bush tax cuts

For weeks, observers have preemptively hailed the sort of deal the White House and congressional Republicans seem to be striking on extending the Bush tax cuts. Republicans, it seems, will acquiesce on maintaining enhanced federal unemployment benefits if Democrats extend all of the Bush tax cuts for two years. Expect a few satisfied sighs from Washington once the bargain is struck. Advocates of bipartisanship will express pleasure. Conservatives should be happy, since they clearly got the better end of the deal. Even liberals are saying this is a “bitter but significant victory.”

Stromberg, like Matt Bai, thinks this is a good thing.

But what happens when the demands of policy require pain? If Congress addresses long-term spending in coming years, which pretty much requires reform of Social Security, Medicare and taxes, ideological and/or political considerations will push each side to see the stakes as incalculable. Will a spirit of bipartisanship really develop when Congress is deciding what to cut, instead of simply how to allocate hypothetical money? Perhaps there’s some reason for optimism. Eleven of 18 members of the president’s debt commission voted for some painful spending and tax policies last week. But as far as compromises go, this one, lubricated with cash, is ominous in its resemblance to how Washington has approached dealmaking for so long.

Beware folks: the privileged young “creative classers” in the media and lots of the progbloggers are not our friends. They are going to do their very best to take away what is left of the safety net. They don’t give a damn about the rest of us. Let me remind you of what Krugman wrote today:

America, however, cannot afford to make those cuts permanent. We’re talking about almost $4 trillion in lost revenue just over the next decade; over the next 75 years, the revenue loss would be more than three times the entire projected Social Security shortfall. So giving in to Republican demands would mean risking a major fiscal crisis — a crisis that could be resolved only by making savage cuts in federal spending.

And we’re not talking about government programs nobody cares about: the only way to cut spending enough to pay for the Bush tax cuts in the long run would be to dismantle large parts of Social Security and Medicare.

The battle is joined. We have to find some way to dump Obama. In fact, IMNSHO, he should resign if this deal gets approved by Congress.

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63 Comments on “Afternoon News: The Brave and the Wimpy”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Also in the news is that Elizabeth Edwards’ Doctors have stopped her treatment and she is said to be in her final days.

    A source close to the family tells CBS News, “She is dying.” The source said Edwards would likely die within weeks and possibly days.

    Edwards, 61, posted to her personal Facebook page a message to friends reading in part, “The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that.”

    “You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope,” she wrote. “These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined.”

    • bostonboomer says:

      That is heartbreaking.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      This is so sad….

    • votermom says:

      I am sad. I really liked her when she campaigned – she always seemed genuine and down-to-earth.

    • Woman Voter says:

      God Speed to Elizabeth, her family, her eldest daughter and her two small children. She really worked hard on Universal Health Care and many other causes, in her own right and she is a brilliant lawyer (legal mind) with a big heart for those less fortunate.

      I will keep her in my prayers and her family too.

    • TheRock says:

      I saw that. Terrible…..

    • cwaltz says:

      May she go in peace. My heart breaks for her two youngest. They are so young to have had their world torn apart again. I hope her and John were able to mend things at least enough for her to go without worry in her heart for the well being of her babies.

      • Woman Voter says:

        I think the children need to be with their eldest sibling and be among family that love them and support them. As to forgiveness, I think Elizabeth said it best, when she said that she wanted people to see her life’s work in its totality and not end her chapter on ‘John’ et all. I agree, she was a good mother, sister, friend, attorney, advocate and someone that cared for those less fortunate. She devoted her life to her family, she spent time with her children loving them and nurturing them and that they will always have…no one can take that from them or from her.

        May God hold her and keep her well and with all the love of those that knew how to love her well, especially now.

    • Sima says:

      I’m very sorry to hear this. She was always the better half of the marriage, and I supported him for a while because of her.

    • NW Luna says:

      Oh, this is sad. She is a brilliant and compassionate woman. I wish her peacefulness.

