Saturday, September 24, 2005
I'm working on writing a proper story to describe my experience, but I thought I'd get some pictures up first to share them with everyone. If anyone wants a larger version of these, please email me at email@example.com, and I'll be happy to oblige. More will be coming, as well. For now, however, enjoy these...
Finally, probably my favorite shot. This small version just doesn't do it justice.
Friday, September 23, 2005
President Bush is in a perilous political state. His slipping poll numbers are partly a result of softening support from his Republican base. If Bush doesn't take decisive steps to try to offset the billions of new Katrina spending, the forecast will be: Danger, more softening ahead. Never in the Bush years has conservative discontent been so high, nor so justified. With a few false moves in the crucial weeks ahead, Bush could see even more of the life-blood squeezed from his presidency.
It doesn't have a natural base of support, and cuts in it will be much harder for Democrats to oppose. Republicans should have taken it on long ago. Now is a perfect moment. According to the RSC, eliminating corporate welfare would cut $5 billion in 2006 and $50 billion over ten years. Take one example: The Advanced Technology Program was instituted in the late 1980s, an overwrought response to the Japanese economic tiger. This program, funded to the tune of $150 million per year, gives grants for research and development on products with "significant commercial payoff." That is, the money funds research on only the most marketable products, those that companies have the most incentive to fund anyway. General Motors, Motorola, and IBM have all cashed in. Over 35 percent of ATP funding has gone to 39 "Fortune 500" companies, whose combined 2003 revenue was $1.4 trillion.
It's not sexy, but Bush and anti-spenders in Congress should also be pushing to reform the congressional budget process, which favors free spending. Making the budget resolution binding, for instance, would rein in appropriators who ignore it to lavish money on their own priorities. Cuts in pork-barrel spending are important, but history tells us when the current anti-pork moment passes, pet projects will be back with a vengeance. The trick is to create the basis for savings over time.
The most important ingredient at the moment, however, is presidential leadership. It has been absent for five years on spending. Bush is said to rise to the occasion when confronted with crises. He is about to confront one within his own party on spending. Let the rising begin.
George put it best: "The National Review calling for the end of the corporate welfare state borders on the revolutionary. I don’t have a subscription to the WSJournal, but if they start saying the same thing, the establishment has undergone a massive sea-change." more and more disturbing connections between the Republican party (and the Administration) and just about every corporate scandal out there. Ugh, this is the kind of thing I'm trying to cover more of - lobbyist brags about his influence and uses it to push specific, destructive agendas.
To summarize, Democrats wanted to deny federal contracts to those who dodge paying their fair share of taxes by incorporating to shell offshore companies (a view which I agree with), and this was blocked because of the times between lobbyists and the Bush administration. Which is particularly disgusting right now, when we are looking at our huge budget overruns and worrying about how we are going to pay for the reconstruction of NOLA. Jesus, every other day something like this comes out.
Rove, of course, is in the middle of this:
Rove's personal assistant at the time, Susan Ralston, formerly worked as Abramoff's secretary. It could not be learned yesterday whether she was among those contacted by any of the 14-person Greenberg team recorded as working on the Tyco account.
Jack Abramoff bragged two years ago that he was in contact with White House political aide Karl Rove on behalf of a large, Bermuda-based corporation that wanted to avoid incurring some taxes and continue receiving federal contracts.
I'm just disgusted today. Why do we even bother to have a government when they don't care about us?
Or, this is an attempt to write an awful amendment that will get shot down so the Republicans can say "oh well we tried to be fiscally responsible but the LIEberal Dumb-o-crats blocked it".
Seriously, though, some of this stuff is absolutely outrageous. In summary, the Republican committee's idea of fiscal responsibility is to spend all your (taxpayer) money on war and cut any investment into the future of America.
