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THE DAILY CALLER: REACTION: NSA changes not possible without Snowden

President Barack Obama announced Friday significant changes to National Security Agency permissions and policies — changes that the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) says never would have occurred were it not for the actions of agency leaker Edward Snowden.

“Obama’s announcement today would not have been possible without Edward Snowden,” committee organizer Karissa Gerhke said in a statement Friday. He is a hero and a whistle-blower, and deserves clemency.”

The PCCC has raised more than $45,000 via the Edward Snowden Legal Defense Fund while advocating for Snowden’s pardon.

CNN: At progressive gathering, hints of anxiety about Obama

Across the hall from Paul’s display, staffers from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a 1 million-member advocacy group founded by two former organizers, was doing a brisk business handing out blue-and-white bumper stickers declaring, “I’m from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.”

Warren, the senator from Massachusetts who endeared herself to the left by pushing for student loan reform and greater Wall Street regulation, long ago surpassed Obama as a darling of the left, said Adam Green, a co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

MCCLATCHY: Obama’s bid to squeeze Social Security enrages his core backers

Prominent liberal activists – among them groups, such as and Democracy for America, that helped Obama gain re-election in November – view his willingness to reduce future Social Security payments as a betrayal of core Democratic commitments to help the needy and ease the burdens of old age. The groups are vowing to run primary challengers against Democratic members of Congress who back the president’s controversial quest. “Social Security is a key part of the Democratic legacy and a vital lifeline to millions of Americans,” Stephanie Taylor, a co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told McClatchy on Thursday. “Any Democrat who votes for such a plan should be ready for a primary challenge.”

Obama Campaigned On Rejecting ‘Any Plan That Slashes Social Security Benefits’

There are now multiple press reports that President Obama will agree to a fiscal deal that enacts a so-called “Chained CPI” to calculate Social Security and veterans’ benefits. Under this plan, “a person age 75 in the future will get a yearly benefit thatai??i??s $653 lower after ten years of chained CPI than that person would get under the current formula. An 85-year-old will have $1,139 less to live on.” This represents a huge cut to benefits.

But during the presidential campaign, the Obama team swore up and down that it would not agree to slashing Social Security benefits. Here’s an October 6th statement:

President Obama will under no circumstances agree to put your retirement at risk by privatizing Social Security,Ai??and he will reject any plan that slashes Social Security benefits.

And his campaign web site said “no current beneficiaries should see their benefits reduced” and that the “administration will not accept an approach that slashes benefits for future generations”:

President Obama should keep his promise to the 61 million Americans who voted for him and back off of his proposal to cut Social Security benefits.

We set up an ActBlue page to highlight and reward bold progressive members of Congress who are speaking out publicly today.Ai??Check them out and donate $3 to them here.

Click here to pledge to hold any Democrat who agrees to a deal that cuts Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits accountable.

Click here to call your Member of Congress and demand that they oppose this bad deal.



SALON: Progressives get ready to push the President

Led by the AFL-CIO, the progressives have presented a united front on two basic demands: No cuts to entitlement programs, and no reauthorization of the Bush tax cuts for higher income brackets. “If it’s bad for workers, it doesn’t matter to us who proposes it. We won’t be on board. We won’t be taken for granted,” Richard Trumka, the AFL-CIO’s president recently told Salon’s Josh Eidelson. “Some people in the White House think that compromise and bipartisanship for its own sake is a principle the American people will admire,” said Adam Green, the co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which boosts liberals in primary fights against moderate Democrats. “But there’s good compromises and there’s bad compromises, and if he cuts Social Security or Medicare, that would just be a huge betrayal of the mandate the American people gave him.” Green said his group would “absolutely” mobilize against the president, including running TV ads, if it looks like he’s going to cut a bad deal. During a previous fight with Congress over taxes in 2010, the PCCC ran TV ads hitting Obama by merely repeating his own words opposing the Bush tax cuts.

Here’s Proof That Mitt Romney Does Believe Government Creates Jobs

An image from a Romney ad.

Last night, during the presidential debates, Mitt Romney responded to Barack Obama talking about government investment in the economy by mocking the idea that “government creates jobs”:



OBAMA: And when we talk about deficits, if we’re adding to our deficit for tax cuts for folks who don’t need them and we’re cutting investments in research and science that will create the next Apple, create the next new innovation that will sell products around the world, we will lose that race. If we’re not training engineers to make sure that they are equipped here in this country, then companies won’t come here. Those investments are what’s going to help to make sure that we continue to lead this world economy not just next year, but 10 years from now, 50 years from now, a hundred years from now.

