Bob Corker Kills the Catfood Commission

The catfood commission (aka Obama’s deficit commission) is dead.

Well, it must be, right?

After all, that great figure of Beltway-corporatism-posing-as-moderation, Bob Corker, has decreed that we shall pass no legislation during a post election lame duck session.

Corker called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), the Democratic leaders in their respective chambers, to make a similar pledge.

“I think for Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to say the same thing — that they’re not going to try to use the lame-duck session as a place to do things that otherwise would not pass,” he said. “That type of thinking, that concern about … cap-and-trade and other types of policies just feeds into this whole unpredictability issue, the issue of what’s going to happen in Washington. We need to move away from that uncertainty.”

And that’s precisely when the Obama Administration plans to implement the catfood commission’s cuts on social security.

White House officials are working closely with the president’s new fiscal commission in the hope that the bipartisan commissions final report will provide Republican cover for the deal. The commission, due to report by December 1, needs fourteen out of its eighteen members to make an official recommendation. One hope of the deficit hawks is that a super-majority report could steamroll a lame duck session of Congress to act quickly, pending a more Republican Congress in January.

If someone like Corker won’t play along with the plan to cut social security, then it’s unlikely to get the mix of Republicans and deficit hawk Democrats they’ll need to pass the Commission recommendations.

So long as Corker keeps his word, then, about opposition to moving big legislation during the lame duck session, then social security should be safe.

  1. bmaz says:

    Well that’s a relief. Now Corker can get back to saving all those ultra valuable Chrysler dealerships in hollowed out, broken urban areas.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Come to Ohio, we’ll offer you humidity in the bargain. For your convienence, we keep both at the same number whenever possible.

      Boxturtle (currently they’re at 93)

      • PJEvans says:

        In the winter, do you have negative humidity?

        (I read about a weatherman on a mountain at the edge of the Mojave Desert, who was getting a way-below-zero dewpoint (proably during a Santa Ana condidtion) and his supervisor didn’t believe it. Had to fudge the numbers to get it passed.)

        • BoxTurtle says:

          Yeah, but that’s mainly for the tourists. They do it by counting the water from the burst pipes as a net loss against the humidity.

          Boxturtle (Before you ask, at 101 we start adding in the sweat)

          • PJEvans says:

            I’m in the NW San Fernando Valley. All of the months with ‘r’ in their name have wind. (Watching fires burn less than two miles away is interesting, but not fun.)

            I think we had some kind of front with tropical moisture come through today, though, the humidity is up to 44% inside and there are clouds over the mountains.

  2. qweryous says:

    Hope you are right- but I watched the clip and have some doubts about what he really intends to convey.

    ““I think for Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to say the same thing — that they’re not going to try to use the lame-duck session as a place to do things that otherwise would not pass,” he said.”

    The bold indicates one possible area of openness to ‘negotiate’.

    I wonder if Senator Corker wants to play…Lets Make a Deal (the commenter and commenter’s immediate family has no financial interest in the sales of these vehicles). Featured vehicles are far better than what the catfood commission will excrete.

  3. phred says:

    So long as Corker keeps his word

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha …

    That’s cute. Silly EW, IOKIYAR ; )

    So if the Reps get an opportunity to put a dent in SS/Medicare or at least get a chance to privatize them do you actually think that would pass that up?

    I think this is more of heads-I-win/tails-you-lose. They don’t want let Dems use the lame duck session to pass anything they don’t like, but that won’t stop them from passing anything they do like.

    The worst part is that the Dems will let them do exactly that. Useless gits.

  4. BoxTurtle says:

    I am distrustful of Corker. I translate his statement as “If you want to do this, you’re going to have to buy me. I await your opening offer.”

    Boxturtle (Especially since cutting SS is likely something he wants to do, IF he can avoid responsability)

    • phred says:

      I think Reps are gonna laugh all the way to the bank with the catfood commission. The Dems have been hell-bent on committing political suicide ever since King Obama donned the crown. Mucking about with SS/Medicare will finish the job and the Reps will inherit the political earth.

      Every time I think I cannot underestimate the stupidity of the Dems, I find myself proven wrong. When Jane first mentioned the catfood business I laughed (as properly denoted by a LOL, iirc). I could not believe that the current crop of Dems could possibly be that foolish. Yet, here we are…

      • PJEvans says:

        phred, it makes me want to write to the DNC and tell them that if they can’t (or won’t) help candidates who support their own effing party platform, and help those who insist on rolling back every social and safety net program that’s started in the last 80 years, they should at least do it as honest Republicans, and leave us liberals in possession of the Democratic Party that they seem to hate so much.

