OSAMA’S WIVES SUEN’ PAKIS FOR NOT PAYN’ THEIR CUT IN KERRY LUGAR BERMAN BILL
The House approved a 2013 budget resolution from Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Ohio) on Thursday by a 228-191 vote, and suffered just 10 GOP defections compared to four last year.
This year’s vote was by a narrower margin than the 2011 vote that passed Ryan’s budget 235-193. This year and last, all Democrats voted “no.”
An increase in Republican “no” votes was expected this year, as many have grown frustrated with their inability to achieve more aggressive budget savings, due in large part to opposition in the Democratic-led Senate and the White House.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) seemed to address that frustration indirectly on Thursday as he praised Ryan for putting forward a budget that represents a “real vision of what we were to do if we get more control here in this town.”
“It’s still a Democrat-run town,” he added.
The GOP budget plan again draws a clear contrast between Republicans, who are looking reduce the deficit almost entirely through cuts to federal spending, and Democrats, who continue to push for a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. Republicans spent Wednesday and Thursday arguing that the is mired in a debt and deficit crisis that demands a serious response.
“We are ceding our sovereignty and our ability to control our own destiny as a country when we have to hope that other countries will lend us money,” Ryan said Wednesday. “We’ve got to get this under control.”
“If we don’t tackle these debt problems soon, they’re going to tackle us as a country.”
Ryan’s budget would cut more than $5 trillion more than President Obama’s proposal, reduce spending in 2013 and 2014 compared to 2012, and revive his proposal last year to turn Medicare into a health insurance supplement program for anyone younger than 55.
Ryan’s proposal is more aggressive than Democrat-led budget alternatives that the House rejected Wednesday and Thursday, some of which he disregarded as leaning too heavily on tax increases to reduce the deficit. At the same time, it is not as aggressive as the Republican Study Committee budget, which also failed.
Democrats protested the Ryan budget throughout the entire process, warning that it would cut too deeply into critical federal programs. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) had harsh words for the Ryan budget as debate closed.
“Tragically, the product we will produce today is far less than the sum of our parts in this body,” he said. “It is, I would suggest to you, a product unworthy of the intellect that has been applied to it.
“It is a product, indeed, that I think will hurt America, not help America. It is a product that is too much politics and too little policy. It is a product of which I think this House cannot be proud.”
“It is a recipe for national stagnation and decline,” Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said Wednesday. “It retreats from our national goal of out-educating, out-building, out-competing the rest of the world.”
Just before the final vote, the House rejected a mainstream Democratic budget alternative from Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). Members shot down that proposal 163-262, very close to the 166-259 margin seen in 2011 on Van Hollen’s budget.
The 23 Democratic votes against the Van Hollen amendment is the same total as last year. Liberal Democrats for the most part were able to bury their reservations about the spending cuts in the August debt deal in order to back a budget based on those cuts.
Democratic opponents included most of the Blue Dog caucus, like Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) and Mike Ross (D-Ark.) as well as some liberals like Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio).
China’s Power Struggle
Is a Dangerous Divide Opening Between Beijing Leaders?
By Wieland Wagner AFP
For weeks, China’s communist leaders have been embroiled in a bitter power struggle that could jeopardize a carefully planned transition in the national leadership and the course charted by more moderate reformers. Although the state has tried to keep the feuding under wraps, the Internet is awash with rumors — including those of a possible coup.
The 7 p.m. news isn’t one of the best parts of Chinese state television. Two newscasters, a man and a woman, stiffly rattle off the achievements of the nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, including stories about the model companies they have visited and the mines they have toured. They read off the names of the workers who have received awards from the party leaders, and of the state guests being received by leaders in Beijing.
Still, last week, many Chinese paid close attention to the evening propaganda ritual, searching for signs indicating which of China’s leaders are still in power in Beijing.
There had been rumors and speculation about a possible coup, prompting many to wonder whether President and party leader Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao would even appear on the screen. Or would the newscast suddenly show other top officials?
The rest of the world, alarmed by reports from bloggers, also looked to China with concern. The country has enjoyed enviable successes for the last three decades. It has become the world’s second-largest economy, it now has the largest foreign currency reserves (about $3.2 trillion, or €2.4 trillion) and it controls the most dynamic growth market in the world — and one that German industries are increasingly dependent on.
