Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: February 2005

"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

Monday, February 28, 2005

Bamboozlepalooza comming to NJ

Attention all Jerseyites. Bush to lobby in Westfield for Social Security plan.

That's Westfield NJ. At 10:40 AM on Friday March 4, 2005.

I don't know about how to get inside, but those of you who make it inside and are against Social Security Baloney Rhetoric I have an idea.

Buy some Oscar Meyer Balogna packages, if you can possibly get them inside, throw one at the president whenever he makes a false claim.

For more info on false claims you can go to There is NO crisis.

I also put forth some of the issues here.

If anyone else is interested in the underground baloney militia please let me know in the comments.


Yet another case for Impeachment?!?

Happy Monday!

Once again watching the Sunday Talk shows has put me in a decently outraged mood today.

There is a lot of talk about the Social Security Trust Fund. The president says it doesn't exist, or that its a bunch of IOUs.
From the White House webpage:
Some in our country think that Social Security is a trust fund -- in other words, there's a pile of money being accumulated. That's just simply not true. The money -- payroll taxes going into the Social Security are spent. They're spent on benefits and they're spent on government programs. There is no trust.

That's strange some great reporters found the trust fund!

Some people say, it is a violation of the 14th ammendment of the constitution that the president says such things.

Granted that there is a trust fund and the president is saying there isnt in order for him to plunder that trust fund more than he already has, should this not be worse than a blow job from an intern?

Probably not.

In case you think you are not a frog suffering from warm wateritis. You can click here.


Saturday, February 26, 2005

USA Next Smack Down

Ok folks, apparently there is a new campaign on the left and on the right. A bit of a battle royale (with cheese). USA Next is Richard Viguerie's conservative fund raising group that has apparently gotten into trouble in the past, but apparently not enough trouble. He has basically raised millions by scaring people with junk mail into sending him money so he and his group could save social security. He has been at it for some time and is now peddling a book.
He is also a bit famous for selling mailing lists to anyone who wants to buy them.
So the group has put that ad up as a first salvo against AARP.

Fast forward. has basically done some background research on USA Next which is basically stuff that is in the public record but since people have short memories, they have rehashed it in hopes the blogosphere will find links to more people in the White House and High Officials.

Read the report. It should come out in the media this week (according to them monday).

So before I get going on my research I said, it is about time I signed up for more junk email and went to the USA Next website.
This is a pop-up that comes up at you when you first visit the USA Next website. Interestingly enough it says:
Our list is 100% confidential. You can unsubscribe at any time.

I certainly hope they don't sell my email to anybody, but we shall see how much more Republican Junk I get. I will give myself a month before signing up for the RNC website (my next double spy mission).

In any case, anyone who is bored can read the intelligence report and try to find as much dirt as possible on the USA next peeps. Specifically links to administration folk. That would be nice.


Thursday, February 24, 2005

Petitions Petitions

Ok folks here are a few quick things you may consider signing today for the sake of Democracy

Darfur is in a shittier situation than any war the US has been involved in since the big WWII war. As such I extremely urge all of you MIT heads (the whole 6 of you regulars) to get on this site and fill out the form to get some mail delivered to a whole lot of people including Condi, Bush, UN ambassadors and your Senators and Representatives. Darfur is loosing 10,000 people a month to genocide and action needs to be taken. This is about the 4th or 5th occurence of genocide in the last couple of decades that I can remember and so far the world is pretty much turning a blind eye to this. I think this should be priority number one to the Moral Values White House and Congress.

SO especially for you people in the red states who pass by please sign this petition.

MoveOn has noticed that a bunch of Senators (including Hillary and mine YEAH Lautenberg) have come up with some legislation that will try and fix a couple of the issues that are going on with the damaged electoral system. So far there are realy good ideas on the table including how to address long ass lines (adding more machines), making registration easier, making it a felony to intimidate voters (not that this will stop the practice but at lest if your caught you can go to jail), and a slew of other things. There was a good editorial in the NYTimes on Tuesday, read it here.

Otherwise sign the petition here.

Finally, Democracy For America is putting up this petition because USAnext put up THIS picture:

as the beginning of a smear campaign against AARP. AARP has come out against the President's Social Security proposal (or whatever you call vague ideas wrapped around a conundrum of thoughts which come together in the enigmatic town hall meetings that are filled with mysterious people who all love Bush). USAnext is a conservative PAC which was started by Richard Vaguerie (who was on the daily show recently) and is pro-privatization.

UPDATE: Maureen Dowd has a nice column about this today.

If not you, then Who?

If not now, then When?


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Bushism of the Month... Flip Flop

On NPR : Bush Addresses Iran's Nuclear Aspirations.

Or Click here to give it a listen.

I believe the trasncript will read:

The notion that the United States is planning an attack on Iran is simply rediculous. That being said, all options are on the table.

Mixed Messages?


Tuesday, February 22, 2005

O'Lielly at it again

So I was watching Billy boy yesterday and turned it off after the Talking Points Memo (dammit John Stewart, why did you repeat the Eric Idle episode for the 50th time). Bill was on a soap box about the "parties" Bush is throwing Europe (which I called the egg-on-my-face tour) and how they don't deserve any cozying up because they are the reason we got into Iraq in the first place. He actually said something about Chirac not enforcing the UN resolution which led to the Iraq war.

IOW: "Blame Chirac for Iraq"

However, a trustly old friend sent me an email about a segment that Bill had about California and its drunken sailor spending habits and wether it was right for AHNOLD to come to washington and ask for $8 billion in federal funds.

Among the segments was the following:
California has long been known for its lavish spending on social programs, and now Governor Schwarzenegger is asking for federal money to help balance the state's $8 billion shortfall. Bill Whalen of the Hoover Institution explained how the situation became so dismal. 'You have a very liberal legislature in Sacramento,' Whalen said, 'and the public doesn't pay attention to what goes on there.' Whalen listed a few items in the state budget. 'You can get acupuncture and cosmetic surgery if you're on Medicaid in California. The state spends $50 billion on education without any performance reviews.' As additional examples, The Factor noted that male prisoners in California are eligible for taxpayer-funded breast reduction and trans-gender surgery.