        • phred says:

          I agree completely. The neoliberals (Obama, Rahm, and all their little DLC chums) by destroying the Dem party from within make Rethug dominance of the political spectrum inevitable. It’s infuriating.

          If Republican policies are so stinkin’ popular, why don’t the Dems let the Reps implement them rather than doing it themselves? I would much rather see the Dems fight for the platform they campaign on and lose, then watch the endless capitulation. Capitulation leaves me no one to vote for within the party.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        Honestly, I don’t think anything will come from the catfood commission. SS is the third rail of American politics, and I think the most in terms of cuts we can expect is to raise the retirement age. Political survival will require they push the problen down the road.

        Boxturtle (I’d like to see the income limit go away as a first step)

        • phred says:

          Then why waste the energy? Why spend their political capital by even setting up their secretive little commission to conspire behind closed doors? Even having the commission meet tells the public that the federal government (and by extension the Dems) only care about corporations and not one whit about ordinary citizens. It is stupefying that Obama (the articulate political genius that he is supposed to be) does not get how bad this looks outside the Beltway.

          Like I said, I laughed it off when I first heard about it for the exact reason you mentioned — SS is the 3rd rail of politics. However, this has gone too far already, at the behest of Democrats, for me to be laughing now.

          • BoxTurtle says:

            Oh, I think they’re going to try, the catfood folks are just a way of giving elected officals clean hands.

            The GOP may well use the recommendations as a political club against the Dems rather than support it.

            The Dems may remember the little old lady on the hood of Rostenkowski’s car.

            Nothing is happening yet, because there’s nothing specific to fight.

            Boxturtle (AARP owns a few congrsscritters, too)

    • dude says:

      Boxturtle at 6

      I am distrustful of Corker. I translate his statement as “If you want to do this, you’re going to have to buy me. I await your opening offer.”

      Exactly right.

  5. scribe says:

    Corker is just laying down a marker so he can get some love (spelled g-r-a-f-t) before he rolls over. If it were later in the campaign season, he might be serious. Doing it in the middle of July, he’s looking for a payoff by doing it when only political junkies will notice it.

  6. tanbark says:

    I don’t know why Corker’s worried about Obama going all progressive-changey on him after November. Obama’s done practically jackshit in that direction for the first 18 months of his term.

  7. JohnLopresti says:

    I heard a guy on radio say Armey has a ss rollback plan for after November; however, CQ continues to depict a close call for which senate party will be in the majority, tho looks like dems, scroll partway downpage.

  8. papau says:

    LOL – the idea of the GOP and Corker as a savior of Social Security is a joke – right.

    The climate change bill is his concern – nothing more – and he wants nothing passed until the GOP increase their vote count.

    Meanwhile Obama is hot to screw Social Security while saving the (mainly for over 100,000 a year folks – even billionaires ) tax break for dividends and not removing the wage cap on Soc Sec

    • spanishinquisition says:

      “LOL – the idea of the GOP and Corker as a savior of Social Security is a joke – right.”

      If there’s a Lewinsky in Obama’s closet there might well be:
      Washington bipartisan elites have been working to weaken Social Security since the mid-Clinton Administration. Clinton, prodded by his Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, was on the verge of cutting a deal with Newt Gingrich to partially privatize America’s most successful retirement program.

      The intermediary was Clinton’s White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles. The same Bowles is now the co-chair of Obama’s fiscal commission — which also has designs on Social Security. Corporate Democrats keep turning up, like bad pennies.

      As I reported in my 2007 book, The Squandering of America, liberals can thank Monica Lewinsky for saving Social Security from that earlier bipartisan deal. Why? Because when the frisky Clinton was being impeached, and Congressional liberals were holding their noses and reluctantly saving him from ouster, they were in no mood to have him trash Social Security. New details have been reported in the recent book, The Pact, by Steven Gillon, about Clinton’s dealings with Gingrich.

      But what is it with Democrats like Bowles, Rubin, and Rubin’s protégé Peter Orszag, now director of the Office of Management and Budget and another of the deficit hawks who would weaken Social Security in order to cut the deficit? Don’t they get that Social Security, along with Medicare, is one of the Democrats’ crown jewels? Don’t they appreciate that two-thirds of elderly Americans depend on Social Security for at least half their income?