    • dakinikat says:

      A marvelous interview with Matt Lauer: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20398218,00.html

  2. bostonboomer says:

    This is interesting:

    Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich is planning to oppose legislation that extends any of the Bush-era tax cuts, becoming the first senator to state his opposition to any extension even as the White House and congressional leaders are expected to reach a deal on the issue this week.

    Voinovich, who is retiring early next year after a political career that has spanned more than four decades, including 12 years in the Senate, said Monday that he likely will oppose any extension of the cuts that does not include an attempt to tackle tax reform.

    “As I look at my experience, I believe that if this thing goes through and we extend it, we will kick this thing down the road,” Voinovich said in an interview after addressing an Aspen Institute roundtable in Washington. “It’s completely irresponsible.”

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Robert Kuttner, Huffpo:

    And instead of drawing a line in the sand and making clear that Democrats will not cut Social Security, Obama encouraged Democrats to support the scheme of the deficit commission, which was an anti-government, anti-social insurance blueprint that had very little public support and no constructive impact on the economic recovery that the country needs, and robbed Democrats of their most potent issue — that Democrats defend Social Security and Republicans don’t.

    To add insult to injury, Obama just proposed yet another Bush-style trade deal with South Korea, which is likely to be a net job loser for the U.S. The widely expected appointment of investment banker and Robert Rubin protégé Roger Altman as Obama’s chief economic adviser to succeed Larry Summers will continue the Wall Street dynasty at the White House.

    The problem, however, is not Obama’s advisers. It is the man who appointed them — and his failure to know how to fight and lead as a progressive.

    Let’s stop pretending. Barack Obama is a disaster as a crisis president. He has taken an economic collapse that was the result of Republican ideology and Republican policies, and made it the Democrats’ fault. And the more that he is pummeled, the more he bends over.

    FINALLY, Kuttner gets it. Now that it’s too late.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    More Kuttner:

    Absent radically different policies, an economic depression will continue indefinitely. This is not a “Great Recession” in the New York Times’ cute pun. It’s a depression, made up of persistently high unemployment, reduced consumer purchasing power, damaged banks, and business unwillingness to invest, just like the 1930s. Unemployment is not quite as severe, but measured properly it is around 18 percent. And unlike in the 1930s, we don’t have a strong Democratic president using activist government to dig our way out.

    With Congress deadlocked, the second best course in these circumstances is to offer progressive policies that will cure the depression, and beat the stuffings out of the Republicans for blocking them. But that is simply not going to happen because that is not who Obama is. His style is not to draw bright lines, but to blur them.

    Absent that kind of leadership, the Republicans going onto 2012 will succeed in blaming the continuing crisis on Obama and the Democrats. Obama is rapidly becoming our Herbert Hoover. As you will recall, Hoover’s legacy was Democratic dominance of American politics for a generation.

    [….]

    …if we are to be spared an awful decade, both economically and politically, either Obama needs to grow a backbone; or some other Democrat could well challenge him in 2012. Either course will require the progressive community to stop crying in our beer and to get out and organize.

  5. Minkoff Minx says:

    BB, that deal is disgusting…It makes me want to have a cleaning lady and a bucket…in other words, it makes me want to puke. Ugh…We are so F’d!

  6. Boo Radly says:

    It saddens me to hear about Elizabeth Edwards. She ha a wonderful family which is she obviously would do anything for. Great lady.

    Seems like quite a few pundits are now getting it; of course it is too late.

    Glenn Greenwald re: Wikilinks

    Just look at what the U.S. Government and its friends are willing to do and capable of doing to someone who challenges or defies them — all without any charges being filed or a shred of legal authority. They’ve blocked access to their assets, tried to remove them from the Internet, bullied most everyone out of doing any business with them, frozen the funds marked for Assange’s legal defense at exactly the time that they prepare a strange international arrest warrant to be executed, repeatedly threatened him with murder, had their Australian vassals openly threaten to revoke his passport, and declared them “Terrorists” even though — unlike the authorities who are doing all of these things — neither Assange nor WikiLeaks ever engaged in violence, advocated violence, or caused the slaughter of civilians.