Some Western businesspeople have even come to believe that the Chinese economic miracle is proof of the superiority of its authoritarian system. They have raved that the Chinese — unlike their counterparts in the West — don’t waste time in endless debates but, instead, make quick and clear decisions, thereby enabling them to govern more efficiently. And hasn’t it been true, they have argued, that the top political players are selected much more carefully and are not brought into senior government positions until they have proven their worth in the provinces?
It certainly seemed that way. But, in reality, China’s communist leaders have been embroiled in bitter power struggles for weeks, the details of which are only gradually reaching the outside world.
It is also becoming clear that the supposed competitive advantages of the Chinese one-party dictatorship — with no freely elected parliament, no independent judiciary, no meddlesome press — could become the biggest threat to the stability of this country of 1.3 billion people.
Rumors of a Coup
Last week’s uncertainty was triggered by rumors of a coup, which appeared online on the night of Monday, March 19, via the migroblogging website Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter. Although government censors quickly deleted the messages, they had already been rapidly disseminated.
Bloggers reported that gunshots had been heard on the edge of Zhongnanhai, the downtown Beijing neighborhood surrounded by high walls in which Chinese leaders live and work. They also described sightings of military vehicles on Changan Avenue, the long parade route along the Forbidden City and the Great Hall of the People.
Life seemed to be proceeding normally in Beijing, and many of the photos posted online of allegedly sighted tanks subsequently turned out to be old. Nevertheless, a state of emergency prevailed on the Internet in China. For instance, anyone searching for key words or phrases, such as “gunfire” or “Changan Avenue,” got the following message: “These terms are not being displayed in accordance with the applicable laws, regulations and political guidelines.”
Still, in posting these statements, the censors merely fueled additional speculation over what was happening in the government district. According to websites run by Chinese exiles, Zhou Yongkang, 69, a leading Poliburo official in charge of the police and judiciary, had been neutralized by his rival, party leader Hu, who enjoys the support of the military.
The security chief was mentioned in the TV news on Thursday, but it was unusually brief and without a photo. Like so many things in Beijing, his future has seemed uncertain.
A Leadership Shake-Up
The Chinese capital hasn’t experienced a power struggle like the one now underway since the bloody suppression of the democracy movement in Tiananmen Square in 1989. At the time, there were also deep divisions within the country’s communist leadership.
The current showdown threatens to jeopardize the carefully planned change in the party and national leadership. Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, 58, is expected to succeed Hu as party leader in the fall and replace him as president in March 2013.
The shake-up had been prepared for so long that it didn’t seem to be in jeopardy. On the other hand, China’s communists have only managed to achieve a smooth transition of power once since the death of Chairman Mao Zedong in 1976. That was in 2002, when the current Communist Party leader took office.
This fall, however, seven of the nine positions on the Politburo Standing Committee are to be filled with new people. This is almost more important than the presidential succession because it is this committee that ultimately sets the agenda in China. Even the president and party leader has to negotiate compromises within the committee.
Seeking to Avoid a ‘Historical Tragedy’
The tussle over the replacement of the seven members has been going on for months. On March 15, one of the most promising candidates for a top post withdrew, albeit involuntarily. The Beijing leadership deposed Bo Xilai, 62, the popular party chairman in Chongqing, a city of 32 million on the Yangtze River in central China.
The ambitious and charismatic Bo’s fall from grace came as a surprise because he is considered a “princeling.” His father became one of China’s “immortal” revolutionaries after making a name for himself fighting the Japanese. His son Bo encouraged the citizens of Chongqing to revive the custom of singing revolutionary songs in the city’s parks. He had thousands of corrupt officials and underworld figures arrested. And he helped the poor by forgiving their school fees and providing them with inexpensive apartments.
Conservatives in the Communist Party applauded Bo, believing that he could resolve the contradictions of communist state capitalism, especially widespread corruption and the growing chasm between the rich and the poor.
But moderate reformers, such as Premier Wen Jiabao, saw the Chongqing-based populist as a new Mao, a dictator who could threaten them and their families’ business interests. Speaking on the day before Bo was deposed, Wen said that China had reached a “critical stage.” “Without a successful political structural reform, it is impossible for us to fully institute economic structural reform, and the gains we have made in this area may be lost,” Wen said. In fact, he added that, if China could not get to the root of its problems, it might experience another “historical tragedy like the Cultural Revolution.”
The assessment by a Chinese academic in a US diplomatic cable that was disclosed by WikiLeaks in 2010 shows how deeply Bo had alarmed the party bosses in Beijing. According to the academic, in an effort to make himself politically unassailable, Bo had even denounced his own father during the Cultural Revolution. As the professor stated in his assessment, since the Chinese value family ties above all else, many viewed Bo as a “base traitor.”