      As Nancy Altman pointed out earlier in this series, the argument that Social Security is adding to the federal deficit is a bum rap. Ever since Congress in 1983 acted to anticipate the retirement of the baby boom generation by raising Social Security taxes and pushing back the retirement age from 65 to 67, Social Security has contributed trillions of dollars to a government surplus. The intent was to pre-fund the additional cost of the boomers. George W. Bush pilfered that surplus for his wars and his tax cuts for the rich, but even so, Social Security is still in great shape for at least 30 more years.

      Social security taxes wages. Get wage growth back to historic postwar norms, and Social Security is in surplus forever. Restore the traditional fraction of wages that are taxed, so that affluent people do not get a free ride on part of their income, and the proclaimed crisis disappears. There is no need to further cut benefits, or further raise the retirement age, or raise taxes on working Americans. If only Citigroup’s balance sheet were as healthy as Social Security’s!

      So why the continued political threat to America’s best loved and most successful government program?

      The main reason is that Wall Street looks at all that money and imagines the fees that could be collected if it were diverted to private accounts. It’s no wonder that Democrats like Robert Rubin (Goldman Sachs and Citigroup) and Republicans like Peter G. Peterson (Blackstone Group) are the mainstays of the bipartisan crowd proclaiming a crisis of Social Security and promoting a cut in benefits, or privatization — both of which would produce more reliance on Wall Street products.

      • papau says:

        I am not getting old – I past that point a while ago – but as memory serves me know your book selection – The Pact, by Steven Gillon – is in error.

        Clinton never proposed – or planned with staff – a cut in Social Security.

        What was proposed was “America Saves” which was to be an additional voluntary payroll deduction (hence the confusion with SS payroll deductions) that would be accounted for by SS system with every SS paying person getting what might be called a match – only no contribution required to get the match – of 0.5% or so (hard to say where it would have ended up as Newt pulled out of the idea). The result would have been an additional “individual Account”, just like we have now in the SS records, but this time for the additional 401k like program. Where the assets would be invested was never decided or at least I never heard and I was “sort of in the loop” back then – or at least allowed to read the lobbyist reports.

        Your comment “The intent was to pre-fund the additional cost of the boomers. George W. Bush pilfered that surplus for his wars and his tax cuts for the rich, but even so, Social Security is still in great shape for at least 30 more years.” is a bit contradictory given that the “pilfered” Trust Fund is what keeps Social Security able to pay 100% of scheduled benefits for the 30 years you mention – so it can’t be pilfered.

        Your last paragraph on broker fees from SS was for the Bush replace SS with stock account plan problem. The only suggestion re investing in non-gov bonds, the way other nations do, was for the fund as a whole to do so. The thought on America Saves was a stock index fund manager with each SS managed America Saves account getting an allocated by contribution level piece of that fund. The investment choice was to be annual between gov bonds and the index funds (usual cost to run index fund about 25 basis points versus large individual fees under the Bush plan).

        Now Rubin/Greenspan were cut SS folks – perhaps Steven Gillon was referring to what the self-promoting Newt was saying about his meetings with these folks as proof of what “Clinton wanted”. If so I do not think anyone on FDL needs to be reminded that Newt lies.

  9. hijean831 says:

    So the plan, modeled closely on the work of the Peter G. Peterson foundation and the anticipated report of the president’s own fiscal commission, is a deal that includes cuts in Social Security plus a new Value Added Tax (VAT), in order to get deep cuts in the deficit. As a sweetener to get Republicans to back the VAT, White House officials would cut the corporate income tax.

    They call this a deal? Three Republican ideas, and you know they’ll agree to give up even more (Medicare rationing?) to get it passed – then the Rs will use it to spank the Ds for years to come. I’d give up eleventy dimensional chess for an honest player of checkers any day…

  10. Teddy Partridge says:

    GOP Slogan for 2012: “We Saved Social Security!”

    It could happen, and Corker’s bid sounds like the opening to me.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      See today’s Digby for comments, too. His son, an epileptic, was being admitted against his will following a suspected suicide attack. Doctors ordered security to prevent him leaving the emergency room; they complied by punching him, tearing his hair, and using their tasers. Whatever happened to requiring guards be physically fit and trained in martial arts restraints? Why the automatic use of 50,000 volts. One hopes Mr. Thomas will file civil charges for the excessive use of force.