MS. CROWLEY:Ai??Thanks, Mr. President.

Governor Romney ai??i??

MR. ROMNEY:Ai??Government does not create jobs. Government does not create jobs. (Chuckles.)

Watch it:

Later in the debate, Obama failed to defend the notion that government creates jobs. He replied, ” I think a lot of this campaign, maybe over the last four years, has been devoted to this notion that I think government creates jobs, that that somehow is the answer. That’s not what I believe.”

But it’s very easy to defend the idea that government creates jobs. Just turn to one of its proponents — Mitt Romney. Here’s an ad he’s running in Virginia. It claims that Obama’s defense cuts — actually defense cuts caused by possible sequestration that Republicans themselves helped bring on — “threaten over 130,000 jobs”:

The only way that defense cuts can threaten jobs is if government creates jobs. Mitt Romney is clearly being hypocritical, and he knows as well as anyone else …

The Presidential Debate Commission Is Chaired By Corporate Lobbyists, Funded By Corporations

(Photo credit: Flickr user DonkeyHotey)

Americans have faith in the presidential debates to be wide-ranging discussions that probe the candidates’ views and hold them accountable to the public. And for much of recent history, that’s what these debates were. From 1976 to 1984, the League of Women Voters held debates renowned for their fiercely independent moderators and transparent process.

But in more recent years, the debates have been held by an organization called the “Commission on Presidential Debates,” (CPD) which tightly controls the process by choosing moderators and questions.

Here’s one little known fact about the CPD — it’s chaired by corporate lobbyists. One of the chairmen isAi??Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., who was once a Republican National Convention chairman but now works as a gambling industry lobbyist. The other chairman is Michael D. McCurry, who is a former press secretary for Bill Clinton. He now works as a “partner at Public Strategies Washington, Inc., where he provides counsel on communications strategies and management to corporate and non-profit clients.” Given the loopholes in our lobbying laws, McCurry doesn’t even have to disclose his clients, but we do know that in 2006 he spearheaded the Hands Off The Internet campaign that was designed to kill net neutrality on behalf of big telecom companies.

Every year, CPD also opens up the debates to corporate sponsors. Here’s the list of this year’s sponsors:

Anheuser-Busch Companies
The Howard G. Buffett Foundation
Sheldon S. Cohen, Esq.
Crowell & Moring LLP
International Bottled Water Association (IBWA)
The Kovler Fund
Southwest Airlines

With a sponsorship list like that, don’t be surprised if we don’t see questions critical of the industries listed. But this year’s list is relatively tame. In the past, theAi??tobaccoAi??industry, AT&T, and others have all been sponsors.

Here’s one last interesting tidbit about the debates. …

Five Important Issues That Haven’t Come Up Once In The Presidential Debates

Will Obama and Romney be asked about any of these issues? (Photo credit: Flickr user DonkeyHotey)

Last night’s vice presidential debate marked the second debate between the Romney-Ryan ticket and the Obama-Biden campaign. There are two presidential debates left to go, and both will be between Obama and Romney.

These debates are supposed to serve to educate Americans about the differences between the candidates. But we’ve done a review of the questions asked at the debates and we’ve found five important issues that have yet to come up at all. Here’s the list, in no particular order:

Labor Unions: In the three hours of debate so far between the two campaigns, labor unions have not come up once. In a question related to education, Romney didn’t even resort to his normal teacher-bashing by attacking teachers unions. The absence of unions from the debate is stunning, given that research shows that the decline of unions in America has corresponded with the decline of the middle class.
Economic Inequality: The word “inequality” didn’t arise once during the two debates. The moderators did not ask about the growing class divide in America nor the candidates’ solution to the problem.
Climate Change: There hasn’t been a single question asked about global warming. This is at a time when scientists are predicting that entire island nations like the Maldives will disappear thanks to rising sea levels.
The Drug War: The drug war is one of America’s greatest failings, and it’s estimated that half of our prison population is nonviolent drug offenders. But the issue simply didn’t arise during the debates.
LGBT Equality: President Obama was the first sitting president ever to endorse marriage equality, but you wouldn’t know it by watching the debates. The Obama-Biden ticket was …