As an exercise, I’ve grouped these ideas by the industries they stand to benefit, and bolded the really, REALLY outrageous stuff (there’s just too much to choose from):
- Raising Medicaid Co-Pays
- Raising Medicare premiums
- Increasing Allowable Co-pays in Medicaid
- Delay the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill for One year
- Level Funding for Community Health Centers
- Reduce Funding for the Centers for Disease Control
- Eliminate Subsidized Loans to Graduate Students
- Tie Rent Subsidies for One Person to Cost of Efficiency Apartments
- Eliminate the Export-Import Bank and OPIC
- Limit the Repayment Period of Export Credit Guarantees
- Impose a Fee on the GSEs Investment Portfolio
- Require GSEs to Register with the SEC and Pay Fees
- Eliminate the ITA's Trade Promotion Activates
- Eliminate the Foreign Market Development Program
- Eliminate the Market Access Program
- Eliminate the Export Enhancement Program
- Eliminate grants for energy conservation
- Eliminate Energy Star
- Eliminate the Next Generation of High-Speed Rail
- Reduce Federal Subsidies for Amtrak
- Eliminate the New Starts Transit Program
- Level Funding DOE Departmental Administration Funding
- Level Funding for FAA Operations
- Eliminate the Applied Research for Renewable Energy Sources Program
- Eliminate the Clean Coal Technology Program
- Eliminate the FreedomCAR Program
- Reduce DOE Environmental Management
- Eliminate the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative
- Eliminate the National Parks Heritage Areas and Statutory Aid
- Limit Future Enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program
- Eliminate the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation
- Eliminate the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund
- Eliminate the Economic Development Administration
- Reduce Bureau of Land Management Construction
- Reduce Fish and Wildlife Construction
- Eliminate Funding for the Forest Service’s Economic Action Program
- Reduce Funds for the Water Quality Cooperative Agreement
- Reduce Funds for Forest Service Capital Improvements
- Eliminate Payments to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers
- Eliminate the Research Initiative for Future Agriculture Systems
- Eliminate the NSF’s Math and Science Program
- Level Funding for Global AIDS Initiative
- Eliminate the Science to Achieve Results Program
- Eliminate the Even Start Program
- Eliminate Teen Funding Portion of Title X Family Planning
- Eliminate Childless Adult Coverage in SCHIP
- Reduce Funding for Department of Education Administration
- Level Funding for the African Development Foundation
- Level Funding for the Peace Corps
- Eliminate the Minority Business Development Agency
- Eliminate Fiscal Assistance to District of Columbia
- Eliminate Presidential Election Campaign Fund
- Eliminate Federal Funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
- Eliminate Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts
- Eliminate Funding for National Endowment for Humanities
- Reduce Funds for Bureau of Indian Affairs School Construction
- Eliminate Native Hawaiian Funding
Uhm, how, exactly, is this a Representative Democracy?
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Now, then, what is this business about top Democrats trying to distance themselves from the rally? This sure smells like the same cowardice we've been hearing from the Democratic party for the past five years. I understand trying to separate themselves to appeal to right-wing voters, but this is just...disappointing. Remember this, you anti-war voters in Democratic districts. Don't vote Republican, but do look for viable alternative candidates. We have just as much torpor in this party as the Republicans do.
Five Democrats -- Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Joseph Biden of Delaware, Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, Charles Schumer of New York and Dick Durbin of Illinois -- opposed Roberts.
I suppose I can understand the thought processes of those Democrats who voted for him. He's fairly bland, seemingly moderate (though looks, of course, can be deceiving, and, well, with Katrina and, very soon, the Rita disaster, the Rove machine might be able to use the media to beat the Democrats if they successfully oppose/filibuster Roberts and claim the old "if he isn't good enough, none of them will be!" crap. I'm not too angry with them. I want to see what happens if he appoints one of those real nutballs.
The funniest part of all this is that he’s spinning this as some sort of example of shining ethics, rather than sleazy, slimy ethics:
"To avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest Senator Frist went beyond what ethics requires and sold the stock," Call said. Asked why he had never done so before, she said, "I don't know that he's been worried about it in the past."
