Thursday, March 30, 2006
His Nation Journal piece from today might be the end of the debate! Karl Rove had built W up as THE WAR PRESIDENT - COMMANDER IN CHIEF yet once the gaming of the intelligence was being revealed by Ambassador Richard Wilson (Mr. Valerie Plame) and others the Bu$hCo cabal had to crush him (and the TRUTH) before the 2004 election. CIA Director Tenet was willing to take one for the team up to a point but the reality is that Rove believes in dirt and delay more than deflect. Today's Wass article begins,
Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address -- that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon -- might not be true, according to government records and interviews.
Wass further writes in part,
The President's Summary was only one of several high-level warnings given to Bush and other senior administration officials that serious doubts existed about the intended use of the tubes, according to government records and interviews with former and current officials. In mid-September 2002, two weeks before Bush received the October 2002 President's Summary, Tenet informed him that both State and Energy had doubts about the aluminum tubes and that even some within the CIA weren't certain that the tubes were meant for nuclear weapons, according to government records and interviews with two former senior officials. Official records and interviews with current and former officials also reveal that the president was told that even then-Secretary of State Colin Powell had doubts that the tubes might be used for nuclear weapons. ...
In the end, the White House's damage control was largely successful, because the public did not learn until after the 2004 elections the full extent of the president's knowledge that the assessment linking the aluminum tubes to a nuclear weapons program might not be true. The most crucial information was kept under wraps until long after Bush's re-election. ...
The pre-election damage-control effort in response to Wilson's allegations and the broader issue of whether the Bush administration might have misrepresented intelligence information to make the case for war had three major components, according to government records and interviews with current and former officials: blame the CIA for the use of the Niger information in the president's State of the Union address; discredit and undermine Wilson; and make sure that the public did not learn that the president had been personally warned that the intelligence assessments he was citing about the aluminum tubes might be wrong. ...
Of course we've also got the Rubber Stamp Congress, best exemplified by Kansas Senator Pat Roberts delaying Phase II of the intelligence hearings. Just on part of Congress going to the Democrats in 2006 will have the Bu$h cabal will make Nixon's White House look like a bunch of choir boys. They know it so look for Rove to roll out all his dirty tricks! Worst administration ever! Peace ... or War!
There's a middle ground maybe yet I think this is more of a third way. I'm doubtful the DC crowd will have the wisdom and courage to try this approach but we can try. More to follow on immigration! Peace ... or War!
Every nation has an obligation to limit immigration to a number that will not dilute its workforce, but will maintain a stable middle class - if it wants to have a stable democracy. This has nothing to do with race, national origin, or language (visit Switzerland with it's ethnic- and language-dived areas!), and everything to do with economics.
Without a middle class, any democracy is doomed. And without labor having -through control of labor availability - power in relative balance to capital/management, no middle class can emerge. America's early labor leaders did not die to increase the labor pool for the Robber Barons or the Walton family - they died fighting to give control of it to the workers of their era and in the hopes that we would continue to hold it - and infect other nations with the same idea of democracy and a stable middle class.
The simple way to do this today is to require that all non-refugee immigrants go through the same process to become American citizens or legal workers in this country (no amnesties, no "guest workers," no "legalizations") regardless of how they got here; to confront employers who hire illegals with draconian financial and criminal penalties; and to affirm that while health care (and the right to provide humanitarian care to all humans) is an absolute right for all people within our boundaries regardless of status, a paycheck, education, or subsidy is not.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
I'll label it "propaganda" before some Bu$h "True Believer" does. It is just talk or words reduced to writing. And talk and words are cheap. Yet what have we been getting from Dubya and Dead Eye and Rummy and ... ? Remember Wolfowitz saying the oil would pay for the war? And Dead Eye's "last throes"? And Rummy going to war "with the army we have"? And ... ?
The Democrats, even those that voted for it before they voted against it as John Kerry inartfully phrased it, have not been in power. They've been frozen out by the Rubber Stamp Congress and this Bu$hCo cabal on any concern. This partisan version of the modern GOP has taken the level of DC politics to places I doubt anybody could recognize from even a few years back.
John Murtha and many serious military leaders know the Bu$hCo bunch has mismanaged this mess. Our ports still aren't secure! More information keeps coming like this most recent leaked memo. Kansas Senator Pat Roberts is still stalling on phase two of the Iraq intelligence investigation!
