Archive for September, 2013

The Pronk Pops Show 138, September 26, 2013: Segment 0: Journalists In The Tank For Obama — Now Work For Obama Administration As Professional Spin Masters aka Liars — Newspapers Lose Readers — Obama Loses Voters — Videos

Posted on September 30, 2013. Filed under: American History, Budgetary Policy, Consitutional Law, Drugs, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Government, Government Spending, Health Care Insurance, History, Housing, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Investments, Labor Economics, Law, Media, Monetary Policy, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Public Sector Unions, Regulation, Resources, Security, Tax Policy, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 138: September 26, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 137: September 25, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 126: September 10, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 125: September 9, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 124: September 6, 2013

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Segment 0: Journalists In The Tank For Obama — Now Work For Obama Administration As Professional Spin Master aka Liars — Newspapers Lose Readers — Obama Loses Voters —  Videos

Rick_Stengell

obama-journalist-protection-political-cartoon

Obama_Media_lapdog

PUPPET MEDIAhalloween-political-cartoon-dressed-as-journalist-obama-is-god

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Richard Stengel Will Leave Time Magazine for the Obama Administration | Media Training

Lessons on Leadership: From Mandela to Obama

Mandela: Speaking to reporters after singing to kill whites

The Media Is In The Tank For Obama—Need More Proof?

Greenwald: Starting w/ Fiscal Cliff, Obama’s 2nd Term Rests on Organizing, Not Cheerleading

“Zero Accountability”: Glenn Greenwald on Obama’s Refusal to Prosecute Wall Street Crimes

Bias Bash: Another journalist joins the Obama team

Infamous Rolling Stone Journalist Admits ALL Journalists Are Liberal

Obama Admin – If You Are Not Going To Love Me, Fear Me!!! – Cavuto Common Sense

NBC Admits Obama Intimidates Journalists and their Sources

NYT Reporter Obama Adminstration Crackdown Has Scared Whistleblowers From Speaking to Journalists

Mark Levin’s media montage of liberal journalists asking Romney bias questions

CNN’s Candy Barack Hussein Obama Crowley – Romney Was Actually Right On Libya

The Extreme Liberal Bias of Journalism Today

Rick Stengel Is at Least the 24th Journalist to Work for the Obama Administration

Time managing editor Rick Stengel (pictured above) is leaving journalism to go work for the State Department, making him at least the 15th 21st23rd 24th reporter to go to work for the Obama administration. Stengel will be the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs,Politico and Capital New York report. The last high-profile journalist to leave Time for the Obama administration is Jay Carney, who is currently White House press secretary (pictured at right). Update:Thanks to a few tipsters, we’ve updated with a bigger count. They’re listed below.

A wave of reporters went to work for President Obama early in the administration, a time when many media organizations were going through layoffs and Obama’s approval rating was sky-high. The flow has tapered off since then. The Washington Post‘s Ed O’Keefe has semi-regularly kept tabs on the number of reporters working for Obama administration, counting 10 in May 2009, 14 in 2010, and 13 in 2011. The Washington Examiner‘s Paul Beddard counted 19 reporters working for “Team Obama” in February 2012, but he included liberal advocacy groups as part of the “team.”

Keeping track of how many reporters went to work under President Obama is tricky. Do you count those who had some other job in between reporting and the Obama administration? (Former TV reporter Beverley Lumpkin worked for the Project on Government Oversight before joining the Justice Department in 2011.) What about someone who went to work for George W. Bush, and kept his job under Obama? (Former ABC reporter Geoff Morrell went to work for the Defense Department in 2007.) Here’s a non-exhaustive list of journalists who switched to working for the government. Our updated count includes people like Lumpkin and Morrell, plus new additions:

  • Earlier this month, Douglas Frantz went to work for the State Department, too, as assistant secretary of state for public affairs. Frantz took a couple spins through the revolving door between the media and the executive branch, the Huffington Post noted. For decades, Frantz reported for publications like The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times until 2009, when he got a job as an investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which was chaired by then-Sen. John Kerry. In May 2012, Frantz got a job as The Washington Post‘s national security editor.
  • Boston Globe online politics editor Glen Johnson went to work for Secretary of State John Kerry in January as a senior adviser.
  • In February 2012, Stephen Barr went to work for the Labor Department as senior managing directorof the Office of Public Affairs. Barr had written the Federal Diary column for The Washington Post, which he retired from in 2008.
  • The Washington Post‘s Shailagh Murray became Vice President Joe Biden’s communications directorin March 2011.
  • Rosa Brooks, an author who was a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, was counselor to Michele Flournoy, the undersecretary of defense for policy, from April 2009 to July 2011. Brooks now writes for Foreign Policy.
  • In February 2010, Desson Thomson went to work as a speechwriter for the U.S. ambassador to the U.K., Louis Susman. Thomson had been a film critic for The Washington Post until 2008.
  • Roberta Baskin, who worked as a TV journalist and ran the Center for Public Integrity, went to work for the Department of Health and Human Services in August 2009 as a senior communications adviser.
  • Washington Post Outlook section deputy editor Warren Bass went to work for then-UN ambassador Susan Rice in January 2009 as director of speechwriting and senior policy adviser. He now works for the RAND Corporation.
  • Education Week reporter David Hoff went to work for the Education Department in May 2009.
  • Sasha Johnson, who worked for CNN as a senior political producer, became a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation in May 2009, and, recently moved to be the chief of staff for the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • The Chicago Tribune‘s Jill Zuckman became the Department of Transportation’s communications director in February 2009. She was a commentator on MSNBC last year.
  • Rick Weiss left The Washington Post to work for the Center for American Progress, then in March 2009 moved to be the communications director and senior policy strategist in the White House Office of Science and Technology.

Update: A few people have written in with names we’d overlooked:

  • Former CBS and ABC reporter Linda Doulglass started working for the Obama campaign in May 2008. She was then communications director for the White House Office of Health Reform until June 2010. She then worked for the Atlantic Media as communications chief until June of this year.
  • New York Times reporter Eric Dash joined the Treasury Department’s public affairs office in 2012.
  • As did MSNBC producer Anthony Reyes.
  • Aneesh Raman left CNN to work for Obama’s 2008 campaign. He’s now a speechwriter for Obama.
  • CNN national security correspondent Jim Sciutto worked as chief of staff for U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke from 2011 to September 2013.
  • San Francisco Chronicle reporter Kelly Zito, who covered the environment, went to work for theEPA’s public affairs office in August 2011.
  • We overlooked an obvious one: Samantha Power made her name as a journalist covering genocide before working for Obama when he was still a senator. She’s now Obama’sambassador to the United Nations.

Time’s Stengel latest in long line of reporters who jumped to jobs in Obama administration

By and Billy Kenber, Published: September 25 E-mail the writer

Jay Carney says it was a simple calculation. He could continue as a reporter and writer for the rest of his working life, or he could try something new and different.He chose something different. After 20 years as a reporter at Time magazine, Carney accepted an offer to become communications director for Joe Biden, the newly elected vice president, in late 2008. Carney would go on to become President Obama’s press secretary two years later. “I had a great job” at Time, Carney says. “I’d also been doing it for 20 years. Doing something completely new has an appeal.”

As it happens, Carney was an early adopter. He was among the first of what has turned out to be a parade of journalists who’ve turned in their press badges for work in the Obama administration. In a trend that has raised some eyebrows among Obama’s critics, at least 20 reporters and editors from mainstream news organizations have taken high-profile positions in the administration within the past five years.

The latest hire: Richard Stengel, Time magazine’s managing editor (and Carney’s former boss). Obama nominated Stengel last week to be the State Department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, a top communications post. Stengel will succeed Tara Sonenshine, another journalist (ABC News, Newsweek) who became part of the government she once covered.

At State, Stengel can swap newsroom stories with Samantha Power, a former journalist (U.S. News, the Boston Globe, the New Republic) who is now the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. His staff will include Desson Thomson, a former Washington Post movie critic who became a speechwriter for Hillary Rodham Clinton when she served as secretary of state. Other colleagues will include two recent additions to Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s staff: Glen Johnson, a longtime political reporter and editor at the Boston Globe, and Douglas Frantz, a reporter and editor who has worked for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and, most recently, The Post. Frantz was also briefly an investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Kerry, then a senator from Massachusetts.

Every administration draws in a few journalists, typically as speechwriters and press secretaries, a natural given the overlapping skills. A young reporter named Diane Sawyer went to work in Richard Nixon’s press operation in 1970, eventually helping Nixon write his memoirs. Tony Snow, the late columnist and Fox News host, wrote speeches for George H.W. Bush and served as the press secretary for George W. Bush from 2006 to 2007.

Edward R. Murrow, the legendary CBS anchor and perhaps the most famous newsman in America at the time, headed President John F. Kennedy’s U.S. Information Agency, overseeing the U.S. government’s broadcasts around the world.

But Obama may be different in terms of the sheer number of ink-stained wretches and other news-media denizens that he has attracted. Even before he was in office, his campaign had hired former CBS and ABC News correspondent Linda Douglass as a senior strategist. Douglass went on to serve as the communications chief for the White House Office of Health Reform before leaving in 2010.

The pattern of Obama hires has periodically aroused suspicions about the media’s allegedly cozy relationship with the president. Prompted by Stengel’s appointment last week, conservative radio titan Rush Limbaugh commented on his program, “There’s an incestuous relationship that exists between the Washington press corps and any Democrat administration. . . . Journalists are simply leftists disguised as reporters. They’re political activists disguised as reporters. That’s all they are, and this is just the latest example.”

Journalists who’ve become former journalists say it’s a lot more complicated than that.

Jill Zuckman, who was a seasoned political correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, says she joined Team Obama (as head of public affairs at the Transportation Department) in February 2009 primarily because aRepublican, Rep. Ray LaHood (Ill.), had been appointed to run it.

“I probably would not have done it without a professional relationship with Ray LaHood,” says Zuckman, who had covered LaHood when he was a congressional staff member in the early 1990s. “He was one of my favorite members of Congress. I thought he was smart, frank and plugged in. I thought I could help him” in his new job.

Zuckman, who left Transportation in 2011 to join a communications firm run by Democrats Anita Dunn and Hillary Rosen, denies any tilt for Obama or Democrats while she was a journalist. “I was a straightforward reporter,” she said. “I had good relationships with Republicans as well as Democrats.”

Carney makes no secret of his loyalties to Obama now but defends his objectivity and professionalism as a journalist when he covered candidate Obama and Washington generally. “I was definitely excited by and privately supported Obama in 2008,” he said. “But I think any reading of my coverage as a reporter would show that I was not an ideologue. [Time columnist] Joe Klein said he thought I was a Republican” when Carney joined Biden’s staff.

What’s more, the news business’s financial troubles have played a significant role in driving journalists onto the job market. The Obama administration came in as the Great Recession worsened what already had been a bad slump for traditional media outlets. Since then, mainstream news organizations have shed thousands of jobs.

“The news business was going south,” says Thomson, who accepted a buyout from The Post in 2008 after 25 years at the paper. “We are at a time when reinvention is the new black. And in 2008, that’s what was in front of me, to reinvent.”

(Thomson and Frantz are among the cadre of former Post journalists who have found second careers in federal Washington. Others include former city editor Bill Miller, now a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Washington, and former political reporter Shailagh Murray, who replaced Carney as Biden’s communications czar in 2011.)

Peter Gosselin, an economics reporter at the Los Angeles Times, became Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner’s chief speechwriter in 2009, just a few weeks after the Times’s parent, Tribune Co., filed for bankruptcy-court protection. “I couldn’t trust that I’d be able to support two kids through school, and in a few years going to college, on the chance that [newspapers] were not going to collapse,” Gosselin said.

Journalists who became Obama operatives speak highly of the experience. Although they say the office “culture” is wholly different — more collaborative, less geared to a newsroom’s individual star system — the job can be no less rewarding.

“I’m liking it a great deal,” said Thomson. “From the State Department’s point of view, the world is the ultimate canvas and the U.S. role in the world is as big a subject as it gets. . . . You go from outsider to insider, but that doesn’t mean you stop using the skills you applied to journalism.”

Zuckman, who oversaw the Transportation Department’s communications efforts during Toyota’s massive recalls of vehicles to fix a problem with sudden acceleration, said her stint at the agency gave her an appreciation for the hard, fast and complicated work that government employees do. Working for the agency, she said, “turned out to be one of the great experiences of my life.”

But Gosselin advised those who are considering such a switch to think twice.

“What astounded me was what a sleek, well-oiled, 21st-century machine a newsroom looks like compared to the way it works inside government,” he said. “The cultures are really, really different, particularly at high levels,” he added, citing the “messy” government decision-making process in which dozens of people get a say.

After working for Geithner and as a special adviser for health reform at the Department of Health and Human Services, Gosselin is now a senior health-care policy analyst for Bloomberg Government, a news and information source. Which makes him part of an even smaller fraternity: those who’ve made a full revolution through the revolving door between reporting and government.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/times-stengel-latest-in-long-line-of-reporters-who-jumped-to-jobs-in-obama-administration/2013/09/25/3937c1fa-2244-11e3-b73c-aab60bf735d0_story.html

Background Articles and Videos

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NELSON MANDELA the TRUTH IS REVEALED

Alex Jones: Nelson Mandela is “a horrible person”, “communist mass-bomber”

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The Pronk Pops Show 137, September 25, 2013, Segment 0: Part 2, Senator Ted Cruz Ends Filibuster — Time For Americans To Call Their Senators and Representatives and Tell Them To Defund Obamacare and Vote Against Cloture! — Stop Obamacare Now! — Videos

Posted on September 27, 2013. Filed under: American History, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Consitutional Law, Economics, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Investments, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Media, Monetary Policy, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Private Sector Unions, Public Sector Unions, Regulation, Security, Social Science, Success, Tax Policy, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Videos, Violence, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 137: September 25, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 136: September 24, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 134: September 20, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 130: September 16, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 128: September 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 127: September 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 126: September 10, 2013

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Segment 0: Part 2, Senator Ted Cruz Ends Filibuster — Time For Americans To Call Their Senators and Representatives and Tell Them To Defund Obamacare and Vote Against Cloture! — Stop Obamacare Now!  Videos

steve_cruz_filibuster

Countdown to government shutdown

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

House_funds_federal_government

The nonessential parts of the federal government may be shut down on Oct. 1 until Congress passes either a fiscal year 2014 budget appropriations bill or a continuing resolution.

Fiscal year 2014 begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30, 2014. Since the Democrats want to increase government spending and taxes and the Republicans want to decrease government spending and taxes, neither party will agree to a budget appropriations bill.

Instead of a stalemate, Congress could pass a joint continuing resolution that appropriates funds for government departments, agencies and programs at current, expanded or reduced levels until a formal appropriations bill is signed into law or until the resolution expires. A continuing resolution would have to be passed by both the House and Senate and then signed into law by the president.

The House passed a continuing resolution on Sept. 20 that would fund the federal government at current levels for the first 11 weeks of the fiscal year 2014 and keep the federal government open. If this continuing resolution is not passed by the Senate, some nonessential parts of the federal government would need to be shut down.

The House resolution had two amendments. The first would strip out funding for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as Obamacare and thereby stop its implementation. The second would direct how federal government spending is prioritized in the event the Treasury hits the borrowing debt ceiling limit in the near future.

The 230-189 vote was mainly along party lines with 228 Republicans and two Democrats voting in favor and 188 Democrats and one Republican voting against the continuing resolution.

House votes to fund federal government but defund Obamacare         Credit: http://www.ktvu.com

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) held a victory rally after the resolution passed and remarked, “The American people don’t want the government shut down, and they don’t want Obamacare. The House has listened to the American people. Now it’s time for the United States Senate to listen to them as well.”

House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor put several Democratic Senators, who are up for re-election in Nov. of 2014, on the spot. Cantor called out Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina. Cantor said, “It’s up to Senate Democrats to follow House Republicans and show some responsibility.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Sept. 19, “I will do everything and anything possible to defund Obamacare.” Cruz promised to filibuster any attempt to strip out the language of the House continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare. A filibuster is the use of irregular or obstructive tactics by a Senator to prevent the adoption of a measure.

Cruz began his filibuster by saying: “I rise today in opposition to Obamacare. I rise today in an effort to speak for 26 million Texans and for 300 million Americans. All across this country Americans are suffering because of Obamacare. Obamacare isn’t working and yet fundamentally there are politicians in this body who are not listening to the people. They are not listening to the concerns of their constituents. They are not listening to the jobs lost, the people forced into part-time jobs, the people losing their health insurance, the people who are struggling. A great many Texans, a great many Americans feel that they do not have a voice. So I hope to play some very small part in helping to provide that voice for them. …I  intend to speak in opposition to Obamacare. I intend to speak in support of defunding Obamacare, until I am unable to stand.”

Cruz delivered on his promise by standing and speaking for more than 21 hours on Sept. 23-24.

According to a Sept. 15 NBC/WSJ poll, 44 percent of respondents call Obamacare a bad idea and 31 percent believe it’s a good idea.

In a national survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted on Sept. 14-15 by Rasmussen Reports, 51 percent favor a government shutdown until Congress cuts health care funding. The Rasmussen survey also found that “58 percent favor a federal budget that cuts spending, while 16 percent prefer one that increases spending. Twenty-one percent support a budget that keeps spending levels about the same.”

According to Rasmussen, “74 percent of Republican and 62 percent of unaffiliated voters would rather have a shutdown until the two sides can agree on what spending to cut,” while “63 percent of Democrats agree with the president and would prefer to avoid a shutdown by authorizing spending at existing levels.”

“Republicans are simply postponing for a few days the inevitable choice they must face: pass a clean bill to fund the government, or force a shutdown. I have said it before but it seems to bear repeating: the Senate will not pass any bill that defunds or delays Obamacare,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada).

