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bito On January - 17 - 2013

The place to post your comments without interrupting the single topic posts. However, be mindful of the strict rules!!

If you find the rules here are too confining, try the Morning Blog.





You know the rules, now follow them! Please?

Every so often I intrude TO/OT with a personal pick of a site that I find important that I feel needs to be shared and not lost in the shuffle of the constant flow of thoughts on The Planet.

And yet with globalization, we seem to have developed a strange apprehension about the efficacy of our ability to apply the innovation and hard work necessary to successfully compete in a complex security and economic environment. Further, we have misunderstood interdependence as a weakness rather than recognizing it as a strength. The key to sustaining our competitive edge, at home or on the world stage, is credibility — and credibility is a difficult capital to foster. It cannot be won through intimidation and threat, it cannot be sustained through protectionism or exclusion. Credibility requires engagement, strength, and reliability — imaginatively applied through the national tools of development, diplomacy, and defense.

The Y Article

A National Security Narrative



Written by bito

Was once a handsome frog until kissed by an ugly corporate princess.----- Like a well honed knife, the internet can be a wonderful and useful tool. It can be used to prepare and serve a delicious meal or it can be used to cause harm. peace

7,147 Responses so far.

Click here to leave a comment

    Pretty much begging everybody here to sign.XOXO



    Just got it from Robert Reich.
    An introductory note from Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor:

    If you’ve seen my film Inequality for All then you may recognize Nick Hanauer. He’s the Seattle-based venture capitalist who appeared in it to talk about the damage income inequality is doing to the middle class. Last Monday, Nick published an important piece in Politico calling on President Obama and the Department of Labor to make more workers eligible for overtime.

    Democracy for America, Nick, and I are joining forces to launch a petition to the president asking him to raise wages and create jobs by directing the Department of Labor to expand the number of workers who can receive overtime pay. Below is an email from Nick to one million DFA members across America. I support this petition and I hope you’ll sign it as well. — Bob

    Tatiana —

    I’m getting rich and you’re getting screwed. Sorry. But with a stroke of the pen, President Obama can make sure you get what you earned, without any congressional action at all.

    If it feels like you’re struggling harder than your parents did, working longer hours for less money, it’s because you are. Meanwhile, a handful of capitalists like me are growing wealthy beyond our parents’ wildest dreams.

    What’s changed? Overtime pay.

    Your parents got a lot of it, and you don’t. In 1975, more than 65 percent of salaried workers earned overtime pay — today, just 11 percent do. That’s because the federal government has allowed the overtime threshold to erode to less than the poverty line for a family four. Earn more than $23,660 a year, and business owners like me can make you work unlimited overtime hours for no additional pay at all.

    But to get the country back to the same equitable standards we had in 1975, the Department of Labor would simply have to raise the overtime threshold to $69,000. In other words, if you earn $69,000 or less, the law would require that you be paid time-and-a-half for every hour worked over 40 hours a week.

    That would mean 10.4 million middle-class Americans with more money in your pockets or more time to spend with friends and family. And if corporate America didn’t want to pay you time and a half, it would need to hire hundreds of thousands of additional workers to pick up the slack — slashing the unemployment rate and forcing up wages.

    President Obama could also expand the ranks of workers eligible for overtime pay by ending the exemption that denies overtime to teachers, doctors, computer professionals, and many others. And he can do all this simply by instructing the Department of Labor to change the rules — immediately putting money into the pockets of millions of American workers.

    That’s why I’m joining Democracy for America and Robert Reich in calling on President Obama to do exactly that. Sign our petition to the president: Raise the overtime threshold to give more Americans the overtime pay they’ve earned!

    Many of my fellow capitalists will warn you that a higher overtime threshold would be a job killer, but the truth is, we already have more capital than we know what to do with. Corporate profits have doubled over the past 40 years to more than 12 percent of GDP; that’s about a $1 trillion a year in extra profits.

