Curry County Democrats Democrats of Curry County

Kruse Confused: Our State Senator Has Trouble Distinguishing Fact From Fiction

November 21, 2011 - Our state senator Jeff Kruse has often demonstrated a tenuous relationship with objective facts, but rarely has he compressed such extreme factual wrongness in so few words as he did in a single short paragraph from his November 16, 2011, email newsletter.

Here's the paragraph in question:

State Senator Jeff Kruse"Finally we get to Congressman DeFazio. Keep in mind this is the man who introduced legislation to tax every bank transaction you make. To be clear this would mean every time you make a deposit, withdrawal or even wrote a check you would pay a tax. The Congressman basically said if DC had more money the problems would be solved. He then went on to say the rich needed to pay their fair share (the theme from the Occupy Wall Street folks). Here is a fact you will never see in the media. If the government confiscated ALL of the assets of the richest 1%, and they could only do it once, the amount of money collected would not run this government for even two weeks. So please tell me how “taxing the rich” solves any problems?”

Senator Kruse makes two claims of fact in this paragraph: (1) Congressman Defazio “introduced legislation to tax every bank transaction you make”, and (2) “If the government confiscated ALL of the assets of the richest 1% … the amount of money collected would not run this government for even two weeks.”

These statements are a lies and we are tempted to call Senator Kruse a liar, but that would imply that Senator Kruse deliberately distributed incorrect information. That would be giving him too much credit.

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World's Largest #Occupy Demonstration is Held in Curry County

Occupy Port OrfordOctober 17, 2011 - On Saturday October 15 the world's largest #Occupy demonstration so far took place right here in Curry County in the north county town of Port Orford. Event organizer Gary Wickham reports that about 100 people gathered for the first Occupy Port Orford event at the chain link fence in front of the Driftwood Elementary School playground in an exuberant and peaceful demonstration supporting economic justice for the 99 percent of Americans who have been left behind by the American economic and political system over the last 30 years.

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President Obama Proposes Tax Increase for the Wealthy, Rejects Republican "Class Warfare" Rhetoric

September 19, 2011
Obama Proposes Tax Increase for the WelathyWhenever anyone suggests that taxes should be increased for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations, the Republicans roll out their focus group tested line about class warfare. It's not class warfare to ask those who have benefited the most from American society to pay their far share to support it.


"I reject the idea that asking a hedge fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare."

Watch the Video

Read the transcript HERE.

President Obama Addresses Congress on Job Creation

September 8, 2011
President Obama addresses a joint session of Congress to introduce his proposal to address continuing high unimployment in the wake of the Great Recession. He presented to Congress a multi-part plan to create jobs and stimulate the economy while rebuilding the America's crumbline infrastructure. From The People's View:

The plan the president put forward was simple but ambitious, big but shovel ready, and just what the country was hungry for. But let's keep something mind: the speech and the proposal the president delivered was a tremendous victory for the simple idea that the only way to permanently grow the economy is to create demand.

...

The President went big. $450 billion big. And not with useless tax breaks. Where he gave tax breaks to business, he tied them directly to job creation and challenged businesses and their Congressional benefactors to defy him. $240 billion in payroll tax cuts for employees and employers. $140 billion to build roads, bridges, schools, railways, and airports. The rest to help states save jobs of teachers and firefighters, and to create incentives for every job created for business.

Watch the whole speach:

Read the transcript here.

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Wyden, Merkley, and DeFazio Team Up to Protect the Chetco River from Destructive Suction Dredging


Curry Coastal PilotJuly 15, 2011
Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Congressman DeFazio have long championed efforts to  protect the Chetco River from gold dredging operators who want to exploit our river for short term profits. These operators to use destructive suction dredges to extract gold from the river bed.

The Curry Coastal Pilot has the details:

Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, along with Rep. Peter DeFazio, on Monday wrote Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, urging them to honor a Forest Service commitment a year ago to protect 19 miles of the National Wild and Scenic Chetco River with an administrative withdrawal.

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Nuclear Reactor Meltdown Possible
Speical Art Robinson Edition

Art Robinson: Nuclear power is "inexpensive, clean, and safe."

We feel compelled to point out that Art Robinson, the Republican candidate who ran against Congressman Peter DeFazio in the in the 2010 election, is an enthusiastic advocate of nuclear power. He presents himself as an expert on nuclear energy and describes nuclear power as "inexpensive, clean, and safe."

But don't worry, in case an accident happens Art Robinson says nuclear radiation is good for you!

