A Western-backed resolution condemning the violent crackdown in Syria has been vetoed at the UN Security Council by Russia and China.
The two permanent members of the council rejected the draft resolution despite strong condemnation by US President Barack Obama of the violence.
A Syrian military attack on the ravaged city of Homs, described by opposition leaders as the bloodiest in the nearly 11-month-old uprising, ratcheted up pressure on the United Nations Security Council on Saturday to break a deadlock on a plan to end the violence.
Syrian opposition leaders said more than 200 people were killed in the attack, and a White House statement accused Syria of having “murdered hundreds of Syrian citizens, including women and children.”
Vladimir Putin: Russian Prime Minister Thousands Rally In Moscow For Pro- And Anti-Protests – Tens of thousands of people have gathered on the streets of Moscow to stage mass protests both for and against Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Huge crowds took part in four rallies in the Russian capital – the largest of which is expected to be an anti-Putin march from Oktyabrskaya metro to Bolotnaya Square. Temperatures of -16C did not appear to deter many protesters from coming out on Saturday. Most wore a white ribbon, which was adopted as a symbol of the protests, and held placards reading “Russia Without Putin” and “For Free Elections”.
Thousands brave icy chill to protest in Moscow – The AP says the rally appears to be bigger than one in December that organizers claimed attracted 120,000 people, which was the biggest demonstration in Russia since the protests 20 years ago that helped bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union.
(Stringer / Reuters) A protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask takes part in a demonstration for fair elections in central Moscow Saturday.
Remember when the GOP held our federal government hostage and the Democrats worked out a deal with them to avoid a shutdown? A deal that involved a “Super Committee” and that, if the Committee failed, there would be automatic cuts to defense and domestic spending?
[...] Democrats proposed the threat of automatic tax increases to push GOP officials to be responsible, but Republicans refused and offered an alternative: if the committee failed, the GOP would accept $600 billion in defense cuts and Dems would accept $600 billion in non-defense domestic cuts.
Remember, the point was to create an incentive that the parties would be desperate to avoid. Pentagon cuts were Republicans’ contribution to the process. The cuts were their idea.
Six months later, the GOP has decided it doesn’t like its idea anymore.
Republican leaders in Congress have all but reneged on a key agreement they reached with the White House last summer rather than reconsider their unwavering stance against new tax revenue. [...]
“I’ve got concerns about the sequester,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters Thursday. “I’ve made that pretty clear. And replacing the sequester certainly has value. The defense portion of the sequester, in my view, would clearly hollow our military. The Secretary of Defense has said that, members of Congress have said it. But the question I would pose is, where’s the White House? Where’s the leadership that should be there to ensure that this sequester does not go into effect.”
“Sequester” is budget-speak for across-the-board cuts. But the cuts he’s talking about were part of a deal he recently claimed he’d honor.
Republicans still want the debt reduction; they just don’t want to live up to their end of the bargain. As recently as November, the House Speaker was asked about the agreement he helped strike and he told reporters he would “feel bound” to honor it. That no longer appears to be the case.
Bottomline: not only do those in the GOP not like anyone else’s ideas — they don’t even like THEIR OWN ideas (or they made the deal 6 months ago, knowing they wouldn’t honor it). The simple fact is that Republicans are only able to “honor” major spending cuts to programs / benefits for the poor, working, and middle classes, no new revenue for the government, and more tax cuts for the wealthy.
1) Average Corporate Tax Rate Falls to 12%, Lowest in Decades – Corporations in the U.S. paid only an average of 12.1 percent in taxes on the profits they earned inside the U.S in fiscal 2011, according to statistics from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The Wall Street Journal reports that it’s the lowest percentage corporations have paid on those profits since at least 1972, and it’s less than half of the 25.6 percent they paid on average between 1987 and 2008. [...] In an interview with NBC earlier this year, Romney flat-out
stated lied that President Barack Obama had raised taxes on corporations. “If you want to get the economy going, lower corporate tax rates,” he said. “He’s raised them.” || Note: Meanwhile, corporate profits are at a 60 year high.
