For The Trees
Who is our economy FOR, anyway?
About the Authors:
BEST OF STF:
Articles not at STF:
The ATLA Speech on building a progressive infrastructure
Lowering the Bar
The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law
Who's Behind the Attack on Liberal Professors
On the Right and their communications infrastructure:
Why Republicans Win
Win or Lose
The "Conventional Wisdom" Machine
Some History of the Conservative Movement
HOW TO FIGHT BACK
An Amplifier Of Our Own
Don't Blame the Democrats
How They Do It 1 2 3 4
You're Gonna Get Drafted
Scalia and Self-Government
Who is Our Economy For?
Voting Machine Story Link Collection
What's Wrong with this Picture? (Voting Machines)
Like Meat in the Supermarket
Thin Line 1 2 3
Fixing Social Security
Seeing the Forest I, II, III
"Incredibly Positive News"
The Breadth of It
The Republican Crony Club
Ralph Nader is a Scab
John's Best Of:
Kerry Smear Page
9/11 Commission Report Damages Bush -- if you read it
Florida Goon Squad Intimidated the Supreme Court
The Use and Abuse of George Orwell
Zizka's Archives (John's previous identity)
Information Clearing House
What REALLY Happened
Links to Other Weblogs:
The Draft Is Coming
U.S. struggling to find replacement troops:
"The Pentagon is scrambling to find enough fresh troops to begin an orderly rotation program that would bring home some of the 147,000 soldiers spread thinly across troubled Iraq.
Media Underplays U.S. Death Toll in Iraq
Media Underplays U.S. Death Toll in Iraq:
"According to official military records, the number of U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq since May 2 is actually 85. This includes a staggering number of non-combat deaths. Even if killed in a non-hostile action, these soldiers are no less dead, their families no less aggrieved. And it's safe to say that nearly all of these people would still be alive if they were still back in the States.
More On That Pension Bill
U.S. House Panel Backs Pension Fix
Companies with underfunded pension plans would get relief for three years under legislation backed by the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee on Friday, in an acrimonious session to which police were called.Companies will be allowed to SAY they are getting higher returns on their pension savings than they really ARE making. And just how bad is the problem?
Total pension underfunding exceeds $300 billion at U.S. companies, with $60 billion in the auto industry, according to the agency that bails out troubled corporate pension plans.That's right - the companies are $300 billion in the hole owed to pensions - but it is not on their books for purposes of evaluating investments in the companies. Hence the new stock market bubble.
Think about this - those companies that still give pensions don't have enough money saved up to PAY the pensions, and the Republicans are letting them off the hook here. Meanwhile, our Social Security money went away to pay for the huge Bush tax cuts! So the ENTIRE "baby-boomer" generation is losing its pensions, its Social Security and those lucky enough to have had jobs with 401Ks, well, half of that's gone, too. It MATTERS who wins elections!
And, by the way, how did the Republicans get this passed?
The measure was rushed through by the Republican majority as Chairman Bill Thomas of California called a voice vote while committee Democrats were conferring over last-minute changes in an adjacent library.
Dean's Questions for Bush
From Blog for America, these are Gov. Howard Dean's questions to President Bush:
"As the Niger uranium story has unfolded, what has become increasingly obvious is that there are many questions that must be answered about the way the Bush Administration led us to war, managed the conflict in Iraq, and failed to foresee the continuing resistance that our military is now confronting.
Notes on the Atrocities
The Left Coaster
House Committee Approves $50 Billion Pension Bill (washingtonpost.com)
House Committee Approves $50 Billion Pension Bill. This is just another big ($50 billion) tax break that is only for the rich.
It's a bit complicated hot this one works, so I'll see if I can simplify it a bit. People who aren't rich need to use any money they have saved in retirement accounts, so this doesn't apply to them at all. When you take money out of a retirement account you have to pay income taxes. The government makes you start taking money out of a retirement account when you reach a certain age, as a protection against the money being sheltered forever and never subject to taxation. By increasing the age when one is required to take money out of a retirement account, they put off paying these taxes, and if the person dies, the money is inherited without paying taxes at all. Hence - another huge tax shelter just for the rich.
I wrote about how whole retirement account scam screwed workers out of their pensions in the post titled Screwing Workers.
How Does It Save Money?
News story: Republican Governors Studying Job Cuts
"Several Republican governors are studying ways to eliminate thousands of state jobs by turning the work over to private contractors, a strategy they say will save millions of tax dollars."Let's see. You fire the state workers. They're hired by a private company. Private companies have higher overhead (example: CEO - $56 million). So how does this save money? Oh, wait, I get it - the workers are paid much less, and lose their health care, pensions, job safety protections, and other workers' rights.
This is good public policy? Of course, this is REPUBLICAN governors!
