Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I turned 39 (2014)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

U.S. Congress "Super Committee" 2011

"Reid names Kerry to debt panel ‘super committee’"
By Associated Press - BostonHerald.com - August 9, 2011

WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Tuesday he’s naming ...

Senator Patty Murray to co-chair a powerful "super committee" charged with finding more than $1 trillion in deficit cuts this fall.

Murray will be joined by Sens. ...

John Kerry, D-Mass., and ...

Max Baucus, D-Mont., on the panel, which was established last week by hard-fought legislation to increase the national debt.

Murray, who is chairwoman of the committee to elect Democratic senators, is a longtime protector of Democratic priorities such as Medicare, Social Security and veterans’ benefits, as are Kerry and Baucus.

Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement that Murray has "a depth of knowledge on budget issues and demonstrated her ability to work across party lines."

In naming the trio, Reid opted against picking Democrats like Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad of North Dakota or Dick Durbin of Illinois, who backed curbs on Medicare spending and Social Security benefits as members of President Barack Obama’s deficit commission. Baucus also served on the commission but voted against the controversial recommendations put forward by its co-chairs, citing cuts to farm subsidies and a proposed increase in the gasoline tax.

"More significant to me is who (Reid) didn’t pick," said Keith Hennessey, a longtime former Senate GOP aide, citing Reid’s snub of Conrad, who’s also part of a bipartisan Senate "Gang of Six" on the budget. "He didn’t pick someone who might have been bipartisan." Hennessey is now a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Baucus is the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over taxes, Social Security and Medicare. Kerry was the Democratic nominee for president in 2004.

Reid is the first of four congressional leaders to make his picks to the panel. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will also name three members of the 12-member panel, which will be evenly divided between the two parties. They face an Aug. 16 deadline to name committee members.

The committee is charged with coming up with $1.5 trillion or more in budget savings over the coming decade, enough to match increases in the government’s ability to borrow enough money to pay its bills through the beginning of 2013.

It would take a bipartisan majority of at least seven of the committee’s 12 members to recommend legislation for guaranteed yes or no votes before Christmas. The panel has until the day before Thanksgiving to complete its deliberations.

The committee is sure to have a good element of partisanship, but there are powerful incentives for its members to reach agreement. Perhaps most important, if it fails to produce deficit savings of at least $1.2 trillion, or if the House or Senate votes down its recommendations, severe across-the-board spending cuts would be initiated automatically, hitting large swaths of the federal budget starting in 2013, including priorities dear to both parties. They include Medicaid, farm subsidies and the defense budget.

In addition, the recent downgrade on U.S. debt by the Standard & Poor’s rating agency adds additional pressure. Stalemate within the committee could risk additional downgrades or roil financial markets.

Public opinion polls showed that voters were disgusted with Washington’s wrangling over the debt limit.

"As the events of the past week have made clear, the world is watching the work of this committee," Reid said.

Boehner will name the other co-chair. Just as Reid chose a party loyalist, Boehner is likely to choose a stout conservative.

In a conference call Tuesday with rank and file House Republicans, Boehner said his three selections to the joint committee will be "people of courage who understand the gravity of this situation and are committed to doing what needs to be done," according an account provided by a House GOP aide. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., are among the names most frequently mentioned by congressional aides and lobbyists as Boehner’s likely picks. Ryan and Camp were also deficit commission members but voted against the co-chairmen’s recommendations, citing tax increases and inadequate cost curbs of federal health care programs.

Boehner also said he and other House and Senate leaders of both parties want the newly created panel to conduct "open hearings and a public process."

Political activists and lobbyists said other likely picks include Reps. James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., a member of the House Democratic leadership, and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., top Democrat on the House Budget Committee.

Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., the No. 2 Senate Republican; Rob Portman, R-Ohio, a Bush administration budget director; and Mike Johanns, R-Neb., his state’s former governor, also are possibilities.

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"Kerry picked for debt committee"
By Donovan Slack, Boston Globe Staff, August 9, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Senator John Kerry will be one of six senators on the debt-reduction committee responsible for recommending cuts or new revenue by Thanksgiving that would help balance the nation’s budget.

Kerry, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will serve with fellow Democratic senators Patty Murray of Washington state and Max Baucus of Montana, said Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“As the events of the past week have made clear, the world is watching the work of this committee. I am confident that Senators Murray, Baucus and Kerry will bring the thoughtfulness, bipartisanship, and commitment to a balanced approach that will produce the best outcome for the American people,” Reid said in a statement.

They will be joined on the committee by three Democratic House members and six Republican lawmakers. The committee, under the debt-ceiling deal reached last week, must agree on recommendations for reducing the deficit by at least $1.5 trillion.

Congress then must vote on those recommendations by the end of December. If they are not passed in an up-or-down vote, a set of deep cuts will automatically take effect, including to defense spending and entitlement programs such as Medicare. The Medicare cuts would affect providers and not beneficiaries directly.

Kerry’s office could not immediately respond to news of the appointment.

Reid said he selected Kerry, Bauchus and Murray because they “each posses an expertise in budget matters, a commitment to a balanced approach and a track record of forging bipartisan consensus.

“...Senators Baucus and Kerry are two of the Senate’s most respected and experienced legislators. Their legislative accomplishments are matched only by their records of forging strong bonds with their Republican colleagues,” Reid said in the statement.

Murray will be co-chair of the committee. The other members will be selected by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Donovan Slack can be reached at dslack@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @DonovanSlack.

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"Six Republicans named to deficit super panel"
By Kevin Drawbaugh, Donna Smith and Richard Cowan - Reuters - August 10, 2011

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans named their six members to a congressional deficit-reduction super committee on Wednesday, setting the stage for an attempt to create bipartisan agreement on taxes and government spending.

Senators ...

Jon Kyl, ...

Rob Portman ...

and Patrick Toomey were selected by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, named Representatives ...

Dave Camp, ...

Jeb Hensarling ...

and Fred Upton to the committee.

The panel is known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction and was established to find $1.5 trillion in additional budget saving over 10 years.

Expectations for a fiscal policy breakthrough by the panel were on the rise as markets whipsawed through the week following a historic downgrade of U.S. debt and a deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling that postponed tough decisions.

Senate Democrats were first out of the gate on Tuesday with their appointments to the 12-member panel. They were Senators Max Baucus, John Kerry and Patty Murray, a trio that analysts said sent a mixed message about the panel's potential.

Only three more slots on the panel remained to be filled by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

(Reporting by Kevin Drawbaugh, Donna Smith and Richard Cowan; Editing by Howard Goller and Will Dunham)

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"Pelosi Picks Loyalists for Debt 'Super Committee'"
By Alex M. Parker - usnews.com - August 11, 2011

Now, all of the picks for the "super committee" are in. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced today that representing the House Democrats on the debt reduction committee will be ...

Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, ...

James Clyburn of South Carolina, and ...

Xavier Becerra of California. Other leaders announced their picks earlier this week. The committee's 12 members are tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in cuts to the national debt by Nov. 23.

All of Pelosi's appointees are closely tied to her and her leadership team. Van Hollen was previously the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Larson and Becerra are the chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the House Democratic Caucus. They'll be expected to hold the Democratic line that whatever recommendations the committee makes, it should include some new government revenues and should avoid cuts to Medicare benefits. Which isn't to say the picks don't also have expertise on the issues the committee will be scrutinizing. Van Hollen, for instance, is the ranking member of the House Budget committee, and was a Democratic negotiator during the debt ceiling talks over the summer.

Pelosi's picks underscore the D.C. conventional wisdom that if a deal is made, it will likely be senators, such as Montana Democrat Max Baucus or Ohio Republican Rob Portman, who will act as brokers.

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"Nancy Pelosi Names Final Members To Debt 'Super Committee'"
By Michael McAuliff - HuffingtonPost.com - August 11, 2011

WASHINGTON -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made the final picks for the new deficit-slashing "super Congress" Thursday, naming three lawmakers she believed would back her position that revenue-raising measures must be included in any deal reached by the committee.

The super Congress, officially titled "The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction," consists of 12 lawmakers -- six from each party and each chamber -- who have been given nearly unprecedented power to cut projected deficits by $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

The committee will need only seven votes to pass its proposal. The rest of Congress will not have the power to amend their plan, obstruct it from coming to a vote, or even filibuster it in the Senate -- they will only be able to vote it up or down.

Saying that the committee "must put American prosperity first," Pelosi named members whom she thought would do just that: Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), who is the assistant party leader; Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) vice chair of the Democratic Caucus; and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee.

“The Joint Select Committee has a golden opportunity to take its discussions to the higher ground of America's greatness and its values," Pelosi said in a statement announcing her picks. "It must meet the aspirations of the American people for success and keep America number one."

She also laid out her standards for the committee, saying:

It must:

•Focus on economic growth and job creation that reduces the deficit;

•Make decisions regarding investments, cuts and revenues and their timing to stimulate growth while reducing the deficit; and

•Increase demand by offering recommendations that ensure that wages grow with productivity and reduce America’s families’ dependence on credit.

Pelosi has been adamant that the revenue-raising elements of a deal that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) nearly backed with President Obama must be included in the final deal reached by the committee.

“We must achieve a ‘grand bargain’ that reduces the deficit by addressing our entire budget, while strengthening Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security," Pelosi said. "Our entire caucus will work closely with these three appointees toward this goal, which is the goal of the American people."

So far, Pelosi, more than any other congressional leader, has emphasized the position that debt-reduction must be done in a way that does not hamstring a struggling economy. JPMorgan Chase has already estimated the initial deal to raise the debt limit will shave a point and a half off the GDP.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid named Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to the committee earlier this week. On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tapped Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), while Boehner chose Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.). Murray and Hensarling will serve as co-chairs of the committee.

Pelosi also repeated her call Thursday that the committee be open to public scrutiny.

"Because the work of this committee will affect all Americans, I called last week for its deliberations to be transparent. The committee should conduct its proceedings in the open,” she said.

Some outsiders have called for all campaign donations to members to be disclosed immediately to in order to help prevent special interests from having undue influence on the committee's work.

Some interested observers thought the composition of the committee suggested there was at least a small chance it would be able to strike a deal that passes Congress. "These are all adults," said one Medicare lobbyist, who noted that Boehner's picks are not backed by the Tea Party. "They are all Boehner people -- [House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor got no one."

