Saturday, April 30, 2005

Social Security nonsense.

Quoting Bush during his ridiculously poor press conference on Thursday night, "I don't think the American people want a President who relies upon polls and focus groups to make decisions for the American people. "

Not surprising for a president with only a 46 percent approval rating. The country thinks he is doing a poor job on all major issues:

War in Iraq - 40 percent approval rating
Jobs and the Economy - 36 percent approval
Social Security - 31 percent approval
Education - 39 percent approval
Environment - 35 percent approval
Taxes 40 percent approval

This president just sucks and the American people are starting to figure it out! But he doesn't give a crap and is willing to continue to just stuff his agenda down our throats. Even though the American people do not want radical change in Social Security he is forcing the issue.

In Falls Church, Virginia, the day after his press conference, Bush said that making that radical change in the government retirement system would erase about 70 percent of Social Security's long-term deficit. There is no basis in fact for this statement.

Should we actually believe him? If you say yes, keep in mind some of the other things he has said:

1. Saddam has weapons of mass destruction.
2. My tax cuts will not cause deficits.
3. I am a uniter not a divider and will reach across the aisle to Democrats.
4. We'll get bin Laden, "dead or alive."
5. No Child Left Behind will help public education.
6. I won't overextend the military and conduct nation-building exercises like Clinton.

The guy cannot lead and is a loser. Everything he has touched has turned to crap. You believe him if you want to. I never voted for him but was willing to give him a chance. He never earned my respect and I have given up on him completely.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Freedom on the March!

More death in Iraq. Good thing "freedom" is marching and not "terror" or "death" or "destruction." I would hate to see the number of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians killed if something other than "freedom" was marching.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

GDP slowing!

Surprise, surprise the economy is slowing. We are hitting another "soft patch" in the economy. This spells major trouble for the U.S. economy because it will require more borrowing to sustain our huge deficits.

When are people going to realize that Bush has been a disaster for our economy. He inherited a $250 billion surplus and has turned it into a record $425 billion deficit. The guy wants to change Social Security because he knows what's better for us. Just like he "knew" about Iraq, the economy, energy/oil/gas, the environment, etc. Someone tell me one thing the guy has done right.

Typical response from Republicans, "But Clinton did . . . " Shut up about Clinton. He had his personal foibles but his policy decisions led to solid growth and a better America.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Gibbsy, Gibbsy, Gibbsy!

Has Gibbs lost his magic? I think too much of Danny Boy has rubbed off instead of Gibbsy rubbing off on Danny Boy and the organization. What a horrible cap situation they have set up in the last couple of months. First they trade LC for an inferior Moss who was supposedly promised a new contract (should have just kept LC). The lose two quality guys in Smoot and Pierce (Pierce to division rival New York). Sean Taylor wants a new contract. Arrington is angry. What else can go wrong? The draft!

I can't figure it out, Washington expended three draft picks -- a third this year and first- and fourth-rounders next year -- so they can move up to take Jason Campbell. What the heck is going on down at Redskins Park? I thought Ramsay was the quarterback of the future. They really, really need to bring Pepper back into the fold. His insights may actually help - the sad thing is that unlike most times I say it, this time I am serious! It has literally gotten that bad.

Sticking it to those deadbeats!

Bush has the courage to protect the banks and credit card companies from those lazy deadbeat SOBs that are robbing this country blind.

Bush's support for the troops

Bush loves the photo ops with the troops and Republicans love to say, "Support the Troops" to keep support up for the largely failed Iraq War which has taken the lives of almost 1600 American soldiers and resulted in injuries to 11,000 more soldiers. However, Republicans have cut the promised benefits to veterans. Doctors are now denying benefits to veterans because the government won't pay the bills. Earlier this month, Republican senators killed $2 billion in funding for VA hospitals arguing that it was too expensive and that it should not be added to the $80.6 billion that was needed to fund the war in Iraq. Republicans have argued that veterans that earn enough money don't need to have government health care - sounds reasonable, until you read teh fine print and see that the cut-off point is $26,000/year. The Republican Congress believes that $26,000 is enough money for veterans to go out and find their own health care.