The Wang Lijun Affair
In addition to quarreling over positions, Beijing’s leaders are also at odds over the future positioning of the superpower. Should China be more “revolutionary” again — that is, more directed from above — as Bo demonstrated in Chongqing? Or should the party embark on reforms leading in the direction of a constitutional state, as the southern province of Guangdong, a key center of the country’s export industries, is currently practicing with the support of party leader Hu and Premier Wen?
Although personal and political issues are difficult to separate in this power struggle, a public contest to determine the best arguments has so far been avoided. Instead, Hu, Wen and their supporters employed a tried-and-true method for eliminating the upstart from Chongqing: corruption charges.
An incident in early February provided the necessary excuse. At the time, Wang Lijun, Bo’s recently demoted vice-mayor and police chief, had fled to the US Consulate in Chengdu because he allegedly wanted to seek asylum. But the effort fizzled, and he only stayed in the consulate for a single day. The former official is now being questioned in Beijing, where he has reportedly provided authorities with incriminating material about Bo and his family.
Whether the ousted “princeling” will be put on trial or relegated to a more minor position within the party was still unclear last Friday. Bo has powerful allies in Beijing, including Zhou Yongkang, the chief of security in the Politburo who, according to rumors among Chinese bloggers, has now been deposed. To fool the Internet censors, net activists have made a code name out of the last character in his name. They refer to him as “Kang Shifu,” the name of a Chinese brand of instant noodles.
Trusting the Internet More than the State
And what is Xi Jinping saying, the man who — at least at the moment — is in line to become the next party leader and president? He has remained tight-lipped on where he intends to take China. Such is consistent with the approach he has used to climb to the top of the party: not attracting attention and not making enemies.
Granted, this is a recipe that has proven effective in the past, as was also the case with censorship. But how effective is this approach today, when an alternative to the government’s propaganda — and one accessible to millions of Chinese — has taken shape on the Internet? And when there are two versions of the truth?
The most recent events must even give a man like Xi pause. The Communist Party is beginning to have trouble maintaining secrecy on issues of personnel and power. Too much information is leaked, and it rapidly spreads online.
Meanwhile, the party remains silent, which only fuels additional speculation. Even when Zhou was shown on television on Friday, many bloggers were unimpressed: “It’s all an illusion, full of twists and turns,” one blogger wrote.
Indeed, many Chinese have become so cynical that they don’t even trust the party media, such as state-run television, when they actually are telling the truth. But they do believe every rumor on the Internet.
Perhaps that was why they still didn’t know, at the end of last week, what was actually happening in their country.
BILL TO GEERT QUIT FUCKN’ HENK AND INGRID FOR ISRAEL
Now be good and read Losers HorseManure, Ain’t Fuckn’ Delicious I was there. I warned you!
Microsoft founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates has been busy trying to persuade the Netherlands not to cut its development aid budget, with interviews and columns in several Dutch papers this week.
On Friday night, Bill Gates apparently telephoned the Volkskrant newspaper and Nos television to express his fears about the possibility of the Netherlands slashing its development aid budget.
The call came while the coalition parties and alliance partner PVV are negotiating about a tit-for-tat cutback solution PVV leader Geert Wilders has repeatedly said he will only agree to economic reforms if development aid is cut significantly.
Gates, in an interview with the Volkskrant, said he would gladly invite Wilders to come with him on a trip to Africa. ‘I would show him how spending a thousand dollars can save a child’s life. I think he would soon change his mind about cutting back on development aid,’ Gates told the paper.
Can you guess which country this describes?
The national birthrate is collapsing. The economy is in ruin. Unemployment is
skyrocketing. Young people are demoralized. Decadence envelopes the nation, drug use is rampant, and sizeable portion of the women work as prostitutes.
Is it Greece? Cuba? Russia?
NoAin’t Iran! Asshole.. Its the Israeli Utopia that Jason Mattera & David Goldman day dream
CAMERON PIMP PETER CRUDDAS BUSTED AT £250,000 A YEAR
Now be good and read the Losers HorseManure, Ain’t Fuckn’ Delicious I was there. I warned you!
The senior Tory fundraiser told undercover reporters pretending to be business representatives that “things will open up for you” if they donated that amount of money to the Tories.
