We are the 99%

January 31, 2005

Twofer! I was on C-SPAN and Honsberger Live

I managed to get a call in this morning to both C-SPAN's Wahington Journal and PCNC's Honsberger Live show regarding the Iraq/Vietnam election parallel mentioned below.

The gist of my calls was:

"I'd like to read a headline from the NY Times:

'U.S. Encouraged by Vote: Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Terror'

Now I've left two words out of that headline, it actually reads:

'U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote: Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror'

...and it's from 1967, just four months before the Tet Offensive.

If I'm permitted, I'd like to read two short sentences from the article itself as it has some parallels to yesterday's vote:

'United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.'

...and further down in the article:

'A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam.'

I certainly hope that history does not repeat itself this time."

I recounted my morning's 'work' at Daily KOS HERE.

U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote (NYT 9/4/1967)

Patachon at Daily KOS has pointed out an article from 1967 with eerie parallels to today. As the original article appeared just four months before the Tet Offensive, one has to hope that history does not repeat itself too closely.

Please note that this ia an actual New York Times article. It has not been altered in any way. This is not a parody:

U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote :
Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror


by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times (9/4/1967: p. 2)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3-- United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.

According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.

The size of the popular vote and the inability of the Vietcong to destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete returns reaching here.

Pending more detailed reports, neither the State Department nor the White House would comment on the balloting or the victory of the military candidates, Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu, who was running for president, and Premier Nguyen Cao Ky, the candidate for vice president.

A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam. The election was the culmination of a constitutional development that began in January, 1966, to which President Johnson gave his personal commitment when he met Premier Ky and General Thieu, the chief of state, in Honolulu in February.

The purpose of the voting was to give legitimacy to the Saigon Government, which has been founded only on coups and power plays since November, 1963, when President Ngo Dinh Deim was overthrown by a military junta.

Few members of that junta are still around, most having been ousted or exiled in subsequent shifts of power.

Significance Not Diminished

The fact that the backing of the electorate has gone to the generals who have been ruling South Vietnam for the last two years does not, in the Administration's view, diminish the significance of the constitutional step that has been taken.

The hope here is that the new government will be able to maneuver with a confidence and legitimacy long lacking in South Vietnamese politics. That hope could have been dashed either by a small turnout, indicating widespread scorn or a lack of interest in constitutional development, or by the Vietcong's disruption of the balloting.

American officials had hoped for an 80 per cent turnout. That was the figure in the election in September for the Constituent Assembly. Seventy-eight per cent of the registered voters went to the polls in elections for local officials last spring.

Before the results of the presidential election started to come in, the American officials warned that the turnout might be less than 80 per cent because the polling place would be open for two or three hours less than in the election a year ago. The turnout of 83 per cent was a welcome surprise. The turnout in the 1964 United States Presidential election was 62 per cent.

Captured documents and interrogations indicated in the last week a serious concern among Vietcong leaders that a major effort would be required to render the election meaningless. This effort has not succeeded, judging from the reports from Saigon.

NYT. 9/4/1967: p. 2.


January 28, 2005

Unacceptable

Unacceptable

It is simply unacceptable for the United States of America to have the prime legal architect for the policy of torture adopted by the Bush Dynasty as the Attorney General of this country.

A country founded on the rights of the individual cannot sanctify a person to be the Attorney General of these United States who sanctified torture as long as it wasn't "equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death."

The US Attorney General's job is to function as the chief law enforcement officer of the Federal Government. In that capacity the US Attorney General provides assistance and guidance to the heads of executive departments of the Government.

We already know that Alberto R. Gonzales advised the President that the United States Constitution does not apply to his actions as Commander in Chief, and thus the President could declare the Geneva Conventions (which Gonzales views as "quaint") inoperative.

We know that Alberto R. Gonzales believes that the President has the power to ignore the Constitution, laws duly enacted by Congress and International treaties duly ratified by the United States.

These views are unacceptable in a US Attorney General.

For these reasons, the 2 Political Junkies blog opposes the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General of the United States, and we urge the Senate to reject him.

We also stand with the Daily KOS blog in asking all bloggers of good conscience to oppose his nomination.

