Friday, March 04, 2005


Alan Greenspan, Partisan Hack

The New York Times' Paul Krugman explains:
Deficits and Deceit

Published: March 4, 2005

Four years ago, Alan Greenspan urged Congress to cut taxes, asserting that the federal government was in imminent danger of paying off too much debt.

On Wednesday the Fed chairman warned Congress of the opposite fiscal danger: he asserted that there would be large budget deficits for the foreseeable future, leading to an unsustainable rise in federal debt. But he counseled against reversing the tax cuts, calling instead for cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Does anyone still take Mr. Greenspan's pose as a nonpartisan font of wisdom seriously?
(Source: New York Times)
Heaven knows the economy would suffer if Paris Hilton and her ilk were forced to actually pay taxes...

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Accused B.T.K. Serial Killer and Stereotypes

The accused fits a classic stereotype, so normally the right-wing would have a field day blaming the evil liberals, Hollywood, activist judges, gay marriage, multi-culturism, etc. for the killings and pointing out how everything would have been OK if only we had the 10 Commandments posted in our schools and went to (a Christian) church every Sunday.

However, the stereotype here is the white, church-going heterosexual "Red-State" family guy image. This may be why folks like Michele Malkin aren't suggesting we lock up everyone fitting that stereotype. (Remember how schools were encouraged to expel all the "goth" students right after one of the high school shootings? The folks pushing that type of idea are awfully quiet right now...)

I am not suggesting mass arrests of white church-going white guys, either - I merely repeat that arresting everyone meeting a given "profile" because some folks meeting that profile commit crimes isn't justice. It might be unreasoning fear, paranoia, redirected racism, or something - it just isn't justice.
'B.T.K.' Suspect Charged With 10 Murder Counts

Published: March 1, 2005

WICHITA, Kan., March 1 - The man the police have accused of being the "B.T.K." killer - one of the country's most notorious serial killers - made his first appearance in court today via videoconference from his jail cell and was charged with 10 counts of first degree murder.
Bond was continued at $10 million for Mr. Rader, who was known previously as a churchgoing man rather than suspected of being the murderer who called himself, in letters to the police and the news media, B.T.K. - for "bind, torture, kill."

About 12 family members of victims linked to B.T.K. were seated in a courtroom that holds fewer than 50 people. They walked out ashen-faced, not saying anything after having seen Mr. Rader in person for the first time.

After taunting the authorities and the public in the 1970's, B.T.K. went silent until last March, three decades after the killing began, when he sent a letter to The Wichita Eagle claiming responsibility for yet another murder. Inside the letter was a copy of the victim's driver's license and photographs of her body. From there, an avalanche of clues spilled forth, eventually leading to the arrest of Mr. Rader.


Lets Not Talk About Social Security Just Now...

Interesting trend in the news today - the more public opinion turns against Bush's Charles Keating Memorial Social Security Destruction Reformation Plan, the more Republicans seem to be changing the subject:
Poll: Bush slips on Social Security
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - President Bush has lost ground in the public relations battle over Social Security since he kicked off a concentrated campaign two months ago to convince Americans the national retirement program needs an immediate overhaul, according to a recent poll.

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted Friday to Sunday said 38 percent of Americans feel major changes must be made in Social Security within the next two years. In January, that number was 49 percent.
(Source: CNN via Atrios )
Of course, leading Republicans aren't admitting they came off second-best to the "third rail of American Politics" and are trying to "spin" the drop in support as success rather than failure:
DeLay, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and numerous other GOP lawmakers said Bush's public campaigning has begun to show results. ``People have bought into the fact that we have a problem'' with Social Security's future financing, said Sen. Johnny Isakson, of Georgia.
...Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid offered his own blunt assessment of the Bush's signature issue. "I don't think the Republicans are very happy about the position the president is putting them in" he said.

"In two months, the president has created a firestorm against" his own plan, taunted Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
(Source: New York Times Final Soc. Sec. Action May Not Happen Yet
(Emphasis added.)

