Thursday, November 29, 2012

Last Call

The first casualty of any Arab Spring war is truth.  The second casualty is apparently reliable internet service, as Syria's civil war moves into its final phases with the capital of Damascus now under rebel attack.

ste.traces.outage.pngA blog post on Renesys, a U.S. company which tracks Internet traffic worldwide, said that at 12:26 p.m. in Damascus, Syria's international Internet connectivity shut down completely.

Syria's minister of information said "terrorists" were responsible, a pro-government TV station said.

The past two weeks have seen rebels overrunning army bases across Syria, exposing Assad's loss of control in northern and eastern regions despite the devastating air power that he has used to bombard opposition strongholds.

Rebels and activists said the fighting along the road to Damascus airport, southeast of the capital, was heavier in that area than at any other time in the conflict.

"No one can come in or out of the airport," said Abu Omar.

Airport and internet down?  Yeah, the al-Assad regime is not long for this earth, I believe.   Whichever side knocked out the net in Syria, it was a smart move tactically and strategically...which goes to show you just how important the internet is as part of a nation's infrastructure.

Something we should consider investing in more ourselves.

Blowing It Up At The Austerity Bomb Range

Oh, this isn’t going to go over well with the usual suspects, but it’s going to be everywhere anyhow today.

Listen to top Democrats and Republicans talk on camera, and it sounds like they could not be further apart on a year-end tax-and-spending deal – a down payment on a $4 trillion grand bargain. 
But behind the scenes, top officials who have been involved in the talks for many months say the contours of a deal – including the size of tax hikes and spending cuts it will likely contain — are starting to take shape.
Cut through the fog, and here’s what to expect: Taxes will go up just shy of $1.2 trillion — the middle ground of what President Barack Obama wants and what Republicans say they could stomach. Entitlement programs, mainly Medicare, will be cut by no less than $400 billion – and perhaps a lot more, to get Republicans to swallow those tax hikes. There will be at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and “war savings.” And any final deal will come not by a group effort but in a private deal between two men: Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The two men had what one insider described as a short, curt conversation Wednesday night — but the private lines of communications remain very much open.

The tax hikes on the rich are immediate.  The Medicare stuff is 10-20 years away, as far as Politico can tell.  That right there should tell you who’s winning this fight (and that’s if you believe this particular crew of Village Idiots, which is dubious at best) but I’m sure there’s going to be a holiday rush on scourges and flensing knives for the folks on the left anyhow.

So before you reach for that HE SOLD US OUT special, remember it’s Politico, in the Billiards Room, trying to Win The Morning™, and try to keep the blood off the floor.

Hoosier Daddies, Indiana?

Add Indiana to the list of states where Republicans now have a supermajority in the state legislature and a Republican governor, in this case Mike Pence.  They can pass whatever they want, and Democrats are 100% irrelevant in the state, but for now State House Speaker Brian Bosma is invoking the legacy of his father Charles in the spirit of bipartisan cooperation, which ought to last until January 7th when Indiana goes full Tea Party whacko.

House Speaker Brian Bosma used the ceremonial opening of Indiana’s legislative session Tuesday to call for bipartisanship, even though Republicans now enjoy a supermajority that largely allows them to circumvent Democrats to push through their agenda.

The GOP speaker cited his father, Charles Bosma, working across the aisle with Democratic U.S. Rep. Andre Carson’s grandmother, Julia Carson, and delivering services for the disabled when they served together in the state Senate in the late 1970s and 1980s. Those two were known as the “odd couple,” and Bosma said he’d like to see that concept revived in the current session.

He then ticked off a list of priorities, including funding early childhood education, approving performance-based pay for teachers and schools, and training more science and math teachers.

“Where is the odd couple in this room that will set political differences aside, and concentrate on giving Hoosier families that want early childhood education but can’t afford it, the opportunity that most of us in this room enjoy?” he asked the group.

Lawmakers took care of some official business during the informal opening known as “organization day,” although the major work won’t begin until they return on Jan. 7. The Legislature must draw up a new biennial budget, ponder options with the federal health care law, adjust to a new governor for the first time in eight years and balance all other issues ranging from education to gay marriage.

The notion that Indiana Republicans aren't completely bonkers is ignoring the state's history and that of lunatic Mike Pence, particularly his War on Women.  Pence is responsible for starting the national GOP push to destroy Planned Parenthood. With Pence now Governor and the GOP in total control, you can kiss women's rights goodbye in the state.  He's already declined health insurance exchanges as well as Medicaid expansion, assuring Indiana's working poor will get zero help from the party of You're On Your Own, and both Bosma and Pence are cooking up dramatic tax cuts for the rich, planning to slash corporate, inheritance, and property tax rates in the state, as well as wanting to cut income taxes leaving the state even more dependent on a regressive 7% sales tax, one of highest state rates in the country.

Bosma may talk a cute game about bipartisan cooperation, but I assure you Gov. Pence will make sure nothing of the sort will happen.


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