We also congratulate the Democratic members of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary who all voted against the nomination of Gonzales:

Patrick J. Leahy
RANKING DEMOCRATIC MEMBER, VERMONT

Edward M. Kennedy
MASSACHUSETTS

Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
DELAWARE

Herbert Kohl
WISCONSIN

Dianne Feinstein
CALIFORNIA

Russell D. Feingold
WISCONSIN

Charles E. Schumer
NEW YORK

Richard J. Durbin
ILLINOIS



A Gem

Here's a real gem of a statement from Chris Chiames (US Airways senior vice president of corporate affairs) commenting on Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato's righteous anger at US Air's betrayal of Pittsburgh:


Onorato's comments yesterday were not "constructive," Chiames said. "If those are the charges he wants to make about the company and about me personally, I guess he is free to make them," but it is "not conducive to a working relationship."

"Working relationship?" What working relationship?!?

It's 830 Pennsylvanians who will soon not be working for US Air In PA.

Who in their right mind at this point would believe a single thing said by an executitve at US Air???



January 26, 2005

Deadliest Day For U.S. In Iraq War So Far

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Thirty-one Marines were killed in a helicopter crash near Iraq's border with Jordan, bringing the number of U.S. troops killed Wednesday to 37 -- the deadliest day for U.S. forces since the start of the war in Iraq.

Four U.S. Marines were killed during combat in Iraq's Al-Anbar province, and two U.S. soldiers were killed in attacks in the Baghdad area, according to the U.S. military.

Full story HERE

Thank you Bush Dynasty!


Getting it RIGHT



Ask Your Legislator to Send Your Chastity Belt Today!

Times have changed, but the Pennsylvania State Legislature has not. In 1999, the Pennsylvania State Legislature attempted to address the challenge of unintended pregnancy in our state. Did they promote comprehensive sex education, insurance coverage for birth control, or emergency contraception for rape survivors? No. They created "Chastity Awareness Week."

If our lawmakers want to make chastity our only option, shouldn't they give us the right accessories? Order your chastity belt from the Pennsylvania State Legislature TODAY! Then, ask for more than a chastity belt this year - ask them for real choices.

Chastity Belt: the way to not do it
In vogue in the Middle Ages, chastity belts are making a come back in PA! Get one today from the Pennsylvania State Legislature.

List Price: Priceless
Your Price: Compliments of the Pennsylvania State Legislature
You Save: Your chastity

Availability: made available through the Pennsylvania State Legislature since 1999.

Want it delivered Tomorrow? Don't let your chastity go one more day without protection. Order your belt TODAY HERE!

The Bush Dynasty wouldn't dream of loosening Jenna at an Inaugural Ball without one!


January 24, 2005

not over it

Here's a marvelous overview of OH voting irregularities:

The Strange Death of American Democracy:
Endgame in Ohio

It is the most comprehensive examination of that vote that I've seen.

Boxer Rebellion

Saturday Night Live lampooned the Rice hearings this weekend. While they did skewer Rice, they also made Barbara Boxer look flighty as all hell. Of course, Fox And Friends this morning is only picking up on the Boxer is CRAZY meme.

This all is leading to another shamless plug for my store:



Many more style available HERE.
(Boxer boxer shorts to be added soon, as well as DfA Pittsburgh gear.)

And just in case you haven't gotten around to getting a 2005 calendar, here's one that can reflect your Anti-Bush stance 24/7, 365 days a year:

January 23, 2005

Fresh Horses

A Daily Kos diary recounts a recent breakfast meeting of the California Democratic Club. It was attended by several DNC representatives who will later vote for the new chairman of the DNC. A full hour of the meeting was devoted to 90-second speeches by regular folks in support of their candidate for DNC chair.

According to the piece:

"100% -- every single one -- of the endorsements from the folks who came out to Sacramento at their own expense and effort, just to speak for 90 seconds to the decision makers, went to Howard Dean."

One of the endorsements summed it up particularly well:

"Some of you in the DNC may see us as barbarians at the gate. Some of us see ourselves as the cavalry. The truth is, we are fresh horses."