I thought this was a classic example of how I could really Pick apart Bill O'Reilly and his guest just on the surface of their arguments. Apparently a MALE prisoner wanting a BREAST REDUCTION could get a law passed to suit his needs. Last I checked, lobbyists didn't serve prisoners well and Plastic Surgeons couldn't have possibly run out of clientelle in California to try their run at the prison population, especially since the State pays so well.

Besides that, if No Child Left Behind was properly funded perhaps California would have a Performance Based Education system right?

Besides that, accupuncture is the only form of alternative medicine that has scientific studies backing its claims. If Viagra is good enough for Medicaid, why not accupuncture.

But then I searched for Mr. Whalen's credentials and well, this is what I found:
Whalen writes frequently for leading California opinionmakers including the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Diego Union Tribune. His by-line also appears on the Weekly Standard's website,


Whalen also serves as a media consultant for California political hopefuls and aspiring policy leaders. His clients have included Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former California secretary of state Bill Jones, former Congressman Tom Campbell and former Los Angeles mayor Richard J. Riordan.


From 1994 to 1999, Whalen was the chief speechwriter and director of public affairs for California governor Pete Wilson. In that capacity, he was responsible for the governor's annual State of the State address, as well as other major policy addresses.

He is a Republican hack of the first degree, he has also worked for Bush Quayle 92 campaign as a speechwriter.

Since he worked for Arnold, perhaps he shouldn't be poo pooing the Gubernator's lobbying. Since he worked so many years for California politicians, perhaps he is part of the problem and not part of the solution.

I have been unable to find any law that claims that inmates can have transgender operations and apparently neither has the California State Auditor after conducting his own investigation into such frivolity.


Free idea for da Dems

Apparently more military bases will be closed.

Most people are agreeing these days that Democrats are weak on the military policy debate. Who can forget Zell Miller going batty at the RNC in the NYC talking about our soldiers being armed with spitballs. His reason is that the Democrats have slowly demilitarized the military industrial complex.

Looks like this is happening under Bush's watch this time but Democrats aren't paying attention.

SO get off your cracks Dems and start howling about this one. Its pretty easy if you ask me.

Unrelated: MyDD had some pointers for the party as well.


Monday, February 21, 2005

Plan for Iran?!

Scott Ritter says U.S. will attack Iran in June.

Scott Ritter was a US weapons inspector who came out against the war before we fought it. He was deemed a crazy liberal lunatic terorist simpathizer (like the rest of us) who doesn't know what he's talking about. Turns out he was right all along and was depending on sound facts he himself had uncovered. he is featured in a neato must see movie called Uncovered.

So if you have plans for being in Iran, in June, I say alter them, or bring lots of film and start a blog.

I wonder if this time there will be a little countdown timer on the screen, or for that matter what they will call the campaign. I mean how many more titles can they come up with for military campaigns?



This weekends edition of the The New York Times Magazine has a great piece on Inteligent Designism. Unfortunately the online version does not contain the graphic that is in the print version which cites this poll and reminds us that a majority of Americans believe that humans were created by God in their current form.

This is a stupid idea war. And perhaps us northeastern elitist liberals are numb to the beliefs of those that will follow this baloney. It is an article of faith to believe that God did anything. God's word should be taught in Church not in the Public Schools. PERIOD. The problem we have is that this transduces to the Public School System. It gains momentum when science defying high priests preach that the scientists are nothing but satanic blasphemous, heathons whose lifes work is to demolish any bliefs put forth in the Bible.

Unfortunately, NO! This is not a crusade against God and his "word", instead a Sicentist's mission in life is to UNDERSTAND "God's mysteries."

Unless we fail to promote ideas that are sound and fact-based, we shall fail as a society. If it weren't for science and the will of man, perhaps we could all be treating arthritis by opening peoples veins and bleeding them of their bad spirits. (However, Vioxx doesn't seem to be a step in the right direction either).

The latest idea from those trying to push a Creationist agenda in Public Schools, is this Intelligent Design. Saying, God put the firsts of all species on the earth, and let Evolution take it from there.

Well there are plenty of things I can think of that would bring this whole theory crumbling to its knees, HAH, nay I will not even spend time on it.

For those of you who are too dumb to come up with your own idea, read Jim Holt's piece.

Perhaps that will help enlighten you.


Fear and Loathing ... The Sphere is Round

Before going any further we learn a gun shot that some describe as self-inflicted has been implicated in the death of Hunter S. Thompson (perhaps he was just playing shotgun golf). A true doctor of journalism (dammit) has left his life and gone on to bigger and better things. Or so one hopes. If not, screw him. He didn't stick around long enough for me to buy him a shot of Wild Turkey in a New Mexican whorehouse. His legacy will be left up to historians who will deem him a person of little significance to the world we live in, an exclamation point in the Novel of History. His task at dismantling the Nixon lies will be instead parlayed to some so called legitimate newsmen. LO! Today we have the bloggosphere perhaps the Doctor's real legacy. For those who would like to read the Doctor's most recent musings you can click here!
To the Thompson friends and family.


How fitting The Reaganesque president promotes democracy the same way with the same people. Oh yes and our soon to be Intelligence guy in chief, Negroponte is as clean as a whistle isn't he?

Tom Delay says NAY to helping other countries.

Brit Hume the yet to be reffered to as hack posing as a legitimate newsman has said somethings he shouldn't have of a post-humus FDR. So some folks are calling for his resignation. I thin kit is about time someone from the Proven (NOT So Called) Conservative media gets to feel the wrath of the fairness. I would love to see a Dan Rather moment on The Humidor's show.

The President is going on his "Egg on my Face" World Tour, begging other countries for forgiveness and help in the land that missiles built in the fertile crescent. He will probably come home empty handed, save for some belgium waffle mix.

Jonah Goldberg has once again proven he is shortsighted or just plain stupid. He fails to "get the point" about the whole Gannon/Guckert story and why it is inifnitely more significant than the Eason Jordan story. Perhaps he would like some help from Maureen Dowd, or Frank Rich, John Stewart and Stephen Colbert (don't forget to check out this nifty little clip as well), even Bill Maher with Sen. Joe Biden got the point. In short the point is: "The White House has ties to Gay Prostitution."

