A Wanderer Dances the Dance of Stars and Space — The Hubble Space Telescope captured a spectacular image of the bright star-forming ring that surrounds the heart of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1097. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble

In other words, the financial markets responded as many of us non-insiders predicted. As long as it was clear that a deal would be forthcoming, they didn’t give a damn about the fiscal “cliff”deadline. Chalk this one up as yet another example of the experts “” the people who report on the budget and the economy for the Washington Post and other major news outlets “” not having a clue. The second point has to do with the substance of the deal. For those who wanted to see key programs like Social Security and Medicare protected this deal is pretty good news. The hare-brained idea of raising the age of Medicare eligibility to 67 seems to be off the table. The plan to cut Social Security benefits by an average of 3 percent by changing the indexation formula for the cost of living adjustment is also at least temporarily off the table. – Dean Baker, UK Guardian

THE ESTABLISHMENT political elite in the Senate passed the fiscal scheme by 89-8. The House vote at 1 p.m. and it will likely pass.

“The House will honor its commitment to consider the Senate agreement if it is passed,” House GOP leaders said. “Decisions about whether the House will seek to accept or promptly amend the measure will not be made until House members ““ and the American people ““ have been able to review the legislation.” [The Hill]

Dealing with bloated Pentagon is just too much for our corrupt Congress to contemplate. If we were doomed since Eisenhower, the Obama era has shown a new vein of weakness we’ve never seen from our politicians before.

The White House-backed legislation would prevent middle-class taxes from rising, and raise rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples. It also blocks spending cuts for two months, extends unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, prevents a 27 percent cut in fees for doctors who treat Medicare patients and prevents a spike in milk prices. A last-minute addition would also prevent a $900 pay raise for members of Congress from taking effect in March. [Huffington Post]

Unemployment insurance is extended for another year, while no one is talking about jobs and growth plan. This is what America has come to in the Obama era. Giving people money instead of a living wage, while Pres. Obama okays a pay increase Congress has not earned and does not deserve.

Onward, away from the pack, towards honesty and with an eye on saving yourself from the corruption of American politics and the leaders who are visionless, purposeless and driven by cowardice.

Happiest of New Year visions, my contrarian patriots. May you endeavor to find the heart of intent that will enable you to manifest a new dream for yourself in 2013.

Statement from President Obama
January 1, 2013

Leaders from both parties in the Senate came together to reach an agreement that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support today that protects 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small business owners from a middle class tax hike. While neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted, this agreement is the right thing to do for our country and the House should pass it without delay.

This agreement will also grow the economy and shrink our deficits in a balanced way “” by investing in our middle class, and by asking the wealthy to pay a little more.

What’s more, today’s agreement builds on previous efforts to reduce our deficits. Last year, I worked with Democrats and Republicans to cut spending by more than $1 trillion. Tonight’s agreement does even more by asking millionaires and billionaires to begin to pay their fair share for the first time in twenty years. As promised, that increase will be immediate, and it will be permanent.

There’s more work to do to reduce our deficits, and I’m willing to do it. But tonight’s agreement ensures that, going forward, we will continue to reduce the deficit through a combination of new spending cuts and new revenues from the wealthiest Americans. And as we address our ongoing fiscal challenges, I will continue to fight every day on behalf of the middle class and all those fighting to get into the middle class to forge an economy that grows from the middle out, not from the top down.