I was against invading Iraq. I thought patience and diplomacy seemed smart. I was however somewhat OK with giving Bu$h the initial green light because I though somebody in his administration had some sense. I also thought Colin Powell knew Diplomacy 101. When Secretary Powell was the loyal soldier that doomed us as I believe the rest of that cabal is essentially a group of Mayberry Machiavellis.
At least give the Democrats a look. They/I will have more to follow! Peace ... or War!
UPDATE - March 29, 2006 8:45ish PM Check this out. Harry Reid bitch slaps Karl Rove with
Recently, Karl Rove explained how Republicans approach homeland security as essentially a political issue. Unfortunately for Mr. Rove, the Republican record on security doesn't support his political rhetoric. Time and again, it's the Democratic Party that has proven to be the party that has learned the lessons of 9/11. Democrats' legislative priorities have been shaped by the recognition that the fundamental issue facing the country today is the need to bolster America's real security. Bush Republicans have displayed a dangerous incompetence. America can do better.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Invading Iraq was the goal of neo-cons that controlled the Bu$hCo cabal. They were saying one thing about "can't wait" to justify their invasion and yet doing another by letting this serious threat slide. Stopping the military from doing what they knew needed doing three times and yet the have always claimed they "listen the commanders on the ground". Heck of a job Bu$hie! Worst administration ever! Peace ... or War!
Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant with ties to al-Qaida, is now blamed for more than 700 terrorist killings in Iraq. But NBC News has learned that long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself — but never pulled the trigger. ...
Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi’s operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam.
The United States did attack the camp at Kirma at the beginning of the war, but it was too late — Zarqawi and many of his followers were gone. “Here’s a case where they waited, they waited too long and now we’re suffering as a result inside Iraq,” Cressey added.
And despite the Bush administration’s tough talk about hitting the terrorists before they strike, Zarqawi’s killing streak continues today.
I think it not an exaggeration to say that the fate of the country hangs in the balance. More, much more, is at issue here than wages, employment, the purported need for chicken-pluckers, and even short-term humanitarianism. I say it bluntly: cultures are not equal. The Mexican culture is as apart from our culture as the night is from the day. Any who would argue otherwise would only expose himself as a fool. To allow millions of these miscreants to remain here would move our culture toward theirs, and would ultimately produce the tragedy of bilingualism.
The full fax and my commentary appears at Captain Bama yet I noted how Gary Palmer of the Alabama Policy Institute regularly posts at McInnish's SuppressedNews.com. This Alabama Policy Institute is an arm of American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and is clearly corporate funded and oriented. To have Palmer working these Nativist while still funded via the business arm of the GOP might show one of the more effective ReThuglican Party tactics. Peace ... or War!
Monday, March 27, 2006
She'll always be ReddHedd to me yet the now out of the closet Christy Hardin Smith at FireDogLake inspired me to e-mail Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, who serves on the same Senate Judiciary Committee that once rejected him for the Federal bench, the following:
I met you when you were in Randolph County recently. I understand Judiciary will be holding more hearings on the administration's illegal domestic NSA spying without a warrant on Tuesday. I understand Judiciary will also be discussing Senator Russ Feingold’s censure resolution on Friday.
I found it ironic when I went to your splash page and found a photo and report of your videoconference on the three branches of government with 5th graders in Shelby County. I'd argue that even a fifth grader could see that Checks and Balances are at issue here. We are a nation of laws that has withstood threats of facism and nuclear war without shredding the Constitution. The FISA law is clearly applicable and no serious constitutional scholar accepts the strained and vague arguments of this administration in justifying their ignoring the law. Adding to the fact that AG Gonzales and others have avoided answering certain questions makes their positions even less justifiable.
Congress should stop the clearly illegal actions of the President. You and others in Congress must uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights if President Bush chooses in fact to treat it as "just a goddamned piece of paper". President Bush, just after signing the Patriot Act extension recently, issued a signing statement that said he will ignore the law if he deems it appropriate. He must be censured as he truly continues to believe he is above the law.