Robinson has indicated that he will again challenge Peter DeFazio in 2012.

June 26, 2011 - Update
It only gets worse. The Asia Times reports that the Fukushima nuclear crisis is the biggest  industrial disaster in history and is even worse that Chernobyl.

Yet, as we are now slowly coming to realize, Fukushima is worse than Chernobyl. In a revealing recent feature article published by al-Jazeera, Dahr Jamail conveys the comments of Arnold Gundersen, a senior former nuclear industry executive in the United States.

"Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind," Gundersen asserts. "We have 20 nuclear cores exposed, the fuel pools have several cores each, that is 20 times the potential to be released than Chernobyl ... The data I'm seeing shows that we are finding hot spots further away than we had from Chernobyl, and the amount of radiation in many of them was the amount that caused areas to be declared no-man's-land for Chernobyl. We are seeing square kilometers being found 60 to 70 kilometers away from the reactor. You can't clean all this up."

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What Have Oregon Democrats Been Up To This Month?

DPO logoProtecting whistleblowers in the intelligence community

Creating the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange to help small businesses and insure all Oregonians starting in 2014

Requiring hospitals to help women who suffer from post-partum depression

Ensuring that convenience stores can't sell tobacco to children

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Senators Wyden and Merkley Team Up to Defend American Civil Liberties

Senator Ron WydenSenator Ron Wyden
Senator Jeff Merkley
Senator Jeff Merkley

May 31, 2011
Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO) are taking a taking a principled stand in support of American civil liberties, and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is helping them.

According to Senators Wyden and Udall, the Patriot Act (which was recently renewed by Congress) has two interpretations: a public interpretation based on a direct reading of the text of the act and a secret interpretation known only to a the Executive Branch and a few members of congress. In other words, the Patriot Act is a secret law. Wyden and Udall can't discuss specifics because they learned about the secret interpretation in classified meetings. That's where Senator Merkley (D-OR)  comes in. Joan McCarter at Daily Kos has the details:

The extension of the PATRIOT Act won't be the end, apparently, of Senate action on the "secret law" the administration is using to conduct surveillance that Wyden and Udall warn is not supported by the PATRIOT Act. That's demonstrated by a colloquy on the Senate floor engaged by Wyden, Udall and Diane Feinsten detailed here by Marcy Wheeler. The colloquy followed a meeting the night before which also included Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). Underneath all the Senate "blather," there are strong indications that Wyden and Udall will force the government to admit how it's suveilling Americans, or comply with existing law.

...

Merkely could make that discussion public, which is why his presence in these meetings and in the colloquy is important.

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Political Correction Fact Checks the Sunday Shows

Political CorrectionMay 23, 2011
As usual, the Sunday Political talking head shows were a forum for the dissemination of right-wing misinformation. Political Correction sets the record straight:

The absurd ginned-up right-wing outrage over President Obama's reiteration of a long-standing tenet of mainstream Middle East peace plans continued on Sunday morning, even as the president drew applause from the crowd at AIPAC for repeating his call for a Palestinian state based on "the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps." Newt Gingrich, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) each misrepresented the president's words in order to attack him.

... plus 11 more.

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Political Correction Fact Checks the Sunday Shows

Political CorrectionMay 16, 2011
As usual, the Sunday Political talking head shows were a forum for the dissemination of right-wing misinformation. Political Correction sets the record straight:

CLAIM: Rep. Ryan Claimed "The Whole Reason" The Debt Limit Needs To Be Raised Is Spending From "The Last Two Years"

...


FACT: Congress Raised The Debt Limit 7 Times Under President Bush BECAUSE Of "The Drivers Of Our Debt" — Bush's Tax Cuts And Wars

... plus 11 more.

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John McCain Demolishes the Republican's Immoral Position Favoring Torture

May 12, 2011
The Republicans like torture, or as they are fond of calling it "enhanced interrogation techniques." So in an effort to salvage something good (for Republicans) from President Obama's success in eliminating the most dangerous terrorist leader in the world, the Republicans are claiming that these "enhanced interrogation techniques" provided the information that lead to Osama bin Laden's compound. This is just another Republican lie.

Speaking at length on the Senate floor John McCain demolishes the Republican's argument on both factual and moral grounds.