    But rather than invest in creating jobs or raising wages, executives like me are mostly spending our windfall profits manipulating the price of our own shares through stock buybacks. In fact, over the past decade, public U.S. corporations have spent an astounding $6.9 trillion buying back shares, reducing the total outstanding, and increasing the value of the remaining shares owned by capitalists like me.

    We get richer. You get nothing. Again, sorry. But we’re only playing by the rules — rules that President Obama has the power to change.

    President Obama is showing that he isn’t shy about using his executive powers to do good things for the American people. But the White House needs a strong public push — the president needs to hear from as many of you as possible that overtime pay is to the middle class what the minimum wage is to the working poor, and that a stronger middle class is good for business and good for America.

    Join me, Robert Reich and Democracy for America in telling President Obama to instruct the Labor Department to expand overtime eligibility. Let’s raise the wage and put more Americans back to work.

    Thank you for standing up for the middle class

    • I do have a question here. If more people are working overtime, how would that open up slots for more jobs? I agree that if someone works more than 40 hours a week, or more than eight hours a day, they should be paid time and a half.

      I’m all for middle class wage increases too, but in order to employ more people, more overtime seems to work against the need to hire more workers.

      • EXFANOFARIANA says:

        Scratching my head……You are absolutely right.I will make sure, if you allow me, to c/p your comment and send it to Nick Hanauer. I believe the dismantle of several Union forces were the main culprit to the downfall of this country workers.
        I’ve had several friends, from different states, with antagonistic opinions about American Unions.See, I cannot even fathom a country without a strong Union spine. Reason why the goobers are so adamantly against them.I’ve watched in uber dismay, what happened in Wisconsin.People gathering to vote for the same s.o.b. Their very worst enemy…..I’ve had the opportunity of watching The Dumbification of America. This Common Core bullshit does not make any sense at all.And to find out Bill Gates was behind it?????????????

  3. Nirek says:

    Do we have any lawyers here? If so, how can we sue the congress for not performing their duties? A class action suit would be good we could all sign on and sue for the congress to return their unearned pay for dereliction of duty! I’m open to suggestions as to how to proceed.
    Hello, anyone?

  4. Kalima says:

    Right! And if anyone believes that this is the only reason, I’ve got a Picasso oil painting that I can sell to you for $10, if you lend me $100,000 to get it out of storage in Foolsville.


    Why the major networks didn’t give President Obama primetime real estate for his immigration speech


    In stark contrast is this article by someone who gets it.

    Obama’s Powerful Oration on Immigration


  5. pinkpantheroz says:

    Bloody typical! Boehner declares ‘Emperor Obama’ is sabotaging Congress!

    Love this:
    A spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was quick to fire back.

    “Speaker Boehner has led some of the most obstructive, unproductive and self-destructive Congresses in the history of our nation,” said Drew Hammill in a statement. “Today, in the face of real leadership from the president, Speaker Boehner announced he will continue to surrender his gavel to the most radical and irresponsible anti-immigrant voices of his party.”

    “Republicans have a choice: act productively on immigration, or waste taxpayer dollars on yet another legal vendetta against President Obama or Republican Government Shutdown,” he added. “President Obama has announced strong actions to restore accountability to our broken immigration system. Republicans continue to scramble for excuses for their own failure of leadership.”

    Couldn’t put it better myself.

  6. Kalima says:

    November 20 at 8:33 PM
    A transcript of President Obama’s remarks on immigration..

    OBAMA: My fellow Americans, tonight I’d like to talk with you about immigration. For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations.

    OBAMA: It’s kept us youthful, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities. People not trapped by our past, but able to remake ourselves as we choose.

    But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it. Families who enter our country the right way and play by the rules watch others flout the rules. Business owners who offer their wages good wages benefits see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them far less. All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart.

    It’s been this way for decades. And for decades we haven’t done much about it. When I took office, I committed to fixing this broken immigration system. And I began by doing what I could to secure our borders.