Senator, this administration has pushed this "unitary executive" theory to the point that I think today's issues would shock our Founding Fathers. This is not a partisan issue although I am surely a proud lefty Progressive. I would likely never vote for you and probably actively seek your defeat. However, if in fact you are a principled Conservative then you surely cannot allow this administration to continue defying the laws passed by Congress. Even more importantly, our Constitution must be followed. I've heard many from the right speak of "strict construction" and "the rule of law" and "activist judges" and ... yet if your GOP allows this administration to continue with their actions I'll know it was simply talking points.
We are at a crossroads here I fear. It might be too late but I do not think history will judge us kindly if we destroy our form of government via misplaced allegiance to a failed Presidency. It is time for men of influence to resist the Bush cabal. He/They are due some serious checking and balancing!
Don't shred our Constitution! Thanks, **** ****
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Can that be any clearer for you - Congressmen, Senators, journalists? The President is bestowed by the Constitution with the unlimited and un-limitable power to do anything that he believes is necessary to "protect the nation." Thus, even if Congress passes laws which seek to limit that power in any way, and even if the President agrees to those restrictions and signs that bill into law, he still retains the power to violate it whenever he wants.To think that Republican Lite Bill Clinton had to deal with continual questioning and analysis of his administration's every move (and even dating back to well before he came into power!) to now have Dubyah given a pass over and over amazes me. It can not just be 9-11 in that our checks and balances lasted through our history, recently facing off against facism and threats of the Cold War. Our Constitution works. Follow it! Peace ... and War!
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Bush signed the bill with fanfare at a White House ceremony March 9, calling it ''a piece of legislation that's vital to win the war on terror and to protect the American people." But after the reporters and guests had left, the White House quietly issued a ''signing statement," an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law.
In the statement, Bush said that he did not consider himself bound to tell Congress how the Patriot Act powers were being used and that, despite the law's requirements, he could withhold the information if he decided that disclosure would ''impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties."
Bush wrote: ''The executive branch shall construe the provisions . . . that call for furnishing information to entities outside the executive branch . . . in a manner consistent with the president's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information . . . "
This latest addendum has been remarkably ignored by the mainstream media, especially given the context of censure or even impeachment options over the bypassing of FISA by the NSA, torture, gaming the intelligence, etc. Bu$h truly believes that he is above the law. He has apparent contempt for Congress and certain contempt for the Constitution. Peace ... or War!
Friday, March 24, 2006
... in a would-be free and open society——and especially in a society that aspires to be a democracy——propaganda and thought-control are crucial to the formation of public attitudes. In a nominal democracy, such as exists today in the United States, shaping the opinions of the masses is crucial to the appearance of legitimacy for the ruling elite. The public must be guided and persuaded to ratify the policies favored by the wealthy and well connected, while insuring that the general public does not actually interfere with the policies and profits of the corporate rulers.
Huge public opinion and marketing machines, along with the advertising industry provide commercial forms of propaganda. Their success flows from their ability to keep people self-indulgent, to keep people consuming, to keep them on the debt treadmill, and to keep them complacent, self-absorbed, and hedonistic.
In that I've been trying to teach hardly motivated or capable kids these last five years I know the future is likely not much better. Intellectual thinking and critical analysis is hardly accomplished in many classrooms these days. The standardized testing and data-driven education that the Conservatives have pushed hardly prepares kids for actions the Professor has suggested provide remedies to this problem. I admittedly get a touch conspiratorial when I ponder how the wealthy and connected might have designed systems such as our current finance and media and educational complex. Peace ... or War!
The reason many from the left are so pleased to nail Domenech is that he has been so quick to shill the right wing talking points crap for Bu$hCo and the ReThuglicans. Ben is a proud fundamentalist Christian yet he apparently forgot the 8th Commandment! Just a few days back Ben was Malkin's very smart and talented editor! That Ben works as an editor with Regnery Publishing (which brought us such classics as Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, Malkin's very own In Defense of Internment: The Case for "Racial Profiling" in World War II and the War on Terror plus Unhinged: Liberals Gone Wild and David Horowitz' Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left) can help explain our schadenfreude. Or it could be Ben's racism combined with Red Baiting? It could have been his favorable comparison of the KKK to the Supreme Court?
At the end of my post I learned via the WaPo blog that Ben's gone! Jim Brady's got some more 'splaining to do! Peace ... or War!
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
But it turns out that a Republican Party dominated by conservatives is no more coherent than the party that left room for progressives. The huge budget deficit is conservatism's Waterloo, testimony to its political failure. The conservatives love to cut taxes but can't square their lust for tax reduction with plausible spending cuts. ...