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post provides an extended excerpt of McCain's remarks:

The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. We did not first learn from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed the real name of bin Laden’s courier, or his alias, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the man who ultimately enabled us to find bin Laden. The first mention of the name Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, as well as a description of him as an important member of Al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country. The United States did not conduct this detainee’s interrogation, nor did we render him to that country for the purpose of interrogation. We did not learn Abu Ahmed’s real name or alias as a result of waterboarding or any ‘enhanced interrogation technique’ used on a detainee in U.S. custody. None of the three detainees who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts, or an accurate description of his role in Al-Qaeda.

In fact, not only did the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed not provide us with key leads on bin Laden’s courier, Abu Ahmed; it actually produced false and misleading information. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed specifically told his interrogators that Abu Ahmed had moved to Peshawar, got married, and ceased his role as an Al-Qaeda facilitator — which was not true, as we now know. All we learned about Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti through the use of waterboarding and other ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ against Khalid Sheik Mohammed was the confirmation of the already known fact that the courier existed and used an alias.

I have sought further information from the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and they confirm for me that, in fact, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee — information describing Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti’s real role in Al-Qaeda and his true relationship to Osama bin Laden — was obtained through standard, non-coercive means, not through any "enhanced interrogation technique."

In short, it was not torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees that got us the major leads that ultimately enabled our intelligence community to find Osama bin Laden. I hope former Attorney General Mukasey will correct his misstatement. It’s important that he do so because we are again engaged in this important debate, with much at stake for America’s security and reputation. Each side should make its own case, but do so without making up its own facts.

Emphasis in blue is ours.

When the facts aren't on their side -- as is often the case -- the Republicans have no qualms about lying.

Political Correction Fact Checks the Sunday Shows

Political CorrectionMay 12, 2011
As usual, the Sunday Political talking head shows were a forum for the dissemination of right-wing misinformation. Political Correction sets the record straight:

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Best Job Growth Since 2006

May 6, 2011
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that April had the best private sector job growth since 2006.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 244,000 in April, and the private sector added 268,000 jobs. Employment rose in a number of service- providing industries, manufacturing, and mining. Since a recent low in February 2010, total payroll employment has grown by 1.8 million. Private sector employment has increased by 2.1 million over the same period.

Job Growth/Loss 

We have a long way to go before America recovers from the Great Recession of 2008, but the trend is in the right direction. Let's hope the recovery isn't derailed by the Republican's Hooveresque austerity plan (See below: "The Economist: 'Paul Ryan's roadmap to recession'").

The Economist: "Paul Ryan's roadmap to recession"

May 5, 2011
The EconomistRyan Avent of The Economist takes a look at the Republican economic plan authored by Congressman Paul Ryan's and doesn't like what he sees. His post on The Economists' blog Free Exchange is titled "Paul Ryan's roadmap to recession," and he means it.

He starts out by saying:

I've just gotten back from a breakfast event this morning sponsored by the American Council for Capital Formation. The guest of honour was Paul Ryan, chairman of the House budget committee and leading Republican policy wonk. Mr Ryan has received a great deal of attention for his ambitious plans to address America's long-term budget and health system difficulties, and he is now a central figure in ongoing debates over the debt ceiling. But less well known are his views on current macroeconomic policy. And that's unfortunate, because they're terrible.

And ends like this:

Mr Ryan's views are at odds with economic history and at odds with prevailing views of economic policy. They're untethered from economic reality. And no matter how charmingly he delivers them—and he is an engaging, funny speaker—they're a path to disaster. Ryanomics is a recipe for the return of recession.

The part in between is definitely worth reading, too.

Among his other criticism Alvert points out that the Ryan and the Republicans are inexplicably worried about inflation in an economic environment in which both economists and the market itself point to an annual inflation rate of less than 2 percent for the next decade. This reminds us of the immortal words of Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression:

We are speeding down the road of wasteful spending and debt, and unless we can escape, we will be smashed in inflation.

Needless to say, it was Franklin Roosevelt's "wasteful spending and debt" that finally got us out of the Great Depression that had been prolonged and amplified by Hoover's Republican austarity.

As the saying goes, those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repat it. It seems that Ryan and the Republicans haven't learned the lessons of the Great Depression and are determined to implement economic policies that are doomed to repeat it.

Definitely read the whole article.

Political Correction Fact Checks the Sunday Shows

Political CorrectionAs usual, the Sunday Political talking head shows were a forum for the dissemination of right-wing misinformation. Political Correction sets the record straight:

CLAIM: Rep. Bachmann Insisted That We Can Pay Interest On The Debt Without Raising The Debt Ceiling And No Harm Will Come To The Economy

...