The Democrats are determined to fund Obamacare, shut down the government on Oct.1 and blame it on Republicans.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

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The Nuclear Option: The Filibuster “Power Grab” in the Senate

Professor Michael Teter ’99 on “The Unconstitutional Senate: One Senator, One Vote, One Filibuster”

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Filibuster

United States

The filibuster is a powerful parliamentary device in the United States Senate, which was strengthened in 1975 [46] and in the past decade has come to mean that most major legislation (apart from budgets) requires a 60% vote to bring a bill or nomination to the floor for a vote. In recent years, the majority has preferred to avoid filibusters by moving to other business when a filibuster is threatened and attempts to achieve cloture have failed.[47] Defenders call the filibuster “The Soul of the Senate.”[48]

Senate rules permit a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish and on any topic they choose, unless “three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn”[49] (usually 60 out of 100 senators) brings debate to a close by invoking cloture under Senate Rule XXII.

According to the Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Ballin (1892), changes to Senate rules could be achieved by a simple majority, but only on the first day of the session in January or March. The idea is that on this first day, the rules of the new legislative session are determined afresh, and rules do not automatically continue from one session to the next. This is called the constitutional option by proponents, and the nuclear option by opponents, who insist that rules do remain in force across sessions. Under current Senate rules, a rule change itself could be filibustered, with two-thirds of those senators present and voting (as opposed to the normal three-fifths of those sworn) needing to vote to break the filibuster.[49] Even if a filibuster attempt is unsuccessful, the process takes floor time.[50]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filibuster

Cloture

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Cloture (/ˈklər/ KLOH-chər) is a motion or process in parliamentary procedure aimed at bringing debate to a quick end. It is also called closure or, informally, a guillotine.[1] The cloture procedure originated in the French National Assembly, from which the name is taken. Clôture is French for “ending” or “conclusion”. It was introduced into the Parliament of the United Kingdom by William Ewart Gladstone to overcome the obstruction of the Irish nationalist party and was made permanent in 1887. It was subsequently adopted by the United States Senate and other legislatures.

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History

A similar procedure was adopted in the United States. This was invoked for the first time on November 15, 1919,[5] during the 66th Congress, to end filibuster on the Treaty of Versailles.[6]

The cloture rule originally required a supermajority of two-thirds of all senators “present and voting” to be considered filibuster-proof.[7][8] For example, if all 100 Senators voted on a cloture motion, 67 of those votes would have to be for cloture for it to pass; however if some Senators were absent and only 80 Senators voted on a cloture motion, only 54 would have to vote in favor.[9] However, it proved very difficult to achieve this; the Senate tried eleven times between 1927 and 1962 to invoke cloture but failed each time. Filibuster was particularly heavily used by Democratic Senators from Southern states to block civil rights legislation.[10]

In 1975, the Democratic Senate majority, having achieved a net gain of four seats in the 1974 Senate elections to a strength of 61 (with an additional Independent caucusing with them for a total of 62), reduced the necessary supermajority to three-fifths (60 out of 100).[11] However, as a compromise to those who were against the revision, the new rule also changed the requirement for determining the number of votes needed for a cloture motion’s passage from those Senators “present and voting” to those Senators “duly chosen and sworn”. Thus, 60 votes for cloture would be necessary regardless of whether every Senator voted. The only time a lesser number would become acceptable is when a Senate seat is vacant. (For example, if there were two vacancies in the Senate, thereby making 98 Senators “duly chosen and sworn”, it would only take 59 votes for a cloture motion to pass.)[9]

The new version of the cloture rule, which has remained in place since 1975, makes it considerably easier for the Senate majority to invoke cloture. This has considerably strengthened the power of the majority, and allowed it to pass many bills that would otherwise have been filibustered.[citation needed] (The Democratic Party held a two-thirds majority in the 89th Congress of 1965, but regional divisions among Democrats meant that many filibusters were invoked by Southern Democrats against civil rights bills supported by the Northern wing of the party). Some senators wanted to reduce it to a simple majority (51 out of 100) but this was rejected, as it would greatly diminish the ability of the minority to check the majority.[citation needed]

Procedure

The three-fifths version of the cloture rule does not apply to motions to end filibusters relating to Senate Rule changes. To invoke cloture to end debate over changing the Senate Rules, the original version of the rule (two-thirds of those Senators “present and voting”) still applies.[12]

The procedure for “invoking cloture,” or ending a filibuster, is as follows:

  • A minimum of sixteen senators must sign a petition for cloture.
  • The petition may be presented by interrupting another Senator’s speech.
  • The clerk reads the petition.
  • The cloture petition is ignored for one full day during which the Senate is sitting. For example, if the petition is filed on Monday, it is ignored until Wednesday. (If the petition is filed on a Friday, it is ignored until Tuesday, assuming that the Senate did not sit on Saturday or Sunday.)[13]
  • On the second calendar day during which the Senate sits after the presentation of the petition, after the Senate has been sitting for one hour, a “quorum call” is undertaken to ensure that a majority of the Senators are present. However, the mandatory quorum call is often waived by unanimous consent.
  • The President of the Senate or President pro tempore presents the petition.
  • The Senate votes on the petition; three-fifths of the whole number of Senators (sixty with no vacancies) is the required majority; however, when cloture is invoked on a question of changing the rules of the Senate, two-thirds of the Senators voting (not necessarily two-thirds of all Senators) is the requisite majority. This is commonly referred to in the news media as a “test vote”.

After cloture has been invoked, the following restrictions apply:

  • No more than thirty hours of debate may occur.[14]
  • No Senator may speak for more than one hour.
  • No amendments may be moved unless they were filed on the day in between the presentation of the petition and the actual cloture vote.
  • All amendments must be relevant to the debate.
  • Certain procedural motions are not permissible.
  • The presiding officer gains additional power in controlling debate.
  • No other matters may be considered until the question upon which cloture was invoked is disposed of.

The ability to invoke cloture was last attained by a US political party in the 113th Congress, by the Democrats, in regards to the Corker-Hoeven Amendment to the 2013 Immigration Reform Bill.[15] The previous time was in the 113th Congress during a debate on the vacancy in the position of Secretary of Defense.[citation needed] The previous time was in the 111th Congress, also by the Democrats, with the help of two independents.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloture

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The Pronk Pops Show 136, September 24, 2013, Segment 0: Cruz Filibuster, Senate Rule XXII — The Cloture Rule Requires 60 Votes To End Debate — Stands Against Obamacare and For Defunding Obamacare — Make D.C. Listen! — Videos

Posted on September 27, 2013. Filed under: American History, Budgetary Policy, Coal, College, Communications, Consitutional Law, Culture, Disasters, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Government, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Investments, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Media, Medicine, Monetary Policy, Natural Gas, Networking, Nuclear, Oil, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Private Sector Unions, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Regulation, Religion, Resources, Scandals, Science, Security, Social Networking, Social Science, Success, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Unemployment, Unions, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

Pronk Pops Show 136: September 24, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 135: September 23, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 134: September 20, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 133: September 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 132: September 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 131: September 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 130: September 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 129: September 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 128: September 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 127: September 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 126: September 10, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 125: September 9, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 124: September 6, 2013

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 135-136

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 131-134

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Segment 0: Cruz Filibuster, Senate Rule XXII — The Cloture Rule Requires 60 Votes To End Debate — Stands Against Obamacare and For Defunding Obamacare — Make D.C. Listen! — Videos

steve_cruz_filibuster

Countdown to government shutdown

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

House_funds_federal_government

The nonessential parts of the federal government may be shut down on Oct. 1 until Congress passes either a fiscal year 2014 budget appropriations bill or a continuing resolution.

Fiscal year 2014 begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30, 2014. Since the Democrats want to increase government spending and taxes and the Republicans want to decrease government spending and taxes, neither party will agree to a budget appropriations bill.

Instead of a stalemate, Congress could pass a joint continuing resolution that appropriates funds for government departments, agencies and programs at current, expanded or reduced levels until a formal appropriations bill is signed into law or until the resolution expires. A continuing resolution would have to be passed by both the House and Senate and then signed into law by the president.

The House passed a continuing resolution on Sept. 20 that would fund the federal government at current levels for the first 11 weeks of the fiscal year 2014 and keep the federal government open. If this continuing resolution is not passed by the Senate, some nonessential parts of the federal government would need to be shut down.

The House resolution had two amendments. The first would strip out funding for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as Obamacare and thereby stop its implementation. The second would direct how federal government spending is prioritized in the event the Treasury hits the borrowing debt ceiling limit in the near future.

The 230-189 vote was mainly along party lines with 228 Republicans and two Democrats voting in favor and 188 Democrats and one Republican voting against the continuing resolution.

House votes to fund federal government but defund Obamacare         Credit: http://www.ktvu.com

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) held a victory rally after the resolution passed and remarked, “The American people don’t want the government shut down, and they don’t want Obamacare. The House has listened to the American people. Now it’s time for the United States Senate to listen to them as well.”

House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor put several Democratic Senators, who are up for re-election in Nov. of 2014, on the spot. Cantor called out Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina. Cantor said, “It’s up to Senate Democrats to follow House Republicans and show some responsibility.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Sept. 19, “I will do everything and anything possible to defund Obamacare.” Cruz promised to filibuster any attempt to strip out the language of the House continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare. A filibuster is the use of irregular or obstructive tactics by a Senator to prevent the adoption of a measure.

Cruz began his filibuster by saying: “I rise today in opposition to Obamacare. I rise today in an effort to speak for 26 million Texans and for 300 million Americans. All across this country Americans are suffering because of Obamacare. Obamacare isn’t working and yet fundamentally there are politicians in this body who are not listening to the people. They are not listening to the concerns of their constituents. They are not listening to the jobs lost, the people forced into part-time jobs, the people losing their health insurance, the people who are struggling. A great many Texans, a great many Americans feel that they do not have a voice. So I hope to play some very small part in helping to provide that voice for them. …I  intend to speak in opposition to Obamacare. I intend to speak in support of defunding Obamacare, until I am unable to stand.”

Cruz delivered on his promise by standing and speaking for more than 21 hours on Sept. 23-24.

According to a Sept. 15 NBC/WSJ poll, 44 percent of respondents call Obamacare a bad idea and 31 percent believe it’s a good idea.

In a national survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted on Sept. 14-15 by Rasmussen Reports, 51 percent favor a government shutdown until Congress cuts health care funding. The Rasmussen survey also found that “58 percent favor a federal budget that cuts spending, while 16 percent prefer one that increases spending. Twenty-one percent support a budget that keeps spending levels about the same.”

According to Rasmussen, “74 percent of Republican and 62 percent of unaffiliated voters would rather have a shutdown until the two sides can agree on what spending to cut,” while “63 percent of Democrats agree with the president and would prefer to avoid a shutdown by authorizing spending at existing levels.”

“Republicans are simply postponing for a few days the inevitable choice they must face: pass a clean bill to fund the government, or force a shutdown. I have said it before but it seems to bear repeating: the Senate will not pass any bill that defunds or delays Obamacare,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada).

The Democrats are determined to fund Obamacare, shut down the government on Oct.1 and blame it on Republicans.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

John Boehner Says AMERICA DOES NOT WANT Obamacare!

Cruz Kicks Off Filibuster

TED CRUZ SENATE FILIBUSTER LAST 15 MINUTES

Ted Cruz Reveals His Biggest Surprise to Rush Limbaugh – Obamacare Filibuster – 9/25/13

Senator Cruz Continues the Filibuster on EIB

►► Rush Limbaugh on Sen Ted Cruz’s Report on Obama Administration Attempts to Expand Federal Power

Ted Cruz Begins Anti-Obamacare ‘Filibuster’: ” Until I Am No Longer Able to Stand ” – 9/24/13

Rand Paul during Senator Ted Cruz Obamacare Filibuster 9/24/13

Ted Cruz Reads Green Eggs And Ham. Ted Cruz Filibuster

Ted Cruz Defends Defunding ObamaCare in Filibuster on Senate Floor

Sen. Ted Cruz Delivers First Major Floor Speech Offering an Amendment to Defund Obamacare

►► Sen Ted Cruz with Greta Van Susteren on Defunding Obamacare

Shutdown Showdown – Sen Ted Cruz On Defunding Obamacare – Hannity – 9-23-2013

Palin Fires Back at Fmr. McCain Strategist, GOP Establishment for ‘Waving White Flag’ on Obamacare

Brit Hume To O’Reilly: Talk Radio Hosts Driving Republicans to Embrace ‘Suicide Missions’

LibertyNEWS TV – “ObamaCare Sound & Fury: Name-Shaming & Blame-Gaming”

The Nuclear Option: The Filibuster “Power Grab” in the Senate

Professor Michael Teter ’99 on “The Unconstitutional Senate: One Senator, One Vote, One Filibuster”

Background Articles and Videos

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – “Liberty is too Precious a thing to be buried in books”

The Greatest Speech Ever Made – Charlie Chaplin

Filibuster

United States

The filibuster is a powerful parliamentary device in the United States Senate, which was strengthened in 1975 [46] and in the past decade has come to mean that most major legislation (apart from budgets) requires a 60% vote to bring a bill or nomination to the floor for a vote. In recent years, the majority has preferred to avoid filibusters by moving to other business when a filibuster is threatened and attempts to achieve cloture have failed.[47] Defenders call the filibuster “The Soul of the Senate.”[48]

Senate rules permit a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish and on any topic they choose, unless “three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn”[49] (usually 60 out of 100 senators) brings debate to a close by invoking cloture under Senate Rule XXII.

According to the Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Ballin (1892), changes to Senate rules could be achieved by a simple majority, but only on the first day of the session in January or March. The idea is that on this first day, the rules of the new legislative session are determined afresh, and rules do not automatically continue from one session to the next. This is called the constitutional option by proponents, and the nuclear option by opponents, who insist that rules do remain in force across sessions. Under current Senate rules, a rule change itself could be filibustered, with two-thirds of those senators present and voting (as opposed to the normal three-fifths of those sworn) needing to vote to break the filibuster.[49] Even if a filibuster attempt is unsuccessful, the process takes floor time.[50]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filibuster

Cloture

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Cloture (/ˈklər/ KLOH-chər) is a motion or process in parliamentary procedure aimed at bringing debate to a quick end. It is also called closure or, informally, a guillotine.[1] The cloture procedure originated in the French National Assembly, from which the name is taken. Clôture is French for “ending” or “conclusion”. It was introduced into the Parliament of the United Kingdom by William Ewart Gladstone to overcome the obstruction of the Irish nationalist party and was made permanent in 1887. It was subsequently adopted by the United States Senate and other legislatures.

United States

This article is part of a series on the
United States Senate
Great Seal of the United States Senate
History of the United States Senate
Members


Politics and procedure

Places

History

A similar procedure was adopted in the United States. This was invoked for the first time on November 15, 1919,[5] during the 66th Congress, to end filibuster on the Treaty of Versailles.[6]

The cloture rule originally required a supermajority of two-thirds of all senators “present and voting” to be considered filibuster-proof.[7][8] For example, if all 100 Senators voted on a cloture motion, 67 of those votes would have to be for cloture for it to pass; however if some Senators were absent and only 80 Senators voted on a cloture motion, only 54 would have to vote in favor.[9] However, it proved very difficult to achieve this; the Senate tried eleven times between 1927 and 1962 to invoke cloture but failed each time. Filibuster was particularly heavily used by Democratic Senators from Southern states to block civil rights legislation.[10]

In 1975, the Democratic Senate majority, having achieved a net gain of four seats in the 1974 Senate elections to a strength of 61 (with an additional Independent caucusing with them for a total of 62), reduced the necessary supermajority to three-fifths (60 out of 100).[11] However, as a compromise to those who were against the revision, the new rule also changed the requirement for determining the number of votes needed for a cloture motion’s passage from those Senators “present and voting” to those Senators “duly chosen and sworn”. Thus, 60 votes for cloture would be necessary regardless of whether every Senator voted. The only time a lesser number would become acceptable is when a Senate seat is vacant. (For example, if there were two vacancies in the Senate, thereby making 98 Senators “duly chosen and sworn”, it would only take 59 votes for a cloture motion to pass.)[9]

The new version of the cloture rule, which has remained in place since 1975, makes it considerably easier for the Senate majority to invoke cloture. This has considerably strengthened the power of the majority, and allowed it to pass many bills that would otherwise have been filibustered.[citation needed] (The Democratic Party held a two-thirds majority in the 89th Congress of 1965, but regional divisions among Democrats meant that many filibusters were invoked by Southern Democrats against civil rights bills supported by the Northern wing of the party). Some senators wanted to reduce it to a simple majority (51 out of 100) but this was rejected, as it would greatly diminish the ability of the minority to check the majority.[citation needed]

Procedure

The three-fifths version of the cloture rule does not apply to motions to end filibusters relating to Senate Rule changes. To invoke cloture to end debate over changing the Senate Rules, the original version of the rule (two-thirds of those Senators “present and voting”) still applies.[12]

The procedure for “invoking cloture,” or ending a filibuster, is as follows:

  • A minimum of sixteen senators must sign a petition for cloture.
  • The petition may be presented by interrupting another Senator’s speech.
  • The clerk reads the petition.
  • The cloture petition is ignored for one full day during which the Senate is sitting. For example, if the petition is filed on Monday, it is ignored until Wednesday. (If the petition is filed on a Friday, it is ignored until Tuesday, assuming that the Senate did not sit on Saturday or Sunday.)[13]
  • On the second calendar day during which the Senate sits after the presentation of the petition, after the Senate has been sitting for one hour, a “quorum call” is undertaken to ensure that a majority of the Senators are present. However, the mandatory quorum call is often waived by unanimous consent.
  • The President of the Senate or President pro tempore presents the petition.
  • The Senate votes on the petition; three-fifths of the whole number of Senators (sixty with no vacancies) is the required majority; however, when cloture is invoked on a question of changing the rules of the Senate, two-thirds of the Senators voting (not necessarily two-thirds of all Senators) is the requisite majority. This is commonly referred to in the news media as a “test vote”.