Paradoxically, because the liberal Republicans didn't pretend to hate government, they were better at fiscal responsibility. They were willing to match their desired spending levels with the taxes to pay for them. It didn't make for exciting, to-the barricades politics. It merely produced good government. ...
Absent a robust progressive wing, congressional Republicans will continue to produce fiscally incoherent government. Democrats now have the task of representing their own brand of politics, and that of progressive Republicans, too.
I'll miss Boehlert and his optimistic moderation. Our politics worked better when a sufficiently large band of Republican moderates and liberals could take the edge off polarization and orient government toward problem-solving. But the liberal Republicans are gone. We have to deal with the GOP we have, not the GOP we wish still existed.
I think Mr. Dionne is a bit kind to the Congressman. If he and some of his liberal or moderate brethren had stood up to these ReThuglican Radicals then perhaps the "compassionate conservatism" would have been seen as a sham. If they'd bitch slapped Karl Rove when he threatened them maybe the Bu$hCo bunch could not have manipulated their way back in for another four years of ruining what they've yet to screw up. The GOP has simply been taken over by power mad radical wingnuts that hand the Big Mules whatever they want. If you've got cash then they are ready to do your bidding. They turn the Heartland upside down with false threats and flawed logic to get them to keep voting against their economic interests. It is POWER via FEAR for the GOP. Time to clean house. Peace ... or War!
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Indeed both you and Claude Allen are possibly looking at felony charges! If you are upset about sympathy, feigned or otherwise, shown to Mr. Allen perhaps it is because most folks just plain hate you. I posted previously on Claude Allen being collared. Of course the Bu$h bunch lied about the reason he resigned as pointed out by Digby. According to TomPaine, Claude Allen is being spun by Bu$hCo as hardly involved in making policy. He was often tapped to appear with Bu$h and sit with Laura and ...
Everybody has heard of Condoleezza Rice Angry Ann. We've surely seen her great work. "Heck of job Condi!" As NSA Director she basically ignored a report from before 9-11 titled something like "Bin Laden Determined to Strike U.S.". She's lied for Bu$hCo several times, before and after she replaced Secretary Powell, as she's apparently a "true believer". Condi didn't know Hamas was going to be winning in Palestinian elections and ...
Crazy Ann even claimed the highest American of African descent in the Clinton Adminitration was his Secretary Betty Currie and yet Slick Willy had many black high ranking officials. Are you really this dumb Ann or do you enjoy the ridicule?
The ridicule is all about the morality issue Ann. Dobson and Bauer and ... loved Allen's radical conservatism. Allen was Rove's watchdog at HHS. He was simply not experienced enough to be considered for a U.S. Circuit Judge slot. And finally he symbolizes the Bu$hCo Administration and the ReThuglican Party so very well.
Go back to drinking Ann! Peace ... or War!
Monday, March 20, 2006
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Until you go back and actually read what was being said at the time, you don't really appreciate just how intense and deceitful was the propaganda and falsehoods spewing forth from every corner. People like Victor Davis Hanson and the Powerline buddies were not just wrong in what they were saying, although they were that. And it's not just that their judgment was severely flawed, although it was.Far worse than that is the fact that they really were living in a world that did not exist -- a fantasy world so plainly free of facts and reality that it is truly disturbing to recall that so much of the country was propagandized into believing it. Going back and reading it really creates the sensation of people who were living in a world that combines the worst elements of Disney World and Pravda. Our experts and pundits were literally describing a world that did not exist and making claims that could not have been any further removed from reality. Put simply, anyone who read them, listened to them or believed them at the time was completely misguided and misinformed about reality.
This ties nicely into some of the writing I've done today on the power of the consolidated media. A hybrid of Disney World and Pravda seems to be where we are these days. And I wish it were simply Post-Modernism rather than seeming to be designed by and for the Big Mules. Peace ... or War!
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Worst administration ever! A total disaster in everything it seems. Only this Bu$hCo cabal could have squandered the good will and possibilities this nation/world had after the tragedies of 9-11-2001. Actually "squandered" is a kind term. The United States may never fully recover from King George and his ReThuglicans. Peace ... or War!
“Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.” - A.J. Liebling.If more consolidation does occur, and it is already rather scary, then getting generally accurate information to and from citizens could fully be a relic of the past. The internet, with its limitations and possibilities for abuse/misinformation, is perhaps the last truly "free" press venue in that the Big Mules now control so many outlets. Big multi-nationals and other powerful corporations have the GOP controlling all three branches now, although things are looking a little tippy for their future (even though it would still be at worst Republican Lite I fear!). If the Big Mules have designs on more power, and surely they do, then now is the time they'll try to stack the deck in their favor. Peace ... or War!
Friday, March 17, 2006
... it's possible to respect someone with whom you have a principled disagreement, but not so easy to respect someone whose only real principle is to crush anybody who gets in his way. (Bush's alter-ego, Karl Rove, summed up this philosophy within earshot of journalist Ron Suskind when he yelled to an aide about someone who had displeased him, “We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him!”) As with Nixon, it's not really Bush's conservatism that gets liberals seething. In fact, it's just the opposite. It's precisely his lack of political principle, combined with a vengeful ruthlessness so dark it's scary, that makes liberals break out in hives.Exactly. He's the perfect president for Limbaugh Nation (the successor to Nixonland.) But then, that's really what the modern Republican party is all about --- the big money boys and the ruthless operatives. Everybody else in the party are just dupes:
The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees...Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them." Michael Scanlon, former communications director to Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff's first lieutenant(And by the way, so-called principled conservatives are just another brand of "wackos" to these guys.)
Indeed they can't leave their beloved conservatism. Blame the people yet never the policy. Peace ... or War!
A master narrative, once formed in the collective mind of the mainstream media, becomes impervious to interference from inconvenient reality. Today the political narrative demands that the Democrats be derided for their "disarray." Yes, George W. Bush is the most unpopular President since Nixon in the days before his forced resignation. In the most recent AP/Ipsos poll, nearly 70 percent of those questioned believe that the country is on the wrong track. The Bush domestic agenda ispolitically dead, and his Iraq adventure looks increasingly like it contains the seeds of a regional Armageddon. Yet according to the accepted story line, none of that matters. The Democrats' disarray on how to handle the war dominates the reporting of ....
Personally, I have a hard time understanding why, if it was the Administration that created the Iraq quagmire with its toxic combination of mendacity, incompetence and ideological obsession, it is somehow the responsibility of powerless Democrats to solve it. Given the right wing's stranglehold on both the political process and public discourse, Democrats cannot hope to address this problem or even have their public proposals treated fairly.
Indeed Senator Feingold is hardly getting the support his censure resolution merits. I personally believe now is the ideal time to expose the Mighty Wurlitzer. The media shilling the Rove spin with the President unable to appear before any audience that hasn't been vetted is clear to many Americans. Plus we've got Iraq and Claude Allen and NSA/FISA and Gitmo and Katrina and Iran/North Korea and Dubai World Ports and Dead Eye Dick and Abramoff/K Street and DeLay and Armstrong Williams and Jeff Gannon and Plamegate and Neil Bush and Gale Norton and Duke Cunningham and No Child Left Behind and ... Yet the media is getting after the Democrats? And we/they are letting them? WTF? Peace ... or War!
Thursday, March 16, 2006
... when the spin machines are out there ... I think that the press decided immediately that somehow this was a bad thing for Democrats and a good thing for conservatives. The facts don't bear it out. You don't have the polls to prove it..... So the instant decision about what the story is, actually, I think is going to backfire on those who made up the story. I don't get the feeling that I had on Monday about this -- yes, people were concerned -- I'm not getting that. And if the right wing really believes in this country that -- Rush Limbaugh and others -- that they can somehow turn the president's reputation around by saying, "You're darn right he violated the law, and it's a good thing," I think they're just as confused as they are about their Iraq politics. People aren't buying it anymore. So not only do I not regret it, I felt an absolute obligation to do it.
Feingold not only managed to hold the Bu$hCo cabal's feet to the fire but also to remind the "so called liberal media" to stop accepting the junk they are so often fed by the ReThuglicans. Georgia10 aslo sends us to the very poll numbers that show more Americans support censure than oppose the same. There are 10% still undecided which means evidence and facts will bring most to Feingold's position. This could very well work out nicely for Russ Feingold and most importantly our nation. Soldier on Senator! Peace ... or War!