FACT: Economists Say That Even If We Did Not Default, Failing To Raise The Debt Limit Would Indeed Cause An Economic Catastrophe

... plus nine more.

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Conservatives Get It Wrong Again About Oregon's Business Climate

COST - Ernst & YoungConservative Republicans believe -- and are happy to tell everyone -- that Oregon has a hostile business climate, and Oregon's tax structure discourages business investment. As we've pointed out previously, this happens to not be true.

Now still another report debunks this Republican myth. A report released this month titled Competitiveness of state and local business taxes on new investment Ranking states by tax burden on new investment (PDF) prepared by Ernst & Young LLP in conjunction with the Council On State Taxation (COST) provides a state-by-state ranking of state and local taxes as applied to new investment. Their conclusion: Oregon has the second lowest tax rate in the nation on new investments.

The Oregon Center for Public Policy addresses the significance of this study in light of recent budget proposals in the state legislature and the constant Republican pressure to roll back the modest business tax increase from Measure 67 which was approved by the voters in 2010:

“This study is further proof that it would be a serious mistake for Oregon lawmakers to reduce business tax rates or grant yet more corporate tax subsidies,” said Chuck Sheketoff, executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. “Oregon business taxes are already low, and the loss of revenue would only harm Oregonians and the state’s business climate.”

...

As the COST study arrives, Oregon lawmakers are contemplating a number of bills that would grant more tax preferences for corporations and well-off Oregonians. Proponents claim that such tax changes will attract new investment in Oregon.

Among these are several proposals to give preferential tax treatment to income from capital gains, as well as tax-credit subsidies to insurance companies, real estate developers and corporations that undertake research and development.

But according to Sheketoff, the study released today by a lobbying arm of some of the nation’s largest corporations shows that “corporations in Oregon are getting off easy when it comes to helping fund important public services from which corporations themselves benefit.”

Sheketoff also argued that the legislature should leave alone Measure 67, approved by the voters last year. Some lawmakers are proposing to repeal or weaken the measure, which modestly increased the tax rate on profitable corporations and set a new corporate minimum tax.

Oregon needs to use its resources to invest in programs and infrastructure that create new jobs and a sustainable future, not to fund more tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations.

Oregon Senate Health Care Bill is a Handout to Insurance Companies

Blue OregonCarla Axtman of Blue Oregon reports on Oregon Senate Bill 99, which would set up a health insurance exchange as a "public corporation" to provide health insurance access to uninsured Oregonians. She calls the bill "lousy sausage."

The analogy that the ins and outs of creating public policy is akin to making sausage is an apt one. Alas, just as it takes the right combination of key ingredients to make good sausage, so it goes with public policy. When one of those ingredients is missing or the combination is wrong....well, it's not so good.

The bill's supporters intend it to provide a "market-based solution" to leverage the buying power of hundreds of thousands of consumers and businesses to help lower health insurance rates and provide better coverage for uninsured Oregonians. But as Bill Graves points out in the Oregonian, the bill defeats its main goal by prohibiting the exchange from negotiating lower rates with insurance providers.

Consumer groups, unions and nonprofit organizations, including AARP and Children First for Oregon, said they opposed the bill because it would allow a conflict of interest by letting two members of the exchange's nine-member governing board be insurance company employees. They also said the bill does not allow the board to uses the clout of the exchange's collective membership to negotiate lower premium prices from insurers.

Axtman describes the bill's fatal flaw and how it became part of the bill:

The conflict of interest piece raised by AARP and Children First for Oregon should be a red flag for Senators all on its own. But barring the negotiation of lower premiums from insurers ought to be a nonstarter for Oregon legislators. The exchange is supposed to leverage the buying power of consumers and small businesses to lower costs. But this bill seems little better than the status quo. Apparently, there's a talented group of health care lobbyists working things in Salem. Sources tell me that lobbyists convinced the committee to insert language in the bill effectively prohibiting the exchange from using any type of bidding process to increase competition between insurers.

Without the ability to negotiate rates the bill is clearly just another give away to corporate interest -- in this case the health insurance industry.

President Obama's Budget Plan:
Cut Spending and Increase Revenue

President Obama lays out his plan to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years and to ensure America's future wealth and prosperity in a speech at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Today, President Obama gave a speech at the George Washington University and laid out his plan for a balanced approach to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over twelve years, based on the values of shared responsibility and shared prosperity. The President’s approach borrows from the Bipartisan Fiscal Commission and builds on $1 trillion in deficit reductions in the President’s 2012 budget.

