“For forty years, Cuba has been under constant US attack: military attack, economic warfare, efforts at strangulation, trying to induce maximal suffering on the population - straight outright terror, lots of it - so who’s the ‘rogue state’ ?” .. (Noam Chomsky)

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Still Report #355 - TPP Coming Fast

If you like Tumblr don’t support this. The copyright is so extreme. That even putting quotes from copyrightable source is a criminal offense. This treaty reverses fair use.

Obama to unconstitutionally offer more Obamacare exemptions

We’ve covered this before. Obamacare sucks. There’s no question about it. And nothing confirms this more than seeing Obama run around trying to selectively shield its negative effects from certain groups of people.

From The New York Times:

Obama administration officials and other supporters of the Affordable Care Act say they worry that the tax-filing season will generate new anger as uninsured consumers learn that they must pay tax penalties and as many people struggle with complex forms needed to justify tax credits they received in 2014 to pay for health insurance.

The White House has already granted some exemptions and is considering more to avoid a political firestorm.

Mark J. Mazur, the assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy, said up to six million taxpayers would have to “pay a fee this year because they made a choice not to obtain health care coverage that they could have afforded.”

But Christine Speidel, a tax lawyer at Vermont Legal Aid, said: “A lot of people do not feel that health insurance plans in the marketplace were affordable to them, even with subsidies. Some went without coverage and will therefore be subject to penalties.”

Read the Rest

So Obama is circumventing the Constitution to “avoid a political firestorm.” Well, at least he has a good reason, right? Sheesh.

The problem with this is that changing the law now is utterly illegal. Only Congress can pass or modify laws per the Constitution:

All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Notice the lack of legislative powers granted to the executive branch.

President Obama warned Sunday that a harsh new anti-gay law in Uganda would “complicate our valued relationship” with the east African country, which receives hundreds of millions of dollars a year in U.S. aid.

In a last-ditch effort to derail the measure, national security advisor Susan Rice called Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni over the weekend and urged him not to sign the measure. The law includes a provision of life in prison for “aggravated homosexuality.”

But amid news reports that Museveni was intent on pressing forward, Obama said Sunday that the move would be “a step backward for all Ugandans” and would reflect poorly on the country’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people.

“As we have conveyed to President Museveni, enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda,” Obama said in a written statement released Sunday. “At a time when, tragically, we are seeing an increase in reports of violence and harassment targeting members of the LGBT community from Russia to Nigeria, I salute all those in Uganda and around the world who remain committed to respecting the human rights and fundamental human dignity of all persons.”

In his first term, Obama dispatched 100 U.S. troops to Africa to help hunt down the leaders of the brutally violent Lord’s Resistance Army in and around Uganda. In addition, the U.S. gave more than $256 million in foreign assistance to Uganda last year.

Obama did not say specifically what changes might come as a result of the decision. But an administration official said Sunday that, if Uganda enacts the legislation, the White House would “conduct a review” of the country’s relationship with the U.S.

NYT: The middle class isn't doing so well, is it?

Why, no. No it isn’t. And thank you for finally noticing.

From the New York Times:

The middle class that President Obama identified in his State of the Union speech last week as the foundation of the American economy has been shrinking for almost half a century.

In the late 1960s, more than half of the households in the United States were squarely in the middle, earning, in today’s dollars, $35,000 to $100,000 a year. Few people noticed or cared as the size of that group began to fall, because the shift was primarily caused by more Americans climbing the economic ladder into upper-income brackets.

But since 2000, the middle-class share of households has continued to narrow, the main reason being that more people have fallen to the bottom.


…This social upheaval helps explain why the president focused on reviving the middle class, offering a raft of proposals squarely aimed at concerns like paying for a college education, taking parental leave, affording child care and buying a home.

…According to a New York Times poll in December, 60 percent of people who call themselves middle class think that if they work hard they will get rich. But the evidence suggests that goal is increasingly out of reach. When middle class people look up, they see the rich getting richer while they spin their wheels.

…“The middle has basically stayed the same; it hasn’t improved,” said Lawrence F. Katz, an economist at Harvard University. “You’ve got an iPhone now and a better TV, but your median income hasn’t changed. What’s really changed is the penthouse has become supernice.”

Read the Rest

Okay, there are several takeaways from this:

I hate the term “middle class.” Please understand, I still use the term because it is ubiquitous. But it bothers me nevertheless. We live in America where we don’t (or shouldn’t) have “classes.” We don’t have serfs or peasants. Nor do we have lords or kings. The beauty of America is that anyone can be anything. Yes, I realize that we have been told over and over and over by modern leftists that some people just can’t make it because of #RacismSexismHomophobiaIslamaphobiaGlassceiling or economic circumstance, etc, but this is only true insomuch as people believe that it’s true or where the government, the same government ironically supported by said leftists, stifles upward mobility.

Every one of Obama’s proposals to ostensibly revive the middle class will likely make the problem worse. Subsidizing college tuition will cause the price of tuition to go up. Mandating parental leave will cause wages to go down. Etc. These things don’t occur in a vacuum.