Full story HERE

January 22, 2005

News about John McIntire

For those of you who haven't heard yet, John McIntire is returning to the Pittsburgh airwaves!

Lynn Cullen is taking some time off to recharge her batteries and so Johnny Mac is filling in two days (Thursdays and Fridays) a week for the next MONTH.

January 21, 2005

Cat Blogging

As I mentioned in this post, my cat was recently hospitalized for six days. Pip is back home now:



(Her forearms were shaved at the hospital for the IVs which
makes her look like she's wearing shorts and booties. )



(I still have to continue her fluids at home -- we
were both pincushions the first couple of days)


And, just so she doesn't get jealous, here's a "beauty shot" of Clio:


(She's posing in a prop bassinet that I made for a baby shower)

Remind me again why I live in this city?

New Orleans mourned a new Bush Adminstration in their own unique way yesterday by having a
"Jazz Funeral for Democracy (A Wake for Peace)"

Their website is HERE

Here are some photos from the wake:


















January 20, 2005

Illegitimi non carborundum

All photos taken from my teevee:

Shortly before he was re-crowned
(not sure why my camera seemed to malfunction,
but I cleaned the lense after this picture):




Some (not) HAPPY :-) people:





CNN said it was PA's own State Troopers
helping to keep Bush safe from for democracy:



The Secret Service decide to make a run
for it past the (not) HAPPY :-) people:


Hope Springs Eternal

President Harrison died of pneumonia one month after taking the oath of office after giving his inaugural address in the severe cold of Washington, D.C.

Thursday's Weather Forecast for Washington DC:
OVERNIGHT...MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A FEW FLURRIES LATE THIS EVENING...THEN BECOMING PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS IN THE LOWER 20S. WESTWINDS AROUND 10 MPH. .THURSDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE MID 30S. NORTHWEST WINDS10 TO 15 MPH. .THURSDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLOUDY IN THE EVENING...THEN BECOMING PARTLY CLOUDY. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF FLURRIES. LOWS AROUND 20. NORTHWEST WINDS AROUND 10 MPH.

January 18, 2005

Every once in a great while the media "gets it"

Looks like I'm not the only one to notice that the terror warnings have dropped since the election.

The Scandal Sheet

Salon.com presents 34 scandals from the first four years of George W. Bush's presidency -- every one of them worse than Whitewater.

The full article is a definite must read (and must save and must share).

I've reprinted the scandal names here to whet your appetite (and added explanations in parentheses when needed):

1. Memogate: The Senate Computer Theft
2. Doctor Detroit: The DOJ's Bungled Terrorism Case
3. Dark Matter: The Energy Task Force
4. The Indian Gaming Scandal
5. Halliburton's No-Bid Bonanza
6. Halliburton: Pumping Up Prices
7. Halliburton's Vanishing Iraq Money
8. The Halliburton Bribe-apalooza
9. Halliburton: One Fine Company (misleading investors)
10. Halliburton's Iran End Run
11. Money Order: Afghanistan's Missing $700 Million Turns Up in Iraq
12. Iraq: More Loose Change (Coalition Provisional Authority assets missing)
13. The Pentagon-Israel Spy Case
14. Gone to Taiwan (State Dept. spy case)
15. Wiretapping the United Nations
16. The Boeing Boondoggle
17. The Medicare Bribe Scandal
18. Tom DeLay's PAC Problems
19. Tom DeLay's FAA: Following Americans Anywhere (Texas legislator)
20. In the Rough: Tom DeLay's Golf Fundraiser
21. Busy, Busy, Busy in New Hampshire (Repugs jam Dem phone banks)
22. The Medicare Money Scandal (lies & threats about the real cost)
23. The Bogus Medicare "Video News Release"
24. Pundits on the Payroll: The Armstrong Williams Case
25. Ground Zero's Unsafe Air
26. John Ashcroft's Illegal Campaign Contributions
27. Intel Inside ... The White House (Rove's conflicts of interest)
28. Duck! Antonin Scalia's Legal Conflicts
29. AWOL (Bush's National Guard years)
30. Iraq: The Case for War
31. Niger Forgeries: Whodunit?
32. In Plame Sight
33. Abu Ghraib
34. Guantánamo Bay Torture?

