May 14, 2012

Why We Have A Deficit

Deficit theater is coming to DC tomorrow, with a well-funded "fiscal summit." The plot summary is that we have Deficit Trouble - Right Here In River City! so to fix it we need to cut Social Security and Medicare and the things democracy does for We, the People -- while cutting taxes on the rich and their corporations to make us more "business-friendly." (This musical is sometimes billed as "Simpson-Bowles" but it's the same old song.)

All of this deficit hysteria today - when just over ten years ago we had such a large a budget surplus that we were projected to pay off our entire debt in ... ten years! That's right, Ten Years Ago We Were Paying Off The Nation's Debt. But Then We Elected Obama.,

Just ten years ago this country was running huge surpluses and paying off its debt. But then we elected Obama and all hell broke loose. Oh, wait...

Between the time ten years ago when we had big surpluses and were paying off the debt and now when we are told the "Obama spending and deficit" mean we have to cut back on the things We, the People do for each other, something happened. Something changed. The things that happened, the things that changed, are being ignored in the current DC discussion about what we need to do to fix things.

Something happened. We had a surplus, and it was replaced by massive deficits. The last Bush budget year had a deficit of $1.4 trillion!

Why We Have A Deficit

What happened under Bush? We cut taxes on the rich and doubled military spending. (And started wars.) And don't forget collapsing the economy, forcing people onto unemployment and food stamps. That is why we have a deficit. We have a deficit because of tax cuts for the rich, huge military budget increases and the consequences of deregulating corporations.

Here are some questions for tomorrow's deficit theater:


  • How large was the country’s yearly budget deficit and total debt in the “Eisenhower/Truman” decades when the top tax rate was 90%?
  • Today we have an “infrastructure deficit” – the amount needed to repair our country’s roads, bridges, sewers, etc. – of somewhere upwards of $1.6 trillion. Was our infrastructure kept in good repair before the top tax rates were cut?
  • Concentration of wealth is long recognized as a threat to democracy, and now we are seeing a low-wage, everything-to-the-top economy with the greatest ever concentration of wealth going to a few at the top. Was the problem of wealth concentration increasing or decreasing before the top tax rates were cut?
  • When top rates were high people couldn’t take home vast fortunes in a single year. When it took several years to make a fortune did corporations depend on long-term or short-term thinking? Did the executives of corporations care if the infrastructure and communities their companies depended on were in good shape? Did large corporations fleece customers and exploit employees for quarterly returns as they do now?

How We Fix The Deficit

How do we fix this? Doesn't it make sense to look at what caused the deficits and fix that? There actually are budget plans that get rid of the deficit without cutting back on the things democracy does for We, the People. Here is a post about one of those budget plans: The People's Budget Balances The Budget -- Why Isn't It Part Of These "Deficit" Talks? Here is a post about another budget plan that fixes the deficit without cutting the thing democracy does for us Every Progressive Should Know About The “Budget For All”

So we know why we have a deficit, and we have realistic budget plans that undo the damage, maintain the things that democracy does for We, the People and invest in growing our economy. So why aren't these plans part of the big DC deficit discussion? Maybe progressive plans that cut the deficit are not part of the DC deficit discussion because cutting the deficit isn't really the point. This Deficit Story Can't Be Repeated Often Enough!,

So we went from big surplus to huge, huge deficits. Bush said it was "incredibly positive news" when we went back into deficit spending. He said it was good news because it continued the plan to use debt to force the government to cut back. He said that. It was the plan. (Don't take my word for it, click the links.)

The Reagan people said it too, back when they started the massive deficit spending. It was the plan: force the country into massive debt, "starve the beast," and use that to force the government out of business, or at least to be "small enough to drown in a bathtub." They forced the tax cuts and Reagan said this was "cutting the government's allowance." The point was to use revenue cutbacks to force government to shrink, to get out of the way of the 1%.

A Golden Oldie

From Dear Deficit Commission, It's Not Hard: (Click through to see bigger charts)

Dear Deficit Commission,

It's not hard to figure out why we have a huge deficit. It's so easy I don't have to use words. Here are some pictures:

Clinton_Bush_Deficit

Bill Clinton raised taxes on the rich. Bush cut them.

Now, about that huge national debt...

TopRates_vs_Debt_Chart

The second chart kind of explains itself. The third chart can help you find a place to get some money:

Defense-Budget

(Note: There is no more Soviet Union.)

In case that isn't clear enough, try this:

Defense Spending and Debt chart

Let me know if you still have any questions.

We had a budget surplus. We were paying off the debt. Then something changed. If you want to fix the deficits, change it back.

Don't fall for it. Deficits were the plan. Run up the borrowing, then come back with a scare campaign that stampedes people into accepting cuts in the things democracy does for We, the People. It was the plan.

If You Happen To Be In DC Tomorrow: May 15: Stand Against Austerity:

May 15, 2012 at 1 p.m. (Program starts 1:30 p.m.)
In Front Of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation Fiscal Summit
1301 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.

Here's one of those charts again, larger:

TopRates_vs_Debt_Chart

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:00 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

May 1, 2012

We Can So Easily Create Jobs, Cut The Deficit And Revitalize Our Economy!

The path to creating millions of jobs is so easy and obvious. Hire people to modernize the infrastructure and to retrofit buildings to be energy efficient. Millions would be paying income taxes instead of receiving unemployment or food stamps. The companies that supply the materials and steel would also be hiring and paying taxes, and the companies that supply them ... and the companies that supply them. And when we are finished, the payoff to the economy from a modern infrastructure and energy efficiency will be enormous. Anyone who tells you we can't or shouldn't do this is up to no good.

Millions Of Jobs Need Doing, Millions Unemployed

We have millions of people unemployed at the same time as we have millions of jobs that need to be done. Connect the dots! It is so easy!

Dot: No net job gains since 2000. 8 million jobs lost in the recession. Never mind jobs for the 86,000 new people entering the labor force every month...

Dot: According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

“congested highways, overflowing sewers, and corroding bridges” were creating a “looming crisis that jeopardizes our nation’s prosperity and our quality of life.”

Dot: From a recent NY Times story on our country's water systems,

Today, a significant water line bursts on average every two minutes somewhere in the country, according to a New York Times analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data.

. . . State and federal studies indicate that thousands of water and sewer systems may be too old to function properly.

[. . .] “There’s a lot of evidence that people are getting sick,” he added. “But because everything is out of sight, no one really understands how bad things have become.”

Connect the dots.

Ten million jobs needed. Ten million jobs that need doing.

Connect the dots. We need a National Rebuild America Project! It would employ millions, it would get people and businesses back in the economy, paying taxes, buying things, and not receiving the badly-needed help of unemployment, food stamps, etc.

Jobs Fix Deficits

Jobs fix deficits. How hard is that to understand? We have a deficit of jobs. People who are not working are not paying income taxes, and are instead likely receiving unemployment, food stamps or other assistance. In any event they are certainly not contributing to the economy by making things or buying things. Jobs fix deficits.

The Payoff

There wold be an enormous economic payoff from investing in a National Rebuild America Project. I mean an economic payoff beyond getting people back to work, paying taxes, buying things and beyond getting people off of government assistance.

Imagine an economy with a fully modernized infrastructure providing the nourishing soil for new and existing businesses. Imagine our economy with energy efficiency freeing up resources to apply to other areas. Imagine our economy with everyone working. Imagine our economy with companies able to compete in world markets with the very latest and most efficient foundation undergirding their efforts.

Deficit Emergency?

They say we can't invest in modernizing our infrastructure or in energy efficiency because this would be "government spending." They say we can't afford to do this kind of work. They say we instead need to cut back and pay off the deficit instead. As if laying off teachers helps the economy!

Where did all of this "deficit emergency" nonsense come from? We had a huge budget surplus when Bush took office. The debt was projected to be paid off entirely in ten years. So Bush gets elected, Greenspan says we're paying off the debt "too fast" and they gave the rich a huge tax cut, and doubled military spending! It's not hard to see where the deficit came from. (No, seriously, click through and see the charts, it's not hard.)

So we shifted to a huge deficit instead and Bush said this was "incredibly positive news" because it will force the country into a debt crisis that they can propagandize to force cuts in things government does for We, the People.

Hey people, figure it out, we do not have a debt emergency, we have a manufactured crisis that is being used to scare people into giving up the benefits of democracy.

Has To Be Done Anyway

This is work that has to be done anyway! Once again, our infrastructure is falling apart, our companies are not competitive, our energy inefficiency is costing us dearly. This work has been put off for a long time. Every day we wait, it just becomes a more expensive problem. Funny how this is the way conservatives describe the debt, when in reality is the problem with delaying investment in modernization.

So why not do it now, when people really need the work? We have been deferring the maintenance of our infrastructure since the big Reagan tax cuts for the rich. The roads, bridges, dams, airports, rail, energy grid and the rest are in bad shape. This is slowing our economy. This is hurting people and costing money and time. This is costing our businesses in their international competitiveness.

Your Homework Assignment

OK, here is your homework: Big Ideas To Get America Working: Rebuild Our Infrastructure.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:15 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 9, 2011

Ten Years Ago We Were Paying Off The Nation's Debt. But Then We Elected Obama.

Just ten years ago this country was running huge surpluses and paying off its debt. But then we elected Obama and all hell broke loose. Oh, wait...

Something Happened

Between the time ten years ago when we had big surpluses and were paying off the debt and now when we are told the "Obama spending and deficit" mean we have to cut back on the things We, the People do for each other, something happened. Something changed. The things that happened, the things that changed, are being ignored in the current DC discussion about what we need to do to fix things.

Separation From Reality

This DC/Tea Party argument over deficits and the Reagan/Bush debt is completely separated from facts and history. And it is completely separated from what the public wants. There are things that we are supposed to just not remember and which seem to be taboo in the national media. There are things that are "off the table" for discussion, and certainly for solving our problems.

But here is some reality anyway, even if we're not supposed to see it. Just ten years ago we were paying off debt at a rate that would have completely paid it all off by now. But under George W. Bush we cut taxes for the rich and more than doubled military spending. We deregulated and stopped enforcing laws. We let the big corporations run rampant. Our federal budget turned from huge surpluses to massive deficits, and Bush said it was "incredibly positive news" because it would lead to a debt crisis they could use to shock people into letting the corporate right privatize and thereby profit.

And then, under and because of Bush, our economy collapsed.

Deficits From Tax Cuts And Military Spending

Once again: the deficits are the direct result of tax cuts for the rich, and huge increases in military spending. Then that huge jump in already-large deficits up past the trillion-dollar level that occurred in Bush's last budget was the result of the Bush-caused financial collapse. The economy collapsed and the government stepped in with hundreds of billions, even trillions, to rescue the wealthy, with "bailouts," while doing little, even cutting back, on what our government does for We, the People. That all happened in Bush's last budget year, not Obama's first.

To Fix The Damage, Undo The Cause

The way to fix deficits is to undo the damage Bush did, by raising taxes on the rich, and cutting back the huge, bloated, extreme, massive, astonishing, incredible, stratospheric military budget. And we have to boost the economy by investing in rebuilding our infrastructure to get people employed. We have millions of jobs that need doing, while millions are looking for jobs. Then those people will be paying taxes instead of collecting unemployment and food stamps. And the infrastructure improvements will bosst our economy's competitiveness. This is all so simple and obvious that only DC insider types could miss it.

Taxes And Spending = Democracy

Cutting spending doesn't cut the need, it shifts the burden. Cutting government spending does not cut the costs to society and the overall economy of meeting those needs. Cutting government spending just shifts -- or privatizes -- those costs onto the backs of people who can't afford to spend that money. That need and cost is still there in the economy, except without government -- democracy -- handling it, doing it for all of us, less expensively. Cutting government's role opens those functions up to private profit, instead of We, the People taking care of and watching out for each other -- and making the decisions.

Do you really think that if you phase out Medicare, that old people won't still need the medical care? Of course they will still need it, but the government won't be negotiating cost-savings for them, they'll be on their own, up against the giant insurance monopolies.

In the 1950s the top tax rate was 90%, and the country's economy worked a lot better for a lot more of us. We didn't have big deficits. We certainly weren't piling up huge debt. With high tax rates at the top, predatory, sell-the-farm business models didn't make sense. We were investing in infrastructure, and that infrastructure made us competitive in world markets. We as a people were doing better every year, paying our bills, getting educated and becoming more civilized. This empowerment led to demands for equal rights for all of us.

Ignored By Media

The "both sides do it" major media is simply ignoring the majority of the public. But people aren't fooled. Poll after poll (did I already say that?) shows that the public "gets it." Poll after poll shows that the public wants our government to address jobs, not deficits, to restore top tax rates, to invest in America's infrastructure, to leave Social Security and Medicare alone (or increase them,) and to put more money into education. Poll after poll.

The Public Wants Jobs

The public gets it. Poll after poll shows that Americans want their government focused on jobs, not deficits. The latest, from CNN, taken August 5-7, shows 49% of Americans think unemployment is the biggest issue facing the country, while only 27% say deficits. Only 16% say the deficit is the country's biggest problem.

Rebuild The Dream

The The American Dream Movement is rolling out their Contract for the American Dream. The Tea-Party-fascinated press is largely ignoring this, but this movement represents the majority of the public, and can't be ignored for long. I'll be writing more about it later.

Also the Take Back the American Dream conference is coming up on Oct. 3. Click through and learn more.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:00 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

July 30, 2011

Golden Oldie: Did Bush Leave Us Bankrupt, Corrupt, Ungovernable?

Feb. 2010: Did Bush Leave Us Bankrupt, Corrupt, Ungovernable?

When you sell the farm, the farm's gone.

Is it already too late for America? I’m starting to think that the anti-tax, anti-government conservative movement that started in the mid-70s, elected Reagan and led to the terrible Bush Presidency may have effectively destroyed the country, leaving it bankrupt, corrupt,ungovernable, ruled by a wealthy elite -- and we're only now just starting to realize it. To cover tax cuts we stopped maintaining the infrastructure and started borrowing. To satisfy their hatred of government we increasingly stripped away rule of law, regulation, and belief in one-person-one-vote. We are seeing the consequences of all of that coming back to roost now.

Reagan left us with massive debt and ever-increasing interest payments. Bush left us with $1.3 trillion deficits and a destroyed economy that would force further increases in the borrowing for years - to be blamed on Obama. The "free marketers" gave away our manufacturing base that will take decades and massive capital investment to recover. Obama can try, but it may just be too late to do anything about the borrowing. We need massive investment in jobs and infrastructure, and a national economic/industrial plan. But, with their own Reagan/Bush debt as ammunition, conservative ideologues continue to block every effort at investment to get out of the mess we are in.

And with the country on the very edge of defaulting on the Reagan/Bush debt, Senate Republicans are FILIBUSTERING the very debt-ceiling deal they were for just a few weeks ago...

There is much more at that old post, go read.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:15 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

June 6, 2011

10 Years Since Bush Tax Cuts: Why The Onion Was Right

It is 10 years since the Bush tax cuts passed. When Bush took office (and never forget the Supreme Court's 5-4 role in that) The Onion famously declared, “Our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over.” They had no way to know how prescient they were. Now we are living the real nightmare.

10 years of Bush tax cuts is enough! Click here to demand your representative supports the Fairness in Taxation Act so the rich contribute their fair share.

The Onion satire had Bush declaring,

"My fellow Americans," Bush said, "at long last, we have reached the end of the dark period in American history that will come to be known as the Clinton Era, eight long years characterized by unprecedented economic expansion, a sharp decrease in crime, and sustained peace overseas. The time has come to put all of that behind us."

Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.

Everything the Onion declared in jest became true right down to the Bush administration proposing to sell national parks. Pushed through using "reconciliation," the Bush tax cuts -- along with the Bush wars and military increases -- have nearly bankrupted the country. As Roger Hickey writes in, 10 Years Of Bush Tax Cuts Is Enough,

Cutting taxes on the wealthy did not create jobs as conservatives promised. ... the Bush Administration [had] the "worst track record on record" for jobs, according to the Wall Street Journal. Bush declared that "the surplus is the people's money," and proceeded to give the surplus away to very few people. Now that we face chronic deficits, it's long past time for millionaires and billionaires to starting giving back.

10 years of Bush tax cuts is enough! Click here to demand your representative supports the Fairness in Taxation Act so the rich contribute their fair share.

Deficits: "Incredibly Positive News"

Ten years ago we had a huge budget surplus. Then came the Bush tax cuts, immediately pushing us into terrible budget deficits. What did Bush say about that? Bush said that turning from surplus to deficit was "Incredibly Positive News,''

President Bush said today that there was a benefit to the government's fast-dwindling surplus, declaring that it will create "a fiscal straitjacket for Congress." He said that was "incredibly positive news" because it would halt the growth of the federal government.

"Incredibly positive news" -- never for a minute think that these deficits and the resulting debt were anything but intentional, a scheme to gut government and force us toward the current rigged and one-sided discussion of cutting Medicare, etc.

Bring Back Peace And Prosperity

It would be so simple to bring back peace and prosperity. First and foremost: undo the Bush tax cuts.

5-12-11bud2

But the Supreme Court helped lock in the Bush nightmare, with the "Citizens United" ruling, allowing unlimited corporate money to interfere in our elections. In the 2010 Congressional midterms more than $300 million was pumped into those nasty smear-ads by corporations, half of it from secret donors, according to Common Cause. How much of that came from, say, China? We don't get to know.

P.S. A Simple Plan To Fix The Jobs Emergency -- And The Economy, Too

Take Action

10 years of Bush tax cuts is enough! Click here to demand your representative supports the Fairness in Taxation Act so the rich contribute their fair share.


This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:19 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 30, 2010

Remember the Big Smallpox Scare?

The drumbeat for war. Remember? And they just made it up, to scare us. Actually, terrorize is the right word. To terrorize us.

NY Times: C.I.A. Hunts Iraq Tie to Soviet Smallpox,

The C.I.A. is investigating an informant's accusation that Iraq obtained a particularly virulent strain of smallpox from a Russian scientist who worked in a smallpox lab in Moscow during Soviet times, senior American officials and foreign scientists say.