The President’s Framework focuses on four key pillars:

Budget Cuts.  The President’s approach builds on the compromise reached last week and will save us $770 billion over twelve years.

Security Spending.  Working with Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen we will find $400 billion in defense savings by 2023 while ensuring that our troops have the resources they need to protect our national security.

Health Care Costs. The President’s approach to reforming Medicare and Medicaid keeps our commitments to seniors, people with disabilities, and children while reducing health care spending.  By 2023, these reforms will help us save $480 billion and an additional $1 trillion in the decade after that.

Tax Reform. The President’s approach would eliminate the Bush tax cuts and limit itemized deductions for the wealthiest 2% of Americans – reducing the deficit by $320 billion over ten years. The President is also calling on Congress to reform the individual tax code so that the amount of taxes you pay isn’t determined by what kind of accountant you can afford.

Check out this fact sheet to learn more about the details of the President’s framework.

Read a transcript of the speech here.

Now, to their credit, one vision has been presented and championed by Republicans in the House of Representatives and embraced by several of their party’s presidential candidates.  It’s a plan that aims to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and one that addresses the challenge of Medicare and Medicaid in the years after that.

These are both worthy goals.  They’re worthy goals for us to achieve.  But the way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known certainly in my lifetime.  In fact, I think it would be fundamentally different than what we’ve known throughout our history. 

A 70 percent cut in clean energy.  A 25 percent cut in education.  A 30 percent cut in transportation.  Cuts in college Pell Grants that will grow to more than $1,000 per year.  That’s the proposal.  These aren’t the kind of cuts you make when you’re trying to get rid of some waste or find extra savings in the budget.  These aren’t the kinds of cuts that the Fiscal Commission proposed.  These are the kinds of cuts that tell us we can’t afford the America that I believe in and I think you believe in. 

I believe it paints a vision of our future that is deeply pessimistic.  It’s a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can’t afford to fix them.  If there are bright young Americans who have the drive and the will but not the money to go to college, we can’t afford to send them. 

...

And worst of all, this is a vision that says even though Americans can’t afford to invest in education at current levels, or clean energy, even though we can’t afford to maintain our commitment on Medicare and Medicaid, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy.  Think about that.

In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90 percent of all working Americans actually declined.  Meanwhile, the top 1 percent saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each.  That’s who needs to pay less taxes?

They want to give people like me a $200,000 tax cut that’s paid for by asking 33 seniors each to pay $6,000 more in health costs.  That’s not right.  And it’s not going to happen as long as I’m President.

...

So today, I’m proposing a more balanced approach to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 12 years.  It’s an approach that borrows from the recommendations of the bipartisan Fiscal Commission that I appointed last year, and it builds on the roughly $1 trillion in deficit reduction I already proposed in my 2012 budget.  It’s an approach that puts every kind of spending on the table -- but one that protects the middle class, our promise to seniors, and our investments in the future. 

President Obama Lays Out His Administration's Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future

The United States of America cannot afford to bet our long-term prosperity, our long-term security on a resource that will eventually run out, and even before it runs out will get more and more expensive to extract from the ground.  We can’t afford it when the costs to our economy, our country, and our planet are so high.  Not when your generation needs us to get this right.  It’s time to do what we can to secure our energy future.

...

Now, even if we increase domestic oil production, that is not going to be the long-term solution to our energy challenge.  I give out this statistic all the time, and forgive me for repeating it again:  America holds about 2 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves.  What that means is, is that even if we drilled every drop of oil out of every single one of the reserves that we possess -- offshore and onshore -- it still wouldn’t be enough to meet our long-term needs.  We consume about 25 percent of the world’s oil.  We only have 2 percent of the reserves.  Even if we doubled U.S. oil production, we’re still really short.

So the only way for America’s energy supply to be truly secure is by permanently reducing our dependence on oil.  We’re going to have to find ways to boost our efficiency so we use less oil.  We’ve got to discover and produce cleaner, renewable sources of energy that also produce less carbon pollution, which is threatening our climate.  And we’ve got to do it quickly.

Read the full blueprint HERE.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid On Social Security: "It is not an emergency"

Somehow the Republicans have convinced the majority of Americans, including many Democrats, that Social Security is in trouble and that it's a big part of the federal budget deficit. To put it bluntly, that's an outright lie. Oregon senator Jeff Merkley addressed this issue in a recent town hall meeting in Port Orford:

We do not have a Social Security trust fund problem in this country, so why do we keep hearing about it?  Because, there are powerful forces that want to privatize it because they can get huge fees if we can move funds into the private equity market.