Nowhere does the New York Times even come close to suggesting that government might be exacerbating the problem. In fact, the opposite is implied. However, if the current administration was one with whom the NYT differed ideologically, you can bet the article would be a scathing rebuke of all things capitalism, Wall Street, the Tea Party, freedom, libertarians, Republicans and those evil, evil corporations. But because Obama is president, the decline of the middle class is just one of those things that happens.

Don’t get me wrong, economies do go up and down naturally, but they can only be hurt by government. Not helped. The invisible hand of the economy is far too complicated to be fully understood by any entity, especially one as inept as Uncle Sam. The only thing Obama, or any other president could do to help would be to get out of the way. Stop subsidies. Stop handouts. Stop bailouts. Stop over-regulation. Stop mandates. Stop oppressive laws. Stop stop stop. At least then the government couldn’t be blamed for making things worse as they are prone to do.

Married to a Larry Shipper by LouAndI_Larry (Wattpad)
  • Harry:Mr. President, I apologize for the Twitter incident.
  • Harry:That Larry tweet should not be the second most retweeted in history.
  • Obama:You're absolutely right, Harry!
  • Harry:Thank heavens you agree-
  • Obama:It should be the first most retweeted tweet because y'all mofos gay!
  • Harry:
  • Harry:
  • Harry:
  • Niall:Taught him all he knows HAHAHA #LEGEND

The historic leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro sent a message to the Federation of University Students on the occasion of an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of his admission to the University of Havana.

When you invited me to participate in the launch of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of my admission to the University, which I was surprised to learn of, during days when I was very busy with various issues in which I can perhaps still be relatively useful, I decided to take a break and devote several hours to recalling those years.

I am overwhelmed recalling that 70 years have passed. In reality, compañeros and compañeras, if I were to register again at this age, as some have asked me, I would respond, without hesitation, that it would be to pursue scientific studies. I would say, like Guayasamín: Leave a little light on for me.

In those years, already influenced by Marx, I was able to understand more, and better, the strange, complex world in which it has befallen us to live. I may have harbored some illusions of the bourgeoisie, whose tentacles managed to entangle many students, when they possessed more passion than experience. The topic would be long and interminable.

Another genius of revolutionary action, founder of the Communist Party, was Lenin. Thus I did not hesitate a second when during the Moncada trial, when they allowed me to attend, albeit just one time, I stated before the judges and dozens of high ranking officials of the Batista regime that we were readers of Lenin.

We didn’t talk about Mao Zedong, since the socialist revolution in China, inspired by the same principles, had not yet ended.

I insist, nonetheless, that revolutionary ideas must always be on guard as humanity expands its knowledge. …

Cuba survived the Special Period in peace time, which has already lasted for more than 20 years, without raising the white flag, something we have never done, and will never do.

Many friends of Cuba know of the Cuban people’s exemplary conduct, and I will explain to them, in a few words, my essential position.

I do not trust the policy of the United States, nor have I exchanged one word with them, though this does not in any way signify a rejection of a peaceful solution to conflicts or threats of war. Defending peace is the duty of all. Any negotiated, peaceful solution to the problems between the United States and peoples, or any people of Latin America, which does not imply force or the use of force, must be addressed in accordance with international principles and norms.

We will always defend cooperation and friendship with all of the world’s peoples, and with those of our political adversaries. This is what we are demanding for all.

The President of Cuba has taken pertinent steps in accordance with his prerogatives and faculties conceded by the National Assembly and the Communist Party of Cuba.

The grave dangers which today threaten humanity must yield to norms which are compatible with human dignity. No country can be denied such a right.

You want vision? Obama’s predecessor surrounded himself with visionaries. Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz, products of the Cold War one and all, certainly fancied themselves large-bore strategic thinkers. Busily positioning the United States to run (just another “i” and you have “ruin”) the world, they were blindsided by 9/11. Unembarrassed and unchastened by this disaster, they initiated a series of morally dubious, strategically boneheaded moves that were either (take your pick) going to spread freedom and democracy or position the United States to exercise permanent dominion. The ensuing Global War on Terror did neither, of course, while adding trillions to the national debt and helping fracture great expanses of the planet. Obama is still, however ineffectually, trying to clean up the mess they created.
Dear younger people below the age of 18

Nothing makes me happier than seeing teens passionately preach about equal rights, including abortion rights, gay rights, trans rights, women’s rights, minority rights, etc.  I remember being passionate about this stuff when I was 17 and turning 18 was a big deal for me because I could finally vote.

I was able to vote in my first election after I turned 19.  This is the disturbing reality I discovered.

Many, MANY young people do NOT vote.

Many people believe it doesn’t matter, and that they aren’t going to make a difference.

Who does vote? Old. White. Men.  

Republicans are currently dominating because young, liberal people simple are not voting.

Please understand that your vote MATTERS ESPECIALLY  IN STATE ELECTIONS.

Do not be lazy, make the effort.  Go out and vote when the time comes around.  State elections AFFECT YOU.  

Right now we have a very scary congress that is making it very difficult for women to get abortions.  A congress that DID NOT STAND UP WHEN OBAMA DISCUSSED EQUAL PAY FOR WOMEN AT THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

PLEASE VOTE.