Sen Biden pointed out that we need to call the Head of the Judiciary Committee (Arlen Specter) to ask him to call a hearing about the "security breach" that is embodied (no pun intended) by Jeff Guckert Gannon James, whatever the "could have been a terrorist" guy's real name is.

In other news-related news, if you (like me) are not getting the point as to why Judy Miller and Matt Cooper might be going to jail whilst Bob Novak (and perhaps Jeff Gannon/Guckert) roams free, Daniel Engber tries to put a finger on it, though I thought his attempt was unsuccessful. I still don't get why people aren't all up in Bob Novak's face asking him what he thinks of this story. Amy Sullivan had a great piece on this recently as well.

Somehow I had marked this story about Bush and Syria as Flip Flop, though I have since forgotten why. Perhaps it is because he mentions using more diplomacy in Iran. Which may not be a flip flop but a mere change of attitudes. Nope!

Apparently there was some friend who taped Bush's convos.

I have visited The Gates in Central Park. It was a breathtaking experience yet not for the reasons I was hoping for. There must have been millions of jerseyites stomping the grounds of Central Park this weekend, I was one of them. The Gates have brought nothing but havok to the blades of grass in Central Park. Perhaps the 23 million could have been used for a better purpose or a cheaper version of this monstrosity.

My fellow "Indy-bloggers-against all things Bush" have a page dedicated to our posts. It is a great task that has been undertaken by one Dr. Laniak. Kudos to him and you readers would be poorer in your lives without visiting this page.

As for myself, I realize I have been sketchy, this can be attributed to a busy work week, severe stomach virus that had me heaveling far more violently than November 3rd, and of course downright apathy. I am back and feeling better and ready to take on the wingnuts once more.

She is NOT Flat!


Monday, February 14, 2005

Free Kool Aid

For the record, I am pissed today. Today I propose that instead of calling it the So Called Liberal Media, we begin to call it the So Called Media. No liberal, no conservative. I spent much of Sunday watching the talking heads jibber jabber away and noticed that as usual there was a running theme. Rice-a-palooza and Social Security. On CBS (that bastion of liberal media bias) Face the Nation, Rick Santorum seemed to me to get way more time than Dick Durbin to sell the Social Security scam. Bob Scheiffer continues to forget the tough questions surrounding the “debate” including but not limited to:

A) Why should we trust ANY prediction that goes out past 10 years let alone 50? Just look at the recent Medicare Drug Bill prediction.

B) If you believe the actuaries bleak economic outlook of 1.9% economic growth, how can you still believe that stocks will grow 6.5%?

C) If you believe stocks can perform that well in THAT economic environment, then why not believe that revenue streams will solve Social Security if a more realistic output of 3% growth is assumed.

D) Regardless of demographics, taxes are tied to wages, so revenue streams are tied to wages, so why shouldn’t social security benefits be tied (or indexed) to wages? The answer to this question is the same reason the "Demographic Challenge" in entitlement programs doesn't exist now nor will it ever. The 2 people per retiree argument is misleading unless you also tell people that wages and thus tax revenues are much higher today than they ever were in FDRs time.

E) If a legislation like Social Security (which has actually been rather successful) is outdated, what say you about the Constitution? The Electoral College? Or take your pick of anything the 1st say 50 congresses passed into law.

Then I switched to the Chris Matthews, which got a hard on when Norah O’Donnell enlightened him to the fact that Karl Rove watches weekly. No doubt to make sure his Kool Aid is being served up by the panelists.

Amazingly enough Meet the Press had 2 good debates, Rangel trashing Grassley, and Buchanan beating on Natan Sharansky which led me to think that pat’s conservative foreign policy of fighting terror by not militarizing the middle east not only has merit but is something I can agree with him on. Meanwhile Natan Sharansky’s view (one that is shared with Bush and co.) is so myopic that he can’t see that sanctioning dictatorships hasn’t put a dent in Castro’s Cuba.

This brings me to the common denominator. Rice-a-palooza. 5,789 countries in 4 days, amazing for someone who has their own jet and can make their own travel schedule. Not to mention meeting with a bunch of guys eager to mend ties with the US only to be pooped on when Rice dismissed the EU3 /Iran nuke talks. Amazingly, everyone was analyzing this and describing that trying to reach for some substance that came from this whirlwind tour of the world financed by my tax dollars.

Nobody, but not one single body, discussed the memos. You know THESE MEMOS. The memos that say that there were 55 warnings of attacks by Al-Quaeda. The same memos that the right accused Dick Clarke of lying about just to sell his book. The same memos that say that Condi Rice knew about the 9/11 attacks well ahead of time and the same memos that could have helped avoid 9/11. The same memos that were released to the National Archives last week.Just in time, some would say, for the Sunday Morning Jibber Jab Squad to grab this by the horns and point it towards Condi’s recently internationally kissed ass.

Does anyone still believe there is a liberal media? Depending on your idea of bias, the existence or lack thereof in this instance is irrelevant. Instead, what we have today is a media that can be described by a word much more difficult to swallow.



Friday, February 11, 2005

Save US Shaw!

Congressman Clay Shaw (R) Fl. says he's got a plan here are the details:
A former chairman of the Social Security subcommittee, Shaw said his legislation would make every worker eligible for a personal Social Security account, funded by the government at up to $1,000 a year. Individuals would make their own investment decisions from options of varying risk.

At retirement, a worker would automatically receive 5 percent of the funds in the account. The retiree could then choose either a monthly benefit based on the amount remaining in the private account or the traditional Social Security benefit promised under current law.

Let's stop it there. You automatically get 5% of the funds in your personal account. GREAT!

Now you get to choose either the remainder of your Private account or what you get with SS. No change in SS.

So that means since you have already lost 5% of your private account, in order for you to have gained some ground here you need to make over 5
% plus hope that those $1000 gets a move on and grows faster than you regular SS.

Let's do the math, if you make the top of the cieling ($90,000) for contributing to Social Security and multiply that by the 12% you and your employer are collectively putting in thats $10,800 a year.

Shaw's plan gives you $1,000 a year which is only 10% of what you put into SS.