Toomey is probably the most right wing of the Republican committee members, having once led the vehemently anti-tax Club for Growth. Hensarling, meanwhile, has often advocated privatizing Social Security. But in Camp, Upton, Kyl and Portman, the lobbyist saw chances for compromise.

On the Democratic side, many liberals see Baucus as most likely to side with Republicans, but one Senate leadership aide suggested instead that Baucus would be a tough advocate for the Democratic position. The Medicare lobbyist noted that Baucus is likely to be protective of both Social Security and the health insurance reform law that he was instrumental in writing.

The committee is supposed to finish its debt-reduction plan by Nov. 23. Congress must vote on the whole package by Dec. 23.

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"Deficit committee could cut mortgage tax deductions"
By Kenneth R. Harney, The Nation’s Housing, bostonherald.com - Real Estate, August 14, 2011

If you take mortgage interest tax deductions, the next 100 days could have significant financial implications for you, thanks to Congress’ new federal debt ceiling plan.

The compromise legislation created an evenly split, 12-member bipartisan supercommittee — that could call for major cutbacks on real estate write-offs by Thanksgiving.

All it will take is a single vote by a lone senator or House member who breaks with his or her party to put the mortgage interest deduction into serious play.

Here is what’s about to unfold and how it could affect you: The legislation signed by the president Aug. 2 calls for a two-step increase in the federal debt ceiling plus spending cuts of about $917 billion. It also created the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to slash an additional $1.5 trillion from the deficit over the coming decade.

The committee is required to vote on a plan to achieve these objectives by Nov. 23, using revenue increases, spending cuts or a combination. If the committee members cannot agree on a plan, or if either chamber of Congress votes it down, automatic and severe spending cuts of $1.5 trillion will be imposed equally on the Department of Defense and domestic programs including Medicare provider payments.

The structure of the committee is akin to a jury room rigged with high-power explosives that will detonate if the jurors fail to reach a verdict. Membership consists of six Republicans and six Democrats — three each from the Senate and House — chosen by party leaders. To approve a final package of deficit cuts and extend the debt ceiling, all that will be needed is a simple majority of seven votes.

House and Senate leaders selected their six members this week: Democratic Sens. Patty Murray (Wash.), Max Baucus (Mont.) and John F. Kerry (Mass.); Democratic Reps. James E. Clyburn (S.C.), Xavier Becerra (Calif.) and Chris Van Hollen (Md.); Republican Sens. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Patrick J. Toomey (Pa.) and Rob Portman (Ohio); and Republican Reps. Jeb Hensarling (Tex.), Dave Camp (Mich.) and Fred Upton (Mich.).

The selections appear to include members who have taken stances in the past that are consistent with party positions. Democrats typically favor revenue increases to help close the deficit, whereas Republicans generally want to slash spending without raising taxes. But there is a real possibility that one or more members on either side could be so concerned about the prospect of painful automatic defense or social-program spending cuts that they would break party ranks.

That compromise might well involve new revenue, and the mortgage interest deduction is one of the lowest-hanging fruits. Lobbying groups who seek to preserve housing write-offs already are gearing up for battle on Capitol Hill. The National Association of Realtors sent an urgent alert to its 1.1 million members asking them to directly “engage their members of Congress on the importance of preserving real estate tax provisions.”

After decades of being considered politically sacrosanct, why are homeowner mortgage write-offs suddenly on the chopping block? Sheer size is the No. 1 reason. The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the home mortgage interest deduction will cost the federal government $100 billion during fiscal 2011 and $107.3 billion in 2012.

Among the options open to the supercommittee: lower the maximum mortgage amount eligible for interest deductions to $500,000 from the current $1.1 million; replace the deduction with a tax credit that would be usable by lower- and moderate-income owners as well as those with higher incomes; eliminate interest deductions on second homes; and phase out the deductibility of homeowner property tax payments.

Defenders of the write-offs argue that high levels of homeownership are essential to economic growth and social stability and fully justify the tax system preferences they receive. National opinion polls regularly find widespread support for the write-offs, even among renters. Also, academic and trade group studies project that any abrupt, across-the-board reduction would have a severe impact on home values, possibly sending them plummeting by as much as 15 percent.

Critics, on the other hand, consider the write-offs inherently unfair: They’re skewed to benefit upper-income owners disproportionately and are highly concentrated geographically along the West Coast, the Northeastern states and Mid-Atlantic.

Where’s this debate headed? It’s much too early to predict. But any way you look at it, real estate write-offs could be in greater political jeopardy in the next three months than they have been at any time in the past 25 years.

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'Super committee' will launch website for public input
By Lisa Mascaro (lmascaro@tribune.com), Los Angeles Times, August 24, 2011

The super-committee on deficit reduction has yet to hold its first meeting, but its co-chairs said Wednesday they are hard at work constructing the new panel that has less than three months to recommend sweeping budget reductions – a task that skeptics give little chance at success.

In their first joint statement since the panel was formed earlier this month, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said they have been engaged in “serious discussions” over the logistics of creating the panel that has far-reaching authority to set federal budgets for the next decade.

It is also building a website that could be launched in coming days to solicit public input.

“We have been working together to ensure that the committee we help build is given every opportunity to succeed,” Murray and Hensarling said in a joint statement. “We are confident that most Americans will agree that when building an organization from the ground-up with a short time-table for success, it’s important to get it right the first time.”

The committee has until Nov. 23 to recommend $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade through taxes, spending cuts or some combination. If a majority of the bipartisan 12-member panel agrees with the proposal, it would be presented to Congress for an up-or-down vote by Dec. 23.

Such tax and spending decisions have dogged Congress for years, but the committee faces increased pressure to shelve partisanship amid record deficits, jittery financial markets and a struggling economy.

But before the committee can tackle the tough issues, it needs to resolve the more mundane ones – assembling staff, setting meeting times and so on. In this era of partisan Washington, every decision is fraught with political traps.

“We encourage our colleagues to participate in active and useful dialogue across the aisle,” the co-chairs said.

By law, the committee must meet by September 16, 2011.

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"New U.S. Congress deficit panel sets first meeting"

* Panel meeting in public, unlike past budget talks

* First public hearing also scheduled, for mid-September (New throughout)

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON, September 2, 2011 (Reuters) - A newly-formed congressional panel on deficit reduction next week will kick off months of arduous negotiations that will be closely watched by financial markets hoping for a deal that puts the United States on an improved fiscal path.

The opening meeting of the bipartisan "super committee" will be held on Sept. 8, the co-chairs announced on Friday. It will convene just hours before President Barack Obama unveils his latest jobs-creation initiative to a joint session of Congress.

That initiative and the super committee's work are both aimed at healing a U.S. economy that has been struggling to grow after a deep recession which began at the end of 2007.

The United States is still suffering the after-effects of that recession with high unemployment -- 9.1 percent in the latest government estimate.

Washington's ability to deal with joblessness and slow economic growth will have an impact on the outcome of the November 2012 presidential and congressional elections.

The deficit-reduction panel will also hold its initial public hearing on Sept. 13, when it will review the history and causes of the growing U.S. debt, said co-chairs Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Republican Representative Jeb Hensarling.

Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf is scheduled to testify.

The committee is tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in new government savings over the next decade and has a Nov. 23 deadline for doing so.

At its meeting, which will be open to the public, the committee will consider rules under which it will operate, according to a press release.

But with Democrats and Republicans jockeying for best position in the run-up to the 2012 elections and with the two political parties holding vastly different views on how to fix the economy, the panel's work will not be easy.

The special committee -- with six Republicans and six Democrats from both houses of Congress -- was created by legislation enacted in early August that cleared the way for raising the U.S. debt limit and avoiding a likely default on government loans. The debate on that legislation was bitter.

The measure included $917 billion in spending cuts over 10 years to help tame budget deficits that have been hovering well above $1 trillion annually.

The super committee is expected to consider a mix of spending cuts and possibly tax increases to reach additional government savings of at least $1.2 trillion. U.S. credit rating agencies are hoping for savings well beyond that figure.

It is unclear whether cuts in benefits to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security recipients would be proposed.

If a majority of the new committee cannot agree on a deficit-reduction package, automatic spending cuts of at least $1.2 trillion would be triggered in 2013. They would be divided equally between defense and domestic programs.

In announcing that its first two gatherings would be open to the public, the special committee is responding to criticisms that deficit-reduction negotiations earlier this year were always behind closed doors. (Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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"Same goal, opposing plans for debt 'super' panel"
By DAVID ESPO - AP Special Correspondent | AP – September 13, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — Digging in for a bruising struggle, Republicans on Congress' powerful deficit-fighting "supercommittee" targeted Social Security and government health care spending Tuesday while Democrats pressed for higher tax revenue as part of any deal to reduce red ink by at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade.

There were no ultimatums from either side, and there was even a fleeting suggestion that tax reform might eventually clear the way for the bipartisan agreement that both sides say they want.

Yet with the Census Bureau reporting national poverty at a 28-year high and partisan struggles flaring elsewhere in Congress, the events underscored the challenge the 12-member panel faces as it gropes for a deal that can clear Congress and win President Barack Obama's signature by year's end.

With the nation's debt high and surging and the population aging, "Citizens will either have to pay more for their government, accept less in government services and benefits, or both," Doug Elmendorf, the head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, told supercommittee.

Though the choices are difficult, he said, the problem "need not be viewed as unsolvable."

Yet the challenge is complicated, he said, if the lawmakers' are hoping to revive the economy in the short term and to cut federal deficits in later years. In that case, "a combination of policies would be required: changes in taxes and spending that would widen the deficit now but reduce it later in the decade."

The committee has until Nov. 23 to recommend legislation, but Elmendorf said the essential decisions must be made as much as three weeks earlier than that to make sure they are drafted into a bill and their impact on the federal budget calculated carefully.

The panel was created last month as part of a compromise that avoided a threatened government default and cut nearly $1 trillion from some federal programs.

In addition to the original goal of cutting long-term deficits, Democrats want much or all of Obama's week-old $447 billion jobs proposal put on the agenda, significantly increasing the amount of savings that must be found.