I mean, that is comedy gold right there. Here’s the whole story, from Business Week:
Frist sells shares in hospital corporation
SEP. 20 8:43 P.M. ET Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a potential presidential candidate in 2008, sold all his stock in his family's hospital corporation about two weeks before it issued a disappointing earnings report and the price fell nearly 15 percent.
Frist held an undisclosed amount of stock in Hospital Corporation of America, based in Nashville, Tenn., the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain. On June 13, he instructed the trustee managing the assets to sell his HCA shares and those of his wife and children, said Amy Call, a spokeswoman for Frist.
Frist's shares were sold by July 1 and those of his wife and children by July 8, Call said. The trustee decided when to sell the shares, and the Tennessee Republican had no control over the exact time they were sold, she said.
HCA shares peaked at midyear, climbing to $58.22 a share on June 22. After slipping slightly for two weeks, the price fell to $49.90 on July 13 after the company announced its quarterly earnings would not meet analysts' expectations. On Tuesday, the shares closed at $48.76.
The value of Frist's stock at the time of the sale was not disclosed. Earlier this year, he reported holding blind trusts valued at $7 million to $35 million.
Blind trusts are used to avoid conflicts of interest. Assets are turned over to a trustee who manages them without divulging any purchases or sales and reports only the total value and income earned to the owner.
To keep the trust blind, Frist was not allowed to know how much HCA stock he owned, Call said, but he was allowed to ask for all of it to be sold.
Frist, a surgeon first elected to the Senate in 1994, had been criticized for maintaining the holdings while dealing with legislation affecting the medical industry and managed care. He has insisted that he was in the clear ethically because the shares were in a blind trust.
"To avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest Senator Frist went beyond what ethics requires and sold the stock," Call said. Asked why he had never done so before, she said, "I don't know that he's been worried about it in the past."
An HCA spokesman said the company had no part in Frist's decision.
Frist's father, Thomas, founded the company and his brother, Thomas Jr., is a director and leading stockholder. The family is worth $1.1 billion, according to Forbes magazine.
HCA -- formerly known as Columbia HCA Healthcare Corp. -- has been a top contributor to the senator's campaigns, donating $83,450 since 1989, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The sale of the shares was first reported by Congressional Quarterly.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005outraged! And why not? How dare the Red Cross offer free shelter and food to hurricane victims! Here's the key quote...
“Some of what has been verbally requested of us were some financial incumberances that we considered would be an inappropriate use of a donated dollar,” (Red Cross Guy) Reynolds said during a new conference called by the Red Cross Monday afternoon in response to Jones.
Basically, what it boils down to is that the county wants that sweet sweet relief money that's pouring in. Why allow the Red Cross to hand it out when you can skim your own money off the top? So now the Red Cross has left the building and the refugees are being helped by county management people. So far all the news has had in the way of information was pretty much just an interview of the County CEO talking about how disorganized the Red Cross was and how everything is running smoothly now. Most of his assessment seemed to be over the fact that the Red Cross's debit cards weren't working, but the county is now handing out FEMA checks. Gee.
Here's the whole story...
Red Cross Kicked Out of DeKalb
Reported By: Valerie Hoff
Web Editor: Tracey Christensen
Last Modified: 9/20/2005 2:42:40 PM
Officials with the American Red Cross decided to vacate a mega relief center in DeKalb County at 5 p.m. Monday after the county CEO complained publicly about the agency's services or lack thereof.
CEO Vernon Jones gave the media a letter he sent to the Red Cross this past weekend, calling their workers disorganized and services inadequate. He asked Red Cross officials to either meet with him to resolve his issues or leave.
"Your presence as it is now is hindering our efforts to help the same people. It is in our best interest to conduct our operations separately from now on," the letter stated.
At least one evacuee at the mega relief center said she echoed Jones’ statements.