Worst administration ever! Worst Congress ever! Here's to 2006 and 2008! Peace ... or War!
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Makes sense to this Scot! Progressives can benefit greatly from a national dialogue in that our ideas will win if they can be heard reliably. Many House Districts are so gerrymandered that they are no longer competitive in the marketplace of ideas. I thought markets were good? Senate terms are so long! In the Red States, especially in the South and Mountain West, Progressives can hardly even get a shot at some Senate seats. The same holds for Governors in many of these states. Getting a national message might let our ideas gradually be heard. Right now the Conservative noise machine can get away with much of their garbage as it becomes a war of political machines and talking points rather than solutions. The bottom line is that much of the nation never really hears from Progressives. Peace ... or War!
Candidates have no incentive to campaign in, or address the concerns of, states that reliably vote for a particular party. In recent years, the battleground in presidential elections has shrunk drastically. In 1960, 24 states, with 327 electoral votes, were battleground states, according to estimates by National Popular Vote, the bipartisan coalition making the new proposal. In 2004, only 13 states, with 159 electoral votes, were. As a result, campaigns and national priorities are stacked in favor of a few strategic states. Ethanol fuel, a pet issue of Iowa farmers, is discussed a lot. But issues of equal concern to states like Alabama, California, New York and Indiana are not.
The Electoral College discourages turnout because voters in two-thirds of the nation know well before Election Day who will win their states. It also discriminates among voters by weighing presidential votes unequally. A Wyoming voter has about four times as much impact on selecting that state's electors as a California voter does on selecting that state's.
The answer to all of these problems is direct election of the president. Past attempts to abolish the Electoral College by amending the Constitution have run into difficulty. But National Popular Vote, which includes several former members of Congress, is offering an ingenious solution that would not require a constitutional amendment. It proposes that states commit to casting their electoral votes for the winner of the national popular vote. These promises would become binding only when states representing a majority of the Electoral College signed on.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Sunday, March 12, 2006
UPDATE 3-12-06 Tip of the tam to Glenn Greenwald for his comments on Feingold's courage and brains. I particularly appreciated this,
Of all the dishonest and corrupt steps taken by this Administration, the worst, in my view, is that they have flamboyantly masqueraded as defenders of America while they have simultaneously sought to dismantle every political attribute and core principle that has defined who we are as a country for the last 225 years.
I'd however think the Republicans want the American people to be distracted from the realities of our modern economy. The WaPo editorial board begins a series today with "A Rising Tide?" where they cite the statistics demonstrating inequality that marks the period since Reagan entered office. Twisting Reagan's slogan to "Are you better off now than twenty six years ago?" I'd suggest that we, and that doesn't include those Big Mules at the top of the food chain, are barely better off and perhaps stagnant. Here are portions of the WaPo piece,
A few numbers show why. In the 25 years from 1980 to 2004, a period during which U.S. gross domestic product per person grew by almost two-thirds, the wages of the typical worker actually fell slightly after accounting for inflation. So, too, did wages for the 50 percent of the work force that earned less than the typical, or median, employee. The rising tide helped only workers at the top. Wages for workers in the 90th percentile -- that is, workers who earned more than 90 percent of their peers - jumped by more than a quarter. ...Progressivism is based on progress of course. And unless you are drinking lots of the Kool-Aide it seems clear that our progress as a whole society is very limited. We see the widening gap of the have and have nots accepted by anybody with a clue including our new Federal Reserve Chairperson Bernard Bernarke who recently said, ... (the) widening income inequality was a problem, but he said it had been occurring for a quarter-century and as did Greenspan, he said the best way to deal with the problem was through education and job retraining." Quarter of a century indeed. Clinton worked through gridlock and the political realities he faced by trying Republican Lite so even his eight years hardly retreated from "voodoo" economics. Peace ... or War!
Between 1980 and 2003, total after-tax income for the bottom fifth of households rose 8 percent, and the second-bottom fifth gained 17 percent; in other words, all boats did rise, albeit by less than 1 percent per year. But it's hard to celebrate such modest gains when the top fifth advanced 59 percent over the 24-year period. Depending on which statistics you choose, the tide is either not lifting most boats or lifting many of them modestly. At times over the past quarter-century, commentators have hoped that this disappointing performance was temporary. Perhaps it was ...