Dr. King on Iraq...err...Vietnam

Excerpted from a speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr., on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City:

"Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.''


Full article HERE.

January 14, 2005

I'm averting my eyes, oh Lord.


According to Scripps Howard News Service here's some of the instructions for parade performers for King George the W's coronation:

"Parade performers will have security escorts to the bathroom, and they've been ordered not to look directly at President Bush or make any sudden movements while passing the reviewing stand."
Hmm...me thinks we can expect the coronation -- like those miserable Psalms -- to be so depressing.

Now knock it off!

A Case for Casey?

Daily KOS has a piece on a recent poll showing Bob Casey Jr. well ahead of Lil Ricky "Man on Dog Action" Santorum:

Casey Jr. top candidate for PA Senate race; roundup
by kos
Thu Jan 13th, 2005 at 11:17:27 PST


A poll (DSCC, probably) pitting various Democrats against Rick Santorum has generated some buzz in DC political circles. The exact numbers are hazy, but hover in the 52-38 range. The candidates? Bob Casey Jr. at 52 percent, and Santorum at 38. In fact, according to the poll, Casey would beat Rendell in a primary battle. Thankfully, that won't happen as Rendell is firmly focused on reelection to a second term as governor.

Santorum is quite obviously Democratic target numero uno, and there's no doubt that Santorum is far too conservative for Pennsylvania. He belongs more in Oklahoma with Wacky Tom Coburn than in moderate PA.
On the same topic, a recent article in "The Philadelphia Inquirer" featured a nifty map that shows where Casey won county by county -- proving him popular in both blue and red PA:


My problem with Casey? Waaay too "pro life" for my liking.

Would I vote for him over Santorum? In a heartbeat.

Would I actively campaign for him over Santorum? All things considered -- you betcha!

Would I campaign for him over a viable pro choice candidate in the Dem primaries? Not likely.

January 13, 2005

Compare and Contrast

The Poor Man blog has really done its homework with this fascinating chart:

Rathergate vs. Saddam's WMD - A Quantitative Comparison

Rathergate Saddam's WMD
Investigation recently concluded? Yes Yes
Use of highly questionable supporting documents? Yes Yes
Central claims disproven? No Yes
Media spread questionable information? Yes Yes
Number of firings resulting from investigation 4 0
Number of high-profile reassignments resulting from investigation 1 0
Number of wars started using flawed justification
0 1
Cost to American taxpayer $0.00 ~$150,000,000,000 (as of 1/12/05)
Number of American soldiers killed as a result 0 1,357 (as of 1/12/05)
Number of British soldiers killed as a result 0 76 (as of 1/12/05)
Number of other non-Iraqi allied soldiers killed as a result 0 84 (as of 1/12/05)
Number of Iraqi policemen killed over last 4 months as a result 0 1,300+
Number of Iraqi civilians killed as a result 0 10,000-100,000+
Number of al-Qaeda training camps destroyed as a result 0 0
Number of terrorist plots against the US foiled as a result 0 0
Percentage of Iraqi people who view the US as "occupiers" as a result no data available 92%
Saddam Hussein removed from power as a result? No Yes
Saddam's torture chambers shut down as a result? No No
Iraqi people enjoying freedom as a result? No No (as of 1/12/05)
US's reputation severely damaged as a result? No Yes
US's military stretched thin as a result? No Yes
Posts mentioning story on NRO's "The Corner" 10 0
Advantage blogosphere? No Please

Wouldn't it be nice if the "legit" media created something this useful for the American public?


January 11, 2005

Bush is trying to kill my cat!

(There, that got your attention)

Sorry for the paucity of posts, but as it turns out I have a very sick cat (kidney problems) who has been in the hospital since Saturday.

While being quite ill, she's also one of the most aggressive (towards the staff) and angry cats that they've seen in some time (she's still pissed off that Bush won) and she won't eat unless I go there nightly to feed her.

Must be too many Conservatives at the hospital (cats can sense dangerous oncoming disasters like earthquakes and a new Bush Administration).

There is some good news. She did finally start responding to treatment last night so her kidney tests and red blood count are a little bit better -- but it's still wait and see at this point. So I'm waiting and hoping.

