Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
' "I am making the observation that we have more Pakistani illegals coming across our border than all other nationalities except those immediately south of the border," he said, repeating the assertion he made to his audience earlier. "And in light of what is happening in Pakistan it ought to give us pause as to why are so many illegals coming across these borders." '
Huckabee also thinks Afghanistan is to the east of Pakistan. It's to the northwest. India is to the east, Mike.
Haven't we had enough of Bushism in this country?
Underneath it, though, he's every bit the bellicose nutcase that LeMay was. His answer to every foreign policy problem is exactly the same: a proposal to use the maximum amount of force that he thinks elite opinion can tolerate. But Kristol is well dressed, soft spoken, and a lively dinner companion. So everyone just sort of shrugs their shoulders at the fact that he basically wants to go to war with the whole world. It's a nice gig.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
I have been watching Pakistan warily for some time now. It is the refuge of Osama bin Laden; it is the only verified Islamic nuclear power; it has been on the brink of all-out war with India several times in the last 20 years; and, as today's tragic events show, it is highly unstable politically. The recent suspension of Pakistan's fragile democratic institutions by President Pervez Musharraf was an ominous sign, as was the recent distressing news that $5 BILLION in U.S. aid money cannot be properly accounted for. The U.S.'s diplomatic efforts are now in a shambles, and the possibility of widespread violence in this volatile country cannot be discounted. Although Pakistan's military keeps a tight grip on that nation's nuclear arsenal, the U.S. government is still deeply worried--as it should be--about the arsenal's security.
Political assassinations in shaky countries tend to have disastrous consequences. If a revolution of some sort against Musharraf were to erupt, or if there was a loss of nuclear material to Al Qaeda (the ultimate horrifying possibility), then all bets are off. Will the U.S. be forced to intervene in a much more significant way than it already has? Stay tuned. This vile and tragic act may resonate for a long time.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Feed the Children.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Just ask Dick Cheney, Rudolph Giuliani, or Bomb-Bomb-Bomb, Bomb-Bomb Iran McCain.
Friday, December 21, 2007
1. Credit card debt is now approaching $1 TRILLION.
2. NONE of the predicted gains in job growth, median income, or federal revenue have taken place because of the Bush tax cuts, and yes, I can cite specific data in each instance.
3. SEVENTY PER CENT of all the national debt accumulated since 1789 has been racked up by three Republican presidents, two of them named Bush.
4. Debt service in the U.S. budget exceeded $400 billion in Fiscal 2006 and is headed for $500 billion now. The "Bush boom" has all been put on the plastic.
5. Bush and the Republican Congress of 2001-2007 increased our national debt by 60%, or in actual terms, more than $3 TRILLION.
6. Republican opposition to alternative energy since Reagan has inflicted enormous oil debt on consumers--and made the financial contributors to the Republican party in the oil industry fabulously rich.
7. Foreign banks now hold so many rapidly depreciating dollars that if they start denominating their holdings in Euros, we're screwed.
8. The upper 5% in this country controls 70% of the assets. The upper 20% controls 91% of the assets.
9. For the first time since the Great Depression, savings are negative.
10. Income for the bottom 20% rose by 2% between 2003 and 2005. It rose by 43% (!) for the top 1% in that same period.
11. For the first time since the 1930s, median housing prices are collapsing.
Hey, but other than all that, the conservatives are right. Things are great.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
They've used the filibuster in the Senate SIXTY-TWO times in one year, setting a new record for a term (only half way through the term!!) They oppose everything and then shout how the Democrats are getting nothing done. (And in fact Harry Reid has proven to be a weak leader, but that's another story.) Crooks and Liars has some thoughts here. I like this quote from Brian Young:
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
In this figure, we see which factors have the worst impact on the projected fiscal liability of the federal government, with three major entitlements stacked up against the projected revenue losses caused by extending Bush's tax cuts.
(By the way, read the whole item here.)