The Democrats Are Bad
Senate Defeats Call for Intelligence Probe. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell said of the Democrats, by calling for a look into what happened with the pre-war intelligence, "They've sacrificed the national interest on the altar of partisan politics. "
Party Over Country
Read this story in The Nation. The Bush people intentionally outed an undercover CIA agent, for the purpose of ruining her career, as punishment for her husband's role in letting the public know about Bush's lying.
Soon after Wilson disclosed his trip in the media and made the White House look bad, the payback came. Novak's July 14, 2003, column presented the back-story on Wilson's mission and contained the following sentences: "Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate" the allegation.The resulting damage to national security is serious. And who is responsible for this?
"The sources for Novak's assertion about Wilson's wife appear to be 'two senior administration officials.' If so, a pair of top Bush officials told a reporter the name of a CIA operative who apparently has worked under what's known as 'nonofficial cover' and who has had the dicey and difficult mission of tracking parties trying to buy or sell weapons of mass destruction or WMD material. If Wilson's wife is such a person--and the CIA is unlikely to have many employees like her--her career has been destroyed by the Bush administration. (Assuming she did not tell friends and family about her real job, these Bush officials have also damaged her personal life.) Without acknowledging whether she is a deep-cover CIA employee, Wilson says, 'Naming her this way would have compromised every operation, every relationship, every network with which she had been associated in her entire career. This is the stuff of Kim Philby and Aldrich Ames.' If she is not a CIA employee and Novak is reporting accurately, then the White House has wrongly branded a woman known to friends as an energy analyst for a private firm as a CIA officer. That would not likely do her much good. "For Republicans it's ALL about the politics. NONE of it is about the security of the United States. Their methods are smears and intimidation. And, of course, lies.
This was a crime. An extremely serious one. So where is the investigation? Where are the headlines? Along these lines, yesterday the Republicans in the Senate defeated an attempt to start an investigation of the Iraq uranium story.
With Republicans closing ranks around President Bush, the Senate on Wednesday voted down a Democratic proposal to create an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the administration's use of secret intelligence to justify war with Iraq.The interests of the country de damned! They conflict with the interests of The Party.
Not that kind of sign. A real sign.
Thinking It Through has a picture of a great sign on Interstate 5 somewhere.
It's Just A Campaign Issue
In this NY Times story, White House Tries to Dismiss Iraq Claim as Campaign Issue, the Republicans are all over the place talking about how this is all political.
The Republican National Committee issued a statement tonight asserting that "Democrats politicize war in Iraq," while party leaders declared that Democrats did not have the standing to challenge Mr. Bush on the subject.What depth of cynicism is required to accuse the Democrats of politicizing the Iraq situation? What degree of irony is demonstrated in this statement? This from the people who forced a war vote just before the 2002 election, who moved their New York convention into September so their candidates can participate in 9/11 memorials, who pumped fear into the public to get them to vote their way.
They don't even get it, that this isn't about politics, or Democrats. They don't get it that the public is concerned with issues of war and peace, truth and honesty and integrity. They don't get it that the credibility of the country is diminished, and this is important and will have consequences. Truth, honesty and integrity are no more to them than words to use when focus groups show they are the best way to persuade a few more people to vote for The Party.
They aren't concerned with the substance, they're concerned with the politics. It's all they know. To them everything is politics, everything is The Party, everything is advancing their ideology. They don't even understand that people might be upset by what they did, upset that kids are dying, upset that we invaded a country with no reason, except to the degree that it comes up in a focus group, and then they'll design a "strategy" for "damage control" instead of answering the public's questions.
I apologize that I have notbeen writing as much lately. I'll be back on the ball soon.
Bush Said WHAT?
Joe Conason writes about Bush's statement yesterday that we went to war not because Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, but because,
"We gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in."Joe asks the question, "What possessed the president to make an assertion that everyone on the planet knows to be untrue?" (Remember - Bush tried to prevent U.N. inspectors from going to Iraq, and then insisted they were taking too long.)
Go read it. It's astounding. Why isn't the press repeating this statement? Americans should know that their leader is seriously unhinged.
Court Denies Clintons' Request for Legal Reimbursement
A panel of judges turned down the Clintons' request for reimbursement of their legal costs for the Whitewater investigation.
So guess who the judges were?
The judicial panel, chaired by Judge David Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, said the Clintons should be entitled to reimbursement of $85,312. Sentelle was part of a three judge panel that appointed Starr to the case.Peter T. Fay -- Senior appelate judge first appointed by Nixon later elevated to appeals court by Ford.
They just won't leave CLinton alone. They still have to do what they can to hurt him.
Live, from Iraq...
CalPundit: Avoiding the Press
In CalPundit: Avoiding the Press, Kevin says the real reason Bush avoids foreign travel is because he has to actually answer questions from the press. And last week's news demonstrates what happens when Bush has to actually answer questions from the press.
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