Say you started working at 20 years old and work until your 67 thats $47,000 total contribution per citizen's lifetime by the gment. The Heritage Foundation Calculator assumes only 4.87% /year (thats half in stocks half in annuity).

Let us just see how much it will cost (because the problem with any plan for Social Security has to stand up to the "does it solve the "problem" test)

hmm 47k times say 200 million people who are elligible that's: hmmm
My calculator says $9.4 TRILLION

Well its fuzzy math but waith there's more:

Retirees who choose the traditional benefit would lose the money remaining in their private account. Those funds would revert to the government's Social Security trust fund.

Shaw said his plan would cost the Treasury $3.4 trillion over 30 years, but that gradually, the amount of money credited to the Social Security trust fund would more than offset the cost of funding the personal accounts. At the end of 75 years, he said, the program would have a $4.6 trillion surplus.

Well a surplus! That is assuming everyone makes more than 5% return (atrios says sadly no), has more money in their private account than in their social security (highly unlikely since you have to make 10 times more money in your private account to match the contribution to your Social Security, and lets just say that indeed you do that well

well then you wont be worrying too much about your Social Security check anyway because you my friend are a SUPER DUPER INVESTOR!

Better than that character Michael Douglas played in that movie thats for sure...


Around the Sphere

Bush approval rating drops again.

That didn't last long!

Dropped down from 54 to 45% approval. Up from 51%, 58% of Americains think we are on the wrong track.

It turns out that poll I cited last week may have been just for people who watched the SOTU. I thought that would happen that the poll they would come out with would be only representative of the people who watched the address. I mean he killed during the SOTU. Anyone who isnt into politics would be lovin the guy right there.

But today the approval has done a 180.

The election was only 4 months ago, how is this guy elected again?

Maybe its the fake news.

For those of you who aren't paying attention Jeff Gannon (aka J D Guckert, aka Gigolo) has been taken down by the Blogosphere.

Jeff is the worse representative of the propagandagate, or propagate, or shillgate. He was a fake reporter for a fake news service, who somehow got press credentials and was allowed to be a regular member of the White House Press Corps. The vetting process for this is pretty tough, kinda like the vetting process for say Department of Homeland Security chief.

Either way he would blatantly toe the republican agenda and ask scott mclellan softball questions. Scotty would constantly go to him as the lifesaver.

He has been declared a White House operative phoney.

Now witht he Easongate and the Gannongate going on at the same time, I started thinking, is the media liberal? I mean Gannongate is getting much more coverage than Easongate.

Luckily Kos puts it in perspective for us all.

By the way it was little bloggers like me on Daily Kos who took that guy down. Anyway there is already a petition to prosecute anything and anyone associated with Gigolo.

Hotel Rwanda if you haven't seen it, go see it. Then wonder why the hell we are so damned worried about Bush. Then do something to help Rwanda, and Sudan, because the UN is shaming itself (as it did with Rwanda) by not committing to the term genocide when Colon Powell already has. Some things never change.

In hoping for great election results in Iraq I found this nifty webpage but the turnout numbers are not yet in. I would check back frequently if I were a journalist.

Though there was a Afghanistan LIVE election results page, I wonder why we don't have one for Iraq.

Condi Lied. Now there is proof (though i would be wary of memos that are leaked to the press, Rathergate started that way). If Richard Clarke could actually confirm this memo I think this is all we would need right?

The Sphere... SHE IS NOT FLAT!


Thursday, February 10, 2005

The American Times - A seperate Project

As if one blog isn't enough!

There is something else I have been getting into with Oliver Willis. It is called The American Times. Anyway its kinda like a few bloggers writting fake news based on real news. Kinda like John Stewart's Daily Show.

Anyway, here is a clever piece I wrote. I say check out American Times and look for posts from media in trouble.

NEW JERSEY (TRS)- Some state senators want to make sure that every public school has the Ten Commandments displayed and that every school day begins with students and teachers reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Bills that would put both requirements into law won approval in the state Senate Education Committee on Wednesday and now go to the Senate for consideration.

The committee approved a bill by Sen. Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) to require that each day begin in Alabama public schools with students and teachers reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The bill passed on a voice vote without any audible dissent.

Sen. Byrne's bill provides an exception for immigrants and people who object to reciting The Pledge.

Sen. Byrne said he was inspired to write his bill because of the recent federal case regarding and atheist father and his objection to his daughter reciting The Pledge in California.

The committee also voted 6-3 for a bill by Sen. Curt Lee (R-Jasper), that would require each public school in Alabama to display framed or mounted copies of the Ten Commandments.

Sen. Lee's inspiration for his Ten Commandments Bill, though speculative, is said to have come from disregarding the Constitutions of both the United States and that of Alabama (Section 3).


Self Evident Truths

The Saudi's voted today.

So it seems.

Look deeper into the article:

Only half of almost 1,200 councilmen nationwide will be elected. The rest will be appointed.

Ok so it's like a coroporation, the Saudi Royal Family still wants majority power.

Fair enough. How about turnout.

Only 149,000 of 600,000 eligible voters registered to vote.

Doesn't seem like much to me?! According to Wikipedia, the total population is 24,293,844.


I know, the 24,144,844 that remain to be eligible to vote must all be women:
Women were kept away, banned from either running in the elections or voting.

Free and Fair Elections, you say tomato I say Tomahto

By the way fans, check out Frontline's Saudi Arabia Special and learn about why Muslims really hate us.

hint: its not because of our freedoms.


Let the Impeachment Proceedings BEGIN!


I recall a certain lady called Condoleeza Rice who held the office of National Security Advisor (click here for job description) whose job is to deliver intelligence to the president.

So let's see what the Times tells us today!

The report discloses that the Federal Aviation Administration, despite being focused on risks of hijackings overseas, warned airports in the spring of 2001 that if "the intent of the hijacker is not to exchange hostages for prisoners, but to commit suicide in a spectacular explosion, a domestic hijacking would probably be preferable."

Ok but its not like they had lots of reports of this possibility, right?:
Among other things, the report says that leaders of the F.A.A. received 52 intelligence reports from their security branch that mentioned Mr. bin Laden or Al Qaeda from April to Sept. 10, 2001. That represented half of all the intelligence summaries in that time.

