If you need a laugh, read this crap. Link goes to CounterPunch. It's written by a union steward so it's full of crap.
Here's Jerry White (WSWS):
President Obama gave a campaign-style speech at a suburban Detroit auto factory Monday afternoon, enlisting the support of the United Auto Workers union for his attack on basic social programs at the heart of the deficit-reduction deal he is negotiating with congressional Republicans.
Union officials standing behind the president and packing the audience served as extras in this latest stage-managed effort to package a historic assault on what remains of the social reforms of the 1930s and 1960s as a defense of “middle class” working Americans. The president’s fig leaf of “fairness” and “shared sacrifice” consists of a pledge to impose a token—and temporary—increase in tax rates for the richest 2 percent of households. The UAW officials roared their approval of this reactionary farce.
Speaking at Daimler’s Detroit Diesel plant in Redford, Michigan, a working class town bordering Detroit, the poorest big city in America, the president claimed the economy was going “in the right direction.” He hailed the UAW for its role in the supposed revival of the auto industry. He praised Detroit Diesel for its plan to hire 115 workers—in a metropolitan area where 217,000 workers are officially unemployed and the real number of jobless is probably twice as high.
“I want us to bring down our deficits, but I want to do it in a balanced, responsible way,” the president declared. What was needed, Obama said, was a “package that keeps taxes where they are for middle-class families. We make some tough spending cuts on things that we don’t need, and then we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a slightly higher tax rate.”
The cuts to programs “we don’t need” include hundreds of billions of dollars for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The administration and other leading Democrats have already signaled support for raising the eligibility age for Medicare and introducing means-testing, the first step towards dismantling the health care program for seniors. They have also indicated support for changing the formula for cost-of-living increases so as to reduce benefits for Social Security recipients.
This austerity agenda for the working class is to be accompanied by a “comprehensive tax reform” that will more than offset any 1 or 2 percent short-term increase in tax rates for the rich by slashing both personal and corporate income tax rates.
The unions are selling the people out.
At some point, they'll either fade or go back to doing the needed work. But don't kid yourself that the unions have been protecting the workers. They've been making concessions for decades. They're really nothing but a churn-out-the-vote organization currently.
David Ignatius (Washington Post) makes the case for John Kerry to be the next US Secretary of State:
First, he recognizes that the world is a mess, starting with the chaotic Arab nations, and that it needs stronger American diplomatic leadership. When the Arab revolutions began in 2011, President Obama rightly decided not to try to contain the explosion. But we’re entering a new period when Arabs need more U.S. help in consolidating their gains. Kerry, who has been traveling in the Middle East long enough to develop a genuine feel for the region, would be a good and steadying partner for the Arab transformation.
Second, Kerry appreciates the importance of quiet diplomacy, especially now. To make progress in brokering a Syrian political transition, exploring negotiating options with Iran and assessing prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Obama will need a confidential emissary. Kerry has played that role successfully for him already, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s hard for a secretary of state to operate in “quiet mode,” but Kerry understands that’s important now. He’s well-traveled enough that he could skip the get-acquainted tours.
Third, while Kerry sometimes comes across as stiff, he’s surprisingly willing to challenge conventional wisdom, especially about engaging America’s adversaries. This unlikely contrarian streak would be an advantage, especially because it’s so well disguised: With his stolid demeanor, Kerry would find it easier to take diplomatic chances than other potential nominees, especially the younger, less experienced Rice.
I agree. I've had ups and downs with Kerry (he's my senator, one of them). But in terms of Secretary of State, I have no doubts.
He is methodic, he is diplomatic and he is focused. And whomever gets that position needs those kind of qualities. There are others who are qualified. I think John Kerry beats out everyone. C.I.'s been supporting Kerry for this post and backing that up by lobbying other big donors to the party. So Kerry should be the front runner.
If he's not, there's one person I disagree with strongly on nearly everything but would support them. And they're the only one I would support the same way as I will support a John Kerry nomination.
With John Kerry, there's no learning curve. He knows the regions, he knows the leaders. He can get nominated and start to work immediately. He won't need hand holding.
But there's serious global unrest and we need someone who knows what they're doing. To me, it's Kerry or the other person. If that person gets nominated, I'll be find with supporting them even though I disagree politically with them. But with Kerry, I'll provide instant support. He's earned it and he has the skills the country needs.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"