      The catfood commission appears to be similarly addicted to violently overreacting to the wrong behavior.

      • skdadl says:

        and fatster @ 26: Where do the doctors get the power to order that a patient be held against his will — unless someone else holds PoA and the patient has been formally judged incapable, which is not the same thing as being suicidal?

        It’s true that emergency can’t be secure, so if someone needs to be restrained and legally can be, there are medical solutions. I’ve been in that situation as the person who held the PoA; if anyone had even suggested police, they would have had to restrain me too.

          • fatster says:

            Found this way down in a document that had to do with guns:

            “U.S. v. Giardina, 861 F.2d 1334 (5th Cir. 1988)
            Louisiana law provides for “admission by emergency certificate.” A doctor examines the patient and certifies mental illness or substance abuse, and dangerousness. This allows for transportation and admission to the hospital. Within 72 hours of admission, examination by a second doctor is required. If the patient is to be held beyond 15 days, there must be a judicial commitment.”


            I hope this helps, dear skdadl. Louisiana regs have got to be on line; I’m just not having any luck finding them.

    • papau says:

      re Justice Thomas’s nephew being tazed

      “admitted to the hospital on Thursday after becoming emotionally unstable”

      Amazing that the local New Orleans news does not have this factoid.

  11. econobuzz says:

    So long as Corker keeps his word, then, about opposition to moving big legislation during the lame duck session, then social security should be safe.

    Corker saves us from Barry. Who woulda thunk it?

  12. hijean831 says:

    Stacked headlines at HuffPo:

    Obama To Open Up 1.8 Million Alaskan Acres To Drilling

    Obama’s Broken Promise On Scientific Integrity

  13. arcadesproject says:

    I saw the Lehrer News Hour tonight on PBS. Ed Rendell spoke of the need to cut Social Security and of the need for having the political courage to do it. Seems to me it will take more political courage to oppose cuts, since both major parties and the MOTU support them.

    Q. Will the Democratic Party unite around a call to cut Social Security? And Medicare? Or will this be a rather tough sell, even with corporate media framing the argument? Will the grass roots rebel? Or will they just eat whatever they’re told to eat, send their contributions and keep their mouths shut?

    • phred says:

      That would be an excellent question to post at DKos, I suspect you will find your answer in the comment thread…

      • lucy2009 says:

        I’ve been on the DailyKos alot the last few days…..they’ll take it in the ass. Some will gripe, most won’t. Very Party Loyalist… a ridiculous level. God forbid you call them “sheep”…which I did, because they follow blindly along. Didn’t go over well. :) Feelings were so hurt they couldn’t even comment on the point of my post. It’s more of a emotional/group therapy setting than a blog in some aspects.

        To be fair, very nice people, but very different outlook on the Admin than the Firedoglake crowd!

        • phred says:

          That would be my guess, but I’m curious what it would take to get the DKos crowd to finally say, “that’s it – that’s too far”. Surely there must be a line that must not be crossed even for them. I just wonder where that line is… If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said SS/Medicare would be it. Now, I’m not so sure.

  14. boba says:

    Now Marcy I love you to the max and have so much respect for the hard work you do to keep us informed but it seems there is a lot of jumping to the conclusion that SS cuts are definitely going to be what comes out of this so called “cat food commission”. Have you actually seen solid evidence that 14 members would sign on to SS cuts rather than other revenue raising methods such as letting Bush’s tax cuts expire and raising the income level for SS? Just today President Obama was bad mouthing Angle at a Reid fundraiser for threatening to privatize SS and cut Medicare so is he just posturing or are we jumping the gun with our worst case scenarios here. What evidence do you have that there is enough support inside the commission to cut SS? I’m really curious.

    • BearCountry says:

      simpson and bowles are the co-chairs of the committee. simpson has tried in the past to cut SS and bowles is amenable. simpson has been interviewed many times on this subject, and he has said that SS, Medicare, and Medicaid are a going to cause a major wreck to the economy. There is nothing else that the commission is considering cutting and they are certainly not going to say that the bush tax for the rich should be ended. The military spending for equipment and war will not be questioned. simpson thinks that people that are opposed to cutting SS are just greedy and stupid.

      obamarahma is working as hard as he can to end the safety net for people who are not fortunate enough to be rich enough not to need help. Just as it took Nixon to open to China, it takes a dim president to end the legacy of FDR. If you still are unsure, there is a tremendous amount of writing on the subject here at FDL and other places. I’m surprised that you would still be in the dark.

