"NOTHING NEW TO OFFER" WAS THE THEME IN CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA ALL WEEK.
THE QUESTION WAS, "DO WE HAVE ANYTHING NEW TO SHOW YOU?'
OVER AND OVER, THE ANSWER CAME BACK, "HELL NO!"
IN A MARATHON SPEECH LAST NIGHT, FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON TRIED TO MAKE THE CASE FOR THE "BRASS"-LESS BARRY O. ON AND ON HE WENT, GIVING NEW MEANING TO THE TERM "WINDS OF WAR," AS IF HE COULD FILIBUSTER THE AMERICAN VOTERS, SHOUT THEM DOWN, FORCE UNEMPLOYMENT AND RECESSION TO RETREAT IN THE FACE OF THE SHEER BULK OF HIS WORDS.
AND IT WAS THE KIND OF FIGHT AMERICANS SAW THROUGHOUT THE 90S, PART OF THE REASON THEY PUT THEIR TRUST IN BILL CLINTON. IT WAS LUDICROUS AND NEVER ENDING AND ONLY SOMEONE WHO WAS WILLING TO FIGHT FOR AMERICANS COULD GO ON THAT WAY.
IF BILL CLINTON WERE RUNNING FOR A THIRD TERM AS PRESIDENCY, HE COULD HAVE SEALED THE DEAL LAST NIGHT.
BUT HE'S NOT AND AS THE AUDITORIUM ERUPTED IN APPLAUSE WHO SHOULD STROLL ON TO THE STAGE LOOKING LIKE HE'D JUST AWOKEN FROM A QUICK NAP BUT BARRY O REMINDING EVERYONE YET AGAIN HOW THERE ARE THOSE WHO DO AND THERE ARE THOSE WHO JUST FEEL ENTITLED.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Yesterday the embarrassing Democratic National Convention began. Ruth Conniff (The Progressive) was late in getting her whoring on but this is the woman who bragged on KPFA that she didn't know anyone who'd fought in the Iraq War. Didn't know them and apparently didn't want to get to know them because it's really not that hard, Ruth. Nor are facts though Ruth is a fact molester who should be on a neighborhood watch. Writing today, she gets her whore on in a number of ways. First, she praises Michelle Obama's embarrassing speech. As Marcia noted yesterday, "The Washington Post reports that Michelle Obama explained today her role in the DNC convention tonight was to explain her husband. That may be but there's something very sad about the fact that anyone has to explain who the president is and goes to the fact that he is so hollow at his core and so meaningless." Four years later and she had to explain, to the American people, who her husband was? Apparently all that golfing didn't leave much of an impression.
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act does not, as Michelle Obama claimed, "help women get equal pay for equal work" at all. As Rebecca pointed out last night, all that act does is let you sue a little longer. If Barack wanted equal pay for equal work, he could have pushed that. He didn't. But now he wants to inflate his meager resume?
Michelle got creative with this claim as well, "That's why Barack has fought so hard to increase student aid and keep interest rates down, because he wants every young person to fulfill their promsie and be able to attend college without a mountain of debt." No, that would be Dr. Jill Stein's desire, the Green Party candidate. Barack doesn't give a damn.
From the left, Nancy Hanover (WSWS) explained that back in May:
The dirty secret in all of this, carefully hidden in the media, is the active role of the Democratic Party and specifically the Obama administration in the assault on higher education. At the most fundamental level, the Democrats have colluded with the Republicans in the systematic starvation of education while diverting society's resources into endless wars, tax cuts for the rich, and bank and corporate bailouts.
Despite Obama's claims that he is doing all he can to "make college more affordable," he has implemented a whole battery of measures to attack student borrowers—a broadside attack on the young generation.
Effective July 1, 2012, the federal government has ended the in-school interest subsidy for graduate and professional students with Stafford Loans. This relatively little-reported event was enacted as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act. It will substantially increase the cost of graduate school, already notoriously expensive, and will add an estimated $18 billion to student debt burdens over 10 years. Seventy-six percent of US graduate school students borrow to cover tuition, and their yearly costs vary from $15,000 to $45,000 for tuition alone.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 eliminated the grace period benefit (a six- or nine-month window after a student leaves school when no payments are due) for loans made in academic years 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, automatically increasing the net cost of the loan.
Also effective immediately and retroactively, students are only eligible for six full-time years of the Pell Grant, a decision primarily affecting low-income adults working their way through college. The measure will eliminate benefits for 63,000 recipients. Also, students may no longer receive two Pell Grants in a year or receive summer school funding. The government has also modified the amount families are expected to pay, the Expected Family Contribution, so that fewer students will be eligible for the grants.