The officials said several American scientists were told in August that Iraq might have obtained the mysterious strain from Nelja N. Maltseva, a virologist who worked for more than 30 years at the Research Institute for Viral Preparations in Moscow before her death two years ago.

Leak of the Week: Madame Smallpox,

Miller's Tuesday scoop in the Times, "C.I.A. Hunts Iraq Tie to Soviet Smallpox," explores the theory that a Russian virologist named Nelja N. Maltseva might have given "a particularly virulent strain of smallpox" to the Iraqis, a finding that obviously grows out of the expertise she acquired in writing the book.

CNN: The smallpox scenario,

As the U.N. and member governments seek to uncover whatever illicit weapons programs Iraq might have, few tasks are as urgent as determining whether Baghdad has obtained the smallpox virus.

The only declared reserves of the 120 known strains of smallpox are in two labs, in the U.S. and Russia, but fears that Iraq may possess the virus have lately come to a head.

Why the suspicions? As the New York Times first reported last week, the CIA is investigating the possibility that a Russian scientist, Nelli Maltseva, ferried a nasty strain of smallpox from the Research Institute for Viral Preparations in Moscow to Iraq in 1990. She died two years ago.

Washington Post: 4 Nations Thought To Possess Smallpox

A Bush administration intelligence review has concluded that four nations -- including Iraq and North Korea -- possess covert stocks of the smallpox pathogen, according to two officials who received classified briefings.

. . . In public, the White House has described its smallpox concerns in only hypothetical terms, and until now the gravity of its assessment has not been known.

. . . "Al Qaeda is interested in acquiring biological weapons, to include smallpox," according to a classified intelligence summary prepared for senior officials debating options on the scope of a preventive vaccination campaign. . . . The "top five list" for al Qaeda, one official said, included anthrax, the nerve agent ricin, and botulinum toxin.

Think about how much money was involved with that war. Completely unaccountable money, pallets of money, shrink-wrapped bundles of cash, literally flowing to all those campaign contributors...

And the Tea Party wants that crowd back in charge. Hard to imagine.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:57 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

March 9, 2010

Yes, Please, Please, Please Remind The Public About Bush!

Some Republicans are entering the 2010 campaign season with the slogan, "Miss Me Yet?" accompanied by a picture of Bush.

See Do You Miss Him Yet? - Opinionator Blog - NYTimes.com

Oh please. Please, please, please campaign in this election by reminding the pubic of the things that happened when Republicans ran things. Please. Please, Please.

Please.

Miss him yet?

I just have to say it again: Please, please, please run for office saying you'll bring back the Bush years.

Maybe if I said it the way Republicans offer advice. Republicans will lose the election unless they remind people what the Bush years were like.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:55 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

March 6, 2010

Conservatives Caused Huge Deficits, Blame Obama

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Headline at Drudge Report: Obama policies projected to add $9.7 trillion to debt by 2020... points to this story, National debt to be higher than White House forecast, CBO says,

President Obama's proposed budget would add more than $9.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, congressional budget analysts said Friday. Proposed tax cuts for the middle class account for nearly a third of that shortfall.

So here is the deal. This Drudge headline, saying Obama's spending "adds to the deficit" is a trick. Here is how it works. Suppose you take over a company that is losing $100 million a year, and your jobs is to turn it around. So perhaps the second year the company only loses $70 million, $30 million the third year, and breaks even in year four. You saved the company. But in those years the company "lost" another $100 million. Should you be fired?

President Obama took office as President of a country with a $1.4 trillion deficit - thanks to the failure of conservative policies. Their tax cuts, wars, military buildups, corruption and incompetence drove the borrowing WAY up, and then their deregulation, corruption and incompetence destroyed the economy, driving the borrowing up into the stratosphere.

If the borrowing just stayed the same at the $1.4 trillion level Obama inherited each year -- never mind that interest on all that borrowing gets higher and higher each year -- that would mean $14 trillion would be added to the deficit by 2020. That's a LOT more than the $9.7 trillion that Drudge and the conservatives are making so much noise about. Obama is dramatically reducing the borrowing, but they use trickery to make it look like he is causing it.

What about that $1.4 trillion deficit? That was the deficit for the 2009 budget year. Conservatives say -- over and over -- that Obama "tripled the deficit" in 2009. This isn't even a trick, it is just a lie. The final Bush budget year ended with a deficit of $1.4 trillion. Conservatives have been telling the public this was an "Obama Deficit" and use graphics and charts that label this last Bush budget as Obama's. Look at that chart, and then look at this. The first chart is nothing more than a lie, of course repeated endlessly.


But what else should you expect? Like the scorpion that stings the frog as the frog ferries it across the river, it's what they do. They screw things up, and then point the finger of blame at everyone else.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:57 PM | Comments (2) | Link Cosmos

February 28, 2010

Remember Tobacco?

Tobacco is still killing over 400,000 Americans each year.

Does anyone remember lawsuit by the US Government against tobacco companies, and the Justice department asked for a huge damages award? Then with their usual corruption the Bush administration set that aside and asked for only $10 billion? See Prosecutor Says Bush Appointees Interfered With Tobacco Case.

Well guess what?

The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court on Friday to allow the government to seek nearly $300 billion from the tobacco industry for a half-century of deception that "has cost the lives and damaged the health of untold millions of Americans."

But the tobacco companies know that 5 of those Supreme Court justices are likely to dance with the once that got them there. They are now claiming it was all just "free speech":

The companies also say the courts' decision to brand their statements about smoking as fraudulent unfairly denied them their First Amendment rights to engage in the public-health debate about smoking.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:21 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

February 17, 2010

Huge 2009 Budget Deficit -- Just One More Conservative Failure

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF). I am a Fellow with CAF.

Conservatives claim that President Obama "tripled the deficit" and point to the huge 2009 budget deficit as proof. The fiscal-year 2009 deficit, as reported in October was, indeed, about triple the prior year's borrowing. But the 2009 budget was the last budget year of the prior, conservative administration. It is just one more demonstration of the failure of conservative policies.

Basic math: A budget year that ends 8 months into a President's first year wasn't that President's budget.

Yet we hear, over and over, that "Obama tripled the deficit." Recently, when President Obama spoke at the Republican caucus retreat, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas said that Obama had "tripled the deficit." A CNN fact check addresses this,

Obama was essentially correct when he said he inherited a budget deficit of $1.3 trillion. Though the budget deficit for 2008 was a then-record $458.6 billion, the CBO issued a projection in January 2009, just days before Obama took office that the budget deficit would reach $1.2 trillion that year, before the cost of any new stimulus plan or other legislation was taken into account.

Don't believe me? See the conservative Cato Institute on this: Don’t Blame Obama for Bush’s 2009 Deficit | Cato @ Liberty,

Listening to a talk radio program yesterday, the host asserted that Obama tripled the budget deficit in his first year. This assertion is understandable, since the deficit jumped from about $450 billion in 2008 to $1.4 trillion in 2009. As this chart illustrates, with the Bush years in green, it appears as if Obama’s policies have led to an explosion of debt.

[chart]

. . . But there is one rather important detail that makes a big difference. The chart is based on the assumption that the current administration should be blamed for the 2009 fiscal year. While this makes sense to a casual observer, it is largely untrue. The 2009 fiscal year began October 1, 2008, nearly four months before Obama took office. The budget for the entire fiscal year was largely set in place while Bush was in the White House.

[corrected chart]

Please click through to see the charts. And then look at Cato: Who's To Blame for the Massive Deficit? for an even better explanation,
What about the so-called stimulus, they will ask, with its $787 billion price tag? Or the omnibus fiscal-year 2009 appropriations bill? And how about Cash for Clunkers and Obama's expansion of the children's health insurance program? Didn't these all boost spending in 2009?

The answer is yes. But these boondoggles amounted to just a tiny percentage of FY2009 spending — about $140 billion out of a $3.5 trillion budget — as the pie chart nearby illustrates.

Here are some examples of how this propaganda is applied. Keep in mind as you read these and look at the charts that the 2009 budget was Bush's last budget, and began before Obama even took office.

Heritage Foundation: Bush Deficit vs. Obama Deficit in Pictures. Look at how the colors on the chart trick you into thinking that 2009 is an Obama budget year. This is just outright deceit.

Here is Heritage directly labeling the 2009 budget as Obama's in a chart.

Here is a similar use of deception in charts, by right-wing blogs.

More examples: Federal budget triples under Obama – yes TRIPLES, and After Tripling The Deficit, Obama To Try And Create Jobs With More Government Spending, and Obamanomics: Deficit Tripled in One Year

Fox News: Obama Triples Budget Deficit to $1.4 Trillion (they have since changed the headline but here is it as it appeared:) fox nation clip

Here's a good one, using a Heritage propaganda chart: Obama’s Tripling of the National Debt in Pictures

The right's noise maching is good, though, there are 27,000 websites listed if you search for "obama tripled the deficit" in quotes.

Conservative policies since Reagan have led to massive debt. Don't let them trick you by changing the colors on a chart.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:40 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

February 6, 2010

Did Bush Leave Us Bankrupt, Corrupt, Ungovernable?

From Open Left

When you sell the farm, the farm's gone.

Is it already too late for America? I’m starting to think that the anti-tax, anti-government conservative movement that started in the mid-70s, elected Reagan and led to the terrible Bush Presidency may have effectively destroyed the country, leaving it bankrupt, corrupt,ungovernable, ruled by a wealthy elite -- and we're only now just starting to realize it. To cover tax cuts we stopped maintaining the infrastructure and started borrowing. To satisfy their hatred of government we increasingly stripped away rule of law, regulation, and belief in one-person-one-vote. We are seeing the consequences of all of that coming back to roost now.

Reagan left us with massive debt and ever-increasing interest payments. Bush left us with $1.3 trillion deficits and a destroyed economy that would force further increases in the borrowing for years - to be blamed on Obama. The "free marketers" gave away our manufacturing base that will take decades and massive capital investment to recover. Obama can try, but it may just be too late to do anything about the borrowing. We need massive investment in jobs and infrastructure, and a national economic/industrial plan. But, with their own Reagan/Bush debt as ammunition, conservative ideologues continue to block every effort at investment to get out of the mess we are in.

The conservatives destroyed the regulatory structure of the government. They removed the inspectors, administrators, regulators and replaced them with corrupt cronies.

The conservatives killed off, contracted out or sold off - "privatized" - so much of our in-common resources and heritage of public structures. Water systems, oil and mineral leases, government functions, elements of the military, etc.

The conservatives destroyed the rule of law, leaving behind public perception of rule by cronyism, favoritism and mob.

The conservatives destroyed public understanding of democracy, leaving behind a one-dollar-one-vote system that their Supreme Court just formalized, along with a corporate media that works to keep people uninformed. And to make matters worse, now the telecoms can argue before Federalist Society judges that their "speech rights" are violated by rules making them carry labor and progressive websites over the internet lines they control. And forget about the idea of them ever letting anti-corporate-rule candidates raise money on "their" internet.

I hate to reference Friedman but this from last week has been sticking in my mind. He says the world is looking at the mess in the US and is turning away from democracy as a result.

[Foreigners] look at America and see a president elected by a solid majority, coming into office riding a wave of optimism, controlling both the House and the Senate. Yet, a year later, he can’t win passage of his top legislative priority: health care.

“Our two-party political system is broken just when everything needs major repair, not minor repair,” said ... who is attending the forum. “I am talking about health care, infrastructure, education, energy. We are the ones who need a Marshall Plan now.”

Indeed, speaking of phrases I’ve never heard here before, another goes like this: “Is the ‘Beijing Consensus’ replacing the ‘Washington Consensus?’ ” Washington Consensus is a term coined after the cold war for the free-market, pro-trade and globalization policies promoted by America. ... developing countries everywhere are looking “for a recipe for faster growth and greater stability than that offered by the now tattered ‘Washington Consensus’ of open markets, floating currencies and free elections.” And as they do, “there is growing talk about a ‘Beijing Consensus.’ ”

The Beijing Consensus, ... is a “Confucian-Communist-Capitalist” hybrid under the umbrella of a one-party state, with a lot of government guidance, strictly controlled capital markets and an authoritarian decision-making process that is capable of making tough choices and long-term investments, without having to heed daily public polls.


It is too late to recover?

Accountability is a first step. If the current administration would hold the corrupt actors accountable, maybe we could begin to restore governance. And the public would know who to blame for what has happened to us, enabling them to support policies that will get us out of this. But so far they won't. If they won't even investigate torture and illegally invading a country why should we expect any accountability for the financial collapse, corrupt government contracts, bribery, embezzlement, corruption and other crimes of the Bush era?

More equitable distribution of the fruits of our economy is another step. Our system worked so much better back when the top tax rate was 90%. The returns from our investment in infrastructure were more widely shared. And back when it took many years to build a fortune businesses had an interdependence with their communities. Executives needed the schools and roads and other public structures functioning well. They needed long-range business and community planning. But just imagine trying to do something about the concentration of wealth today.

So where do we go from here. Is democracy over? Is rule of law a thing of the past? Is predatory monopoly control by the largest corporations the way things are and will be? Does the world now move to governance by a wealthy elite?

Or is the winter and the rain and the snow just getting to me?

What are your thoughts?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:00 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

February 4, 2010

Roots Of Conservative Failure: Bush Called Deficits "Incredibly Positive News"

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Lest we forget where the huge deficits and debt came from...

On August 25, 2001, just seven months after taking office, George W. Bush learned that his budgets had already erased the previous administration's huge surplus -- that was paying off our country's debt at a rapid rate -- and had instead forced the country to start borrowing again. Bush said it was "Incredibly Positive News''

President Bush said today that there was a benefit to the government's fast-dwindling surplus, declaring that it will create "a fiscal straitjacket for Congress." He said that was "incredibly positive news" because it would halt the growth of the federal government.

Bush certainly wasn't the first conservative to think deficits and debt were a good thing. Conservatives had for years advocated a strategy to "starve the beast" by intentionally plunging the country into debt, forcing cutbacks in government oversight of corporate behavior such as regulatory oversight, safety inspections and consumer protections.

In the 1980 campaign for President, Reagan explained his tax cut strategy, after candidate John Anderson called for spending cuts,

"John tells us that first we've got to reduce spending before we can reduce taxes," Ronald Reagan declared in reply to the independent candidate, John Anderson. "Well, if you've got a kid that's extravagant, you can lecture him all you want to about his extravagance. Or you can cut his allowance and achieve the same end much quicker."

In his two terms Reagan quadrupled the federal debt.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:59 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

January 30, 2010

Cato: Don't Blame Obama for Bush’s 2009 Deficit

Republicans like to claim that Obama "tripled the deficit" and point to the huge 2009 budget deficit. They use charts that show the 2009 deficit was, indeed, huge and about triple the prior year's borrowing. But the 2009 budget was the last year of BUSH budgets.

When you look at charts or hear descriptions from Republicans, they always say that this was Obama's deficit. This is just propaganda- lies intended to deceive. For example, when Obama spoke at the Republican caucus retreat yesterday, GOP Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas said that Obama had "tripled the deficit." A CNN fact check addresses this,

Obama was essentially correct when he said he inherited a budget deficit of $1.3 trillion. Though the budget deficit for 2008 was a then-record $458.6 billion, the CBO issued a projection in January 2009, just days before Obama took office that the budget deficit would reach $1.2 trillion that year, before the cost of any new stimulus plan or other legislation was taken into account.
So again, Republican claims that Obama has somehow increased the deficit are just lies intended to trick people. This massive increase that was reported after the fiscal year ended Sept. 20 occurred under Bush.

Don't believe me? See the conservative Cato Institute on this: Don’t Blame Obama for Bush’s 2009 Deficit | Cato @ Liberty,

Listening to a talk radio program yesterday, the host asserted that Obama tripled the budget deficit in his first year. This assertion is understandable, since the deficit jumped from about $450 billion in 2008 to $1.4 trillion in 2009. As this chart illustrates, with the Bush years in green, it appears as if Obama’s policies have led to an explosion of debt.

[chart]

. . . But there is one rather important detail that makes a big difference. The chart is based on the assumption that the current administration should be blamed for the 2009 fiscal year. While this makes sense to a casual observer, it is largely untrue. The 2009 fiscal year began October 1, 2008, nearly four months before Obama took office. The budget for the entire fiscal year was largely set in place while Bush was in the White House.

[corrected chart]

Please click through to see the charts. And then look at Cato: Who's To Blame for the Massive Deficit? for an even better explanation,
What about the so-called stimulus, they will ask, with its $787 billion price tag? Or the omnibus fiscal-year 2009 appropriations bill? And how about Cash for Clunkers and Obama's expansion of the children's health insurance program? Didn't these all boost spending in 2009?

The answer is yes. But these boondoggles amounted to just a tiny percentage of FY2009 spending — about $140 billion out of a $3.5 trillion budget — as the pie chart nearby illustrates.

Here are some examples of how this propaganda is applied. keep in mind as you read these and look at the charts that the 2009 budget was Bush's last budget, and began before Obama even took office.

Heritage Foundation: Bush Deficit vs. Obama Deficit in Pictures. Look at how the chart tricks you into think that 2009 is an Obama budget year.

Here is Heritage directly labeling the 2009 budget as Obama's in a chart.

Here is a similar use of deception in charts, by right-wing blogs.

More: Federal budget triples under Obama – yes TRIPLES, and After Tripling The Deficit, Obama To Try And Create Jobs With More Government Spending, and Obamanomics: Deficit Tripled in One Year

Fox News: Obama Triples Budget Deficit to $1.4 Trillion (they have since changed the headline but here is it as it appeared:) fox nation clip

Here's a good one, using a Heritage propaganda chart: Obama’s Tripling of the National Debt in Pictures

The right's noise maching is good, though, there are 18,200 websites listed if you search for "obama tripled the deficit" in quotes, another 1,790 searching for "Obama triples deficit" in quotes

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:54 AM | Comments (4) | Link Cosmos

October 17, 2009

Final Bush Budget Year Ends - $1.4 Trillion Deficit

Well the last Bush budget year just ended. So how did the Republican budgets do? When Bush took office we have a HUGE budget surplus - over $230 billion. Alan Greenspan warned that we were paying off the debt too quickly. Then came Bush and his tax cuts for the rich, and the Republican spending binge.