After cloture has been invoked, the following restrictions apply:

  • No more than thirty hours of debate may occur.[14]
  • No Senator may speak for more than one hour.
  • No amendments may be moved unless they were filed on the day in between the presentation of the petition and the actual cloture vote.
  • All amendments must be relevant to the debate.
  • Certain procedural motions are not permissible.
  • The presiding officer gains additional power in controlling debate.
  • No other matters may be considered until the question upon which cloture was invoked is disposed of.

The ability to invoke cloture was last attained by a US political party in the 113th Congress, by the Democrats, in regards to the Corker-Hoeven Amendment to the 2013 Immigration Reform Bill.[15] The previous time was in the 113th Congress during a debate on the vacancy in the position of Secretary of Defense.[citation needed] The previous time was in the 111th Congress, also by the Democrats, with the help of two independents.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloture

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The Pronk Pops Show 135, September23, 2013, Segment 0: Budget Battle Begins — Countdown To Government Shutdown? — Videos

Posted on September 26, 2013. Filed under: American History, Budgetary Policy, Business, Coal, College, Communications, Consitutional Law, Culture, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, Housing, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Investments, Law, Media, Medicine, Monetary Policy, Natural Gas, Networking, Oil, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Private Sector Unions, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Railroads, Regulation, Resources, Scandals, Security, Social Science, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Transportation, Unemployment, Unions, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

Pronk Pops Show 135: September 23, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 134: September 20, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 133: September 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 132: September 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 131: September 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 130: September 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 129: September 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 128: September 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 127: September 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 126: September 10, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 125: September 9, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 124: September 6, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 123: August 30, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 122: August 23, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 121: August 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 120: August 9, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 119: August 2 and 8, 2013

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 135-

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 131-134

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 124-130

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 16-22

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 10-15

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 01-09

 Segment 0: Budget Battle Begins — Countdown To Government Shutdown? — Videos

Government-Shutdown

Obamacare_cut_off

GOP_shutdown_government

Department_shutdowns

shutdown_government_bad

obama_smoking_quit

CP-fed-spending-numbers-2013-page-2-chart-2_509

TRIFECTA – Defund ObamaCare? Will GOP Efforts Succeed or Fail?

On Obamacare vote, senators will ‘find Jesus’

Obama Criticizes Congress After Vote to Defund ‘Obamacare’

Ted Cruz on Defunding Obamacare – Chris Wallace Interview – Fox News – 9/22/13

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) appeared on Fox News Sunday to defend his push to defund Obamacare, which has landed him in trouble with his own party. Host Chris Wallace pressed Cruz on whether he had gotten the GOP into a fight with no clear strategy or end game, how he intended to get out of it, and if he would actually support the politically unpopular option of a government shutdown.

“Last week’s vote was a tremendous victory,” Cruz said of the House’s passage of a continuing resolution that did not fund Obamacare. “Just a few weeks ago, no pundit in Washington thought it was possible we’d see the vote we saw on Friday…Next week is a time for party unity. Next week, all Senate Republicans, I hope, should come together and support the House bill. In my view, Senate Republicans should stand united to stop Harry Reid from changing the House bill, and in particular from inserting the funding with fifty-one votes.”

But Cruz is in a jam, as he only has enough votes to deny cloture, not to stop Senate Democrats from amending the resolution to include funding for the Affordable Care Act, which means his only way of stopping the funding is to filibuster the very bill he called on the House to pass—leading to a goverment shutdown.

“[Harry Reid] wants to use brute political power to force ObamaCare through with just Democrats, exactly the same way he passed the bill three years ago,” Cruz continued. “If he does that, then Senate Republicans have the tool we always use when the Majority Leader is abusing his power, which is we deny cloture.”

“You say this is brute political power,” a very-unconvinced Wallace said. “It’s Senate Rule 22, which has been around for years. It’s part of the Senate rules, and it says after you allow debate and take cloture, that you can pass an amendment by Senate majority. That’s the rule!”
“You’re right, that is one rule,” Cruz responded. “But there is another rule that says it takes sixty votes to get cloture…If the majority’s going to run the minority over with a train, the minority has the ability to stop them…Any vote for cloture, any vote to allow Harry Reid to add funding for Obamacare with just a fifty-one vote threshold—a vote for cloture is a vote for ObamaCare.”

“If Harry Reid kills this bill in the Senate, I think the House should hold its ground and should begin passing smaller continuing resolutions one department at a time,” Cruz said. “It should start with a continuing resolution focused on the military. Fund the military, send it over, and let’s see if Harry Reid is willing to shut down the military just because he wants to force ObamaCare on the American people.”

Wallace asked Cruz to respond to numerous angry Republican lawmakers, who are lambasting Cruz for talking big on defunding while kicking the onus of the movement back to the House.

“There are lots of folks in Washington that choose to throw rocks,” Cruz replied, “but I’m not going to reciprocate.”

House votes to derail Obamacare, fund government

BREAKING: House Votes to Defund Obamacare

BREAKING: House Speaker Boehner Speaks After ObamaCare Voted Defunded

“The House voted 230-189 along party lines Friday to approve a stopgap spending bill to fund the federal government through mid-December, but it is facing certain defeat in the Senate because it includes language aiming to dismantle President Obama’s health care law.

Without a stopgap spending bill, the federal government will feel the effects of a shutdown when the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. The bill extends the current rate of government spending at $986 billion a year.

House Republicans attached a provision to defund the Affordable Care Act, a consistent target of congressional Republicans. However, the provision has no chance of approval in the Democratic-controlled Senate and it faces a veto threat from Obama.

Next week, the Senate is expected to begin debate on the spending bill, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will strip out the health care language and send a bill back to the House that simply extends current spending.

If the Senate runs out the clock on the time for debate, the vote could come as late as next weekend, giving House GOP leaders less than 48 hours to respond.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has not committed to allowing a vote on a spending bill that does not address the health care law. House Republicans will then have three options: reject it, pass it or amend it and send it back to the Senate again.

The effects of a shutdown would not be immediately felt by most Americans. Essential government programs such as air traffic control, Social Security, Medicare and mail delivery would all continue, but national parks and museums would be closed, and agency operations would slow down or stop. The White House and the U.S. Congress would continue to operate as well.

But the political risks are great. The last time the government shut down was during the Clinton administration in a budget battle against Republicans led by then-speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., which resulted in a public backlash against the GOP.

Boehner has said Republicans are not seeking a government shutdown, but eye it as an opportunity to start a broader offensive against the health care law. Republicans are also seeking to delay the implementation of the law for one year in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, the nation’s borrowing limit.”

Rep. Salmon: Defunding Obamacare “the will of the people”

Sen Ted Cruz with Neil Cavuto on Defunding Obamacare

Ted Cruz on Defunding Obamacare, the Grassroots Tsunami, and More on CNN’s State of the Union

DeMint and Beck on Defunding Obamacare

House passes spending bill to defund Obamacare

By Stephen Dinan

House Republicans passed their stopgap funding bill Friday to keep government open while terminating the new health care law, setting up a final showdown next week with Senate Democrats and President Obama who have firmly rejected the GOP approach.

The 230-189 vote, which split almost exactly along party lines, is the precursor to the big action next week, when the Democratic majority in the Senate is expected to strip out the health care provisions and send the bill back to the House — where Republicans will have to decide whether they can accept it at that point.

All sides are racing to beat a Sept. 30 deadline, which is when current funding for the federal government runs out. The new measure would fund the government through Dec. 15, essentially at last year’s levels, and would leave the budget sequester cuts in place.

But Republicans on Friday also attached two amendments to the final bill — one to direct how government spending is prioritized in the event the Treasury Department bumps up against its borrowing limit in the coming weeks, and another that strips out funding for President Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, which would effectively stop its implementation.

“The American people don’t want the government shut down, and they don’t want Obamacare,” said House Speaker John A. Boehner, who rallied with fellow Republicans after the vote in a show of unity that seemed designed to quell speculation about a rebellion within the House Republican Conference.

Republicans said the move was designed to put some Democratic senators on the spot. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor named several who are up for re-election next year, including Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu and Alaska Sen. Mark Begich.

Democrats said the bill was an outrage that exposed Republicans’ true intention of trying to force a government shutdown.

“It is a wolf in wolf’s clothing,” said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat. “Either you don’t know what you’re doing or this is one of the most intentional acts of brutality you’ve cooked up.”

Rep. Nita Lowey, the top Democrat on the House spending committee, said limiting government funding now would immediate consequences, such as preventing federal authorities from being able to help out as Colorado recovers from devastating floods.

Democrats urged the GOP to negotiate with them to raise taxes in order to spend more.

Republicans countered that if they’d wanted to shut down government, they wouldn’t have brought any bill to the floor.

“We are pragmatists. We know we have to pass bills to fund government. Thus this bill,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, Kentucky Republican.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/sep/20/house-passes-spending-bill-defund-obamacare/#ixzz2fjziMFjQ
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

51% Favor Government Shutdown Until Congress Cuts Health Care Funding

President Obama yesterday criticized congressional Republicans for insisting on spending cuts in any budget deal that continues government operations past October 1, saying they risk “economic chaos.” Most voters agree a federal government shutdown would be bad for the economy, but they’re willing to risk one until Democrats and Republicans in Congress agree on ways to cut the budget, including cuts in funding for the new national health care law.

Just 20% of Likely U.S. Voters believe a partial shutdown of the federal government would be good for economy, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Fifty-six percent (56%) say such a shutdown would be bad for the economy, even though payments for things like Social Security, Medicare and unemployment would continue. Sixteen percent (16%) think it would have no impact. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

But 58% favor a federal budget that cuts spending, while only 16% prefer one that increases spending. Twenty-one percent (21%) support a budget that keeps spending levels about the same.

This helps explain why 53% would rather have a partial government shutdown until Democrats and Republicans can agree on what spending to cut. Thirty-seven percent (37%) would prefer instead that Congress avoid a shutdown by authorizing spending at existing levels as the president has proposed.

Some conservative Republicans in both the House and Senate are refusing to approve a budget unless it slows or stops funding for the health care law, but the president and most congressional Democrats are adamantly opposed to any such cuts. However, 51% of voters favor having a partial government shutdown until Democrats and Republicans agree on what spending for the health care law to cut. Forty percent (40%) would rather avoid a government shutdown by authorizing spending for the health care law at existing levels.

Late last month, 42% of Republicans said threatening to vote against a government funding bill unless it cuts off funds for the health care law will help the GOP. Twenty-eight percent (28%) disagreed, while 14% said it would have no impact. Fifty-two percent (52%) of Democrats and 48% of unaffiliateds thought it would hurt Republicans.

Most voters continue to dislike the health care law, and 54% expect it to increase, not reduce, health care costs. From the beginning of the debate over the law four years ago, voters have consistently said that cost is their number one health care concern.

Under the health care law, uninsured Americas are required to have health insurance by January 1, and failure to do so could result in sizable penalties. Now that the president has delayed implementation of the employer mandate portion of his new national health care law, 56% of voters think he also should delay the requirement that every American buy or obtain health insurance.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on September 14-15, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

The president sounded similar dire economic warnings before the so-called sequester automatic budget cuts kicked in March 1, but even after some highly publicized flight delays that were blamed on the sequester, just 24% of voters felt government spending was cut too much. Forty-four percent (44%) said spending wasn’t cut enough. Now, interestingly, the president is proposing continuing federal spending at least in the short term at the lower levels set by the sequester.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of Americans think that when government agencies are forced to cut their budgets, they generally cut popular programs first to make the cuts seem more significant.

Democrats are far more concerned about the prospects of a government shutdown than Republicans and unaffiliated voters are. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of voters in the president’s party think a partial shutdown would be bad for the economy, but just 40% of GOP voters and 48% of those not affiliated with either of the major parties agree. But then 78% of Republicans and 64% of unaffiliateds favor a federal budget that cuts spending, a view shared by just 34% of Democrats.

Sixty-three percent (63%) of Democrats agree with the president and would prefer to avoid a shutdown by authorizing spending at existing levels. Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republicans and 62% of unaffiliated voters would rather have a shutdown until the two sides can agree on what spending to cut.

Similarly, 78% of GOP voters and 57% of unaffiliateds like the idea of a partial shutdown until Democrats and Republicans can agree on what spending for the health care law can be cut. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Democrats favor instead avoiding a shutdown by authorizing spending for the law at existing levels.

Looking to the future, 80% of GOP voters believe it is more important for their party to stand for what it believes in rather than to work with the president. Right now, 65% of Likely Republican Voters think Republicans in Congress have lost touch with GOP voters from throughout the nation over the last several years, while 59% of Likely Democratic Voters think Democrats in Congress have done a good job of representing their party’s values.

The president and congressional Democrats have tied many of their criticisms of the Republican budget positions to the Tea Party. Just 39% of all voters now have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party, although 78% of Republicans believe it’s at least somewhat important for their leaders in Congress to work with the Tea Party, including 45% who think it’s Very Important.

While voters are more critical of the Tea Party itself, most continue to agree with its small government principles. Sixty-four percent (64%) prefer a smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes over a larger one with more services and higher taxes. Sixty-two percent (62%) think the government should cut spending rather than increase it in reaction to the nation’s economic problems.

Seventy-seven percent (77%) of all likely voters say they have been following recent news stories about the federal budget debate in Congress, with 42% who say they are following Very Closely.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

Please sign up for the Rasmussen Reports daily e-mail update (it’s free) or follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Let us keep you up to date with the latest public opinion news.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/september_2013/51_favor_government_shutdown_until_congress_cuts_health_care_funding

Obamacare Will Increase Health Spending By $7,450 For A Typical Family of Four

Chris Conover, Contributor

It was one of candidate Obama’s most vivid and concrete campaign promises. Forget about high minded (some might say high sounding) but gauzy promises of hope and change. This candidate solemnly pledged on June 5, 2008: “In an Obama administration, we’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year….. We’ll do it by the end of my first term as President of the United States.” Unfortunately, the experts working for Medicare’s actuary have (yet again[1]) reported that in its first 10 years, Obamacare will boost healthspending by “roughly $621 billion” above the amounts Americans would have spent without this misguided law.

What this means for a typical family of four

$621 billion is a pretty eye-glazing number. Most readers will find it easier to think about how this number translates to a typical American family—the very family candidate Obama promised would see $2,500 in annual savings as far as the eye could see. So I have taken the latest year-by-year projections, divided by the projected U.S. population to determine the added amount per person and multiplied the result by 4.

Interactive Guide: What Will Obamacare Cost You?

Simplistic? Maybe, but so too was the President’s campaign promise. And this approach allows us to see just how badly that promise fell short of the mark. Between 2014 and 2022, the increase in national health spending (which the Medicare actuaries specifically attribute to the law) amounts to $7,450 per family of 4.

CostperFamily

Let us hope this family hasn’t already spent or borrowed the $22,500 in savings they might have expected over this same period had they taken candidate Obama’s promise at face value. In truth, no well-informed American ever should have believed this absurd promise. At the time, Factcheck.org charitably deemed this claim as “overly optimistic, misleading and, to some extent, contradicted by one of his own advisers.” TheWashington Post less charitably awarded it Two Pinocchios (“Significant omissions or exaggerations”). Yet rather than learn from his mistakes, President Obama on July 16, 2012 essentially doubled-down on his promise, assuring small business owners “your premiums will go down.” He made this assertion notwithstanding the fact that in three separate reports between April 2010 and June 2012, the Medicare actuaries had demonstrated that the ACA would increase health spending. To its credit, the Washington Post dutifully awarded the 2012 claim Three Pinocchios (“Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.”)

The past is not prologue: The burden increases ten-fold in 2014

As it turns out, the average family of 4 has only had to face a relatively modest burden from Obamacare over the past four years—a little over $125. Unfortunately, this year’s average burden ($66) will be 10 times as large in 2014 when Obamacare kicks in for earnest. And it will rise for two years after that, after which it hit a steady-state level of just under $800 a year. Of course, all these figures are in nominal dollars. In terms of today’s purchasing power, this annual amount will rise steadily.

But what happened to the spending slowdown?

Some readers may recall that a few months ago, there were widespread reports of a slow-down in health spending. Not surprisingly, the White House has been quick to claim credit for the slowdown in health spending documented in the health spending projections report, arguing that it “is good for families, jobs and the budget.”

On this blog, Avik Roy pointed out that a) since passage of Obamacare, U.S. health spending actually had risen faster than in OECD countries, whereas prior to the law, the opposite was true. Moreover, to the degree that U.S. health spending was slowing down relative to its own recent past, greater cost-sharing was likely to be the principal explanation. Medicare’s actuarial experts confirm that the lion’s share of the slowdown in health spending could be chalked up to slow growth in the economy and greater cost-sharing. As AEI scholar Jim Capretta pithily puts it:

An important takeaway from these new projections is that the CMS Office of the Actuary finds no evidence to link the 2010 health care law to the recent slowdown in health care cost escalation. Indeed, the authors of the projections make it clear that the slowdown is not out of line with the historical link between health spending growth and economic conditions (emphasis added).

In the interests of fair and honest reporting, perhaps it is time the mainstream media begin using “Affordable” Care Act whenever reference is made to this terribly misguided law. Anyone obviously is welcome to quarrel with the Medicare actuary about their numbers. I myself am hard-put to challenge their central conclusion: Obamacare will not save Americans one penny now or in the future. Perhaps the next time voters encounter a politician making such grandiose claims, they will learn to watch their wallet. Until then, let’s spare strapped Americans from having to find $657 in spare change between their couch cushions next year. Let’s delay this law for a year so that policymakers have time to fix the poorly designed Rube Goldberg device known as Obamacare. For a nation with the most complicated and expensive health system on the planet, making it even more complicated and even more expensive never was a good idea.