In a meeting secretly recorded by The Sunday Times, he said: “It will be awesome for your business.”
Announcing his resignation, Mr Cruddas said in a statement: “I deeply regret any impression of impropriety arising from my bluster in that conversation. Clearly there is no question of donors being able to influence policy or gain undue access to politicians.
“Specifically, it was categorically not the case that I could offer, or that David Cameron would consider, any access as a result of a donation. Similarly, I have never knowingly even met anyone from the Number 10 policy unit. But in order to make that clear beyond doubt, I have regrettably decided to resign with immediate effect.”
On Sunday morning the Tories announced that Lord Fink is to replace Peter Cruddas as the party’s principal treasurer.
Hedge fund millionaire Lord Fink previously held the role until earlier this month, when it was taken over by Mr Cruddas.
Speaking on Sunday morning David Cameron said: “”What happened is completely unacceptable, this is not the way that we raise money in the Conservative party. It shouldn’t have happened.
“I’ll make sure there is a party inquiry to make sure this can’t happen again.”
A Tory spokesman said: “In the light of the resignation of Peter Cruddas yesterday, Lord Fink has agreed to return as the party’s principal treasurer, the role he stepped down from at the beginning of March. Michael Farmer will continue to support Stanley Fink as a co-treasurer.
“We are grateful to Stanley for agreeing to this and we believe that this will ensure that the treasurers’ department will continue to operate to the highest possible standards under his stewardship.”
Analysis – Has “the next big scandal” broken?
Mr Cruddas said he only took up the post at the beginning of the month and was “keen to meet anyone potentially interested in donating”. He said he had not consulted any politicians or senior party officials before the recorded conversation. Mr Cruddas told the undercover reporters that “premier league” donors – those giving £250,000 a year – could lobby Mr Cameron directly and their views were “fed in” to Downing Street. He said there was no point in “scratching around” with donations of £10,000. According to The Sunday Times, he believed that any prospective donations from the reporters – pretending to be wealth fund executives – would come from Liechtenstein and would be ineligible under election law. They are said to have discussed the creation of a British subsidiary and the possibility of using UK employees to make the donation.
Speaking on Sunday morning David Cameron said: “What happened is completely unacceptable, this is not the way that we raise money in the Conservative party. It shouldn’t have happened.
“I’ll make sure there is a party inquiry to make sure this can’t happen again.”
A Conservative Party spokesman said: “No donation was ever accepted or even formally considered by the Conservative Party. All donations to the Conservative Party have to comply with the requirements of electoral law.
“Unlike the Labour Party, where union donations are traded for party policies, donations to the Conservative Party do not buy party or government policy.”
Labour challenged the Prime Minister to “come clean” about what he knew and when. “Time and again the Tory party has been the obstacle to capping donations from wealthy individuals. Now it appears obvious why,” said Labour MP Michael Dugher who was speaking before Mr Cruddas quit.
The affair is likely to re-ignite the debate surrounding party funding, which has seen the Tories and Labour fail to reach a consensus despite both parties acknowledging the need for reform. The chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Sir Christopher Kelly, called last year for donations to be capped at £10,000 and for the parties to be funded largely by a taxpayer-funded grant.
But both parties dismissed the report, since the plan would curb the massive donations the unions pay to Labour and wealthy businessmen pump into Tory coffers.
Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury said the revelations were “utterly disgraceful.”
“This makes the case for reforming the system of party funding even stronger,” Alexander told the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning. “Over the next few weeks the three parties will be getting around the table.. to discuss how we can change how party funding works, to get the big funding out of politics.”
Labour shadow minister Michael Dugher said:
“We now hear the Tory treasurer boasting that some of these same millionaires who got a tax cut in the Budget this week can buy a seat at the private Downing Street dinner parties of David Cameron and George Osborne through donations worth hundreds of pounds to the Conservative Party.
“Will the PM say exactly what he knew and when about an apparent effort to sell access and influence in Downing Street?”
Tory deputy chairman Michael Fallon said no donations to the party could ever influence its policies. “I think [Cruddas] was blustering and boasting. No donation was accepted.
“He made a mistake here, and he’s resigned and he’s been replaced… he over-boasted about what you could do with a particular donation. That was wrong. It would certainly not have got through our normal compliance checks.
“Businessmen of course, like anybody else.. get access to politicians all the time. That’s part of the process of government, of listening to business. But the big change now is that if anyone meets a minister in the government, those meetings are not only recorded, but are published.”