      • boba says:

        I’ve read a lot of the doom sayers opinions here so am not in the dark at all. Just wanted Marcy’s solid evidence rather than more conjecture. The recommendations of the commission will be voted on by the House and Senate as well so even if the demented Mr. Simpson gets 14 other evil doers to go along with raiding SS there’s no guarantee Congress will pass any attempts to weaken SS benefits or cut Medicare. The Dems aren’t so stupid as to take apart SS and I honestly believe they will have the votes to defeat cutting the deficit on the backs of old people when there are so many other ways to do it.

    • Kassandra says:

      He’s just posturing…again.
      And I can’t see the Rethugs passing up a chance to break the back of the final bit of the New Deal they’ve been champing for ever since it was implemented.

      If people think there are no jobs now, just wait ’til the cutting of state aid/Medicaid/medicare etc come to pass and then SS gets thrown to the wolves on Wall Street just in time for the market to go down to 1000 which some credible economists are predicting.

      Just yesterday, I was at the post office and there was ONE clerk for a line out the door. I had to give it to the guy as he ripped into the people complaining,telling them to call their congressman as USPS is looking a another 40,000 jobs being cut.

      It’s gonna be a bloodbath

  15. behindthefall says:

    I know some people keeping their gunwales above water because the SocSec check stayed the same whereas the retirement annuity check (keyed to the stock market) didn’t. If SocSec payments decrease at all, these people, and I suspect there are tens of thousands of households more in similar situations, conceivably could be hard put to maintain steerageway and not founder. What’s the point in that? It’s a hell of a lot more effort to right a boat than to keep it from sinking in the first place, so I don’t see that putting households at real risk makes any “deficit reduction” sense whatever.

  16. workingclass says:

    Obama doesn’t care about the Party and he doesn’t care about reelection. Why would anyone think he does? Obama is going to cut Social Security with or without the Republicans. The Senate will do whatever they are paid to do. And Obama made the house eat the senate serf care bill. He can make them eat anything.

    • Surtt says:

      and he doesn’t care about reelection.

      It appears to me, every decision Obama makes is to line up campaign contributions for his reelection.

        • greenwarrior says:

          Who will run against him? I’m a busy person, but I’m willing. Or I’d vote for many of the people who hang out here at the Lake. I’m definitely not voting for him again. And that’s the very nicest thing I can say about him. (Madly self-censoring right now.)

      • workingclass says:

        Obama will have plenty of corporate cash. But who will vote for him? The independents and many Democrats who elected him are, to be polite, profoundly disappointed by him. Do you think the economy and/or the imperial wars will be fairing any better in 2012? I don’t.

        It appears to me, every decision Obama makes is to alienate voters.

  17. Surtt says:

    I think November will be such a blood bath for the Democrats that they will be too scared/disorganized to get this done in the lame duck session.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Hrrumph. If BushCo or ObamaLLP hoovers everything without a warrant, it’s fine. Let google pick up just what’s publically available, and its a scandel.

      The chairman of our intelligence committee runs an unsecured wireless network at her home, with the implication she kept classified data upon it. I know what would have happened to the clearence of a commoner who did that.

      Boxturtle (Harmon won’t even get a sternly worded letter, it’s all googles fault!)

      • fatster says:

        Wonder if the DOD, which now has responsibility protecting public and private utilities from cyber-attack and is contracting with Ratheon to develop this protection, could do something to help Harman out of this little embarrassment.


        • BoxTurtle says:

          I could help Jane out. Any geek could. Odds are I can do it from here, since if she’s fool enough to leave her router open she’s likely fool enough to have remote maint allowed. And it is likely she hasn’t bothered to change her router password from the default.

          Boxturtle (Intellegence committee. Hrumph)

          • fatster says:

            Could you help Gitcheegumee and me out, too? Several articles back, we were discussing this: why is the responsibility for protecting public and private utilities from cyber-attack being taken over by DOD and not by Homeland Security?

            • BoxTurtle says:

              Two reasons occur to me that seem more logical then others.