“It’s disorganized, very disorganized because I’ve been getting the run around around since day one,” said evacuee Pamela Wilson
Jones told 11Alive, “When you tell 600 people who come in for checks and you know that you are only going to show up with 400 checks, then you have 200 people who are upset because they didn’t get their checks.
“Just the whole process, as they received people there was no organization, no management,” the CEO said.
Later Monday, Jones said he would be open to the Red Cross staying in DeKalb, while still demanding the agency do a better job. Officials with the American Red Cross declined to meet Jones and decided to wrap its operations in DeKalb.
Red Cross spokesman Bill Reynolds said DeKalb County’s administration also asked for a financial contribution for allowing the Red Cross to operate out of the county facility.
“Some of what has been verbally requested of us were some financial incumberances that we considered would be an inappropriate use of a donated dollar,” Reynolds said during a news conference called by the Red Cross Monday afternoon in response to Jones.
In place of physically meeting Jones, Red Cross officials called Jones and, within the five-minute conversation, made known they would vacate the premises. The agency will continue its operations at mega relief centers located in Cobb and Gwinnett counties.
"If they'd rather further inconvenience people as opposed to address their management issues here, that's a decision they have to make," Jones said.
Specifically, Jones said that some of the debit cards received by evacuees were not working at area stores because they were never activated.
Metro Atlanta Red Cross officials said they stood by their work at the mega center, adding that they have provided thousands of meals, assistance and housing to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
During the news conference Monday, Reynolds pointed out how the agency had served tens of thousands evacuees in Georgia and decried Jones’ seeming grandstanding.
"It is not helpful to the process of assisting the survivors of Hurricane Katrina for anyone to attempt to make any political statements about the situation," a Red Cross official told 11Alive's Jon Shirek on Sunday. "The Red Cross' only and continuing attempt is to give immediate aid to the hurricane victims, and to help them make their lives better."
The official called it "unfortunate" that CEO Jones released his letter to the media.
The DeKalb County center is one of the largest government relief centers in the Southeast. It opened one week ago inside a 160,000-square foot facility at 1 Lithonia Way in DeKalb County. The center was set up to provide one-stop shopping six days a week from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. until December 15.
I'm just curious because this diary from DKos suggests that the Rumsfeld DoD might have a few more questions to answer than the Clinton administration:
DIA Agents were ordered to put yellow Post-its over Atta's face and the faces of 3 other 9/11 terrorists
"We were directed to take those 3M yellow stickers and place them over the faces of Atta and the other terrorists and pretend they didn't exist," the intelligence officer told GSN."
Intel agents Tony Shaffer and Scott Philpott have confirmed Rep. Weldon's claims that a chart with Atta's face, soon the photos of 3 other members of the 9-11 terror team, were known to DIA team Able Danger by early 2000.
This diary will show that Pete Schoomaker and Philip Zelikow are two of the main players in this scandal, that Schoomaker or a higher-up deliberately withheld information from the President of the United States that would have prevented 9/11, which I believe shows that they and their neo-con rulers knew a big attack was coming and Let It Happen On Purpose.
Of this there can no longer be any doubt.
A must-read diary, no doubt.
From the Times:
For about an hour and a half yesterday, Republicans had a new tax-cut policy.
Addressing a group of credit-union officials in the morning, Treasury Secretary John W. Snow said that hurricane recovery spending would "push to the back burner" the GOP's plans to extend the tax cuts this year.
But about 90 minutes later, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) held a news conference in his office and asserted that "we're not reexamining" the commitment to extend the tax cuts. "That's not an option," DeLay said, then, for emphasis, added: "Not an option." is saying that Katrina is the reason for pushing this – and other items on Bush’s agenda – to the sideline. Said Treasury Secretary Snow:
“It’s taken over the national agenda and I think it will for a while,” Snow said of Katrina. “I think it will push to the back burner some issues that otherwise would have been on the agenda now — the estate tax, tax (cut) permanency, GSEs and other things.” Snow told the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.
