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Too Much Irony In The Fire

A State Department press statement by Philip j. Crowley on December 7, 2010: U.S. to Host World Press Freedom Day in 2011

The United States is pleased to announce that it will host UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, from May 1 – May 3 in Washington, D.C. UNESCO is the only UN agency with the mandate to promote freedom of expression and its corollary, freedom of the press.

The theme for next year’s commemoration will be 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. The United States places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals’ right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information. We mark events such as World Press Freedom Day in the context of our enduring commitment to support and expand press freedom and the free flow of information in this digital age.

Highlighting the many events surrounding the celebration will be the awarding of the UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize at the National Press Club on May 3rd. This prize, determined by an independent jury of international journalists, honors a person, organization or institution that has notably contributed to the defense and/or promotion of press freedom, especially where risks have been undertaken.

I think the State Department is definitely hoping they don’t decide to give the prize to WikiLeaks. If they do, I have a feeling that Julian Assange won’t come to accept it.

December 9, 2010   6 Comments

Obama Told To Stuff It

On CNN Ticker – the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives has refused to bring up Obama’s deal.

Maybe Obama should have included a few Democrats in his negotiations, instead of just springing this on them as a “done deal”. Maybe someone should direct Obama to the Constitution and the concept of the separation of powers. Maybe someone should explain the concept of negotiations to the White House.

Update for clarity: The caucus has voted against the proposal. Speaker Pelosi may still move a bill with those provisions to the floor of the House, but a majority of Dems have already said “no”, and it is unlikely that the Republicans can make up the votes to pass it. Pelosi would face problems with her role as minority leader in the new Congress if she moves the bill, which will apparently have to be proposed by a Republican.

Update 2: Pelosi will abide by the decision of the caucus and will not hold a vote on the bill without “changes”.

An aside to Obama: this is called reality. Cutting deals without involving the Democratic Congressional leaders has consequences. The White House really screwed up on this.

December 9, 2010   4 Comments

Even Uglier

McClatchy reports Obama’s deal will raise taxes for some low-income workers

… the proposal eliminates the “Making Work Pay” tax credit that was originally part of President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus package and reduced Americans’ taxes by up to $400 for an individual or $800 for a couple.

When comparing the Social Security reduction versus the current tax credit, middle- and upper-income Americans will fare far better under the new proposal. But some lower-income workers won’t.

The break-even point is $20,000 for an individual and $40,000 for a couple. All other things being equal, make less than those figures in a year, and your taxes will go up come Jan. 1, 2011. Make more and they’ll go down.

I assume that Obama’s next move will be to reduce the representation of a working class person in the Census to three-fifths of that of a wealthy person, and he will pass it by restricting to the vote to property owners to get the Tea Party to agree. 😈

Aside: Larry Summers is warning that a failure to pass this turkey could lead to a double-dip recession. Sorry, Larry, but your brain-dead under-sizing of the stimulus package, and including too many tax cuts, instead of real stimulus, guaranteed a double-dip recession when the original program ran out.

December 9, 2010   6 Comments