Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: January 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, January 31, 2005

The Iraq elections

While I agree with many others in feeling this election was overdone a bit in the American "liberal media," I guess I do feel a bit happy for the Iraqis. They definitely tried to vote and this may or may not be viewed as a legitimate election. I am sure in the comming months and leading up to the next 2 elections later this year the blood, carnage, and more importantly constitution that the elected government writes will let us in on what this election meant for Iraq.

But, so far as I can tell, the election went pretty cool. I am not going to be one of those liberals who wishes for something bad to happen. I see the good in Iraq's election and I think it is really excellent one of the few moments of good in this war. I am not going to cheerlead it though. The fact that the media is all over the election (while it ignored the Afghanistan election; hmm maybe the focus group people got off their asses since then) will give you enough cheerleading to last you until the next "bloodiest day in Iraq" shows up.

Fact is the insurgency is not going to go away, the people that voted and our troops will still be blown up and the likes of Sean Hannity will say "we liberated millions of Iraqis." A statement that after yesterday's elections becomes more relevant. Sadly however, what Hannity always forgets, the voters yesterday are still under occupation and will be for the forseeable future (what an oxymoron).

Here are some quotes. Notice the only negative quote:

"It is hard to say that something is legitimate when whole portions of the country can't vote and doesn't vote," Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

Yeah the "Liberal Media" is still beating that horse.


So much for peace.

A Palestinian girl was shot in the head by Israeli forces in Gaza.
She was only 10. Shot in the head during school recess.



Sunday, January 30, 2005

Shorter Inaugural Address

I know its a bit late to give my version of the address but here it is:

"You go to war with the world you have, in order to get the world you want."


PBS asks about media trustworthiness... I answer

Here is the link

Here's the diatribe:

I think the ethics within and around the media are becoming cloudier by the day. I truly think the ethical standards that journalists used to be held to are not being used anymore.

Take Seymour Hersch. Is he a liberal bomb thrower? Or is he a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist?

The answer to these questions depends on which cable news network you happen to be watching.

One of the biggest problems is that news has been softened so that it is palatable for the morning shows all have some easygoing news, never anything harsh.

This dilution of news has made the lines of trustworthy news sources harder to draw.

Its a big wishy washy news world out there nowadays and whenever someone like Chris Matthews is accused by Media Matters of being biased one way or another he tries to make up for it on his next show by making a comment to "balance" himself out.

As to who to complain to. You tell me. I participated in the campaign against Sinclair media when they wanted to show the anti-Kerry movie as a news program.

I wrote to the FCC, (all of the commissioners) my congressional representatives (all of them), and signed various online petitions.

Where did that get us? Nowhere really, they still aired some of the show and didn't really have a balanced program in the end.

Moreover, they still called it news, even though it was based on lies.

The fact that the swift boat veterans were liars yet got massive quantities of airtime alone should answer your questions above.

Who should we count on to police the airwaves when in fact the police (FCC) have let the airwaves become massive conglomerates? Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerates reach 75% of the population.

It is easy; media reform should be just like campaign finance reform.

Take the money out of it. However, some say that PBS and NPR have a liberal slant.

SO PBS, you tell me who to trust. So far, I only trust Jim Lehrer every evening, but my trust in him is always one that walks on eggshells.


Social Security debate... How short our memories are

Found this gem today which was basically like a blog chronicalling (check spelling) of all the Social Security Debate that was going on when Bush first got into office. I just gave some ideas to Josh Marshall, we'll see if he posts them. he is doing a fine job of chronicalling (note... this is why blogging is such a better term) the current language debate.

It is kind of like what George Carlin keeps bringing up about how the Estate Tax cut that never had public support until they called it the "Death" tax. Then people started changing their thoughts about getting taxed after death.

But I don't think that I should deprive my few readers of the tidbits I am sharing with the big bloggers. so here are a couple of things from the email.

Just got to your piece about Kent Conrad possibly joining the faction.

well I have a quote from him I got from this website:

You have to search for Conrad down the list.

``They're talking about raiding the Social Security trust fund to fund
privatization in part. That's double-dipping. That's double-counting. That's
exactly what's going to get us into trouble
,'' North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad
(news - bio - voting record), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Budget
Committee, told reporters.

This was from a report by Randall Mikkelsen (reuters) February 26th (I assume
2001). I don't have Lexis Nexus but I am sure you do. I am sure a quick
search for that article will get you a copy of it. Unfortunately the link on
the site has expired so I can't corroborate it.

In performing another search for Randall Mikkelsen

I found this site:

``It's absolutely essential that we work together to put a growth plan in place
to create jobs for hard-working Americans. It starts with having a responsible
budget that meets our nation's obligations without affecting Social Security or
dipping into Social Security
,'' Bush said.

This was from a report Mikkelsen filed on September 7th 2001. Just days before
sept. 11. (not that that matters much just interesting).

But that first Social security site led me to this interesting article from

Apparently if politicians are using the word private they are in violation.

IOW..."they didn't get the memo" hardy har har

As for Mikkelsen I think you might be able to get something on him with lexis I
tried the reuters site and didn't find much.

Those of you who don't read Marshall's blog here are some points to consider regarding the email above.

Josh is gathering a faint haearted faction list of democrats who are for privatization.
He is also having a bit of a contest for T shirts if you catch reporters or any politician or pundit for that matter, changing their tune from using private accounts to using personal accounts.