So now? Record-High Deficit May Dash Big Plans,

The federal budget deficit soared to a record $1.4 trillion in the fiscal year that ended in September, a chasm of red ink unequaled in the postwar era that threatens to complicate the most ambitious goals of the Obama administration, including plans for fresh spending to create jobs and spur economic recovery.

Update - Oh, look, Republican blogs are claiming that the budget for the fiscal year that ended in September is Obama's budget, even though he didn't even take office until January! That;s like how FOX News puts an R after a Democratic legislator's name when they do good things, or a D after a Republican's when another one gets caught lying about an affair.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:52 PM | Comments (2) | Link Cosmos

September 7, 2009

Bailout Question

What would be different if the government had not bailed out the big Wall Street banks starting a year ago?

Serious question, what specifically would have happened differently?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:35 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

February 22, 2009

Paying Off Italy?

Read about how a contract for petentially unsafe Italian helicopters that will be used to fly the President might just be a Bush payoff to Italy for helping get us into the Iraq war, in Is the U.S. Paying Off the Italian Government for Forging the Niger Documents?,

that they were doing something extraordinarily wrong. The rigged bidding process bypassed, for example, Marine One pilots who repeatedly sought to give input. They had many safety concerns. At the time of the bid, the helicopter chosen was not certified to fly in the U.S. It was an old model made of heavy materials; this flew in the face of why the President supposedly needed a new fleet: i.e., so many extra security devices had been added to Marine One after 9/11, it was struggling to lift off. In its losing bid, the Connecticut-based Sikorsky, which had manufactured virtually all presidential helicopters since Eisenhower first ordered one, proposed a new model made of much lighter, composite materials.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:36 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

January 26, 2009

Investigating Bush Crimes

Ivan Eland of the Independent Institute says Prosecute George W. Bush for Illegal Acts. The piece begins,

The Obama administration is reluctant to turn over too many rocks in the Bush administration’s conduct in the War on Terror. Obama has pledged to reach a post-partisan nirvana, and Republicans could condemn any investigation of Bush administration abuse of the republic as a partisan witch-hunt. Also, the Obama administration has a conflict of interest in pursuing investigations and prosecutions against Bush administration officials because now that Obama is president, he may not want to entirely discredit Bush’s precedents, which significantly expanded executive powers.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:43 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

January 17, 2009

Keith Olbermann - 8 years in 8 minutes

A good summary of the Bush years.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:29 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

January 14, 2009

We Haven't Been Attacked

We were attacked on 9/11 after the Bush administration ignored a memo titled, "Bin Laden Determined To Strike In US," and went on vacation. Never forget that.

But the Republicans are spouting the "We haven't been attacked since 9/11" as an accomplishment!

We were attacked on 9/11 because they screwed up, and then they used that to divide the country and push a right-wing agenda, Dept of Homeland Security getting unions out of the government, tax cuts, invading Iraq, etc.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:57 AM | Comments (3) | Link Cosmos

December 19, 2008

The Bush Legacy

Go see: cartoon: The Bush Legacy

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:02 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

December 17, 2008

What About 9/11?

Bush says 'no debate' about his keeping US safe.

Safe? SAFE? What about 9/11? We lost the World Trade Center and more than 3,000 lives! That's not SAFE! That's about as big a failure to keep us safe as can be imagined!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:34 PM | Comments (5) | Link Cosmos

December 14, 2008

The Shoe-Thrower

Shoes thrown at Bush on Iraq trip

This is the translation of what the Iraqi show-thrower said as he threw the shoes. (Also -- In Iraq throwing a show and calling someone a dog is an extreme insult.)

First Shoe:

This is the gift from the Irakis this is the farewell kiss you dog.

Second Shoe:

This is from the widows, the orphans and those killed in Irak.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:17 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

December 9, 2008

Bush Not Moving To Ranch

George W. Bush bought his ranch just before running for President. The former cheerleader, scared of horses, who travels with a special pillow he calls his "Pilly" understood that Americans want to vote for the Marlboro Man. So the ranch was a prop to trick the press and the public into believing they were voting for the macho man.

And now, leaving the Presidency (thank God!) Bush will not return to the ranch, preferring to live among the white and wealthy. Bush's New Neighborhood Barred Non-Whites Until 2000,

"Said property shall be used and occupied by white persons only except these covenants shall not prevent occupancy by domestic servants of different race or nationality in the employ of a tenant."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:02 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

September 30, 2008

Worst President Ever

I know it is already confirmed, but I just wanted to say it again.

Worst. President. Ever.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:58 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

September 19, 2008

Let Bush Manage Bailout?

The Treasury Secretary wants the largest tax expenditure in history to be considered and passed IN A WEEK, just before an election. And then the BUSH ADMINISTRATION will manage how the bailout is handled.

Does this set off any alarm bells, people? The BUSH ADMINISTRATION is going to be in charge of deciding how trillions of our dollars are going to be allocated? The incompetent, "no bid contract," Halliburton, billions in cash disappearing in Iraq, Katrina, CORRUPT BUSH ADMINISTRATION allocating ALL THE REST OF THE MONEY IN THE TREASURY???

Hey, people, this is all of it. This is your retirement money, your hopes for a health care plan, your ability to buy food, all coming up in one massive spending bill IN A WEEK.

Tell me, what do you THINK is about to happen???

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:56 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

June 26, 2008

Remember When ...

Never forget:

BushHalo.jpg

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 19, 2008

War Crimes -- No Question, Says General

Go read: TAGUBA ON TORTURE.

A general saying the White House is guilty of war crimes! Is impeachment still "off the table?"

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 15, 2008

Finally - But For The Wrong Reasons

Bush has FINALLY decided to go after Osama Bin Laden. But, of course, for all the wrong reasons. He has finally ordered the military to engage in an all-out effort to get Bin Laden, including raids in Pakistan. But he is doing it so his own legacy looks a little better, not to protect America.

If Bush and the Republicans had wanted to protect America he would have gone after Bin Laden from the start instead of retargeting most of the military on Iraq.

Actually, if he had wanted to protect America he would have listened to the Clinton people who were trying to get the incoming Bush administration interested in fighting al Queda. Instead they completely ignored the threat and let 9/11 happen.

See Get Osama Bin Laden before I leave office, orders George W Bush,

President George W Bush has enlisted British special forces in a final attempt to capture Osama Bin Laden before he leaves the White House.

Defence and intelligence sources in Washington and London confirmed that a renewed hunt was on for the leader of the September 11 attacks. “If he [Bush] can say he has killed Saddam Hussein and captured Bin Laden, he can claim to have left the world a safer place,” said a US intelligence source.

. . . One US intelligence source compared the “growing number of clandestine reconnaissance missions” inside Pakistan with those conducted in Laos and Cambodia at the height of the Vietnam war.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 20, 2008

Pat Buchanan Goes After Bush Idiocy

Bush Plays the Hitler Card. Read the whole thing, but here is an excerpt:

In that same speech to the Knesset, Bush dismissed the idea we could ever successfully negotiate with Hamas, Hezbollah or Iran:

"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them that they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before."

But did not Ronald Reagan's negotiations with the Evil Empire, as he rebuilt America's military might, bear fruit in a reversal of Moscow's imperial policy and an end to the Cold War?

Richard Nixon went to China and toasted the greatest mass murderer of them all, Mao Zedong, when Maoists were conducting a nationwide purge: the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Yet, Nixon ended a quarter century of implacable U.S.-Chinese hostility. Was Nixon's trip to China useless?

Three years after Nikita Khrushchev drowned the Hungarian revolution in blood, Ike had him up to Camp David. John Kennedy ended the most dangerous confrontation of the Cold War, the Cuban missile crisis, by negotiating with that same Butcher of Budapest.

Were Ike, JFK and Nixon all deluded fools? For the dictators they negotiated with -- Khrushchev and Mao -- were far greater mass murderers and enemies of America than is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Bush's father negotiated with Syria's Hafez al-Assad, the Butcher of Hama, and made him an American ally in the Gulf War.

Was President Bush's father a deluded fool?

And remember, McCain took Bush's side of this.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:27 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 1, 2008

Mission Accomplished Day

Today is Mission Accomplished Day. Great Job, Bushie!

Mission-accomplished.jpg

I think maybe 70% of the public thinks Bush actually flew the plane and landed it on the carrier. (120% of FOX viewers, of course.)

Bush was a passenger. He didn't fly the plane. He isn't allowed to fly planes. Back in his National Guard days he had to stop flying when he refused to take a drug test, and then stopped showing up for duty entirely, even though there was a war going on.

Bush-FlightSuit.jpg

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 29, 2008

Pentagon Pundit Scandal Broke the Law

Please read Pentagon Pundit Scandal Broke the Law | Center for Media and Democracy.

Note that "Pentagon" means the Republican Party appointees in the administration who run the Department of Defense, which resides in the Pentagon.

The Pentagon was conducting "information operations" targeting the American public. This program was blatantly illegal.

Note that almost NO news outlets involved are reporting on this story at all. What does that tell you?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 6, 2008

On Bush and Moon

A very interesting piece here: News From Underground: Neil Bush is a Moonie. It begins,

The dark epic of Sun Myung Moon is almost totally unknown to most of us-- amazingly, considering how much power Moon wields throughout the world, and, especially, in these United States, where he has the Çhristianists in one pocket, the Bush family in another, and the UN firmly in his sights. The Bush Republicans would be nowhere without him; but, of course, the only billionairewhose vast political influence we ever hear of is George Soros, whose funds for liberal causes represent a tiny fraction of the endless cash cascading from Moon's global enterprises, which include weapons factories, the world's largest sushi supplier, certain joint ventures with the Yakuza and other sources of enormous wealth.
Well worth a read.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 3, 2008

Iraq

We/re waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 18, 2008

Meat Recall

The government was forced by an animal rights group to recall 143 million pounds of beef, after videos showed obviously sick animals being led to the slaughterhouse.

Because of Republican policies there had been fewer and fewer inspections of the slaughterhouse or meat.

USDA Orders Nation's Largest Beef Recall: Financial News,

Authorities said the video showed workers kicking, shocking and otherwise abusing "downer" animals that were apparently too sick or injured to walk into the slaughterhouse. Some animals had water forced down their throats...

[. . .] Officials estimate that about 37 million pounds of the recalled beef went to school programs, but they believe most of the meat probably has already been eaten.

[. . .] Federal regulations call for keeping downed cattle out of the food supply because they may pose a higher risk of contamination from E. coli, salmonella or mad cow disease because they typically wallow in feces and their immune systems are often weak.

This is why I do not eat meat -because of the way animals are treated in corporate America.

And this is why the public needs to understand the harm that comes from unbridled corporatization of everything. We, the People are supposed to be in control, but we are instead being herded and harvested for our cash.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 14, 2008

House Votes Contempt

When Clinton was President the Republican Congress issued more than 1000 subpoenas, and the Clinton administration complied with every single one.

Under the Republican Congress, President Bush was not issued even one subpoena. Not one. The Bush administration was allowed to get away with anything, anything it did. Impunity.

But then the Democrats took control of Congress and asked for some onformation. The Bush administration refused to provide it. So they issued a few subpoenas, and the Bush administration refused to comply. For months and months the Congress negotiated, and the Bush administration continued to stonewall and refuse to comply. Literally the definition of contempt.

So finally, finally the Congress has started to enforce the law: House finds White House officials in contempt of Congress,

The House voted Thursday to hold White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before a panel investigating the firing of several United States attorneys.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 28, 2008

Bush On Social Security in SOTU

"I borrowed a ton of money from Social Security and gave it out as tax cuts to my buddies. Now I'm supposed to start paying that money back in a few years. It is crucial that we reform Social Security so it doesn't pay for people's retirements, and therefore won't need the money I owe."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 22, 2008

Bush Lied

Here is something that blog readers know, but people outside the blogosphere have only had the smallest inkling of. We've been over many of the lies told countless times. We take it for granted, but the regular person on the street has not been exposed to this information at all. Has the TV ever once said Bush lied? No wonder there hasn't been serious support for impeachment - politicians go ask regular people and they don't know of Bush's crimes.

Maybe they will now. Read the following, and follow the link to read more.

Study: False statements preceded war,

A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The study concluded that the statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses."

The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.

How much lying?
The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

December 3, 2007

Just Another Lie To Incite War

It's like Bush is so much expected to lie that it's just acceptable, passes under the radar, even when it's in an attempt to incite a WAR! Is there anything more serious? "So what? Yawn. Who's gonna do anything about it?"

Remember Bush's October statement,

So I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously.
This statement was made after Bush is now documented to have learned from the most recent National Intelligence Estimate that Iran had abandoned any nuclear weapon development in 2003.

As Think Progress documents: Hadley: Bush Learned Of NIE’s Findings ‘In The Last Few Months,’ But Continued To Ratchet Up Rhetoric,

The central question in today’s briefing for Hadley was whether White House officials intentionally disregarded the intelligence community’s findings in order to bang the war drums against Iran. Reporters repeatedly pressed Hadley on the specific date when the White House learned about the NIE’s findings. Yet incredibly, he refused to give a “precise answer,” instead stating that it was within the “last few months.”

. . . The issue is whether the President himself lied to the public about Iran’s intentions, despite knowing that Iran was even “less determined to develop nuclear weapons.” In October, Bush told a reporter that Iran was trying to “build a nuclear weapon“:

Q But you definitively believe Iran wants to build a nuclear weapon?

THE PRESIDENT: I think so long — until they suspend and/or make it clear that they — that their statements aren’t real, yeah, I believe they want to have the capacity, the knowledge, in order to make a nuclear weapon. […]

So I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously.

So to recap: Sometime in the “last few months,” Bush learned that Iran is “less determined to develop nuclear weapons.” Yet as late as October, Bush was still claiming that Iran “wants to build a nuclear weapon.” What did Bush know and when did he know it?

But, of course, impeachment is "off the table."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 1, 2007

Bush Demands Gas Rationing, Draft, Tax Increases For War!

President Bush today called for gas rationing, a draft and tax increases to fight the greatest threat the country has ever faced.

Bush to Democrats: 'We are at war'

President Bush compared Congress' Democratic leaders Thursday with people who ignored the rise of Lenin and Hitler early in the last century, saying "the world paid a terrible price" then and risks similar consequences for inaction today.

... "Unfortunately, on too many issues, some in Congress are behaving as if America is not at war," Bush said during a speech at the Heritage Foundation.

... Bush said denial that "we are at war" is dangerous. "History teaches us that underestimating the words of evil, ambitious men is a terrible mistake," Bush said. "Bin Laden and his terrorist allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them. And the question is, will we listen?"

What? I'm sorry? You're saying he was asking for the right to wiretap without warrants, and nothing else?

Oh ... never mind.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 25, 2007

Is Iran A Threat?

Seeing the Forest: If Iran Really Is A Threat ...,

There is a way for Bush to convince the world that there really is a terrible threat from Iran and that we must deal with it.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 18, 2007

Tell Truth - Get Fired

A Bush admin. official was quoted saying Iraq hasn't made us "safer." Today - fired.

See Going off-message can be dangerous to your career - The Carpetbagger Report

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 3, 2007

Dear Mr. President

I've probably put this up before... it's time again.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 25, 2007

Bush Uses Injured Reporter As Prop

Over at All Spin Zone, “Welcome Back Bob. Now, STFU.”

Bush welcomes back Bob Woodruff, a reporter injured by a bob in Iraq. The Woodruff asks a questions, and Bush says,

“Just because I recognized you, Bob, doesn’t mean I’m going to answer your questions here.”
As All Spin Zone puts it:
(Of course, CNN obediently left out that part of the exchange in their report.)

In other words: “Thanks for being here as a prop for me, Bob, now shut the fuck up.”

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 7, 2007

The Fall Lie-Attack Started Today

Yesterday I said the lie-attack would begin this fall, but it only took a day. Yesterday I wrote,

This fall President Bush will veto a number of spending bills, saying that they spend too much money. This will be accompanied by a huge, orchestrated media campaign blasting out the message: "We told you so. Now that Democrats are in charge they have gone wild with spending."

... There will also be an orchestrated campaign to convince the public that Democrats are making their taxes go up - because of the spending.

Today, Bush's radio address, Bush sharpens budget attack on Democrats,

Escalating a budget battle with Democrats who control Congress, President George W. Bush accused them on Saturday of pushing tax-and-spend policies and renewed his veto threat.

"They are working to bring back the failed tax-and-spend policies of the past," he said in his weekly radio address. "Democrats are failing in their responsibility to make tough decisions and spend the people's money wisely."

... Bush accused Democrats of proposing in the next five years the "biggest tax increase in history" though he gave no details how he reached that conclusion. "I have made clear that I will veto any attempt to take America down this road," he said.

Let's hope my other prediction - political prosecutors indicting Democrats - does not come true.

I left out one thing from my prediction: Republicans will block every piece of legislation and then say that the Democrats aren't passing any legislation.

Update - News media plays along, check this headline: Bush rips Democratic lawmakers' failures,

President Bush accused Democratic lawmakers on Saturday of being unable to live up to their duties, citing Congress' inability to pass legislation to fund the federal government.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:21 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 2, 2007

Statement From Libby Prosecutor

It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals.

Firedoglake has a statement from Patrick Fitzgerald, Scooter Libby's prosecutor:

We fully recognize that the Constitution provides that commutation decisions are a matter of presidential prerogative and we do not comment on the exercise of that prerogative.

* We comment only on the statement in which the President termed the sentence imposed by the judge as “excessive.” The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country. In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing.
* Although the President’s decision eliminates Mr. Libby’s sentence of imprisonment, Mr. Libby remains convicted by a jury of serious felonies, and we will continue to seek to preserve those convictions through the appeals process. [emphasis added]

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

No Choice But Impeachment

The Democrats in Congress have been trying to avoid having to face what we are dealing with in this country at this time.