"My question to Congress is: What on earth are we waiting for?" the president asked rhetorically as he visited Columbus, Ohio, to campaign for the enactment of his program of Social Security payroll tax cuts and spending increases for highway projects and other domestic programs.

Speaking in the home state of Republican House Speaker John Boehner, the Democratic president said his call for $25 million for school construction would put thousands of construction workers in Ohio back to work.

Boehner responded from the Capitol, where he said the president was seeking "permanent tax increases put into effect in order to pay for temporary spending. I just don't think that's going to help our economy the way it could."

Republicans are likely to accept some or all of the tax cuts Obama wants, but the spending increases shape up as a tougher sell. GOP leaders point out that the administration's call for higher taxes on the wealthy has faced opposition from some Democrats as well as Republicans in the past.

There were other skirmishes in Congress as the two parties sought to protect their own priorities in an era of soaring budget deficits.

Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee launched defense spending legislation for the budget year beginning Oct. 1 that is $17 billion smaller than the amount approved by the House, a difference that must be reconciled by the end of the month to keep the money flowing.

Also in the Senate, Democrats maneuvered to put Republicans on the spot on disaster aid by seeking legislation that would add $6.9 billion to FEMA's accounts without offsetting cuts elsewhere. The effect would be to let deficits rise.

Past efforts to reach compromise on major debt-reducing proposals have run aground over mutually exclusive demands — Republicans opposed to raising taxes and Democrats against cutting benefit programs.

But Obama has made clear he is willing to consider spending cuts this time around, and Boehner has said he put additional revenues on the table in negotiations with the president last summer that ultimately collapsed.

At the time the two men were considering tax reform that would generate growth — and about $800 billion in additional tax revenue over a decade — while lowering rates and closing loopholes.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., briefly raised the issue of tax reform at Tuesday's supercommittee hearing, asking Elmendorf if "revenue equal" overhaul of the existing code would help the economy grow.

The CBO director said it was possible, adding he couldn't say how big the impact might be.

Also inside the debt-reduction hearing, Rep. Jim Clyburn informed other lawmakers of a new Census Bureau report that showed 46 million Americans living in poverty. Referring to health care and other domestic programs, he cautioned Republicans, "'We really ought to look into all of these programs to see where cuts are to be made rather than talk about the number."

Much of the morning-long hearing consisted of committee members posing questions to Elmendorf designed to elicit answers that might enhance their own bargaining positions for negotiations with lawmakers of the other party.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, a co-chairman of the panel, pointed to statistics showing that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are growing faster in relation to the overall economy than they have in the past. "Not quite double, but certainly that can be described as explosive growth, could it not?" he asked.

"Very rapid, Congressman, yes," Elmendorf replied.

Hensarling also quoted Obama as saying, "The major driver of our long-term liabilities, everybody here knows, is Medicare and Medicaid and our health care spending. Nothing comes close."

Asked if he agreed, Elmendorf said he did.

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, asked Elmendorf if he agreed that inappropriate payments in federal programs account for a significant amount of spending.

"I do agree," the CBO director said, although he quickly added that there was a difference between fraud and improper payments, some of which might be the result of individuals who were mistaken in how they filled out forms.

Among Democrats, Sen. John Kerry got Elmendorf's agreement when he said federal revenues have been relatively high as a proportion of the overall economy in years since World War II in which the budget was balanced — an attempt to counter Republican arguments that taxes are already too high.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., asked Elmendorf if it were true that Congress could adjourn for the next 10 years and the deficit savings would be greater than recommended by other groups that have tried to produce sweeping reduction packages. Elmendorf said that was correct — the income tax cuts enacted while George W. Bush was president would expire — and Van Hollen said quickly he wasn't advocating that.

But, he said, "It's time for this committee to get real and recognize that, yes, there are spending issues, but there's also a revenue issue. ... We've got to have a balanced approach."

Online: www.deficitreduction.gov

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Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction members House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn of S.C., left, and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., talk on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011, prior to the start of the committee's hearing on the national debt. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction Co-Chairs Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, left, and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., center, listen as Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf testifies before the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011. At right is committee member, Senate Minorty Whip Jon Kyl of Ariz., (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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"House Democrats warn supercommittee against cuts"
By ALAN FRAM - Associated Press | AP – October 13, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats are advising Congress' supercommittee to create jobs, raise revenues and avoid damaging cuts to crucial public works, education and health programs as the panel searches for ways to curb the government's growing debt.

A day ahead of a deadline for submitting advice to the supercommittee, minority Democrats from 16 House committees released letters they are sending the panel with their recommendations. Some propose specific savings such as boosting government fees on financial firms and defunding old water projects. All emphasize the need to protect programs that keep the economy strong, especially at a time of high unemployment and a faltering economy.

"Democrats strongly believe that economic growth is an integral component of such a proposal, because creating jobs is the most effective way to reduce the deficit," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote in her own letter to the supercommittee.

The fact that House Democrats wrote their own letters — as opposed to joint letters co-signed by committee Republicans — underscores the wide partisan divide over how the $14 trillion federal debt should be tamed. Congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama want some tax increases included in any debt-reduction package, an idea that the GOP rejects.

Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, which controls over $1 trillion in annual agency spending, proposed no specific cuts but emphasized the damage that would be done by across-the-board cuts that would be automatically triggered if the supercommittee doesn't produce a package of savings that Congress approves.

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees taxes and large health care programs, wrote that the supercommittee must "spur job creation and economic health today." They urged higher taxes on the wealthy while providing tax incentives for companies that create jobs, and protection for Social Security, unemployment benefits and health care coverage.

Republicans and Senate committees will be sending additional letters to the supercommittee over the next two days. The panel is charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in savings over the coming decade.

Among letters already sent to the supercommittee, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who heads the Senate Health and Education Committee, asked the panel to take "bold and immediate action to create jobs" while embracing deficit reduction that would take effect after the unemployment rate drops.

Harkin suggests raising taxes and saving money by giving brand-name drugmakers fewer years of patent protection against generic competitors and encouraging students to take education loans directly from their colleges — both policies that have been favored by the Obama administration. Harkin wrote that the supercommittee should avoid cuts to programs including job training, Obama's health care overhaul and aid to the disabled.

The leaders of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Chairman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., combined on a letter asking the supercommittee to "not neglect America's transportation needs."

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, encouraged the committee to pare savings from Social Security by gradually raising the future retirement age from 67 to 69 and, in some years, trimming annual inflation adjustments in benefits by 1 percentage point. Hutchison has been offering that proposal for weeks; it's opposed by the seniors group AARP.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., said he and the panel's top Republican, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, hope to write a bipartisan letter that other Armed Services members could support.

The top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said he is trying to unite minority Republicans on that panel behind their own letter.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., who is also on the supercommittee, is considered unlikely to send a recommendation letter, as is another supercommittee member, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich.

The supercommittee has until Nov. 23 to send a package of savings to Congress. Lawmakers will have until Dec. 23 to vote on the measure, with failure meaning $1.2 trillion in cuts in defense and many domestic programs will begin taking effect in 2013.

Warren Buffett has also brought his fight to raise taxes on the super-wealthy to the deficit-reduction panel.

In an exchange of letters between the billionaire investor and a Republican congressman that Buffett sent the committee this week, Buffett is offering to release his federal tax returns — with a condition.

"If you could get other ultra rich Americans to publish their returns along with mine, that would be very useful to the tax dialogue and intelligent reform," Buffett wrote.

Buffett's views have become central to the struggle between Obama and Congress over how to control the federal debt. Obama has used the "Buffett Rule" to describe his fight to clamp taxes on the wealthy that are at least as high as those paid by lower earners, a drive that Republicans oppose.

AP writer Donna Cassata contributed to this story.

----------

"Supercommittee GOP, Democrats swap offers"
By DAVID ESPO - AP Special Correspondent | AP – October 26, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans on Congress' deficit-reduction supercommittee outlined a plan Wednesday that includes spending cuts but none of the increases in tax revenue sought by Democrats, completing an initial exchange of offers that left the two sides far apart despite weeks of secret talks.

Officials also said a Democratic proposal on Tuesday and the GOP counter-proposal 24 hours later both included a provision to slow the annual cost-of-living increases in future Social Security benefits, suggesting it could become part of any compromise that might emerge.

The Republican offer calls for somewhat more than $2 trillion in deficit savings over a decade, according to officials in both parties. Less than half of that amount would come from increases in items such as Medicare premiums, the sale of public lands and airport fees — measures that increase government revenue without changing personal or corporate taxes.

Spending cuts include about $500 billion from Medicare over a decade and another $185 billion from Medicaid, these officials said.

By contrast, Democrats want $1.3 trillion in higher tax revenue, a similar amount in spending cuts and enough other savings elsewhere in the budget to reduce deficits by more than $3 trillion over the coming decade while financing a $450 billion jobs bill along the lines that President Barack Obama is recommending.

The officials who described the rival approaches did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to provide details of the committee's confidential discussions. In private, each side also disparaged the other, providing yet another indication that the panel's deliberations have not shown significant progress.

Still, the exchange marked a quickening in the pace of activity by the committee after dozens of hours of closed-door meetings, and with time running out, senior leaders in both parties are becoming more involved. Another committee meeting was set for Thursday.

The panel of six Republicans and six Democrats has until Nov. 23 to recommend deficit savings of $1.2 trillion. But in fact, most if not all of the decisions must be made by early next month to give the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office time to render precise estimates on their costs on future deficits.

Whatever the committee recommends must be approved by both houses of Congress in December if lawmakers want to avoid automatic spending cuts of $1.2 trillion across a range of federal programs.

There were signs of Democratic dissension one day after Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., outlined a proposal on behalf of his party's negotiators that included changes in large government benefit programs.

According to several officials, he called for $1.3 trillion in increased tax revenue over a decade, and $1.3 trillion in spending cuts. Another $1 trillion in savings would come from the presumed reduction of Pentagon costs in Iraq and Afghanistan and $500 billion more from a reduction in interest costs resulting from declining deficits.

Those savings would be on top of cuts that Congress approved earlier in the year of nearly $1 trillion.

For Democrats on the committee, it appeared that the most contentious of the items would slow the growth of monthly checks to recipients of Social Security and other benefit programs, curtail Medicare spending by $400 billion over a decade and Medicaid by another $75 billion.