The Bush quote is cute because by privatizing part of Social Security it is by definition "dipping into Social Security."

All this stuff is from way back in Bushies 1st term. Really cute stuff. Funny how history is repeating itself.
Look out for terrorist attacks in the fall.


Friday, January 28, 2005

Stop Government Propaganda Act

Ted Kennedy and Frank Lautenberg (my Senator yeay!) and others (Dick Durbin, Jon Corzine) have introduced a bill to stop these propagandists from getting payola from the Gment.

The bill is pretty good unless you hate lawsuits that hold the defendants accountable:
The act would allow citizens to bring qui tam lawsuits on behalf of the United States government when the Department of Justice does not respond.

If the matter is taken to court, the bill proposes that the senior official responsible would be fined three times the amount of the "misspent taxpayer funds" plus an additional fine ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. And if a citizen's qui tam suit is accepted, the bill proposes that the plaintiff receives between 25 and 30% of the proceeds of the fine.

OH BOY! Should this bill pass (doubtful), watch the bloggers salivate over the opportunity to enrich themselves through this venue.

You see the Democrats should start their own campagn for this bill. They should start playing TV commercials from the Hitler days and maybe play some War of the Worlds excerpts. Or just put fake news bulletins on the air and then follow up with:

This was just an example of what the Republicans in Congress have been up to. Please support our bill.

Something like that. To really distract from the whole Social Security debate.

Plus they can really haze GOPers because the Republicans will be seen asn supporting propaganda if they don't support the bill. This is the wedge issue the Democrats have been waiting for (maybe I am exagerating).

I think this whole media police thing should be taken more seriously at this point it seems that we are learning of more and more pundits who are getting paid, and I tend to think that this could be Bush's "blow job."

Meaning if this gets investigated enough this could lead to Bush being impeached.

But the Dems may not have the nuts to do it.

The least you should do right now is contact your congressmen/women to support this bill.


Intersting tidbit about Maggie Gallagher

Pandagon points to a Goldberg piece that points (enough pointing) out that in fact Maggie is keen on saying she doesn't remember being paid $21,000 from the government.

I distincly remember while I was Live blogging her interview on Newshour last night that she said:

"I am not rich and famous all I have is my reputation."

If that was the case, wouldn't you remember a sizeable sum like that?

You can watch the interview here.

PS. yet another pundit caught getting paid:
Michael McManus


Donate to Tsunami NOW to Deduct this year

This nifty law changemade it under most of the media radars. Interstingly, they are all about telling us to donate, but Clinton and Bush haven't updated their comercial to let you know about this tax deduction that was just passed. Anyway here are the specifics:
"Charitable considerations
The tax code has long provided rewards for generous filers, and this tax season is no different. In fact, a special law change was made early this year to allow some 2005 donations to count against 2004 taxes. Contributions made by Jan. 31 to tsunami relief funds can be deducted on your current return rather than being delayed until you file 2005 taxes next year. If, however, you'll get more of a tax benefit by waiting, you can decide to wait to deduct your charitable gift to tidal wave victims. A couple of things to remember here: You must itemize to deduct any contributions, and in addition to being made by the end of January, your tsunami donations must be in the form of cash, check or credit card."


Robert Wright not bad...

A great piece in the Times today.

I think Democrats should be using this plan as their foreign policy agenda.

Although paying tyrants sounds counter intuitive to pushing forth freedom, Wright makes some good historical points that can lead to positive outcomes.

Read the piece, he is obviously a Clintonian-Liberal (there I am coining that phrase if it hasn't been coined before). He points to China's success at becoming an anomaly of a capitalist powerhouse with an authoritarian government (sounds like the US today).

What he fails to point out is that by opening China's trade with the world, while sewing the seeds of democracy in that big country, has made a huge dent in our domestic progress.

The Free Trade deal with China only made companies like Walmart more powerful, and usurped many jobs from this country.

The outcome of Clintons experiment in economics - that which leads to less jobs but lower prices - is yet to be known.

But using Wrights approach to tyranny will probably keep America safe, even though it can lead to further domestic economic worries.


And the Semantic Hits keep on comin' - Life Cycle Accounts

Laura Meckler from the AP has joined the fray of journalists contradicting themselves in their stories today. Not only that but it seems the Republican pollsters have come up with a new term...

drumroll please


President Bush's advisers have settled on a proposal for structuring the personal accounts they hope to create in Social Security, while on Capitol Hill Senate Democrats were launching an effort to defeat the plan altogether.

Under a plan recommended to Bush, the private accounts would resemble many company-sponsored retirement plans, with just a handful of investment options.

By default, workers would be enrolled in a "life cycle" account, in which investments become more conservative as investors age, if they do not choose one of the other options, according to two officials speaking on condition of anonymity.

Further down the plan is described to be more like the Thrift Savings Plan that government workers have:

Under the Thrift Savings Plan, federal workers have five investment options, including government and corporate bond funds, a stock fund that tracks the S&P 500, an international fund and other stock funds.

Under the emerging Bush plan for Social Security, the default investment would be a "life cycle" account. It would begin with investments that have greater potential for both risk and reward and shift to safer bonds as a worker ages, officials in and outside the administration said.

The government would be responsible for keeping track of how much money is in each worker's account and give the lump sums to a financial services company to invest, a mechanism aimed at keeping administrative fees low, they said.

So much for the government getting out of your business and starting an "ownership" society.