              1) DoD has capabilities in this area that DHS does not and DoD is not willing to share.

              2) This was a Washington turf war and DoD won.

              I tend to go with #1 for the following reasons:

              1) DoD has been worrying about this since Clinton, long before DHS even existed. They have a head start.

              2) The best defense is a good offense. DoD has the ability to cyberattack the source of an enemy attack, DHS has neither the ability nor the authorization to “go to war”.

              3) The source of any cyber attack is likely to be out of the country, thats more DoD territory.

              4) The response to such an attack may not be cyber, it might be a missle targetting somebodies routers.

              I have also heard rumored that DHS lacks talented geeks, as most of the geeks who can get clearence have already been sucked up by DoD or an intelligence agency.

              Boxturtle (The above speculation is worth exactly what you paid for it)

              • fatster says:

                I got much, much more than I paid for. I very much appreciate your response. I don’t like the situation just because I don’t like to see DOD tentacles wrapped around everything beyond “Defense”, but you provided me with logical explanations and that’s what I was seeking. Many thanks!!

                And, yeah, cyber-attack is one very scary thing. Don’t even want to think of the whole grid going down. That’s all she wrote, folks!

                • BoxTurtle says:

                  If the electrical grid is targetted, it WON’T be cyber.

                  At every large generating station, there is a main transfomer. These take the 20kv 22ka or so power from the generators and step it up to whatever the local trasmission voltage is. The entire output of the Zimmer generating station is sent through just one of these and then carried by just three wires to the switchyard.

                  The wait time to build one of those transformers is 18 months and there are few spares on hand as these are VERY reliable.

                  Destroy those, and the grid could be down for years. Most of these are outdoors, BTW.

                  The power control net is currently isolated and is being cut over to dedicated lines and sat uplink as I type.

                  Boxturtle (One grenade each and they’re scrap iron)

                  • fatster says:

                    Man, are we benefitting from all your expertise this mawnin’. Many, many thanks. And I know Gitcheegumee is relieved that I’ll quit nagging the DOD-Raytheon cyber-security thing. While the very term “Homeland Security” makes my skin crawl, too (replete with images of the Stasi), still I wish protecting public and private utilities was more the responsibility of a non-military agency.

                    Again, thanks ever so much for sharing your expertise about all this stuff.

                  • john in sacramento says:

                    Yup, that goes for phones too, i.e. the hardlines

                    Look around the neighborhood. Those boxes the phone co. guys are working on from time to time. One grenade, or if you don’t want the noise, use a bolt cutter and snip a bunch of wires at once

                    For cell phones, go after the towers

                    (Dear the many gov. acronymic agencies, I’m not advocating anything, just pointing out that your Neo-Stasi-KGB tactics and surveillance has flaws)

              • bobschacht says:

                But wasn’t this all part of the Rumsfeldian power grab? Obama should be trimming DOD back, not allowing DOD to put its creepy fingers into as many pies as possible.

                Bob in AZ

                • BoxTurtle says:

                  Given a choice, I’d rather have DHS trimed back than DoD. DHS makes me think too much of the Stasi.

                  Boxturtle (“EVERYBODY is under arrest!” – Maj. Hochsteader, Hogan’s Heros)

              • Gitcheegumee says:

                Thank you for your valuable input,bt.

                And thanks ,fatster, for asking bt the question.

                • BoxTurtle says:

                  It is highly unclear to me exactly where the lines of responsability for cyber stuff between DHS, DoD, DoJ, and NSA are drawn. It APPEARS as though DoD has offensive operations, DHS has defense, and DoJ and NSA own prevention.

                  But they each probably exceed their mandates when the mood strikes them.

                  Boxtule (The NSA, especially, is a bunch of moody b***hes)

                  • Gitcheegumee says:

                    Heres’ some related info:

                    [PDF] M-10-28, Clarifying Cybersecurity Responsibilities and Activities …File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – View as HTML

                    This memorandum outlines and clarifies the respective … submission of the annual FISMA report to Congress, … the accompanying activities, DHS shall be subject to general OMB oversight in accordance with. July 6, 2010 …


                    ~~~ModNote: The above link is Direct-to-PDF~~~

                    DHS to take FISMA lead, say Orszag and Schmidt — Federal Computer …Jul 9, 2010 … Orszag and Schmidt sent the memo, dated July 6, to agencies to clarify the roles of the … OMB will be responsible for reporting to Congress on FISMA annually, … Interior catches flak for breach disclosure 06/28/2010 …