Footnotes

[1] The Medicare actuary first issued a report carefully estimating the cost impact of Obamacare on April 22, 2010. Its annual national health expenditure projections reports for 2010, 2011 and 2012 all have contained tabulations showing that Obamacare will increase health spending over the next 10 years compared to a counterfactual scenario in which the law was never enacted.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/09/23/its-official-obamacare-will-increase-health-spending-by-7450-for-a-typical-family-of-four/

House Democrats Raise Big Money Off Republican Push To ‘Defund Obamacare’

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised more than $840,000 in online contributions since House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced last week that Republicans would include a measure to strip funding from the Affordable Care Act in a continuing resolution to fund the federal government.

The House Democratic party committee launched an online petition and blasted its large list of supporters for contributions to fight back against House Republicans immediately after Boehner’s Tuesday announcement.

The DCCC’s blast emails attacked House Republicans’ “extortion tactics” and their “complete cave to Tea Party Republicans.” Supporters were asked to donate $3 to the DCCC’s ObamaCare Rapid Response Fund.

By Sunday morning, two days after Republicans successfully passed a continuing budget resolution that would defund the health care law, the petition had more than 1 million signatures and the committee received 46,000 online donations, according to a DCCC aide. The average donation was $18.

“From the moment John Boehner and House Republicans announced that they would put this country on a path to shutdown — all so they could give insurance companies free rein, our grassroots supporters jumped into action,” DCCC press secretary Emily Bittner said in a statement. “Every time House Republicans demonstrate their priorities — protecting the wealthy, padding health insurance profits and forcing the middle class to pay more — our grassroots steps up.”

In the past two months, Republican groups have done their own fundraising off their push to defund President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform law. The Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee tied to Heritage Foundation president and former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, had its best off-election year fundraising month ever in August while running its “Don’t Fund Obamacare” website.

This week’s fundraising swell for the DCCC is comparable to two of its best online fundraising spurts in recent memory: the unveiling of the budget presented by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and the week Ryan was announced as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate.

While the push to defund Obamacare has been a boon to fundraising on both sides, it’s unlikely to go much further. Senate Democrats, who control the chamber, will not approve or even bring a bill to the floor that would defund the health care law, and Obama slammed the effort while threatening a veto. Even Senate Republicans, including the voice of Obamacare opposition Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), have said the measure is going nowhere.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/22/house-democrats-defund-obamacare_n_3971793.html

Lower Health Insurance Premiums to Come at Cost of Fewer Choices

By

Federal officials often say that health insurance will cost consumers less than expected under President Obama’shealth care law. But they rarely mention one big reason: many insurers are significantly limiting the choices of doctors and hospitals available to consumers.

From California to Illinois to New Hampshire, and in many states in between, insurers are driving down premiums by restricting the number of providers who will treat patients in their new health plans.

When insurance marketplaces open on Oct. 1, most of those shopping for coverage will be low- and moderate-income people for whom price is paramount. To hold down costs, insurers say, they have created smaller networks of doctors and hospitals than are typically found in commercial insurance. And those health care providers will, in many cases, be paid less than what they have been receiving from commercial insurers.

Some consumer advocates and health care providers are increasingly concerned. Decades of experience with Medicaid, the program for low-income people, show that having an insurance card does not guarantee access to specialists or other providers.

Consumers should be prepared for “much tighter, narrower networks” of doctors and hospitals, said Adam M. Linker, a health policy analyst at the North Carolina Justice Center, a statewide advocacy group.

“That can be positive for consumers if it holds down premiums and drives people to higher-quality providers,” Mr. Linker said. “But there is also a risk because, under some health plans, consumers can end up with astronomical costs if they go to providers outside the network.”

Insurers say that with a smaller array of doctors and hospitals, they can offer lower-cost policies and have more control over the quality of health care providers. They also say that having insurance with a limited network of providers is better than having no coverage at all.

Cigna illustrates the strategy of many insurers. It intends to participate next year in the insurance marketplaces, or exchanges, in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Tennessee and Texas.

“The networks will be narrower than the networks typically offered to large groups of employees in the commercial market,” said Joseph Mondy, a spokesman for Cigna.

The current concerns echo some of the criticism that sank the Clinton administration’s plan for universal coverage in 1993-94. Republicans said the Clinton proposals threatened to limit patients’ options, their access to care and their choice of doctors.

At the same time, House Republicans are continuing to attack the new health law and are threatening to hold up a spending bill unless money is taken away from the health care program.

In a new study, the Health Research Institute of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the consulting company, says that “insurers passed over major medical centers” when selecting providers in California, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, among other states.

“Doing so enables health plans to offer lower premiums,” the study said. “But the use of narrow networks may also lead to higher out-of-pocket expenses, especially if a patient has a complex medical problem that’s being treated at a hospital that has been excluded from their health plan.”

In California, the statewide Blue Shield plan has developed a network specifically for consumers shopping in the insurance exchange.

Juan Carlos Davila, an executive vice president of Blue Shield of California, said the network for its exchange plans had 30,000 doctors, or 53 percent of the 57,000 doctors in its broadest commercial network, and 235 hospitals, or 78 percent of the 302 hospitals in its broadest network.

Mr. Davila said the new network did not include the five medical centers of the University of California or the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center near Beverly Hills.

“We expect to have the broadest and deepest network of any plan in California,” Mr. Davila said. “But not many folks who are uninsured or near the poverty line live in wealthy communities like Beverly Hills.”

Daniel R. Hawkins Jr., a senior vice president of the National Association of Community Health Centers, which represents 9,000 clinics around the country, said: “We serve the very population that will gain coverage — low-income, working class uninsured people.But insurers have shown little interest in including us in their provider networks.”

Dr. Bruce Siegel, the president of America’s Essential Hospitals, formerly known as the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, said insurers were telling his members: “We don’t want you in our network. We are worried about having your patients, who are sick and have complicated conditions.”

In some cases, Dr. Siegel said, “health plans will cover only selected services at our hospitals, like trauma care, or they offer rock-bottom payment rates.”

In New Hampshire, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, a unit of WellPoint, one of the nation’s largest insurers, has touched off a furor by excluding 10 of the state’s 26 hospitals from the health plans that it will sell through the insurance exchange.

Christopher R. Dugan, a spokesman for Anthem, said that premiums for this “select provider network” were about 25 percent lower than they would have been for a product using a broad network of doctors and hospitals.

Anthem is the only commercial carrier offering health plans in the New Hampshire exchange.

Peter L. Gosline, the chief executive of Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, N.H., said his hospital had been excluded from the network without any discussions or negotiations.

“Many consumers will have to drive 30 minutes to an hour to reach other doctors and hospitals,” Mr. Gosline said. “It’s very inconvenient for patients, and at times it’s a hardship.”

State Senator Andy Sanborn, a Republican who is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said, “The people of New Hampshire are really upset about this.”

Many physician groups in New Hampshire are owned by hospitals, so when an insurer excludes a hospital from its network, it often excludes the doctors as well.

David Sandor, a vice president of the Health Care Service Corporation, which offers Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, said: “In the health insurance exchange, most individuals will be making choices based on costs. Our exchange products will have smaller provider networks that cost less than bigger plans with a larger selection of doctors and hospitals.”

Premiums will vary across the country, but federal officials said that consumers in many states would be able to buy insurance on the exchange for less than $300 a month — and less than $100 a month per person after taking account of federal subsidies.

“Competition and consumer choice are actually making insurance affordable,” Mr. Obama said recently.

Many insurers are cutting costs by slicing doctors’ fees.

Dr. Barbara L. McAneny, a cancer specialist in Albuquerque, said that insurers in the New Mexico exchange were generally paying doctors at Medicare levels, which she said were “often below our cost of doing business, and definitely below commercial rates.”

Outsiders might expect insurance companies to expand their networks to treat additional patients next year. But many insurers see advantages in narrow networks, saying they can steer patients to less expensive doctors and hospitals that provide high-quality care.

Even though insurers will be forbidden to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, they could subtly discourage the enrollment of sicker patients by limiting the size of their provider networks.

“If a health plan has a narrow network that excludes many doctors, that may shoo away patients with expensive pre-existing conditions who have established relationships with doctors,” said Mark E. Rust, the chairman of the national health care practice at Barnes & Thornburg, a law firm. “Some insurers do not want those patients who, for medical reasons, require a broad network of providers.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/health/lower-health-insurance-premiums-to-come-at-cost-of-fewer-choices.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0#h[]

Federal Spending by the Numbers, 2013: Government Spending Trends in Graphics, Tables, and Key Points

, and

Introduction

In 2013, federal spending approached $3.5 trillion and the deficit dropped to “only” $642 billion. Some are using this small improvement in the nation’s fiscal situation to avoid further budget tightening. But as the figures and graphics in this report show, this is the wrong conclusion to draw. Following four years of trillion-dollar deficits, the national debt will still reach nearly $17 trillion and exceed 100 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of the year. Publicly held debt (the debt borrowed in credit markets, excluding Social Security’s trust fund, for example), is alarmingly high at three-quarters of GDP. Without further spending cuts, it is on track to rise to a level last seen after World War II.

Deficits fell in 2013 because President Obama and Congress raised taxes on all Americans, the economy saw slight improvement which helped to bring in more revenue, and spending cuts from sequestration and spending caps under the Budget Control Act of 2011 took effect.

The nation should not take this short-term and modest deficit improvement as a signal to grow complacent about reining in exploding spending. Though deficits will decline for a few more years, existing spending cuts and tax increases will not prevent them from rising soon, and within a decade exceeding $1 trillion once again. Driving this is federal spending which, despite sequestration cuts, will grow 69 percent by 2023.

The nation’s long-term spending trajectory remains on a fiscal collision course. Total spending has exploded by 40 percent since 2002, even after inflation. Some programs have grown far in excess of that. Defense, however, has been slashed. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare are so large and growing that they are on track to overwhelm the federal budget. While the Budget Control Act of 2011 and sequestration are modestly restraining the discretionary budget, mandatory spending—including entitlements—continues growing nearly unabated. Without any changes, mandatory spending, including net interest, will consume three-fourths of the budget in just one decade.

Obamacare will add $1.8 trillion to federal health care spending by 2023. By 2015, health care spending will overtake Social Security as the largest budget item, including Obamacare’s coverage expansion provisions: a massive expansion of Medicaid and subsidies for the new health insurance exchanges.

While mandatory spending is growing out of control and needs reform, there are also plenty of places to cut in the rest of the budget. For example, the Internal Revenue Service spent $4.1 million on a lavish conference in 2010 for 2,609 of its employees in Anaheim, California. Expenses included $50,000 for line-dancing and “Star Trek” parody videos, $135,350 for outside speakers, $64,000 in conference “swag” for the employees, plus free meals, cocktails, and hotel suite upgrades.

Beyond waste, the federal government is too big. Energy spending increased over 2,000 percent since 2002—after adjusting for inflation. Today there are roughly 80 means-tested anti-poverty programs.

Washington must stop kicking the can down the road, or we could soon find ourselves teetering on the edge of a Greece-style meltdown. Instead, lawmakers should eliminate waste, duplication, and inappropriate spending; privatize functions better left to the private sector; and leave areas best managed on a more local level to states and localities. And they should make important changes to the entitlement programs so that they become more affordable and benefits help those with the greatest needs.

It is not too late to solve the impending spending and debt crisis, but the clock is ticking.

The Federal Budget

  • Washington will spend nearly $3.5 trillion in 2013 while collecting $2.8 trillion in revenues, resulting in a deficit of $642 billion.
  • Over the past 20 years, federal spending grew 63 percent faster than inflation.
  • Mandatory spending, including Social Security and means-tested entitlements, doubled after adjusting for inflation. Discretionary spending grew by 49 percent.
  • Despite publicly held debt surging to three-fourths the size of the economy (as measured by GDP), net interest costs have fallen as interest rates have dropped to historic lows.
  • In 1963, defense spending was 9 percent of GDP and mandatory spending on entitlement programs was 6.1 percent of GDP, one-third lower.
  • In 2013, spending on defense is at about 4 percent of GDP and falling, while mandatory spending (including net interest) is reaching 14.5 percent of GDP and growing.

http://www.heritage.org/search?query=budget+charts

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The Pronk Pops Show 134, September 20, Segment 0: People Paladin Pronk Pops The Week’s Top News Stories: September 16-20, 2013 — Videos

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Segment 0: People Paladin Pronk Pops The Week’s Top News Stories: September 16-20, 2013 — Videos

The Pronk Pops Show 130, September 16, 2013, Segment 0: US Naval Base Shooting with  12 Dead Plus Shooter — Killer Mentally Ill Navy Veteran Discharged For Misconduct  Had Anger Issues  Was Video Game Addict– No Kidding — Videos

The Pronk Pops Show 130, September 16, 2013, Segment 1:  What is Obama Hiding About The Benghazi Scandal?  Libyans Arms and Fighters Shipped To Free Syrian Army and Terrorists in Syria — Videos

The Pronk Pops Show 131, September 17, 2013, Segment 0: Who are the Syrian Rebels? — 10,000  jihadists including al-Qaeda Plus 30,000 to 35,000 Hardline Islamists Out of 100,000 Syrian Rebels — Videos

The Pronk Pops Show 131, September 17, 2013: Segment 1: The War Powers Act and Obama’s Unprecedented War Power Claims — Videos

The Pronk Pops Show 132, September 18, 2013, Segment 0: No Tapering! — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) — Fed Must Continue Massive Financing of Deficits and Debt of Federal Government — Digital Electronic Money (DEM) Creation Continues At $85 Billion Per Month or $1,020 Billion Per Year Pace — U.S. Economy Stagnating Below 3 Percent GDP Growth Trend Line — U.S. Dollar Devalued — Currency War Continues — Abolish The Fed — Videos

The Pronk Pops Show 132, September 18, 2013, Segment 1: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) Drugs Not Guns Are The Problem — Videos

The Pronk Pops Show 133, September 19, 2013, Segment 0: Part 2 Segment 0: Bernanke The Nowhere Man –No Tapering! — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) — Fed Must Continue Massive Financing of Deficits and Debt of Federal Government — Digital Electronic Money (DEM) Creation Continues At $85 Billion Per Month or $1,020 Billion Per Year Pace — U.S. Economy Stagnating Below 3 Percent GDP Growth Trend Line — U.S. Dollar Devalued — Currency War Continues — Abolish The Fed — The Taxman — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show 133, September 19, 2013, Segment 0: Part 2 Segment 0: Bernanke The Nowhere Man –No Tapering! — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) — Fed Must Continue Massive Financing of Deficits and Debt of Federal Government — Digital Electronic Money (DEM) Creation Continues At $85 Billion Per Month or $1,020 Billion Per Year Pace — U.S. Economy Stagnating Below 3 Percent GDP Growth Trend Line — U.S. Dollar Devalued — Currency War Continues — Abolish The Fed — The Taxman — Videos

Posted on September 23, 2013. Filed under: American History, Budgetary Policy, Coal, College, Communications, Consitutional Law, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Government, Government Spending, History, Investments, Law, Media, Monetary Policy, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Regulation, Resources, Security, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Transportation, Unemployment, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

Pronk Pops Show 133: September 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 132: September 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 131: September 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 130: September 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 129: September 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 128: September 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 127: September 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 126: September 10, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 125: September 9, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 124: September 6, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 123: August 30, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 122: August 23, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 121: August 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 120: August 9, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 119: August 2 and 8, 2013

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 131-133

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Segment 0: Bernanke The Nowhere Man –No Tapering! — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) — Fed Must Continue Massive Financing of Deficits and Debt of Federal Government — Digital Electronic Money (DEM) Creation Continues At $85 Billion Per Month or $1,020 Billion Per Year Pace — U.S. Economy Stagnating Below 3 Percent GDP Growth Trend Line — U.S. Dollar Devalued — Currency War Continues — Abolish The Fed — Videos

Nowhere Man

5-reasons-the-fed-taper-will-kick-off-in-september

Tracking-the-Fed-September

U.S. National Debt Clock

BUREAU OF THE FISCAL SERVICE
                                                  STAR - TREASURY FINANCIAL DATABASE
             TABLE 1.  SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS AND THE DEFICIT/SURPLUS BY MONTH OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT (IN MILLIONS)

                                                        ACCOUNTING DATE:  08/13

   PERIOD                                                                     RECEIPTS                OUTLAYS    DEFICIT/SURPLUS (-)
+  ____________________________________________________________  _____________________  _____________________  _____________________
   PRIOR YEAR

     OCTOBER                                                                   163,072                261,539                 98,466
     NOVEMBER                                                                  152,402                289,704                137,302
     DECEMBER                                                                  239,963                325,930                 85,967
     JANUARY                                                                   234,319                261,726                 27,407
     FEBRUARY                                                                  103,413                335,090                231,677
     MARCH                                                                     171,215                369,372                198,157
     APRIL                                                                     318,807                259,690                -59,117
     MAY                                                                       180,713                305,348                124,636
     JUNE                                                                      260,177                319,919                 59,741
     JULY                                                                      184,585                254,190                 69,604
     AUGUST                                                                    178,860                369,393                190,533
     SEPTEMBER                                                                 261,566                186,386                -75,180

       YEAR-TO-DATE                                                          2,449,093              3,538,286              1,089,193

   CURRENT YEAR

     OCTOBER                                                                   184,316                304,311                119,995
     NOVEMBER                                                                  161,730                333,841                172,112
     DECEMBER                                                                  269,508                270,699                  1,191
     JANUARY                                                                   272,225                269,342                 -2,883
     FEBRUARY                                                                  122,815                326,354                203,539
     MARCH                                                                     186,018                292,548                106,530
     APRIL                                                                     406,723                293,834               -112,889
     MAY                                                                       197,182                335,914                138,732
     JUNE                                                                      286,627                170,126               -116,501
     JULY                                                                      200,030                297,627                 97,597
     AUGUST                                                                    185,370                333,293                147,923

       YEAR-TO-DATE                                                          2,472,542              3,227,888                755,345

http://www.fms.treas.gov/mts/mts0813.txt

civilian_labor_participation_rate

InflationAug2013

US-Fed-Funds-Target-Rate

savings

fed_taper_bets

When-To-Taper

fed_taper

wrong_way

US Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke listens to questions as he testifies before a House Budget Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington

2013-09-17-bernanke-hands-over-control

janet_yellen

Tracking-the-Fed-September

Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen addresses a conference in Washington

No Fed Taper: What Does It Mean for Your Money? (9/18/13)

Federal Reserve: No Taper (9/18/13)

Ron Paul: Fed Decision To Not Taper Is A Really Bad Sign

Ron Paul: Taper Fakeout Means Fed Is Worried

Breaking News: Federal Reserve Will Not Taper

Rick Santelli Reacts to Federal Reserve No Taper

Why The Fed. Will INCREASE, NOT DECREASE, It’s QE/Money Printing. By Gregory Mannarino

In Business – Fed Taper Pause Fuels Commodities Rally

To Taper, or Not to Taper

FED Says No Taper — We Need A War, Gun Confiscation And Control Of Internet First — Episode 166

JIM RICKARDS: Fed Will TAPER in September or Never, and the Looming MONETARY System COLLAPSE [50]

James Rickards on “Why The Fed Will NOT Taper Quantitative Easing”

Peter Schiff: “The party is coming to an end”.