Saturday, December 15, 2007
In other words, it is the average, working- and middle-class, Republican voters that are watching porn in private and crying out (and voting) against it in public.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Bottom quintile: 2%
Top 10%: 20.9%
It was a boom, all right — but only for a few people.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada plans to introduce legislation to create a bipartisan commission to produce an alternative report on the same intelligence.
The proposed commission is based on similar review panels convened in the mid-1970s to reconsider the intelligence agencies' analysis of the Soviet Union, and an effort in the mid-1990s to reassess the threat of ballistic missiles to the United States.
Last week, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., said at a committee hearing he does not trust the new findings.
"I'm not sure we have a good, clear signal of what's really happening inside Iran," he said. "We've got a very big batch of mixed signals."
Twice in the last week, senior U.S. intelligence officials have been forced to defend what they consider the most rigorously reviewed National Intelligence Estimate they have produced.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
If there's one thing that Republican politicians agree on, it's that slashing taxes brings the government more money. "You cut taxes, and the tax revenues increase," President Bush said in a speech last year. Keeping taxes low, Vice President Dick Cheney explained in a recent interview, "does produce more revenue for the Federal Government." Presidential candidate John McCain declared in March that "tax cuts ... as we all know, increase revenues." His rival Rudy Giuliani couldn't agree more. "I know that reducing taxes produces more revenues," he intones in a new TV ad.
If there's one thing that economists agree on, it's that these claims are false. We're not talking just ivory-tower lefties. Virtually every economics Ph.D. who has worked in a prominent role in the Bush Administration acknowledges that the tax cuts enacted during the past six years have not paid for themselves--and were never intended to. Harvard professor Greg Mankiw, chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers from 2003 to 2005, even devotes a section of his best-selling economics textbook to debunking the claim that tax cuts increase revenues.
NONE of the Bush-Cheney predictions on job growth from the tax cuts has come through. Federal revenue has increased only modestly. And the Clinton economy of the 90s has proven superior in every way to the grotesque kleptocracy presided over by the Boy King. Now the subprime mortgage crisis is rippling through the economy, credit is being crunched, and a lot of big money people are in a cold sweat panic.
I hope there isn't a recession in 2008. Too many people get hurt by them in too many terrible ways. I hope all the economists who predict this are wrong. But if they're right, I know who will be to blame: Bush, the Republican congress of 2001-2007, Alan Greenspan urging people to use their homes as a cash register, and all the spineless Democrats who let it happen. If there is a recession, coupled with the ongoing mess in Iraq, I think it spells doom for whatever sacrificial lamb the Republican Party runs for president. Then President Clinton, President Obama, or President Edwards will have to dig us out of the dungheap that W and his conservative friends have left them.
It won't be easy.
Monday, December 10, 2007
And don't say you weren't warned.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Rudy and the Pedophile priest!
Rudy and his terrorist-loving business partner!
Rudy and Sex on the City!
And of course, what Rudy Sleaze Fest would be complete without a visit from our favorite Mob-connected friend, Bernie Kerik! (This is a good one, fans.)
It's a guaranteed laff riot!
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Defending his credibility, President Bush said Tuesday that Iran is dangerous and must be squeezed by international pressure despite a blockbuster intelligence finding that Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program four years ago.
Bush said the new conclusion--contradicting earlier U.S. assessments-- would not prompt him to take off the table the possibility of pre-emptive military action against Iran. [Emphasis added] Nor will the United States change its policy of trying to isolate Iran diplomatically and punish it with sanctions, he said.
"Look, Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous and Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon," the president told a White House news conference a day after the release of a new national intelligence estimate representing the consensus of all U.S. spy agencies.
That in a nutshell is one of the prevalent reactions of neocons and Bush true believers. But wait, there is more. John Bolton told Wolf Blitzer that the NIE was the handiwork of exiled State Department officials hell bent on undermining Bush and this country.