We have a President asserting that he is above the law. He is backed by an authoritarian political movement that feels that laws should not apply to them, either. They have been and are working to destroy the agencies of government and fracture each and every one of the institutions of civil society. They have politicized the system of justice in the country to the point where we don't just wonder, we know that people are prosecuted or left alone based on their political affiliations.

They have launched aggressive war.

The pendulum is not swinging back. This is not a normal time. This is not business as usual. We can't think that impeachment will get in the way of "getting things done."

This is about principles and the Constitution. This is about Rule of Law and democracy. This can no longer be avoided.

Watch your backs.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

The "Incredible Burden" On Bush

Four years ago President Bush said, "bring'em on." July 2, 2003, USA Today: Bush: 'Bring on' attackers of U.S. troops.

In today's Washington Post - A President Besieged and Isolated, Yet at Ease,

"I don't know how he copes with it," said Donald Burnham Ensenat, a friend for 43 years ... Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Tex.), another longtime friend who once worked for Bush, said he looks worn down. "It's a marked difference in his physical appearance," Conaway said. "It's an incredibly heavy load. When you ask men and women to take risks, to send them into war knowing they might not come home, that's got to be an incredible burden to have on your shoulders."
Oh, please. We're talking about this guy:
"'Please,'" Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, "'don't kill me.'" I must look shocked — ridiculing the pleas of a condemned prisoner who has since been executed seems odd and cruel — because he immediately stops smirking.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 11, 2007

Bush's "Stomach Ailment"

Culturekitchen has a photoessay on Bush's "stomach ailment" in Germany the other day. See The Heiligendamm Hangover | culturekitchen.

Can anyone read the label on that beer, to see if it s a non-alcoholic brand?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 18, 2007

So What?

So now the word seems to be rippling out about what has been going on in the Justice Department. Of course, bloggers have been shouting about how it was also going on in every department all along... And for once it seems like a few people beyond the bloggers actually care this time. I think at this point a majority of the informed opinion-leadership - all the liberals and even some of the conservatives (David Brooks on the NewsHour tonite, for example) - understand that the Bush administration has, basically, thrown away rule of law. The word "lawlessness" is coming up a lot.

But so what? We knew that. Great. Now more people know it. So what?

That's pretty much what Bush is saying, too. "So what? What are you going to do about it?"

And that's the question, isn't it?

Meanwhile, what does the public "know?" - in contrast to the opinion-leaders I mentioned. I scanned all three network news shows tonite and there was no mention of this supposedly huge scandal on any of them (unless I missed it.)*

But even if the public found out about all of this bruhaha -- and cared -- again, so what? No one is going to prosecute anyone for anything. I mean, they own the Justice Department and that's part of what this is about -- blocking prosecutions. They replaced everyone with Pat Robertson graduates like Monica Goodling, and fired prosecutors who were going after Republican corruption so, please, don't try to tell me anyone is going to be prosecuted.

The only "rule of law" solution available is impeachment. That ain't going to happen -- there are enough "movement" Republicans in the Senate to block impeachment even if it got that far.

So ... so what? Rule of law was so 20th-century.

Watch your backs.


* Update - No, I didn't miss it - the networks just are not covering it. Read Jamison Foser's Media Matters and Carpetbagger on this subject today.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 7, 2007

In The Tank For Bush & The Right

Is it just me, or does it seem to you like the media is much more in the tank for Bush and the right since the election?

On another subject, does it seem to you that the US Attorney scandal has faded from the news with nothing being done, leaving in place US Attorneys who let Republicans and corporate criminals off the hook, while investigating or indicting Democrats? My prediction - if these US Attorneys stay in place, the lead-up to the 2008 election will include LOTS of news stories about Democrats being investigated and indicted, and no stories about Republicans being investigated at all.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 4, 2007

Their COVER STORY Was Even Illegal

The Bush administration - again too clever by half.

Clever once: Recently Bush claimed that "executive privilege" prevents staff e-mails from being turned over to Congress. Except in an attempt to keep the e-mails away from legal scrutiny many were illegally routed through the Republican Party, which means they aren't privileged. Too clever by half.

Clever again: When the Bush administration fired US Attorney Iglesias because he didn't indict enough Democrats, they tried to explain it with a cover story claiming he was fired because he took too much time away from the office. Well, you see, Iglesias is a captain in the Navy Reserve. And there is a law that says you can't fire someone because they have to attend Reserve duty.

So Newsweek is reporting that,

Iglesias confirmed to NEWSWEEK that he was recently questioned by lawyers for the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal watchdog agency, to determine if his dismissal was a violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), a federal law that prohibits job discrimination against members of the U.S. military.

At the encouragement of Office of Special Counsel director Scott Bloch and his deputies, Iglesias said he is this week filing a formal legal complaint with OSC against the Justice Department over his dismissal on this and other grounds.

I learned about this through TPMmuckraker April 4, 2007 04:56 PM

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 30, 2007

Iran Violates Geneva Conventions

Broadcasting pictures of the captured British sailors and marines is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Unlike the United States, England has not withdrawn from that treaty.

We face here another example of the consequences of Bush's violation of the compact between a democracy and its leaders. When the leader of your country says he has information that we face imminent attack, you must believe him. Bush did this to lead us into an attack on Iraq, and was lying. So now Bush tells us that Iran is a threat to peace - and it probably is, as this recent action demonstrates. But we can not believe Bush and we can not trust that there is no hidden agenda involved.

As I have said before, if Bush and the Right's claims about Iran come out of true concern for the country, then Bush must step aside. We must have leadership that the people can trust to tell us this is so.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 24, 2007

Bill Maher Smacks Down Bush and Cheney

Through Rising Hegemon: Bill Maher New Rules 3/23, from Atrios, watch all of this:

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 21, 2007

Presidential Aides Testifying Before Congress

The latest Republican line is that Congress can't require White House aides to testify, that it would "violate precedent," etc. So see Think Progress - FACT CHECK: There Is No Precedent Barring White House Aides From Testifying To Congress,

...under President Clinton, 31 of his top aides testified on 47 different occasions. The aides who testified included some of Clinton’s closest advisors:
Harold Ickes, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff - 7/28/94

George Stephanopoulos, Senior Adviser to the President for Policy and Strategy - 8/4/94

John Podesta, Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary - 8/5/94

Bruce R. Lindsey, Assistant to the President and Deputy Counsel to the President - 1/16/96

Samuel Berger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs - 9/11/97

Beth Nolan, Counsel to the President - 5/4/00

In contrast, between 2000 and 2004, Bush allowed only one of his closest advisers, then-Assistant to the President for Homeland Security Tom Ridge, to appear in front of Congress. He has also refused three invitations from Congress for his aides to testify, a first since President Richard Nixon in 1972. Clinton did not refuse any.
Hat tip to Digby who asks,
Meanwhile, virtually all the reporters on NBC seem to not know that numerous very close white house advisors were hauled before congress during the Clinton administration. Can't somebody get them an intern?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 18, 2007

Introducing the iRack

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 16, 2007

Bush Necessarily Implicated?

This KOS diary brings up a very interesting fact: ONLY the President can fire US Attorneys. But Bush has denied making specific recommendations.

From the diary,

President Bush made "no recommendations on specific individuals," Snow said. "We don't have anything to indicate the president made any calls on specific us attorneys."

On Monday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino acknowledged that complaints about the job performance of prosecutors occasionally came to the White House and were passed on to the Justice Department, perhaps including some informally from Bush to Gonzales.

But, also from the diary,
28 U.S.C.541 provides as follows:

Sec. 541. United States attorneys

(a) The President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent
of the Senate, a United States attorney for each judicial district.
(b) Each United States attorney shall be appointed for a term of
four years. On the expiration of his term, a United States attorney
shall continue to perform the duties of his office until his successor
is appointed and qualifies.
(c) Each United States attorney is subject to removal by the
President.

So either Bush fired them, or they were fired illegally.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 15, 2007

The US Attorney Scandal & Abramoff

The US Attorney scandal is not about miscommunication of the reasons for the firings. This is what the US Attorney scandal is about:

Bush fired US Attorneys:
1) To block investigations into Republican corruption.
2) For refusing to launch sham investigations of Democrats who were innocent of any and all accusations.

For example, the prosecutor who indicted Duke Cunningham was fired.

And before THIS round of firings, there was this: Bush picks Abramoff prosecutor for federal judgeship / Democrats wonder about the timing of president's move,

..Hillman's departure from the Justice Department creates a vacancy at the top of the Abramoff investigation only three weeks after Abramoff, once one of the city's most powerful Republican lobbyists and a major fund-raiser for Bush, announced his guilty plea and agreed to testify against others, possibly including members of Congress.
And how many indictments of others, based on Abramoff's testimony, followed the exit of this prosecutor?

There are serious Republican corruption scandals out there, but now there are no US Attorneys who will investigate them. And here's the thing - if things do not change, in the months before the 2008 elections the public will be hearing about lots of Democrats being indicted for corruption.

Watch your backs!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 12, 2007

The First US Attorney Firing

The current scandal over political use of US Attorneys is not the first one. In 2002 Bush blocked a corruption investigation into Jack Abramoff by firing the US Attorney just as he was closing in. Bush replaced him with a cousin of one of the targets -- who had been recommended by the local Republican Party.

A 2005 story, Bush removal ended Guam investigation,

A US grand jury in Guam opened an investigation of controversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff more than two years ago, but President Bush removed the supervising federal prosecutor, and the probe ended soon after.
Go read about it.

The Republican corruption machine was in full operation by 2002. Here was Bush covering up Abramoff's crimes by firing a prosecutor.

The statute of limitations has not yet run out on this.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 17, 2007

End Bush's Aggressive-War Doctrine Of Preemption

In a post titled Resolve This, Digby discusses a Congressional Resolution "Disavowing the doctrine of preemption."

Please go read the "Whereas" list, which includes,

Whereas the doctrine of preemption threatens to set a dangerous precedent that might then be cited by other countries, including other nuclear powers, to justify preemptive military action against perceived threats;
And finally it resolves that,
Resolved, That--

(1) it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States possesses the inherent right to defend itself against imminent or actual attack, as codified in the Charter of the United Nations and embodied in the traditions of international law, but that right does not extend to undertaking military action in the absence of such an imminent or actual attack; and

(2) the House of Representatives disavows the doctrine of preemption because it poses a threat to international law and to the national security interests of the United States.

Now, contact YOUR member of Congress and ask him or her to co-sponsor this resolution.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 14, 2007

If Iran And Islamofascists Are A Threat: What Bush Must Do

News story: Bush: 'Preposterous' to suggest intelligence on Iran is wrong.

President Bush says that the United States faces a threat from Iran, and has repeatedly said that we are in a war for our very existence against what he calls "Islamofascists."

Perhaps he is right. But there is a problem. President Bush previously said that Iraq was threatening us with weapons of mass destruction. He even said it was an "imminent" threat and therefore we had to invade that country.

That hasn't turned out so well. So now President Bush has a credibility problem. He "cried wolf." He used up his ability to come to us and say we need to believe him.

So if President Bush REALLY believes that the country faces this terrible threat that he says we face, he needs to recognize that his credibility problem is in the way of the country's ability to believe him. If he means it there is only one way the country will respond.

He must step aside to allow a leader who the public can trust to tell us about this threat. Not him.

If there is a threat I need to hear it from someone I trust. I don't trust Bush and neither does the country.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:52 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 1, 2007

Will the US Invade Iran? Mixed Signals

Is the Administration trying to prepare the US and world publics for military action against Iran? Is Iran a threat to the US? We are seeing some mixed signals, but I two analysts I respect think that is what is going on. One of them, - an Arab, says war is coming and it is over oil.

First the signals. The raid on the home of an Iranian diplomat last week and the capture of 5 Iranians by Amreican troops is a pretty clear shot across Iran's bow. Add to that the movement of a second carrier group with Patriot missiles into the Gulf and we see a second shot - especially since Iran is the only country with missile capability that could be the target of the Patriots. And then add to this Bush's refusal to talk to the Iranian government despite the urgings of the Iraq War Commission and Jim Baker, backed up by particularily threatening remarks by the VP on Sunday talk shows, all point to an Administration getting ready to do the unthinkable again.

However, from their point of view, Iran is becoming very dangerous and has already begun an attack on the US. An ABC report today details new armor-piercing IED's being used in Iraq by but made in Iran (if ABC has its facts right). There is little doubt among most MIddle East experts that Iran's President Ahmadinejad would build nukes if he could. Ahmadinejad is in deep political trouble at home and may not be re-elected, so he is doing what national leaders have done for centuries when faced with defeat at home - start a war. Only starting a war for him is not massed troops, but IED's, Hizbullah demonstrations, training for insurgents, pressuring Saudia Arabia to raise oil prices, supplying weapons to Nigerian insurgents trying to take over the delta oil fields, etc. In other words, there is evidence that the Administrtion is right - Iran is harming US interestrs and killing US soldiers.

Is a perceived threat from Iran what is behind the Administration's war signals? Francis Fukuyama, no progressive to be sure, sees something else: he wrote yestereday in The Guardian that " certain neoconservatives [advocate] military action against Iran. Some insist that Iran poses an even greater threat than Iraq, avoiding the fact that their zealous advocacy of the Iraq invasion is what has destroyed America's credibility and undercut its ability to take strong measures against Iran. All of this could well be correct. Ahmadinejad may be the new Hitler; the current negotiations could be our Munich accords; Iran could be in the grip of undeterrable religious fanatics; and the west might be facing a "civilisational" danger."

But, he continues, " I believe that there are reasons for being less alarmist....What I find remarkable about the neoconservative line of argument on Iran, however, is how little changed it is in its basic assumptions and tonalities from that taken on Iraq in 2002, despite the momentous events of the past five years and the manifest failure of policies that neoconservatives themselves advocated. "

In other words, Fukyama thinks the Bushies are being pushed by trhe remaining no-cons - i.e., the American Enterprise Institute - who refuse to accept anything other than the use of overwhelming military force as the solution to all of America's problems, even when the evidence that it does not work is obvious in Iraq.

Jamal Dijani, Director ofr Middle East Programming for LinkTV, sees a much more complex picture. Dijani daily program on Link TV, Mosiac, features news broadcasts from Arab, Iranian, Israelie television, translated into English, so he sees the detail that Fukyama, and the Administration, miss. His take, posted on YouTube, is that Saudia Arabia and the Sunni Community of the Middle East is already in a proxy war with Iran and the US is on the Sunni side - in effect, in a proxy war with Iran. Privately, Jamal has told me that he thinks the Administration will attack, with oil being as much part of the motivation as regional politics.

While I think both Fukuyama and Dijani are correct, I think there is something much more simple going on, the Administration is panicked. Bush and Co. realize that the Congressional testimony of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that Bush has committed the worst military and diplomatic fiasco is American history is right, and that Bush will be forever known as our worst ever President and have the blood of thousands of Americans and Iraqis on his hands. Moreover, they are panicked that Rep. Waxman's investigations of the management of the occupation will turn up massive corruption inside the Administration and among big time Republican donors - leading to jail time for Republican appointees and fat cats, and the elimination of Republicans from the White House for decades.

The White House is panicked and is trying to do anything they can to either (1) Fix it - i.e, the "surge"; (2) Blame someone else, and since it won't stick to Clinton they are trying to tar the Iranians, and (3) if all else fails, start a war with Iran so they can rally the base, repeat "War President" to every question, and shut down Congressional investigations .

Hopefully, as Fukuyama says, while the neo-cons and panicked White house refuse to change, What may change is the American public's willingness to listen to them. Then all we have to worry about is blood for oil.

Posted by Patrick O'Heffernan at 1:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 31, 2007

On Bush's Use Of "Democrat Party"

In the State of the Union speech, President Bush again referred to the "Democrat Party." Media Matter discusses this insult, and looks at the term's history.

Matthew Yglesias writes about Bush and other Republicans repeatedly using the infantile, schoolyard taunt "Democrat Party" when talking about the Democratic Party.

To call someone by something other than the name he wishes to be called by is rude. To make a mistake is forgivable, but to persist -- deliberately -- in declining to use your adversary's proper name is rude and insulting. It's not a big deal unless you take standing up for yourself to be a big deal. When Democrats go on TV and let a conservative get away with the phrase "Democrat Party" it's signaling that Democrats are weak. They're too weak to stand up for themselves. They're too weak to have a sense of group solidarity or party loyalty. They're inclined to let things slide. They don't want to make a scene. They don't like to have a fight. They're weak. Is a political party that can't even protect its own name really going to keep America safe?

... But the fact that this would seem petty and bizarre is the point: "Democratic" is the correct word and this isn't an obscure point. That everyone lets conservatives say "Democrat" over and over again is part of establishing mainstream acceptance of the idea that the conservative media operates in an accuracy free zone. They're propagandists and that's okay by the MSM -- no need to get things right!

I hwrote about this when Rep. Boenher insulted Speaker Pelosi while handing her the gavel, when Bush did it the day after the election and a year before that, and in 2002 I wrote about the John Birch Society origins of the insult.

Update - Paperwight weighs in:

And it does matter, because it's just a punkass bully trick to show people who's the boss. I had a boss who did this to me once, and it was a deliberate attempt to belittle me. The difference between me and the Democrats is that while I chose not to engage in a career-limiting move by calling my boss a petty jackass, the Dems could actually enhance their position by calling the Republicans on this bullshit:
President Bush/Mitch McConnell/Newt Gingrich/John Gibson/Frank Luntz calling the Democratic Party the "Democrat" Party makes me wonder why any American would take this guy seriously. I mean, there are only two major political parties in the United States, and this guy apparently only knows the name of one. It makes you wonder if they can remember where their front door is, or if they have to ask their wife every morning.
Problem solved. You're not whining, you're not complaining, and your opponent is the dumbass who can't remember your name. And then if they say "oh, I know the name" then they can't ever get it wrong again. This game is not hard, people. Attack, always attack. Force your opponent to defend, request, explain.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 24, 2007

State Of The Union Response

From a four-year-old, speaking for all of us:

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 23, 2007

President Bushes "Ozoned" Al Gore. And The World Is Paying The Price.