2) “The federal government, as one of the nation’s largest employers, must set a standard of basic fairness. Contrary to portrayals of ‘generous’ federal benefits, federal employees do not receive paid dental or vision coverage or paid parental leave, nor do they get rich off their pensions. The typical lifetime federal employee will have an annuity from the defined benefit of approximately $1,000 per month. The government’s 401(k)-like fund, the Thrift Savings Plan, may provide around $400 per month if the average employee is able to contribute 5 percent of his or her salary for 30 years. While many private-sector entities have taken to eliminating or slashing health insurance and retirement benefits, especially for low-paid employees, our leaders should not support a race to the bottom for working Americans. Rather, they should seek out ways to increase economic and retirement security for those who may never be able to retire.” — National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley blasts CBO federal pay study
3) J.C. Penney stands behind Ellen DeGeneres – J.C. Penney is turning its back on One Million Moms, a group which called for the retailer to dump talk show host Ellen DeGeneres as its national spokeswoman because she is gay.
4) What Caused This Year’s Deficit? Hint: It Wasn’t an Obama ‘Spending Binge’ – The federal budget deficit will again exceed $1 trillion this fiscal year, the Congressional Budget Office reported today. That news is sure to trigger another round of condemnations from politicians and pundits who have a political or ideological interest in pinning these deficits on the domestic spending policies of President Barack Obama. Unfortunately for them, today’s report—along with dozens of other similar CBO reports in recent years—actually proves the opposite—that the current deficit is overwhelmingly the result of two factors: events that occurred before President Obama took office and tax cuts.
5) Santorum: Iran would nuke Missouri - Rick Santorum warned that if Iran procures a nuclear weapon, it would pose a threat even to Missouri. “Once they have a nuclear weapon, let me assure you, you will not be safe, even here in Missouris,” Santorum said Friday at a campaign stop in the Show Me State. “These are folks who have been and are at war with us since 1979. This is a country that has killed more troops in Afghanistan and Iraq than the Iraqis and Afghans.”
6) Obama urges passage of mortgage relief – US President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Congress to approve his plan to provide relief to millions of homeowners who are having trouble paying mortgages. “In order to lower mortgage payments for millions of Americans, we need Congress to act,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. “They’re the ones who have to pass this plan.” The $5-10-billion plan, showcased by Obama this past week, would be financed by a portion of a fee on the most wealthy US banks.
7) EXCLUSIVE: Ari Fleischer Secretly Helped Guide Komen Strategy On Planned Parenthood - Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for George W. Bush and prominent right-wing pundit, secretly helped guide Komen Foundation’s disastrous strategy regarding Planned Parenthood. Fleischer personally interviewed candidates for the position of “Senior Vice President for Communications and External Relations” at Komen last December. According to a source with first-hand knowledge, Fleischer drilled prospective candidates during their interviews on how they would handle the controversy about Komen’s relationship with Planned Parenthood.
8) Activists report Homs massacre, as U.N. Security Council mulls vote – Government forces “committed one of the most horrific massacres since the beginning of the uprising in Syria,” killing at least 260 civilians over the past day, the opposition Syrian National Council said Saturday. “During the attack, residential buildings and homes were randomly and heavily bombed,” the group said.
U.N. Security Council to meet on Syria as deaths mount – More than 200 people were reported killed in Syria, hours before the U.N. Security Council was scheduled to meet and likely vote on a draft resolution intended to pressure the government there to end its months-long crackdown on demonstrators, diplomats said. The meeting was scheduled to start at 10 a.m. ET Saturday. It was not clear which way Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, would vote.
9) Will Nevada give Romney a second straight victory? – Coming off a 14-point victory over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the rest of the GOP field in Tuesday’s Florida Republican primary, the former Massachusetts governor is considered the odds-on-favorite to win Nevada’s caucuses. [...] According to exit polls from the ’08 caucus, Mormons made up a quarter of the electorate, and Romney, who’s a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, won 95% of their vote.
The only people except for everybody else.
10) Romney to Nevadans: I Don’t Know ‘What The Purpose is’ of Public Lands – Public lands in Nevada – and other western states—actually provide an enormous economic boost and sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs. Indeed, recent Interior Department statistics show that federally managed public lands in Nevada provided over $1 billion in economic impacts and supported 13,311 jobs in 2010. This statistic doesn’t even include the economic impacts of Forest Service lands, managed by the Department of Agriculture).