Several Democrats said during the day that the presentation had the support of a majority of the six Democrats on the panel, leaving the impression that at least one, and possibly two, of the party's lawmakers had not signed on. They also stressed that Obama has previously endorsed each of the proposals they made, including the one to adjust the government's calculation for inflation in a way that curtails the growth of benefit programs.

Others suggested that Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., a member of the party's leadership, and Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., had not agreed to support the recommendations.

Aides to the two men would not confirm the accounts.

By contrast, Republicans appeared to avoid any ideological pitfalls in their counter-offer, pulling well back from a position that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, took earlier in the year in private talks with Obama.

In those discussions, Boehner and the president discussed legislation to enact tax reform that was assumed to result in economic expansion and increases in tax revenue of $800 billion over a decade.

After the collapse of those talks, Republicans have struggled in the ensuing months to avoid any conflict with Grover Norquist, a prominent conservative activist and author of a pledge not to raise taxes that many GOP lawmakers have signed.

In fact, tax reform has figured prominently in the deficit committee's private discussions, according to officials in both parties, and is viewed as a possible key to an agreement.

Under this theory, if Republicans are willing to agree that additional revenue that results from reform does not constitute a tax increase, it might entice Democrats to agree to savings from Medicare and other government benefit programs that account for much of the growth in federal spending in recent years.

Apart from the deficit committee's work, the official web site of the Republican-controlled House Ways and Means Committee sketches a plan to reduce the corporate tax from a current 35 percent to 25 percent, with unspecified provisions to broaden the tax base.

It also makes a favorable reference to a reform of the individual income tax system, without specifics.

Associated Press writer Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.

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"Super committee" still hoping for debt deal
By Tabassum Zakaria | Reuters – November 13, 2011

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The congressional "super committee" is at a difficult point in negotiations on deficit-reduction, but lawmakers said on Sunday they had not given up on reaching an agreement by this month's deadline.

The special congressional committee is tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in budget savings over 10 years, but with a November 23 deadline looming, Republicans and Democrats have not yet sealed a deal.

Republicans have been reluctant to allow tax increases, and Democrats do not want to agree to cuts in healthcare and retirement programs until tax increases are on the table.

House of Representatives Republican Jeb Hensarling, committee co-chair, acknowledged on CNN's "State of the Union" program that tax increases would likely have to be part of any bipartisan deal.

"We believe that, frankly, increasing tax revenues could hurt the economy, but within the context of a bipartisan negotiation with Democrats, clearly they are a reality," Hensarling said.

House of Representatives Democrat James Clyburn, a member of the super committee, said on "Fox News Sunday" that while he was "very hopeful" that a compromise could be reached by the deadline, "I am not as certain as I was 10 days ago."

'BUILD THE WILL'

Clyburn added: "I really believe that all of the ingredients for a good resolution are there. We just need to build the will."

Lawmakers said they had not given up on the prospect of reaching an agreement by the deadline.

"It's been a roller-coaster ride," Hensarling said. "We haven't given up hope, but if this was easy the president of the United States and the Speaker of the House would have gotten it done themselves."

A dispute over taxes had scuttled negotiations this summer between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner on a broad deficit-reduction package.

The committee of six Democrats and six Republicans is struggling to meet the deadline that is less than two weeks away. Congress will then have until December 23 to vote on the committee's recommendations.

If either deadline goes unmet, automatic spending cuts would be triggered on domestic and military programs, beginning in 2013, as part of a law enacted in August.

Obama spoke on Friday by telephone with the super committee co-chairs -- Democrat Senator Patty Murray and Hensarling -- to urge that the panel meet the deadline.

The White House has said that Obama would block any measures to water down the enforcement mechanism that would require $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts in 2013 if the committee fails to reach a deal.

"The clock is running out, but it hasn't run out yet. We still have time, but we have no time to waste," Republican Senator Patrick Toomey, a member of the committee, said on "Fox News Sunday."

"It's at a difficult point. I think we've got a ways to go, but I hope we can close that gap very quickly," he said.

(Editing by Philip Barbara)

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"Deficit Panel Seeks to Defer Details on Raising Taxes"
By ROBERT PEAR, New York Times, November 13, 2011

WASHINGTON — With a little over a week left to reach a deal, members of the Congressional deficit reduction panel are looking for an escape hatch that would let them strike an accord on revenue levels but delay until next year tough decisions about exactly how to raise taxes.

Under this approach, the panel would decide on the amount of new revenue to be raised but would leave it to the tax-writing committees of Congress to fill in details next year, well beyond the Nov. 23 deadline for the panel itself to reach an agreement. That would put off painful political decisions but ensure that the debate over deficit reduction stretched into the election year.

“There could be a two-step process that would hopefully give us pro-growth tax reform,” Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, the top Republican on the panel, said Sunday on the CNN program “State of the Union.”

Members of Congress and their aides said they were still skeptical that the panel could agree on a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases to reduce budget deficits by $1.2 trillion over 10 years, the minimum set by law.

If the panel falls short, a series of automatic cuts, split evenly between military and civilian programs, would take effect, starting in 2013. Some fear that such a failure could lead to the kind of stock market slide and loss of investor confidence that accompanied stalled efforts to raise the federal debt limit earlier this year.

A recent proposal by Republicans on the panel, to raise $300 billion in tax revenue over 10 years, led to some optimism that the committee might at least come up with a partial deal that could reduce the amount of automatic cuts.

Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said the Republicans’ willingness to discuss higher tax revenue was “a breakthrough.” But as Democrats studied the offer, they found much to criticize.

Until now, the main obstacle to a deal was Republicans’ unwillingness to raise taxes and Democrats’ unwillingness to make significant cuts in the growth of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without tax increases. To shave deficits by $1.2 trillion without raising revenue or touching entitlement programs could require deep cuts in domestic spending, the military or both.

As the deficit panel enters a final frenetic week of negotiations, Republicans and Democrats said they hoped to give broadly worded instructions to the regular tax-writing committees of Congress — the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee — to come up with a certain amount of revenue after the panel completes its work this month.

The chairmen of the tax-writing committees, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, and Representative Dave Camp, Republican of Michigan, have said they would welcome such instructions.

Some lawmakers have become so worried that the committee may deadlock that they have been talking about legislation that would stop the automatic cuts to the military.

President Obama, who has kept his distance from the deficit reduction panel, called the co-chairmen on Friday and urged them to reach a deal. He said he would not accept legislation overriding the cuts that would occur automatically if the panel fails.

If the deficit panel can reach an agreement, lawmakers said, it may raise some revenue — a down payment — and create expedited procedures for Congress to vote next year on tax legislation raising more. If the panel cannot reach agreement, it could still provide directions to the regular standing committees about how to raise revenue while overhauling the tax code for individuals and corporations.

The panel was supposed to bring some finality to a yearlong debate over spending. The debate, driven by conservative freshman Republicans in the House, included the threat of a government shutdown and the collapse of negotiations between Mr. Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner.

Republicans said their latest proposal would raise $300 billion by limiting deductions and other tax breaks that primarily benefit higher-income households.

“We would structure it so the top two brackets pay $250 billion more than they’re paying today,” a Republican Congressional aide said.

Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the No. 2 Senate Republican and a member of the deficit reduction panel, said this proposal was “a big step, a really big step,” for Republicans who had adamantly opposed tax increases.

Democrats want much more revenue — at least $1 trillion over 10 years. Moreover, they said the Republican plan would provide a windfall to the most affluent households, by permanently reducing the top tax rate to 28 percent. The top rate, now 35 percent, is scheduled to revert to 39.6 percent in 2013, with expiration of the so-called Bush-era tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003.

Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, said on “Fox News Sunday” that Republicans had put new revenue on the table as part of a plan to “avoid this huge tax increase that’s otherwise coming” in 2013. The prospect of that increase has given Democrats leverage in negotiations.

In their latest written proposal, Democrats on the panel said they would raise $350 billion through “miscellaneous revenue provisions” and establish procedures to speed action on “tax reform generating $650 billion” more. The procedures could clear a path in the Senate by limiting senators’ ability to amend or filibuster the legislation.

In their recipe for follow-up legislation, Democrats stipulate that the individual tax rate should be no higher than 35 percent, and that the new tax code should be “as progressive as current law.”

By contrast, Republicans would direct the tax-writing committees to set lower rates, and they say the amount of new revenue should not exceed $500 billion.

In the last week, discussions in the deficit reduction panel have focused almost exclusively on taxes. It is not clear whether the panel will ask standing committees to work out any details of spending cuts.

The 12-member panel, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, is evenly divided between the parties. Democrats in Congress are keeping a close eye on Mr. Baucus, who in the past has sometimes cut deals with Republicans that angered his Democratic colleagues.

At a public hearing on Nov. 1, Erskine B. Bowles, a co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s fiscal commission, told the panel, “I don’t think you can possibly rewrite the tax law between now and Nov. 23.” But Mr. Bowles said, “We do recommend that you delegate it to the tax-writing committees and set up a framework” for them.

Grover G. Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, whose antitax pledge has been signed by most Republicans in Congress, said in an interview, “I am not losing any sleep” over the Republicans’ latest proposal. Mr. Norquist said he was confident that, “at the end of the day, the Republican House will not pass a tax increase.”

“As a face-saving measure,” Mr. Norquist said, the deficit reduction panel “could give lots of instructions to the tax-writing committees.” In complying with those instructions, he said, the House and the Senate could pass very different bills.

However, leaders of the tax-writing committees are looking for ways to minimize those differences by requiring some type of prior consultation between the two houses.

Although the deficit reduction panel is supposed to vote on its final report by Nov. 23, it faces a more urgent deadline. The Congressional Budget Office will estimate the impact of its proposals on the federal deficit and debt, and those estimates must be available to panel members at least 48 hours before they vote. The panel would therefore need to settle on its proposals by Nov. 21.

Any recommendations from the deficit reduction panel, including suggested instructions to the tax committees, will be put into a bill. The full House and Senate are supposed to vote on the package, without amendments, by Dec. 23.