    Rule of Law applies to whom, in what country? We have already lived through ten years of Wild West Rules. Why do American citizens not stand up against this?

    At the end of GG’s post he offers two sites with which to make donations to Wikilinks.
    He is an attorney and I hope, a former supporter of Bumbles. No more kool aid.(moved this from Mondays News post)

  7. dakinikat says:

    CNN breaking News: Obama: Framework for bipartisan deal would extend all Bush-era tax cuts for two years and jobless benefits for 13 months.

    President Barack Obama presented congressional Democratic leaders Monday with a proposed deal with Republicans that would extend Bush-era tax cuts for two years and unemployment benefits for 13 months while also setting the estate tax at 35% for two years on inheritances worth more than $5 million, a senior Democratic source told CNN.

    As proposed, the deal would add trillions of dollars to federal spending in coming years by extending the lower tax rates as well as the jobless benefits at a time when Obama, Republican leaders and a federal deficit commission appointed by the president all say that the growing federal debt must be brought under control.

    The deal also includes a temporary 2 percentage-point reduction in the payroll tax to replace Obama’s “making work pay” tax credit from the 2009 economic stimulus package for lower-income Americans, the senior Democratic source said.

    • mablue2 says:

      I think Obama lost his reelection bid today, unless Republican Tea-Partiers send him Sarah Palin.

      Yuk!!!

      • dakinikat says:

        His new election slogan is : Yes we CAN pass whatever Mitch McConnell’s asks of us!!

      • dakinikat says:

        I also think he’s trying to make social security a problem with the payroll tax freeze. What is this with these guys? Complaining about the deficit and then they pass this? It’s just unbelievable!

        • TheRock says:

          The greedy are going after every penny. When they are done, we will be in a feudal state. I’m not a proletariat yet, and I fear that I will be working for a greedy landlord in the near future. GIVE ME HILLARY!!!!

          Asshats.

          Hillary 2012

        • bostonboomer says:

          That’s deliberate, IMO. Jane Hamsher just said the same thing on PBS news. The estate tax thing is criminal. It is lower than anything Bush did. This is huge handout to the very richest Americans while further depleting the Social Security trust fund. Obama already did that with the hcr bill. It’s a deliberate plan to end Social Security.

          I knew he was going to do this back in 2008. But very few people believed me.

        • dakinikat says:

          It looks like the payroll tax cut gets paid by with a credit from general revenue. At least that’s not going to impact the Trust Fund that way.

        • Woman Voter says:

          The payroll tax freeze doesn’t do anything, it takes away from the worker and it will look as though it is some welfare scheme WHEN IT’S OUR MONEY!

  8. This is huge, apologies if it’s already been covered in the comments or posts. Just saw it on my feeds… I’m really sick, maybe another frontpager can spotlight this (unless again I missed it in my zombie like state.)

    Clarence B. Jones, personal attorney and close friend of the late MLK, says Primary Obama.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/clarence-b-jones/time-to-think-to-unthinka_b_792237.html

    • dakinikat says:

      I’m sorry you still feel so bad. No one’s brought it up yet.

    • dakinikat says:

      You don’t have to be a rocket scientist nor have a PhD in political science and sociology to see clearly that Obama has abandoned much of the base that elected him. He has done this because he no longer respects, fears or believes those persons who elected him have any alternative, but to accept what he does, whether they like it or not.

      It is time for those persons who constituted the “Movement” that enabled Senator Barack Obama to be elected to “break their silence”; to indicate that they no longer will sit on their hands, and only let off verbal steam and ineffective sound and fury, and “hope” for the best.

      • RalphB says:

        So far he appears to be right. But it’s long past time for passengers to get off that stinking bus and get under it with the rest of us.

        • dakinikat says:

          I see it more as a case of under the bus denial. But maybe the were allowed on the bus as long as they were useful and stupid about the real situation.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Sending positive energy to you Wonk…I feel for ya!

    • Woman Voter says:

      THANK YOU DEAR LORD! THANK YOU!