Thursday, January 27, 2005

LIVE Blogging - Maggie Gallagher is on NEWSHOUR

So far she is denying that she has done anything wrong.

Sticking to the story about how she is a marriage expert.

She is saying that Howard Kurtz came short of slandering her.

"I wish I would have disclosed the contract."

Tony Blankley is defending her. Saying the government paid her to give them opinions on their marriage initiative.

Tony doesn't seem to think she has done wrong.

Tom Rosenstiel says that it would be ok for someone to be paid to write an opinion they already believe... So long as you disclose it.

Maggie says, "I do not want to be defended by the notion that I was paid to write an opinion that I already believed."

Tony Blankley is discussing the Krauthammer case. He is assuming that he was brought in to understand the substance of the Inaugural Speech. He doesn't know wether Krauthammer or Kristol actually had a hand in writting the speech.

Tom Rosenstiel contributes that there is no perception that the media is fair... especially when it comes to opinion writers. However, the notion of being independent is what is at stake here. If you are being paid by the government to opine on that government you are no longer Independent.

So long as you disclose it.


Other blogs catching on to Andrew Biggs

"THE PRESIDENT: We've got new leadership going to the Department of Education. But all our Cabinet Secretaries must realize that we will not be paying commentators to advance our agenda. Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet. I'm confident you'll be, over the course of the next four years, willing to give our different policies an objective look -- won't you? Yes, I can see that. "

Later yesterday, Atrios and Maxspeak
did some investigative work on some slides that were roaming around Washington.

Their conclusion Andrew Biggs ex-Cato, currently SSA policy maker.

You heard it here and here first.


The O Man

So I was wrong. Double or nothing the Irv Gotti story is on the O man's show tonight.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Murder Inc. Not just hyperbole

This report about Irv "gotti" givin it up to da Feds should make tonights O'Reilly Factor.

I got a dollar says it does.


Senate Confirms Rice as Secretary of State

Oh Well!

It was worth a try.

Let's give the lucky 13 a hand shall we? If they posted voter roles faster on the Senate website I would have a list here to give ya.

Maybe a magic editor elf will come back and fix this post once that happens.

Editor Elf's note:

It is the opinion of the chair that the aye's have it.

NAYs ---13
Akaka (D-HI)
Bayh (D-IN)
Boxer (D-CA)
Byrd (D-WV)
Dayton (D-MN)
Durbin (D-IL)
Harkin (D-IA)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Levin (D-MI)
Reed (D-RI)


List of Deadliest Days for U.S. Troops in Iraq - Liberal Media?

The AP made a list which is alright but check out this little nugget:
- April 3, 2003: Eleven soldiers killed in combat or die in accidents. The day before, 10 American soldiers died.

- Jan. 8, 2004: Black Hawk medevac helicopter apparently shot down, crashes near Fallujah killing all nine soldiers aboard.

So why isnt April 2, 2003 on the list? It certainly isn't because 10 is the magic cutoff.


Social Security Pollsters

Words words
Wording has also been an obvious imperative in the Social Security debate, with “privatization” squaring off against the more benign “personal savings accounts” in the message war between the two parties. The Winston poll bears that out. While 60 percent of the respondents favor investing “part of their Social Security funds into personal retirement accounts,” 53 percent oppose “privatization of the Social Security system,” compared to the 38 percent who favor it.

That nuance suggests that the public-relations battle waged by both political parties will play a major role in the fate of Social Security reform.
But some Republicans have argued that those differences are as much a policy argument as a semantics debate. They argue that privatizing Social Security is a far greater leap than diverting a portion of payroll taxes into banks, bonds or the equity markets.

TPM is having massive posts on this including a T-shirt contest to see who can catch the most Republicans saying private then personal.



Bush Wants $80 Billion More for Iraq, Afghan Wars as New Deficit Forecast Is Released :
"As Congress started to digest a new Bush administration request of $80 billion to bankroll wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, its top budget analyst on Tuesday projected $855 billion in deficits for the next decade even without the costs of war and President Bush's Social Security plan. "

Also a headline today:

Study: Airline Anti-Missile System Costly and Unreliable

Researchers said it could cost nearly $40 billion over 20 years to deploy defense technology on the country's 6,800 passengers jets. By comparison, the federal government currently spends roughly $4.4 billion a year on all transportation security.

Then again, we would rather attack them before they attack us.


DLC or DNC what's the Difference

Chris Bowers Does a fine job of helping us define the DLC.

Even I thought the DLC was just a harmless organization or an organization that didn't do much but align itself with the Democrats and do fund raising and get out the votes.

However, as Chris points out with his research. They are just the Republican wing of the Democratic party.

Which to me solidifies the need of Dean and others like him in the Democratic party to counteract the powerful grasp the DLC has on the party.

Thus, to me, either the Democrats go Dean. Or I go back to Green.

Actually, I think I have already gone back to Green. Mainly because Democrats don't put their VOTE where their MOUTH is.


Another pundit caught taking payola

Maggie Gallagher joins Armstrong Williams in the pundit payout scandal plaguing the Bush Administration.

Gallagher was paid by Dept. of Health and Human Services to help push the have babies only after your married initiative the pres spent $300 million on. Granted she wasn't paid as much but that doesn't matter.