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, summed up the current situation:

“In the last week, each side has busted through a wall. Democrats are talking about entitlement reform, curbing the increase in spending on mandatory programs like Medicare. Republicans have broken through the wall on tax revenue increases. Now they have to figure out if they can meet each other somewhere in the middle.”

----------

"Lawmakers Concede Budget Talks Are Close to Failure"
The New York Times, November 20, 2011

Conceding that talks on a grand budget deal are near failure, Congressional leaders on Sunday pointed fingers at each other as they tried to deflect blame for their inability to figure out a way to lower the federal deficit without having to rely on automated cuts.

The testy exchanges — which dominated the Sunday talk shows — made clear that leaders in both parties now see the so-called “sequester,” a term meaning an automatic spending cut, as the most likely solution to reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years, instead of the negotiated package of spending reductions and tax increases they have been unable to achieve over the last 10 weeks.

Democrats blamed the Republicans for their unwillingness to walk away from a no-new-taxes pact they signed at the request of a conservative, anti-tax group, arguing that the American public realizes that no grand deal could be reached without a combination of spending cuts and new tax revenues.

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"Deficit Panel Leaders Fail to Reach Deal"
The New York Times, November 21, 2011

WASHINGTON — After one last bout of fitful but futile talks, Congressional negotiators conceded the obvious: that the joint Congressional committee charged with drafting a deficit reduction package would miss its deadline this week. But they did not quite give up the ghost of a chance that a solution might be found later.

“After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee’s deadline,” said a statement issued late in the afternoon by Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the panel’s Republican and Democratic co-chairs.

“Despite our inability to bridge the committee’s significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation’s fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve,” they said. “We remain hopeful that Congress can build on this committee’s work and can find a way to tackle this issue in a way that works for the American people and our economy.”

----------

"Tom Cole Open To Raising Revenue As Part Of Budget Deal"
The Huffington Post | By Sabrina Siddiqui, 10/25/2013

Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, one of the key Republican negotiators on a possible budget deal, said Friday that he would support raising revenue and more of his colleagues need to be open to the idea.

"I think both sides would like to deal with the sequester. And we're willing to put more revenue on the table to do that, and we would like to do it with entitlement savings," Cole said on Bloomberg TV's "Political Capital with Al Hunt," adding the GOP was more focused on "pro-growth revenue" as opposed to tax increases.

Cole acknowledged that many of his colleagues have declared any new revenue off the table, but pointed out that in order to get to a deal, both sides would have to give a little.

"Yeah, there are some that feel that way. But, you know, the reality is, you're going to have to have a deal here," he said, when asked about the many Republicans who disagree with his position. "And a deal means everybody gives something up. Now, again, we're much more into what I'd call pro-growth revenue."

Cole is part of the 29-member negotiating committee tasked with reconciling the vastly different Senate and House budgets as part of last week's deal to end the government shutdown and raise the debt limit. The legislation set a deadline of Dec. 13 for conferees to reach an agreement on a long-term framework for tax and spending policies.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) sought to manage expectations Thursday, focusing the discussion more narrowly on replacing sequestration, the automated budget cuts that took effect in March.

Ryan flatly ruled out tax revenue increases as part of talks, pointing to the tax hike enacted by Congress in January's fiscal-cliff deal. "If people see this conference as an excuse to raise taxes, I don't think it's going to be successful," the former GOP vice presidential nominee told Reuters.

Ryan emphasized the need for Democrats to give in on entitlement reforms -- including changes to Medicare and Social Security -- as a "smarter" way to turn off sequestration. If Democrats didn't agree, Ryan said the fallback position for Republicans would be to maintain the across-the-board spending cuts.

Cole was more keen to replace the sequester, particularly the defense cuts. But he conceded Republicans were unlikely to break if Democrats lay out a condition that they raise tax rates.

"If we're pushed, if it's -- you've got to raise tax rates or something, then, you know, it's pretty easy for Republicans to hold that lower number," Cole said. "They demonstrated from January to March, when the president tried to break them on sequester, that they weren't going to break."

Two leading Democrats on the budget panel, Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (Wash.) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), have said their party won't consider entitlement reform or cuts to domestic programs if Republicans refuse to raise revenues by closing tax loopholes.

Both Murray and Van Hollen participated in a conference call Friday with President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), to discuss the pending negotiations. White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters the call was made to reiterate their focus on the middle class and job creation, and that a similar call was not made to Republicans, according to a pool report.

Despite their differences, Cole was optimistic both sides can get to a deal.

"I think so. I think so. I really do," he said, when asked if the odds were greater than 50 percent. "Look, I think the worst thing to do would be another long-term continuing resolution. I mean, that's just a bad way to govern."

----------

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About Me

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Amherst, NH, United States
I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at jonathan_a_melle@yahoo.com

50th Anniversary - 2009

50th Anniversary - 2009
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Columbus Avenue in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety
Paul Capitanio, left, speaks during Monday night's Ward 3 City Council debate with fellow candidate Melissa Mazzeo at Pittsfield Community Television's studio. The special election (3/31/2009) will be held a week from today (3/24/2009). The local issues ranged from economic development and cleaning up blighted areas in Ward 3 to public education and the continued remediation of PCB's.

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

Outrage swells in Congress!

Outrage swells in Congress!
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., left, and the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., listen during a hearing on modernizing insurance regulations, Tuesday, March 17, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh). - http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090318/pl_politico/30833

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!
Photo Gallery: www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/15/St_Patricks_Day_Boston/

The path away from Wall Street ...

The path away from Wall Street ...
...Employers in the finance sector - traditionally a prime landing spot for college seniors, particularly in the Northeast - expect to have 71 percent fewer jobs to offer this year's (2009) graduates.

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...
www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/14/economic_collapse_puts_graduates_on_unforeseen_paths/

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis
Should he be fired? As Bank of America's Stock Plummets, CEO Resists Some Calls That He Step Down.

Hookers for Jesus

Hookers for Jesus
Annie Lobert is the founder of "Hookers for Jesus" - www.hookersforjesus.net/home.cfm - Saving Sin City: Las Vegas, Nevada?

Forever personalized stamped envelope

Forever personalized stamped envelope
The Forever stamp will continue to cover the price of a first-class letter. The USPS will also introduce Forever personalized, stamped envelopes. The envelopes will be preprinted with a Forever stamp, the sender's name and return address, and an optional personal message.

Purple Heart

Purple Heart
First issued in 2003, the Purple heart stamp will continue to honor the men and women wounded while serving in the US military. The Purple Heart stamp covers the cost of 44 cents for first-class, one-ounce mail.

Dolphin

Dolphin
The bottlenose is just one of the new animals set to appear on the price-change stamps. It will serve as a 64-cent stamp for odd shaped envelopes.

2009 price-change stamps

2009 price-change stamps
www.boston.com/business/gallery/2009pircechangestamps/ -&- www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/02/27/new_stamps_set_for_rate_increase_in_may/

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
AP photo v Shepard Fairey

Rush Limbaugh lackeys

Rush Limbaugh lackeys
Posted by Dan Wasserman of the Boston Globe on March 3, 2009.

Honest Abe

Honest Abe
A 2007 US Penny

Dog race

Dog race
Sledding for dogs

The Capital of the Constitution State

The Capital of the Constitution State
Hartford, once the wealthiest city in the United States but now the poorest in Connecticut, is facing an uphill battle.

Brady, Bundchen married

Brady, Bundchen married
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and model Gisele Bundchen wed Feb. 26, 2009 in a Catholic ceremony in Los Angeles. www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/gallery/tom_gisele/

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto
Tanked Pittsfield's local economy while helping his fellow insider political hacks and business campaign contributors!

Journalist Andrew Manuse

Journalist Andrew Manuse
www.manuse.com

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hampshire_Supreme_Court

Economic State of the Union

Economic State of the Union
A look at some of the economic conditions the Obama administration faces and what resources have already been pledged to help. 2/24/2009

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
The president addresses the nation's governors during a dinner in the State Dinning Room, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari).

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.
Hugh Jackman and Beyoncé Knowles teamed up for a musical medley during the show.

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009
Hugh Jackman pulled actress Anne Hathaway on stage to accompany him during his opening musical number.

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow
A Progressive News Commentator

$500,000 per year

$500,000 per year
That is chump change for the corporate elite!

THE CORPORATE ELITE...

THE CORPORATE ELITE...
Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric

The Presidents' Club

The Presidents' Club
Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton & Carter.

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!
White House Event: January 7, 2009.

Bank Bailout!

Bank Bailout!
v taxpayer

Actress Elizabeth Banks

Actress Elizabeth Banks
She will present an award to her hometown (Pittsfield) at the Massachusetts State House next month (1/2009). She recently starred in "W" and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," and just signed a $1 million annual contract to be a spokesmodel for Paris.

Joanna Lipper

Joanna Lipper
Her award-winning 1999 documentary, "Growing Up Fast," about teenaged mothers in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Happy Holidays...

Happy Holidays...
...from "Star Wars"

Massachusetts "poor" economy

Massachusetts "poor" economy
Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest states, but it is also very inequitable. For example, it boasts the nation's most lucrative lottery, which is just a system of regressive taxation so that the corporate elite get to pay less in taxes!

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon
Hollywood Actress

Peter G. Arlos.

Peter G. Arlos.
Arlos is shown in his Pittsfield office in early 2000.

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes
Big Dig - East-west commuters take hit; Fees at tunnels would double. 11/15/2008.

The Pink Panther 2

The Pink Panther 2
Starring Steve Martin

Police ABUSE

Police ABUSE
I was a victim of Manchester Police Officer John Cunningham's ILLEGAL USES of FORCE! John Cunningham was reprimanded by the Chief of Police for disrespecting me. John Cunningham yelled at a witness: "I don't care if he (Jonathan Melle) is disabled!"

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
The 44th US President!

Vote

Vote
Elections

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check
A political cartoon by Dan Wasserman

A rainbow over Boston

A rainbow over Boston
"Rainbows galore" 10/2/2008

Our nation's leaders!

Our nation's leaders!
President Bush with both John McCain & Barack Obama - 9/25/2008.

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).
$5 rise at tunnels is one possibility $1 jump posed for elsewhere.

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My FAVORITE Journalist EVER!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!
John McCain and Barack Obama appeared together at ground zero in New York City - September 11, 2008.