Co-written with James Boyce

It's a day of celebration and sadness for those of us who follow the global warming issue. On one hand, Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" received a well-deserved Oscar nomination. Congratulations to all involved but especially Laurie David and Lawrence Bender for their wonderful work in bring the Vice-President's presentation to the big screeen.

However, tragically, today the summary and highlights of the definitive report on global warming was leaked. This 1,600 page report will showcase once and for all, that global warming is real, we are causing it and "the future is dire."

So how is it, one might ask, that we didn't take global warming seriously earlier? Especially when we have an an advocate like Al Gore on the national stage.

It's because the right wing ozoned Al Gore. They mocked him for his concern. The called him "Ozone Man." Like pathetic schoolyard bullies, they picked fun at him, made him uncool.

Who led the charge?

In 1992, the first President Bush:

"This guy is so far out in the environmental extreme we'll be up to our necks in owls and outta work for every American."

In 2000, the second President Bush said of Al Gore

He "likes electric cars. He just doesn't like making electricity."

So when President Bush stands up and talks about global warming, think of Al Gore. He stood up fifteen, twenty years ago, and got mocked for his courage and vision.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 22, 2007

Accomplished

Through a reader, TPM asks,

So, here's my question to you: can you think of one thing between last year's SOTU and this year's SOTU that Bush can claim as an accomplishment?
I swear, the very next headline I saw was: U.S. image around world sharply worsens: BBC poll

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 17, 2007

Believe In The Plan

Bush believes. Do YOU believe?

Just don't look down.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 15, 2007

Alternative Plans

A man burned down his neighbor's house. Confronted by an angry crowd, he lectured them, "Well, then, what is your plan for this house not being burned down?"

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 12, 2007

Bush Still President - Corruption, Coverups Continue

Bush is still president, and still has the power to fire prosecutors who go after Republican corruption.

Cunningham Prosecutor Forced Out,

Carole Lam, the San Diego U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the corrupt former lawmaker, is being quietly pushed out by the Bush administration.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 11, 2007

The Escalation

Thoughts:

Surge is a focus-group word, designed to sell an escalation of the war. The strategy is to deflect the incoming Democrats' argument for winding down the war by offering the opposite. And look what we are all discussing. This places "stay the course" as the reasonable middle ground.

It is ALWAYS about appearances and political strategies not reality or the good of the country with this crowd.

EVERYone said from the start that 250-500,000 troops would be needed to occupy Iraq. Bush didn't do this because sending that many troops would undermine political support for the Republican Party. With enough troops there could have been a peaceful Iraq following our illegal invasion. The Iraqi people have paid the real price for this - not us. Yes, we have lost over 3,000 troops dead and how many injured and how many "contractors" and how much money? But the Iraqi people have suffered the loss of hundreds of thousands and of the possibility of going on with their lives in peace - and are instead entering into a horrible civil war because of Bush's choices.

Bush has not asked for tax increases to pay for the war, either. Because it would undermine political support for the party. Instead he offered candy - tax cuts.

Party over country.

Bush and his surrogates say we are fighting "Islamofascism" and it is the worst threat America has ever faced - and then says "go shopping." Fight the worst threat the nation has ever faced by going shopping? Because any kind of sacrifice would undermine support for the Republican Party. Meanwhile fear changes the way people think, and leads much of the population to more easily accept the authoritarian agenda of the right.

Party over country.

In the face of the worst threat the nation has ever faced, and declining readiness of our military - "stretched too thin" - Bush does not ask for a draft to protect the country. Because that would be politically unpopular and undermine support for the Republican Party.

No draft to protect the country. No taxes to pay for the war. No lowering of oil use to cut finding to terrorists states. Nothing that might undermine support for the Republican Party.

Party over country at every turn.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 8, 2007

The Path To Impeachment

AlterNet: Will Bush Provoke a Constitutional Crisis?,

The new Democratic Congress will likely subpoena documents that the White House may refuse to hand over -- if that happens, we may witness a struggle that puts our democratic republic on the brink.
The path to impeachment: Congress will ask for information that the public is entitled to - it is OUR government.
The upcoming hearings will undoubtedly include demands for information that the Administration has up till now refused to provide.
Bush will refuse,
... The Bush administration has been historic in its refusal to share information with Congress or the public.
The, either the Congress impeaches to assert the authority of We The People over the government, or they back down and allow a dictatorship.

At that point Congress will have several options:

# It can make angry noises while in actuality accepting Administration intransigence.

# It can pass legislation establishing a special prosecutor.

# It can appeal to the courts by suing the Administration.

# It can establish a select committee or otherwise threaten impeachment against whatever officials it decides to hold accountable, from the President and Vice-President through cabinet members and other top officials.

And it will be us - you and me - bloggers and readers - who demand that the Congress uphold democracy.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:18 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 7, 2007

Why Did We Invade Iraq?

The question that has never been satisfactorily answered - WHY did we invade Iraq? If you ask 100 people you will get 50 different answers - which means that no one really understands.

Future of Iraq: The spoils of war - How the West will make a killing on Iraqi oil riches ,

Iraq's massive oil reserves, the third-largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies under a controversial law which is expected to come before the Iraqi parliament within days.

The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972.

The huge potential prizes for Western firms will give ammunition to critics who say the Iraq war was fought for oil. They point to statements such as one from Vice-President Dick Cheney, who said in 1999, while he was still chief executive of the oil services company Halliburton, that the world would need an additional 50 million barrels of oil a day by 2010. "So where is the oil going to come from?... The Middle East, with two-thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies," he said.

Maybe that explains this, from the "Energy Task Force" that did its work BEFORE the invasion, Cheney Energy Task Force Documents Detail Iraqi Oil Industry:

Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force appeared to have some interest in early 2001 in Iraq's oil industry, including which foreign companies were pursuing business there, according to documents released Friday by a private watchdog group.

Judicial Watch (search), a conservative legal group, obtained a batch of task force-related Commerce Department papers that included a detailed map of Iraq's oil fields, terminals and pipelines as well as a list entitled "Foreign Suitors of Iraqi Oilfield Contracts."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

December 27, 2006

Ford's Mistake

Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, which prevented a full criminal investigation and trial. He felt it would help to heal the country, which had been through assassinations, riots and the divisive Vietnam war. But the pardon had the unintended consequence of creating an impression that those in the highest office really aren't accountable to the public if their actions violate the law.

Four years later the Reagan administration picked up right where Nixon's had left off, and got caught. Other select insiders made the decision not to pursue Reagan.

As chair of the Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, Hamilton chose not to investigate President Ronald Reagan or President George H. W. Bush, stating that he did not think it would be "good for the country" to put the public through another impeachment trial.
At a time when thousands were being sent away for years for smoking a joint or doing a line, the country was learning that things really are different for those at the very top.

Bush1 then pardoned everyone involved, especially those being pressured by Lawrence Walsh to testify against him for his own possibly criminal part in it. The public got the message clearly that time.

So by the time Clinton took office the public was ready to believe that all of the country's leaders are corrupt and pay no price for it. The conservatives had an opening to demand that a President finally be held to account. It's the old Seeing the Forest Rule: Republicans accuse others of what they are in fact doing themselves. They accused Clinton of everything, but the investigations found nothing. They impeached him anyway. Now the public understood just who the rules were for and not for. After what Nixon, Reagan and Bush1 had gotten away with, Clinton didn't even have to break any rules, yet he was impeached.

And so here we are. Bush2 can do anything with impunity - and says so with a smirk. His cronies loot, lie and steal. The public and especially the Washington insider class are conditioned to accept that this is the way things are done. All partly tracable back to Ford's subversion of accountability. A mistake. A big one.

Let's learn from Ford's mistake. HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE! Demand that the actions of those in power in the last six years are investigated and any crimes discovered are punished to the fullest extent of the law. Let's set the country and democracy back on course.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

December 7, 2006

HOW Stupid?

Just HOW stupid does Bush think people are? Just WHAT does he think people will fall for? President Bush said this today, about 9/11,

"And one of the things that has changed for American foreign policy is a threat overseas can now come home to hurt us"
Today is Pearl Harbor Day. Which reader will be the first tell us in the comments what happened on December 7, 1941?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Bush: "Jim Baker can go back to his day job."

I guess we know the answer to "Will Bush listen?"

James Baker's New Test In Diplomacy, Co-Chair Of Iraq Study Group Has Been A Political Operative And Statesman, Often To The 1st President Bush - CBS News,

But this president may not be in much of a hurry to accept Baker's ideas about that — or much else. Asked if Baker would help implement the report, a spokesman for Mr. Bush said, "Jim Baker can go back to his day job."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 17, 2006

Is Bush Drinking Again?

Rumors persist, and come from increasingly reliable outlets. James Wolcott's Blog: Big Hangover

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 13, 2006

Dumping Bad News Into the Next Two Years

I co-authored a post at Huffington Post with Michelle Kraus: The Blog | Michelle Kraus: Plan B: On Taking Down the Quarter... Democrats Take Notice, looking at the possibility that the Bush administration will start dumping all the saved-up bad news into the next two year, hoping Democrats get the blame. Corporations, knowing they're going to have a bad quarter anyway, often dump all the bad news they can find into that quarter...

Democrats Take Notice

Think long and hard about Bush and the announcements made the day of the Democratic victory Wednesday of last week. Rumsfeld's firing had the "take no prisoners" demeanor of a Titan of industry cutting the fat from his earnings loss. Could this action presage a continued corporate approach to handling the Democratic takeover of the House and Senate?

CEOs, knowing they are going to report a bad quarter, often throw all the "bad news" they can into that quarter. They write down all the losses they can dig up, and instead of reporting a bad quarter they report a really bad quarter and take it all in the shorts at the same time. This clears the books, and they can start fresh the next quarter to the applause of Wall Street.

Is this an analogy for what Bush is planning to do to the Democrats? There is a lot of "bad news" that has been saving up for the last six years ... massive deficits, a huge trade deficit year-after-year with its resulting highest-in-history current accounts imbalance, the housing bubble, the deteriorating Iraq war -- all individually damaging, but grouped together enough to drag the whole country down. And now the administration has the Democrats in both Houses to blame for the consequences of the (lack of) policies of this lame duck President and his band of buffoons.

Earlier this year Bush suspended oil purchases for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which brought down the price of a barrel of oil for the elections. Now the price will begin to escalate again and the price of gas will top $3.00 again soon. The Chinese and other central banks are diversifying away from the dollar and the dollar is falling. The nation's savings rate has been negative for five quarters and the GDP last quarter was an anemic 1.6%. The stage is set.

Rumsfeld's firing and the Baker commission only address Iraq and "the market's" perception of that business unit. Undoubtedly, Iraq was the straw that broke this election and in business terms -- the market's rejection of the company's stock price. It is when one pulls back the curtain and the economic framework of the country is revealed in all its global fragility that the dirty little secrets of this administration will spin out of control. As we said, there is a LOT of bad news saved up for Bush to dump on the Democrats - and the country. The Democrats will need to have a coherent long term plan and powerful leadership to withstand these assaults.


Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 7, 2006

Clowns

I know it's election night, but look what these clowns did. The White House doctored the Mission Accomplished speech video so it doesn't show the Mission Accomplished sign anymore!

Clowns.

PS Here's the White House page. Click "View."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 2, 2006

Go See Olbermann

Anyone who hasn't yet seen Keith Olbermann's special comment yesterday should absolutely, absolutely see it.

Crooks & Liars has it.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 18, 2006

Don't Forget The July 10, 2001 Meeting

Here's something very important that dropped out of the news. After ignoring bin Laden from the time they came into office, the Bush administration also ignored very clear warnings that an attack was imminent. (Except Atty. General Ashcroft didn't ignore them - he started chartering jets instead of flying on commercial airlines.)

Remember this? Two Months Before 9/11, an Urgent Warning to Rice,

On July 10, 2001, two months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, then-CIA Director George J. Tenet met with his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, at CIA headquarters to review the latest on Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Black laid out the case, consisting of communications intercepts and other top-secret intelligence showing the increasing likelihood that al-Qaeda would soon attack the United States. It was a mass of fragments and dots that nonetheless made a compelling case, so compelling to Tenet that he decided he and Black should go to the White House immediately.

Tenet called Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser, from the car and said he needed to see her right away. There was no practical way she could refuse such a request from the CIA director.

For months, Tenet had been pressing Rice to set a clear counterterrorism policy, including specific presidential orders called "findings" that would give the CIA stronger authority to conduct covert action against bin Laden. Perhaps a dramatic appearance -- Black called it an "out of cycle" session, beyond Tenet's regular weekly meeting with Rice -- would get her attention.

And this?

Records Show Tenet Briefed Rice on Al Qaeda Threat ,

A review of White House records has determined that George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, did brief Condoleezza Rice and other top officials on July 10, 2001, about the looming threat from Al Qaeda, a State Department spokesman said Monday.

... Officials now agree that on July 10, 2001, Mr. Tenet and his counterterrorism deputy, J. Cofer Black, were so alarmed about an impending Al Qaeda attack that they demanded an emergency meeting at the White House with Ms. Rice and her National Security Council staff.

According to two former intelligence officials, Mr. Tenet told those assembled at the White House about the growing body of intelligence the Central Intelligence Agency had collected pointing to an impending Al Qaeda attack.

And this? Think Progress: Intel Officials: Rice’s July 2001 Briefing Described Urgent Threat, ‘10 On a Scale of 1 to 10′

Simon Rosenberg is launching NDN :: Campaign to Get Condi to Come Clean

Four Questions Secretary of State Rice must answer about the July 10th Meeting

Over the last two weeks conclusive evidence has emerged that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice received warnings
about imminent Al Qaeda attacks well before September 11th 2001.

Bob Woodward’s State of Denial provides specific details of an emergency meeting held on July 10th between Rice and CIA Director George Tenet and Director of the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center Coffer Black. In his crisis briefing Tenet warned of an imminent Al Qaeda strike, possibly in the United States.

Yet in statement after statement Rice has implied that she was not adequately warned about possible Al Qaeda attacks, and that she was not told of a possible attack on the United States. Meanwhile, details of this emergency meeting did not appear in the official report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (the 9/11 commission,) despite being covered in depth by Tenet in his sworn testimony and reported by Time Magazine in 2002.

NDN believes that the Secretary of State must answer these four critical questions about the July 10th meeting. If she does not provide honest and adequate answers to these four questions, the American people will be forced to conclude that she and others lied about what they knew to cover up their inadequate response to the Al Qaeda threat.

******

Question 1: Why do you continue to deny that an “emergency meeting” took place on July 10th 2001 between yourself, CIA Director George Tenet and Director of the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center Coffer Black?

Go read the rest.

AND Go sign this petition, demanding Declassification and Release of Documents relating to the July 10, 2001 meeting!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 13, 2006

FEAR and Elections

I have been hearing ads on the radio talking about what to do to prepare for a possible terrorist attack, and directing peope to this government site: Ready.gov - Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed.

I wonder why the Bush administration chooses now to remind everyone to be prepared...

And on a completely, absolutely unrelated point, check out this GREAT post at DailyKos, The Science Behind Scaring The Bejeebers Out Of Voters

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 9, 2006

All You Need To Know About The State Of The World

Why is the world the way it is right now? Go read this: Rox Populi: All You Need to Know is Contained in the First 13 Pages

Remember as you read this, George W. Bush is the "Leader of the Free World."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Description of Bush

Over at Talking Points Memo Josh Marshall describes Bush's method of operation:

chest-thumping followed by failure followed by cover-up and denial
Today it's Korea.
President Bush came to office believing that Clinton's policy amounted to appeasement. Force and strength were the way to deal with North Korea, not a mix of force, diplomacy and aide. And with that premise, President Bush went about scuttling the 1994 agreement, using evidence that the North Koreans were pursuing uranium enrichment (another path to the bomb) as the final straw.

... All diplomatic niceties aside, President Bush's idea was that the North Koreans would respond better to threats than Clinton's mix of carrots and sticks.

Then in the winter of 2002-3, the US prepared the invade Iraq, the North called Bush's bluff. And the president folded. Abjectly, utterly, even hilariously if the consequences weren't so grave and vast.


The Republicans are going to try to blame Clinton for this. They have developed a narrative for it - but it is yet another lie to cover up that the conservative approach just does not work. But this is entirely the fault of Bushism.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:17 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 17, 2006

If The "Islamofascist" Threat Is Real

If the Bush administration truly believes that “Islamofascism” and Iran are threats to the very survival of the United States, then for the good of the country there are steps they can take to get the public to rally behind the effort.

First, they need to recognize that they have lost credibility because of their “mistake” about Iraq’s WMD. They said the United States needed to invade Iraq because we faced an imminent threat, an they were wrong - with the severest of consequences for the United States and the Middle East. So it is hard for the public to trust that they are right now. If we really do face such a serious threat then for the good of the country Bush and Cheney should declare that Iran is a serious enough emergency to warrant that they leave office and ask the Congress to put in place leadership that the American public and the world can trust.

Second, they should immediately implement the draft, so that there will be sufficient forces available to prevail in what they are saying will be a decades-long “clash of civilizations.”

Third, they should immediately repeal their tax cuts and impose an additional 50% surtax on incomes above $250,000. This is necessary to immediately balance the budget and begin paying down the massive debt they have accumulated. The country will need to be strong financially to purchase the necessary weaponry.

This fourth suggestion is really important. The Republican election strategies are tearing the country apart. If they really do believe that we are in a war for the country’s survival they should stop this stuff right now. Calling people traitors does not motivate them to join arms with you against a common enemy. A divided country is a weakened country. President Bush (before resigning and requesting that the Congress bring in credible leadership) should DEMAND that the Ann Coulters, Rush Limbaughs and John Bohners and his other surogates stop attacking other Americans as unpatriotic, and begin working to bring the country together.

They would do these thing if they really do mean what they say, and all this talk isn’t just another cynical, divisive election tactic.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 29, 2006

Will Bush Justice Dept. Investigate ANY Incidence Of Corruption?