    Read it all here:

    Transcript: Obama’s Immigration Speech


  7. Zeke says:

    This is an excerpt of Senator Dick Durbin’s (D–Illinois) speech on the floor of the Senate today regarding immigration:

    “When any political party in history has decided to make anti-immigration their standard and their value, they have withered and disappeared, as they should. They are ignoring and turning their back on who we are, what America is all about. I was part of a group two years ago. We set down four democratic Senators and four republican Senators, and we worked for months to write a comprehensive immigration reform bill. I’ll tell you the names of the Senators so you know there was no secret deal here. John McCain led the republicans, former republican candidate for President of the United States. By his side Lindsey Graham, republican from South Carolina, not exactly viewed as a liberal state but in fact a very conservative one. Marco Rubio of Florida, whose father and mother were immigrants to this country, refugees from Cuba. And Jeff Flake of Arizona, a conservative republican by every measure. That was the team on the republican side of the table. On our side of the table, we were led by Chuck Schumer, chairman of the immigration subcommittee of judiciary from the state of New York. I joined him as a member of the judiciary committee and as someone that’s been involved in some of these issues for a long time. And Bob Menendez — the head of the democratic Hispanic caucus, which is a caucus of one at this point, but himself the son of Cuban refugees who came to the United States; And Michael Bennet of Colorado.

    The eight of us set down for months, literally for months, hours at a time, sometimes angry and ready to walk out of the room, other times cooperative. We wrote a bill, a 200-page bill to rewrite the immigration laws in America. To fix the broken immigration system. Then we took it to committee and the chairman of the Senate judiciary committee Patrick Leahy, had open hearings and allowed any amendment to be offered that anyone wished. Then we brought it to the floor after it was reported from the committee and we again gave an opportunity for amendments to be offered. Significant amendments were offered. Senator Corker of Tennessee offered an amendment to even strengthen what was a very strong border security section of this bill. The net result of that, of course, was we brought it to a vote. We brought it to a vote and I will tell you, it was an incredible day because on June 27 of 2013, we passed on the floor of the United States Senate comprehensive immigration reform by a vote of 68-32. 14 republicans joined the democrats in a bipartisan effort to fix our broken immigration system.

    It was a proud moment. We had the support of the chamber of commerce, we had the support of organized labor, we had every major religious group in America supporting our efforts. We had the ultra-conservative Grover Norquist supporting this, and liberals as well, came together and said finally we’re going to do something about our broken immigration system. But under the law of the land, passing the Senate is not enough. The measure was then sent over to the House of Representatives. June 27, 2013. Today, November 19, 2014, the republican-led House of Representatives has not only failed to have a hearing on this bill, has refused to bring this bill to the floor, has refused to bring any immigration bill to the floor. They refuse to address the obvious. We have a broken immigration system, we need to come up with a fair solution to it, and they refuse to act. It is within their power to call that bill today as it has been every day since June 27, 2013.

    But for a year and a half, the house republican leadership has refused to act. Oh, they tempted us, they teased us, time and again we’re thinking about it, we’re going to put out a list of principles that we republicans believe in the House of Representatives, we’re going to tell you that maybe we would support something like the dream act, maybe, we’re going to tell you we want strong border enforcement which of course this bill already has. They’ve said all these things and have done nothing. I’m reminded of President Lincoln saying to General McClellan if you’re not going to use your army, may I borrow it?

    The house republicans have refused to address the immigration issue almost entirely with one exception. They did call one immigration matter to the floor. It was one of the most hateful pieces of legislation which I have seen and here’s what it said — before they adjourned in August, the republicans in the House of Representatives passed a measure with only four of their members refusing to vote for it and here’s what it said. We have created an opportunity for about two million children brought to this country who have lived good lives, finished school, have no problems with the law, and want to become part of America, the President has created an executive order giving these children a chance to come forward, register with the government, pay their filing fee, and not be deported. 600,000 of them have taken advantage of that. This is called DACA, the President’s executive order, gives them a chance to live in America, to go to school in America, to get a job in America. To make this a better nation. 600,000 have done it. We believe 1.4 million more are eligible. They have not signed up yet.