So what did Maggie have to say:
"'Did I violate journalistic ethics by not disclosing it?' Gallagher said yesterday. 'I don't know. You tell me.' She said she would have 'been happy to tell anyone who called me' about the contract but that 'frankly, it never occurred to me' to disclose it."
First question answer: Yes

Second statement: If I was reaping taxpayer money to push an agenda no matter whose, would I want people to ask me? Probably not, but would it occur to me that I am getting paid by the government to do it?

Atrios, Pandagon, and TPM have chimed in as well.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Narco State

Facing Opposition, U.S. Drops Opium Spraying Plans in Afghanistan
: "The United Nations estimated that 323,700 acres in Afghanistan were dedicated to opium last year. That marks a 64 percent increase over the figure for 2003. The U.S. government's estimate was even higher: 5.1 million acres, a 239 percent increase over its 2003 figure.
The United Nations says Afghanistan produced nearly 90 percent of the world's opium and the drug accounted for more than 60 percent of the country's gross domestic product. "


Gonzales under the Microscope?

CREW a citizens watchdog group has filed a complaint against AG select Al Gonzales.

It seems that Bush's DUI will forever haunt him and those around him. As it turns out Bush was called in for Jury Duty for a 1996 DUI case while he was governor. Instead of performing his civic duty he got Al to get him out of it. Otherwise he would have to disclose his own DUI conviction (back then it was still a secret).

So, the problem is that Al did this kinda sneakily. He went behind closed doors with the judge and said that the Govna might have to pardon this drunk someday so you wouldn't want him to be on the jury now would ya?

So Bush was taken off jury duty and all was fine. Until Al lied about it to Sen. Patrick Leahy.

He was there and the decision to take W off the jury was the Judge's and he had nothin to do with it.

So maybe CREW is going to acheive what the fatcats in washington wont with their top to bottom OK votes just because he is a Latino. pfft

As a matter of fact I wish this would have happened after he had been confirmed so that every Senator who voted for him could be held accountable for YES'in this guy.

For the record I say NAY!

Wouldn't it be grand to have an Attorney General debarred.


Condoleeza Rice HBIC (head bitch in charge)

Read this then try and pick out the wonderful tidbits of information.

Let me help. First, Andrew Card:

Andrew Card said the Democrats' decision to have a day or more of debate on the nomination amounted to "petty politics."

"She certainly is qualified and ready to be the secretary of state," Card said. "We're anxious to have her there, and there's not a doubt in my mind that she will be confirmed, and she should be confirmed quickly."

OK so if you have a good resume but your name happens to be say Adolf Hitler, or Saddam Hussein, or Yasser Arrafat you too can be head of Department of State?

I heard this all throughout the Sunday talking heads shows. "She's more than qualified." Always reffering to her resume. SO WHAT?! The head of State is the person who the world looks at as the representative of the US. Condi's face just reminds the world of that dreaded "mushroom cloud" and "smoking gun" that was a threat to the United States.

All of which has been debunked, was being debunked at the time and remains debunked to this day, regardless of how many agencies they say they had intelligence from it was all 14 years old.
late in the article the AP reporter says:

...her contention that Iraq was trying to develop nuclear weapons has become debatable.


She was the hawkiest of the hawks and was responsible for channeling the flawed intelligence to the President. She was the last filter, the buffer, between the real Hawks and the President who took us to war.

She boggled the intelligence for 9/11. She admits there were spikes in information before 9/11. She did not do anything about that. This is who we entrusted our National Security to before 9/11 and since.

To the shcmuck (read: Barry Schweid) who wrote that AP article, the "contention that Iraq was trying to develop nuclear weapons" has long lost its debatability.

It is what you discussed in the meat of your article that has become debateable. Namely, wether or not Condoleeza Rice is "qualified" to ANY public role. Let alone the coveted Head of State.


The ever miopic Brooks

David Brooks is at it again. He has been writting these crazily philosophic olumns since Bush won the White House.

Before Brooks was like other wonks, writting and arguing, analyzing the news. Much like Saffire did, (good riddance you won't be missed ). Hey at least Saffire knew a little bit about what he was talking about although he constantly spewed lies.

Brooks has obviously been brain washed by Bush. He has become a follower of some philosophical mindset that the BUsh the Messiah has implanted in the minds of so many.

As if he gets it and the rest of us are just blindly going through life. As if we are dumb, and he is wise.

Well I am not gonna pull out my carpet and pray three times a day just yet.

Brooks' column today is another example of some philosophocal Bull Shit that comes right around and bites him in the ass with the least of analysis.

I will take just one of the quotes that seems to sum up his point today:

At the top end of society we have a mass upper-middle class. This is made up of highly educated people who move into highly educated neighborhoods and raise their kids in good schools with the children of other highly educated parents. These kids develop wonderful skills, get into good colleges (the median family income of a Harvard student is now $150,000), then go out and have their own children, who develop the same sorts of wonderful skills and who repeat the cycle all over again.

In this way these highly educated elites produce a paradox - a hereditary meritocratic class.


In his State of the Union address, President Bush is no doubt going to talk about his vision of an ownership society.


The larger story is the one Lincoln defined over a century ago, the idea that this nation should provide an open field and a fair chance so that all can compete in the race of life.

Today that's again under threat, but this time from barriers that are different than the ones defined by socialists in the industrial age. Now, the upper class doesn't so much oppress the lower class. It just outperforms it generation after generation. Now the crucial inequality is not only finance capital, it's social capital. Now it is silly to make a distinction between economic policy and social policy.

Not that I don't think you don't know where I am going with this.