Some would say the Administration deserves some credit on this, but if they wanted real credit, they would repeal the tax cuts immediately, as we could desperately use that money, and I think, as a whole, this country is not being asked to sacrifice enough now for the decisions that are being made. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the time of sacrifice will come, but with this deferred pain that the Administration is building up, it will just be that much more painful when it comes.
And, of course, there’s a cynical side of me. There’s always a cynical side, isn’t there? That cynical side whispers in my ear, telling me that the Republicans could Pass a bill now making the tax cuts go away but come back and be permanent in 2008, along with a big public show of the sacrifices Americans have to make to help the victims of Katrina. Then, the Dems win in ’08. Everyone’s happy until they realize that the Democrats have to pass legislation to end the tax cuts. This allows the Republicans to point their fingers and say, "See, they're raising taxes just like we said they would!"
I hope the cynical side of me is wrong.
Also, could we stop the flip-flopping please? I’m getting nauseous. First they say we can’t increase the taxes to pay for Katrina because that would hurt the economy. Now this. Enough already.
Oh, and a follow-up to yesterday's piece on Representative Richard Pombo and his wish to gut the Endangered Species Act. Jessica from Cellar Door and I teamed up on a research/investigative piece to find out more about who this guy is, what he represents, and just how much he is mouthing the words of his donors. Turns out, it's quite a bit, which probably should come as no surprise. She posted it to DailyKos last night, and I highly recommend checking it out. We may also be looking into other ways to get the story out there as this bill moves forward.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005Jessica at Cellar Door, who voices the rage I also feel at learning about this outrage. I've been covering this Administration's war on the Environment for quite some time, but now it seems that it's not just the Administration but the entirety of the Republican party who have completely given up on (or actively declared war on the idea of) protecting the Earth and its species. Here's the meat of what you need to know:
The measure, which drew quick denunciations from groups like Environmental Defense, Defenders of Wildlife and the Natural Resources Defense Council, was proposed by the House Resources Committee chairman, Representative Richard W. Pombo, Republican of California. It was immediately put on a fast track, which is expected to bring it before the full House early next week.
In a news conference Monday, Mr. Pombo said his legislation "will put the focus on recovery where it should be and will eliminate a lot of the conflicts we have had with private property owners."
That's right, the rules have changed: an ounce of cure is apparently now worth a pound of prevention. And who is the most important in all of this? Private property owners, which you might as well read as "major corporations". Don't think for a second that they're really concerned about whether Joe's ranch has a nest of bald eagles. This is about allowing unimpeded land development for major corporations, no doubt about it. Want proof? Let's take a look at Mr. Pombo's biggest contributors.
First of all, this scum is tied to the whole DeLay scandal that's been going on. If nothing speaks of an upstanding representative who cares about his constituents, it's involvement with DeLay.
And oh, gee, look, his supporters have connections to a war over tribal land. Here's a hint: he's not on the side of Native Americans in this. Land grab, anyone?
His two biggest contributors? Agribusiness and Real Estate, both of which look to prosper from this decision.
I'm seconding Jessica's call to write to your Congresspeople. I live in a Republican-dominated area, but I'm still going to be doing this. We have to do something to stop this mockery of humanity. Post…
Recruits Sought for Porn Squad
By Barton Gellman
The FBI is joining the Bush administration's War on Porn. And it's looking for a few good agents.
Early last month, the bureau's Washington Field Office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. Attached to the job posting was a July 29 Electronic Communication from FBI headquarters to all 56 field offices, describing the initiative as "one of the top priorities" of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and, by extension, of "the Director." That would be FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.
Mischievous commentary began propagating around the water coolers at 601 Fourth St. NW and its satellites, where the FBI's second-largest field office concentrates on national security, high-technology crimes and public corruption.