    So the republican House of Representatives in August before they adjourned passed a measure which said the remaining 1.6 million who may be eligible for this protection cannot be allowed to be part of the DACA program. These 1.6 million young people should be subject to deportation. Deportation! Think about that for a moment. Brought here at the age of two or three as infants, living in the United States their entire lives, standing up in the classrooms across America every morning pledging allegiance to the only flag they’ve ever known and the republicans voted with an overwhelming majority to deport them. To deport them. Madam President, that’s not bad enough. That overwhelming vote that they cast, that hateful vote that they cast, they were so proud of themselves that after voting they stood up and applauded themselves. What a great moment in their minds for the House of Representatives…”

    “…Every President of the United States, madam president, every President of the United States since Dwight David Eisenhower has used his executive authority to improve our immigration system by executive order. Every single one of them.”

    His speech starts about the 1:53:30 mark.

    • kesmarn says:

      Zeke, that is a tremendous speech! Thanks so much for letting us know about it. So eloquent!

      I just finished listening to the President’s address to the nation (which all the major networks refused to air) and it was equally eloquent, compassionate and rational. (No wonder the corporate dominated networks didn’t want anyone to see it.)

      Isn’t it exhilarating to see the Prez just seizing the moment and forging ahead without playing “Mother May I?” with the GOP? They can sputter all they want. Today belongs to the President and to all these immigrant families — who have finally gotten a break.

      • Zeke says:

        Kes, I agree with you about the Presidents speech. Afterwards just to see what was being said, I flipped over to Fox. O’Reilly and Krauthammer… need I say more? They just make my skin crawl.

        In case you may be interested, Senator Durbin gave another fantastic speech yesterday calling out repubs on immigration. And later in the day Senator Leahy piled on. --“Balderdash!”

        [c-span.org 322867-1]

        Sen. Durbin starts at about 1:17:50 (10 min).
        Sen. Leahy starts at about 4:21:00 (10 Min.).

      • Kalima says:

        Are you serious about major networks refusing to air the President’s speech? Could they be any more blatantly obvious in their disrespect for him? Unbelievable!! It’s time for the American people to wake up and boycott their incessant trash news.

        If anyone out there needed more proof of who they really are, who controls them and owns their lame and cowardly arses, here it is. What a bunch of worthless losers! Disgusting!!

        • EXFANOFARIANA says:

          Kalima , so just you are aware of, almost 12 million households decided already -- and DID -- cut the cord.Yours truly as well.Got a Roku, Netflix and that’s it.Who wants to watch the very lame American shows?When we do not even get the chance to chose what WE want…but be imposed all the trashy reality (SIC), Katrashians of this world?Dumbification of America!

          • Kalima says:

            Good for you, ExFan!!

            We have almost 150 cable programs here, and I watch maybe 5 on a regular basis, one being BBC World. The rest is trash, and CNN International only goes on for the President’s speeches or General Elections. If I want to be bored to tears, I can stare at the walls instead.

            Unfortunately I have no alternative to cable as Japanese tv is even more boring.

            • EXFANOFARIANA says:

              CNN International is still watchable since it appears to be actually independent.The American one? Cancervative owned and operated by. I have online.That’s where I get most news.Sayonara!

        • Nirek says:

          Kalima and Kes, I got home from cribbage at the old folks place and was listening on the car radio. I got in the house and had to flick through the channels to find the President on CNN.
          The same channels that delay regular programming to show a football game running over! This for a “non profit” that is anything but a non profit, but they don’t show the POTUS ?

          I am pissed that they disrespected my President like that!

        • kesmarn says:

          Completely serious, Kalima. ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS all refused to air the speech. I watched it on PBS.

          I was shocked when I read about this earlier today. I can’t really remember a comparable incident in another president’s term. And-- at the risk of sounding alarmist — I think this bodes ill for American democracy.

          When corporate interests control the media and one of the major political parties, we are in major trouble.

          Or am I over reacting? :-(

    • Nirek says:

      Zeke, thanks for this information.

      I believe the President should use his Executive powers to change our immigration laws. He has had zero help from a single republican since he was first elected.

      I’m glad you are here at the Planet. Hope to see much more from you. Please keep us posted with any news you can.