The rich are entitled to the fruits of their labor: These reflect talent, hard work, risk-taking and innovation, and only an economy that rewards such things can be dynamic. This is true up to a point. But when big rewards for high achievers don't produce an economy that helps ordinary folk, the case for big rewards loses some of its appeal. Moreover, Americans have tolerated divides between rich and poor because they believed that anyone could get ahead, given enough talent and determination. But the truth is that rags-to-riches stories have never been the norm: One study of people reaching adulthood between 1968 and 1998 found that 42 percent of those born into the poorest fifth ended up there also. As the distance between the top and bottom grows wider, it becomes harder to traverse the gulf.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Allen, a Jesse Helm’s protégé, had been previously nominated by Bu$h as a Federal Judge for the 4th Circuit, yet the Senate amazingly enough, yes even this Bu$h covering bunch, had the sense to reject him for his complete lack of judicial experience. The National Organization for Women pointed out his extreme views on reproductive choice. The Mighty Wurlitzer, in this case being the National Review, used Allen as an opportunity to rail against liberal special interest groups and judicial activism. Law.com has a decent summary of Allen’s history before he was rejected by the Senate. Reported as Karl Rove’s watchdog at Health and Human Services, Allen has been linked to the Christian Right’s James Dobson. Allen was actually introduced by Dobson on his Focus on the Family radio program with, "I just said how much I love and appreciate you, and it comes directly from my heart." In 2003 Allen is alleged to have summoned about a hundred CDC scientists to the White House to hear a whole day’s worth abstinence until marriage sermons.
Mr. Allen has also done time, not that kind of time, at Bu$hCo favorite mega law firm Baker Botts, now home to James Baker III. Representing at least one Saudi Arabian official in response to the 9-11 attacks lawsuits, this firm is among the elite indeed. Baker Botts even paid Dick Cheney’s recent quail hunt host Katharine Armstrong $160,000.00 in 2004 for lobbying the White House.
Allen is yet another example of Bu$hCo imploding I hope. However, Progressives need to make sure it is not just about Bu$h people and their poor execution but also about their misguided policies. Several branches of conservativism are seemingly ready to blame Bu$hCo rather than engage in a debate over the right’s radical ideas. Worst Administration ever! Peace … or War!
UPDATE of 3-12-06 : Tip of the tam to Digby in reminding us that The White House knew of Allen's "issues" and yet went with the "to spend more time with his family" line. Liars!
Friday, March 10, 2006
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Monday, March 06, 2006
Friday, March 03, 2006
Last September, President Bush gave a stirring speech in New Orleans about what he called the "deep, persistent poverty" displayed on television after Hurricane Katrina. "That poverty," he declared, "has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action." .... In the intervening months [since Katrina], Bush has given us no commission, no program, no plan, no "bold action." Instead, he proposes five-year reductions in vocational education, housing, food assistance and other vital services for the most vulnerable Americans. Between 2006 and 2011, housing subsidies are expected to drop by 11.6% and nutrition assistance by 14.9%. These are called discretionary programs. Many grew in the last five years, but they do not increase automatically, the way retirement and health subsidies do. They have to be re-legislated annually by Congress. And so they are caught in the squeeze between two lines on a graph: the rising cost of mandatory spending and the falling revenues from tax cuts. The space between those lines — where this money comes from — is shrinking, and it will vanish in 2012 when the lines intersect, predicts Gene Steuerle, a budget expert at the Urban Institute. In the dance of budget legislation, he told me, "programs for children and working families wear stone slippers — they don't get the automatic growth of health, retirement and tax breaks, hence compete for leftovers, of which there soon won't be any." While New Orleans was straining to celebrate Mardi Gras, the Federal Reserve was issuing a gloomy report on the widening disparity between the rich and the poor. The wealthiest 10% of the nation's households had an average net worth in 2004 of $3.11 million, up 6.1% from 2001. The poorest 25%, whose assets equaled their debts in 2001, dropped into the red; they owed an average of $1,400 more than they possessed.
Bu$hCo simply was working in some GOP talking points. The GOP, and the Democrats to a lesser extent I regret, are seemingly working for the Big Mules. Even today President Bu$h, when visiting India, urged American workers to embrace globalization and outsourcing. As a nation we've got to embrace Progressivism. Indeed protectionism has peril yet investing in our human capital is the only way to compete in a global economy. Peace ... or War!