JIM ROGERS – When the FED stops PRINTING FIAT CURRENCY the COLLAPSE will be here. PREPARE NOW

Fed decision Just idea of tapering caused huge ruckus

The Beatles – Taxman

Background Articles and Videos

Milton Friedman – Abolish The Fed

Milton Friedman On John Maynard Keynes

Free to Choose Part 3: Anatomy of a Crisis (Featuring Milton Friedman)

Murray Rothbard – To Expand And Inflate

The Founding of the Federal Reserve | Murray N. Rothbard

The Origin of the Fed – Murray N. Rothbard

Murray Rothbard on Hyperinflation and Ending the Fed

Murray N. Rothbard on Milton Friedman (audio – removed noise) part 1/5

Keynes the Man: Hero or Villain? | Murray N. Rothbard

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve has decided against reducing its stimulus for the U.S. economy, saying it will continue to buy $85 billion a month in bonds because it thinks the economy still needs the support.

The Fed said in a statement Wednesday that it held off on tapering because it wants to see more conclusive evidence that the recovery will be sustained.

Stocks spiked after the Fed released the statement at the end of its two-day policy meeting.

In the statement, the Fed says that the economy is growing moderately and that some indicators of labor market conditions have shown improvement. But it noted that rising mortgage rates and government spending cuts are restraining growth.

The bond purchases are intended to keep long-term loan rates low to spur borrowing and spending.

The Fed also repeated that it plans to keep its key short-term interest rate near zero at least until unemployment falls to 6.5 percent, down from 7.3 percent last month. In the Fed’s most recent forecast, unemployment could reach that level as soon as late 2014.

Many thought the Fed would scale back its purchases. But interest rates have jumped since May, when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke first said the Fed might slow its bond buys later this year. But Bernanke cautioned that the reduction would hinge on the economy showing continued improvement.

In its statement, the Fed says that the rise in interest rates “could slow the pace of improvement in the economy and labor market” if they are sustained.

The Fed also lowered its economic growth forecasts for this year and next year slightly, likely reflecting its concerns about interest rates.

The statement was approved on a 9-1 vote. Esther George, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, dissented for the sixth time this year. She repeated her concerns that the bond purchases could fuel the risk of inflation and financial instability.

The decision to maintain its stimulus follows reports of sluggish economic growth. Employers slowed hiring this summer, and consumers spent more cautiously.

Super-low rates are credited with helping fuel a housing comeback, support economic growth, drive stocks to record highs and restore the wealth of many Americans. But the average rate on the 30-year mortgage has jumped more than a full percentage point since May and was 4.57 percent last week — just below the two-year high.

The unemployment rate is now 7.3 percent, the lowest since 2008. Yet the rate has dropped in large part because many people have stopped looking for work and are no longer counted as unemployed — not because hiring has accelerated. Inflation is running below the Fed’s 2 percent target.

The Fed meeting took place at a time of uncertainty about who will succeed Bernanke when his term ends in January. On Sunday, Lawrence Summers, who was considered the leading candidate, withdrew from consideration.

Summers’ withdrawal followed growing resistance from critics. His exit has opened the door for his chief rival, Janet Yellen, the Fed’s vice chair. If chosen by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate, Yellen would become the first woman to lead the Fed.

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The Pronk Pops Show 132, September 18, 2013, Segment 1: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) Drugs Not Guns Are The Problem — Videos

Posted on September 21, 2013. Filed under: American History, Business, Communications, Crime, Culture, Drugs, Education, Games, History, Homicide, Law, Media, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Regulation, Rifles, Scandals, Taxes, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , |

Project_1

Pronk Pops Show 132: September 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 131: September 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 130: September 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 129: September 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 128: September 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 127: September 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 126: September 10, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 125: September 9, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 124: September 6, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 123: August 30, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 122: August 23, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 121: August 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 120: August 9, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 119: August 2 and 8, 2013

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 131-132

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 124-130

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 104-105

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 101-103

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 98-100

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 74-78

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 71-73

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 68-70

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 65-67

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 62-64

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 58-61

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 55-57

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 52-54

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Segment 1: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) Drugs Not Guns Are The Problem — Videos

Psychiatric Drugs and Mass Shootings ᴴᴰ

Fact: At least fourteen recent school shootings were committed by those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs resulting in 109 wounded and 58 killed (in other school shootings, information about their drug use was never made public—neither confirming or refuting if they were under the influence of prescribed drugs.)

Fact: Between 2004 and 2011, there have been over 11,000 reports to the U.S. FDA’s MedWatch system of psychiatric drug side effects related to violence. These include 300 cases of homicide, nearly 3,000 cases of mania and over 7,000 cases of aggression. Note: By the FDA’s own admission, only 1-10% of side effects are ever reported to the FDA, so the actual number of side effects occurring are most certainly higher. http://www.cchr.org/

Fox News: SSRI Antidepressants Causing School Shootings? With Dr. Peter Breggin

SSRI Drugs are Dangerous!

PHARMACOLOGY; ANTI ANXIETY & SSRI DRUGS by Professor Fink

Media Buries Psychiatric Drug Connection to Navy Shooter

Networks don’t want to risk losing $2.4 billion in ad revenue from pharmaceutical giants

Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
September 18, 2013

Despite every indication that Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis was on SSRI drugs that have been linked to dozens of previous mass shootings, the mainstream media has once again avoided all discussion of the issue, preferring instead to blame the tragedy on a non-existent AR-15 that the gunman didn’t even use.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

We now know that Alexis “had been treated since August by the Veterans Administration for his mental problems.”

As Mike Adams points out, “This is proof that Aaron Alexis was on psychiatric drugs, because that’s the only treatment currently being offered by the Veterans Administration for mental problems. Alexis’ family members also confirmed to the press that he was being “treated” for his mental health problems. Across the medical industry, “treatment” is the code word for psychiatric drugging.”

Alexis also suffered from PTSD, blackouts and anger issues – all of which are treated with SSRI drugs. The most common form of treatment for PTSD is Paroxetine, which is listed as the number 3 top violence-causing drug by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP).

The Navy Yard shooter was clearly on some form of psychiatric drug, but the media has shown no interest in discovering its identity.

Despite it being reported that prescription drugs were found in the apartment of ‘Batman’ shooter James Holmes days after the Aurora massacre, it took nine months to find out exactly what those drugs were. Like Columbine killer Eric Harris, Holmes had been taking Zoloft, another SSRI drug linked with violent outbursts.

The length of time it took to find out that Holmes was on Zoloft was partly because the media habitually shows zero interest in pursuing the link between anti-depressants and violence.

As the website SSRI Stories profusely documents, there are literally hundreds of examples of mass shootings, murders and other violent episodes that have been committed by individuals on psychiatric drugs over the past three decades. The number of cases is staggering.

Why is the corporate media so disinterested in pursuing this clear connection?

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the pharmaceutical giants who produce drugs like Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil spend around $2.4 billion dollars a year on direct-to-consumer television advertising every year. By running negative stories about prescription drugs, networks risk losing tens of millions of dollars in ad revenue.

While failing to ask questions about what SSRI drugs Aaron Alexis was taking prior to his rampage, the media instead blamed the shooting on assault rifles, even after it had been confirmed that no AR-15 was used by Alexis during the massacre.

FBI assistant director Victoria Parlave stated at a press conference on Tuesday that authorities, “do not have any information at this time that [Alexis] had an AR-15 in his possession.”

Despite there being no evidence that an AR-15 was used, the New York Daily News ran a front page headline yesterday morning entitled, “Same Gun Different Slay,” next to a picture of an assault rifle.

Hours after the FBI stated that no AR-15 had been used, MSNBC’s Alex Wagner, who previously blamed the Boston bombings on Alex Jones, continued to use an animated graphic depicting Alexis carrying an assault rifle during the massacre.

Anti-second amendment crusader Piers Morgan also erroneously blamed the shooting on “a man with a legally purchased AR-15, who just committed the same kind of atrocity as we saw at Sandy Hook, and Aurora,” during his CNN show on Monday.

CNN’s live news coverage also reported that Alexis had “recently purchased (an) AR-15 shotgun,” when in fact that purchase had been denied.

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post also falsely reported that an AR-15 had been found on Alexis after the massacre.

D.C. gun grabbers Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin also regurgitated the false claim that Alexis used an AR-15 during the rampage.

The U.S. press has once again behaved like state media in the aftermath of the Navy Yard shooting by pursuing the assault rifle angle – despite the fact that it was patently false – in order to bolster the White House’s gun control agenda.

In doing so, they have concurrently buried an integral aspect of mass shootings that needs to be highlighted as part of a national conversation – the clear connection between violent outbursts and SSRI drugs.

Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/paul.j.watson.71
FOLLOW Paul Joseph Watson @ https://twitter.com/PrisonPlanet

*********************

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.

http://www.infowars.com/media-buries-psychiatric-drug-connection-to-navy-shooter/

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor

Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor[1] (SSRIs) are a class of compounds typically used as antidepressants in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, and some personality disorders.

SSRIs are believed to increase the extracellular level of the neurotransmitter serotonin by inhibiting its reuptake into the presynaptic cell, increasing the level of serotonin in the synaptic cleft available to bind to the postsynaptic receptor. They have varying degrees of selectivity for the other monoamine transporters, with pure SSRIs having only weak affinity for the noradrenaline and dopamine transporter.

SSRIs are the first class of psychotropic drugs discovered using the process called rational drug design, a process that starts with a specific biological target and then creates a molecule designed to affect it.[2] They are the most widely prescribed antidepressants in many countries.[2] The efficacy of SSRIs in mild or moderate cases of depression has been disputed.[3][4][5]

Medical uses

The main indication for SSRIs is major depressive disorder (also called “major depression”, “clinical depression” and often simply “depression”). SSRIs are frequently prescribed for anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety disorder, panic disorders, obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders, chronic pain and occasionally, for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They are also frequently used to treat depersonalization disorder, although generally with poor results.[6]

Depression

Antidepressants are recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) as a first-line treatment of severe depression and for the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression that persists after conservative measures such as cognitive therapy.[7] They recommend against their routine use in those who have chronic health problems and mild depression.[7] There has been controversy regarding the efficacy of antidepressants in treating depression depending on its severity and duration. A comprehensive review conducted by NICE concluded that antidepressants have no advantage over placebo in the treatment of short term mild depression, but that the available evidence supported the use of antidepressants in the treatment of dysthymia and other forms of chronic mild depression.[8] Two meta-analyses of clinical trials published in 2008 and 2011 found that in mild and moderate depression, the effect of SSRIs is small or none compared to placebo, while in very severe depression the effect of SSRIs is between “relatively small ” and “substantial”.[3][9] Unlike the NICE study, these studies did not discriminate between the acutely and chronically depressed. The 2008 meta-analysis combined 35 clinical trials submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before licensing of four newer antidepressants (including the SSRIs paroxetine and fluoxetine, the non-SSRI antidepressant nefazodone, and the SNRI (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) venlafaxine). The authors attributed the relationship between severity and efficacy to a reduction of the placebo effect in severely depressed patients, rather than an increase in the effect of the medication.[9] Some researchers have questioned the statistical basis of this study suggesting that it underestimates the effect size of antidepressants.[10][11] A 2010 review reached similar conclusions: in mild and moderate depression, specifically that the effect of SSRI is very small or none compared to placebo, while it is clinically significant in very severe depression.[3][12] However, this analysis included only 6 studies out of the over 2,000 that have been done, involved just 2 medications, and did not involve studies with placebo washout periods typically used as controls.[4][5]

SSRIs are recommended by NICE over tricyclics due to their superior tolerability.[13] One study showed that SSRIs have greater adverse effects than TCAs in the elderly, though the authors caution that more research is needed.[14] There does not appear to be a substantial differences in efficacy among the various second generation antidepressants (SSRIs and SNRIs).[15]

Generalized anxiety disorder

SSRIs are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) that has failed to respond to conservative measures such as education and self-help activities. GAD is a common disorder of which the central feature is excessive worry about a number of different events. Key symptoms include excessive anxiety about multiple events and issues, and difficulty controlling worrisome thoughts that persists for at least 6 months.

Antidepressants provide a modest-to-moderate reduction in anxiety in GAD,[16] and are superior to placebo in treating GAD.[17] The efficacy of different antidepressants is similar.[16][17]

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

SSRIs are recommended for the second line treatment of adult obsessive compulsive disorder patients with mild functional impairment and as first line treatment for those with moderate or severe impairment. In children, SSRIs can be considered as a second line therapy in those with moderate-to-severe impairment, with close monitoring for psychiatric adverse effects.[18] SSRIs are efficacious in the treatment of OCD; patients treated with SSRIs are about twice as likely to respond to treatment as those treated with placebo.[19][20]

Eating disorders

Anti-depressants are recommended as an alternative or additional first step to self-help programs in the treatment of bulimia nervosa.[16] SSRIs (fluoxetine in particular) are preferred over other anti-depressants due to their acceptability, tolerability, and superior reduction of symptoms in short term trials. Long term efficacy remains poorly characterized.

Similar recommendations apply to binge eating disorder.[16] SSRIs provide short term reductions in binge eating behavior, but have not been associated with significant weight loss.[21]

Clinical trials have generated mostly negative results for the use of SSRI’s in the treatment of anorexia nervosa.[22] Treatment guidelines from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence[16] recommend against the use of SSRIs in this disorder. Those from the American Psychiatric Association note that SSRIs confer no advantage regarding weight gain, but that they may be used for the treatment of co-existing depressive, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorders.[21]

Stroke recovery

SSRIs have been used in the treatment of stroke patients, including those with and without symptoms of depression. A recent meta analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials found a statistically significant effect of SSRIs on dependence, neurological deficit, depression, and anxiety. There was no statistically significant effect on death, motor deficits, or cognition.[23]

Premature ejaculation

A general disadvantage of SSRIs in treating premature ejaculation is that they require continuous daily treatment to delay ejaculation significantly.[24] For the occasional “on-demand” treatment, a few hours before coitus, clomipramine gave better results than paroxetine in one study,[25] while in another study both sertraline and clomipramine were indistinguishable from the pause–squeeze technique and inferior to paroxetine.[26] The most recent research, conducted in 2007, suggests that on-demand treatment with sildenafil (Viagra) offers a dramatic improvement in ejaculation delay and sexual satisfaction as compared with daily paroxetine,[27] with on-demand sertraline, paroxetine or clomipramine,[26] and with the pause–squeeze technique.[26][27]

Adverse effects

General side effects are mostly present during the first one to four weeks while the body adapts to the drug (with the exception of sexual side effects, which tend to occur later in treatment). In fact, it often takes six to eight weeks for the drug to begin reaching its full potential (the slow onset is considered a downside to treatment with SSRIs). Almost all SSRIs are known to cause one or more of these symptoms:

Many side effects disappear after the adaptation phase, when the antidepressant effects begin to come to prominence. However, despite being called general, the side effects and their durations are highly individual and drug-specific. Usually the treatment is begun with a small dose to see how the patient’s body reacts to the drug, after that either the dose can be adjusted (e.g. Prozac in the UK is begun at a 20 mg dose, and then adjusted as necessary to 40 mg or 60 mg). Should the drug prove ineffective, or the side effects intolerable to the patient, another common route is to switch treatment to either another SSRI, or an SNRI.[30]

Mania or hypomania is a possible side effect. Users with some type of bipolar disorder are at a much higher risk, however SSRI-induced mania in patients previously diagnosed with unipolar depression can trigger a bipolar episode; however, according to DSM IV-TR, the diagnosis of bipolar disorder requires that the individuals symptoms must not stem from medication side effects, toxins, drug abuse, or another general medical condition.