Smaller Pell Grant awards of $277 to $550 have been cut completely. Also eliminated are the Pell Grants for students who pass the "ability to benefit" test but have not been awarded a high school diploma or GED.
The convention itself is an assult on education by being held in anti-teacher Charlotte (anti-teacher, anti-union) and by the little film attacking education which then featured a panel with human education leper Michelle Rhee. Change.org may have been forced to drop Rhee and her lunatic fringe group (which wants to end the "public" in public education to allow for a corporate take over) but damned if Barack didn't make sure that piece of trash had a prominent spot at his convention.
If you're like Ruth Conniff and barely pay attention to the world around you, not only do you not know anyone who served in Iraq, you also don't recognize an assault on education when it's right before your eyes. If only Ruth could work as hard as she did in 2004 when she wrote that hit piece on Ralph Nader for her trashy magazine.
Ruth wants you to know that, "The most progressive side of the Democratic Party was on full display (after Rahm Emanuel left the stage)." Really? What about when Tammy Duckworth was on the stage?
Is anyone less informed than Ruth Conniff?
Tammy Duckworth was hand picked by Rahm to run in 2006. A lot of people forget that race now or just remember it because Tammy lost big on what should have been a Democratic seat. But Emanual and Tammy thought she could run in this district (that she wasn't living in) and jump over Christine Cegelis who had taken on Henry Hyde in 2004 and come close to toppling Hyde. Now it was supposed to be Christine's race. (If you're late to the party on this, there are many articles you can refer to but the strongest is probably Matt Renner's September 2007 piece for TruthOut. If audio archives existed, we'd point to Laura Flanders radio show in 2006, during the primary where she talked up Tammy Duckworth like crazy only to have her listeners explaine that the progressive candidate in that race was Christine. To Flanders credit, she didn't rage or act like she was perfect. She acknowledged her mistake and booked Cegelis onto the show.)
But the problem was Christine actually was and is a progressive. For example, she wanted an end to the Iraq War -- a clear difference between herself and Tammy Duckworth -- one no one's supposed to comment on today. If there's anything more oblivious than Ruth Conniff, it's POLITICO which is surpised that "Right applauds Tammy Duckworth's speech." That's not a surprise, she is a right-winger.
What is a surprise is that a member of the failed Veterans Administration could run for office and not have to answer as to how the backlog has repeatedly increased in the last four years. That is truly surprising. She felt comfortable slamming GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney for not mentioning Afghanistan but can someone explain why this fromer Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs at the VA didn't mention the backlog?
That number is huge and it's so huge that the VA tries to backpeddle and present it as less than it is. Most recently we saw that in the July 18th House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations hearing. VA's Undersectretary for Benefits Allison Hickey was testifying. From that day's snapshot:
Jason Chaffetz: Madam Under Secretary, Mr. Manar, I think accurately points out in his testimony that in order to solve the problem, you need to know exactly what the problem is. And I see a major discrepancy in some of the numbers and I want to help clarfiy that. In youre testimony in talking about the integrated disability evaluation system, you say, "We went from 240 day average in the legacy system to 56 days" and it goes on. And there's a definition of the backlog. The House Armed Services Committee staff and the House Veterans Affairs Committee staff on July 13 of this year which was not too long ago gave a briefing to these two Committees. It says in here that the current monthly average completion time is 408 days. You say it's 56 days -- 54 days -- yeah, 56 days -- and they say it's 408 days. Can you help clarify that for me please?
Allison Hickey: Thank you, Chairman Chaffetz for your question. First of all, allow me to clarify by stating a few basic definitions so also, as I say things, you can understand what words I'm using and their context We have, in the inventory and pending an overall number of 854000. That's not backlog. Those are claims that even as we've been sitting here for the last ten to fifteen minutes, more claims have come into us from veteran service members and
Chair Jason Chaffetz: Okay, let me stop you -- let me stop you right there. Let me stop you right there. On July 16th, which is not very long ago, the Monday morning workload report says there are 919,461 claims. You say that number is -- what did you say that number is? 860,000 something?
Allison Hickey: The numbers I'm using are 854,000 --
Chair Jason Chaffetz: Okay, so we're off by about 50 or 60 thousand. And we're talking about something that is just couple of days old. Why the discrepancy on those number?
Allison Hickey: Chairman Chaffetz, our backlog -- I mean our inventory is a dynamic inventory.
Chair Jason Chaffetz: I know but that's less than ten days so --
Allison Hickey: Chairman, I'm happy to answer the questions if I'm allowed an opportunity.