  8. Kalima says:

    The myths and outright lies from Republicans about permanent jobs reaped from the building of the XL pipeline.

    The pipeline filled with pipe dreams.


    How the 50 long-term jobs Keystone XL would produce compares to the rest of the economy


  9. Nirek says:

    Senator Elizabeth Warren presided. She announced that the Bill failed.


      HOORAY! //what a put off i was to watch this week President Clinton siting and holding hands with Shrub stating how they are brothers from different mothers.My respect for him was wiped out.No more $$ for this Global Foundation.

      • EXFANOFARIANA says:

        BREAKING: Keystone XL approval vote fails.‏
        BREAKING: Keystone XL approval vote fails.
        May Boeve -- 350.org
        7:06 PM
        [Keep this message at the top of your inbox]
        To: Tania
        [email protected]
        Thanks to an incredible push back from the climate movement, a bill to force approval of Keystone XL failed in the Senate. Can you send a message to tell President Obama it’s time to reject the pipeline?
        Send a message now


        Congratulations: thanks to your calls, emails and actions, a bill to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline just failed to pass the Senate. Again.

        Even counting the new climate-denying members who will take seats in January, Big Oil could not override a Presidential veto of Keystone XL next year.

        He has the support he needs — from us, and from the facts. The only question is whether the President will hold true to his own climate test.

        Last week the President struck a historic climate agreement with China. Approving Keystone XL now would be like pledging to quit smoking and then buying a new carton of cigarettes. Rejecting the pipeline would be a bold step forward to meet his new goals. Can you send a message to the President that now is the time to reject the pipeline?

        Click here to tell President Obama that it’s time to reject Keystone XL.

        Over the last week, we’ve flooded the Senate phone lines. Today, activists occupied the offices of two Democrats, Senator Bennet and Senator Carper, who joined with Big Oil in supporting the pipeline. The pressure worked.

        Next year we will face new obstacles — incoming Majority Leader McConnell already promised today that it will be a top priority of the next Senate, but it appears he won’t have the votes to override a veto.

        Now is the time for leadership. President Obama should end this debate and reject the Keystone XL pipeline. This week he said “I won’t hide my opinion about this, which is that one major determinant of whether we should approve a pipeline shipping Canadian oil to world markets, not the United States, is does it contribute to the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change.”

        That can only point to rejection. An 830,000 barrel per day pipeline of the world’s dirtiest oil will obviously contribute to climate change.

        Rejecting the pipeline would show the President’s commitment to action, and open a new chapter in the fight against climate change.

        It’s time.


    • kesmarn says:

      That makes it even better, Nirek! (The fact that Warren presided.) I was out for the afternoon. Just got home to read this good news.

      Thanks so much for keeping us posted!

  10. Nirek says:

    XL Pipeline Bill fails to get the required 60 votes !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    So we have 41 sane Senators.

  11. Zeke says:

    I’ve been watching the ‘Keystone XL Pipeline’ debate in the Senate on CSPAN2. Senator Barbara Boxer has been fantastic in her opposition to the proposed legislation. Just before the break Senator Jeff Merkley had the floor and did an excellent job, especially, in his refutation of the Republican talking points.

    Dubbed, “the Xtra Lethal Pipeline” courtesy of Sen. Barbara Boxer.

  12. monicaangela says:


    My purpose is to try to gain better understanding. My admiration of the ideas spoken in the Free Speech TV interview with Amy Goodman are what I find interesting about Russell Brand. Having a TV show axed because of controversial speech is just more proof that Freedom of speech can be axed by corporations…remember, corporations own those networks. My purpose for discussing this with you is not to prove I am right and you are wrong, it is not to try to develop a misunderstanding with you. It is to more or less find out if one can have a disagreement on this site and continue to be welcomed here for one thing and also to say that my understanding of what is happening in these videos is different than yours. For instance, you continue to say that Russell Brand is advocating that, well rather than put it in my own words, let me quote you:

    “I think that you are missing my point, I said that telling young people not to vote is dangerous because the status quo will remain if people don’t get out to vote in our next GE in 2015.”