           – Cached

                    OMB issues new rules on IT security – FederalTimes.comMay 2, 2010 … The OMB memo also emphasized the need for agency-specific … percent between July 2008 and July 2009, after new standards were implemented. … OMB’s new guidance may save time and money when it comes to FISMA compliance, he said, … as many cyber attacks so far in fiscal 2010 as it did in 2009. …

           – Cached

                    • fatster says:

                      Interesting, Gitcheegumee. I found what seems to be a good discussion of the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 here. It seems they are–finally–trying to develop a cohesive, uniform approach to information system at the federal level. And that is good.

                      FISMA emphasizes: 1) Inventory of all federal information systems; 2) Rate systems based on risk levels; 3) Meet minimum system security requirements; 4) Assess risks to security and identify needed controls; 5) Develop system security plans which are periodically analyzed and adjusted in order to meet the goal of FISMA.

                      I do hope they review and upgrade hardware as necessary to support these fundamental security measures.

                    • Gitcheegumee says:

                      Components of TIA projects that continue to be developed

                      Despite the withdrawal of funding for the TIA and the closing of the IAO, the core of the project survived[4][5][26]. Legislators included a classified annex to the Defense Appropriations Act that preserved funding for TIA’s component technologies, if they were transferred to other government agencies. TIA projects continued to be funded under classified annexes to Defense and Intelligence appropriation bills. However, the act also stipulated that the technologies only be used for military or foreign intelligence purposes against foreigners.[27]

                      TIA’s two core projects are now operated by Advanced Research and Development Activity (ARDA) located among the 60-odd buildings of “Crypto City” at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, MD. ARDA itself has been shifted from the NSA to the Disruptive Technology Office (run by to the Director of National Intelligence). They are funded by National Foreign Intelligence Program for foreign counterterrorism intelligence purposes.

                      One technology, codenamed “Basketball” is the Information Awareness Prototype System, the core architecture to integrated all the TIA’s information extraction, analysis, and dissemination tools. Work on this project is conducted by SAIC through its former Hicks & Associates consulting arm run by former Defense and military officials and which had originally been awarded US$19 million IAO contract to build the prototype system in late 2002.[28]

                      Information Awareness Office, Wikipedia

                      NOTE: This does not untangle the Gordian knot, but I ran across this,and thought it may be of interest to you,and possibly others.

  18. bobschacht says:

    So how do us freakin’ DFHers propose to “save” social security? Demographics and changing mortality statistics are what they are. It is not a Republican plot that people are living longer.

    Mortality statistics have changes a lot since the Soc Sec system was designed. Back then, the average life expectancy was about 67, so the expectation was you retire, and then you die. There was little expectation of a long retirement. Now, it is not unreasonable to expect 15 years or more of retirement, drawing on funds that were never intended to subsidize a lengthy retirement.

    IMHO, to keep Soc Sec solvent, the age at retirement will have to be raised. Slowly, of course, and only a year or two at a time, but that will have to be part of the solution. There will have to be disability exceptions, and the regulations governing SSI and SSDI may have to be changed. But we should not go to the mat opposing all such changes, and we should not brand all such changes as “cutting” social security.

    Bob in AZ

    • fatster says:

      End the cap, which is just one more way that most of us are required to subsidize the much-better-off, whether we like it or not .

      “Currently Social Security tax is withheld on up to $106,800 in wages. ”


      Yglesias has a nice graph showing the $s not being collected thanks to the cap.


      • bobschacht says:

        I agree. Of course, the Republicans would call this “raising taxes”, but it should be the first thing on the list of fixes.

        Bob in AZ

        • fatster says:

          I’ve been around long enough to figure that, if they were to bring themselves to even touch the cap, they’d just raise it a few notches. No way in heck (or Washington, DC, more accurately) would they simply remove it and let everybody pay the same proportion of their wages. We gotta subsidize those rich and super-rich folks, dontcha know.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      My suggestion:

      1) Eliminate the wage cap.

      2) Make social security the ONLY retirement program for elected and appointed officals.

      Boxturtl (And then let nature take it’s course)

      • fatster says:

        Idle question: Would the banksters’ and other CEOs’ bonuses be defined as “wages”?