I'll try to get some blogging in soon.


Pip (in better times)


January 6, 2005

Barbara Boxer: A Real American Hero

Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) have filed their objection to tallying Ohio's electoral votes. You can watch the the House of Representatives debate on C-SPAN and the Senate on C-SPAN II right NOW.

Please thank Sen. Barbara Boxer at:
http://boxer.senate.gov/contact/webform.cfm

Here's the letter that I sent to her:

Thank You!!! You are a great American!

It goes to show that it took a woman to have the cojones to stand up and tell truth to lies.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you for objecting to the modern equivalent of having African Americans count the bubbles a bar of soap would make in order to be able to vote.

Thank you for caring about the most precious right of all America citizens.

You are a great American!

January 5, 2005

I despise Bush and his minions, but what can I do?

1/5/04:

Contact A Progressive Senator to Contest the Electoral College Vote Count
On January 6, 2005, Congress will certify the November 2, 2004 election Electoral College vote count, unless at least one Representative and one Senator contests the election. Several Representatives stand ready to do this.

Only one senator is needed now. Please encourage Democratic Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia -- currently the most outspoken critic of Bush administration policies in the U.S. Senate -- to stand against U.S. election fraud and contest certification of the Electoral College vote count. Email Senator Byrd at: http://byrd.senate.gov/byrd_email.html Or, phone Senator Byrd at: 202-224-3954, or fax: 202-228-0002

Then, call/email the following Senators and urge them to do the same before 5 p.m. Eastern time on Wed. Jan. 5:
Senator Barbara Boxer, (202) 224-3553, http://boxer.senate.gov/contact/webform.cfm
Senator Dick Durbin, (202) 224-2152, dick@durbin.senate.gov
Senator Russ Feingold, (202) 224-5323, russ_feingold@feingold.senate.gov
Senator Tom Harkin, (202) 224-3254, tom_harkin@harkin.senate.gov
Senator Jim Jeffords, (202) 224-5141, Vermont@jeffords.senate.gov
Senator Edward Kennedy, 202/224-4543, senator@kennedy.senate.gov
Senator Patrick Leahy, (202) 224-4242, senator_leahy@leahy.senate.gov

VIE Meeting (South Side)
Wednesday, Jan 5, 5:30pm
Matt & Tiffany's house
2225 Larkins Way
Pittsburgh PA 15203
RSVP to: mpreston@andrew.cmu.edu

Democracy for America Meeting / Meet the Candidates
Wednesday, Jan 5, 7pm
Mario's / Blue Lou's
1514 E Carson Street, Southside (Upstairs on the Blue Lou's side)
Pittsburgh PA 15203

PGH DfA meetup a@ 7, Meet the Candidates (Bill Peduto & Mike Lamb) @ 8
RSVP @ http://dfa.meetup.com/110

1/6/05

Protest The Electoral College Vote Count
"We ARE going to Washington on Thursday for a 1 day trip to protest the certification of the vote. We only need 1 Senator to refuse to certify and begin the discussion of legitimate elections in this country! Please show your support and join us. Details below. You can contact me via email at janis.jmw@comcast.net or 412-680-1626. Thanks and hope you can join us!

Summons Your Patriotic Outrage:
Come to Washington to Defend Democracy


It continues with: Demand Democracy, Support the Challenge

As you know, congress (with the likes of our Senators Spector & Santorum) will vote on January 6 to accept the electorial votes. Groups are now organizing to mobilize on the 6th in Washington. People from across the country are being encouraged to come to Washington for a vigil and rally starting at noon to demonstrate their support for congressional leaders to reject the electorial votes sent from Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Indiana, and any other states in which massive fraud and vote supression inflated Bush totals & dimished Kerry's.

Many of us did nothing to protest the results in 2000. We can't stand idly by and watch these "irregularities" rob Kerry of his victory. We have to demand an honest and transparent vote for president if nothing else. And as the website ReDefeatBush.com points out as part of the justification for this rally, we want to get the message to congress that we're watching. This rally could be over in an hour as our elected officials rubber stamp the electorial counts, but it COULD be the most exciting time in American politics for a century or so -or at least provide the cover for some in congress to vote against accepting the counts, unlike 2000 when no one voted no in the senate.

