Very busy today - my Akhenaten screenplay is a-bubblin' over. Will blog later tonight...
A result of the tax-cut crusade is that there is now a fundamental mismatch between the benefits Americans expect to receive from the government and the revenues government collect. This mismatch is already having profound effects at the state and local levels: teachers and policemen are being laid off and children are being denied health insurance. The federal government can mask its problems for a while, by running huge budget deficits, but it, too, will eventually have to decide whether to cut services or raise taxes. And we are not talking about minor policy adjustments. If taxes stay as low as they are now, government as we know it cannot be maintained. In particular, Social Security will have to become far less generous; Medicare will no longer be able to guarantee comprehensive medical care to older Americans; Medicaid will no longer provide basic medical care to the poor.Which is the point - they're dismantling the programs that brought us out of the Depression. In Grover Norquist, we haven't had so dedicated an opponent of the American government since General Cornwallis.
In Norquist's vision, America a couple of decades from now will be a place in which elderly people make up a disproportionate share of the poor, as they did before Social Security. It will also be a country in which even middle-class elderly Americans are, in many cases, unable to afford expensive medical procedures or prescription drugs and in which poor Americans generally go without even basic health care. And it may well be a place in which only those who can afford expensive private schools can give their children a decent education.For people with a conscience, the choice is clear. We must understand that we are fighting, not for our own political future, but for the actual future of every American, even the ones who honk horns as political discourse. Many of our neighbors do not understand what's at stake, but they can, and they will, if we will speak up and speak out.
But as Governor Riley of Alabama reminds us, that's a choice, not a necessity. The tax-cut crusade has created a situation in which something must give. But what gives -- whether we decide that the New Deal and the Great Society must go or that taxes aren't such a bad thing after all -- is up to us. The American people must decide what kind of a country we want to be.
Social Security and Medicare are lifeboats for many people, and Grover Norquist is bludgeoning the fingers of anyone with temerity enough to grab hold of the sides. How long can we let him get away with it?
Posted by Joseph Nobles at 9/12/2003 07:25:00 PM
This quote from the leaked memo cracks me up:
Welcome back. As you are well aware from meeting and talking with your constituents over the August district work period, House Republicans are facing a difficult communications environment. Following the summer vacations and back-to-school preparations, families are returning to their daily routines and focusing again on "kitchen table" issues such as the economy, health care and national security.A "difficult communications environment." It seems that whenever "kitchen table" issues come up, the Republicans encounter a "difficult communications environment."
More than any time this year, Americans are increasingly concerned about the economy, their job situation, and the latest developments in Iraq. Because of these concerns converging together in recent weeks, anxiety about the direction of the country has escalated. In the most recent New Models survey conducted by the Winston Group (September 3-4, 1,000 registered voters), the direction of the country now stands at 37-51 right direction-wrong track.
Somebody cue the gratuituous Cool Hand Luke quote. There's more fun at the link.
Posted by Joseph Nobles at 9/12/2003 11:20:00 AM
You see, President Clinton has the best pre-Sept 11th record of any President, when it comes to terror. It helps that he had a few minor attacks on his watch to spur him to action. There was the first World Trade Center bombing, which happened just a few weeks after he took office (funny how no one blamed G.H.W. Bush for that one, yet they blame Clinton for Sept. 11th, which happened more than 8 months into G.W. Bush’s first term). There was the Oklahoma City Bombing. There were the embassy bombings. And there was the USS Cole.Sweet. Democrats create jobs, balance budgets, support education, and fight terrorism better than the Republicans - all day long. The Republicans are famous for hyping it, we're famous for doing it.
Clinton knew a problem when he saw it. And he did things about it.
Posted by Joseph Nobles at 9/11/2003 11:46:00 PM
Happy American-Citizens-Falling-To-Their- Deaths-Because-Their-Unelected-President- Couldn't-Get-His-Head-Out-Of-His-Behind Day!