Senator Harry Reid isn't buying the Republican lies, either. In an interview with MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, Majority Leader Reid again came to the defense of Social Security in the strongest possible terms:

I have said clearly and as many times as I can, leave Social Security alone. Social Security does not add a single penny, not a dime, a nickel, a dollar to the budget problems we have. Never has and for the next 30 years it won’t do that.

So it looks like Social Security is safe as long as Democrats remain in control of the Senate and Harry Ried is the Majority Leader.

Senator Jeff Merkley 2011 Curry County
Town Hall Meeting

On Saturday, February 19, 2011, Senator Jeff Merkley was greeted by a full house in the Port Orford City Council Chambers for a one-hour question and answer session. In response to citizen concerns, he addressed a range of issues, from Social Security to securing Federal timber payments for Oregon.

Senator Jeff MerkleyOn Social Security, in response to a retiree concerned about its solvency, Merkley stated that the program is solvent for 26 years and potentially much longer if Congress extends the limits on annual income that is subject to Social Security withholding. “We do not have a Social Security trust fund problem in this country,” he said, “so why do we keep hearing about it?  Because, there are powerful forces that want to privatize it because they can get huge fees if we can move funds into the private equity market.”

On the continuance of Federal timber payments to Oregon, Merkley announced he had successfully argued for continuance of those payments, which are now allocated in the president’s budget for 2012. On the overall health and status of Oregon’s timber industry, he added that he is advocating legislation that would release some lands for harvest, including a 10-year strategy for thinning harvestable areas, finding a “win-win” balance between environmental concerns and job-creating commercial interests.

To help create construction jobs, Merkley supports low-cost loans for energy-saving renovations for both homes and businesses. On energy issues in general, he went on to say, “We need to create energy in this country and pay for it in this country, rather than sending energy dollars overseas…We are spending a billion dollars a day on foreign oil.” He added that Brazil has already implemented a successful 20-year plan that enabled that country to free itself completely from foreign oil dependence. “We can do the same,” he said.

On education and infrastructure, the senator declared that “We must invest in infrastructure and education … We are becoming the first generation of parents in the history of the United States whose children are getting less education than we got.  That is absolutely the wrong way to go in an international economy where we are in competition with the whole world.”

Wrapping up the meeting, Senator Merkley expressed his grave concern about the recent Supreme Court decision (Citizens United), which made possible unlimited secret corporate donations to election campaigns. “That is absolutely wrong, that is the opposite of government of, for, and by the people, and we've got to find a way to take on and reverse the effects of Citizens United," he concluded.

Art Robinson Accuses OSU of Using His Children in a Politically Motivated Conspiracy Against Him

Art RobinsonArt Robinson, the former Republican candidate who unsuccessfully challenged incumbent congressman Peter DeFazio in the 2010 election cycle, is back in the news. KATU.com has the details. The title of their article says it all: "Art Robinson vs. Oregon State: 'I don’t have definitive proof'":

On a recently created website, Oregonstateoutrage.com, Robinson said “in retribution for my running against liberal socialist Peter DeFazio in the Oregon District 4 congressional election, DeFazio supporters at Democrat stronghold Oregon State University are trying to prevent three of my children from receiving their PhD degrees in nuclear engineering at OSU.”

. . .

In a statement issued Tuesday the university acknowledged Robinson’s campaign alleging that OSU is engaging in “political payback,” but said that the “allegations of political influence are baseless and false.”

This isn't the first time Robinson has accused an organization of engaging in a politically motivated conspiracy against him. During the 2010 congressional campaign he accused the Roseburg Chamber of Commerce and the DeFazio campaign of conspiring to exclude Robinson's supports from a debate hosted by the Chamber. In that instance the charges were proven to be baseless.

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Michael Moore: "America is NOT broke"

Award winning documentary film maker and progressive political activist Michael Moore gave a barn burner of a speech on Saturday in Madison, Wisconsin, before an enthusiastic crowd of tens of thousand of union supporters. His message: America is NOT broke.

"The country is awash in wealth and cash," Moore said. " It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich."

He's right, of course. The last three decades have seen a massive transfer of wealth from ordinary Americans to the super rich. As Moore points out, "Today just 400 Americans have the same wealth as half of all Americans combined."

Click HERE for a transcript of the speech.

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