Five of the intelligence reports specifically mentioned Al Qaeda's training or capability to conduct hijackings, the report said. Two mentioned suicide operations, although not connected to aviation, the report said.

Oh. Yeah but its not like the FAA took steps to do anything about it right?:
The F.A.A. "had indeed considered the possibility that terrorists would hijack a plane and use it as a weapon," and in 2001 it distributed a CD-ROM presentation to airlines and airports that cited the possibility of a suicide hijacking, the report said. Previous commission documents have quoted the CD's reassurance that "fortunately, we have no indication that any group is currently thinking in that direction."

Well it can't be grounds for the I word can it?

The Bush administration has blocked the public release of the full, classified version of the report for more than five months,

Today lies within the month of February, 5 months ago it was OCTOBER. Uh Before the election.


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Social Security Redux

Bush State of the Union -

"Personal retirement accounts should be familiar to federal employees because you already have something similar called the Thrift Savings Plan, which lets workers deposit a portion of their paychecks into any of five different broadly based investment funds. It's time to extend the same security, and choice, and ownership to young Americans."

All hail the new Ownership Society:

Security - Insurance (which Social Security IS), is secure. Investment (which Social Security IS NOT), is not.

Choice - SOTU:
"...we will set careful guidelines for personal accounts. We will make sure the money can only go into a conservative mix of bonds and stock funds."

Ownership - From WaPo:
"Under the White House Social Security plan, workers who opt to divert some of their payroll taxes into individual accounts would ultimately get to keep only the investment returns that exceed the rate of return that the money would have accrued in the traditional system."

But Mr. President, the plan would "save the system right?"

Bush -
"I fully recognize that the personal retirement account is not the only thing needed to solve Social Security permanently"

How about the deficit Mr. Vice President, will the plan REALLY cost trillions?

Dick on Fox -
"Well, but, again, remember how much we're going to borrow. We're going to borrow $758 million (sic) over the next 10 years to set up the personal retirement accounts. We think that's a manageable amount.

WALLACE: But trillions more after.

CHENEY: That's right. Trillions more after that. But the personal accounts will themselves provide a significant return for those who hold them, so that they'll get a better deal, if you will, out of money put into that system than they would if they paid it into Social Security."


UPDATE: Easongate

The Globe has set it all straight apparently getting a hold of all the people who were mentioned by the right hemisphere.
Still, a statement released yesterday by a spokesman for Senator Christopher Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, said the senator, who was in the audience for the discussion, was ''outraged by the comments."

Representative Barney Frank, who was on the panel, told The Boston Globe yesterday that attendees ''perked up" after Jordan made remarks that ''sounded like accusing the military of deliberate targeting." Frank said Jordan then backed off a bit, saying he wasn't indicating that such targeting represented US military policy.

The discussion moderator, David Gergen, director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, said yesterday that Jordan seemed ''deeply concerned about the dangers to his own team" in Iraq.

BRACE YOURSELVES! The Right Hemisphere is going to pull out all the stops on this and sure enough Hannity and O'Reilly will opine on this today and in the comming days. They will try to defrock Jordan.

This in no way shape or form makes the media liberal, nor does it mean that CNN is the most "liberal name in news."

It just means that Eason Jordan had a Freudian slip. He said somethings he didn't mean and he appologized for them. He didn't "pull a Rather" and stick to his guns, he immediately retracted his comment. If we all had microphones on us at times and said things we may not have wanted to be public we would...

Well, we would be President:
August 5, 2004 - Referring to the country's enemies, Bush said, "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."


The Sphere.. She is Round

Great piece in Alternet onThe "Nuclear Option". For the record, I think the Republicans will use the Nuclear option and no matter who discusses whether they should use it, they fail to mention that once it is used, it is used until a majority in the future changes it back.

This is dangerous territory and it should be scary for Democrats, most liberals are apathetic to this choosing instead to blog about social security.

IBD has a piece on Eason Jordan however, without a byline I do not trust this story at all one hundred percent.

If someone reading this lives in Massachusetts and would like to do some gumshoe reporting ask Congressman Barney Frank if he really did hear Eason Jordan say those things. I would actually like a full report of what Eason Jordan had to say. I don't trust Michelle Malkin and I am wondering if Congressman Frank does either.

By the way, this whole Eason Jordan thing is strange. There are no news items at all in any of the media except for op-ed pieces and blogs by conservatives. They even implicate Senator Dodd in this saying he heard the remarks too, why isn't anyone asking these Senators the info. I mean why isn't Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh championing the effort to call these witnesses (god knows they can get through better than any of us). Keep an eye and ear on this because the real "liberal media" (read: left biosphere) is hush on this topic. Where if they have something worth defending (e.g. social security) and have the facts to back it they usually go nuts over it.

Tom Delay says he supports a program for illegal immigrant amnesty guest worker program.

The Labor Department projects that workers over 55 will make up 19.1 percent of the labor force by 2012, up from 14.3 percent in 2002. It is a good thing Bush isn't cutting their social security huh?

The Bush administration offered a new estimate of the cost of the Medicare drug benefit on Tuesday, saying it would cost $720 billion in the next 10 years. That is much more than the $400 billion Congress assumed when it passed legislation creating the benefit in late 2003.

So if they are wrong from one year to another, how can we be so sure of the accuracy for estimates of Social Security's health 50 years from now?

I almost forgot but Howard Dean is going to be the new Chair of the DNC. Great news for the Democrats, they may still convince me to vote for another one of their looser candidates. Everyone dropped out and the vote is on Saturday. Looks like the netroots may have had an effect.

Bushism of the week:
Because the—all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those—changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be—or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the—like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate—the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those—if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

—Explaining his plan to save Social Security, Tampa, Fla., Feb. 4, 2005

And finally in today's Sphere, Bill Moyers reminds us that bringing the Rapture nigh is the top priority for the Bush agenda.

Need a password? Go to BugMeNot

She is NOT FLAT!


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Headline: Bush Approval Increases to 57%, Highest Rating in a Year

Bush Approval Increases to 57%, Highest Rating in a Year

Turns out I was right huh?

It was actually a 6 point bounce.