Well, I think it’s potentially wrong. But I would also say many of the people who wrote this are former State Department employees who, during their career at the State Department, never gave much attention to the threat of the Iranian program. Now they are writing as members of the intelligence community, the same opinions that they have had four and five years ago.
This is one of the neocon talking points. Check out the ravings of Norman Podhoretz, a senior statesman of the neocons. The Pod Man wrote:
I must confess to suspecting that the intelligence community, having been excoriated for supporting the then universal belief that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, is now bending over backward to counter what has up to now been a similarly universal view (including as is evident from the 2005 NIE, within the intelligence community itself) that Iran is hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons. I also suspect that, having been excoriated as well for minimizing the time it would take Saddam to add nuclear weapons to his arsenal, the intelligence community is now bending over backward to maximize the time it will take Iran to reach the same goal.
But I entertain an even darker suspicion. It is that the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again. This time the purpose is to head off the possibility that the President may order air strikes on the Iranian nuclear installations. As the intelligence community must know, if he were to do so, it would be as a last resort, only after it had become undeniable that neither negotiations nor sanctions could prevent Iran from getting the bomb, and only after being convinced that it was very close to succeeding. How better, then, to stop Bush in his tracks than by telling him and the world that such pressures have already been effective and that keeping them up could well bring about “a halt to Iran’s entire nuclear weapons program”—especially if the negotiations and sanctions were combined with a goodly dose of appeasement or, in the NIE’s own euphemistic formulation, “with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways.”
This blog was one of the first to report that the NIE was being delayed for political reasons. George Bush tried his moron act again today (i.e., “I didn’t find out about this until last week.”) but this time the turd ain’t floating. The news that Iran ended its nuclear program in 2003 was briefed to George Bush in the Presidential Daily Brief. He has known about this, I am told, for at least one year. George Bush is lying when he insists he had no inkling, until last week, that the intelligence community believed Iran halted its nuke program in 2003.
UPDATE: You really owe it to yourself to read Juan Cole's assessment of all this here.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Oil: The Bushes' ties to John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil go back 100 years, when Rockefeller made Buckeye Steel Castings wildly successful by convincing railroads that carried their oil to buy heavy equipment from Buckeye. George H. Walker helped refurbish the Soviet oil industry in the 1920s, and Prescott Bush acquired experience in the international oil business as a 22-year director of Dresser Industries. George H.W. Bush, in turn, worked for Dresser and ran his own offshore oil-drilling business, Zapata Offshore. George W. Bush mostly raised money from investors for oil businesses that failed. Currently, the family's oil focus is principally in the Middle East. ...
Top 1% economics: Over four generations, the Bush family has been involved with more than 20 securities firms, banks, brokerage houses and investment management firms, ranging from Wall Street giants like Brown Brothers Harriman and E.F. Hutton to small firms like J. Bush & Co. and Riggs Investment Management Corp. This relentless record of handling money for rich people has bred a vocational hauteur. In their eyes, the economic top 1% of Americans are the ones who count. Investors and their inheritors are favored — a good explanation of why George W. Bush has cut taxes on both dividends and estates, where most of the benefit goes to the top 1%. Over the course of George H.W. Bush's career, he was close to a number of the merger kings and leveraged-buyout specialists of the 1980s who came from Oklahoma and Texas: T. Boone Pickens [Chief financier of the Swift Boat Liars in 2004-JM] Henry Kravis and Hugh Liedtke. "Little guy" economics has almost no niche in the Bush economic worldview. ...
Debt and deficits: Whenever a Bush is president, private debt and government deficits seem to grow. Middle- and low-income Americans borrow to offset the income squeeze of recessions. The hallmark of Bush economics during both presidencies has been favoritism toward capital over workers. Federal budget deficits have soared because of a combination of upper-bracket tax favors, middle-income job shrinkage, big federal spending to hype election-year economic growth, huge defense outlays and overseas military spending for the wars in Iraq and elsewhere. Imperial hubris costs a lot of money.