But first of all the paradox of hereditary meritocracy has been proven to exist albet as more of a hereditocracy (there is no merit involved) a long time ago. How many people in DC are there that came from the places where "more boys go to jail than to college."

The Bush family are a prime example of how a hereditocracy has been accomplished in this country.

In fact the "open field and fair chance" are what us looney liberals have been screaming about since the beginning of time. If it weren't for the "upper class oppressing the lower class" with their economic and foreign (for this decades generation) policies, they wouldn't be outperforming the lower classes.

SO Mr. Brooks, is it still "silly to make a distinction between economic and social policy."

In fact Brooks, if you are getting into philosophizing on the pages of the NYT, I suggest you read history you will find your version of philosophy does not seem to be fitting in.



Monday, January 24, 2005


Yeah baby no wires, no computer, just me and my tungsten C.


Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Environment in your Backyard.

Watch this weeks NOW. Then go to and do your homework. I think you will all learn a valueable lesson on environmental issues.

I'll just link to what I have been living in and around for 26 years of my 28 year life.

I will also put report for Essex County New Jersey. That's Newark and Elizabeth for all you visitors from

I encourage at least a visit to to just type in your zip code.

Then send an email.

Somehow the snow that is falling from this Noreaster doesn't seem so white anymore.


More Social Security Bunkum from Andrew Biggs

Just Who Is Afraid of Privatization?

Obviously not Andrew Biggs. It landed him a job as noted before in the SSA.

Read his nifty article it is chock full of luscious quotes from when he was at the CATO institute.

What's in a word? Plenty, if that word is "privatization."
But words influence how people think about issues, and the public deserves to know what personal account proposals actually entail. And the truth is much less scary than account opponents would have us believe.

In fact, actual reform proposals such as those from the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security entail almost none of the laissez-faire, dog-eat-dog, sink-or-swim capitalism the word "privatization" conjures. The Cambridge International Dictionary defines "private" as "not connected with, controlled by, or paid for by the government." Would a reformed Social Security program remain "connected with, controlled by, or paid for by the government"? For better or worse, the answer is yes.

Actually the answer is NO. That is what Personal means right?

Let's look it up from the Same Cambridge Dictionary...

personal -
1 relating or belonging to a single or particular person rather than to a group or an organization

Organization as in government as in not theirs.

If it is then what is the point right? I mean if the government is just giving you the money to make your own choices in where you invest. Even though they are keeping it for themselves, how is that personal or private.

All this amounts to letting a bunch of completely uneducated people make stupid decisions on investments, slowly eating away whatever percentage of the tax Bush and co. wants to take away.

Further damaging the fund and putting it further into deficit and dissaray.

Thanks Andrew Biggs.

Good luck in your new job, I bet you can come up with more different crazy sophisticated, predictions about when the world is going to end or when we will all be living until we are 200 years old, and since that is going to happen we should start taking money out of Social Security now.

While we still can right?

I hope we don't see him on any more stages with Bush, if so, please throw an egg on that man's face.


Friday, January 21, 2005

Powell Stepping down from FCC

And so the reign of conglomeration of corporate media during his short term of three years is over. Michael Powell has decided that he will follow in the footsteps of his father and leave the administration.

Though Powell's bio isn't that great once can only hope the next guy will be someone better more informed, and more inclined to shape the airwaves for what they are indended to be.

Public, not corporate.

Perhaps the man who should be promoted to Chair is Michael J. Copps.

| weighs in on Social Security and a cute little factoid the LA TIMES missed awakens from its post election slumber with a fact check on the Social Security $11 trillion dollar lie.

They rightly point out that that figure that is thrown about by the Bushies is for the "infinite horizon."

A projection that was not included in the SSA's reports until 2003.

Ironically, that is the same year that former CATO institute privatization pusher Andrew Biggs was appointed to SSA associate commissioner for retirement policy by President Bush. A fact that the LA times missed in its reporting of the propagandizing of Privatization.

But you don't have to take my word for it...

Associate Commissioner—Andrew G. Biggs. Andrew G. Biggs was appointed Associate Commissioner for Retirement Policy in 2003. Before joining the Social Security Administration, he served as a staff member for the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services, a Social Security analyst at the Cato Institute, and a staff member to the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security. He holds a bachelor's degree from the Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland; a master's from Cambridge University; and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


Update: Pendagon and Atrios are both writing about Luskin's analysis of the bunkum.


I'm gonna get me some Presidential Ass tonight! Posted by Hello


Aww Shucks! Posted by Hello


He's so Dreamy! Posted by Hello


Horns horns horns to y'all Posted by Hello


Laura give'em some horns too! Posted by Hello


Devil Horns!?! Posted by Hello


Inaugural Speech Analysis - Fishing for Policy

As many pundits try to fish out policy hints in the speech, they may note that freedom was uttered 27 times, liberty 15, but the word policy only once. The most underranalyzed sentences Bush uttered from the mind of his speechwriter was this:
So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
By now it should be no wonder that President Bush is following almost directly in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan. The tax cuts for the rich, the rising level of domestic poverty, the renewal of "spacewars". About the only thing original to "W" is this quagmire they are calling Iraq. While Reagan chose to outspend the Communists, Bush chooses to try and outkill the terrorists.

However, the quote above from apparently one of the top 5 inaugural speeches of all time (as senile Safire puts it), may be a glimpse into yet another Reagan emulation to come.