Chair Jason Chaffetz: Sure I want to know. You're saying that that number is 800 and something thousand and I'm just saying that the VA's report says it's 919,461. That's of July 16th --
Allison Hickey: Chairman, I'm happy to answer the question if I'm allowed an opportunity.
Chair Jason Chaffetz: Ma'am, just answer the question. Yes.
Allison Hickey: Thank you very much.
Chair Jason Chaffetz: -- That's why I asked the question.
Allison Hickey: Thank you very much, Chairman. The numbers that I'm using are from the endpoint of a month. Probably the end of May. So you probably are using the end of this week's report. I chose not use a floating number that continues to change over time and over dates and over weeks. So I used an end of month number to be able to to talk to you, to be able to have a solid number to hvae a discussion around.
US House Rep and Subcommittee Chair Jason Chaffetz had the correct number. Notice the disregard on VA's part. They could have used a number only a few days old. Didn't want to do that. And Allison Hickey, who is offering the number, can't even state what the numbers from: "Probably the end of May." Probably? You're testifying that the backlog is X and you can't tell the Subcomittee when that number was generated? Can't or won't? There's no one in the VA that should be running for public office. Everyone of them should instead be begging veterans for forgiveness.
And if Mitt Romney had any brains at all, he'd unearth the story the press buried, where Eric Shinseki, VA Secretary, admits in an open session of Congress that he knew nearly nine months before the start of the fall 2009 college semester that the GI bill checks would not be ready. For those who've forgotten, VA's idiocy and refusal to do its job left many veterans forced to take out short term loans, left them without apartments and some didn't get checks until after Christmas 2009, which meant their children did without Christmas. Tammy Duckworth was a part of the VA during that, she has a lot of nerve trying to run for office on her 'record.'
If you missed that moment -- the press buried it to protect Shinseki and the White House, we covered it -- you can drop back to October 14, 2009, when Shinseki told the House Committee on Veterans Affairs:
Secretary Eric Shinseki: I'm looking at the certificates of eligibility uh being processed on 1 May and enrollments 6 July, checks having to flow through August. A very compressed timeframe. And in order to do that, we essentially began as I arrived in January, uh, putting together the plan -- reviewing the plan that was there and trying to validate it. I'll be frank, when I arrived, uh, there were a number of people telling me this was simply not executable. It wasn't going to happen. Three August was going to be here before we could have everything in place. Uh, to the credit of the folks in uh VA, I, uh, I consulted an outside consultant, brought in an independent view, same kind of assessment. 'Unless you do some big things here, this is not possible.' To the credit of the folks, the good folks in VBA, they took it on and they went at it hard. We hired 530 people to do this and had to train them. We had a manual system that was computer assisted. Not very helpful but that's what they inherited. And we realized in about May that the 530 were probably a little short so we went and hired 230 more people. So in excess of 700 people were trained to use the tools that were coming together even as certificates were being executed. Uhm, we were short on the assumption of how many people it would take.
He was told the plan wasn't executable. He brought in independent consultants. They told him the same thing. Congress was never, ever informed of this problem nor were veterans. And when fall 2009 rolled around, veterans didn't have their checks.
This wasn't a surprise as the press has apparently agreed to pretend. By Shinseki's own testimony, early in his term, he was told the plan couldn't be executed, he even brought in independent consultants who told the same thing.
He refused to inform Congress. Veterans suffered as a result. He should have been fired but Barack Obama's provided no oversight of the VA and that's why the VA backlog has grown and grown and grown.
There's no excuse for it and Tammy Duckworth is the last person to finger point at anyone else.
The ridiculous Ruth Conniff claimed, "A full-throated defense of labor and of keeping American jobs at home was also a rousing theme, with many, many references to Obama's rescue of the auto industry." Who got rescued, you idiot? The managers, the owners? Yeah. The workers? No, they got screwed in the bail-out. All those dollars tossed at Big Auto which then wants to tell the workers that they'll have to give us this benefit and that cost of living . . . As Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) observes today, "Frankly, who wants to be the one to point out, in the middle of the festivities, that Michelle Obama was just a Chicago Daley machine hack lawyer who was rewarded with a quarter million dollar a year job of neutralizing community complaints against the omnivorous University of Chicago Hospitals? She resigned from her $50,000 seat on the board of directors of Tree-House Foods, a major Wal-Mart supplier, early in her husband's presidential campaign. But, once in the White House, the First Lady quickly returned to flaking for Wal-Mart, praising the anti-union "death star" behemoth's inner city groceries offensive as part of her White House healthy foods booster duties. "
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