I am not making this up - the Republicans love slogans but don't want to take money out of the mouths of starving millionaires, billionaires, and corporate interests.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

President of the people - HIS PEOPLE!

The President loves to host fake town hall meetings. Is it really appropriate for a President to exclude Americans who may not be supporters from public events? My tax dollars pay for his salary and his temporary stay in the White House.

Freedom on the March!

50 bodies out of the Tigris and 20 Iraqi soldiers killed.

Freedom is on the march(?) . . .

and so are inflation and interest rates! Thank you George Bush and the Republican congress for your financial leadership.

Republican assault on middle class

Bush is going to sign the new bankruptcy bill that is a giveaway to large banks and credit card companies. It does not require them to do anything to change predatory lending practices and hits squarely on middle class Americans. Democrats tried to add 35 amendments to the bill but were denied by Republicans. The bill will "fall especially hard on low-income working people, single mothers, minorities and the elderly and would remove a safety net for those who have lost their jobs or face crushing medical bills."

But don't worry, Republicans did put in a couple of safety nets for some Americans. As Newsweek's Jonathan Alter points out:

The only insolvent people who get a break are farmers, anti-abortion protesters (who continue to be protected against being sued into bankruptcy by the abortion clinics they try to shut down) and the deadbeat rich, who can still use "asset-protection trusts" to shelter their jewels and mansions from the bankruptcy court. For the GOP-led Congress, the other 98 percent of Americans are second-class citizens.

Bush and his Republican friends are sticking it to average Americans again. Unfortunately, there were also some Democrats who chose power and money over the rights of average Americans. Some of the names of Democrats are very disappointing.

For the Senate vote roll call click here.

For the House vote roll call click here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Rising Interest Rate Effects

Oh oh! We can see what rising interest rates are starting to do.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Italy's Prime Minister Quits

Another of George Bush's staunch allies in Iraq has found himself essentially outsted. The "Iraq-thing" and support for Bush in a country that does not like Bush is not a good thing. With a friend like Bush, bad things happen on the international stage. Of course, domestically if you are a friend of Bush things are great (e.g., Big Oil, HMOs, drug companies, Halliburton, billionaires), and if you wre part of the administration and loved the Iraq policy then you get promoted. Domestically, we live in BIZARRO WORLD.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

How about Halliburton?

Yet again we see that Halliburton is under investigation for more than $200 million in questionable charges. Unbelievable. Not many firms could mischarge (allegedly) American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and be able to keep providing services. It helps that VP Cheney still has a ton of Halliburton stock.

Knocking down pillars of the economy

The U.S. economy and the management of the debt and deficits are tied to growing GDP. There is a major problem brewing - rising interest rates. Not only will real estate and home equity start to falter, but as rates rise, there is going to be a major hit to consumer spending. Real estate and consumer spending have been two of the major pillars and they are about to fall. As one indicator of the looming problem, there was a 50% increase in the number of foreclosures in March from February - the biggest jump in five years.

Tick, tick, tick . . . the bomb is a about to go off and the economy will suffer. GDP growth is slowing and interest rates will be rising in order to fund the record deficits the Republicans have thrown on the shoulders of the American people.

Liberal cartoons for your enjoyment

Some pretty funny cartoons. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Ask Republicans Why?

The president and his Republican senator friends are willing to send billions of dollars to Iraq to rebuild the country. They are willing to spill the blood of American soldiers in the name of freedom (which is debatable). Yet, they voted to cut spending for medical care for veterans (see post below). See the list of those who voted against supporting our troops.

Bush's economic plan revisited

The Bush plan is going to kill us all as I have written in some of my earlier posts. Now we find that the economy is slowing and we hit yet another record trade deficit. More Americans dollars leaving the country at a record pace. Crazy!

Republicans love veterans, NOT!

Why military families vote Republican is just beyond me. The Bush administration and the Republican neo-con nuts who run the government will send Americans off to war but do not want to help veterans who sacrifice for the country.

The 2004 budget which passed the Republican House 215 to 212 (mostly party-line vote with Republicans in the majority) to cut veteran benefits by $25 billion over the next 10 years.

Earlier this year the AP reported on a leaked White House Budget Office memo which called for plans to slash veterans’ health care benefits by over $900 million and veteran’s housing programs by $50 million in 2005 alone.

This past week the Senate voted to cut veterans benefits yet again with Republicans cutting them and Democrats fighting for increased funding. This is Independent Senator Jim Jeffords view on what the Republicans are doing:

We are two years into a war. American servicemen and women continue to come home with horrific wounds, both physical and mental. While the Department of Defense is keeping wounded soldiers in its medical system for longer periods of time and is shouldering a greater share of the costs, the long-term costs of health care and rehabilitation still fall heaviest on the Veterans Administration.

This budget responds by under-funding the VA by almost $16 billion over the next five years. How can we do this in the midst of a war? How can the President in good conscience insist on maintaining large numbers of troops in Iraq, and yet refuse to provide for the health care needs of veterans? This is unacceptable!

Amen!

When Republicans stand up and say "Support Our Troops," think about what they actually do, not just what they say. For a good essay, check out the following link.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Family values?

Bush and the Republicans want to champion "family values." The First Lady has created a new guide called, “Community Guide to Helping America’s Youth: An Assessment Tool for Youth Outreach” so that America's youth can reach their full potential.

Maybe they should look at their own parenting skills and their own "family values." Jenna Bush is at it again. Apparently she is very good at doing Da Butt.

Bush really is an idiot

Get a load of this quote from President Bush at a Fort Hood, Texas appearance today:

"The toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad will be recorded, alongside the fall of the Berlin Wall, as one of the great moments in the history of liberty."

Are you fricking kidding me? Let's let history decide rather than make baseless proclamations. The end of the Cold War came with the fall of the Berlin Wall, what has ended in Iraq? We may end up with a hard-line Islamic government or another dictator - let's see what happens over the next decade before jumping to conclusions.

Another point that should be made is that the Berlin Wall came down at the hands of the German people. Saddam's statue was torn down in an orchestrated "made for TV" moment by the U.S. military. It wasn't the Iraqi people who brought the statue down it was the U.S. military and a small group of happy Iraqis who were likely paid for the photo op. Check out this picture and decide for yourself.

Finally, if the fall of the statue was as big a moment as Bush believes and wants to take credit for, is he also willing to accept some responsbility for the tens of thousands of innocent civilians and two years of instability and lawlessness that have decimated Iraq? Somehow I doubt it.

By the way, there is a rumor floating around the web that Saddam was not actually in the "spider hole" he was captured the day before and then the capture was staged. We'll see in the near future what the truth actuall is. Stay tuned.

Poor Joe Gibbs!

Ay yaay yaay, the Redskins are in major turmoil. Players want out, players want new contracts, and players have no faith in the leadership. Danny Boy has brought down Joe Gibbs just as I suspected.

Iraqis want U.S. troops out

Thanks U.S. military, we will take it from here. Bush's plans to run the Middle East from the inside may be hitting a roadblock. After 2 years and more than 1500 Americans killed let's see what emerges in Iraq. It does not look promising.

Those nutty Republicans!

Looks like John Bolton will be America's ambassador to the United Nations. The Republicans are going to support him in spite of his disdain for the U.N. and the pressure he put on analysts to support the wildly unpopular Iraq war. They just don't care about diplomacy and I am sure it will come back to bite us all.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Here comes a fight

Bush's nominee for Ambassador to the U.N. is set for confirmation hearings this week. It could get bloody for John Bolton who is quoted as saying:

"There is no such thing as the United Nations.The secretariat building in New York has 38 stories. If you lost 10 stories today, it wouldn't make a bit of difference."

Nice choice.

First cracks?

The wall of support for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay may be cracking. DeLay may or may not have done some illegal things, but he has definitely crossed some ethical lines. This is one of the reasons he is facing such scrutiny and why Congressman Chris Shays (Republican from Connecticut) called for DeLay to resign.

Clueless in Hong Kong

Man, I cannot imagine . . .

Democratic Principle #3: Individual Rights

The president wants to not just renew the USA PATRIOT Act, but expand its powers. Among the expansions, the president would like to see terror suspects held without bail and for greater authority to use “administrative subpoenas.” During a speech given in Buffalo, New York, the president gave his reasoning for the need for administrative subpoenas. He prefaced his discussion on the topic by saying, “I'm not a lawyer, so it's kind of hard for me to kind of get bogged down in the law (Applause). I'm not going to play like one, either. (Laughter.) He then went on to say:

Administrative subpoenas mean it is -- speeds up the process whereby people can gain information to go after terrorists. Administrative subpoenas I guess is kind of an ominous sounding word, but it is, to put everybody's mind at ease about administrative subpoenas -- we use them to catch crooked doctors today. It's a tool for people to chase down medical fraud. And it certainly makes sense to me that if we're using it as a tool to chase medical fraud cases, we certainly ought to use it as a tool to chase potential terrorists.

When President Bush talks about administrative subpoenas they sound innocent enough, but the reality is quite different. Administrative subpoenas are very powerful law enforcement tools that can trample over basic constitutional protections. The Center for Democracy and Technology, a watchdog group that focuses on protecting constitutional protections, points out that:

The proposed administrative subpoena would also compel a person to give testimony, essentially forcing anyone to talk to the FBI. Administrative subpoenas are issued with no prior judicial, prosecutorial or grand jury approval. Under the current proposals, failure to comply with an administrative subpoena could result in civil and criminal penalties, and the subpoenas would be executed in complete secrecy. In fact, under one of the proposals, anyone who disclosed the existence of an administrative subpoena could be subject to up to five years in prison.

Technically, a person getting an administrative subpoena could ask for judicial review. But, in the case of subpoenas for documents, why would they? Most - if not all - administrative subpoenas for records would be issued to third-party businesses to get information about their customers. The business has immunity for complying with the subpoena and little incentive to spend its money challenging a subpoena for records that pertain to someone else. And since the business is prohibited from notifying its customer of the existence of the subpoena, the customer can never exercise his right to challenge the subpoena.


The Justice Department already has adequate power to get information through search warrants, and requiring a judge to issue the search warrant helps maintain checks and balances. Frankly, as shown by the Schiavo Case, the Republicans have lost all sense of individual rights and the PATRIOT Act needs to be modified to keep unbridled power out of the hands of the President.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

More success in Baghdad!?

More anti-American sentiment in Baghdad. Some may wonder why they don't just thank us. Remember, we are occupying their country.

Guantanamo Bay fiasco

This is the problem when we do not follow our Constitution and the President sets up detention rules that have no basis in law or morality.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Oh Oh!

All is not well in Republican land, but at least right now they don't have to worry about Democrats who don't show many signs of putting up a fight and/or offering anything different from the Republican Party.

This would be weird!

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Democratic Principle #2: Health Care for All

Today, over 43 million Americans have no health insurance, and more than 2 million Americans have lost their health insurance since President Bush took office. The problem may be even worse than these statistics indicate because many people are underinsured and/or temporarily lose coverage when they lose or leave their jobs. A recent study conducted by Families USA found that 30 percent of all Americans under 65 had no health insurance for all or part of 2001 and 2002. One of the wealthiest nations in the world cannot provide basic health coverage for one sixth of its population – this is an embarrassment and should be considered a national outrage. We are all affected by this problem. Doctors and hospitals still treat uninsured patients who are sick. To recoup their costs they charge insured patients more money. Insurance companies pass on the extra costs in the form of higher premiums.

Just look at the increases in health care – they are increasing at 5 times the rate of inflation and is now rising at the fastest rate in American history. By 2006 the average family health insurance premium will exceed $14,500; premium costs will have increased by more than $5,000 in just three years.

Democrats have got to attack this problem. Stop fooling around and propose a national HMO for those who are uncovered, undercovered, or soon to be uncovered because of rising costs. The huge economies of scale for a government HMO would be tremendous. Given the amount of fraud and waste in the current system, there could easily be advantages to a government HMO. This government HMO would not require people to sign up, it would be voluntary and supplement the current system. People could still choose to cover themselves under the current system of private insurers. The Republicans and private HMOs would cry about how we will have “nationalized health care” as if that would be bad. The only thing that would be bad would be that a problem may get solved and HMOs would lose some of their profits. Stand up Democrats and propose it, the American people will love and respect you.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

At least he had some Chinese food . . .

Check out this unlucky dude!

Democratic Principle #1: Financial Responsibility

There is no question that this President and his Party have created the largest deficits in history. When he came into office, the government had a $250 billion surplus. Today we are looking at $500 billion deficits. The trade deficit will top $600 billion this year. The national debt now stands at $7.8 trillion, more than $2 trillion higher than when Bush took office.

Americans are starting to feel a pinch as oil prices rise, housing and health care is becoming increasingly more expensive, and interest rates inch up. It is an opportunity for the Democratic Party to shake off its image as "tax and spend liberals" and establish itself as good stewards of the American financial machine. Starting with a Balanced Budget Amendment and by proposing a re-allocation of American taxpayer dollars toward better investment in the U.S. and its people. For example, given the current growing financial crisis, it is critical that we move away from large military hardware such as new nuclear weapons and an expensive missile defense shield and invest in health care and alternative energy solutions which affect Americans every day.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

This is just odd!

Different strokes for different folks I guess. I just don't really get the attraction.

Democratic Party Part 1

I got a call from the national Democratic Party asking for a donation to "stop the Bush agenda." I told the caller that I was not interested because the Party has not articulated, and to my knowledge even formulated an alternative plan for America. Americans may not like Bush, but it is difficult to support a Party with no plan other than to "stop the Bush agenda."

This blog often cuts down on the nonsense Bush and the Republicans are pulling on America, but over the next couple of days I am going to lay out a few ideas for the mostly inept Democratic Party.

First, the Party needs to stand up for itself and stop trying to be "Republican light." The Party has a rich tradition and history, but today's national Democratic leaders have such fear about going out on a limb and standing up for something. Politicians in general, but Democrats in particular, are so afraid to say what they think and believe for fear of alienating some constituency. The bottom line is that you cannot please everyone, and intelligent voters know that, so they aare willing to overlook some aspects of a candidate. John Kerry is a perfect example of what is wrong with the Party. He measured everything he said and it was impossible for him to articulate a clear answer to anything. He was weak and late in his defense against the Swift Boat Vets and it killed him. I like the choice of Howard Dean because he at least speaks his mind. I just hope he doesn't get "Washingtonized" and lose his fire.

Over the next few days I will lay out various principles that I believe the Democratic Party should stand up for.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Lying to Congress doesn't matter

Through a FIOA request, the ACLU has unearthed a 2003 memo signed by Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez approving various torture techniques against Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. This is the same Sanchez who when asked by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) denied ever approving torture.

Reed: ". . . today's USA Today, sir, reported that you ordered or approved the use of sleep deprivation, intimidation by guard dogs, excessive noise and inducing fear as an interrogation method for a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison."

Sanchez: "Sir, that may be correct that it's in a news article, but I never approved any of those measures to be used within CJTF-7 at any time in the last year."

OOPS! But Congress has abdicated all responsibility for oversight and won't do anything about it. Rather, they will spend their time discussing private family matters about a woman's right to die and steroids in baseball.

To see the full transcript of Sanchez's testimony CLICK HERE. FYI, CJTF-7 stands for Coalition Joint Task Force-7

Would you draft Clarett?

He ran his latest 40 in 4.67 seconds. Way to go Mo', you are faster than some of the defensive ends in the NFL. Questionable talent and way too much baggage if you ask me.