A new CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey shows that President George W. Bush's approval rating has increased to 57%, up from 51% three weeks ago. The approval increase appears to be related to the recent Iraqi elections, which the poll shows went better than most Americans expected. In general, the public is more positive now than it was before the elections about the way Bush has handled the situation in Iraq, as well as how the war is faring for the United States. At the same time, the poll shows little change in Bush's job approval rating on the economy or on Social Security.

The poll, conducted Feb. 4-6, shows that Bush's overall approval rating is the highest it has been in over a year. In fact, his approval rating has not exceeded 55% since a Jan. 9-11, 2004, poll, when 59% of Americans indicated their approval of the way Bush was handling the presidency. In the wake of the Democratic primaries and caucuses that followed, along with troubles in Iraq (such as the Abu Ghraib prison scandal), Bush's rating dropped as low as 46% (in May) and then fluctuated around 50% during the rest of the year.

I think the State of the Union Address had more to do with this than anything. Republicans were drunk with power that night, loving life, laughing and oogling Democrats.

There was an automatic response by Good Morning America to having the parents of the fallen soldier who were in attendance at the State of the Union.
The Iraqi woman who was there was also doing the rounds on morning evening and night shows.

It was nicely staged and executed.

Oh well lets see how this whole war-budget-social security-record deficit-mandate thing turns out after all.

Then we will let Gallup do another poll.


The Sphere... She is Round!

OK Folks,
I have been thinking about being a bit more structural with MIT. (This includes having my own achronym)

By means of structure I mean that I have been looking about and around and so far I have left my original structure here and started poposting more often which sometimes sacrifices not only originality but also quality in certain posts.

As a result I have been thinking of some regular segments. This way you guys who stop by a couple times a day will still have stuff to read, but those few who subscribe will not have their inbox dredged with emails.

Whatever the case I think it will help me as a writer and perhaps you as a reader.

So "The Sphere... She is Round" is the first to debut today.

This is the easiest for me since it will just serve as a collection of links to interesting stories around the blogosphere.

As I have said all along Airport Security IS a Joke

Atrios and others point out yet another Stupid Bushism.

The Liberal Media forgot to cover some stories that would interest Liberals.

Juan Cole has been debating Jonah Goldberg and it seems to have been put to rest by Cole's mighty pen.

The right hemisphere is screaming about a supposed quote by CNN exec Eason Jordan, which says that American troops were deliberately targeted and killed by journalists. This quote (notice I put it here without the marks) supposedly was made at the World Economic Summit. The problem is that IF Eason Jordan did say these words, there lacks any documentation of this quote although there is some video that is waiting to be doctored up delivered. IF he did not, the right hemisphere is still going to bury him like they did Dan Rather, as in Rathergate, they will ignore the substance of the allegations and instead whine about the proof.

Granted there are these stories about previous military mishaps and honest mistakes.

Without over focusing this first installment of "The Sphere ... She is Round," the only thing good about the World Economic Summit was that it was held in Portugal and we got to see Bono and Bill Clinton sitting next to each other.

IN other news, I have become a part of this blog compendium of ideas and things. While it began as a bunch of blogs strongly opposed to our new Attorney General being our our new AG, we have since aggreed that issue was a good one but with a short life.

However, it was the issue that galvanized us and so far it looks like for me I may be writting for a couple of other blogs including one Olliver Wills is putting together. This may be the big time for me ... (I doubt it) but just so you link watchers are wondering what the Indy500 blogs are. Well thats what it is. I will be posting a blogroll that reflects all these sites soon enough. So far there is Progressive Bloggers Union (I like that) and Realitybuzz. Which I am connected to though not yet active on.

She is not Flat!


Saturday, February 05, 2005

Prediction: Bush gets Bounce

Just for fun,
I will predict that Bush gets a post SOTU approval ratings bounce.

5 points.

I am sure the next poll will be out before Meet the Press and we will all hear Big Russ Bash Senator Kennedy with it over the head.


NPR comes through with the audio aid on Bush's Social INsecurity plan

Just check out this NPR description.

They managed to dumb it down without missing any of the facts.

Perfect for those of us who get crosseyed reading through some of the numbers.

That is all enjoy the weekend folks.


Friday, February 04, 2005

Iran agenda item or not?

Headline - Attack on Iran 'Not on Agenda,' Rice Says

Quote from the article itself:
Middle East peace is one of the main topics for Rice's discussions with European leaders over the coming week, as is Iran.

For the record the US is not engaged with the Europeans and many believe that it should be. Bu tyou don't have to take MY word for it:
Iran's supreme leader on Thursday said Bush's policies toward Iran would fail.

"America is like one of the big heads of a seven-headed dragon," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in Iran's capital. "The brains directing it are Zionist and non-Zionist capitalists who brought Bush to power to meet their own interests."


Thursday, February 03, 2005

Fact Checking the Fact check


HA I knew it was too early in the morning to read the latest email update on so I kept it until i had lunch because it was concerning a Move on newspaper ad.

They updated the last dispatch with the following:
The newspaper ad stuck much closer to fact when it stated that Social Security "can meet 100% of its obligations for the next 37 years with no changes to the current system, according to the Social Security Administration." That's true, though the system will begin to require infusions from general tax revenues after 2018 (or 2020, according to CBO) and those infusions will grow over time.


Those infusions will come from the Social Security Trust Fund.

They are spinnin over at factcheck.

Technically I guess the Trust Fund comes from general tax revenues. However, that surplus of revenues collected goes into the Trust Fund.

Which is currently physically represented by Treasury Bonds.

It will be Treasury Bonds unless (or if you are jaded like myself...until) Bush gets his way.



Tsunami Slip Sliding Away


Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has been chosen as a special U.N. envoy to ensure the reconstruction effort for the Asian tsunami victims remains a high-profile operation

Indonesia bid farewell to the U.S. aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln on Thursday as foreign troops began to scale back tsunami relief after five weeks of ferrying food, water and help to survivors.