      Obama did the greatest harm by BLOCKING THE PUBLIC OPTION and Thank God someone is finally going public… :cry: I have written about a government employee who lost his job, couldn’t pay for COBRA, then got an infection, someone left me a message about needing help with a dressing, I missed the message and when I called, he had been hospitalized, had his leg amputated, then died from the complications at 50+. Every Western country has Health Care for their citizens, but we only have money for WARS!

      In my opinion Rangel and Waters suffered for supporting Hillary til the end and many others think so too.

  9. mablue2 says:

    Over at the NYTimes, there’s a discussion going on in Room for Debate:

    Can Obama Win Back His Base?

    My answer is not no, but Fuck NO! He’s a sellout.

    I knew this was coming but it still infuriates me.
    G’nite.

  10. fiscalliberal says:

    So – the Bush Tax cuts are now being renamed the Obama tax cuts.

  11. mablue2 says:

    If I hear one more of these clowns tell us how bad the deficits are, I think I’m going to build an effigy and beat the living daylight out of it.

    Bush Tax cuts and the Deficits

  12. cwaltz says:

    Obama wants this but my question is can the netroots torpedo it?

    If we applied pressure to the House could we possibly mutiny?

  13. Minkoff Minx says:

    Let’s Not Make a Deal – NYTimes.com I have a question, now remember I am suffering like Wonk…so my thoughts are not forming correctly.

    I know this article was linked up top, but can someone explain to me what it is that the Republicans have on Obama, that they can blackmail him? Don’t you have to have some sort of goods on someone to blackmail? I just think this is a bad word choice…it is not blackmail…this deal was like a steamroller over a president that has as much spine as a marshmallow.

    edited to add the quote:

    Right now, the Republicans see themselves as successful blackmailers, holding a clear upper hand. President Obama, they believe, wouldn’t dare preside over a broad tax increase while the economy is depressed. And they therefore believe that he will give in to their demands.

    • dakinikat says:

      yeah, they know that he’s not a socialist but a DINO.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Krugman means that the Republicans are holding unemployment benefits hostage in order to get the tax cuts. It isn’t really blackmail. Anyway, Obama could veto their stupid tax cuts if he wanted to. Krugman is still holding out hope that Obama is really a decent human being. He’ll get it eventually like Bob Kuttner finally did.

    • NW Luna says:

      What do the Rs have on Obama? They know he’s a con man. And they know he’s a coward.

      Bipartiasanship = sell the voters down the river.

  14. Pat Johnson says:

    Obama is going to have to hand out flatscreen tv’s this time around if he has any thoughts of gaining back the “base” who fought to elect him and those of us still clinging to the Dem Party (for reasons I have yet to understand myself) because at this moment his chances ar toast.

    However, by 2012 this happenstance could easily be forgotten if Mel Gibson makes another tape, or Lindsay Lohan breaks parole, or the GOP gets stuck with the likes of Sarah Palin carrying their banner and he might just limp over the finish line.

    But watching him tonight as he “sold out” yet again I was struck at how much older he appeared and how his face shows signs of tiredness. So maybe, just maybe Michele may step to the plate and get in his face by demanding he quit. Not a pretty sight.

    • RalphB says:

      Just a little bit of real world 2012 political calculus. The choice will not be between a challenger and a perfect presidential specimen. It will be between a challenger and a really flawed human being as incumbent.

      The choice between Palin and Obama, phrased in the least flattering (to Palin) possible way, is a choice between a woman who may turn out to be seriously inadequate to the job and, therefore, become a failed president; and a man who has already convincingly demonstrated that he is seriously inadequate to the job and, therefore, already is a failed president.

      Changes the “electability” issue just a little, doesn’t it?

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Just what we need: another “let’s try it on for size President” as if having this one wasn’t enough to put paid to that notion.

      • cwaltz says:

        I’m done with electability and I’m done being an enabler. If the choice is Palin or Obama I WILL write in Bernie Sanders. Whether he wins or not will be less important than having the decimation of this country on my conscience.

      • Palin energizes the left against her, as much, if not more, than she energizes the right in her favor. She or Huckabee may be Obama’s only hope.