Reagan's idea of "support[ing] the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world" led to the Iran Contra Scandal. Of course the "the democratic institutions" Reagan helped out were the Nicaraguan rebels who wound up killing many innocent peasants in order to "end the tyranny" of the US backed but uncooperative Nicaraguan government.

Seymour Hersh points out that Iran is next on the sights of the administration. His main and most scary tactic for those of us who read Noam Chomski (Kevin Drum also analyzes Hersh's article here). Is that the Pentagon has taken over covert operations from the CIA. Bypassing the usual oversight by the Congress and President (not that a Bush signature matters these days). Basically making the world a "free fire zone." By limiting the power of Congressional oversight in the latest 9/11 intelligence bill, Congress took its own power away in this respect. So we can now prop up "Contras" in as many countries as we want, or allow the Pentagon to send special forces anywhere to destroy, or assasinate, without oversight.

While I think that an assasination of Saddam Hussein would have served a much better purpose than the war, regardless of legality, I think the Iran Contra scandal taught us that propping up "Contras" doesn't work cleanly. In fact the Contra's killed more than 40,000 (fact check) Nicaraguans.

The Iran Contra scandal was a black eye on America, which apparently we haven't learned much from. The Pentagon has lost the lessons learned by the CIA (in the 1970's), Congress has given them a blank check (much like they gave the President for Iraq), Ronald Reagan's funeral was one of the most elaborate and expensive ever (almost as if the Pope had cannonized him), and Oliver North (the manager of the Iran-Contra scandal) is taken seriously as a military correspondent on Fox News.

To me the most disturbing part of Junior's presidency is that he still hasn't learned a moral history lesson from looking at Reagan's administration. Instead Junior believes that by emulating Reagan in life, he will recieve the same treatment in death.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

A few more words for Peter Beinart

Peter is at it again, cleverly he tries to portray the looming Social Security overhaul as something that well can't really happen without Democratic support. He winds up stating that if Tom Delay hadn't redistricted Texas and Bush hadn't beat the Dems asses in the South, Bush may have had the Democratic support he needs to pass this Social Security.

Stating the ideal situation of a 60 vote filibuster in the Senate, and I don't know some kind of magical number in the House, to drop the smack down on the President's plan.

What he seemingly overlooked is this handy dandy article in The Hill where it is brought to our attention that:

During a floor speech, addressing the Democratic filibusters of controversial judicial nominees, Frist said: “Right now, we cannot be certain judicial filibusters will cease, so I reserve the right to propose changes to Senate Rule 22 and do not acquiesce to carrying over all the rules from the last Congress.”

Granted Sen. Frist was reffering to the nuclear option and using it for confirming judicial nominees, however, they only have to change that rule once. Once it is changed, the filibuster dies, and the Democrats are ruled by the Republicans.

I think most rational liberals know this, this is why most bloggers (myself included) have started the anti-propaganda on the crisis.

Because we know that even if the Democrats had the balls to vote completely and totally against President Bush on this one, Bill Frist and Dick Cheney can turn around and chop those balls off.

In a nanosecond.

So Beinart, just do the Math next time you start off on another Ideal America Rant. If you think the Republicans have waited 40 years to have a majority and aren't going to do something, anything, to keep that power, well...

It's a shame that liberal bloggers (like political animal) don't start calling Beinart out for what he lacks.



At least the Cartoonists get the Social Security Sham

Kudos to Weyant's World


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

More on Rahm Emanuel - Josh Marshall, and Duh Dems and Da Doctah

Talking Points Memo Has a great piece on the shameful work that Rahm Emanuel did for the Democrats on Sunday's MTP.

Josh's major arguement is that the Democrats are not grasping that they are the party of opposition.

I say this past year is the only year they have been in recent memory. And since they lost the election it seems they are trying to frame themselves to be more like the Clintonistas by putting moderates like Rahm Emanuel on DCCC pulpits.

Josh's other crime is that he is supportive of the same type of people to run the DNC, namely Marty Frost.

How can the Democrats be the opposition party if they share the same donors, the same lobbyists, and basically want to move towards the center believing that the left lost the election for them.

So while Mr. Marshall goes on a huge soap box against Rahm, he later posts his re-institution of his belief that a moderate centrist, Bush loving Democrat should lead the DNC.

Yet everyone except the media (surprisingly enough) has been giving Howard Dean the thumbs down for the DNC chair. So far the conservatives are indeed pushing for a Frost DNC, stating Dean burned through all his money and went nuts.

Look, that's is what Prozac is for. As for burning through money, that wont be the DNC chair's job, they got the financial guys that do that. The DNC chair is the message maker on TV. If you were watching Terry McAulliff was like a human tape recorder just blah blah blahing the same old message all the time.

Same with Kerry.

Dean gets on Meet The Press and talks like a champ. Knows his facts, knows how to present them, and knows how to debate.

This is all over the blogosphere, Pandagon took down the Dean for DNC button citing some aweful excuse about baggage.

Lots of people in politics have baggage, last I heard some drunk driver from Texas stole an election and won the Presidency, he also got reelected.

Another guy from Arkansas was caught cheating on his wife lots of times both before and after he got re-elected president.

So the Dean scream was memorable, but if the Democrats don't grow some nuts, I tend to think that Social Security Privatization will be even more memorable.

Nader's time is a commin. Just let the Democrats keep rolling over.


Torture... Brits get in on the act

Check out these pics folks.