Sexual dysfunction

SSRIs can cause various types of sexual dysfunction such as anorgasmia, erectile dysfunction, and diminished libido.[31] It can last for months, years, or sometimes indefinitely after the discontinuation of SSRIs. Initial studies found sexual side effects not significantly different from placebo, but since these studies relied on unprompted reporting, the frequency was probably underestimated. In more recent studies, doctors have specifically asked about sexual difficulties, and found that they are present in between 17% and 41%[32][33] of patients, although the lack of placebo control in these studies means they are likely underestimates. This is because release of extracellular concentrations of serotonin in the brain decreases dopamine and norepinephrine leading to erectile and/or sexual dysfunction.

Release of postsynaptic 5-HT2 and 5-HT3 receptors decreases dopamine and norepinephrine release from the substantia nigra. A number of drugs are not associated with sexual side effects (such as bupropion, mirtazapine, tianeptine, agomelatine and moclobemide,[34][35] some of which are also not associated with weight gain).

A small number of case reports have appeared in the literature suggesting that in rare cases, sexual dysfunction may persist after discontinuing treatment.[36]

On the other hand, the effect of SSRIs to slow down sexual stimulation may be used as treatment; SSRIs have been proposed as a drug to treat premature ejaculation.[37] The Andean herbaceous biennial plant Lepidium meyenii (also known as “maca”) was found to be effective for alleviating SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction on a small double-blind, randomized, parallel group dose-finding pilot study.[38]

There is no FDA-approved treatment for SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction and there has been a lack of randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind studies of potential treatments. There is evidence for the following management strategies: for erectile dysfunction, the addition of a PDE5 inhibitor such as sildenafil; for decreased libido, possibly adding or switching to bupropion; and for overall sexual dysfunction, switching to nefazodone.[39]

Cardiovascular

Cardiovascular side effects are very rare with SSRI use, with a reported incidence of less than 0.0003 percent.[40] SSRIs inhibit cardiac and vascular sodium, calcium and potassium channels and prolong QT intervals.[41] A number of large studies of patients without known pre-existing heart disease have reported no EKG changes related to SSRI use.[42] More recently, however, concerns about cardiac problems have led to a reduction in the recommended maximum dose of two types of SSRI’s. The recommended maximum daily dose of citalopram was reduced to 40 mg. for most people and 20 mg. for those older than age 60 and some others.[43] The recommended maximum daily dose of escitalopram was reduced to 10 mg. for those older than age 65; the maximum daily dose for most other people remained unchanged at 20 mg.[44][45] In overdose, fluoxetine has been reported to cause sinus tachycardia, myocardial infarction, junctional rhythms and trigeminy. Some authors have suggested electrocardiographic monitoring in patients with severe pre-existing cardiovascular disease who are taking SSRI’s.[46]

Discontinuation syndrome

Antidepressants such as SSRIs have some dependence producing effects, most notably a withdrawal syndrome. Their dependence producing properties (depending on the antidepressant) may not be as significant as other psychotropic drugs such as benzodiazepines; however, withdrawal symptoms nonetheless may be quite severe and even debilitating. SSRIs have little abuse potential, but discontinuation can produce disturbing withdrawal symptoms that may be indistinguishable from a reoccurrence of the original illness.[47] Since physical dependence is a reality, discontinuation should be discussed with a medical practitioner before beginning treatment with this class of drugs.

When discontinuing an SSRI or SNRI some doctors may switch the patient to fluoxetine due to its much longer half-life. This may avoid many of the severe withdrawal symptoms associated with SSRI/SNRI discontinuation. This can be done either by administering a single 20 mg dose of fluoxetine or by beginning on a low dosage of fluoxetine and slowly tapering down. Any SSRI or SNRI may be requested in liquid form, which allows very gradual tapering. Alternatively, a patient wishing to stop taking an SSRI/SNRI may visit a compounding pharmacy where his or her prescription may be re-arranged into progressively smaller dosages. For example the lowest dose of cymbalta that can normally be prescribed is 20 mg in gel capsules; a compounding pharmacist may divide this into doses of 20, 15, 10, 5 and 2.5 mg so that a proper tapered reduction may take place.

Suicide risk

Children and adolescents

Several studies have found that SSRI use is related to a higher risk of suicidal behavior in children and adolescents.[48][49][50] For instance, a 2004 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) analysis of clinical trials on children with major depressive disorder found statistically significant increases of the risks of “possible suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior” by about 80%, and of agitation and hostility by about 130%;[51] More infrequently, studies have been inconclusive.[52] however, a recent comparison of aggression and hostility occurring during treatment with fluoxetine to placebo in children and adolescents found that no significant difference between the fluoxetine group and a placebo group.[53] There is also evidence that higher rates of SSRI prescriptions are associated with lower rates of suicide in children, though since the evidence is correlational, the true nature of the relationship is unclear.[54]

In 2004, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the United Kingdom judged fluoxetine (Prozac) to be the only antidepressant that offered a favorable risk-benefit ratio in children with depression, though it was also associated with a slight increase in the risk of self-harm and suicidal ideation.[55] Only two SSRIs are licensed for use with children in the UK, sertraline (Zoloft) and fluvoxamine (Luvox), and only for the treatment of obsessive–compulsive disorder. Fluoxetine is not licensed for this use.[56]

Adults

It is unclear whether or not SSRIs affect the risk of suicidal behavior for adults.

  • A 2005 meta-analysis of drug company data found no evidence that SSRIs increased the risk of suicide; however, important protective or hazardous effects could not be excluded.[57] Also among high-risk adult patients, antidepressant drug treatment does not seem related to suicide attempts and death.[50]
  • A 2005 review observed that suicide attempts are increased in those who use SSRIs as compared to placebo and compared to therapeutic interventions other than tricyclic antidepressants. No difference risk of suicide attempts was detected between SSRIs versus tricyclic antidepressants.[58]
  • On the other hand, a 2006 review suggests that the widespread use of antidepressants in the new “SSRI-era” appear to have led to highly significant decline in suicide rates in most countries with traditionally high baseline suicide rates. The decline is particularly striking for women who, compared with men, seek more help for depression. Recent clinical data on large samples in the US too have revealed a protective effect of antidepressant against suicide.[59]
  • A 2006 meta analysis of random controlled trials suggests that SSRIs increase suicide ideation compared with placebo. However, the observational studies suggests that SSRIs did not increase suicide risk more than older antidepressants. The researchers stated that if SSRIs increase suicide risk in some patients, the number of additional deaths is very small because ecological studies have generally found that suicide mortality has declined (or at least not increased) as SSRI use has increased.[60]
  • An additional meta-analysis by the FDA in 2006 found an age-related effect of SSRI’s. Among adults younger than 25 years, results indicated that there was a higher risk for suicidal behavior. For adults between 25 and 64, the effect appears neutral on suicidal behavior but possibly protective for suicidal behavior for adults between the ages of 25 and 64. For adults older than 64, SSRI’s seem to reduce the risk of both suicidal behavior.[48]

Suicide warnings

The FDA findings resulted in a black box warning on SSRI and other antidepressant medications regarding the increased risk of suicidal behavior in patients younger than 24.[61] Similar precautionary notice revisions were implemented by the Japanese Ministry of Health.[62] In 2004 the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in the United Kingdom issued a warning about increases in ‘insomnia, agitation, weight loss, headache, tremor, loss of appetite, self-harm and suicidal thoughts’ when the medications are used with children and adolescents.[63]

The introduction of a warning regarding the association between SSRIs and suicide by the FDA in 2004 led to a dramatic decrease in prescriptions of these medications to young people. Originally, there were concerns that the decrease in prescriptions caused by the warnings could increase the number of teenage suicides in the US.[64] However, the most recent data from the US National Center for Health Statistics put these concerns to rest. The suicide rates for persons younger than 25 has actually decreased between 2004 and 2007.[original research?] [65][66]

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

SSRI use during pregnancy is associated with an increased rate of miscarriages, birth defects, persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, newborn behavioral syndrome, and possibly long term behavioral problems.[67] The risk of spontaneous abortion is increased about 1.7 fold.[68]

The FDA issued a statement on July 19, 2006 stating nursing mothers on SSRIs must discuss treatment with their physicians. However, the medical literature on the safety of SSRIs has determined that some SSRIs like Sertraline and Paroxetine are considered safe for breastfeeding.[69][70][71]

Maternal SSRI use may be associated with autism.[72]

Neonatal abstinence syndrome

Neonatal abstinence syndrome is a withdrawal syndrome in newborn babies. It has been documented in SSRI treatment. By November 2003, a total of 93 cases of SSRI use associated with either neonatal convulsions or withdrawal syndrome had been reported. Subsequently, the authors of a Lancet study concluded that doctors should avoid or cautiously manage the prescribing of these drugs to pregnant women with psychiatric disorders.[73]

Neuropsychological changes due to SSRI use in infancy

Since the early 80’s scientists have used a technique called neonatal clomipramine to produce animals used in depression research. If rats are given the tricyclic antidepressant clomipramine when 8–21 days old, they develop behavioural changes in adulthood that resemble depression in humans.[74][75] In 1997 Lundbeck found that treatment with the SSRI LU-10-134-C, which only differs from their product citalopram by two atoms could give similar results as clomipramine.[76] Later it was found that neonatal citalopram and escitalopram makes persistent changes in the serotonergic transmission of the brain resulting in behavioral changes,[77][78] which are reversed by treatment with antidepressants.[79] By treating normal and knockout mice lacking the serotonin transporter with fluoxetine scientists showed that normal emotional reactions in adulthood, like a short latency to escape foot shocks and inclination to explore new environments were dependent on active serotonin transporters during the neonatal period.[80][81]

But when young mice were treated with the SNRI desimipramine they developed to normal adults, which suggests that serotonin and noradrenaline have different effects in the developing brain. For humans, the developmental stage sensitive to SSRI:s corresponds with the last trimester to the first years of life. A study showed that 4-year old children perinatally exposed to SSRIs behave normally. However, the young mice and rats also seem normal until they reach puberty and develop behavioural disturbances.[82][83]

The mechanism is currently unknown, but it seems that early life overstimulation of the 5-HT1 receptor that regulates serotonin production results in low serotonin production after puberty.[84]

Persistent pulmonary hypertension

Persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) is a serious and life-threatening, but rare, lung condition that occurs soon after birth of the newborn. Newborn babies with PPHN have high pressure in their lung blood vessels and are not able to get enough oxygen into their bloodstream. About 1 to 2 babies per 1000 babies born in the U.S. develop PPHN shortly after birth, and often they need intensive medical care. One study has found that PPHN is six times more common in babies whose mothers take an SSRI antidepressant after the 20th week of the pregnancy compared to babies whose mothers do not take an antidepressant.[85]

A population-based cohort study, which included 1.6 million live births in five Nordic countries, of women with filled SSRI prescriptions later than the 20th week gestation by last menstrual period demonstrated an increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) compared to control infants (adjusted RR 2.1, 95% CI 1.5-3). The increased risk of PPHN was of similar magnitude for the SSRI class of drugs (Fluoxetine, Citalopram, Paroxetine, Sertraline, Escitalopram). This study showed that the absolute risk of PPHN would only increase the incidence from 0.1 to 0.3 percent of live-births with late prenatal SSRI exposure.[86]

Bleeding tendencies

SSRIs appear to increase the risk of bleeding.[87] This includes an increased risk of GI bleeding, post operative bleeding,[87] and intracranial bleeding.[88] SSRIs are known to cause platelet dysfunction.[89][90]

Overdose

SSRIs appear safer in overdose when compared with traditional antidepressants, such as the tricyclic antidepressants. This relative safety is supported both by case series and studies of deaths per numbers of prescriptions.[91] However, case reports of SSRI poisoning have indicated that severe toxicity can occur[92] and deaths have been reported following massive single ingestions,[93] although this is exceedingly uncommon when compared to the tricyclic antidepressants.[91]

Because of the wide therapeutic index of the SSRIs, most patients will have mild or no symptoms following moderate overdoses. The most commonly reported severe effect following SSRI overdose is serotonin syndrome; serotonin toxicity is usually associated with very high overdoses or multiple drug ingestion.[94] Other reported significant effects include coma, seizures, and cardiac toxicity.[91]

Treatment for SSRI overdose is mainly based on symptomatic and supportive care. Medical care may be required for agitation, maintenance of the airways, and treatment for serotonin syndrome. ECG monitoring is usually indicated to detect any cardiac abnormalities.

Contraindications and drug interaction

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One major contraindication of SSRIs is the concomitant use of MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors). This is likely to cause severe serotonin syndrome/toxidrome.

People taking SSRIs should also avoid taking pimozide (an antipsychotic diphenylbutylpiperidine derivative). Tramadol hydrochloride (or Ultram, Ultracet) can, in rare cases, produce seizures when taken in conjunction with an SSRI or tricyclic antidepressant. Liver impairment is another contraindication for medications of this type.

SSRIs may increase blood levels and risk of toxicities of certain medications:

  1. highly protein-bound medications like warfarin (coumadin) and digoxin
  2. antiarrhythmic agents like propafenone (Rythmol) or flecainide (Tambocor)
  3. beta blockers like metoprolol (Toprol xl) or propranolol (Inderal)
  4. Tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep) etc.
  5. triptans like sumatriptan (Imitrex, Imigran) etc.
  6. benzodiazepines like alprazolam (Xanax) or diazepam (Valium)[citation needed]
  7. carbamazepine (Tegretol)
  8. cisapride (Propulsid)
  9. clozapine (Clozaril)
  10. ciclosporin (Neoral)
  11. haloperidol (Haldol)
  12. phenytoin (Dilantin)
  13. pimozide (Orap)
  14. theophylline (Theo-dur)

Certain drugs may increase toxicities of SSRIs:

  1. alcohol and other CNS depressants
  2. methylene blue dye
  3. diuretics (water pills)
  4. MAOIs – possibly fatal serotonin syndrome/toxidrome
  5. sympathomimetic drugs like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)
  6. lithium
  7. sibutramine (Meridia)
  8. MDMA (ecstasy)
  9. zolpidem (ambien)[95]
  10. dextromethorphan (cough suppressant) – increased risk of serotonin syndrome/toxidrome
  11. tramadol (synergistic serotoninergic effect said to increase risk of seizure or serotonin syndrome/toxidrome)
  12. pethidine/meperidine – increased risk of serotonin syndrome/toxidrome
  13. herbal Saint John’s wort or yohimbe – increased risk of serotonin syndrome/toxidrome

Painkillers of the NSAIDs drug family may interfere and reduce efficiency of SSRIs:[96][97]

  1. Aspirin
  2. Ibuprofen (Advil, Nurofen)
  3. Naproxen (Aleve)

SSRIs also directly interfere with ligands of 5-HT receptors, like the psychedelics and entactogens. SSRIs strongly diminish the effects of tryptamines (e.g. psilocybin and LSD), and phenethylamines (e.g. the 2C family), and almost completely eliminate the serotonergic effects of MDxx (e.g. MDMA). The exact mechanism that causes this interaction is still unclear.[citation needed]

List of agents

Drugs in this class include (trade names in parentheses):

  • citalopram (Celexa, Cipramil, Cipram, Dalsan, Recital, Emocal, Sepram, Seropram, Citox, Cital)
  • dapoxetine (Priligy)
  • escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex, Seroplex, Esertia)
  • fluoxetine (Depex, Prozac, Fontex, Seromex, Seronil, Sarafem, Ladose, Motivest, Flutop, Fluctin (EUR), Fluox (NZ), Depress (UZB), Lovan (AUS), Prodep (IND))
  • fluvoxamine (Luvox, Fevarin, Faverin, Dumyrox, Favoxil, Movox, Floxyfral)
  • indalpine (Upstene) (discontinued)
  • paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat, Sereupin, Aropax, Deroxat, Divarius, Rexetin, Xetanor, Paroxat, Loxamine, Deparoc)
  • sertraline (Zoloft, Lustral, Serlain, Asentra, Tresleen)
  • zimelidine (Zelmid, Normud) (discontinued)
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
Citalopram structure.svgCitalopram Dapoxetine Structural Formulae V.1.svgDapoxetine Escitalopram.svgEscitalopram Fluoxetine-2D-skeletal.svgFluoxetine Fluvoxamine.pngFluvoxamine
Indalpine.pngIndalpine Paroxetine.svgParoxetine Sertraline Structural Formulae.pngSertraline Zimelidine Structural Formulae V.1.svgZimelidine

Related agents

SSRIs form a subclass of serotonin uptake inhibitors, which includes other non-selective inhibitors as well. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, serotonin-norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors and selective serotonin reuptake enhancers are also serotonergic antidepressants.

Mechanism of action

SSRIs are believed to act by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin after being released in synapses. How much an individual will respond to this, however, also depends on genetics. In addition, several other mechanisms are suggested for the desired effect, e.g. neuroprotection and anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory factors. Taken together, SSRI has several advantages compared with tricyclic antidepressants (TCA)s and 5-HT-prodrugs. However, the latter might be required in addition to SSRIs in certain situations.

Basic understanding

Further information: Chemical synapse

In the brain, messages are passed between two nerve cells via a chemical synapse, a small gap between the cells. The (presynaptic) cell that sends the information releases neurotransmitters (including serotonin) into that gap. The neurotransmitters are then recognized by receptors on the surface of the recipient (postsynaptic) cell, which upon this stimulation, in turn, relays the signal. About 10% of the neurotransmitters are lost in this process; the other 90% are released from the receptors and taken up again by monoamine transporters into the sending (presynaptic) cell (a process called reuptake).

To stimulate the recipient cell, SSRIs inhibit the reuptake of serotonin. As a result, the serotonin stays in the synaptic gap longer than it normally would, and may repeatedly stimulate the receptors of the recipient cell. The current model of SSRIs (the Monoamine Hypothesis) assumes that a lower homeostatic level of serotonin is primarily responsible for depression. While this holds in cases of major depression, minor to moderate cases are not as clear cut, and may in fact be caused by excess serotonin in specific areas of the brain.