    I posted a video, the second video where Russell Brand states emphatically the fact that his not voting in no way advocates that anyone else not vote. You maybe missed that part or didn’t watch the video. Go to the 5th minute in the video, there he explains what he is saying when he says “HE” doesn’t vote and why.

    In summation, let me say that since coming to this site I have given you nothing but praise for the wonderful vehicle you along with others have created so that ideas could be read and discussed. I still say it is a wonderful thing you have done and I do appreciate all the hard work you have put into building and helping to maintain this site. I am somewhat puzzled at the fact that a difference of opinion can cause you to become upset. We all have differences of opinion from time to time. Generally in situations like this neither side is 100% correct, this is what is meant by Voiltaire’s quote:

    “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

    So in the interest of peace and tranquility, if it is your wish that I not return to your site because of our difference over my opinion on this topic, out of respect and admiration I will be more than happy to honor your request. Let me know, and either way there will be no hard feelings.

    • AdLib says:

      Monicaangela, I hope you know that The Planet is a place that welcomes all opinions. Of course, that means that sometimes there can be strong disagreements and strong feelings about them but that’s what happens when people are able to openly express themselves and their passion about issues. So the idea is that we can disagree without being disagreeable, recognizing that strong feelings on issues are about the issues and not personal. In order for that to work, there has to be a modicum of respect between all members, especially when we disagree.

      I think the depth and honesty of the opinions and disagreements expressed here reflect a strength of The Planet and the folks here.

    • Kalima says:

      I’m not mad at you monicaangela, you have every right to your opinion about this as I have mine. You don’t believe that he told the young people not to vote, and too many people did, for how can you be involved in the process if you don’t even vote?

      You seem to want a revolution and yet don’t seem to grasp the consequences if in fact it did happen, and how many people would suffer because of it.

      I have said nothing at all to make you think that you are not welcome here, I really don’t understand why a disagreement about a subject like this could make you assume this. If me disagreeing with you about Russell Brand causes you this much soul searching, maybe we should avoid discussions like this for a while. That’s ok with me too, but please don’t try to put the blame of your discomfort at my feet. You are welcome here of course but I’m not going to apologise for my point of view.

      Now I must sleep. Have a good day.

      • monicaangela says:

        I’m happy to read that you are not mad about this difference of opinion. My motto is NO FEAR, and I along with many others believe that working within the system is getting us more of the same crap we’ve been getting. Yes, bucking the system will cause pain for many as it did during the great depression and the recession of 2008. If you haven’t noticed, many and I do mean many are already suffering, millions if not billions in fact. Look at what is happening in the world because of greed and government as usual and tell me it’s fine with you. I personally feel for those that are suffering and wish there were more I could do to alleviate the problem. The system as it is set up doesn’t appear to care.

        Using latest figures available, in 2005, the wealthiest 20% of the world accounted for 76.6% of total private consumption. The poorest fifth just 1.5%:




        If working within this system seems the right thing to do then I apologize for discussing the topic we clearly will never see eye to eye on this. Now I must get to work. Thanks for your reply, I hope you acquire the rest you seek. Sleep well, wake energized.

        • Kalima says:

          I might be very shortsighted but I’m not blind yet. I link to stories about poverty and suffering around the world every time I post my MB updates, so please give me more credit than that.

          Yes things must change by voting for the person whose ideals most closely resemble ours, and work from there. Change doesn’t happen overnight, people have to work together with someone that they trust and make changes through legislation and new laws. The revolution you suggest may sound like a romantic dream, but in reality it would be soon quashed by the authorities and could even lead to civil war. Do you really believe that enough people would be willing to give up everything to revolt if they can’t even get off their sofas to vote once every four years? Personally, I don’t wish that for your country or the country that I grew up in. Ask the Syrians,how they feel about theirs and the over 200,000 dead they have buried in the last 3 years. Anyway, as promised, this is my last comment on this subject. Now I really will go to sleep, so goodnight.

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