In Iraq there was an aid camp E I E I O

And on this camp there was torture E I E I O

With an ass pile here and a simul. sex act there

Here a tug there a punch, everywhere a british soldier.

Basra Brits had an aid camp

torture E I O


Social Security: There Is No Crisis -

Social Security: There Is No Crisis -

Alright trusty readers, the blogosphere is using its electronic might to spread the truth about the fake Social Security crisis.

Check the link to

Granted this may not ammount to anything but if the blogosphere is what we think it is, the electrons will be too loud to ignore even for the fat cats in Washington.

Of course that all depends, I had a rough time watching Rahm Emanuel the new DCCC chairman on Meet The Press this weekend. He looked like a choking madman. Couldn't answer a question on Social Security if Russert handed it to him.

So my scepticizm of the dems continues. However, with so many bloggers writting letters to editors and posting to their readers and conglomerating in a nicely democratic fasion such as

Well its good enough to make me feel warm and fuzzy about it.

Old world activism meets new world technology.

Lovin it. check the site. write to you editors, and lets see if the dems and enough repubs stick together on this.

Lets give Bush at least one official loss.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Oil For Food Draws First Blood! erra shackles

Iraqi-Born U.S. Citizen Charged in Investigation of U.N.'s Oil-for-Food Program

That citizen is Samir Vincent, the first official criminal of the UN Oil For Food Scandal.

I hate this scandal because it is just another attempt at right wingers to undermine this great institution.

It is the only institution that is dedicated to world peace and holding tyrants accountable for war crimes etc. (at least in theory it is)

While the jury is still out on how much was squandered away another scandal which isnt being covered at all is how much money the Coalition Provisional Authority has already skimmed from the US budget (this has already been calculated at anywhere from 9 to 20 billion missing dollars).

What is amazing is that since this is solely US Tax payer dollar there isn't more insight by the press and outrage by the people.

Either way Silflay Hraka has a great profile of our first criminal in the UN OFF scandal.


U.N. Proposes Doubling of Aid to Cut Poverty

U.N. Proposes Doubling of Aid to Cut Poverty


Sounds preposterous doesn't it?

How the hell can we possibly afford to do that.

What the UN is proposing isn't bad at all. It is asking for every country to give 1/2 of 1 percent of National Incomes (which translates into double what it strives for now).

For the US it would actually mean that we would have to triple the amount of aid we give.?!@?@

However, in order to fullfill the UN's current ideal contributions we are already short by about 66%.

That is correct, the US actually gives only .15 of 1 percent in foreign aid. To president Bush's credit, he has already increased the amount of aid we give by 50% (it used to be .10 of 1%). This does not include military aid to allies. This only includes aid given to poor countries.

So what does this mean in numbers roughly 5 billion. Thats all we would have to pledge and we as a country would halve the worlds hungry poor and diseased by the year 2015.

Roughly about the time Social Security hits crisis mode.

Currently the US gives about 4 billion to Israel in military and monetary aid.

And they aren't dying of hunger, nor are they poor, nor do they have health crisis.

However, roughly 1 billion of the world's population or 1/5 is poor, hungry, or diseased.

Poverty is the worlds most expensive problem, it leads to increases in crime, health care spending, and basically brings out all the animalistic qualities of man including terrorism (Palestinians have over a 54% unemployment rate).

The best part of this is that for a relative pittance of what we spent on the whole Iraq war. We could have done our part in curing world hunger. For the whole ammount of what we have spent on Iraq we could have probably done the lions share in curing the worlds poverty.

Value voter's where are you?


Monday, January 17, 2005

More on Social Security... Ideology

The New Yorker has a great article posted today by Hendrik Hertzberg, and Paul Krugman has been at it recently as well describing how Britain's privatization scheme of 20 years ago failed.

Hertzberg makes some good points in his article. Of which the Social Security crisis may be driven by ideology. For Real?!

I would like to add to this debate a couple more tidbits of info I don't see anyone geting to.

One thing you aren't always made aware of is that employers match your Social Security tax. Meaning they pay exactly what you pay per worker. It is about the only tax corporations are forced to pay nowadays. So Bush's plan, while being a windfall for Wall Street will (as his details become clearer mark these words) also be another tax break for corporations and for the selfemployed (which are also forced to pay double what you and I pay.

Wether or not employers should pay into the system is another ideological debate. But that is where we stand today.

As for the other point Hertzberg (and David Brooks) mentions is that privatization will make more Republicans. This is the scariest part of the plan.

It truly is a scheme to make more Republicans. Think about all of working America worrying more about the value of the stocks in their Social Security Portfolio than the air some of those companies polutes in their own backyard. (Chomsky had predicted this in his latest book hegemony or Survival, credit where it is due).

This will truly be the damaging part of Bush's plan and indeed will leave a legacy far beyond his years. It is a mind spawn of karl Rove at its finest and without the media being savy enough to come up with the consequences of these plans it may just work.

Profit over ethics has been the norm and the pointless Enron scandal has only been the tip of the iceberg. Even so these corporate criminals have not been punished properly and many are still at large taking steps to damage the people they require to make them rich.

So this is where we stand. If Bush has his way, he will get a Republican fledgeling constituency known as people 18-30 (you know the future voters). Once they awaken politically they will learn that a Republican turned them into little day traders with their retirement funds. They will have to pay for their own Disability insurance. While the land around them, the courts taht protect them, and the medicines they wil need to survive become poisons. They will love every minute of it, as long as their stocks go up.

