I’m fighting mad today.  We have a president who ran on a platform of hope and change…and what we’re left with now is hoping we can dig enough change from under the seat cushions to feed our kids and pay the rent, while the wealthiest 2% of Americans are rubbing their grubby paws together thinking about socking away the additional money they’ll have thanks to the Republicans and the lemmings who voted for them.

We needed FDR-style new new deal, but got -as my grandmother would have said – bupkis.  (It is, after all, Chanukah!)

The latest outrage was in watching President Obama hand over a valuable bargaining tool in the form of a two-year pay freeze on all civilian federal employees – something the GOP has been salivating over – one day before sitting down at the table with Republican party leaders, ostensibly to begin negotiating on the fate of the tax cuts that are set to expire in 31 days.

Although I think depriving middle-class workers of their very modest cost of living wage increases for two years is not the answer, if Obama was bound and determined to do it (the latest of his many stupidly ineffective moves designed to placate his political opponents) he should have at least used it as something to offer in return for what he’s told us time and time again he wants: extendng of the Bush tax cuts for individuals earning $200k/couples earning $250k a year or less, and letting them expire for those making more.

But noooo. Instead, he gives up his bargaining chip with not even a pittance in return.  Without even asking for anything in return.

My boyfriend represents professional baseball players for a living. He negotiates their contracts. I certainly don’t have to tell you what he’s saying about this. It’s amateur hour… but worse, because the middle class in America is hurting.

It’s nothing new, though. This is the same “strategy” Obama used before the health care fight, when he took the option of single payer off the table before the table was even set!  And he bargained away the public option and importation of prescription drugs behind our backs, getting nothing in return.

When do we say enough is enough?

Thank God for Bernie Sanders who said it so eloquently on the floor of the Senate yesterday:

The Catfood Deficit Commission report was released yesterday, with recommendations about how to cut the deficit.  Ryan Grim at HuffPost gave us the details on what it contains this morning:

WASHINGTON — The president’s deficit commission report, scheduled for a vote by the full panel on Friday, proposes to slash tax rates for corporations and for high earners. The top tax rate is currently 35 percent and is scheduled to rise to 39.6 percent in 2011. The commission would cut that rate to between 23 and 28 percent, while shaving between seven and nine points off the corporate rate. The commission also proposes medical malpractice reform, a long-term goal of the GOP.

The commission also addresses Social Security, though the program does not contribute to the deficit. The commissioners would raise the full retirement age to 69 gradually and the early retirement age to 64.

Social Security would be tilted toward a welfare program rather than a social insurance system if the commission’s recommendation to provide poorer seniors with a “special minimum benefit” is enacted into the law.

You can read the whole report for yourself here, if you can stomach it.  Also, FireDogLake has amazing coverage of the hearings and what’s in the report too.

This commission report is truly sickening.  We might as well have elected John McCain president!

And now, President Obama has appointed another of these commissions to negotiate what to do with the tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the month.  I’d say God help us if only I believed there was a God.

We also got the long-awaited Pentagon report on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell yesterday. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen and the Secretary of Defense Robert Gate both have recommended Congress repeal the discriminatory and arcane law but, of course, the Republicans in the Senate are still fighting it.

This morning, I was joined by Heather Cronk, managing director of Get Equal, to get her take on the situation and find out her thoughts on what happens next.

In the second hour, I spoke with Tim Carpenter, co-founder and director of Progressive Democrats of America, who’s been in DC for the past few day, joining forces with other progressive activist groups including Democracy for America and MoveOn.org , lobbying members of Congress on the very important issues we’ve been talking about.