Some current research points to more than just a single type of chemical signaling – the classic synapse model – involving serotonin. Astrocytes are “helper cells” in the brain that do not participate directly in chemical signaling, but play a part in homeostasis for many chemical levels in the brain. Recent research[98] suggests that serotonin is one of the hormones regulated by astrocytes, and that astrocytes actually uptake, package, and resend serotonin in a way similar to neuronal axons, but do not have corresponding post-synaptic terminals, therefore appearing to function only to control the local levels of serotonin in the cerebrospinal fluid.

Still more research illustrates that the current model for the antidepressant activity of SSRIs may be misdirected, as a drug that works entirely opposite to SSRIs – Tianeptine, a selective serotonin reuptake enhancer – also exhibits antidepressant activity, especially in patients resistant to SSRI therapy. The effect of an SSRE in comparison to an SSRI requires that the nature of serotonin signaling in the areas of the brain related to mood and cognition needs further elucidation. If serotonin firing is regularly phasic (related to brain waves), or rapid and discrete, then SSRIs simply compress the signal potential at affected receptors (bringing down the maximum potential and bring up the minimum) by causing a constant leftover signal (serotonin left in the synaptic gap) coupled with weaker subsequent signals (due to the decrease in presynaptic serotonin available to send new signals). By this hypothetical model, SSREs increase the signal potential separation (min to max) at affected 5-HT sites by reducing the level of free cerebrospinal serotonin and increasing the amount uptaken into axons to send new signals.

Pharmacodynamics

SSRIs inhibit the reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT) into the presynaptic cell, increasing levels of 5-HT within the synaptic cleft.

However, there is one counteracting effect: high serotonin levels will not only activate the postsynaptic receptors, but also flood presynaptic autoreceptors, which serve as a feedback sensor for the cell. Activation of the autoreceptors (by agonists like serotonin) triggers a throttling back of serotonin production. The resulting serotonin deficiency persists for some time, as the transporter inhibition occurs downstream to the cause of the deficiency and therefore, is not able to counterbalance the serotonin deficiency. The body adapts gradually to this situation by lowering (downregulating) the sensitivity of the autoreceptors.[99]

Another adaptive process provoked by SSRIs is the downregulation of postsynaptic serotonin 5-HT2A receptors. After the use of an SSRI, since there is more serotonin available, the response is to decrease the number of postsynaptic receptors over time and in the long run, this modifies the serotonin/receptor ratio. This downregulation of 5-HT2A occurs when the antidepressant effects of SSRIs become apparent. Also, deceased suicidal and otherwise depressed patients have had more 5-HT2A receptors than normal patients. These considerations suggest that 5-HT2A overactivity is involved in the pathogenesis of depression.[100]

Most of the serotonin receptors on the surface of the cell are coupled to a G-protein inside it. These proteins activate or inhibit second messengers, which in turn affect transcription factors. Transcription factors are proteins that fit to the beginning of a gene and tell the cell to start using it.

These (slowly proceeding) neurophysiological adaptations of the brain tissue are the reason why usually several weeks of continuous SSRI use is necessary for the antidepressant effect to become fully manifested,[100] and why increased anxiety is a common side effect in the first few days or weeks of use.

Role in BDNF release

SSRIs act on signal pathways such as cAMP (Cyclic AMP) on the postsynaptic neuronal cell, which leads to the release of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). BDNF enhances the growth and survival of cortical neurons and synapses.[101]

Pharmacogenetics

Further information: Pharmacogenetics

Large bodies of research are devoted to using genetic markers to predict whether patients will respond to SSRIs or have side effects that will cause their discontinuation, although these tests are not yet ready for widespread clinical use.[102] Single-nucleotide polymorphisms of the 5-HT(2A) gene correlated with paroxetine discontinuation due to side effects in a group of elderly patients with major depression, but not mirtazapine (a non-SSRI antidepressant) discontinuation.[103]

Neuroprotection

Studies have suggested that SSRIs may promote the growth of new neural pathways or neurogenesis in rats.[104] Also, SSRIs may protect against neurotoxicity caused by other compounds (for instance fenfluramine) as well as from depression itself. SSRIs have been found to induce programmed cell death in Burkitt lymphoma and the brain tumors neuroblastoma and glioma with minimal effect on normal tissue.[105][106]

Anti-inflammatory and immunomodulation

Recent studies show pro-inflammatory cytokine processes take place during depression, mania and bipolar disorder, in addition to somatic disease (such as autoimmune hypersensitivity) and it is possible that symptoms manifest in these psychiatric illnesses are being attenuated by pharmacological effect of antidepressants on the immune system.[107][108][109][110][111]

SSRIs have demonstrated immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects against pro-inflammatory cytokine processes, specifically on the regulation of Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and Interleukin-10 (IL-10), as well as TNF-alpha and Interleukin-6 (IL-6). Antidepressants have also been shown to suppress TH1 upregulation.[112][113][114][115]

Future serotonergic antidepressants may be made to specifically target the immune system by either blocking the actions of pro-inflammatory cytokines or increasing the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines.[116]

SSRIs versus TCAs

SSRIs are described as ‘selective‘ because they affect only the reuptake pumps responsible for serotonin, as opposed to earlier antidepressants, which affect other monoamine neurotransmitters as well, and as a result, SSRIs have fewer side effects.

There appears no significant difference in effectiveness between SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants, which were the most commonly used class of antidepressants before the development of SSRIs.[117] However, SSRIs have the important advantage that their toxic dose is high, and, therefore, they are much more difficult to use as a means to commit suicide. Further, they have fewer and milder side effects. Tricyclic antidepressant also have a higher risk of serious cardiovascular side effects, which SSRIs lack.

SSRIs versus 5-HT-Prodrugs

Further information: Prodrugs

Serotonin cannot be administered directly because when ingested orally, it will not cross the blood–brain barrier, and therefore would have no effect on brain functions. Also, serotonin would activate every synapse it reaches, whereas SSRIs only enhance a signal that is already present, but too weak to come through. The selectivity of the membrane can be reduced for a drug by injecting it in a concentrated sugar solution. The high osmotic pressure of the sugar solution causes the endothelial cells of the capillaries to shrink, which opens gaps between their tight junctions and makes the barrier more permeable. As a result the drug can enter the brain tissue.

SSRIs together with 5-HT-Prodrugs

Biosynthetic serotonin is made from tryptophan, an amino acid. In 1989, the Food and Drug Administration made tryptophan available by prescription only, in response to an outbreak of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome caused by impure L-tryptophan supplements sold over-the-counter. With current standards, L-tryptophan is again available over the counter in the US as well as supplement 5-HTP, which is a direct precursor to serotonin.

Society and culture

Criticism

In late 2004 media attention was given to a proposed link between SSRI use and juvenile suicide. For this reason, the use of SSRIs in pediatric cases of depression is now recognized by the United States FDA as warranting a cautionary statement to the parents of children who may be prescribed SSRIs by a family doctor. The FDA’s currently required packaging insert for SSRIs includes a warning (known as a “black box warning”) that a pooled analysis of placebo controlled trials of 9 antidepressant drugs (including multiple SSRIs) resulted in a risk of suicidal behavior that was twice that of placebo. At the same time, in adults SSRIs do not increase the risk of suicide.[118]

Critics of SSRIs claim that the widely disseminated television and print advertising of SSRIs promotes an inaccurate message, oversimplifying what these medications actually do and deceiving the public.[119]

The criticism stems from questions about the validity of claims that SSRIs work by ‘correcting’ chemical imbalances. Without accurately measuring patients’ neurotransmitter levels to allow for continuous monitoring during treatment, it is impossible to know if one is correctly targeting a deficient neurotransmitter (i.e. correcting an imbalance), reaching a desirable level, or even introducing too much of a particular neurotransmitter. Thus it has been argued that SSRIs can actually cause chemical imbalances and abnormal brain states, as evidenced by the fact that many report problems of sexual dysfunction, whose effects last long after the medication has been discontinued. Hence, it is purported that when a patient discontinues an SSRI, they may have a chemical imbalance due to the rapid cessation of the drug that causes the discontinuation syndrome.[120]

One possible mechanism is by inhibition of dopaminergic neurotransmission.[121]

Biopsychiatrists believe that, among other factors, the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain is a biological regulator of mental health. In this theory, emotions within a “normal” spectrum reflect a proper balance of neurochemicals, but abnormally extreme emotions, such as clinical depression, reflect an imbalance. Psychiatrists[who?] claim that medications regulate neurotransmitters, and many if not most psychiatrists also claim they treat abnormal personalities by removing a neurochemical excess or replenishing a deficit.[citation needed] On the other hand, Elliot Valenstein, a psychologist and neuroscientist, claims that the broad biochemical assertions and assumptions of mainstream psychiatry are not supported by evidence.[122]

One controversial critic of antidepressants, Peter Breggin, a physician who opposes the overuse of prescription medications to treat patients for mental health issues, predicted iatrogenic issues that SSRIs incur on a significant percentage of patients. Another prominent SSRI critic is David Healy.

A widely reported meta-analysis combined 35 clinical trials submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before licensing of four newer antidepressants (including the SSRIs paroxetine and fluoxetine, and two non-SSRI antidepressants nefazodone and venlafaxine). The authors found that although the antidepressants were statistically superior to placebo they did not exceed the NICE criteria for a ‘clinically significant’ effect. For more detail, see the section “Efficacy“.

A study in The New England Journal of Medicine on a possible publication bias regarding the efficacy of SSRI medications in the treatment of depression suggests that their effectiveness and risk-benefit ratios may be greatly exaggerated. Of 74 studies registered with the United States FDA, 37 with positive results were published in academic journals, while 22 studies with negative results were not published and 11 with negative results were published in a way that conveyed a positive outcome (one positive study was not published and three negative studies were published with results that were portrayed as negative). Overall, 94% of studies actually published were positive outcomes; when published and unpublished studies were included for analysis, the percentage of positive outcomes was 51%.[123]

Although controversial, the existence of an SSRI-related withdrawal syndrome mimicking depression may inflate the therapeutic effect size reported in long-term (more than 6 months) placebo controlled trials of SSRI’s, due to a reliance on randomized discontinuation designs. Discontinuation trials are a variant of the classic 2-arm placebo controlled randomized controlled trials used in shorter placebo controlled studies of SSRI’s.[124][125]

Regulation

All SSRIs are approved in the U.S. for use with psychiatric disorders as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV).

Approved uses for SSRIs vary by country and are determined by the overseeing branch of government in charge of regulating drugs. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves drugs after trial results have been submitted by the pharmaceutical companies. In Europe, drugs can be approved either by the European Medicines Agency for human consumption throughout the European Union or by the regulatory agencies of individual countries for use within those countries.[citation needed]. In Canada, the drug approval process is carried out by Health Canada.

Lawsuits

Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against drug manufacturers seeking compensation for harm attributed to the use of SSRIs. Suits based on product liability, for example, often allege failure to adequately warn users of potential side effects. Manufacturers have defended many suits on the merits and settled many others. In 2005, the U.S. FDA asked manufacturers to include black box warnings on antidepressant drug packaging.[126] Though a 2007 study[127] purportedly showed that the black box “warnings discouraged use of antidepressants in children and adolescents and… led to increases in suicide rates as a result of untreated depression” an article in the New York Times[128] that ran two weeks later questioned the results of the study, claiming that the data did not support a causal link between the black box warning and increased rates of suicide.

See also

References

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  116. Jump up ^ O’Brien SM, Scott LV, Dinan TG (August 2004). “Cytokines: abnormalities in major depression and implications for pharmacological treatment”. Human Psychopharmacology 19 (6): 397–403. doi:10.1002/hup.609. PMID 15303243.
  117. Jump up ^ Anderson IM (April 2000). “Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors versus tricyclic antidepressants: a meta-analysis of efficacy and tolerability”. Journal of Affective Disorders 58 (1): 19–36. doi:10.1016/S0165-0327(99)00092-0. PMID 10760555.
  118. Jump up ^ Gunnell D, Saperia J, Ashby D (2005). “Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and suicide in adults: meta-analysis of drug company data from placebo controlled, randomised controlled trials submitted to the MHRA’s safety review”. BMJ 330 (7488): 385. doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7488.385. PMC 549105. PMID 15718537.
  119. Jump up ^ Lacasse JR, Leo J (December 2005). “Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature”. PLoS Medicine 2 (12): e392. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020392. PMC 1277931. PMID 16268734.
  120. Jump up ^ Moncrieff J, Cohen D (July 2006). “Do Antidepressants Cure or Create Abnormal Brain States?”. PLoS Medicine 3 (7): e240. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030240. PMC 1472553. PMID 16724872.
  121. Jump up ^ Damsa C, Bumb A, Bianchi-Demicheli F, et al. (August 2004). “‘Dopamine-dependent’ side effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: a clinical review”. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 65 (8): 1064–8. doi:10.4088/JCP.v65n0806. PMID 15323590.
  122. Jump up ^ Valenstein, Elliot S. (1998). Blaming the brain: the truth about drugs and mental health. New York: Free Press. ISBN 0-684-84964-X.[page needed]
  123. Jump up ^ Turner EH, Matthews AM, Linardatos E, Tell RA, Rosenthal R (January 2008). “Selective publication of antidepressant trials and its influence on apparent efficacy”. The New England Journal of Medicine 358 (3): 252–60. doi:10.1056/NEJMsa065779. PMID 18199864.
  124. Jump up ^ Deshauer D, Moher D, Fergusson D, Moher E, Sampson M, Grimshaw J (May 2008). “Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for unipolar depression: a systematic review of classic long-term randomized controlled trials”. CMAJ 178 (10): 1293–301. doi:10.1503/cmaj.071068. PMC 2335186. PMID 18458261.
  125. Jump up ^ Geddes JR, Carney SM, Davies C, et al. (February 2003). “Relapse prevention with antidepressant drug treatment in depressive disorders: a systematic review”. Lancet 361 (9358): 653–61. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(03)12599-8. PMID 12606176.
  126. Jump up ^ Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Antidepressant Use in Children, Adolescents, and Adults. Retrieved September 30, 2008.
  127. Jump up ^ “Early Evidence on the Effects of Regulators’ Suicidality Warnings on SSRI Prescriptions and Suicide in Children and Adolescents”. Am J Psychiatry. 2007-09-01. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
  128. Jump up ^ “Experts Question Study on Youth Suicide Rates”. New York Times. 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2012-06-19.

External links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_serotonin_reuptake_inhibitor

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The Pronk Pops Show 132, September 18, 2013, Segment 0: No Tapering! — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) — Fed Must Continue Massive Financing of Deficits and Debt of Federal Government — Digital Electronic Money (DEM) Creation Continues At $85 Billion Per Month or $1,020 Billion Per Year Pace — U.S. Economy Stagnating Below 3 Percent GDP Growth Trend Line — U.S. Dollar Devalued — Currency War Continues — Abolish The Fed — Videos

Posted on September 21, 2013. Filed under: American History, Budgetary Policy, Business, College, Communications, Consitutional Law, Economics, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Government, Government Spending, History, Law, Media, Monetary Policy, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Public Sector Unions, Regulation, Security, Social Science, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Unemployment, Unions, Videos, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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U.S. National Debt Clock

BUREAU OF THE FISCAL SERVICE
                                                  STAR - TREASURY FINANCIAL DATABASE
             TABLE 1.  SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS AND THE DEFICIT/SURPLUS BY MONTH OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT (IN MILLIONS)

                                                        ACCOUNTING DATE:  08/13

   PERIOD                                                                     RECEIPTS                OUTLAYS    DEFICIT/SURPLUS (-)
+  ____________________________________________________________  _____________________  _____________________  _____________________
   PRIOR YEAR

     OCTOBER                                                                   163,072                261,539                 98,466
     NOVEMBER                                                                  152,402                289,704                137,302
     DECEMBER                                                                  239,963                325,930                 85,967
     JANUARY                                                                   234,319                261,726                 27,407
     FEBRUARY                                                                  103,413                335,090                231,677
     MARCH                                                                     171,215                369,372                198,157
     APRIL                                                                     318,807                259,690                -59,117
     MAY                                                                       180,713                305,348                124,636
     JUNE                                                                      260,177                319,919                 59,741
     JULY                                                                      184,585                254,190                 69,604
     AUGUST                                                                    178,860                369,393                190,533
     SEPTEMBER                                                                 261,566                186,386                -75,180

       YEAR-TO-DATE                                                          2,449,093              3,538,286              1,089,193

   CURRENT YEAR

     OCTOBER                                                                   184,316                304,311                119,995
     NOVEMBER                                                                  161,730                333,841                172,112
     DECEMBER                                                                  269,508                270,699                  1,191
     JANUARY                                                                   272,225                269,342                 -2,883
     FEBRUARY                                                                  122,815                326,354                203,539
     MARCH                                                                     186,018                292,548                106,530
     APRIL                                                                     406,723                293,834               -112,889
     MAY                                                                       197,182                335,914                138,732
     JUNE                                                                      286,627                170,126               -116,501
     JULY                                                                      200,030                297,627                 97,597
     AUGUST                                                                    185,370                333,293                147,923

       YEAR-TO-DATE                                                          2,472,542              3,227,888                755,345

http://www.fms.treas.gov/mts/mts0813.txt

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savings

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve has decided against reducing its stimulus for the U.S. economy, saying it will continue to buy $85 billion a month in bonds because it thinks the economy still needs the support.

The Fed said in a statement Wednesday that it held off on tapering because it wants to see more conclusive evidence that the recovery will be sustained.

Stocks spiked after the Fed released the statement at the end of its two-day policy meeting.

In the statement, the Fed says that the economy is growing moderately and that some indicators of labor market conditions have shown improvement. But it noted that rising mortgage rates and government spending cuts are restraining growth.