So, to change the subject, Republicans going back to basics. Some are pushing the indecency button:
Key Republicans Back Cable Indecency Rules
(New York Times / A.P.)
``It's not fair to subject over-the-air broadcasters to one set of rules and subject cable and satellite to no rules,'' Barton told reporters after a separate appearance before the broadcasters group.
Additionally, of course, we're now seeing the long-expected fall-back distraction:
U.S. Cites New Bin Laden Plans
Intelligence Source Says Al Qaeda Chief Was in Contact With Zarqawi

By Lara Jakes Jordan and Katherine Shrader
Associated Press
Tuesday, March 1, 2005; 1:55 AM

Osama bin Laden is enlisting his top operative in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, to plan potential attacks on the United States, U.S. intelligence indicates.

Al-Zarqawi, who rivals bin Laden as the nation's public enemy No. 1, has been involved in attacks in the Middle East but has not been known before to have set his sights on the United States.


IOKIYNAR ALERT- Reporting Novak's lies

It Only Counts If You're Not A Republican.

CNN's Robert Novak told the following Howard Dean story:
CNN'S ROBERT NOVAK: "[T]hey've got to really get Howard under control. He spoke at Cornell University last week, and the only paper that covered this was "The Cornell Daily" student paper, and he said, yes, Social Security has a big problem. Over the years it's going to lose about 80 percent of the benefits. That, Judy, is not the Democratic line. The Democratic line is there is no problem."
(Source: post dated March 1, 2005
In Case You Missed It: CNN's "Inside Politics," 02/28/05)
(Thank you for spotting this, Atrios.)
Performing a simple task called "checking the source" tells a somewhat different story, though. What The Cornell Daily Sun really reported was:
Dean began by speaking on what he thought was the most important issue today: the proposed privatization of Social Security. He said that President George W. Bush was trying to appeal to 20- and 30-year-olds through privatization, but claimed that in fact that generation would end up having to pay the $2 trillion bill for it.

"I think that privatizing Social Security has much more to do with the enormous amount of money that corporate Wall Street poured into the President of the United States's campaign than [helping] senior citizens," Dean said. "[Social Security] was a response toward [overcoming] abject is not meant as a retirement was meant as a social safety net for people who had reached the end of their working careers and did not deserve, after a long lifetime of dignified work, to live in poverty. ... It's not supposed to be a pension."
(Source: Julie Geng, Staff Writer: The Cornell Daily Sun Dean Speaks to Cornell Community Feb 24, 2005
Anyone waiting for a Rathergate-II scandal to sweep the airwaves and force Robert Novak to quit CNN is probably also waiting patiently for the SS Titanic's triumphant arrival in New York's harbor. Why isn't Robert Novak treated like Dan Rather? IOKIYNAR!

Click on the link to CNN's complaint department for "Inside Politics" and tell them you'd "Rather" see Novak face consequences for his lies.


US Criticizes Saudi Arabia for Torture???

Let me understand this correctly - the State Department issues a human rights report criticizing Saudi Arabia for torturing prisoners:

Saudi Arabia and Russia come in for heavy criticism in the US state department annual human rights report.
Source: BBC News US raps Russia and Saudi rights
The Washington Post puts the State Department's report into perspective:
State Dept. Study Cites Torture of Prisoners
Rumsfeld Approved Similar Practices

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 1, 2005; Page A10

The State Department's annual human rights report released yesterday criticized countries for a range of interrogation practices it labeled as torture, including sleep deprivation for detainees, confining prisoners in contorted positions, stripping and blindfolding them and threatening them with dogs -- methods similar to those approved at times by the Bush administration for use on detainees in U.S. custody.
(Emphasis added)

Meanwhile, the US "Justice" Department placed a man on trial for an alleged assassination plot using evidence obtained (apparently under torture) from Saudi Arabia.