For those of you interested in making the trek, we will be leaving from the Monroeville turnpike interchange at approximately 7:00 a.m. Now, we know that's early, but the rally begins at noon. If you want to go, let us know, so that we can plan cars/drivers. If you are interested in driving to D.C. & can fit some folks in your vehicle, let us know. We are planning to go down in caravan style, parking along the metro route & taking the subway into the city (we're brave enough to take on congress, but not D.C. traffic).

We want to make a stand against dishonest elections, can you join us?????? If so, please respond to this e-mail for more details. We will try to organize drivers & passengers. Hope to see ya on the 6th.

Georgia Blotzer"

January 4, 2005

More On Bush's LIES On Social Security

Another good piece on Social Security today from Paul Krugman at the NYT.

It starts:

The people who hustled America into a tax cut to eliminate an imaginary budget surplus and a war to eliminate imaginary weapons are now trying another bum's rush. If they succeed, we will do nothing about the real fiscal threat and will instead dismantle Social Security, a program that is in much better financial shape than the rest of the federal government.

He explains how the claim that Social Security, is facing an imminent crisis is "simply false" because SS has it's own independent budget which has a large and growing trust.

As Krugman explains:

There are only two things that could endanger Social Security's ability to pay benefits before the trust fund runs out. One would be a fiscal crisis that led the U.S. to default on all its debts. The other would be legislation specifically repudiating the general fund's debts to retirees.

That is, we can't have a Social Security crisis without a general fiscal crisis - unless Congress declares that debts to foreign bondholders must be honored, but that promises to older Americans, who have spent most of their working lives paying extra payroll taxes to build up the trust fund, don't count.


Krugman promises to also explain in upcoming weeks how privatization will, in his words, "fatally undermine" Social Security so keep you eye on the Times.

His full editorial can be found HERE.


Bush Pushes Social Insecurity

Here's a couple of excellent articles on the real deal on Social Security:

From the New York Times:

If you've lent even one ear to the administration's recent comments on Social Security, you have no doubt heard President Bush and his aides asserting that a $10 trillion shortfall threatens the retirement system - and the economy itself. That $10 trillion hole is the basis of the president's claim last month that "the [Social Security] crisis is now." It's also the basis of the administration's claim that the cost of doing nothing to reform the system would be far greater than the cost of acting now.

Well, the $10 trillion figure is the closest you can get to pulling a number out of the air. Make that the ether. Starting last year, as the groundwork was being set for the emerging debate, the Social Security trustees took the liberty of projecting the system's solvency over infinity, rather than sticking to the traditional 75-year time horizon. That world-without-end assumption generates the scary $10 trillion estimate, and with it, Mr. Bush's putative rationale for dismantling Social Security in favor of a system centered on private savings accounts. The American Academy of Actuaries, the profession's premier trade association, objected to the change. In a letter to the trustees, the actuaries wrote that infinite projections provide "little if any useful information about the program's long-range finances and indeed are likely to mislead any [nonexpert] into believing that the program is in far worse financial condition than is actually indicated."

Full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/03/opinion/03mon1.html?th


From Talking Points Memo:

After 1980 we started borrowing money big-time to finance our deficits -- in large part because of tax cuts on high-income earners. However you want to slice it, we started spending substantially more than we were taking in in tax revenue.

So where'd we borrow the money?

This is from memory, so I may have the numbers a bit off. But I believe about $4 trillion of that debt was borrowed on the open market -- individual Americans have them in their investment portfolios, or pension funds hold them, or the Chinese, Japanese and the Saudis and others have them in bonds.

But about $3 trillion of those dollars we needed to fund the 1980s and 1990s deficits we managed to borrow closer to home. We borrowed it from the Social Security (and a few other government) trust fund(s).

Full article: http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_2005_01_02.php#004327


Zee TV

Comcast is now making Zee TV (ch 666) and TV Asia (ch 665) available for free to all digital customers until further notice (due to the tsunami).

I hate to even suggest that there's something positive that came out of the tsunami, but I sure did miss the Bollywood musicals that I used to get to watch for free when I had cable TV in NYC.