No, I will not get over the theft of American democracy in the 2000 election. Anybody who thinks I should, I have one thing to say to you: Get over 9/11. It happened over two years ago, didn't it? You can't change a thing about it, so you should accept it and move on, right? That's the same asinine logic you're using on me, so rotate on it.
I've seen articles on how President Gore would have responded to the 9/11 attacks. This begs the question of whether the 9/11 attacks would have happened on Gore's watch. Would Gore have marginalized Al Qaeda investigations? Would Gore have ignored the clear warnings of several countries, and his own intelligence agencies? Would Gore have shelved the Hart-Rudman report? Would he have played the Taliban for suckers? Would he have been so busy figuring out a way to invade Iraq that he would let Al Qaeda bring their attacks on?
Two years ago, America and the civilized world suffered a terrible blow, because the fraud in the White House was too busy paying back his campaign contributors to protect our country. He is unfit to govern. It's time to send the Head Chimp to the showers.
God bless the families of the dead.
Posted by Joseph Nobles at 9/11/2003 10:37:00 PM
#1: The Neoconservative Plan for Global Dominance
#2: Homeland Security?
#3: US Removes Pages from Iraq Report
#4: Rumsfeld's Plan to Provoke Terrorists
#5: The Effort to Make Unions Extinct
#6: Closing Access to Information Technology
#7: Treaty Busting by the United States
#8: US/British forces knowingly use illegal depleted uranium weapons in Gulf War
#9: Where's Afghanistan?
#10: Africa Faces New Threat of Colonialism
#11: U.S. Implicated in Taliban Massacre
#12: Corporate Speech and Corporate Personhood
#13: US Military's War on the Earth
#14: Unwanted Refugees
#15: Venezuela: Bush Administration Behind Failed Military Coup
#16: Plan Puebla-Panama and the FTAA
#17: Clear Channel Monopoly Draws Criticism
#18: Charter Forest Proposal
#19: U.S. Dollar vs. the Euro
#20: For-Profit Military
#21: IMF & World Bank Austerity Policies Come to the US
#22: Welfare Reform Up For Reauthorization and Still No Safety Net
#23: Argentina Crisis Sparks Cooperative Growth
#24: Aid to Israel Fuels Occupation
#25: Convicted Corporations Receive Perks Instead of Punishment
Posted by Joseph Nobles at 9/11/2003 10:18:00 AM
Rejects Tax Cut Repeal to Fund Iraqi Reconstruction
The "tax increase" meme is as strong as ever in the Bush Administration:
Some have suggested repealing at least some of the nearly $2 trillion in tax cuts enacted since Bush took office.One: Bush is still saying $87 billion, even though his own people have admitted that he needs more. Is he lying or just that stupid?
"I heard somebody say, well, what we need to do is have a tax increase to pay for this. That's an absurd notion," Bush told reporters.
"You don't raise taxes when an economy is recovering. Matter of fact, lower taxes will help enhance economic recovery.
"We want our people going back to work. We've got good momentum now in our economy; we don't want to destroy that momentum. But the $87 billion is worth it and I look forward to working with Congress to get that number completed and get the job done. "
Bush's spokesman was asked later about a potential Democratic proposal to repeal the tax cuts for just the top 1 percent of Americans.
"Sounds like a tax increase to me," said White House press secretary Scott McClellan.
"There are a lot of small-business owners in that top bracket. These are the job creators, the economic backbone of our economy," McClellan said.
"And so that would be a job killer move, just as our economy is moving in the right direction."
Two: When DO you raise taxes? Are we to assume that there is some magical moment in Bush's brain that taxes may then be raised? Are there conditions under which taxes may safely be raised? Yes -- under a Democratic administration.
Three: McClellan says that there are a lot of small-business owners in that top bracket. That top 1% bracket? Small business? What is McClellan smoking?
Posted by Joseph Nobles at 9/11/2003 06:34:00 AM
Posted by Joseph Nobles at 9/09/2003 11:13:00 PM
Posted by Joseph Nobles at 9/09/2003 11:10:00 PM
President Bush said on Sunday that he would ask Congress to approve $87 billion more in spending for the U.S. military and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, on top of $79 billion already approved. These huge outlays, however, will prove far from a boon for most U.S. defense contractors, analysts said.One: Instapundit says Bush is buying beans, not bullets. Instapundit should read source articles before linking -- bullets are exactly what Bush is buying.
