TPM News

The leader of the Indiana House Democrats -- who fled the Hoosier state along with his caucus and beat back a Republican majority led by Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) in March -- told TPM Thursday that reports of entitlement cuts in the national debt talks could cost state legislators like him the chance to capitalize on the fights of 2011 in next year's elections.

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Social Security benefit cuts may be a bridge too far for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). But what if Republicans and Democrats alike just agreed to refer to a benefit cut by another name.

That's how key negotiators have decided to treat one policy proposal, popular in Washington, that would simultaneously raise tax revenues and reduce Social Security benefits. As explained at length here, the idea is to peg federal Cost of Living Adjustments to a new, stingier measure of inflation.

Experts say the new index (the so-called Chained Consumer Price Index) is a more realistic metric for measuring inflation's impact on peoples' behavior. But the fact remains that if the change goes through as part of a grand bargain to lower deficits and raise the debt limit, retirees will receive less money each month than they're currently promised.

And if you think Democrats are playing dumb because they want a deal, think again. They're some of the biggest supporters of this plan.

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Several of Apple's MobileMe users have recently flagged the fact that some of their politically-oriented e-mail notes have been disappearing into the ether, and never reach their destinations.

Some users on MacInTouch, a Mac forum, for example, have recently said that they've been trying to send political messages about the repressive government actions in Greece and the Middle East with their web-based MobileMe accounts, but the messages' recipients never received them.

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One of the Democratic candidates in the Wisconsin recalls has a new ad up, attacking incumbent GOP state Sen. Alberta Darling for not just supporting the policies of Gov. Scott Walker -- but also for supporting Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) proposal to privatize Medicare.

Darling has previously been seen supporting Ryan, and now it's in an ad from Dem state Rep. Sandy Pasch.

"Alberta Darling -- how could you?" the announcer asks. "Cutting education and health care, to give tax breaks to big corporations? Supporting the end of Medicare as we know it, while giving the richest a massive tax cut?"

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The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is going after Sen. Orrin Hatch for saying that the poor need to "share some of the responsibility" for shrinking the debt.

"The top 10 percent are paying 70 percent of all income taxes. The top 50 percent pay something like 98 percent of all income taxes. Fifty-one percent don't pay anything," Hatch said.

"Democrats say they [the 51 percent] pay payroll taxes. Well, everybody does that because that's Social Security. They pay about one-third of what they're going to take out over the years in Social Security," Hatch said. "Obamacare -- a family of four earning over $80,000 a year -- gets subsidies. Think about that. That's what we call the poor?"

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Three years after pleading guilty to violating conflict of interest laws, the former U.S. Department of Justice lawyer involved in the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal has been disbarred, Legal Times reports.

Robert E. Coughlin II was the former Deputy Chief of Staff of the Criminal Division at the DOJ, the division which oversaw the probe into the Abramoff lobbying bribery case.

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