The new squad will divert eight agents, a supervisor and assorted support staff to gather evidence against "manufacturers and purveyors" of pornography -- not the kind exploiting children, but the kind that depicts, and is marketed to, consenting adults.
"I guess this means we've won the war on terror," said one exasperated FBI agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity because poking fun at headquarters is not regarded as career-enhancing. "We must not need any more resources for espionage."
Among friends and trusted colleagues, an experienced national security analyst said, "it's a running joke for us."
A few of the printable samples:
"Things I Don't Want On My Résumé, Volume Four."
"I already gave at home."
"Honestly, most of the guys would have to recuse themselves."
Federal obscenity prosecutions, which have been out of style since Attorney General Edwin Meese III in the Reagan administration made pornography a signature issue in the 1980s, do "encounter many legal issues, including First Amendment claims," the FBI headquarters memo noted.
Applicants for the porn squad should therefore have a stomach for the kind of material that tends to be most offensive to local juries. Community standards -- along with a prurient purpose and absence of artistic merit -- define criminal obscenity under current Supreme Court doctrine.
"Based on a review of past successful cases in a variety of jurisdictions," the memo said, the best odds of conviction come with pornography that "includes bestiality, urination, defecation, as well as sadistic and masochistic behavior." No word on the universe of other kinks that helps make porn a multibillion-dollar industry. John Kerry's speech (which I'll get to in a bit), but I am annoyed as hell that the Democratic party is only now choosing to step up to the plate and become the opposition party they've needed to be. Okay, yes, they've shown token resistance, but in the end they've always ended up knuckling under (see the compromise on Judicial nominees). That brings up a whole other problem – do we trust them when we see this rhetoric, or will they end up backing down again? I don’t know. I am also on the fence. Could this message have been as effective two years ago? Possibly, but I can’t know for sure. I do know that we didn’t see this kind of straight talk when he was running for President last year – and it probably could have done a lot of good back then.
Now, on to the speech itself. As I said, the language is much more striking than he has previously used: "This Administration and the Republicans who control Congress give in to special interests and rob future generations" is a pretty strong statement. If the Dems are learning nothing else, they’re learning framing, and I’m happy to see it. If you can give people the hook to hold on to, in this case the idea of a heartless, corrupt Republican party against a light of unity and hope from the Democrats, you can draw them in to the broader message, which is, to me at least:
Katrina stripped away any image of competence and exposed to all the true heart and nature of this administration. The truth is that for four and a half years, real life choices have been replaced by ideological agenda, substance replaced by spin, governance second place always to politics. Yes, they can run a good campaign -- I can attest to that -- but America needs more than a campaign. If 12 year-old Boy Scouts can be prepared, Americans have a right to expect the same from their 59 year-old President of the United States.
Katrina reminds us that too often the political contests of our time have been described like football games with color commentary: one team of consultants against another, red states against blue states, Democratic money against Republican money; a contest of height versus hair - sometimes. But the truth is democracy is not a game; we are living precious time each day in a different America than the one we can inhabit if we make different choices.
Today, more than ever, when the path taken last year and four years earlier takes us into a wilderness of missed opportunities -- we need to keep defining the critical choices over and over, offering a direction not taken but still open in the future.
strong, good words. I particularly like how we talks about politics becoming football games, because that is what it has become. I cannot believe the bellicose rhetoric I see about “your side” and “my side”. I admit, if someone looks at the surface, they would think that’s what this site is about, but not at all. I believe you can question the leaders without questioning the people. I question the specific people who make these horrid statements, live in this simplistic rah-rah world, and follow leaders who are obviously morally bankrupt. I don’t have a problem with Conservatives in general; how can I, when I don’t know each and every one of them? Hell, I come from a Conservative family.
Anyway, enough about that. I hope this is a sign that the Democrats are learning Judo, and using their opponents' own momentum and mistakes against them, because there’s a lot to choose from and use against them. I just fear that they’ve been too long in learning the techniques. Hopefully, I’m wrong.