John McCain...

John McCain...
...has all but abandoned the positions on taxes, torture and immigration. (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman. September 2008).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
The deregulated chickens come home to roost... in all our pocketbooks. September 2008.

Sarah Palin's phobia

Sarah Palin's phobia
A scripted candidate! (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
Family FInances - September, 2008.

Mark E. Roy

Mark E. Roy
Ward 1 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas
Ward 2 Alderman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Peter M. Sullivan

Peter M. Sullivan
Ward 3 (downtown) Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Jim Roy

Jim Roy
Ward 4 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Ed Osborne

Ed Osborne
Ward 5 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Real R. Pinard

Real R. Pinard
Ward 6 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

William P. Shea

William P. Shea
Ward 7 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Betsi DeVries

Betsi DeVries
Ward 8 Alder-woman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Michael Garrity

Michael Garrity
Ward 9 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

George Smith

George Smith
Ward 10 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Russ Ouellette

Russ Ouellette
Ward 11 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy
Ward 12 Alder-woman for Manchester, NH (2008).

“Mike” Lopez

“Mike” Lopez
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH. (2008).

Daniel P. O’Neil

Daniel P. O’Neil
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Sarah Palin for Vice President.

Sarah Palin for Vice President.
Republican John McCain made the surprise pick of Alaska's governor Sarah Palin as his running mate today, August 29, 2008.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.
Congressman Olver said the country has spent well over a half-trillion dollars on the war in Iraq while the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. 8/25/08.

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!
John Kerry's 9/2008 challenger in the Democratic Primary.

Shays' Rebellion

Shays' Rebellion
In a tax revolt, Massachusetts farmers fought back during Shays' Rebellion in the mid-1780s after The American Revolutionary War.

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore
Actress. "The Big Lebowski" is one of my favorite movies. I also like "The Fugitive", too.

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"
Go to: http://www.berkshirefatherhood.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=699&cntnt01returnid=69

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"
The gap between rich and poor has widened substantially in Massachusetts over the past two decades. (8/15/2008).

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley
"The Bosley Amendment": To create tax loopholes for the wealthiest corporate interests in Massachusetts!

John Edwards and...

John Edwards and...
...Rielle Hunter. WHO CARES?!

Rep. Edward J. Markey

Rep. Edward J. Markey
He wants online-privacy legislation. Some Web Firms Say They Track Behavior Without Explicit Consent.

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan
She gained fame with her antiwar vigil outside the Bush ranch.

Olympics kick off in Beijing

Olympics kick off in Beijing
Go USA!

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall
In this May 1, 2008, file photo, a customer pumps gas at an Exxon station in Middleton, Mass. Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, July 31, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation, but the results were well short of Wall Street expectations and its shares fell as markets opened. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File) 7/31/2008.

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'
Some kind of monster on Onota Lake. Five-year-old Tyler Smith rides a 'sea serpent' on Onota Lake in Pittsfield, Mass. The 'monster,' fashioned by Smith's grandfather, first appeared over July 4 weekend. (Photo courtesy of Ron Smith). 7/30/2008.

Al Gore, Jr.

Al Gore, Jr.
Al Gore issues challenge on energy

The Norman Rockwell Museum

The Norman Rockwell Museum
Stockbridge, Massachusetts

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's financially wasteful pork barrel project!

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's pork barrel public works project cost 50 times more than the original price!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer
Note: Photo from Mary E Carey's Blog.

Tanglewood

Tanglewood
Boston Symphony Orchestra music director James Levine.

Google

Google
Chagall

Jimmy Ruberto

Jimmy Ruberto
Faces multiple persecutions under the Massachusetts "Ethics" conflict of interest laws.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Obama vows $500m in faith-based aid.

John McCain

John McCain
He is with his wife, Cindy, who were both met by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (right) upon arriving in Cartagena.

Daniel Duquette

Daniel Duquette
Sold Mayor James M. Ruberto of Pittsfield two tickets to the 2004 World Series at face value.

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008
Clinton tells Obama, crowd in Unity, N.H.: 'We are one party'

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Wanna-be Prez?

WALL-E

WALL-E
"out of this World"

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck
http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/popup?id=5057139&contentIndex=1&page=1&start=false - http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=5234555&page=1

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
NH's Democratic returning candidate for U.S. Senate

"Wall-E"

"Wall-E"
a cool robot

Ed O'Reilly

Ed O'Reilly
www.edoreilly.com

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
World Champions - 2008

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
J.D. Drew gets the same welcome whenever he visits the City of Brotherly Love: "Booooooo!"; Drew has been vilified in Philadelphia since refusing to sign with the Phillies after they drafted him in 1997...

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs
www.2joes.org

NH Union Leader

NH Union Leader
Editorial Cartoon

Celtics - World Champions!

Celtics - World Champions!
www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_18_08_front_pages/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_finals_game_6/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_celebration/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_15_08_celtics_championships/

"The Nation"

"The Nation"
A "Liberal" weekly political news magazine. Katrina vanden Heuvel.

TV - PBS: NOW

TV - PBS: NOW
http://www.pbs.org/now

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone
List of Twilight Zone episodes - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Twilight_Zone_episodes

Equality for ALL Marriages

Equality for ALL Marriages
I, Jonathan Melle, am a supporter of same sex marriages.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.
L.A. Lakers holds on for the win to force Game 6 at Boston

Mohawk Trail

Mohawk Trail
The 'Hail to the Sunrise' statue in Charlemont is a well-known and easily recognized landmark on the Mohawk Trail. The trail once boasted several souvenir shops, some with motels and restaurants. Now only four remain. (Caroline Bonnivier / Berkshire Eagle Staff).

NASA - June 14, 2008

NASA - June 14, 2008
Space Shuttle Discovery returns to Earth.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
Boston took a 20-second timeout, and the Celtics ran off four more points (including this incredible Erving-esque layup from Ray Allen) to build the lead to five points with just 2:10 remaining. Reeling, the Lakers took a full timeout to try to regain their momentum.

Sal DiMasi

Sal DiMasi
Speaker of the Massachusetts State House of Representatives

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire
http://doj.nh.gov/

John Kerry

John Kerry
He does not like grassroots democracy & being challenged in the 2008 Massachusetts Democratic Party Primary for re-election.

Tim Murray

Tim Murray
Corrupt Lt. Gov. of Massachusetts, 2007 - 2013.

North Adams, Massachusetts

North Adams, Massachusetts
downtown

Howie Carr

Howie Carr
Political Satirist on Massachusetts Corruption/Politics

Polar Bear

Polar Bear
Global Warming

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Warren & http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/WarrenAuthor.html

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
Consumer Crusader

Leon Powe

Leon Powe
Celtics forward Leon Powe finished a fast break with a dunk.

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett reacted during the game.

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo finished a first half fast break with a dunk.

Teamwork

Teamwork
Los Angeles Lakers teammates help Pau Gasol (16) from the floor in the second quarter.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant took a shot in the first half of Game 2.

Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins
Kendrick Perkins (right) backed down Lamar Odom (left) during first half action.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
The Boston Symphony Orchestra performed the national anthem prior to Game 2.

K.G.!

K.G.!
Garnett reacted to a hard dunk in the first quarter.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce reacted after hitting a three upon his return to the game since leaving with an injury.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Kobe Bryant (left) and Paul Pierce (right) squared off in the second half of the game.

James Taylor

James Taylor
Sings National Anthem at Celtics Game.

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick
Attended Celtics Game.

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!
Attend Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis
The actor (left) and his date were in the crowd before the Celtics game.

John Kerry

John Kerry
Golddigger attends Celtics game

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Ends her 2008 bid for Democratic Party nomination

Nonnie Burnes

Nonnie Burnes
Massachusetts Insurance Commish & former Judge

Jones Library

Jones Library
Amherst, Massachusetts

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton
2008 Democratic Primary

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"
U.S. Senator John Sununu took more than $220,000 from big oil.

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
4- U.S. Senate - 2008

William Pignatelli

William Pignatelli
Hack Rep. "Smitty" with Lynne Blake

Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke
Federal Reserve Chairman

Gazettenet.com

Gazettenet.com
www.gazettenet.com/beta/

Boys' & Girls' Club

Boys' & Girls' Club
Melville Street, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

The Berkshire Eagle

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
Williams College - May 2008

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson
www.boston.com/lifestyle/gallery/when_the_celtics_were_cool/

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries
New Massachusetts state lottery game hits $600 million in sales!

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

John Barrett III

John Barrett III
Long-time Mayor of North Adams Massachusetts

Shine On

Shine On

Elmo

Elmo
cool!

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce kissed the Eastern Conference trophy. 5/30/2008. AP Photo.

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton
Kevin Garnett (left) talked to Pistons guard Richard Hamilton (right) after the Celtics' victory in Game 6. 5/30/2008. Reuters Photo.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce showed his team colors as the Celtics closed out the Pistons in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. 5/30/2008. Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis.

Joseph Kelly Levasseur

Joseph Kelly Levasseur
One of my favorite politicians!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
In the Big Apple: NYC! She is the coolest!

Guyer & Kerry

Guyer & Kerry
My 2nd least favorite picture EVER!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

Nuciforo & Ruberto

Nuciforo & Ruberto
My least favorite picture EVER!

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
U.S. Senate - 2008

NH Fisher Cats

NH Fisher Cats
AA Baseball - Toronto Blue Jays affiliate

Manchester, NH

Manchester, NH
Police Patch

Michael Briggs

Michael Briggs
#83 - We will never forget

Michael "Stix" Addison

Michael "Stix" Addison
http://unionleader.com/channel.aspx/News?channel=2af17ff4-f73b-4c44-9f51-092e828e1131

Charlie Gibson

Charlie Gibson
ABC News anchor

Scott McClellan

Scott McClellan
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/scott_mcclellan/index.html?inline=nyt-per

Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho
Downtown Boise Idaho

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Legislative Hearing in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, BCC, on Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
My favorite classical U.S. President!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Higher Taxes, Higher Tolls

Paul Hodes

Paul Hodes
My favorite Congressman!

Portland Sea Dogs

Portland Sea Dogs
AA Red Sox

New York

New York
Magnet

Massachusetts

Massachusetts
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Button

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
"Luciforo" tried to send me to Carmen's Jail during the Spring & Summer of 1998.