Additionally, the US Government's practice of indefinitely imprisoning without trial anyone labelled as an "enemy combatant" is coming under increased fire:

U.S. Must Charge Padilla With Crime or Release Him

By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 1, 2005; Page A02

A federal judge in South Carolina ruled yesterday that the Bush administration lacks statutory and constitutional authority to indefinitely imprison without criminal charges a U.S. citizen who was designated an "enemy combatant."
In a strongly worded 23-page ruling, Floyd said "to do otherwise would not only offend the rule of law and violate this country's constitutional tradition, but it would also be a betrayal of this Nation's commitment to the separation of powers that safeguards our democratic values and our individual liberties."
Using a phrase often levied by conservatives to denigrate liberal judges, Floyd -- who was appointed by President Bush to the federal bench in 2003 -- accused the administration of engaging in "judicial activism" when it asserted in court pleadings that Bush has blanket authority under the Constitution to detain Americans on U.S. soil who are suspected of taking or planning actions against the country.

Floyd said the government presented no law supporting this contention and that just because Bush and his appointees say Padilla's detention was consistent with U.S. laws and the president's war powers, that did not make it so. "Moreover, such a statement is deeply troubling. If such a position were ever adopted by the courts, it would totally eviscerate the limits placed on Presidential authority to protect the citizenry's individual liberties."
(Source: Washington Post emphasis added)
Shouldn't the State Department have a little chat with the CIA and the "Justice" Department before making fools of themselves (and the United States) on the world stage? Or is the State Department really engaged in oblique criticism of the CIA's outsourcing torture to countries like Syria and Saudi Arabia - jobs that could be done in the US if the Democrats would stoip filibustering Bush's favored judicial nominees?


Terrorist Attack on Federal Judge

Or at least, that is the headline we'd be seeing if the suspected attackers weren't white power advocates:
A US judge who was once the target of a death plot by white supremacists has found two bodies in her home.
Last year, white supremacist leader Matthew Hale was convicted of trying to have Mrs Lefkow killed after she ruled against him in a previous case.
During the plot to target Mrs Lefkow, her home address was published on a white supremacist website.
Suurce: BBC News Death plot judge finds two bodies

I expect it is just a just a coincidence the white supremacist logo is a giant "W" with a royal crown over it while The Big W himself acts like he is an absolute monarch - but it is ironic.


How to Destroy Social Security in Just 6 Weeks!

From the Washington Post:
For GOP, Urgency On Social Security
White House Plans Six-Week Push

By Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 1, 2005; Page A03

White House officials are telling Republican lawmakers and allies on K Street that they must begin to overcome opposition to President Bush's proposal for changing Social Security within six weeks, GOP strategists said yesterday.

The GOP strategists stressed that the six-week goal is not a hard deadline for a political breakthrough, but they said the public's tepid view of Social Security change cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely. The directive raises the possibility that Republicans will have to reconsider whether legislation can be passed this year, as Bush wants.
If we can get Senator Lieberman to keep quiet for the next six weeks, Mr. Bush's plan to destroy Social Security via the Charles Keating "trick them into switching from government-backed funds to the care of Wall Street fast buck artists" may go down to defeat. However, Atrios and others note Senator Joe Lieberman is still trying to help Mr. Bush snatch victory from defeat by offering a compromise plan before Mr. Bush even puts a plan forward. (Any plan passed by the Senate could be re-written by an all-Republican conference committee.)

If you live in Connecticut, call Senator Lieberman and tell him to oppose any tampering with Social Security until the Democrats control either the Senate or the House - and that early retirement awaits Senator Joe unless he starts growing a backbone.

Monday, February 28, 2005


Write to the Democrats: NO COMPROMISE ON SSI.

The Democratic party's co-dependent wing is seeking a "bipartisan compromise" on Social Security. This is a foolish idea.

Various blogs, such as MaxSpeak, and Tapped/Yglesias, set forth various reasons why compromise at this point is a bad idea. The bottom line, however is quite simple: the Democrats need a victory - any victory - over the Bush Agenda in order to negotiate effectively with the Republican majority.

The Republicans started out with a radically partisan agenda, making no attempt at bipartisan compromise. Democrats now have a chance to hand that governing strategy a major defeat. This would at the very least force the Republicans to stop their steamroller tactics. Best of all, in our media-driven electorate, defeating the Charles Keating Social Security Reformation plan would turn around the "Democrats as hopeless losers" theme currently favored by pundits.


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