Monday, September 19, 2005
How fake for our government to pat our heroes on the back while stabbing them at the same time. Every year I watch massive cuts endured by first responders, I read reports of the people who sacrificed in 9/11 enduring sickness and disease, because no one will help them, as the Admin. fudged and suppressed all the environmental reports, so they wouldn't be financially complicent in having to care for sick people. God knows what will happen to the first and only responders of Katrina, many of them private citizens and volunteers, who volunteered to sift through toxic sludge and hazardous floodwaters to rescue the desperate and stranded that our government had very obviously already given up on.
Check it out at Cellar Door: $1 Billion Dollars STOLEN from Iraq and a short rant article just confirms it. Among his assertions:
- "You can't have an emergency plan that works if it only affects middle-class people up."
- Mr. Clinton argued that lower-income Americans had done better under the economic policies of his administration than they are doing now, saying the storm highlighted class divisions in the country that often played out along racial lines. "It's like when they issued the evacuation order," he said. "That affects poor people differently. A lot of them in New Orleans didn't have cars. A lot of them who had cars had kinfolk they had to take care of. They didn't have cars, so they couldn't take them out."
- "This is a matter of public policy," he said. "And whether it's race-based or not, if you give your tax cuts to the rich and hope everything works out all right, and poverty goes up and it disproportionately affects black and brown people, that's a consequence of the action made. That's what they did in the 80's; that's what they've done in this decade. In the middle, we had a different policy."
Right on, President Clinton! I couldn’t agree more; this is really the suffering that we’re seeing under this Administration and I wonder (and hope) if we might see a new direction for this country. And what does the White House have to offer? The same old tired spin. Wonder boy McClellan “suggested it was unfair to link the plight of low-income victims of the hurricane to the economic policies of the Bush administration.
"There is a deep history of injustice that has led to poverty and inequality, and it will not be overcome instantly," he said, adding that President Bush "from Day 1 has been acting boldly to achieve real results for all Americans."
He added, "Do we think in new and bold ways by focusing on innovative programs that work for all Americans, or do we embrace failed policies of the past which have resulted in too many being left behind?"
Heh, yeah, those failed policies sure did hurt us, what with all that prosperity for all Americans. That reminds me of that old Onion article…
"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.
Sunday, September 18, 2005Heritage Foundation, but for once, some useful news is coming out of there (though of course we differ on the solutions): they're projecting that the budget deficit will reach $873 billion by 2015 thanks to Bush's runaway spending on Iraq and Katrina. Please note: I am not opposed to spending whatever we need to spend on cleaning up Katrina IF the money is spent wisely. My problem lies with the other spending frivolities that Bush has been carrying out since 2001, most notably the tax cuts for the wealthy, those sweet no-bid contracts for Halliburton and Bechtel, agricultural subsidies for tobacco farmers, and the ridiculous pork in the energy and transportation bills.
Instead, Conservatives (and the Heritage Foundation) will see this as carte blanche to roll back the programs that help the needy, programs that have already been slashed to the bone (with the exception of Medicare).
Or, they might just bury their heads in the sand: "House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said that Republicans have done so well in cutting spending that he declared an 'ongoing victory,' and said there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget. "
I know, I know. I'm laughing as hard as you are. And you know, there's a little tinfoil man in the back of my head that thinks this has been the plan all along.
Bear with me. Under normal circumstances, you'll never get enough political support to cut the "entitlement" programs. Now you're wealthy and borderline nutbar with nothing to lose and have a fundamental desire to see the government spend all of its money on the military and nothing else. You and your political friends get together and spend, spend, spend like drunken sailors at a Saigon whorehouse until someone, somewhere down the line, has no other choice but to cut all those nasty social programs that prevent people from pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.
Crazy? I don't know. What is the endgame on this? There has to be a limit on what we can borrow. How long can the charade keep going? I'll keep watching...