No.

The summary of the ... inspector general’s report said the United States attorney’s office in Washington had been given the report and decided not to conduct a criminal inquiry into the matter.

Details:

  • ... improperly hired a friend on the public payroll for nearly $250,000...
  • ... used his government office for personal business, including running a “horse racing operation” in which he supervised a stable of thoroughbreds he named after leaders from Afghanistan, including President Hamid Karzai and the late Ahmed Shah Massoud...
  • ... repeatedly used government employees to do his personal errands and that he billed the government for more days of work than the rules permit...
  • ... hiring of phantom or unqualified employees...
  • ... violated rules meant to insulate public television and radio from political influence...
OK, so the Bush Justice Dept. WON'T investigate that. What WILL happen to the guy?
His renomination by President Bush to another term ... is pending before the Senate. ... Emily Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman, said President Bush continues to support Mr. Tomlinson’s renomination.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 23, 2006

Why Bush Policies Are The Way They Are

If you are wondering why Bush sounds SO far, far right lately - things like his new war against Islam ("Islamofascists") theme - it's because of who he is spending time with.

Yes, it is that bad.

Update - OK, yes, I was being too insider there, and need to explain for those not familiar with Power Line. Power Line is a far, far right-wing weblog. This is the Democrats-are-terrorists-who -must-be-executed-for-treason and immediately-nuke-Iran crowd. Power Line has a big picture of Ann Coulter - in an ad from Scaife's NewsMax - on its front page right now.

On Monday Power Line quoted a recent column calling Democrats "covert enemies ... in our midst" and went on to write that Democrats and liberals are,

a segment of our society that wields great power and wishes its own country great ill. I would only add that these liberals want us to lose, not just in some small corner, but with their whole hearts; in fact, our defeat is the only thing they whole-heartedly work for.
That was Monday. On Tuesday the person who wrote that was getting a personal tour of the Oval Office from President Bush.

The news that Bush is spending time with (i.e. endorsing and validating) the far-right webloggers is very, very distressing to say the least.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:31 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 21, 2006

Bush: Hedgehog on Hallucinogens

The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Bush Accuses Right-Wing Bloggers Of Distorting Facts

Nitpicker: Bush: Right wing bloggers are distorting the facts

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 12, 2006

August 2001 All Over Again - Except With Donors?

Remember how Bush received an August, 2001 CIA warning that bin Laden was going to use airplanes to attack America -- and went on vacation instead of acting on the warning? Here we go again: AMERICAblog: With America under "imminent attack," Bush stays on vacation and holds a BBQ at his ranch for rich Republican donors

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 23, 2006

Going Around Congress On Taxes

Congress won't completely kill the "Estate Tax" -- taxes on income from money that is inherited. So what do the Republicans do? They get rid of the tax auditors, giving a green light to just skip paying the tax.

I.R.S. to Cut Tax Auditors,

The federal government is moving to eliminate the jobs of nearly half of the lawyers at the Internal Revenue Service who audit tax returns of some of the wealthiest Americans, specifically those who are subject to gift and estate taxes when they transfer parts of their fortunes to their children and others.

The administration plans to cut the jobs of 157 of the agency’s 345 estate tax lawyers, plus 17 support personnel, in less than 70 days. Kevin Brown, an I.R.S. deputy commissioner, confirmed the cuts after The New York Times was given internal documents by people inside the I.R.S. who oppose them.

Are these auditors necessary?
Over the last five years, officials at both the I.R.S. and the Treasury have told Congress that cheating among the highest-income Americans is a major and growing problem.

The six I.R.S. tax lawyers, some of whom were willing to be named, all said that clear evidence of fraud was pursued vigorously by the agency, but that when audits showed the use of complicated schemes to understate the value of assets, the I.R.S. had become increasingly reluctant to pursue cases.

Taxes - and laws - are for the "little people".

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 22, 2006

A Post Everyone Should Read

Daily Kos: What Did You Expect, America?,

Would you hire a babysitter who hates children and thinks they should be eliminated? Or who declares for years in your hearing that children are irritants who should be starved to be small, unseen and mute?

Would you hire cops who think laws are stupid and useless and should be abolished?

Would you hire a conductor for your orchestra who believes music itself an abomination?

Then why would you hire - and you did hire them, America; they are your employees, after all, not your rulers, despite their grandiose pretensions - members of a political party who think government is useless, ineffective, bloated and untrustworthy?

[. . .] In electing Republicans, America, you put people in charge of institutions they overtly, caustically loathe and proudly proclaim should not exist.

[. . .] Kee-rist on a pogo stick.

If you put people in charge of running a project they are ideologically committed to proving a failure, it will fail.

Oh, go read the whole thing.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 21, 2006

The Christian Right

Mary at Pacific Views: What Does the Christian Right Want?

Mary lays out the case, and you should read it.

Although many people know the Religious Right is very influential in the Bush administration, not so many know what their goals are in the long run. Their goals are nothing less than the destruction of our democratic society and the imposition of a society that would harshly punish unruliness, dissent and any disobedience to the rule of the theocrats – those who they believe God put in charge.
It's for real. Don't ignore them. They mean it.

Watch your backs.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 20, 2006

Survivor Lebanon - Like Katrina, Americans On Their Own Again

Bush greenlights Israeli bombing of Lebanon with 25,000 Americans in-country and no plan for evacuation. Just like what happened when Katrina struck New Orleans, once again Amercans are left on their own while Republican government pursues a hidden ideological agenda and protects the interests of a select few.

This contrast between right-wing and public interest was also clear in 2003, when Bush interrupted his vacation to fly overnight to Washington to sign "emergency" legislation keeping brain-dead Terri Schiavo alive against her and her husband's wishes. This from the same President who two years before had received the August, 2001 intelligence warning titled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US" and left FOR vacation.

And this time it's the same, with the Middle East in crisis Bush acts -- not to protect living Americans, but by vetoing the only bill he has vetoed, refusing to allow stem cell research because the discarded, frozen embyos must stay frozen. But Bush refuses to act to try to ease this crisis or to protect the 25,000 Americans trapped in Lebanon. Instead, surrogates smear them, just like how they smeared the victims of Katrina, in an attempt to provide PR cover and distract Americans.

The great Bob Geiger said to me this is like a TV show, "Survivor Lebanon," so I'm stealing the line. Because so-called "conservatives" believe in a philosophy of "you're on your own" and "everyone out for themselves," Americans are left trapped in a war zone while Bush vetoes stem cell legislation instead of working for peace.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:12 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 12, 2006

Bush Still Won't Attend Soldiers' Funerals

President Bush has yet to attend even a single soldier's funeral. But now at least we know why.

AlterNet: Blogs: PEEK: Bush finally explains why he won't attend U.S. soldiers' funerals,

From a Stars & Stripes interview via Edward M. Gomez, the president finally addresses the reason he hasn't been to a single funeral:
Bush, who famously dodged the regular-forces draft during the Vietnam War era, then went AWOL from his National Guard duty post in Texas, said: "Because which funeral do you go to? In my judgment, I think if I go to one I should go to all. How do you honor one person but not another?"
Or: There's too danged many! Yeah, like, over 2500 now.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 11, 2006

Bush Admits Tax Cuts Responsible For $296 BILLION Budget Deficit!

When Bush took office the United States had a projected budget surplus of $305 billion. After Bush's 2001 tax cuts that surplus disappeared and the budget went into deficit. At that time Bush said this was "Incredibly positive news."

President Bush said today that there was a benefit to the government's fast-dwindling surplus, declaring that it will create "a fiscal straitjacket for Congress." He said that was "incredibly positive news" because it would halt the growth of the federal government.

Today Bush said,

"The tax cuts we passed worked," Bush told a White House audience of aides and Republican members of Congress.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 10, 2006

Getting Out of Iraq

Read this.

I have had two objections to the idea that we can "just leave" Iraq. One is that US and British troops are pretty much the only buffer preventing all-out civil war. The problem with this is that Bush is in charge and incompetent, so we do not have enough troops in Iraq to prevent a slower meltdown, which is occurring. The responsible thing to do is beg the UN to take over and send enough troops and promise to pay for the whole thing.

My second objection is that the idea that you can start a war and then call "time out" is ridiculous. Imagine of the Japanese had decided to "just leave" that war after the invaded Pearl Harbor - that just was not in the cards. And it probably isn't in the cards for us either. Sure, we can "just leave" Iraq but that doesn't end the war we started. It just brings it here.

Here is an idea. We created the mess. We destabilized the country and unleashed the forces that are tearing the country apart now - with the civilians in the middle. What if we offer to bring anyone who wants to come here transportation and a place to live? (Provided they are not in one of the militias, etc.) And then, maybe we CAN "just leave."

I mean, with Bush in charge, anything you or I suggest is about as likely to happen as anything else (not), so why not propose the world? It doesn't make any difference.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:00 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 7, 2006

Americans Don't Trust Bush - It's Their Fault, Not Bush's

The government leaked news of a plot to bomb a tunnel and flood New York. This time the President and the right-wing chorus are not calling for the execution of the leakers.

It turns out the suspects were arrested months ago, and the news leak held for the beginning of Bush's new PR effort to try to bring up his poll numbers.

No, it's not a change in policy. It's a new media strategy.
So it might or might not be for real. The problem is that Bush's credibility is so low that half of Americans just don't believe anything he says. Of course, that's their fault, not Bush's.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 22, 2006

Looting Pensions and Eating Seed Corn

One more thing Bush will be remembered for: getting rid of pensions.

And by the way, where do you think the money went? When Reagan started the process, tricking people into thinking that a 401K - you put your money in - was somehow better than a corporate pension - they put money in FOR you - corporate profits started the big rise. That was the beginning of a huge transfer from future retirements to the very rich. But that wasn't enough, so the corporations also started underfunding their pension plans. Knowing they had a coming obligation they did not put the necessary money into the pension funds, instead sending the money to the top. And now, under Bush - who is still working to get rid of Social Security - corporations like United Airlines are cancelling pensions.

This is about OUR retirement savings, gone into the pockets of the Bush cronies. And what do the people who stole the pensions get? Tax cuts.

But wait, there's more.

It's not JUST our retirement savings that Bush is handing over to his cronies. You know that there is a huge budget deficit, but what do you think the budget deficit IS, anyway? Is it magic money from nowhere to pay for tax cuts for the rich, and the Iraq war? Of course not! Bush is borrowing trillions of dollars, handing it out to cronies (sometimes literally in duffel bags), and borrowed money has to be paid back with interest. Who do you think will have to pay that money back?

But wait, there's more.

Our tax dollars built America's infrastructure. Infrastructure is roads and bridges and water lines and schools and bank account insurance and regulations and all the things that support our economy. Every time a truck makes a delivery (sending profits upward) that truck drove on roads WE built. But are you and I - the public - sharing in the profits that come from the infrastructure we built? Who is our economy FOR, anyway? The corporations and rich are now largely excluded from paying taxes to maintain those roads, and America's infrastructure is crumbling. By not investing in infrastructure, Bush and his cronies are "eating our seed corn." So when we want to start rebuilding the infrastructure, who do you think will be paying?

We've all got a LOT to thank Bush and the Republicans for. And you're going to have some long, impoverished years to think about it.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 20, 2006

Bush Proves Government Can't Work?

I meant to post about this the other day. A letter to the editor, MercuryNews.com | 06/17/2006 | Government can't handle health care,

In reading the report of fraud by bogus victims of Katrina (Page 6A, June 14), I don't find myself surprised that our society has people of such low character. I'm also not surprised that we have government employees who do such an inept job of administrating my tax dollars. What does surprise and baffle me is that there are still people that think our health issues can be improved and even solved by these same types of government employees.
Republican incompetence used to prove that Republicans are right.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:53 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

More Wingnuttery

Attack of the Bloggers,

While the Democrats can attempt to capitalize on a wave of voter discontent for this election cycle, an initial infatuation with the Dems will pass quickly, once voters realize that this is still the same party that brought us sky-high interest rates, federal binge spending, the replacement of prayer in school with the gospel of gay pride, and endless womanizing in the Oval Office.

In fact, twenty years down the line, I wouldn’t be surprised if our much-maligned President George W. Bush is regarded as one of our finest Presidents. Why? Because—when we faced an unprecedented attack on domestic soil on 9/11, the President responded with courage, strength and, yes, even restraint. He showed himself to be a voice of reason in an age dominated by those who would rather cow-tow to international thugs than to offend the ACLU.

Etc...

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:35 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 1, 2006

Bush Said 9/11 Humorous

Peter Daou has unearthed a 2003 Ladies Home Journal interview with the Bushes, in which they describe having a laugh on 9/11.
Read it.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 31, 2006

What War Is

What should you expect when you start a war? A "cakewalk" was how one leading Republican described it, back when they were trying to get it started, trying to sell it like soap - or, more accurately, like a video game experience. PLEASE read the linked piece, in which he talks about "fear-mongering" military analysts, to see how we got into the mess we are in.

The mess we are in: U.S. troops kill pregnant woman in Iraq

U.S. forces killed two Iraqi women — one of them about to give birth — when the troops shot at a car that failed to stop at an observation post in a city north of Baghdad, Iraqi officials and relatives said Wednesday.

Nabiha Nisaif Jassim, 35, was being raced to the maternity hospital in Samarra by her brother when the shooting occurred Tuesday.

Jassim, the mother of two children, and her 57-year-old cousin, Saliha Mohammed Hassan, were killed by the U.S. forces, according to police Capt. Laith Mohammed and witnesses.

THIS is what war is. THIS is what the Republicans have brought us.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 23, 2006

Corruption In Iraq

Through Juan Cole, this LA Times story, In Corruption, New Government of Iraq Faces a Tough Old Foe,

Iraqi government documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times reveal the breadth of corruption, including epic schemes involving hundreds of millions of dollars in government contracts, as well as smaller-scale cases such as the purchase of better grades by university students and the distribution of U.S.-issue pistols as party favors by a former Justice Ministry official.

"We are seeing corruption everywhere in Iraq — in every ministry, in every governorate," said Judge Radhi Radhi, head of the Commission on Public Integrity, Iraq's anti-corruption agency.

But what kind of system would we EXPECT Bush and the Republican Culture of Corruption to set up - an honest one? HA!

If you are an American soldier, you can thank the Republican Culture of Corruption for this:

Corruption helps fuel the insurgency too, Radhi said. "The terrorists help the criminals, and the criminals help the terrorists," he said. "Without corruption, we would have been able to defeat the terrorists by now."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 9, 2006

Wingnuts Catching On?

From a right-wing blog with the slogan "Elections and politics with a Conservative bent." PoliPundit.com : The Contradictions and Lies

Somebody please explain how the following statements can all be true:

1. El Presidente Jorge Arbusto opposes “amnesty” for illegal aliens

2. The Bushistas define “amnesty” as giving illegal aliens citizenship

3. El Presidente supports giving citizenship to illegal aliens

(Links to Washington Times story...)

My observations:

1) You discover Bush saying one thing and doing another? Welcome to my world. (It took you six years? Maybe there are vitamins or something you can take.)

2) You cite the Washington Times as a source for anything? The MOONIES? What's up with that?

3) The comments say the author is a RINO now. ("Republican In Name Only")

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 26, 2006

Miserable, Miserable Falure

The headline reads, Percentage of Uninsured Americans Rising, but "rising" is a dramatic understatement:

The percentage of working-age Americans with moderate to middle incomes who lacked health insurance for at least part of the year rose to 41 percent in 2005, a dramatic increase from the 28 percent in 2001 without coverage, a study released on Wednesday found.
28 to 41 percent in five years! Actually, the story itself calls it an "explosion."
The report paints a bleak health care picture for the uninsured. "It represents an explosion of the insurance crisis into those with moderate incomes," said Sara Collins, a senior program officer at the Commonwealth Fund.
And people without insurance put off treatment until things get very expensive - or worse.

Bush's forced decline of America accelerates.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 24, 2006

More WATB Republicans

You often see the letters "WATB" on blogs these days, usually describing Republicans who whine and cry about how everyone is so mean to them and persecutes them. WATB stands for "Whiney Ass Titty Baby." And without further ado, here is today's example. Drudge headline, "JAGGER REFUSES TO GIVE BUSH HOTEL ROOM..." which links to News: Mick beats George to suite,

“Bush’s people seemed to be under the impression that they would just hand over the suites but there was no way Mick was going to do that.”

The classically-designed suite is said to be among the top 100 hotel rooms in the world. It boasts a 7ft 4in bed, chandeliers and oil paintings.

OK, just imagine that Clinton was still President. How would this story be covered? Clinton demanding that people give up their rooms so he can sleep in luxury, etc.

By the way, did you know that Bush travels with a special pillow, that he calls his "pilly"?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 22, 2006

Makes Your Head Explode

Digby: The Worm Turns,

Listening to George W. Bush's speeches for the last five years, particularly after 9/11, is like having someone sing "It's a small world after all" over and over and over again. It was bad the first time. Now it makes you want to stab your ears with a letter opener.
Best line of the day.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 15, 2006

Matthews and Speaking Fees

I'm working on an article for AlterNet, about Chris Matthews' speaking fees and repeating right-wing nonsense about liberals and Democrats. I'll let you know when it's posted. Until then, please visit Think Progress and Raw Story.

Update More at Open letter to Chris Matthews.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:45 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 22, 2006

Some UAE Trade Background

Sirotablog: The Dirty Little Secret Behind the UAE Port Security Flap

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:49 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Actually Opposing Something Bush Did?

JustOneMinute is all superior, because the cult is actually complaining about something Bush did. I say give it a few days - the cult leaders are working on it. Limbaugh is saying it's all just Dems being racists, and they're trying the "Bush didn't know" defense, etc. So does the veil lift? Of course not:

I think our initial knee-jerk response on this (mine included) was wrong.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:57 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 11, 2006

This reminds me of a bumper sticker: "Nixon is no longer The Worst President Ever!"