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/174

Luciforo

Luciforo
Andrea F Nuciforo II

B-Eagle

B-Eagle
Pittsfield's monopoly/only daily newspaper

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!
A Red Sox No Hitter on 5/19/2008!

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Dustin Pedroia & Manny Ramirez

U.S. Flag

U.S. Flag
God Bless America!

Jonathan Melle's Blog

Jonathan Melle's Blog
Hello, Everyone!

Molly Bish

Molly Bish
We will never forget!

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo listens to some advice from Celtics head coach Doc Rivers in the first half.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett and Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace embrace at the end of the game.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon calls for the ball as he charges toward first base. Papelbon made the out en route to picking up his 14th save of the season.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka throws to Royals David DeJesus during the first inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka delivers a pitch to Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek during the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew is welcomed to home plate by teammates Mike Lowell (left), Kevin Youkilis (2nd left) and Manny Ramirez after he hit a grand slam in the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell crosses the plate after hitting a grand slam during the sixth inning. Teammates Manny Ramirez and Jacoby Ellsbury scored on the play. The Red Sox went on to win 11-8 to complete a four-game sweep and perfect homestand.

JD Drew - Go Red Sox

JD Drew - Go Red Sox
www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/gallery/05_22_08_sox_royals/

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!
Master Sgt. Kara B. Stackpole, of Westfield, holds her daughter, Samantha, upon her return today to Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee. She is one of the 38 members of the 439th Aeromedical Staging Squadron who returned after a 4-month deployment in Iraq. Photo by Dave Roback / The Republican.

Kathi-Anne Reinstein

Kathi-Anne Reinstein
www.openmass.org/members/show/175

Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy
Tragic diagnosis: Get well Senator!

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search
http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&q=jonathan+melle+blogurl:http://jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/&ie=UTF-8

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Billionaire U.S. Senator gives address to MCLA graduates in North Adams, Massachusetts in mid-May 2008

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France
Go Red Sox!

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Interviewed on local TV

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
Luciforo!

John Adams

John Adams
#2 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood under a tree on the afternoon of May 9, 2008, on the foregrounds of the NH State House - www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/nhinsider/vpost?id=2967773

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Inside the front lobby of the NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Bill Clinton campaign memorabilia

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Liberty Bell & NH State House

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Franklin Pierce Statue #14 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Stop the War NOW!

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
"Mr. Melle, tear down this Blog!"

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood next to a JFK photo

Jonathan Levine, Publisher

Jonathan Levine, Publisher
The Pittsfield Gazette Online

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made rabbit ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made antenna ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I impersonated Howard Dean

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
mock-voting

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
pretty ladies -/- Go to: http://www.wgir.com/cc-common/cc_photopop20.html?eventID=28541&pagecontent=&pagenum=4 - Go to: http://current.com/items/88807921_veterans_should_come_first_not_last# - http://www.mcam23.com/cgi-bin/cutter.cgi?c_function=STREAM?c_feature=EDIT?dir_catagory=10MorningRadio?dir_folder=2JoesClips?dir_file=JonathanMelle-090308? -

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Go Red Sox! Me at Fenway Park

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
My favorite journalist! Her voice sings for the Voiceless. -/- Go to: http://aboutamherst.blogspot.com/search?q=melle -/- Go to: http://ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com/search?q=melle

Velvet Jesus

Velvet Jesus
Mary Carey blogs about my political writings. This is a picture of Jesus from her childhood home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. -//- "How Can I Keep From Singing" : My life goes on in endless song / Above Earth's lamentations, / I hear the real, though far-off hymn / That hails a new creation. / / Through all the tumult and the strife / I hear its music ringing, / It sounds an echo in my soul. / How can I keep from singing? / / Whey tyrants tremble in their fear / And hear their death knell ringing, / When friends rejoice both far and near / How can I keep from singing? / / In prison cell and dungeon vile / Our thoughts to them are winging / When friends by shame are undefiled / How can I keep from singing?

www.truthdig.com

www.truthdig.com
www.truthdig.com

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Concord NH

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post
http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=loc&newest=1&addr=&zip=01201&search=Search

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
smiles & beer

Jonathan Lothrop

Jonathan Lothrop
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Michael L. Ward

Michael L. Ward
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large
Pete always sides with the wealthy's political interests.

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez
Gerald Lee told me that I am a Social Problem; Lee executes a top-down system of governance.

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large
Kerwood poured coffee drinks for Jane Swift

Louis Costi

Louis Costi
Pittsfield City Councilor

Lewis Markham

Lewis Markham
Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor
Sherman ran for Southern Berkshire State Rep against Smitty Pignatelli; Sherman is a good guy.

Anthony Maffuccio

Anthony Maffuccio
Pittsfield City Councilor

Linda Tyer

Linda Tyer
Pittsfield City Councilor

Daniel Bianchi

Daniel Bianchi
A Pittsfield City Councilor

The Democratic Donkey

The Democratic Donkey
Democratic Party Symbol

Paramount

Paramount
What is Paramount to you?

NH's Congresswoman

NH's Congresswoman
Carol Shea-Porter, Democrat

Sam Adams Beer

Sam Adams Beer
Boston Lager

Ratatouille

Ratatouille
Disney Animation

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008
"Luciforo" swears in Mayor Ruberto. Pittsfield Politics at its very worst: 2 INSIDER POWERBROKERS! Where is Carmen Massimiano? He must be off to the side.

Abe

Abe
Lincoln

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
Leader of the Autobots

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
1984 Autobot Transformer Leader

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/cleanupagreement.html

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/thesite/opca-reports.html

US EPA - Contact - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

US EPA - Contact -  Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/contactinfo.html

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/index.html

Commonwealth Connector

Commonwealth Connector
Commonwealth Care

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

www.network-health.org

www.network-health.org
Massachusetts Health Reform

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

BMC HealthNet Plan

BMC HealthNet Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform
Eligibility Chart: 2007

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare
Massachusetts Health Reform

Business Peaks

Business Peaks
Voodoo Economics

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite
Reagonomics: Supply Side

Corporate Elite Propaganda

Corporate Elite Propaganda
Mock Liberal Democratic Socialism Thinking

Real Estate Blues

Real Estate Blues
www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/2008/0316/

PEACE

PEACE
End ALL Wars!

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech
Norman Rockwell's World War II artwork depicting America's values

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
A young Abe Lincoln

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN
www.openmass.org/members/show/218 - www.rachelkaprielian.com

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/164 - www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/05/04/legislator_describes_threat_as_unnerving/

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!
My #1 Political Belief!

Anne Frank

Anne Frank
Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe

A young woman Hillary supporter

A young woman Hillary supporter
This excellent picture captures a youth's excitement

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman
My favorite Actress!

Alan Chartock

Alan Chartock
WAMC public radio in Albany, NY; Political columnist who writes about Berkshire County area politics; Strong supporter for Human Rights for ALL Peoples

OpenCongress.Org

OpenCongress.Org
This web-site uses some of my Blog postings

OpenMass.org

OpenMass.org
This web-site uses some of my blog postings!

Shannon O'Brien

Shannon O'Brien
One of my favorite politicians! She stands for the People first!

The Massachusetts State House

The Massachusetts State House
"The Almighty Golden Dome" - www.masslegislature.tv -

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Former Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
A corrupt Pol who tried to put me in Jail

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
Another view of Pittsfield's inbred, multigenerational political prince. Luciforo!

Luciforo

Luciforo
Nuciforo's nickname

"Andy" Nuciforo

"Andy" Nuciforo
Luciforo!

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)
Nuciforo's henchman! Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail

Andrea Nuciforo Jr

Andrea Nuciforo Jr
Shhh! Luciforo's other job is working as a private attorney defending wealthy Boston-area corporate insurance companies

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.
Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail! Carmen sits with the Congressman, John Olver

Congressman John Olver

Congressman John Olver
Nuciforo's envy

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol
Our Beacon of American Democracy

Nuciforo's architect

Nuciforo's architect
Mary O'Brien in red with scarf

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)
Former-Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Nuciforo intimidated her, along with another woman, from running in a democratic state election in the Spring of 2006!

Andrea F. Nuciforo II

Andrea F. Nuciforo II
Pittsfield Politics

Berkshire County Republican Association

Berkshire County Republican Association
Go to: www.fcgop.blogspot.com

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer
U.S. Senator & State Representative

John Kerry

John Kerry
Endorses Barack Obama for Prez then visits Berkshire County

Dan Bosley

Dan Bosley
A Bureaucrat impostering as a Legislator!

Ben Downing

Ben Downing
Berkshire State Senator

Christopher N Speranzo

Christopher N Speranzo
Pittsfield's ANOINTED State Representative

Peter J. Larkin

Peter J. Larkin
Corrupt Lobbyist

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!
GE's FRAUDULENT Consent Decree with Pittsfield, Massachusetts, will end up KILLING many innocent school children & other local residents!

GE's CEO Jack Welch

GE's CEO Jack Welch
The Corporate System's Corporate Elite's King

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand
Equilibrium

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts
In 2007, GE sold its Plastics Division to a Saudi company. Now all that is left over by GE are its toxic PCB pollutants that cause cancer in many Pittsfield residents.

Mayor James M Ruberto

Mayor James M Ruberto
A small-time pol chooses to serve the corporate elite & other elites over the people.

Governor Deval Patrick

Governor Deval Patrick
Deval shakes hands with Mayors in Berkshire County

Deval Patrick

Deval Patrick
Governor of Massachusetts

Pittsfield High School

Pittsfield High School
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Pittsfield's former Mayor

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Pittsfield Attorney focusing on Father's Rights Probate Court Legal Issues, & Local Politician and Political Observer

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Very Intelligent Political Activists in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Rinaldo Del Gallo, III, Esq. is the spokesperson of the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition. He has been practicing family law and has been a member of the Massachusetts bar since 1996.

Mayor Ed Reilly

Mayor Ed Reilly
He supports Mayor Ruberto & works as a municipal Attorney. As Mayor, he backed Bill Weld for Governor in 1994, despite being a Democrat. He was joined by Carmen Massimiano & John Barrett III, the long-standing Mayor of North Adams.