To partially make up for that last paragraph, don't forget the Tsunami Challenge being hosted at Comments From Left Field. (HERE and HERE)

January 2, 2005

Cheney Was Right: We Are Safer By Having Elected Bush

"If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again -- that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States."
- Vice President Dick Cheney
Well, it turns out he was correct!

You may well ask how I know that the United States has been made safer by having elected Bush for another term and the answer is quite simple:

Since reelecting Bush, we have had a new video tape by bin Laden, we've had lasers pointed into plane cockpits, and we've just completed three major holidays without any apparent need for the Homeland Security color-coded terror alert system to be raised from yellow to orange.

So, we must be safer!

In fact, just a little over a week after Bush was reelected, the federal government lowered the terror alert status from orange to yellow for a number of financial institutions in New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. which had been raised to orange in August (less than 3 months before the election).

Moreover, it was just in July of this year (right after Kerry made news by announcing the popular choice of Senator Edwards as his running mate) that we had been warned by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge of a plot to carry out a large-scale terror attack against the United States in the near future that was being directed by Osama bin Laden and other top al Qaeda members. Ridge announced that the planned attack is "an effort to disrupt the democratic process" before November's elections.

Bush appointee DeForest Soaries, Jr., chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, even went so far as to express his concern that no federal agency had the authority to postpone an election. He even asked Ridge to ask Congress to give his commission such power.

And, just four days before the November elections, a bin Laden video was released (acknowledged by a GOP strategist a "little" gift" to Bush), yet the obvious power of a Bush/Cheney ticket seemed to be enough to repel the need for any concern to issue a real security alert (which could have frightened citizens concerned with the "gay menace" away from the polls). "We want people to think 'terrorism' for the last four days," said a Bush-Cheney campaign official, but they were keeping us safe enough not to need to raise alarms unduly.

We had many orange level alerts prior to the election as you can see from this chart (you''ll need to ignore the distracting correlation with Bush popularity stats -- sorry -- it was the only graph I could find):


( A larger version can be found HERE.)


But now that Bush has been duly elected for another four years, there's no getting around the fact that officially recognized terror threats against the US are disappearing a fast as Kerry's lead after the exit polls were revised by CNN in the wee hours of 11/3/2004.

OK, so there was one little county in Ohio that may or may not have had a terrorist threat against it on election day and felt the need to lock down the administration building on election night when counting the ballots, but that seems to be an anomaly and all's well that ends well anyway.

All, I'm saying is that is that numbers don't lie and neither do colors: no orange means I feel safer and so should you.

The Republic is officially safe.

Any real American can see that and feel good about Bush being in office for another four years!


January 1, 2005

Stay and Fight

"My local newspaper in Vermont has published several articles since the November elections about disenchanted people moving to Canada. Yes, the Presidential election was a disappointment to a lot of Americans — about 48% of them. But this is our country too, so my attitude is, "Please stay and fight." Over the next four years we have a chance to lay out a vision and a message that appeals to the best in all Americans.

Our message has to be about rebuilding community. The community we want to rebuild is one based on mutual respect. The community we want to rebuild is one based on fiscal prudence, where a dollar saved is a dollar earned so that our kids can have at least the same, if not better, opportunities than we have. Our community will be one where Americans who work hard, no matter what their wages are, have a basic standard of living which includes adequate health care. Our community will be inclusive. Our community will not turn its back on those who are members of minority groups, on American Indians, on single women with children, on people with disabilities, on public employees, on gay Americans, or on working people who make minimum wage.

Our community will be based on fairness. Our America will be a community where all really are created equal. Our community will be one where people of faith are welcomed and held up as role models, but it will also be one where those who seek to use religion as a wedge issue to teach intolerance and hate are treated as the sinners which they are.

This community will be based on values of strength, toughness, respect for others and their ideas. And above all, the notion that loving thy neighbor — all neighbors, not just some — is an essential American value.

Americans are too tough to give up easily. As we start a new year, please continue to build our community — together we can take our country back."

Posted by Howard Dean at 10:25 PM,
Friday, December 31, 2004
on blog for america