We can't think of a president who has gone to the American people more often than George W. Bush has to ask them to forget about things like democracy, judicial process and the balance of powers — and just trust him. We also can't think of a president who has deserved that trust less.

This is how the New York Times editorial board choose to lead off their editorial entitled: The Trust Gap. An extraordinary statement, in my opinion, coming from the country's "newspaper of record", the epitome of the "mainstream" press... the editorial makes it clear that they believe that the President and his administration cannot be trusted, at any level. I wonder when they'll make the next logical conclusion from this, and call for impeachment?

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at 10:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 7, 2006

Resistance from the right...

CounterPunch just published an essay by Paul Craig Roberts, a Reagan Administration acolyte, that is as much of a barn burner as anything published by the usual suspects on our side as I've seen:

We have reached a point where the Bush administration is determined to totally eclipse the people. Bewitched by neoconservatives and lustful for power, the Bush administration and the Republican Party are aligning themselves firmly against the American people. Their first victims, of course, were the true conservatives. Having eliminated internal opposition, the Bush administration is now using blackmail obtained through illegal spying on American citizens to silence the media and the opposition party.
Before flinching at my assertion of blackmail, ask yourself why President Bush refuses to obey the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The purpose of the FISA court is to ensure that administrations do not spy for partisan political reasons. The warrant requirement is to ensure that a panel of independent federal judges hears a legitimate reason for the spying, thus protecting a president from the temptation to abuse the powers of government. The only reason for the Bush administration to evade the court is that the Bush administration had no legitimate reasons for its spying. This should be obvious even to a naif.
The United States is undergoing a coup against the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, civil liberties, and democracy itself. The "liberal press" has been co-opted. As everyone must know by now, the New York Times has totally failed its First Amendment obligations, allowing Judith Miller to make war propaganda for the Bush administration, suppressing for an entire year the news that the Bush administration was illegally spying on American citizens, and denying coverage to Al Gore's speech that challenged the criminal deeds of the Bush administration.

Read more at the URL above.

Perhaps Dubya's extremism is going to foster a radical re-alignment of American politics... talk about politics making strange bedfellows, the array of Bush Administration critics grows broader and more diverse every day... it amazes me that, if for no other reason than pure political survival instincts, more of the Republican members of Congress haven't taken pains to distance themselves from the Adminstration, or at least put a heel on its initiatives (although the recent close vote on the budget, a two vote margin, would seem to indicate that at least a few, obviously very few, Republicans are beginning to show concern).

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at 5:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 6, 2006

Pre-Senile Dementia?

Truthdig - Ear to the Ground - Does Bush Have Pre-Senile Dementia?

Watch the film clip.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:28 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 5, 2006

Iran

I don't know if Iran is developing nuclear weapons. I don't know how far they are from doing so if they ARE developing nukes. And I can't trust the current government of the country to tell the truth on such matters - especialy with an election coming in November. Four years ago they used war fear to blatantly manipulate the election.

In my opinion, if Iran IS developing nuclear weapons, and is close to capability, it is a very serious threat to millions of lives directly and to overall world peace indirectly. But this was also the case if Iraq was developing nukes -- and it turned out that they weren't, that it was all just a lie.

If Iran Really Is A Threat ... there is an way for Bush to do something about it that everyone will accept and respect. Go read what that is.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 2, 2006

SOTU: The Anti-Sheehan: Who is Dan Clay?

Saw this article by Kat Aaron on New York's Indymedia while searching for info re: Cindy Sheehan's arrest.

She quotes the Shrub thusly:

"Marine Staff Sergeant Dan Clay was killed last month fighting the enemy in Falluja," Bush said. "He left behind a letter to his family, but his words could just as well be addressed to every American. Here is what Dan wrote: 'I know what honor is. It has been an honor to protect and serve all of you. I faced death with the secure knowledge that you would not have to.... Never falter! Don't hesitate to honor and support those of us who have the honor of protecting that which is worth protecting.'"

Fairly generic and conventional, right? Well, read what else Mr. Clay had to say, in his last letter home to his parents (which has been publicly posted on the 'net):

"This letter being read means that I have been deemed worthy of being with Christ. … This is not a bad thing. It is what we hope for. The secret is out. He lives and His promises are real! It is not faith that supports this .... but fact and I now am a part of the promise. Here is notice! Wake up! All that we hope for is Real. Not a hope. But Real."

Sounds about as nutty as your average Islamic fundamentalist's conviction that blowing himself up in the name of Allah is a guaranteed ticket to heaven. God help the rest of us trapped between these two mentalities. Can't we just lock them all up in a room together and let them fight it out among themselves, and leave the rest of us out of it?

Aaron points out that Bush is clearly making a thinly veiled effort to reach out to his evangelical Christian base by selecting this particular casualty from among the 2000 plus other alternatives available (and there is no doubt that the choice was deliberate)... but that the rest of the world, particularly Muslims already suspicious of the motives behind the war, are just as likely to hear the message, and interpret it as validation that what is happening in Iraq is a Christian "crusade" against Islam. The Bush Administration can't be so tone deaf as not to realize this, so one can reasonably assume that such a perception isn't that far off... or that Bush doesn't give a damn about the reaction of the rest of the world, and the implications such a reaction will have for national security, and the safety and security of Americans abroad and our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and the success of their missions there.

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at 4:43 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 31, 2006

SOTU

Believe it or not, I had to go to a business function this evening. I watched the SOTU from a DFA event, then had to leave before I had a chance to write about it.

But .. Dont't forget Mars!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 14, 2006

Bush disexplains Medicare Drug Benefit

[The man can't think his way out of a paper bag. My cat would make a better President!!!

Bob Fertik's contention that Bush is a literal puppet, echoing whatever comes down over his wireless prompter, is looking better and better...

Courtesy George Margolin on Dave Farber's Interesting People mailing list.

-Thomas]

BUSH EXPLAINS MEDICARE DRUG BILL - - Verbatim Quote submitted on 2005

WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: "I don't really understand. How is it the new
plan going to fix the problem?"

Verbatim Response (Bush)

"Because the - - all which is on the table begins to address the big
cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example,
is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage
increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the
formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those
different cost drivers, affecting those - - changing those with
personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more
likely to be - - or closer delivered to that has been promised. Does
that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a
series of things that cause the - - like, for example, benefits are
calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the
increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate - - the
benefits will rise based upon inflation, supposed to wage increased.
There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into
effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the
promised benefits grow, if those - - if that growth is affected, it
will help on the red."

[Actually, re-reading his statement... this is CEOspeak. They have no clue how most of the stuff that comes in front of them actually works, all they know is the big picture, the most basic and fundamental aspect of what a proposal is supposed to accomplish and how that will occur: "reduce cost drivers" by "changing the way benefits are calculated". Bush is just too stupid to say anything that simple (setting aside the question of how true such a contention is). -Thomas]

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at 6:44 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 5, 2006

Screw Impeachment!!!

We've got more important things to deal with - Bush is a figurehead... we're barking up the wrong tree by focusing our energy on him and impeachment, which would be nothing more than a symbolic beheading of the beast, and ultimately change nothing. Bush is not the problem, and centering attention on him distracts from the very real Constitutional crisis his presidency, and our Congress, have engendered via the war on (some) terror.

What is vastly more important, is to reverse the "use of force" authorization that Bush contends gives him (and just as importantly, when you're talking about impeachment, anyone who replaces him) carte blanche to ignore the Constitution's built in checks and balances, and declare non-operative any and all laws he finds inconvenient, as evidenced by today's headline in the Boston Globe (sourced via truthout.org): Bush Could Bypass New Torture Ban - the cynicism of his actions in this matter is appalling beyond measure, and should outrage Americans of all political persuasions, if it could only be brought to their notice.

The "use of force" authorization is the most Constitutionally dangerous cop-out that our Congress has ever passed. By permitting the President to act as if we "at war", without defining who the enemy is, what the terms of "victory" are, or putting any sunset date on the authorization for the use of force, Congress has basically put the nation on a permanent "wartime" footing (as far as I can tell, it will take exactly what I am advocating, an explicit repudiation by Congress, to end it), and decisively shifted the balance of power in our system of government in favor of the executive. Reversing this open-end and Constitutionally dangerous measure, and putting explicit constraints and defined limits on Presidential authority in its place (along with sunset provisions), is the single most pressing public policy initiative we face -- and it is one that should unite sane people of all political persuasions: right, left, center, libertarian, green, liberal and conservative.

... and yet, you hear almost nothing about action on this front, not from the pundits, not from the politicians, not from the blogosphere. Any complaints you hear from mainstream political circles regarding Bush's behavior in office pertain to "abuse" of the power granted him, rather than any fundamental questioning of the nature of the beast. In March of 2002, Michelle J. Kinnucan wrote an article entitled: Rethinking the 'Authorization for Use of Military Force' in which she quotes reservations about the open-ended nature of the resolution by several "reluctant" endorsees.

Where is the rising chorus of concern about the resolution itself? Bush's sole legal authority for his ever more clearly imperial presidency lies in his status as a commander-in-chief during wartime, and the "use of force" authorization. Eliminate that, and Bush's actions become vastly more legally tenuous, possibly to the point where even today's apparently somnolent judiciary might begin to take alarm.

If you're not outraged, then you're not paying attention, and if you don't think reversing the "use of force" authorization is more important than impeaching a puppet President who is nothing more than a proxy for the neo-conservative conspiracy to undermine the Constitution and put in place an imperial Presidency free of Constitutional, legislative, or judicial constraint, then you're REALLY not paying attention.

If anyone out there is listening, if anyone has influence with the 'net and the political sphere's movers and shakers, please do everything in your power to get them to take on this issue and move this meme into the national dialogue.

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at 12:03 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

December 20, 2005

The Soviet Threat

A quick comment. FISA comes from a time when we were in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. By saying that we are fighting a "new kind of war" and that the terrorist threat is so serious that he has to set aside the existing laws, Bush is saying that this is worse than the threat we faced from the Soviet Union. Laws like FISA were put in place to help us keep our liberties while dealing with the threat we faced from the Soviets.

But the Soviet Union was a superpower: a modern, industrial, oil-rich state with a sophisticated national intelligence apparatus, a massive military infrastructure, millions of soldiers and sailors and tens of thousands of nuclear weapons and the missiles, submarines and airplanes with which to deliver them.

Think about what Bush is saying about the threat we face, compared with the threat we faced in the Cold War.

Bush's words are trees that distract us. See the forest. It's just fear, handed to us by leaders who want control. This is nothing even remotely as serious as the threat from the Soviets. Bush pumps it up to terrorize us, and keep the public under Republican domination.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Even kings couldn't do this

[Got this in my email this morning from a friend. -Thomas]

Even kings couldn't do this

As you know, James II was forced out as king in 1688/9 and replaced with
William III. Once William was in power, Parliament passed the
Declaration of Right, which is usually called the English Bill of
Rights. After some introductory clauses, the very first two paragraphs
state:

That the pretended power of suspending the laws or the execution of laws by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal;
That the pretended power of dispensing with laws or the execution of laws by regal authority, as it hath been assumed and exercised of late, is illegal;

In other words, not even kings have that power. Just thought you might
find that useful. You can see the whole Declaration here:
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/england.htm

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at 2:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Our Little Stick President

On the front page of the L.A. Times Monday morning, they carried a photo of Bush standing in front of this painting of Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt's most famous phrase is Speak softly and carry a big stick.

George Bush, on the other hand, has been claiming that he just has to amplify his message so the American people understand his position better. Bush's motto is Speak loudly and carry a little stick.

Whatever happend to Osama Bin Whatsisname? You know. The Muslim dude? Blew up a building somewhere? Yeah, that guy.

Posted by Gary Boatwright at 12:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

December 13, 2005

Confused

Bob Geiger thinks Bush is Just Too Damn Quick on His Feet

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

December 2, 2005

Worst President Ever

It's official.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 28, 2005

Another Surprising Call For Impeachment

Brad DeLong,

The Bush administration: worse than you can imagine, even after taking account of the fact that it is worse than you can imagine.
But really, read the whole post, because it is about the mess in Iraq and a call for Bush's impeachment and trial "along with the rest of the president's men" by Martin van Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University, "the only non-American author on the U.S. Army's required reading list for officers."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 15, 2005

Bush Going Nuts?

The other day I linked to a story about Bush drinking (and used a great photo). Today there are reports coming out that Bush is having stability problems. AMERICAblog has this, Very disturbing story about Bush's state of mind in the Wash Times magazine which links to a Washington Times/Insight Magazine story,

President Bush feels betrayed by several of his most senior aides and advisors and has severely restricted access to the Oval Office, administration sources say. The president's reclusiveness in the face of relentless public scrutiny of the U.S.-led war in Iraq and White House leaks regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame has become so extreme that Mr. Bush has also reduced contact with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, administration sources said on the condition of anonymity.
Drudge has it, too. Atrios says it's scary.

Remind me - is the Washington Times from the LaRouche cult? Yes, I know it's the Moonies, but for some reason the wingnuts think the Moonies have credibility and read the Washington Times, but don't think the LaRouches have credibility. Go figure... So when talking to right-wingers I like to say the Washington Times is the LaRouches, because then they grt agitated and explain that they get their news from a DIFFERENT crazy billionaire right-wing cult leader... Heh.

(Also at Unfogged)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 13, 2005

Drunk With His Finger On "The Button"

Drunk with his finger on "the button." I can't think of anything more dangerous.

See also A short burst on Bush's Alcoholism, including Dry drunk syndrome


(Yes, I am re-linking to this video.)

(Thru Atrios this time. Pic.)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 12, 2005

The President Betrayed Us

Yesterday I wrote that it was an obvious point of honor that a leader should resign if he takes a country to war for what turns out to have been a mistake - or a lie.

Bush went to war on a claim that Iraq was about to attack us with WMD. When it became clear there were no WMD the honorable thing to do would be to resign. War is serious business, and there is no room for mistakes - or lies. If you go to war over WMD and there aren't WMD the right thing to do is step aside and let someome else take your place. Simple as that.
But what happened with Iraq is far worse than that.

Watching Bush's speech yesterday I thought about something I wrote more than two years ago:

When the President of the United States tells you that there is a serious and imminent threat you don't really have a choice. You just have to go along. Our LIVES depend on believing him. Even if you can't see the threat it's the President's JOB to be looking out for it. ... Maybe he knows something he can't tell you. You don't have a choice. And, most important, no president has ever betrayed that trust before and it is hard to imagine one so corrupt that he would.

But BEFORE, we had no choice, really, because we HAVE TO trust that when the President says there is a threat to our lives, he is telling the truth!

. . . Now that it's over and we can look back and see what Bush did, it is absolutely essential for our own protection that we get Bush out of there. We can't trust and believe him next time, and next time there might actually BE a threat!

Once a President abuses that essential trust, everything about our country and our "compact" with our government changes. It's just like what happened with Katrina - these people really don't care and really are not interested in protecting the public. That is not how they intend to use the power they have been given by us. I think that's where we are today.

Look how Bush and the Right treat us. We are fellow Americans, but they view us as the enemy just as surely as the terrorists who attacked the country are the enemy. During his campaign Bush said "I am a uniter, not a divider." But division is Bush's trademark. It is his tool. Before the Iraq war Bush went to the Congress and asked them to stand with him against an imminent threat. And they supported him. Now, in his Veterans Day speech he used that support to further divide us. The speech was supposed to be a non-partisan American event, not a Republican Party rally. But the President used this setting to lash out at half the country, calling us traitors for questioning why we are "at war" in Iraq. Yes, his surrogates call us traitors - and now he does too. From the speech:

"The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. (Applause.) These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them. (Applause.) Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. (Applause.) And our troops deserve to know that whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united, and we will settle for nothing less than victory. (Applause.)"
We are only starting to understand the significance and consequences of Bush's betrayal. We can not trust Bush again, and many here and around the world will never be able to trust the United States again. This is especially serious because there still are countries and people who might really be preparing to attack with these weapons. Because of what Bush has done America can no longer sound the alarm. Who would believe? Who could be sure it isn't just another mistake - or trick? This is a dangerous situation.

Watch your backs.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:33 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 11, 2005

Drunk? On Film

Bush drunk? Sure looks that way. Watch the clip.

(Thanks to What Really Happened.)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Bush Said Stand With Me, Now Blames Those Who Did

I just watched Bush's speech, on CNN. Basically he said that Democrats who acted patriotically when asked to stand alongside their President -- who said we had an urgent "imminent" "mushroom cloud" threat to the country -- and trusted what the Bush Administration told them, are to blame for the mess we're in. I guess he's saying they should have known better.

I think we all know better now.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:40 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 2, 2005

Leaking CIA Agent Identity - Funny Joke

After refusing to fire Libby and Rove for endangering national security by leaking the identity of Valerie Wilson, Bush makes jokes about it.


Wonkette - President Bush Does the Macarena,

At a roundtable with Latin American journalists, Bush proved that no matter how bad things get, it's important to keep your sense of humor:
Q Mr. President, in Argentina, you will have a bilateral meeting with President Kirchner. THE PRESIDENT: Si. Q What I want to know -- sources of the government told me that they would ask you about more cooperation on support for Argentina, you know, in the IMF fund -- THE PRESIDENT: IMF. Q Exactly. THE PRESIDENT: Please don't tell me that the government leaks secrets about conversations to the -- Q Well, I have my sources in the government. THE PRESIDENT: You do? Okay, well I'm not going to ask you who they are, of course. (Laughter.) Q No, please. THE PRESIDENT: Inside joke here, for my team.
Er, yeah. Perhaps you should have tried to keep things inside to begin with, eh?

Speaking of things that shouldn't get let out of the bag, we also liked his response to a question about Argentina building a nuclear reactor in Venezuela: [go to source for the rest]

Big funny. I wonder if Valerie Plame's contacts and co-workers are laughing. We don't know how many are in prison -- or dead. We don't know where the WMD she was trying to keep out of the country have landed.

Did the joke bomb?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:45 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 29, 2005

Never Forget

Never forget that the massive government budget deficits were intentional. When the Clinton surplus started to shrink, Bush called it "incredibly positive news."