How can scaling back equate a high priority


State of the Union in Pictures

Meet the new Golden Girls: Safia Taleb al-Souhail (L), leader of the Iraqi Women's political council; Homira Nassery (2ndR), a teacher at the University of Kabul School of Law and Political Science and Sister Constancia Parcasio Posted by Hello

OOPS forgot one. Incidentaly, Creepy... Just Creepy Posted by Hello

"I have a 4 point plan to have sex with you just not now." "But John I love you more than Teresa ever will." Posted by Hello

BUSH Heil?!? Posted by Hello

When asked how many more days should American troops stay in Iraq Under the Robotic Gaze of Laura Bush, Safia Taleb al-Suhail (head of LOPOIWV - League of Pissed Off Iraqi Women Voters) was forced to state her true opinion. Posted by Hello

Blatant politicization of the war, its victims, and the president's wife. I wonder if Laura cooked them dinner last night? Posted by Hello

Republican's demonstrated that even they voted in Iraq! Either that or they confirmed that they DO have their fingers up their asses. Posted by Hello

Neither, they just mocked the whole Iraqi democratic process. Posted by Hello

What about the details of Bush's Social Security Plan including how to pay for the transition costs, the actualy facts regarding the non-crisis and how he intends to get both Democrats and sceptical Republicans on board?
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Posted by Hello

You can see more here


Santorum trying to be sly gets caught in a lie!

Blame the staffer.

That's Rick Santorum's idea of gettingaway from a flimsy $5,000 fine.

Santorum used the Social Security Administration's logo in a pro-privatization presentation that was on his website.

He deserves more than a $5,000 fine but apparently thats what the law requires.

Senate Ethics Committee should get on this at the very least the GAO should get on this.

ACTION alert: Write these people a nice email.

When asked about the site a spokesperson said:
Senator Santorum's new website went live two months ago, and the slide show was not included on the new website

That's not what Max says.


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Devilish Details

Josh Marshall has posted the Kolbe-Boyd version of the "Bipartisan Retirement Security Act."

Provision: Provides a payroll tax cut for all working individuals under the age of 55, by diverting 3% of payroll
taxes on the first $10,000 in earnings and 2% of all earnings above $10,000 up to the wage cap into personal
Individual Security Accounts.

OK I have subscirbed to the fact that the Social Security crapola is basically about getting another tax cut.


So I did the math. Right now the cap is at $87,000.

3% of $10,000 = $300 (the really poor will get this ammount)

2% of remaining $77,000 = $1,540 (middle class will see some of this)

Republicans going balls to the wall for a measly $1,840 tax cut.



Toot my own horn day!

Shafer from Slate did in fact link to me regarding this post.

Atrios did email me back. He just said it was more important (which it is) that the fact that Judy Miller said that the Bush administration had specifically given the Wink/Nod to Chalabi.

Dually noted!

Thats 2 big blogs linking to this little blog in the same day.

Looking forward to playing the State of the Union Drinking Games. Even I have something to celebrate with Bush tonight!


Busy, Busy, Busy Discovers LOM

Busy, Busy, Busy has found me.

They linked to the story about David Brooks quoting ITM without the best kudos.

Thanks to the peeps at busy busy busy for noticing little old me (LOM).


Evil Doers!

Genocide or not?

Genocide (noun): The systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group.

Be on the lookout folks. The UN after being pressured by Bush has not declared the crimes in Darfur genocide.

Basically, Bush pressured the UN into not declaring the genocide to protect Sudanese officials from having to appear in the International Criminal Court.

This is the same issue that arose in the campagn. Kerry was for the ICC Bush was against because he didn't think our countrymen (be they who they may) should be held accountable for war crimes at that venue.

While Bush has done a couple of things for Darfur, he is once again putting idealogy ahead of rule of law.

The rule of law is the question here.

Since it doesn't apply to our very own countrymen serving in our very own country and who have commited their own crimes (sound like any Attorney General nominee you know?), it shouldn't apply to the heads of state in Darfur?

I truly think this is going a bit far. 10,000 people are dying per month in Sudan. The killers are the janjaweed militia which is goernment sponsored. These are not CIA covert ops secrets they are in everyday newspapers.

What I can't believe is why the President is defending his stance on the ICC by defending the same types of people who have committed the same types of crimes that Saddam Hussein committed.

If we can call Saddam an evil man because he does bad things and happens to preside over a country we can easily occupy.

Why not have the ICC prosecute these evil doers?

Oh yeah, they aren't on that famous axis are they.

A cute take on this would be if the rightwingutosphere started getting on the UN's case for not defining this as genocide. Calling once again for the demise of the great international instituion that has indeed blemished itself with this one.

Shame on UN.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Frost Drops Out

You heard it here first!

That means DEAN might get it after all.

Even though the AFL CIO has vowed not to endorse anyone.


Social Security DOH!

The playbook distributed this weekend to Republican lawmakers has been leaked.

Here are some quotes about "Communicating SS Reform":
“Personalization” not “privatization”: Personalization suggests increased personal
ownership and control. Privatization connotes the total corporate takeover of Social Security;
this is inaccurate and thoroughly turns off listeners, who are very concerned about corporate

Talk in simple language: Your audience doesn’t understand financial jargon. Phrases such
as “cash flow deficits” and “actuarial imbalance” don’t normally crop up in conversation;
avoid using them.

Keep the numbers small: Your audience doesn’t know how trillions and billions differ.
They know these numbers are large, but not how large nor how many billions make a trillion.
Boil numbers down to “your family’s share.” Also avoid percentages; your audience will try
to calculate them in their head—no easy task while listening to a speech—and many will do
it incorrectly.

Acknowledge risks: Many of your listeners will not have a lot of financial education or
investment experience, but they know that markets have risk—and nothing is guaranteed.
They believe investments can grow over time, but they also know they can lose their
investments. They don’t trust someone who tells them differently.

Say it the way they can hear it: Your audience will reject some turns of phrase because of
the connotations and associations. The responses are not universal, but they are much less
personal than you might imagine.

Why refer to it as Social Security at all. Why not just change the whole name of the system first then get rid of it.

In other words:

Dumb it down...

A little more...


Brooks legitimizes ITM

David Brookscolumn today:
On the Internet and in interviews, Iraqis tried to convey the tactile feel of their new migration to normalcy.

"Every person has realized that he's not fighting alone in this battle," one voter wrote. "I moved to mark my finger with ink. I dipped it deep as if I was poking the eyes of all the world's tyrants."