The lion's share of the spending will go for personnel and operating costs in Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than jacking up appropriations for new and existing weapons programs, they said.
Given budget pressures, big defense companies will likely see more orders for munitions, spare parts and communications services than any dramatic growth in new weapons sales.
Two: Q and O says this is proof that the M/I complex is not "alive and well" in the Bush Administration.
Three: Some M/I programs are being shelved or delayed. Okay, fine. Where is the money flowing? It's going to Bechtal and Halliburton. Both articles referenced by Corpwatch.org start at the billion dollar range for both companies and project astronomical revenues for these companies. Bechtal is rebuilding the infrastructure, and Halliburton is "building and managing military bases, [providing] logistical support for the 1,200 intelligence officers hunting Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, delivering mail and producing millions of hot meals." That's where the money is going, and will continue to go, to Bush cronies enjoying low-bidder or no-bid contracts.
The M/I complex is alive and well. All we're seeing is who's getting the hind teat on our tax dollars.
Posted by Joseph Nobles at 9/09/2003 01:35:00 PM
Welcome back, Mr. Breathed. We've missed you.
Opus the Penguin Back In the Funny Business (washingtonpost.com)
Posted by Joseph Nobles at 9/09/2003 11:15:00 AM
The tax raise inspired by a master's thesis in theology:
"It's not just historic," says James Williams Jr., executive director of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama. "It's a miracle."This is the other Alabama religious story that's not getting much coverage. Roy Moore rode his graven image as far as he could, and that's all well and good. But here's some good Christian folk finally getting the idea that Jesus meant what he said about helping the poor.
Well, not quite. Whether the miracle comes true will depend on the results of the Sept. 9 referendum. As Hamill documents, more than nine in 10 Alabamians claim to be Christian. But as it does elsewhere, culture lords over religion here. Centuries of Sunday hymns haven't softened Alabama's old-time hatred of taxes, its deep suspicion of government or its bloody history of resisting change. But in a place where plenty of people ask, "What would Jesus do?" a surprising number of religious conservatives have concluded that redistributing wealth is high on His list.
Here's hoping the referendum passes.
Posted by Joseph Nobles at 9/08/2003 05:15:00 PM
Although Issa has not endorsed Schwarzenegger, he said the Republicans running behind the actor in the polls need to begin facing the numerical reality. If Ueberroth cannot boost his poll numbers into the high teens within the next two weeks, "then he's not viable," Issa says. Of McClintock: "Tom's going to have to come to the awareness that if Bustamante's the next governor, and he — McClintock — gets 10-15% of the vote, then McClintock will have been the man who made Bustamante governor."Never mind that Issa spent millions to bankroll the recall in the first place - it's McClintock who will have made Bustamante governor.
"Projection, party of one."
USATODAY.com - Congressman: Some Republicans must drop out
Posted by Joseph Nobles at 9/08/2003 05:35:00 AM
The premise of Zahavi's idea is that natural selection will favor skepticism among females (or among recipients of advertising messages generally). The only way for a male (or any advertiser) to authenticate his boast of strength (quality, or whatever is is) is to prove that it is true by shouldering a truly costly handicap --- a handicap that only a genuinely strong (high quality, etc.) male could bear. It may be called the principle of costly authentication. And now to the point. Is it possible that some religious doctrines are favored not in spite of being ridiculous but precisely because they are ridiculous? Any wimp in religion could believe that bread symbolically represents the body of Christ, but it takes a real, red-blooded Catholic to believe something as daft as the transubstantiation. If you believe that, you can believe anything, and (witness the story of Doubting Thomas) these people are trained to see that as a virtue.The greater the faith, the prouder the boast of the faithful that they believe. Their faith saves them. Lucky God, to have such fervent believers...
Posted by Joseph Nobles at 9/07/2003 12:01:00 PM