The bond purchases are intended to keep long-term loan rates low to spur borrowing and spending.

The Fed also repeated that it plans to keep its key short-term interest rate near zero at least until unemployment falls to 6.5 percent, down from 7.3 percent last month. In the Fed’s most recent forecast, unemployment could reach that level as soon as late 2014.

Many thought the Fed would scale back its purchases. But interest rates have jumped since May, when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke first said the Fed might slow its bond buys later this year. But Bernanke cautioned that the reduction would hinge on the economy showing continued improvement.

In its statement, the Fed says that the rise in interest rates “could slow the pace of improvement in the economy and labor market” if they are sustained.

The Fed also lowered its economic growth forecasts for this year and next year slightly, likely reflecting its concerns about interest rates.

The statement was approved on a 9-1 vote. Esther George, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, dissented for the sixth time this year. She repeated her concerns that the bond purchases could fuel the risk of inflation and financial instability.

The decision to maintain its stimulus follows reports of sluggish economic growth. Employers slowed hiring this summer, and consumers spent more cautiously.

Super-low rates are credited with helping fuel a housing comeback, support economic growth, drive stocks to record highs and restore the wealth of many Americans. But the average rate on the 30-year mortgage has jumped more than a full percentage point since May and was 4.57 percent last week — just below the two-year high.

The unemployment rate is now 7.3 percent, the lowest since 2008. Yet the rate has dropped in large part because many people have stopped looking for work and are no longer counted as unemployed — not because hiring has accelerated. Inflation is running below the Fed’s 2 percent target.

The Fed meeting took place at a time of uncertainty about who will succeed Bernanke when his term ends in January. On Sunday, Lawrence Summers, who was considered the leading candidate, withdrew from consideration.

Summers’ withdrawal followed growing resistance from critics. His exit has opened the door for his chief rival, Janet Yellen, the Fed’s vice chair. If chosen by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate, Yellen would become the first woman to lead the Fed.

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Segment 1: The War Powers Act and Obama’s Unprecedented War Power Claims — Videos

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Richland Celebrates Constitution Day

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

Constitution_page_1

United States Constitution   Credit: historicdocumentsofamerica.com

Richland students celebrated Constitution day Sept. 17 by learning how the United States goes to war.

Dr. Edward J. Harpham, associate provost and professor of political science at the University of Texas at Dallas, presented a lecture and answered questions on how the Constitution and Wars Powers Resolution of 1973 applies to the possible use of military force in Syria. Harplam earned his masters and doctorate degrees in political science from Cornell University.

President Barack Obama initially sought a Congressional resolution authorizing military operations against the Assad regime in Syria for using chemical weapons against his people. The Assad regime had crossed the red line set by Obama in a press conference on Aug. 20, 2012.

However, Obama in his Sept. 10 televised address to the nation on Syria asked congressional leaders to postpone a vote on a resolution authorizing the use of force. Obama wanted time for Secretary of State John Kerry to pursue a diplomatic initiative proposed by Russia and agreed to by Syria that could lead to the eventual destruction of chemical weapons controlled by the Syrian military.

In the absence of an emergency, where Congress has no time to react, Obama does not have the legal authority under the Constitution, the War Powers Resolutions or a United Nation’s Security Council resolution funded by Congress, to unilaterally attack Syria.

In a future military crisis a problem might arise if Congress votes down a presidential request for military action and the president ignores Congress and proceeds with military operations anyway.

Harpham concisely summarized the history of the authorities used by U.S. presidents to go to war and possible solutions to the shortcomings of the War Powers Resolution process.

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war. Congress has exercised this power only five times: for the War of 1812 upon the United Kingdom, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, World War I upon Germany and Austria-Hungary and World War II upon Japan, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.

However, the United States has used military force many  times without Congress declaring war. Instead, Congress passes resolutions authorizing the use of military force. This was done for the Lebanon crisis of 1958, the Vietnam War, Multinational Force in Lebanon in 1983, the Gulf War in 1991, the 2001 war in Afghanistan and the Iraq War.

Congress has also authorized funds for extended military operations for United Nations Security Council Resolutions such as the Korean War, the Multinational Force in Lebanon in 1978, the Gulf War, the Bosnian War in 1992 and the intervention in Libya in 2011.

On more than 100 occasions presidents acting in their capacity as commander in chief have authorized the deployment of troops and the use of military force without a congressional declaration of war or a resolution authorizing military force.

After the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam in 1973, Congress wanted to limit the power of the president to deploy troops for extended periods of time without a congressional declaration of war or resolution.

In 1973 Congress passed the War Powers Resolution of 1973, a joint resolution over the veto of President Richard M. Nixon.  When Congress has not declared war or authorized  the use of military force, the law requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action. It also prohibits armed forces for remaining more than 60 days but allows an additional 30 days as a withdrawal period.

Harpham offered several possible solutions to the War Powers Resolution process, including revoking the law and replacing it with a new law or preferably a constitutional amendment that would address the president’s use of force where a military emergency, Congressional declaration of war, resolution or funding has not been authorized.

Harpham’s presentation will be posted on the Richland Chronicle Television archives for those who missed the lecture (richlandchronicle.com/chronicletv).

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com. You can listen to an interview with Harpham on the Pronk Pops Show 131, Sept. 17, by going to http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

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Posted on September 20, 2013. Filed under: American History, Computers, Consitutional Law, Economics, Federal Government, Government, Government Spending, History, Law, Media, Photos, Politics, Radio, Taxes, Terrorism, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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By , Defence Correspondent, and Ruth Sherlock in Beirut

Opposition forces battling Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria now number around 100,000 fighters, but after more than two years of fighting they are fragmented into as many as 1,000 bands.

The new study by IHS Jane’s, a defence consultancy, estimates there are around 10,000 jihadists – who would include foreign fighters – fighting for powerful factions linked to al-Qaeda..

Another 30,000 to 35,000 are hardline Islamists who share much of the outlook of the jihadists, but are focused purely on the Syrian war rather than a wider international struggle.

There are also at least a further 30,000 moderates belonging to groups that have an Islamic character, meaning only a small minority of the rebels are linked to secular or purely nationalist groups.

The stark assessment, to be published later this week, accords with the view of Western diplomats estimate that less than one third of the opposition forces are “palatable” to Britain, while American envoys put the figure even lower.

Fears that the rebellion against the Assad regime is being increasingly dominated by extremists has fuelled concerns in the West over supplying weaponry that will fall into hostile hands. These fears contributed to unease in the US and elsewhere over military intervention in Syria.

Charles Lister, author of the analysis, said: “The insurgency is now dominated by groups which have at least an Islamist viewpoint on the conflict. The idea that it is mostly secular groups leading the opposition is just not borne out.”

The study is based on intelligence estimates and interviews with activists and militants. The lengthy fighting has seen the emergence of hundreds of separate rebel bands, each operating in small pockets of the country, which are usually loyal to larger factions.

Two factions linked to al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – also know as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) – have come to dominate among the more extremist fighters, Mr Lister said. Their influence has risen significantly in the past year.

“Because of the Islamist make up of such a large proportion of the opposition, the fear is that if the West doesn’t play its cards right, it will end up pushing these people away from the people we are backing,” he said. “If the West looks as though it is not interested in removing Assad, moderate Islamists are also likely to be pushed further towards extremists.”

Though still a minority in number, ISIL has become more prominent in rebel-held parts of Syria in recent months. Members in northern Syria have sought to assert their dominance over the local population and over the more moderate rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA).

The aim of moderate rebel fighters is the overthrow of their country’s authoritarian dictator, but jihadist groups want to transform Syria into a hard-line Islamic state within a regional Islamic “caliphate”.

These competing visions have caused rancour which last week erupted into fighting between ISIL and two of the larger moderate rebel factions.

A statement posted online by Islamists announced the launch of an ISIL military offensive in the eastern district of Aleppo which it called “Cleansing Evil”. “We will target regime collaborators, shabiha [pro-Assad militias], and those who blatantly attacked the Islamic state,” it added, naming the Farouq and Nasr factions.

Al-Qaeda has assassinated several FSA rebel commanders in northern Latakia province in recent weeks, and locals say they fear this is part of a jihadist campaign to gain complete control of the territory.

As well as being better armed and tougher fighters, ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusra have taken control of much of the income-generating resources in the north of the country, including oil, gas and grain.

This has given them significant economic clout, allowing them to “win hearts and minds” by providing food for the local population in a way that other rebel groups cannot.

ISIS has also begun a programme of “indoctrination” of civilians in rebel-held areas, trying to educate Syria’s traditionally moderate Sunni Muslims into a more hard-line interpretation of Islam.

In early September, the group distributed black backpacks with the words “Islamic State of Iraq” stamped on them. They also now control schools in Aleppo where young boys are reportedly taught to sing jihadist anthems.

“It seems it is some sort of a long-term plan to brainwash the children and recruit potential fighters,” said Elie Wehbe, a Lebanese journalists who is conducting research into these activities.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10311007/Syria-nearly-half-rebel-fighters-are-jihadists-or-hardline-Islamists-says-IHS-Janes-report.html

Yes, we can: Obama waives anti-terrorism provisions to arm Syrian rebels

The Obama administration waived provisions of a federal law which ban the supply of weapons and money to terrorists. The move is opening doors to supplying Syrian opposition with protection from chemical weapons.

The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) allows the US president to waive provisions in Sections 40 and 40A, which forbid providing munitions, credit and licenses to countries supporting acts of terrorism. But those prohibitions can be waived “if the President determines that the transaction is essential to the national security interests of the United States.”

President Barrack Obama ordered such a waiver for supplying chemical weapons-related assistance to “select vetted members” of Syrian opposition forces, the administration announced on Monday.

The announcement came after a UN report, which confirmed that sarin gas was indeed used in Syria on August 21, but didn’t point to either the Syrian army or the rebel forces as the culprits.

US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said she was convinced that details of the report “make clear that only the regime could have carried out this large-scale chemical weapons attack.” 

But Power’s counterpart from Russia Vitaly Churkin said the report has no “airtight proof or conclusions” pointing to the Assad government and that it allows “everyone to draw their own conclusions, hopefully professional and not affected by political pressure.”

The US plan to provide chemical weapons-related assistance to Syrian opposition was in the works before the August attack a senior administration official said as cited by NBC News. Under the AEC rules, it will take at least 15 days before any of the materials can be officially shipped to Syria.

he Syrian opposition groups are increasingly dominated by radical Islamists, many of them foreign fighters who, the UN says, are involved in numerous crimes committed in Syria. According to estimates of defense consultancy IHS Jane’s, more than a half of the forces fighting to topple President Bashar Assad government are jihadists. The US explicitly listed Al-Nusra Front, a powerful Al-Qaeda-linked part of the Syrian opposition, as a terrorist organization.

Still, US politicians believe national intelligence community can ensure that the military assistance goes to the right hands.

“Our intelligence agencies, I think, have a very good handle on who to support and who not to support,” Senator Bob Corker said on CBS on Sunday. “And there’s going to be mistakes. We understand some people are going to get arms that should not be getting arms. But we still should be doing everything we can to support the free Syrian opposition.”

The US, France and UK announced their intention to provide more help to the Syrian opposition after a Monday meeting of foreign ministers in Paris. US Secretary of State said the US pursuits a political solution of the Syrian crisis, which would deliver a future Syria without Bashar Assad.

The US in the past provided non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition, like vehicles, night goggles and body armor. CIA also reportedly helped countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar to smuggle weapons to the rebels.

Damascus denied any responsibility for the August sarin attack. But it agreed to dismantle its chemical weapons stockpile after a call from Russia. The move put on hold US plan to use military force against Syria in retaliation for the alleged use of chemical weapons.

http://rt.com/usa/obama-terrorist-arms-supply-966/

Extremists and Al-Qaeda carrying rebel fight in Syria – study

Almost half of the rebel forces fighting against the Syrian government are hardline Islamists or jihadists with Al-Qaeda links, according to a new study due to be published this week.

Split into around 1,000 fragmented cells, the Syrian opposition consists of at least 10,000 fighters who are jihadists with strong links to Al-Qaeda, while another 35,000 are hardline Islamists, according to analysis by defense consultancy IHS Jane’s.

The difference between jihadist and hardliners, the Telegraph reports is that the latter concentrates only on the Syria, while jihadist groups have a global outreach. A further 30,000 opposition fighters belong to more moderate groups that have an Islamic character. The study, based interviews with militants and on intelligence estimates, concludes that around 100,000 rebel fighters are involved with the opposition forces.

“The insurgency is now dominated by groups which have at least an Islamist viewpoint on the conflict,”
Charles Lister, author of the analysis told the Telegraph. “The idea that it is mostly secular groups leading the opposition is just not borne out.”

Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are two dominant groups that have Al-Qaeda links and are gaining momentum on the ground.

“Because of the Islamist make up of such a large proportion of the opposition, the fear is that if the West doesn’t play its cards right, it will end up pushing these people away from the people we are backing,” Lister said. “If the West looks as though it is not interested in removing Assad, moderate Islamists are also likely to be pushed further towards extremists.”

The issue of Western support to the opposition has long raised questions over the fears arms might fall into terrorist hands.

As if trying to help the West separate hardcore militants from moderate opposition, Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri addressed his brothers on Sunday, calling on them to avoid allying with other rebel fighters backed by Gulf Arab states and the West.

“I warn my brothers and people in the Syria of unity and jihad against coming close to any of these groups,” Zawahri said.

Meanwhile, in the past two weeks the US has reportedly begun delivering arms to militants battling the Syrian government.

The CIA has been entrusted to monitor the delivery of arms to insure that it does not end up in the hands of Al-Qaeda associates.

The agency controls and tracks the delivery of reportedly light weapons and other munitions via countries bordering Syria, such as Turkey and Jordan.

The US State Department has its own separate program of delivering vehicles and other non-lethal gear, such as communication equipment, advanced combat medical kits and high-calorie food packets to the Syrian opposition forces using the same supply channels.

http://rt.com/news/jihadists-dominate-rebels-syria-898/

IHS Jane’s Report: Nearly Half Of Syrian Rebels Are Jihadis Or Hardline Islamists

Excerpted from THE TELEGRAPH: Opposition forces battling Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria now number around 100,000 fighters, but after more than two years of fighting they are fragmented into as many as 1,000 bands.

The new study by IHS Jane’s, a defence consultancy, estimates there are around 10,000 jihadists – who would include foreign fighters – fighting for powerful factions linked to al-Qaeda..

Another 30,000 to 35,000 are hardline Islamists who share much of the outlook of the jihadists, but are focused purely on the Syrian war rather than a wider international struggle.

There are also at least a further 30,000 moderates belonging to groups that have an Islamic character, meaning only a small minority of the rebels are linked to secular or purely nationalist groups.

The stark assessment, to be published later this week, accords with the view of Western diplomats estimate that less than one third of the opposition forces are “palatable” to Britain, while American envoys put the figure even lower. Fears that the rebellion against the Assad regime is being increasingly dominated by extremists has fuelled concerns in the West over supplying weaponry that will fall into hostile hands. These fears contributed to unease in the US and elsewhere over military intervention in Syria.

Charles Lister, author of the analysis, said: “The insurgency is now dominated by groups which have at least an Islamist viewpoint on the conflict. The idea that it is mostly secular groups leading the opposition is just not borne out.”

The study is based on intelligence estimates and interviews with activists and militants. The lengthy fighting has seen the emergence of hundreds of separate rebel bands, each operating in small pockets of the country, which are usually loyal to larger factions. Two factions linked to al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – also know as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) – have come to dominate among the more extremist fighters, Mr Lister said. Their influence has risen significantly in the past year.

“Because of the Islamist make up of such a large proportion of the opposition, the fear is that if the West doesn’t play its cards right, it will end up pushing these people away from the people we are backing,” he said. “If the West looks as though it is not interested in removing Assad, moderate Islamists are also likely to be pushed further towards extremists.”

Though still a minority in number, ISIL has become more prominent in rebel-held parts of Syria in recent months. Members in northern Syria have sought to assert their dominance over the local population and over the more moderate rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA).

The aim of moderate rebel fighters is the overthrow of their country’s authoritarian dictator, but jihadist groups want to transform Syria into a hard-line Islamic state within a regional Islamic “caliphate”.

These competing visions have caused rancour which last week erupted into fighting between ISIL and two of the larger moderate rebel factions.

A statement posted online by Islamists announced the launch of an ISIL military offensive in the eastern district of Aleppo which it called “Cleansing Evil”. “We will target regime collaborators, shabiha [pro-Assad militias], and those who blatantly attacked the Islamic state,” it added, naming the Farouq and Nasr factions.

Al-Qaeda has assassinated several FSA rebel commanders in northern Latakia province in recent weeks, and locals say they fear this is part of a jihadist campaign to gain complete control of the territory.

As well as being better armed and tougher fighters, ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusra have taken control of much of the income-generating resources in the north of the country, including oil, gas and grain.

This has given them significant economic clout, allowing them to “win hearts and minds” by providing food for the local population in a way that other rebel groups cannot.

ISIS has also begun a programme of “indoctrination” of civilians in rebel-held areas, trying to educate Syria’s traditionally moderate Sunni Muslims into a more hard-line interpretation of Islam.

In early September, the group distributed black backpacks with the words “Islamic State of Iraq” stamped on them. They also now control schools in Aleppo where young boys are reportedly taught to sing jihadist anthems.

“It seems it is some sort of a long-term plan to brainwash the children and recruit potential fighters,” said Elie Wehbe, a Lebanese journalists who is conducting research into these activities.

http://patdollard.com/2013/09/ihs-janes-report-nearly-half-of-syrian-rebels-are-jihadis-or-hardline-islamists/

 

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