Iraq the Model Blog Yesterday:
Every person has realized that he's not fighting alone in this battle and that all Iraq, from the very north to the very south is sharing this view even in the cities where security is a big concern, like Diyala, Mosul, and Tikrit; even in Fallujah, the boxes weren't empty.
I walked forward to my station, cast my vote and then headed to the box, where I wanted to stand as long as I could, then I moved to mark my finger with ink, I dipped it deep as if I was poking the eyes of all the world's tyrants.

Not that interesting but it says something about blogs.

If you are blogging from Iraq and you say good things about Bush...

David Brooks is reading your stuff (although he wont give credit where credit is due, reffering to ITM as "the internet and in interviews).

If you are blogging from New Jersey and you say bad things about Bush...

Nobody reads your stuff (except for the loyal 6 or 7 a day, thanx!)


Judy Miller Right Bark Wrong Tree

While I love the fact that Atrios and Shafer are barking up Judith Miller's tree about the Ahmed Chalabi bomb she dropped on Hardball.

They seem to be barking up the wrong tree.

I realized this because I was watching my DVR recording of the Capital Gang last night and noticed that they had dropped that bomb first.

Namely Margaret Carlson asking Anderson Cooper to corroborate the "rumor" here is the transcript of the January 29th show:

CARLSON: Anderson, is Ahmed Chalabi, who was the hope of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to be the American installed leader of an Iraq that was celebrating our arrival, is he staging a comeback despite the fact that he was then abandoned by Americans? Did the kind of de- Americanization of Ahmed Chalabi make, you know -- I was surprised to see that he's up for election and is on the Sistani slate.

COOPER: Yes, the nine lives of Ahmed Chalabi. This may be like the 18th life of Ahmed Chalabi. He has sort of repositioned himself, distanced himself from the Americans, repositioned himself on the Shiite more religious ticket, not the secular ticket, sort of the religious ticket I guess sort of rediscovering his religious roots, if you will.

And he has had, you know, I guess you could say something of a resurgence. He is still around. You know there were a lot of people who kind of wrote him off a year ago. His name is on the ticket. He's one of the more well known people who is on this slate of candidates for this party.

Exactly what his role will be, if their slate, if that ticket actually does get elected that's sort of open because, as you know, people aren't necessarily voting for individual candidates. They're voting for a list or a group of parties that have allied together. But Ahmed Chalabi is still out here, still working and still a power player.

I wrote them maybe they will link me.


WOW - Oil for money

Exxon Mobil has its money numbers in for 2004.


Profit = $25.33 billion for all of 2004

Exxon Mobil just missed $300 billion in sales for the year.

While profit margins may be down, profits are up.

GODDAMN Thats a lot of money... How much?

Using 2002 numbers

Only 16 countries make more money than Exxon Mobile ($300 billion).

Profits alone would put Exxon Mobile as the 60th largest economy of the world.

Better than over 100 countries. Better than the poorest 25 countries.

Look for more asstounding numbers from other world economies Big Oil Companies this week.


"Liberal Media" - First Ammendment... goin' goin'


So much for that "Liberal Media"

An advocacy group, USAction, said on Monday that four television networks had turned down its request to run an advertisement opposing President Bush's effort to clamp down on medical malpractice lawsuits.

As a general rule, the policy says, "time will not be sold on NBC Network facilities for the presentation of views on controversial issues."

ABC, CBS and the Fox Broadcasting Company said they had also turned down the advertisement.

But CNN plans to run the advertisement.

Here is a link to the add and the text:

"President Bush is siding with the insurance, H.M.O. and drug companies, trying to end what they call frivolous lawsuits, while 100,000 Americans like Ian die each year because of medical errors," Mr. Malone says in the spot. "Mr. President, let's fix the health care mess, but please stop blaming the victims. My son's life was not frivolous."

So a while back I remember posting about an ad I saw pushing the Privatization of Soc Sec. But I saw this ad on CNN.

Has anyone seen any similar ads on ABC, NBC, CBS or dare I ask FOX? I only watch PBS now so I need your help.

5 points for each except FOX (you only get 2 points). I am assuming for shizzle they ran an ad.


Kurds... No News is Good News

I thought it was wierd that nobody talks about the Kurds. Why is that? I know we are worried about the SUnni insurgency and all the painthat brings us. I know we worry about the SHiites because they might put Ahmed Challabi (profile) in charge of something he shouldn't be in charge of. But what of the Kurds. Nobody is worried about them. This article is news. Yet it appears in the Op-Ed page in the NYT. It's silly, stupid and shortsighted to think this article doesn't blow up in the face of the whole idea of what we are trying to prevent in Iraq, the feared Civil War.

Yet this article is the only one I have read that actually talks about the Kurds.

Now the Kurds seem to be on the democratic ball here. In Iraq, it seems the Kurds were the ones who have done the best in terms of getting their shit together. They have successfully handled security, safety, and peace in their northern zone of Iraq. They have even started their own grassroots campaign.

The Kurds apparently had their own little refferendum on being a part of Iraq or not. 11 to 1 they voted against. They also had presented the dissmissive Paul Bremer with a petition with 1.7 million votes against being a part of Iraq.

Does anyone else think that this is pretty incredible for a small society. Especially the ones that were made out to be victims under Saddaam's regime? We were supposed to be saving the Kurds (you know after we would find the "slam dunk" WMDs).

I think that the Kurds are the perfect example of how close Iraq was to saving itself and getting democracy the old fashioned way, by revolt. Last time I checked the US wasn't teaching courses on grassroots activism and how it is the root of democracy anywhere in Iraq. I don't think that any money has been appropriated to democracy education courses.

Somehow the Kurds figured this out on their own. This will however remain something that "liberal media" misses altogether.

Two things. First the thought that if left alone the Kurds may have gotten their own act (democracy) together. Second, and perhaps more important for the future of Iraq, the fact that the unity of the triad Iraqi society has already been undermined at least in gesture and apparently in popular opinion by 1/3 of said societey. One down 2 to go and then you will have 3 different countries. Perhaps it is the only peaceful way out.

However, if the NYT doesn't consider it news... who will?