PRESIDENT ASSERTS SHRUNKEN SURPLUS MAY CURB CONGRESS,

President Bush said today that there was a benefit to the government's fast-dwindling surplus, declaring that it will create ''a fiscal straitjacket for Congress.'' He said that was ''incredibly positive news'' because it would halt the growth of the federal government.
And then the Republicans, controlling Congress, started spending like there was no tomorrow. See The Republican Spending Explosion, from the far-right-wing Cato Institute,

Total federal outlays will rise 29 percent between fiscal years 2001 and 2005 according to the president's fiscal year 2005 budget released in February. Real discretionary spending increases in fiscal years 2002, 2003, and 2004 are three of the five biggest annual increases in the last 40 years.

. . . Congress has failed to contain the administration's overspending and has added new spending of its own. Republicans have clearly forfeited any claim of being the fiscally responsible party in Washington.

Massive tax cuts for the rich, massive spending increases on "pork" and military. Massive borrowing from China and Japan...

Bush has never vetoed a spending bill - or any other bill, for that matter. And as far as I know he has never fired anyone. No oversight, no accountability, no standards, no restraint.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 21, 2005

High Standards

Crony Jobs

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at 6:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Bush National Guard Story Breaking?

Oddly, this is at the far-right wingnut site WorldNetDaily: Miers panel to hear 'explosive testimony'? Gag order lifted for ex-lottery boss claiming Miers kept 'lid' on Bush Guard controversy,

As WorldNetDaily has reported, Littwin allegedly was fired by Miers because he wanted to investigate improper political influence-buying by lobbyists for GTECH, the firm contracted to run the lottery.

Corsi believes that Littwin, according to an examination of hundreds of contemporary Texas newspaper accounts, will be able to establish under oath that the GTECH contract was preserved on a no-bid basis by then-chairwoman of the Lottery Commission Miers in order to "keep the lid on" the National Guard controversy involving then-Gov. Bush.

The lobbyists included Ben Barnes, the former Texas lieutenant governor who claims he pulled strings to get Bush into the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.

GTECH agreed to release Littwin from his gag order under pressure from Senate Judiciary Committee attorneys, Corsi said.

Littwin, who was hired by Miers in June 1997 and fired just five months later, wanted to reopen the GTECH contract for competitive bid, according to Corsi.

. . . When Littwin sued GTECH over losing his job, Barnes gave a five-hour deposition. But GTECH settled with Littwin for $300,000, under the condition that he destroy all documents pertaining to the litigation, including the Barnes deposition.

Until now, Corsi reports, Littwin has been under a gag order as part of his "negotiated settlement" with GTECH, under which he would suffer a $50,000 penalty if he discussed openly any details of his Texas Lottery employment.

Corsi says insiders following the Texas Lottery Commission scandals believe Littwin's testimony is "potentially explosive."

What's this doing at WorldNetDaily?? My guess is someone on the right is sending a shot across the bow of someone in the White House.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:21 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 12, 2005

Americans Favor Impeachment

[Readers will recall my previous articles on the topic. Looks like the 'net roots has been successful at raising the funds to hire professional pollsters, and the results are beginning to come in. Rove is above to lose his ability to spin media coverage of public opinion unchallenged. -Thomas]

For Immediate Release: October 11, 2005

Poll: Americans Favor Bush's Impeachment If He Lied about Iraq

By a margin of 50% to 44%, Americans want Congress to consider impeaching President Bush if he lied about the war in Iraq, according to a new poll commissioned by AfterDowningStreet.org, a grassroots coalition that supports a Congressional investigation of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

The poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, the highly-regarded non-partisan polling company. The poll interviewed 1,001 U.S. adults on October 6-9.

The poll found that 50% agreed with the statement:

"If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable by impeaching him."

44% disagreed, and 6% said they didn't know or declined to answer. The poll has a +/- 3.1% margin of error.

Among those who felt strongly either way, 39% strongly agreed, while 30% strongly disagreed.

[click on the link above for more infomation]

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at 4:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 5, 2005

Can't Wait!

World Can't Wait: Drive Out the Bush Regime!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 29, 2005

Bribing Zogby to Poll on Bush Impeachment

[UPDATE2: Polling on Impeachment

Does the public favor an investigation into grounds for impeachment of President Bush? We have no way of knowing, because the pollsters aren't asking. The After Downing Street coalition has begun collecting donations to hire mainstream professional pollsters to ask the questions that need to be asked. It doesn't take much money, but can have a tremendous impact. Learn more and contribute here:

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/polling]

[UPDATE, 1 a.m.: The email/campaign mentioned below is obsolete, being replaced by a much larger scale campaign. Check out Raw Story on Friday, the 30th (tomorrow/today) for details. This per Luke Ryland. -Thomas]

Got this email in my box today... here's the scoop: Zogby did a poll in June on whether Bush should be impeached if he mislead the nation about the reasons for going to war in Iraq. 42% of the public said "yes". At that point, Zogby indicated that he would do a follow up survey... but he hasn't done one since, and last week he said he wouldn't (interview with RAW STORY), unless someone paid him to (claims he wants to avoid losing his "neutrality").

Here's what the email says (excerpt):

If the Pro-impeachment camp can't raise the money for this, we're not much of an anti-bush movement are we? THIS would make a difference! Surely we anti-bush activists can raise $5000 or even $10000. There is no minimun donation amount, but I think most people would consider $5 affordable and reasonable. If not, whatever you can afford is fine. Shoot, if we get 5000 people to donate $2 each, or 10,000 people to donate $1, we're on our way. I already have 3 pledges of $100 and one for $50, so we've got $350 in the kitty and are off to a good start. If for any reason this effort fails and this doesn't work out, all the money donated will be returned, less the 2.9% +$0.30 cent fee that PayPal takes for business and premier accounts.

If this sounds like a concept, you can donate here (full text of email reproduced "below the fold"... click on "more").

Here's the source material:

Raw Story - Zogby responds to calls for new impeachment poll

Luke Reyland is pissed, says that Zogby is in Rove's pocket.

Full contents of original email (slightly edited):

Last week, John Zogby was interviewed and asked about doing a poll on impeaching bush (article below). He said he would not ask any questions on impeaching bush on his own initiative, that he would only do it if he is hired to do it. I called Zogby and he confirmed that he will do poll questions on Impeaching Bush and related matters if he is paid to do it.

I don't see anybody else coming forward, so it looks like it's up to us. If we don't raise the impeachment question in a poll and introduce it to the public, nobody else is going to do it. And we desperately need this kind of information out there, to get the impeachment movement rolling, to start the conversation, and to reach people who aren't involved now, maybe out of intimidation and fear, and who need some support and encouragement to stand up and speak out. Once there is one poll and it is in the public domain, more polls and more discussion will follow.

I've opened a PayPal Business account under the name Zogby Impeachment Poll. There can be several people "on" a Business account with different levels of access which I why I chose this one, so there will be checks and balances and no one will think anyone (me) is playing around with the funds. We also need a business account to accept credit cards and debit cards. (The Premier Account has the same fees, but only one person can have access.)

If the Pro-impeachment camp can't raise the money for this, we're not much of an anti-bush movement are we? THIS would make a difference! Surely we anti-bush activists can raise $5000 or even $10000. There is no minimun donation amount, but I think most people would consider $5 affordable and reasonable. If not, whatever you can afford is fine. Shoot, if we get 5000 people to donate $2 each, or10,000 people to donate $1, we're on our way. I already have 3 pledges of $100 and one for $50, so we've got $350 in the kitty and are off to a good start. If for any reason this effort fails and this doesn't work out, all the money donated will be returned, less the 2.9% +$0.30 cent fee that PayPal takes for business and premier accounts.

Please join in and contribute whatever you can, no matter how little. Every dollar counts and every dollar will help.

Here are the details of how it will work.

We could either have our own poll, if we had a lot of questions, or we could be included in what they call the "bi-monthly omnibus" with only one question or a few. We would be provided with the poll results and all the demographic breakdowns: age, religion, sex. red state/blue state, etc.

The cost is $2000 for the first question, $1000 for every additional question. (There is a discrepancy on the cost of the first question, it may only be $1000.)

We also need to have people submit the questions they would like asked. You need to take some time with this and try to phrase the questions the way poll questions are worded, so there is no implications or slanting. I have a Zogby poll, provided by Luke/Lukery who started this whole issue going that I have uploaded to the files section of Aggressive Progressives so those members can check it out. I will send the poll to any owner who wants it for the file section of their group.

I'd also like to get a website up, one that looks decent, one page is all that is necessary. I'll buy the domain name and pay for the hosting. Is there anyone out there who does web pages and would like to volunteer? (Maybe I can do it myself, but I haven't done a web page in 3 years, so I'm rusty and not up to the latest technology and I'd like it to look somewhat professional.)

I'd ideally like to raise at least $10,000 to ask an array of questions, on impeaching bush and cheney, opening a new investigation on 911, the plame case, criminal charges for Katrina, etc.

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at 1:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 23, 2005

Reminder

A reminder of Bush's "not drinking" as recently as 1992. (He says he quit in 86.)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 21, 2005

Bush Drunk Again?


BUSH'S BOOZE CRISIS
,

Faced with the biggest crisis of his political life, President Bush has hit the bottle again, The National Enquirer can reveal.

Bush, who said he quit drinking the morning after his 40th birthday, has started boozing amid the Katrina catastrophe.

Family sources have told how the 59-year-old president was caught by First Lady Laura downing a shot of booze at their family ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he learned of the hurricane disaster.

His worried wife yelled at him: "Stop, George."

[. . .] A Washington source said: "The sad fact is that he has been sneaking drinks for weeks now. Laura may have only just caught him — but the word is his drinking has been going on for a while in the capital. He's been in a pressure cooker for months.

True? We report, you decide.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 14, 2005

Like a Child

At Crooks and Liars, through AMERICAblog, watch the video of Bush "taking responsibility." Sheesh.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 12, 2005

Where was George?

By sheer coincidence, I ran across a t-shirt I bought at Earth Day in 1990 (or thereabouts) just the other day. It is turquoise, with a the question "Where was George?" (in this case, Bush Sr.) blazoned across the fron in red and white stripes. At this point, sixteen years later, I have no idea what self-evident event the original creator was referencing, but when I saw it, the question seemed rather prescient. Here's a posting to an email list I'm on (Dave Farber's Interesting People) that provides an answer (email addresses deleted):

From: Rich Kulawiec
Date: September 12, 2005 8:11:26 AM EDT
To: David Farber
Subject: Katrina event timelines

(for IP, if you wish)

Thanks to BoingBoing ( http://boingboing.net/ ) I've found these
two instructive resources:

Think Progress - KATRINA TIMELINE
http://www.thinkprogress.org/katrina-timeline

The Angry Panda Wiki | Topics / Hurricane Katrina Timeline
http://www.theangrypandashow.com/wiki/Topics/HurricaneKatrinaTimeline


After working through them, I've come up with an answer to
"where were our leaders while this was going on?":

Aug 27: Bush on vacation in TX.
Aug 27: Cheney on vacation in WY.
Aug 28: Bush on vacation in TX.
Aug 28: Cheney on vacation in WY.
Aug 29: Bush to AZ to give speech. Back to TX.
Aug 29: Cheney on vacation in WY.
Aug 30: Bush to CA to give speech. Back to TX.
Aug 30: Cheney on vacation in WY.
Aug 31: Rice in NYC at "Spamalot" musical.
Aug 31: Bush to DC.
Aug 31: Cheney on vacation in WY.
Sep 1: Rice in NYC, plays tennis, shops for shoes in Manhattan.
Sep 1: Cheney to DC.

---Rsk

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at 11:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Out Of Gas

At Angry Bear:
Gasoline: A Time for Caution
,

According to the DOE, existing stocks of gasoline are already below the normal range for this time of year. See the following graph: ... Drawing down gasoline stocks too far carries the risk of prolonging the period of record gas prices. Importing refined products reduces the supply elsewhere, especially in Europe. According to the Daily Record, UK's Gordon Brown warned yesterday that 'Hurricane Katrina could sweep Europe into recession'.

[. . .] Where does this leave the US? It is critical that the four 'out of commission' refineries return to operation as soon as possible. But even more important, the US needs to reduce demand for gasoline consistently, by 5% or more, until the refineries are back in operation. Perhaps the record high prices will suffice, but I believe this is a situation that calls for leadership - something sorely lacking in the US - and a call for conservation on the part of all Americans for the next few weeks or months (and why not years?).

Go to the original for graphs and links.

The leadership vacuum didn't stop at FEMA, and the resuting damage gets worse.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:14 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 6, 2005

Not Me

President Bush is launching a "probe" into what went wrong with the hurricane assistance.

Who will oversee the probe? Bush.

Who will the probe say is at fault? Not Bush. Duh.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 5, 2005

The Potemkin Country

The Heretik's cartoon captures the essence of Bush's failure. The Potemkin Countryand he has a delightful roundup of smackdowns to go with it.

Bilmon builds on the same them with The Potemkin President

Today's featured rant is from Jeffrey Feldman at Frameshop, The Stranger:

But there is also a question of how the President delivered his messages to the nation in the face of this tragedy, and how the mere act of watching that delivery impacted the way Americans felt about him as a leader.

Despite endless reports and images that tortured the minds of Americans, President Bush’s delivery--his behavior in general--never registered any of the dramatic emotion that fell like a dark cloud on the country. He was and continues to be emotionally empty in the face of the tragic events.

Emotionally empty. That sums up the Bush administration and the man.

As the failure of the relief effort unfolded, Americans witnessed a startling contrast between a citizenry, press corp, and local leadership who spoke with more and more emotion with each passing moment, and a President, White House and Cabinet that grew more and more stoic.

After a short while, the President’s failure to deliver food and water became linked in the minds of Americans to the absence of emotions in his behavior. And once those two issues were connected, America had effectively lost faith in its leader.


I'm as baffled by the 35-40% of Americans who still support Bush as I am by Bush himself. Are there that many Americans who are as emotionally disconnected from the fate of their fellow Americans as Bush is himself?

We began to see a man who was unmoved by the desperate cries for help of his people. He became a stranger to us.
I never did understand all the polls about which candidate you would like to have a beer with. I wouldn't sit next to Bush in a bar let alone drink with the man.
And even though Americans were not saying it, they were all thinking the same thing: this person who shows no emotion in the face of such a tragedy--this man who stays above it all--this is our leader? How can this be?

The hurricane and flood revealed that our President seemed to lack the bond of basic human kindness towards other Americans. Or if he did not lack that human kindness, he certainly lacked the ability to demonstrate it to the nation in times of great need.


Bush's voice, his tired platitudes and his facial quirks turn my stomach. How can a country that worships success and accomplishment have a leader who has failed at everything he ever touched? How can any American ignore the staggering incompetence of the Bush administration?

Now, whenever the President speaks, he flicks his lower jaw from side to side as if readjusting a mouth piece.

Cold and distant, new facial ticks--ultimately Americans are sympathetic to individual responses in times of great emotion.

Jeffrey nails it. Even more than Bush's stark incompetence and failure, what stands out is the callous emotional emptiness of the man behind the policies. George Bush is a Potemkin person with a Potemkin heart and a Potemkin soul.

Posted by Gary Boatwright at 12:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 2, 2005

Negligence

Cake eating at annatopia.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 1, 2005

Bush's Mismanagement of FEMA

Hat tip to Kevin Drum, FEMA Then And Now:

Kevin links to a story on Bush's mismanagement of FEMA that ran in the Independent Weekly last September: Disaster In The Making

Kevin Drum's summary:

There's much, much more in this deeply reported story. Read the whole thing to get a sickening sense of the disastrous effect that the Bush administration's glorification of conservative ideology over managerial competence has had on FEMA's workforce, its morale, and its ability to get things done.

An excerpt to whet your appetite for more:

Among emergency specialists, "mitigation" — the measures taken in advance to minimize the damage caused by natural disasters — is a crucial part of the strategy to save lives and cut recovery costs.

But since 2001, key federal disaster mitigation programs, developed over many years, have been slashed and tossed aside. FEMA's Project Impact, a model mitigation program created by the Clinton administration, has been canceled outright.

....[In 2001], President Bush appointed a close aide, Joe Allbaugh, to be the agency's new director....The White House quickly launched a government-wide effort to privatize public services, including key elements of disaster management. Bush's first budget director, Mitch Daniels, spelled out the philosophy in remarks at an April 2001 conference: "The general idea — that the business of government is not to provide services, but to make sure that they are provided — seems self-evident to me," he said.

In a May 15, 2001, appearance before a Senate appropriations subcommittee, Allbaugh signaled that the new, stripped-down approach would be applied at FEMA as well. "Many are concerned that federal disaster assistance may have evolved into both an oversized entitlement program and a disincentive to effective state and local risk management," he said.
"Expectations of when the federal government should be involved and the degree of involvement may have ballooned beyond what is an appropriate level."

Posted by Gary Boatwright at 3:36 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 23, 2005

He Won't Because He Won't

Bush: No Plans To Meet With Sheehan:

"She doesn't represent the view of a lot of the families I have met with," Bush said.
He won't meet with people who disagree with him because they don't represent the views of people he meets with.

That's like that old Star Trek episode where they blew up the computer by sending it into an infinite loop.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 17, 2005

Who Said This?

Who said this? "Don't attack the soldiers. I am responsible for this. Attack me. Blame me."

No it wasn't Bush. Of course it wasn't Bush. What were you thinking? That would be taking responsibility and showing leadership. Give me a break. Bush? Has Bush EVER said anything remotely like this?

Discuss.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 16, 2005

Young Bush Blew Up Frogs

This is old, but I just came across it. George W. Bush's Journey: A Philosophy With Roots in Conservative Texas Soil quotes a childhood friend of George W Bush:

"We were terrible to animals," recalled Mr. Throckmorton, laughing. A dip behind the Bush home turned into a small lake after a good rain, and thousands of frogs would come out.

"Everybody would get BB guns and shoot them," Mr. Throckmorton said. "Or we'd put firecrackers in the frogs and throw them and blow them up."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:12 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos