Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: December 2004

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Social Security Actuary - A Summary of the 2004 Annual Reports

A Summary of the 2004 Annual Reports

Even the top Social Security Actuary admits:

"The growing annual cash deficits in both programs will lead to exhaustion in trust fund reserves for HI (Medicare Health Insurance) in 2019 and for Social Security in 2042."

"Social Security could be brought into actuarial balance over the next 75 years in various ways, including an immediate increase in payroll taxes of 15 percent or an immediate reduction in benefits of 13 percent (or some combination of the two). To the extent that changes are delayed or phased in gradually, greater adjustments in scheduled benefits and revenues would be required. Ensuring the sustainability of the system beyond 2078 would require even larger changes."

"As we reported last year, Medicare's financial difficulties come sooner--and are much more severe--than those confronting Social Security. While both programs face essentially the same demographic challenge, health care costs per enrollee are projected to rise faster than the wages per worker on which the payroll tax is paid and on which Social Security benefits are based. As a result, while Medicare's annual costs are currently 2.7 percent of GDP, or about 60 percent of Social Security's, they are now projected to surpass Social Security expenditures in 2024 and reach almost 14 percent of GDP in 2078, more than twice the percent for Social Security in that year."

"The projected 75-year actuarial deficit in the Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund is now 3.12 percent of taxable payroll, up significantly from 2.40 percent in last year's report mainly due to higher actual and projected hospital expenditures, as well as lower actual and projected taxable payroll, and new Medicare legislation. The fund now fails our test of short-range financial adequacy, as assets drop below the level of the next year's projected expenditures within 10 years--in 2012. The fund also continues to fail our long-range test of close actuarial balance by a wide margin. The projected date of HI Trust Fund exhaustion has moved forward significantly to 2019, from 2026 in last year's report, and projected HI tax income falls short of outlays beginning this year, as compared to 2013 in last year's report. HI could be brought into actuarial balance over the next 75 years by an immediate 108 percent increase in program income or an immediate 48 percent reduction in program outlays (or some combination of the two). However, as with Social Security, adjustments of far greater magnitude would be necessary to the extent changes are delayed or phased in gradually, and continuation of the program after 2078 would require substantial changes."

For those of you who think government programs are poorly administrated and inefficient:

Administrative expenses, as a percentage of total expenditures, were:

0.6 2.7 1.6 1.8

Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI)
Disability Insurance (DI)
Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI)
Medicare Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI)

This report is signed by treasury secretary John Snow.

I happened to watch John Snow on Wolf Blitzer this past Sunday talking about Social Security. Among many misleading comments like how to deflate the deficit:

"Only two ways to do that: One, you grow the economy. And we're doing that. The economy's growing. As the economy grows, government receipts rise.

But secondly, we've got to watch spending. And that's the key. We've got to control spending. You'll see in this budget that will be coming forth soon that spending will be under tight wraps."

Snow also said: "Well, Wolf, deficits matter, we know that" (Take that Cheney with your "Reagan proved deficits don't matter."

I digress:
What the Cheif Financial Messenger failed to discuss is Medicare.

No credit to Wolf who grilled him on budget issues (without getting an answer) but of course Wolf doesn't check the actuaries reports as part of his broadcast. He did cite that famous UFO poll.

Read the report if you can stay awake it is a much better education than you can get on the TV.

However, the word crisis is not mentioned when the report discusses social security.


Me ON Air America with Thom Hartmann!

Click Here

You can download the feed and fast forward to 2:26 (or listen to the whole show if you have 3 hours!).

He said I was from NY.

Topics discussed:

Similarities of the VA health care system and socialized medical system.

Long term safety in clinical trials, and regulatory negotiations between Pharmaceuticals and FDA.

And wether or not the actuaries in the Congressional Budget Office have taken job and population growth into account in their figures about how down the road Social Security going red.

Not bad I was on the line for about 5 minutes.

If you listen carefully you can hear cars honking as I waited for my lady at the train station.


By the way, I noticed there are lots of guest hosts on Air America recently. My thought is that either the old hosts really were in it just until the election (there were rumors of this and if you listened to Al Franken after the election he was constantly saying "we're still here") and now they are working to see if they can get new hosts to carry the torch.

Or are the old hosts just on vacation as they claim to be.

Either way, if you listen to Thom Hartmann he is way better than Randi Rhodes because he isn't as condescending and he will actually let his callers talk.

I once made it on the air with Randi Rhodes and I got about 10 words in before she got on another soap box. So I stopped trying.

Anyway give it a listen. I couldn't get my blog plugged. Ho hum.


Bush answers Social Security question at latest press rally...Or does he?

REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. You have made Social Security reform the top of your domestic agenda for a second term. You have been talking extensively about the benefits of private accounts, but by most estimations, private accounts may leave something for young workers at the end, but wouldn't do much to solve the overall financial problem with social security. I'm just wondering, as you promote the private accounts, why aren't you talking about the tough measures that need to be taken to preserve Social Security such as increase the retirement age, cutting benefits or means testing for Social Security?

GEORGE W. BUSH: I appreciate the question. Let me put the Social Security issue in proper perspective. It is a very important issue, but it's not the only issue - very important issue, we'll be dealing with. I expect the Congress to bring forth meaningful tort reform. I want the legal system reformed in a way that we can -- we are competitive in the world. I will be talking about the budget, of course. There's a lot of concern in the financial markets about our deficits, short-term and long-term deficits. The long-term deficit is caused by some of the entitlement programs, the unfunded liabilities inherent in the entitlement programs. I will push on an education agenda. No doubt in my mind that the “No Child Left Behind” Act is meaningful, a real reform having real results. And I look forward to strengthening “No Child Left Behind.” Immigration reform is also very important agenda item as we move forward. But Social Security, as well, is a big item. I campaigned on it, as you are painfully aware, since you had to suffer through many of my speeches. I didn't duck the issue like others have done in the past. I said this is a vital issue, and we need to work together to solve it. Now, the temptation is going to be, by well-meaning people such as yourself, John, and others here as we run up to the issue, to get me to negotiate with myself in public to say, you know, what's this mean, Mr. President? What's that mean? I'm not going to do that. I don't get to write the law. I'll propose a solution at the appropriate time, but the law will be written in the halls of Congress. I will negotiate with them, with the members of Congress, and they will want me to start playing my hand. Will you accept this, will you not accept that, why don't you do this hard thing, why don't you do that. I recognize, this is going to be a decision that requires difficult choices, John. Inherent in your question I do recognize that, you bet I do. Otherwise, it would have been done. So, I am just -- I just want to condition you. I'm not doing a very good job, because the other day in the Oval Office, when the press pool came in, I was asked about this -- the series of questions -- a question on Social Security with these different aspects to it. And I said, I'm not going to negotiate with myself. I will negotiate at the appropriate time with the law writers. So, thank you for trying. The principles I laid out in the course of the campaign and the principles we laid out in the recent economic summit are still the principles I believe in. That is, nothing will change for those near our Social Security payroll. You were the one that asked me whether the payroll tax, if I'm not mistaken, will not go up. And I know there's the big definition about what that means. Well, again, I will repeat -- don't bother to ask me. Or, you can ask me. I can't tell you what to ask. That's not the holiday spirit. But I'm -- it is all part of trying to get me to set the parameters -- you know, apart from the Congress, which is not a good way to get substantive reform done.


yep that put it in perspective for me.

Incidentally I got this from Democracy Now which held a discussion with Paul krugman on the subject.

Again even Democracy now skirted the real elephant Medicare even though Krugman brought it up.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

New Zealand? come-on.

and Interested Participant

and The Jawa Report

are all getting a bit too chicken little about a story that New Zealand is now a haven for terrorists.

Look folks, even the UNITED STATES is a haven for Terrorists. Remember 9/11?

Those guys were living in the states.

favorite quote from Interested:

"This news should not be surprising to anyone even remotely familiar with the politics of New Zealand. The socialist mentality of the populace presents itself in widespread anti-Americanism and anti-capitalism which just happen to be benchmark beliefs of the terrorists. So, it's not hard for me to believe that terrorist sympathizers are in the country."

Socialism breeds terrorists? Since when did this happen, and how many more times do crazy righties have to be taught.


Ask your trusty terrorist, Osama Bin Laden. "its aggressive foreign policies against the weak without supervision."

Even if New Zealand is a threat don't worry the missile defense system will protect us.


Tuesday, December 21, 2004

New F.B.I. Files Describe Abuse of Iraq Inmates

Read this

Since the blogosphere hasnt been on top of this story yet I guess I will be. Got that JAY TEA?

The ACLU, has gotten its hands on documents from the FBI regarding more torture at gitmo. Neil Lewis, the same reporter that broke the story about the International Red Cross report about Guantanamo Bay, now brings us a story about how the FBI may have also reported such atrocities in the recent past, in fact as early a June 24, of this year.

These memos describing interrogating techniques that were definitely torture and sadistic went right to the top of the FBI chain of Command.

How interesting is it that just one year ago Anthony Romero, CEO of the ACLU said this of the man who is now implicated in at least hiding and at worse not investigating some of the biggest civil rights violations this country has ever sponsored.

Here is one of Romero's quotes addressed directly to Meuller:

"We are especially concerned about the harsh and discriminatory treatment of immigrants as documented in the recent report by the Justice Department’s own Inspector General. That report strongly criticized the implementation of the “hold until cleared” policies that were responsible for detaining hundreds of innocent immigrants with no connection to terrorism for long periods. We have read the IG’s report suggesting changes in the DOJ’s practices. We will be interested to see if these recommendations are in fact implemented."

And what exactly did the IG suggest?

Read them here.

Conditions of Confinement

BOP officials imposed a communications blackout for September 11 detainees immediately after the terrorist attacks that lasted several weeks. After the blackout period ended, the MDC's designation of the September 11 detainees as "Witness Security" inmates frustrated efforts by detainees' attorneys, families, and even law enforcement officials, to determine where the detainees were being held. We found that MDC staff frequently - and mistakenly - told people who inquired about a specific September 11 detainee that the detainee was not held at the facility when, in fact, the opposite was true. [Chapter 7]

The MDC's restrictive and inconsistent policies on telephone access for detainees prevented some detainees from obtaining legal counsel in a timely manner. Most of the September 11 detainees did not have legal representation prior to their detention at the MDC. Consequently, the policy developed by the MDC that permitted detainees one legal call per week - while complying with broad BOP national standards - severely limited the detainees' ability to obtain and consult with legal counsel. In addition, we found that in many instances MDC staff did not ask detainees if they wanted their one legal call each week. We also found that the list of pro bono attorneys provided to the detainees contained inaccurate and outdated information. [Chapter 7]

With regard to allegations of abuse at the MDC, the evidence indicates a pattern of physical and verbal abuse by some correctional officers at the MDC against some September 11 detainees, particularly during the first months after the attacks and during intake and movement of prisoners. Although the allegations of abuse have been declined for criminal prosecution, the OIG is continuing to investigate these matters administratively. [Chapter 7]

The OIG review found that certain conditions of confinement at the MDC were unduly harsh, such as subjecting the September 11 detainees to having two lights illuminated in their cells 24 hours a day for several months longer than necessary, even after electricians rewired the cellblock to allow the lights to be turned off individually. We also found that MDC staff failed to inform MDC detainees in a timely manner about the process for filing formal complaints about their treatment. [Chapter 7]

By contrast, the OIG review found that the detainees confined at Passaic had much different, and significantly less harsh, experiences than the MDC detainees. According to INS data, Passaic housed 400 September 11 detainees from the date of the terrorist attacks through May 30, 2002, the largest number of September 11 detainees held at any single U.S. detention facility. Passaic detainees housed in the general population were treated like "regular" INS detainees who also were held at the facility. Although we received some allegations of physical and verbal abuse, we did not find the evidence indicated a pattern of abuse at Passaic. However, the INS did not conduct sufficient and regular visits to Passaic to ensure the September 11 detainees' conditions of confinement were appropriate. [Chapter 8]

And this was in detention centers here on the mainland.

This report was published in June of 2003. Guantanamo was not described in this report.

Meuller was reminded by the memo's reported in the New York Times, in June 2004.

So what did Mueller say last year when he addressed the question of detainees at the ACLU conference last year?

"My hope is that we will never again face a situation we faced on September 11. But if we do, it is my expectation that those recommendations from the inspector general will be assimilated."


Joe Scarborough finds his answer in Tom Delay

First read the piece Uncle Joe Scarborough put up on MSNBC.

On and on he rants about liberal media blah blah, same old story blah blah.

He asks one question:

"Isn't it remarkable that we never heard terms like “American imperialism” or “US hegemony” or “unilateral war” when former President Bill Clinton launched military strikes against Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sudan, or Iraq?"

Now read what Sam Rosenfeld points out in American Prospect

Where he quotes Tom Delay in 1999 regarding Clinton's Kosovo bombings:

"I am opposed to this policy. I think it's a flawed policy. It was flawed going in. We haven't been told the truth about what's going on. This administration told us it would just be a couple of days of bombing. Milosevic would come to the table. If that didn't happen, it would be a couple of more days. And now they're saying that we've got to be in there to win to save face. Well, they have been proven wrong every day, and even the bombing has not made much difference other than weaken Milosevic's ability to defend his nation. But they have strengthened the resolve of the Serbian people."

And then you add all the other stuff about the recent republican Senators "poo poo on you" Rumsfeld stuff from the DCCC Stakeholder

What do you have, a big mish mosh of conservatives all in disagreement about very similar situations and eating their own words.

Dinner is served!


MyDD :: Proof of the Ideological Coalition Shift

MyDD :: Proof of the Ideological Coalition Shift

The blogs are still scratching their heads about democrats.

While Chris Bowers makes a couple of good points in his thesis and study of former poll numbers regarding ideology and its plac on the political forum, I thought I would share my own comments.

Here is what I wrote:
What about those Indi stats?

Chris its not a bad thesis you are writting here. However, what you tend to ignore and the real problem with having an idealogical debate based on a two party system is that even if the Democrats and the Republicans really truly represented the left and right respectively, what do the people in the middle do.
Sound familiar? This is supposedly where elections are won right? because the middle doesn't have anywhere to go. They get torn apart during an election because of one stance or another that either party takes on a variety of issues.

Both parties are really truly moderate in their own way. Idealogy is either strong or weak. By virtue of the stats you cite, it seems that moderates are torn down the middle, and we lost this year because of republicans getting more of the democratic vote.

It is a combination of many things and to think that it is solely based on idealogy is simplistic.

I am a firm believer that media has a whole lot to do with it. The fact is that more moderates listen to conservative talk radio. If those people vote they will vote Bush based solely on Hannity's cute way of stating that he is right and common sense tells you to be a republican.

Finally, if you are stating that idealogy is behind voters intentions, then I don't think the Democrats have a chance with Liberals. Most liberals, like conservatives, don't like to compromise (i.e. safety from terrorists for human rights like the Patriot act). If that is the case, only a truly liberal candidate on all fronts can be proper for liberals, ie. Nader. Kerry may have been liberal by Washington standards, but in no way was he liberal by definition.

A strong third party would be the best thing to happen to this country, because what we trully all want and the only way we would truly be happy is if legislation was geared more towards the middle of the political spectrum. Otherwise we are just better off seceding from the union.


Site of Jesus' First Miracle found?

Israeli Archaeologists Believe They Have Found Site of Jesus' First Miracle - from

Apparently archaeologist Yardena Alexander, digging around in Israel found some jars that were about the size of the jars that were filled with water, but then changed to wine by Jesus at a Jewish wedding.

A couple of problems with this story that aren't apparent in the headline:

"All indications from the archaeological excavations suggest that the site of the wedding was (modern-day) Cana, the site that we have been investigating," said Alexander, as she cleaned the site of mud from winter rains.

However, further north yet another archaeologist Shimon Gibson, cast doubt on the find at modern Cana, saying "such vessels are not rare and it would be impossible to link a particular set of vessels to the miracle."

"Just the existence of stone vessels is not enough to prove that this is a biblical site," and more excavations are needed, he said.

In any case, I don't think such non-descript jars can be completely linked to Jesus. What basis is there to link clay to a party 2000 years ago? Are there wine stains on the pots? Are there Jesus fingerprints on the jars?

Just where do these archaeologists get off with this stuff. I have a lot of respect for archaeology, I used to want to be an archaeologist myself. However, searching for evidence of a story using a guidebook which was authored centuries after the story actually happened, by people who had only heard the details "through the grapevine" is hardly good practice for any scientific discovery.

Much less one making such claims as Dr. Alexander.

It is time historians seek other means of documenting wether or not the New Testament is actually real.

Of course there is much more evidence against the New Testament than for it.

However, that is what religion is. Faith Based. Not fact based.

Fact based is a term that applies to science. Which ironically enough, still encompasses studies such as archaeology.

Happy Holidays!


Lynne Cheney's advertisement in the New York Times

Lynne Cheney got on the op-ed page of the NYT today

Touting her story that I had seen her boast about on television. Somehow this woman who is married to a the cyborg VP, believes herself to be the best teller of the story of Washington's crossing of the Delaware.

Rediculous, while the story is historically important (and should be told), one has to wonder, when did the New York Times op-ed page become an advertising page for authors? As with most "op-ed contributors" the following follwed Lynne's article:

"Lynne Cheney, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of "When Washington Crossed the Delaware: A Wintertime Story for Young Patriots."

I thought that was why the New York Times has a Book Review.

With so much space being taken up by the VPs wife, its no wonder I can't get a 450 word piece in.

By the way, the New York Times op-ed editor suggests 650 words as the limit.


Monday, December 20, 2004

Making Rent

Yahoo! News - Report: U.S. Rentals Unaffordable to Poor

Fascinating story.

"For a two-bedroom rental alone, the typical worker must earn at least $15.37 an hour — nearly three times the federal minimum wage, the National Low Income Housing Coalition said in its annual "Out of Reach" report. of the population earns less than $10 an hour

...The report quoted federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data that showed hourly wages rising about 2.6 percent over the past year, slower than the 2.9 percent rise in rents recorded in the Consumer Price Index.

...In only four of the nation's 3,066 counties could a full-time worker making the federal minimum wage afford a typical one-bedroom apartment, the coalition said. Three were in Illinois: Lawrence, Crawford and Wayne counties; the other was Washington County, Fla. state's housing wage was lower than the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, which has not changed since 1997."

However, the most intriguing comment from this article and one Democrats should pay attention tois the following:

"States with more residents in rural areas were generally the most affordable"

If Democrats are still scratching their heads about what to do with themselves, here are a couple of ideas.

1. Read the Newspaper.

2. Derail this talk about Social Security and if you really want to throw a wrench in the system start talking about Medicare and its woes.

3. Get the minimum wage up to speed with rent. Or at least so they wont have to work 3 jobs to make rent.

4. Make sure all those poor people you helped get to he polls in every election.

That ought to work out pretty well for you Democrats.


Medicare's Troubles May Be Sleeping Giant

Medicare's Troubles May Be Sleeping Giant

Looks like the latimes picked up on the story i may have broke on the blogosphere (with the exception of friday's NPR broadcast).

Pendagon has comments up on this story but it just states what i posted previously.

enjoy folks.


Sunday, December 19, 2004

Medicare v. Social Security - The other Elephant in the room

As Merrill Mathews puts it, Medicare has its own major problems and according to him, it is a much bigger problem than Social Security.

Medicare has a $28 trillion funding gap. Including 8 trillion for the drug benefit passed in 2003.

That along with the $5 trillion Social Security funding gap (according to Mathews) is 3 times the size of the US economy.

However, the difference between the alarms going off is that in terms of debate, the Social Security problem already has a manufactured consent in the publics eye.

Mathews states that a majority of Americans under 65 believe the Social Security problem. Whereas, seniors by and large don't believe the problem because they get their checks all the time without difficulty.

Medicare, however, faces the exact opposite. People under 65 dont know there is a problem but seniors know there is a problem because they have trouble getting health care.

Politically there is no impulse to getting this job done. Will Medicare become the future "political suicide issue." Since Bush and his economists arent even looking at it, it seems to already be that issue.

Or as Atrios puts it, maybe it just makes better TV.


Friday, December 17, 2004

Stem Cell Researcher Makes Paralyzed Rats Walk

"Hans Keirstead is making paralyzed rats walk again by injecting them with healthy brain cells sussed from a reddish soup of human embryonic stem cells he and his colleagues have created.

Keirstead hopes to apply his therapy to humans by 2006. If his ambitious timetable keeps to schedule, Keirstead's work will be the first human embryonic stem cell treatment given to humans."


First Pfizer, now Lilly, 2 drug warnings in one day!

While I hate to go from a 1000 word essay to a brief on news.

Today so far 2 warnings from Pharma!

One from Pfizer, though they say heart attacks only occur with Celebrex at a dose 4 times as high as the typical dose

"Drug maker Eli Lilly & Co. warned doctors Friday to stop using the attention deficit disorder drug Strattera in patients with jaundice or who show signs of liver problems." "However, in a small percentage of patients, severe drug-related liver injury may progress to acute liver failure resulting in death or the need for a liver transplant," it said.

Just for the record.
People who have used Strattera and Pfizer:

over 2 million

That's 4 million plus.


Why Beinart, Fighting Faith, and bloggers everywhere are on the wrong path.

It was bound to happen. Whilst Democrats began wondering where to go, what to do, pragmatic liberals would soon follow suit. Peter Beinart should be fired from his post as Editor In Chief at one of the oldest bastions of liberal journalism, The New Republic. He shames the publication that has become a beacon of inspiration, and hope in so many of us.

I was wondering about bloggers being upset about being shut out of last weekend’s DNC “choose the next leader of the losers” show. I was wondering why they were disheartened that the same party they banded together to elect and (most important to the Democrats) raise money, was now shunning them from the first of very many processes to choose new leadership. This new swath of internet voices, still being debated on traditional media outlets, as “fringe journalists” became a force to be reckoned with, leaking valuable “non-traditional” information to the super highway. It was worrying me that the blogosphere did what I did, dropped their real candidate in order to handle the mission at hand, beat Bush. They probably believed enough in Kerry but their politics and their words are not those of Democrats. They are those of liberals. You know the BAD GUYS.

Before I get on too many tangents about how wrong Beinart is in his article and how wrong the liberal Blogosphere is for being shut out of the DNC (yet still supporting them) let me just point out a couple of idiosyncrasies from the election. Liberals did not “loose” the election for Kerry, Kerry, his message, and his band of cowardly messengers lost the election. This time without Nader being the sacapegoat, Liberals are pinning the loss on themselves.

Two words for Beinart and the blogosphere: READ 1984 (or rent the movie). It is ever more obvious that the blogosphere, Beinart, and presumably liberals everywhere have been taken to Orwell’s room 101. The infamous room where any dissenter is brought in to be tortured and eventually denounce their belief or alliance to Emmanuel Goldstein (today’s Ralph Nader or Michael Moore). Pragmatism, the cancer of our democracy, has polluted the liberals. Liberals have repeatedly mentioned Orwell’s name since Bush’s policies reflect very much of what Orwell wrote in his book, yet they have forgotten the very lessons Orwell taught. These policies include media control, or controlling the message, a false sense of security, perpetual war abroad to induce a sense of peace at home.

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

Just listen to Sean Hannity or any other conservative talk show host and you can see the similarities, however, instead of 3 minutes, we now have 3 hours (or more) of hate.

In 1984, O’Brien, a member of “the Party,” persuades the protagonist Winston to believe he is actually a revolutionary working on the inside. Winston and his girlfriend, Julia, quietly succumb and begin to meet secretly to read Goldstein’s writings when O’Brien turns them in, the very man they believed was protecting them. After timeless torture, Winston and Julia finally give in, denouncing Goldstein and admitting they were just plain crazy to believe anything but the party line.

The irony of the situation is that in the beginning of the story, Goldstein and his colleague dissenters (also caught and tortured) had been shunned and dismissed. In Big Brother's world, revolutionaries are forced to make public confessions of their insanity and denounce the movement. Sort of like Michael Moore’s appearance in a suit on Jay Leno not too long ago. "If you can't beat'em, join'em."

Beinart and the blogosphere are no different. Indeed Beinart tries to make a point about learning from history and how liberalism became powerful in the 50’s. However, upon further inspection, his rant becomes further and further from liberalism and begins to sound more like a shift to the right. Not only does Beinart denounce Michael Moore and, quite possibly two of the most influential forces for the Democrats, he also mistakenly compares the war on terror to the Cold War. He cites how liberals during the Cold War were open, supporting, and working for Nation Building. He believes Nation Building in the Middle East and other totalitarian Islamic countries could fight the war on terror. He fails to notice that we cannot possibly fight for revolutions in the war on terror, and that terrorism persisted throughout the Cold War. One may argue that the our practices during the Cold War may have even spawned more terrorists. He urges liberals to denounce people like Michael Moore, and for their stances against both the Afghan and Iraq wars. While I disagree with Michael Moore on the War in Afghanistan, I don't think I should change my ideals or my support for Moore just because of it.

I think liberals are missing the greater point, and the bloggers may have learned this point this past weekend. The Democrats are not the liberal party, they are not the party of the people, they are as Ralph Nader constantly reminds us, the “other-other white meat” of politics. Democrats followed the money this election season just like any other election season. They are just as eternally beholden to their monetary interests as the Republicans are; indeed, they share many of the same contributors.

Just think of the voter fraud that has occurred and how the Democrats stood idly by when the burden of $150,000 (which Kerry and the Democrats easily had) fell on the shoulders of David Cobb of the Green Party (and grass root donors like myself). Meanwhile the Democrats sent emails every other day asking for money for other congressional races that were being “run-off.”

This election I saw Bill Maher, and Michael Moore get down on their knees and beg Ralph Nader to withdraw from the race. These men knew the most important thing was to liberate this country from the grasp of the Bush White House. Dropping their idealism, they became pragmatic (as I did) during this election to make sure job #1 got done. Even the sole liberal voice in the media, “Air America” denounced Nader within its first hours of broadcasting. This must be Beinart’s version of liberalism.

Well job #1 didn’t get done, and the first sign of the Democrats loosing the people was Kerry conceding without getting the votes counted. By dismissing the recount and refusing to donate one of his 15 million leftover dollars to it, John Kerry has become the only loser to break a campaign promise.

It goes further, the first big post election Democratic meeting sequesters the very people who did their very best to raise money, spread the message, and help them be elected. Moveon alone raised more money that most of the Democrat’s historical donors and “constituencies.”

It does not end there. The Democrats have been quick to denounce their support for Howard Dean as a candidate for DNC chair. Dean was the first Democrat I really felt I could support, and the blogosphere seems to share that feeling. Dean was the man along with Joe Trippi, to realize the power of the internet to empower the voice in the grass roots. The very populist the country needs. Should Howard Dean not be selected as DNC chair, my case will be stronger.

Yet the liberal bastions like The New Republic instead of uniting, fighting, and standing up for their actions, concede, give up, and state they should move away from the very ideals that define liberalism. Indeed the left has gone wrong. Or, as Beinart and Democrats suggest, gone right.

Message to the blogosphere, Moveon, Michael Moore, and any other liberal thinking that pragmatism is the way to go. Use the political capital gained for a true revolution, denounce the party that shut you out of their gathering, now is the time for a third party.

Just think what Moveon and Ralph Nader can do together.


Thursday, December 16, 2004

ACT to Protect Social Security!

Join me and tens of thousands of other concerned Americans by signing the pledge at to protect Social Security! Bush and his Wall Street cronies are gearing up to privatize our retirement - but we can stop them!

Join the Campaign at


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

John Conyers - Seeks FBI Inquiry Into Ohio Vote

I still bet the FBI won’t investigate. However, if they don’t, it just goes to show you
how little power we have as a nation.

John Conyers is a representative. Constituents vote him in; he represents
not only himself and his party but also real people's wishes.

So, if John Conyers is asking for an FBI investigation and he doesn’t get it, that
means REAL people who can ask for an FBI investigation won’t be able to get one.

It is extremely positive that this article made it into the nytimes. There is
also another good article chronicling the irregularities in the Washington post
today. Two much respected papers, the nytimes being the most respected (as much
as the conservatives try to dirty its rep).

Keith Olberman is the only mainstream media guy doing anything about the voter fraud story, he has made me a nightly viewer thanks to it.

It just solidifies my point, that media coverage is the only way anything gets
done. They are the most powerful of all.

Consider this, a Chattanooga free press reporter plants a question on a soldier
that makes Rumsfeld look like a turd, within 2 days you get more armor
production than ever before. You get statements from the pentagon, signing of
contracts. All for a problem that has been UNDERreported for more than a year

We shall see if that modest appearance in the NYTimes has the same effect, or
the wapo article has a similar fighting shot of being recognized.

I know Joe Scarborough already attacked it on his blog.


Born Suckers - Another reason why privatizing Social Security won't work

Henry Blodget of Slate makes a wonderfully intersting and enlightening point in his recent article (click the title folks get used to it).

He points out aspects of behavioral finance theory. Much like evolution theory it is well based and in reading the article I think you can all relate to the theory itself. Especially if you have lost money in the stock market like me!

Anyway he cleanly states that the biggest downside to Wall street is the human mind and the way humans behave.

Anyway, the republican machine is already getting the media to say there is a Social Security Crisis (read Josh Marshall). Don't believe it, Read Paul Krugman (or anybody else) who is a professor of economics (so what if he's a Keynesian economist) at Princeton.

You know there is a majority leader that has a campus center named after him in that same ivy league college. Perhaps Bill Frist should consult with some of the faculty at his alma mater.


FCC to Allow High-Speed Wireless Internet Access on Commercial Jetliners

Well if the airwaves we listen to aren't free of bias but this decision to allow internet access on planes dawns on me as a serious threat to airline security.

Doesn't anyone else see a danger in allowing a guy to have internet access on an airplane?

You know the potential for a guy with a computer and internet access in midair to hack into the plane's computer system and drive the plane from his/her laptop.

Hmm? I'm glad I am not travelling as much as I used to.


Conservatives Are Trying to Put The Christ Back In Christmas

First of all let me point out a quick lie in Bill O'Reilly's December 13th column. He has his polls confused but here is something from the CRIC research center which is what Bill was trying to say:

"A poll by the Centre for Research and Information on Canada shows that 61% of Canadians believe that religious practice is an important factor in the moral and ethical lives of Canadians while 36% say it is not an important factor.

These results show a significant change since April 1980, when this question was asked in an Environics Focus Canada poll. Then, 79% of Canadians said that religious practice was an important factor in the moral and ethical lives of Canadians, while 20% felt it was not an important factor. "

To Bill O'Reilly and others that are mad about our country being sensitive to Jews, Black people, and any other race or religion celebrating some semblance of a holiday this season, F* off.

They want people to be saying Merry Christmas all over the place. As if the Christians need any more help in promoting their religion.

According to them somehow this country has made the Christians feel discriminated against, and that they aren't allowed to say Christmas anymore.

Boo HOO, ask a jew about discrimination, ask a black person celebrating kwanza about discrimination.

And finally look at the pledge of allegiance, the banner behind the Speaker of the House of Representative's desk, the dollar bill, and most other public places and let me know if you still feel like a minority.


Bill O' Reilly feels sorry for Bernie Kerik

O'Reilly when closing his discussion with Steve Adubato said "I feel sorry for the guy," reffering to Bernie Kerik.

This is not "out of context". It is what Bill said after having a discussion about people getting hammered by the press when they go into public life.

Now for the punditry: (drumroll please)

My thought is that Bill O'Reilly is just simpathizing with another adulterer (given O'Reilly's recent past).

I wish I had the transcript.


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Take Action against Sinclair Media

I don't know if you remember Sinclair's baffonery before the election but if you don't this may help refresh your mind.

Well, Sinclair Media hasn't really changed its ways so a coalition of liberal groups have decided to put their post election eggs into the media bias activism basket. My philosphy is that the media really is in control of politics. What better example than the recent Chatanooga Free Press reporter who got the DOD to ramp up armor protection by planting the questoin on the troop. is a conglomerate led by Media Matters for America and supported by MoveOn,, Free Press, Working Assets, Robert Greenwald (Director, Outfoxed), AlterNet, and The Institute for America's Future.

They decided to start a website to attack Sinclair and let its advertisers know that in fact they are sons-a-conservative-bitches. So you can too, you can write a letter to the Sinclair advertisers to let them know your point of view.



Hannity and the lie about the Declaration of Independence Ban

After spending a good few hours on this debate last night with my atheist friend and knowing this article existed, I felt crappy because I didn’t have all the facts to really contribute to the debate.

So click on the title to get clarity.

Also check this Media Matters Link

And of course the actual story about what happened here.

In fact:

"According to the court filings, the documents Williams used in his class include President Bush's National Day of Prayer 2004 statement, a handout listing religious clauses in state constitutions, a fact sheet titled "What Great Leaders have said About the Bible" and three paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence."

As for God and our founding fathers.

I refer to the Treaty of Tripoli, which was approved by the senate (still consisting of many of the founding fathers of our country), in 1797, in which Article 11 states:

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

However, in fact I was wrong last night when I said there is no mention of God in the Declaration of Independence. I refer readers to the link entitle Historical Documents of the USA.

If Sean Hannity were to be Pinocchio, we would be able to save al the rain forests in the world from deforestation.

Jiminy Cricket where are you!


Friday, December 10, 2004

More Bush and Rumsfeld Lies, lead to Soldier deaths. Is this support?

Donald Rumsfeld was put up against the proverbial wall earlier this week when a guardsman asked about lack of armament on military vehicles trudging through mined roads in Iraq, his now famous answer made it seem like he wasn’t aware of the problem. Further responses to the minor political crisis from both President Bush and Ret.Gen. Michael Delong, seemed to point that they had no knowledge of the problem until this soldier spoke up. Echoing a statement made earlier on Thursday by General Whitcomb, Gen. Delong stated “We didn’t know [about the rise in insurgency], and the Iraqis we talked to said this would be a fairly orderly takeover.” Ret. Gen Delong was Deputy Commander of Centcom from 2000 to 2003.

Debating the commander, Paul Rieckhoff, 1st Lieutenant and Platoon leader now of Operation Truth, was quick to note that duct tape, sand bags, and old flak jackets his units armor during his time in Iraq. When Lt. Rieckhoff was asked about whether he shared Rumsfeld's feeling that it was a matter of physics and production, he added that the Armored Holding Company in Florida submitted to the Department of Defense a proposal to ramp up armor kit production by 22%. More than a month has elapsed without a response from the DOD.

President Bush said he would ask the Secretary “the same question” and would want to know “our troops have the best possible equipment.” Bush also wanted military families to know that the administration is “doing everything [it] possibly can to protect your loved ones in a mission which is vital and important.”

The CIA’s national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia, Paul Pillar, stated in September that the CIA knew the Insurgency would be present in a war with Iraq as much as 3 years ago. This information was given to the White House in January of 2003 in two separate intelligence reports from the National Intelligence Council. The insurgency should not have been a surprise. Moreover, an AP report from October 14, 2003 (and others) reports of anemic body armor and equipment supplies.

More than 40,000 soldiers went into Iraq without proper body armor. Half of all wounded or dead soldiers were attacked with an Improvised Explosive Device. The insurgency should not have come as a surprise to anyone in the administration, and equipment woes have troubled troops for more than a year. Indeed recently, there has been a lawsuit to further document the lack of safety in our armed divisions in Iraq.

While it was fine to watch a young Lieutenant cleverly debate a retired General on Jim Lehrer’s Newshour, action and accountability are now required. The administration should stop using the excuse of ignorance, and start admitting they are lacking what the soldiers in Iraq have been using for survival. Adaptation.


Dean for DNC

Hey bloggers,

I just signed a petition to draft Governor Howard Dean as the next Chairman of the Democratic Party.

Democrats need a leader who will speak up -- not only against George Bush but for a Democratic agenda that is moral, mainstream, and right for America.

We need a party that responds to the people. Let's tell the Democratic Party that we want a leader who will inspire us and bring our party back to life.

Please sign the Draft Howard petition:



2 months 115 billion

Two-Month Federal Budget Deficit Slightly Larger Than at Start of Fiscal 2004 - from

Amazingly enough its a good thing the congress asked for that borrowing increase last month.


Clark Kent Ervins - IG of Homeland Security Is Out of a Job

ABC News: Official Who Criticized Homeland Security Is Out of a Job

Clark Kent Ervins is out of a job. Partly because in his job description as Inspector General he is supposed to be a whistleblower.

Blow his whistle he did. In recent times he broke the story of a lavish TSA awards ceremony.

Ironicaly, he was brought to power by Bush.


Scarborough Country - seems like it needs some more conservative residents

Joe Scarborough may be the first and only conservative to try and talk sense in the right wing media.

Unprecedented. He is actually siding with Paul Krugman whose columns this week in the New York Times (here and here) point out the lack of feasibility, responsibility, and practicality of the Bush proposed Social Security plan.

I watched conservatives pandering to liberals last night about the soldier without armor story that has resurfaced. Bashing Democrats for underfunding the Military Industrial Complex during peacetime. Choosing to side against Democrats than take the issue for what it is worth. This is not news, but when it was news, the conservatives were too busy with swift boats and Flipping Kerry's Flops.

Question for Joe: How bout getting a little caucus of conservatives together, like Bill O'Reilly who's always looking out for us. Or even Sean Hannity who believes anything that comes out of Bush's mouth as true and sane. Discuss the economic shortfalls of this whole situation. How about having an hour long program with economists wriggling through the real issues surrounding Social Security.

However, the real issue on the table for the 109th (congress not army division), is this Social Security plan. Krugman says that if you remove the tax subsidy of the rich, there is no problem. However, if their is a problem, he also says that sending the Soc Sec Bank account to Wall Street is extremely risky.

The plan so far involves borrowing money to cover the transition in order to indirectly trade your retirement away on Wall Street.

This is already a regular trading platform. It is called trading on Margin. Most investment firms will let you borrow money to invest. The problem is that most investors find it hard to "win" enough money in the casino on Wall Street to pay back the interest the firms charge on Margin balances.

Ask any day trader what he thinks about trading on Margin and he will let you know how on top of things you have to be in order to make out with this investment strategy.

Question for Congress. If you can't keep up with soldiers demands for equipment in a war that you planned and put forth on your own time lines with money you borrowed, how well will you do when it comes to keeping an eye on the investments you are making with America's 401k?


Thursday, December 09, 2004

Who will lead the Democratic Party? You can Have a Say

Dear Bloggers:

This weekend, state Democratic Party leaders will gather to discuss who should be the next chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Right now, the Party is being lead by elite Washington insiders who are closer to corporate lobbyists than they are to the Democratic base. We simply can't afford four more years of leadership by a consulting class of professional losers.

This year we have a great opportunity: the election for DNC Chair is wide open. We can choose a leader who will reject corporate cash and help build a Party of the people that's funded by the people and that fights for the people. MoveOn has made it easy to contact our state Party leaders and ask them support a chair who will represent all of us outside of the Washington beltway and engage us in a fight for a bold Democratic vision. Please join me – click here:

They're going to deliver our signatures to the state Party leaders' meeting this weekend, so please sign TODAY, and then pass this on to anyone you know who'd like to see new leadership in the Democratic Party.




Wednesday, December 08, 2004

An open letter to Jack Schafer of Slate

After reading a column posted by Jack Schafer yesterday on Slate, I decided to write to the boy about Pharmaceuticals and Media bias. Here it is:

Hi Mr. Schafer,

I dont miss my seldane, but there is a major difference in seldane and vioxx. Seldane only killed 8 people where Vioxx potentially killed 27,000 people.

Some reading for you about other drugs that have been removed from the market:

Times story and its failure to link the usage fees with the lack of oversight by the FDA. However, this editorial that was in the Times today may help clear those ideas up a bit.

You see it is percentage of the budget resources which have been diverted within the FDA in a major way which have failed Vioxx users. It is also unfair to compare drugs that take longer to be removed from the market because sometimes the drug itself is less risky. However, Vioxx was a HUGE risk. The FDA knew about the size of the risk for almost 5 years. It is a very different story than Seldane.

Lastly, keep it straight that the fact you write an opinion column makes youunqualfied as a media bias whistleblower.

Jorge M


Just in time for Christmas... Fox inks deal with Clearchannel

100 million people who get their news in their cars from their radio dial will now be getting their news from “America’s most trusted news source” (according to Bill O’Reilly). Fox “News” will now be the only source of news for Clear Channel, which owns 1200 radio stations nationwide.

What does this mean? It means the conservative leaning Newscorp, led by Rupert Murdoch has struck another deal in corporatizing the media and inserting his bias into the audience. Somehow, Fox “News” will have more prestige and influence as it amplifies the conservative agenda to an even larger audience.

I thought it was bad when Sinclair media tried to hijack the airwaves in order to publicize its conservative anti-Kerry message only weeks before the election. However, Fox “News”, which employs more conservative biased “reporters” than any other news source, is now going to be the nations most listened to news source.

It is staggering to allow this hijacking of the airwaves. Why not let the stations themselves pick who their news comes from? Fox “News” has people such as Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, actually hosting prime time news “analysis” and “debate” shows. Shows hosted by confessed conservatives that leading up to the election would put up graphics and highlight X number of days until George Bush is re-elected. It is a news channel that focused entire programs (such as Greta Van Sustern’s) on the Scott Peterson case when the Abu-Ghraib scandal broke. In
fact, it has devoted much of its time to the Scott Peterson trial instead of arguably more important news such as the war in Iraq and domestic policy issues that most other news sources have been highlighting due to their importance. Fox “News” instead trashes other media outlets stating their liberal bias.

Brit Hume has been known to compare death tolls in Iraq to murder rates per capita in California. He will now replace Peter Jennings and other reporters on radio waves everywhere.

Fox “News” unfairness is well documented in many studies including a study by PIPA at the University of Maryland found that people who rely on Fox “News” for information "are significantly more likely to have misperceptions" about the war in Iraq. In fact, eighty percent of Fox viewers were found to hold at least one misperception, compared to 23 percent of NPR/PBS consumers. This reaction seemed to be dose dependent, as the more people watched Fox “News”, the more likely they were to hold these misperceptions. For more documentation
about fox “News” bias, see the outfoxed documents site.

Clear Channel itself has political leanings with its founder, R. Steven Hicks, being a Bush pioneer ($100,000 or more in donations to the campaign). His brother Tom Hicks bought the Texas Rangers from Bush in 1999 and made Bush a millionaire 15 times over. I am surprised the brothers have not been offered a position somewhere in the cabinet’s recently posted jobs. (read more here and here)

This recent contract should come as no surprise to the public since the only defender of the public’s right to fair media, the FCC, last year allowed media corporations to consolidate further. Michael Powell’s column in the New York Times earlier this week did not address this more important issue of media fairness and chose instead to dictate what is or isn’t indecent. He put forth only the case for what is actionable in the sense of indecency and forgot to mention his role last year in changing the FCC restrictions regarding owning a radio stations in the same market.

On a technicality, I am sure this particular case does not apply since Fox "News" is not necessarily owning any of Clear Channel’s radio stations.

However, when it comes to news, Fox will be owning many millions of ears.


Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Re-release Apocalypse Now

With the latest intelligence coming from the CIA’s largest overseas base since Vietnam painting a dire picture of Iraq, I submitted myself to watching Francis Ford Coppola’s epic film of the late 70’s. A must see for all who have 4 hours at their disposal especially in today's world.

It was a major revelation of what war is really about. Coppola was masterful in utilizing harrowing shots of helicopters swarming with a rising sun backdrop. The choppers played loud music on their way to destroy a village that was just trying to go about their daily lives. Lt. Col. Kilgore (masterfully played by Robert Duval) is a commander like none other. Fearless as bombs hit the ground near to him. Standing as his soldiers duck when someone shouts “Incoming.” Without flinching, he sees the situation getting worse as he sips his cup of coffee a helicopter had landed in a square is demolished when a villager throws a grenade inside the chopper. Kilgore deems them “savages”.

The battle escalates and Kilgore breaks his conversation about surfing calling in a napalm attack. Meanwhile he demonstrates the safety of the area by ordering some of his men to surf on the beach, stating that if he says it’s safe to surf, that it indeed is safe to surf.

As he removes his shirt to get ready to surf the beach himself, we see the napalm fireball behind him, instantly major fighting is reduced to intermediate gunfire. The village burning in flames. Duval delivers one of the greatest lines in film history, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning… It smells like victory.” He goes on to say that, the war is going to be over one day. Alluding they should relish every whiff of napalm they can get.

If you switch the backdrop and sets from palm trees and jungle to dessert and buildings, I am sure the differences in terms of battle scenes are not much different. I saw through some of the censored things the imbedded journalists were able to get on the air. Air strikes on a city that unprovoked. A true free fire zone.

It seems the media has played down this war to nothing more than a couple of car bombs going off, a couple of insurgents with RPGs or AKs, but indeed there is much we do not see when wars are fought. Imagine being an Iraqi in Fallujah. Imagine the harrowing sight of seeing helicopters swarming in, airplanes dropping bombs, followed by tanks firing. Wave a white flag, it doesn’t matter.

Luckily, the only leaders such as Col. Kilgore have been limited to commanding posts at prisons such as Abu-Ghraib. Of have they, recent reports also state napalm use in the attack on Fallujah.

When it gets too hot, get napalm.


Friday, December 03, 2004

Something's rotten in the state of Denmark

Something's rotten in the state of Denmark

Just wanted to thank Rotten in Denmark for putting a link up to my blog.

Big-up. people, check out his blog its really doing a great job of covering the whole voter fraud issue.


Oil For Food, Oil For Iraq… How many scandals does it take?

As the investigation goes forth regarding the Iraqi Oil for Food scandal, which for 7 years funneled some 23 billion dollars to Saddam Hussein, many questions remain. The right is quick to hang France, Germany, and Russia for their involvement and their consequent apathy for our noble cause of invading Iraq. Meanwhile the United States corporations and citizens that were involved seem to fly under the radar. The Duelfer report was quick to name international names, however the CIA thought it best to give the US companies involved their 9th amendment right to privacy. Subsequent leaks have named Chevron, Texaco, Mobil, Bay Oil and other individuals as culprits.

Earlier this week Lisa Myers of NBC reported the old story about the United States being involved, albeit in a bigger scale, in another money laundering operation. In only two years since that the United States took control of the Iraqi government’s bank accounts there has been a minimum of $8.8 billion in unaccounted oil funds. How much of this cash got in the wrong hands? It is hard to say since a single person tracking billions with spreadsheets has carried out the only audits that have occurred.

Darrell M. Trent, a former U.S. deputy secretary of Transportation and friend to Reagan, Nixon and of course Rumsfeld lasted only nine months in the critical beginning of the “reconstruction effort in Iraq.” Trent was implicated in awarding no-bid contracts to a Jordanian airline. Some say that he was one of the people diverting moneys from the fund. Trent’s successor, Frank Willis, former chief deputy of the Iraq Ministry of Transportation said The Development Fund for Iraq was being managed as a “wild west” bank, doling cash in bags to almost anyone who claimed a bill.

What is now only one of the many scandals plaguing this administration and the second unleashed this week, I hope that next weeks meeting of the International Advisory and Monitoring Board for Iraq will dig deeper. When the IMF, World Bank and the United States are operating under the guise of the Coalition Provisional Authority, it is amazing what they can achieve. What remains uncertain is why when the UN gets involved in scandal there are copious calls for resignations, yet when the US is involved in a similar scandal, no one is quick to assess blame.