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta
Cuts Dental Care for Public School Children-in-Need

Manchester, NH City Hall

Manchester, NH City Hall
My new hometown - view from Hanover St. intersection with Elm St.

Manchester NH City Democrats

Manchester NH City Democrats
Go Dems!

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards

NH State House Dome

NH State House Dome
Concord, NH

Donna Walto

Donna Walto
Pittsfield Politician -- She strongly opposes Mayor Jim Ruberto's elitist tenure.

Elmo

Elmo
Who doesn't LOVE Elmo?

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!
Hillary is for Children. She is my choice in 2008.

The White House in 1800

The White House in 1800
Home of our Presidents of the United States

John Adams

John Adams
2nd President of the USA

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden
Hillary is my choice for U.S. President!

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Radisson in Manchester NH 11/16/2007

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
U.S. Senator & Candidate for President

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004
Linda Tyer, Pam Malumphy, Tricia Farley-Bouvier

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
My friend Brian Merzbach reviews baseball parks around the nation.

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy
The Elites double their $ every 6 to 8 years, while the "have-nots" double their $ every generation (or 24 years). Good bye Middle Class!

George Will

George Will
The human satellite voice for the Corporate Elite

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
The Anti-George Will; Harvard Law School Professor; The Corporate Elite's Worst Nightmare

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
I was born and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

State Senator Stan Rosenberg

State Senator Stan Rosenberg
Democratic State Senator from Amherst, Massachusetts -/- Anti-Stan Rosenberg Blog: rosenbergwatch.blogspot.com

Ellen Story

Ellen Story
Amherst Massachusetts' State Representative

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.
Books are being written on Pittsfield's high teen pregancy rates! What some intellectuals do NOT understand about the issue is that TEEN PREGNANCIES in Pittsfield double the statewide average by design - Perverse Incentives!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Supports $30 Scratch Tickets and other forms of regressive taxation. Another Pol that only serves his Corporate Elite Masters instead of the People!

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter
The first woman whom the People of New Hampshire have voted in to serve in U.S. Congress

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes
A good man who wants to bring progressive changes to Capitol Hill!

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress
New Hampshire's finest!

Darth Vader

Darth Vader
Star Wars

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush
The Gruesome Two-some! Stop the Neo-Cons' fascism! End the Iraq War NOW!

WAROPOLY

WAROPOLY
The Inequity of Globalism

Bushopoly!

Bushopoly!
The Corporate Elite have redesigned "The System" to enrich themselves at the expense of the people, masses, have-nots, poor & middle-class families

George W. Bush with Karl Rove

George W. Bush with Karl Rove
Rove was a political strategist with extraordinary influence within the Bush II White House

2008's Republican Prez-field

2008's Republican Prez-field
John McCain, Alan Keyes, Rudy Guiliani, Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, WILLARD Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Ron Paul

Fall in New England

Fall in New England
Autumn is my favorite season

Picturing America

Picturing America
picturingamerica.neh.gov

Winter Weather Map

Winter Weather Map
3:45PM EST 3-Dec-07

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Thanksgiving

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Depiction of American Values in mid-20th Century America

Larry Bird #33

Larry Bird #33
My favorite basketball player of my childhood

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008
Kevin Garnett hugs James Posey

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
All heart! Awesome basketball star for The Boston Celtics.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady
Go Patriots!

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch
Owner of Fox News - CORPORATE ELITE!

George Stephanopolous

George Stephanopolous
A Corporate Elite Political News Analyst

Robert Redford

Robert Redford
Starred in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep
Plays a jaded journalist with integrity in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise plays the Neo-Con D.C. Pol purely indoctrinated by the Corporate Elite's political agenda in the Middle East

CHARLIZE THERON

CHARLIZE THERON
"I want to say I've never been surrounded by so many fake breasts, but I went to the Academy Awards."

Amherst Town Library

Amherst Town Library
Amherst, NH - www.amherstlibrary.org

Manchester NH Library

Manchester NH Library
I use the library's automated timed 1-hour-per-day Internet computers to post on my Blog - www.manchester.lib.nh.us

Manchester NH's Palace Theater

Manchester NH's Palace Theater
Manchester NH decided to restore its Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater
Pittsfield tore down this landmark on North Street in favor of a parking lot

Pleasant Street Theater

Pleasant Street Theater
Amherst, Massachusetts

William "Shitty" Pignatelli

William "Shitty" Pignatelli
A top down & banal State House Pol from Lenox Massachusetts -- A GOOD MAN!

The CIA & Mind Control

The CIA & Mind Control
Did the CIA murder people by proxy assassins?

Skull & Bones

Skull & Bones
Yale's Elite

ImpeachBush.org

ImpeachBush.org
I believe President Bush should be IMPEACHED because he is waging an illegal and immoral war against Iraq!

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008
www.blog.bobfeuer.us

Abe Lincoln

Abe Lincoln
The 16th President of the USA

Power

Power
Peace

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer
A member of Green Peace activist sets up a giant thermometer as a symbol of global warming during their campaign in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. World leaders launch marathon negotiations Monday on how to fight global warming, which left unchecked could cause devastating sea level rises, send millions further into poverty and lead to the mass extinction of plants and animals.

combat global warming...

combat global warming...
...or risk economic and environmental disaster caused by rising temperatures

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org
P.O. Box 125, South Lee, MA 01260, (413) 243-5665, tstokes@kyotoandbeyond.org, www.kyotoandbeyond.org

3 Democratic presidentional candidates

3 Democratic presidentional candidates
Democratic presidential candidates former senator John Edwards (from right) and Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd before the National Public Radio debate yesterday (12/4/2007).

The UN Seal

The UN Seal
An archaic & bureaucratic post WW2 top-down, non-democratic institution that also stands for some good governance values

Superman

Superman
One of my favorite childhood heroes and movies

Web-Site on toxic toys

Web-Site on toxic toys
www.healthytoys.org

Batman

Batman
One of my favorite super-heroes

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer
Massachusetts' Governor stands with Dalton's State Rep. Denis E. Guyer.

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer
TV Star Bill Cosby stands with Denis E. Guyer

Denis Guyer with his supporters

Denis Guyer with his supporters
Dalton State Representative

Denis Guyer goes to college

Denis Guyer goes to college
Dalton State Representative

Peter Marchetti

Peter Marchetti
He is my second cousin. Pete Marchetti favors MONEY, not fairness!

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple
Matt Barron plays DIRTY politics against his opponents!

Nat Karns

Nat Karns
Top-Down Executive Director of the ELITIST Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Human Rights for All Peoples & people

Human Rights for All Peoples & people
Stop Anti-Semitism

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill
State House, Room 227, Boston, MA 02133, 617-367-6900, www.mass.gov/treasury/

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley
1350 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103, 413-784-1240 / McCormick Building, One Asburton Place, Boston, MA 02108, 617-727-4765 / marthacoakley.com / www.ago.state.ma.us

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...
www.takebackthecourt.org - A political billboard near my downtown apartment in Manchester, NH

Marc Murgo

Marc Murgo
An old friend of mine from Pittsfield

Downtown Manchester, NH

Downtown Manchester, NH
www.newhampshire.com/nh-towns/manchester.aspx

Marisa Tomei

Marisa Tomei
Movie Actress

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)
www.masschc.org/issue.php

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler
Mike Firestone works in Manchester NH for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign

James Pindell

James Pindell
Covers NH Primary Politcs for The Boston Globe

U.S. History - Declaration

U.S. History - Declaration
A 19th century engraving shows Benjamin Franklin, left, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman at work on the Declaration of Independence.

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/
Sybregje Palenstijn (left), who plays Sarah Godbertson at Plimouth Plantation, taught visitors how to roast a turkey on a spit. The plantation often sees a large influx of visitors during the holiday season.

Chris Hodgkins

Chris Hodgkins
Another special interest Berkshire Pol who could not hold his "WATER" on Beacon Hill's State House!

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.
Most of Boston's Big Dig highway remains closed, after a woman was crushed when 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto her car. (ABC News)

Jane Swift

Jane Swift
Former Acting Governor of Massachusetts & Berkshire State Senator

Paul Cellucci

Paul Cellucci
Former Massachusetts Governor

William Floyd Weld

William Floyd Weld
$80 Million Trust Fund Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mike Dukakis

Mike Dukakis
Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
Amherst, Massachusetts, Journalist and Blogger

Caveman

Caveman
www.ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com

Peter G. Arlos

Peter G. Arlos
"The biggest challenge Pittsfield faces is putting its fiscal house in order. The problem is that doing so requires structural changes in local government, many of which I have advocated for years, but which officials do not have the will to implement. Fiscal responsibility requires more than shifting funds from one department to another. Raising taxes and fees and cutting services are not the answer. Structural changes in the way services are delivered and greater productivity are the answer, and without these changes the city's fiscal crisis will not be solved."

James M. Ruberto

James M. Ruberto
"Pittsfield's biggest challenge is to find common ground for a better future. The city is at a crossroads. On one hand, our quality of life is challenged. On the other hand, some important building blocks are in place that could be a strong foundation for our community. Pittsfield needs to unite for the good of its future. The city needs an experienced businessman and a consensus builder who will invite the people to hold him accountable."

Matt Kerwood

Matt Kerwood
Pittsfield's Councilor-At-Large. Go to: extras.berkshireeagle.com/NeBe/profiles/12.htm

Gerald M. Lee

Gerald M. Lee
Pittsfield's City Council Prez. Top-down governance of the first order!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
Mary with student

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon celebrates with Jason Varitek

Free Bernard Baran!

Free Bernard Baran!
www.freebaran.org

Political Intelligence

Political Intelligence
Capitol Hill

Sherwood Guernsey II

Sherwood Guernsey II
Wealthy Williamstown Political Activist & Pittsfield Attorney

Mary Carey 2

Mary Carey 2
California Pol & porn star

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!
Andy "Luciforo" swears in Jimmy Ruberto for the returning Mayor's 3rd term

Berkshire Grown

Berkshire Grown
www.berkshiregrown.org

Rambo

Rambo

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.
The Mount, the historic home in Lenox of famed American novelist Edith Wharton, is facing foreclosure.