We should fight this every step of the way here is a good start: petition

Also Read This article in the NYT Magazine by Roger Lowenstein.


Enough about Al-Jazeera

A blog called IRAQ THE MODEL has now joined most American news organizations in denouncing Al-Jazeera, the so-called terrorist propaganda news agency of the middle east.

A couple of things, first about Iraq the Model. This is a decent way of finding out what is happening in Iraq but it is flawed. First of all, how many Iraqi's have enough money to have a computer and internet access and the ability to blog almost everyday.

Answer not many outside of Baghdad. Unfortunately that is true of most people who visit the country and come back with good news. Most of the politicians that go over to Iraq and come back with a rosey picture don't leave Baghdad. On top of that how many of these pundits on TV are asking people outside of Baghdad about the elections. Everybody keeps talking about how much Iraqi's want to vote, but I wonder how many of these Iraqi's they refer to live outside of Baghdad.

Anyway thats enough about Iraqi's.

About Al-Jazeera. It's a satelite television news agency. That means you have to pay for it. If your in the middle east and can afford to subscribe, then hey go for it. Might as well subscribe to the news channel you want right? 40 million arabs already do.

Maybe they shouldn't call themselves a news agency but they do report the news. It seems particularly quirky to me that Fox news has hounded Al-Jazeera for portraying insurgents and allowing their beheadings to air.

I mean don't we all choose to subscribe to TIME or Newsweek, or The National Review or the Weekly Standard. Its because we think that magazine is what we want to pay to read.

Same with Al J. If people buy it its cuz they want to see the beheadings and such. It is still freedom of choice and if the right wing TV stations and "Journalists" want to bash'em go right ahead.

However, it seems to me that while touting American ideals in Iraq such as free and fair elections, these people should not dismiss free and fair press, especially without representing that American ideal themselves.

These are of course the same people who state there is a liberal bias in the media.



Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Get ready kids. This is why we will loose our Social Security

Progress for America (a conservative propaganda generator) was first on the CNN scene to put up an ad.

I love the way the blogosphere has been aptly chipping away at the President's lack of debate on Social Security. Some of the press has taken it on though not very forcefully.

So far I have seen the News Hour having some debate about the pro's and the very very very many con's to privatization. However, I haven't seen Paul Krugman on any show.

But when it all comes down to is the PR war. The Media is in charge of all our opinions. That is how we went to war, that is how the Swift Boat Vets got Kerry, and that is how Bush got reelected with the lowest approval rating of any President.

Indeed that is also how the Conservatives got the Medicare drug bill passed by Congress.

Today, I almost took a dumper when I saw an advert making the simple case for privatization. That of the 16 workers for each retiree back when Social Security was born and the future 2 workers for each retiree.

So while I think the blogosphere is doing a great duty to the country if the Democrats don't start acting up on this one we are gonna loose this debate before it even starts. Indeed I think with PFA's ad the points are already stacked against us.

This is how the Democrats and in essence America has lost to the conservatives time and time again.

If the most trusted name in news is running an ad about Social Security, who is going to tell Joe Schmoe, that ad isn't true?

Certainly not the journalists covering every staged Bush lovin, Social Security privatizing, cheerleading event.

Just turn on the TV and try to find a voice of opposition to Social Security Privatization. If you have cable I would begin by going to CSPAN. If not I would suggest watching Jim Lehrer's News Hour.

But I caution that even those sources are still unbalanced in terms of how much they are giving the opposition.


Monday, January 10, 2005

MyDD: blogging in the free world

MyDD had an interesting take on the flack the bloggers take from the main stream media.

i had some opinions and thought I should link you guys over there to check it out.

click here

if anything it will help you grasp a little more about what the blogosphere is all about.


Ukraine Orders Troops Removed From Iraq

It seems we are going to loose the 4th largest member of the coalition of the willing within 6 months. A last gasp effort by still Ukranian President Kuchma orders withdrawal of Ukranian troops within 6 months.

Oh well! The willing are getting harder and harder to maintain their coalescence ei?

In other news. I will be writting a letter to Senator Charles Grasley with some tips on how to fix the FDA/ drug company monopoly on the nations health.

If you have any ideas you would like me to include let me know.

I will post that letter once it is finished. damned my clavicle.


Thursday, January 06, 2005

Not Since 1877, Senator Boxer... Thank You! A Great day for Democracy and a bad day for the Electoral College

At least one Representative and one Senator is required to challenge the electoral college votes.

Unfortunately in 2000 not one Senator had the spine to stand up for voters rights while many Representatives stood up and said they objected to the electoral college votes.

Today we once again witness history. Not since 1877 has a challenge been addressed by both a Representative and a Senator forcing a debate.

Today Senator Barbara Boxer from California will join Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones and force a debate on the Ohio electoral vote. This is due to the mounting evidence in Ohio regarding voting irregularities.

Not seen in our generation or any living generation of our time, we will witness history today.

It is unclear what will come of this debate however, the fact that our represenative body will be debating these irregularities may indeed push the congress to pass even more electoral reform than just the Help America Vote Act (many sections of which will not be enforced until 2006).

Today indeed it is a great day for democracy in this country.

PS. As for me not blogging more often, it happens that I have broken my clavicle whilst snowboarding and typing is indeed a difficult task.

I will be watching the debate in the House of Representatives and Senate and will try to keep up with the blog today.