        • BoxTurtle says:


          The populist in me says yes, but the realist in me says go with the current IRS regs, see how that works then adjust the regs as needed.

          I detect your hidden point: MOTU’s will adapt their compensation to minimize taxes. Though if congress is on the same system there may be some pushback.

          Boxturtle (The key point of my plan is that congress can’t protect themselves without protecting us)

  19. fatster says:

    O/T from the LATimes

    Obama may have worn out his welcome on Capitol Hill
    The president’s threat to veto a war funding bill is an ‘unwelcome message’ to House Democrats, many of whom face a tough midterm election after yielding to the White House’s agenda


    Ya think?

  20. captjjyossarian says:

    Very good catch! I hope he gets nailed down in further detail on this so that SS does not get sacrificed to the gods of bipartisan compromise. I’m sure Rethugs would “compromise” by not voting on cap&trade yet allowing a vote on the Catfood Commission.

  21. TarheelDem says:

    That leaves eight lives to go.

    So long as Corker keeps his word,

    You mean like Olympia Snowe, Orrin Hatch, Lindsey Graham?

    It’s positioning to argue that Democrats are endangering Social Security and Medicare and Republicans are protecting it. After the Republican wins in the election, all statements about the lame duck session become inoperative.

  22. klynn says:


    interesting spy swap story in the Guardian.

    10 sleepers swapped in Vienna for 4 double agents.


    Linking is buggy, sorry. Maybe someone will have better luck.

    • skdadl says:

      I was interested to see the Guardian get David Cornwell (aka John le Carre) on the story — very nice reflection:

      Is it because, as conspiracy theorists are beginning to whisper, rightists inside America’s innumerable intelligence agencies (which from everything Obama has recently told us are just as out of control as their Russian confrères) have decided to raise the spectre of the cold war at the very moment when the president is deemed to be drawing closer to Russia?

      Then might this also be the reason for the theatrical backcloth of Vienna? Are the reactionaries on both sides of the iron curtain that they would dearly love to erect laying on a bumper show for us? As we watch live in glorious Technicolor the greatest spy-swap of the 21st century, and hear in our memories the zither twanging out the Harry Lime theme, do the spies expect us to go scurrying back to our cold war shelters? Is that the cunning plan?

      If so, the spies of both sides have screwed up yet again. Harry Lime and his unlovely friends were not engaged in espionage. They were lowlife crooks trading in adulterated penicillin, and their business was poisoning children. So come to think of it, Vienna isn’t such a bad choice after all.

      • klynn says:

        Thanks skdadl.

        I thought it was a great piece too. Thanks for linking. My 3G is blipping out making linking difficult.

        Loved the Cornwell quote too. This is interesting.

        • skdadl says:

          Cornwell, I see, is going to be 79 this year. You’d think he’d be fairly fed up with the nonsense of our so-called leaders by now, and in some ways I think he long has been, but he keeps on writing. Well, all the great detectives are like that, eh? Like, oh, just off the top of my head, emptywheel?

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            I think Mr. Cornwell has for years more enjoyed coming in from the Cornish surf than coming in from the cold. He hasn’t lost his touch, his politics or his perception.

            I especially liked his Third Man reference. I would expand it; Harry Lime’s once abhorrent behavior is now widespread in international boardrooms, where directors and CEO’s believe with all their hearts that nothing they do is wrong unless a competent government catches them, stops what they’re doing, and actively prevents them from doing it again. That’s the Enron definition of business ethics and it still has a lot of play, at BP most of all.

  23. fatster says:

    Far out! Where’s Jeff Kaye?

    Psychology group backs CIA detainee abuse claim

    “Now the American Psychological Association has taken the unprecedented step of supporting an attempt to strip the license of a psychologist accused of overseeing the torture of a CIA detainee.”


    • Petrocelli says:

      Huge shoutout to Jeff and the many fine members of his profession. The APA made a huge statement with this.

  24. iremember54 says:

    This Guy is a real Corker isn’t He?

    The people of His State voted for Him because He had money, and they think people with money are smarter than the average bear.

    Ofcourse they also thougth Mitch McConnell really cared about the people of His Stae also.


  25. b2020 says:

    “So long as Corker keeps his word, then, about opposition to moving big legislation during the lame duck session, then social security should be safe.”

    I despair. Would you mind adding sarcasm markup, to help my cognitively impaired self parse this type of information dispersal? Or is this really for real?