Wednesday, January 28, 2009
New Plan for Stimulus Bill
Now that the House has passed the crappy tax cut hobbled stimulus bill with no GOP votes, the Senate should pass a different version of the bill replacing the tax cuts with money for mass transit and direct aid to the states. Ideally the direct aid to the states money should be spent on funding higher education. The House can then approve the now improved stimulus bill. Doing this will let the GOP that their little tax cut blackmail game is up.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Another Bush Failure
Despite the Bush farewell tour's attempts to frame the past eight years as one success after another, reality proves otherwise. The latest bit of reality intruding is new is North Korea's claim that it has weaponized plutonium.
Senior North Korean officials say the communist regime has "weaponized" its stockpile of plutonium
Now, the claim is a bit sketchy and may be part of a North Korean ploy to obtain more fuel and food aid, but still it doesn't bode well for George W. Bush's claims of having increased U.S. security or improved global security.

Republican claims of being good for the economy and national security now lie in ruins. Eight years of Republican rule has left the U.S. in bad shape. Unfortunately, we'll be living with Republican appointees for a long time and Republicans in Congress still seem able to blackmail us into dubious policy choices, especially tax cuts.

Friday, January 09, 2009
Yep, Tax Cuts Work
While the GOP engages in yet another (apparently already successful) tax cut blackmail of legislation, let's remind ourselves what nearly eight years of massive tax cuts have gotten us.

The Labor Department reports
in December [. . .] employers shed another 524,000 jobs, the unemployment rate leapt half a percentage point to 7.2 percent

And it gets worse. Those job losses in October and November of 2008 were even worse than originally thought.
The Labor Department also revised its employment reports from October and November, noting that job losses in those months were worse than first reported. Employers rid themselves of 423,000 jobs in October, not the originally reported 320,000, and 584,000 positions in November, not the 533,000 first reported by the BLS.
And it gets even worse than that.
While the steep jump in unemployment and mounting job losses grabbed the headlines, there was even more troubling news buried deeper down in the report. The BLS said that the average hourly workweek for production and nonsupervisory jobs had shrunk 0.2 percent to 33.3 hours. That marks the lowest that this number has registered since the government started compiling these statistics in 1964.
As the Democratic Congress bends over backwards to satisfy Republican demands for tax cuts let's remind ourselves of how stunningly unsuccessful Republican trumpeted tax cuts have been over the past eight years. Sure people made a lot of money, but nearly all of the money that wasn't hidden away in Swiss or Cayman Island bank accounts or stuffed under some mattress is gone. Oh, and over a million jobs disappeared in two month's time, just for good measure. Somehow, despite the tax cuts to corporations and the super rich, the factories, the call centers, the paper work centers, etc. keep disappearing or being sent off-shore.

Instead of using ineffective tax cuts as stimulus, let's invest in education, let's forgive the billions of dollars in student loans, let's build mass transit, let's restore the safety nets that a generation of "supply side" insanity has shredded, and let's invest in providing health care for every single person in this country, and let's invest in other programs that actually improve not only our individual lives, but our collective lives as well.

We can't afford tax cuts. We can't afford to not invest in our country, our states, our cities, our counties, and our townships. Taxes are the way to pay for that investment. The private sector has shown itself (yet again) incapable of providing any kind of sustainable investment in the public good.

And for those who say the government should not be involved in the kinds of investments, well, remember "We the People of the United States, in Order to [. . .] promote the general Welfare [. . .] do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Yep, that's a whole lot of "collectivism." Yep, one of the reasons We the People established the current form of government was to promote the general welfare. Taxes spent on education, health care, on infrastructure like mass transit, etc. are one way to promote the general welfare. Tax cuts merely promote narrow individual welfare.

Monday, December 15, 2008
Shoes Are Dangerous
More proof that shoes are dangerous and should be banned from all public places.
As Bush finished remarks that hailed the security progress that led to a U.S.-Iraq agreement that sets a three-year timetable for an American withdrawal, an Iraqi television journalist leapt from his seat, pulled off his shoes and threw them at the president. Striking someone with a shoe is a grave insult in Islam.

"This is a goodbye kiss, you dog," the journalist, Muntathar al Zaidi, 29, shouted.

Bush ducked the first shoe. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, standing to Bush's left, tried to swat down the second.

Bush, apparently just as ignorant of Iraqi culture today as he was five years ago, dismissed the incident as "no big thing, sort of a fraternity joke."

Bush went on to say "we used to do that kind of stuff all the time at Yale. Heck, I bet that fellow just had a few too many beers. Did you see how fast I ducked though? You gotta get up pretty early to beat the Georgie. All that cocaine I did hasn't affected my reflexes. And hey did you see how al Maliki swatted at that shoe. I taught him that move last time we played some football at Camp David. Oh and hey, the Cowboys won on Sunday night too!"

Friday, November 14, 2008
Oh that Bush Economy
Today George Bush was in New York talking up the economy and boasting how effective his give away to Wall Street has been. He also said a bunch of bullshit about how it wasn't the lack of regulation, etc. that caused the meltdown and our spiral into depression,
the greater threat to economic prosperity is not too little government involvement in the market, but too much.
And then boy genius tried to say that the Europeans are suffering the same meltdown as we are despite their excessive regulation. Of course, being the complete idiot he is, Bush failed to note that many of those same European banks, governments, etc. had invested heavily in the U.S. mortgage market and CDS market.

What's that dear reader, you doubt we're spiraling into depression? Today, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports,
A $1.6 billion project to build a new international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport could be suspended within the next few months because the airport has been unable to sell $600 million in municipal bonds, the head of the airport said Thursday. [. . .] He said the airport’s debt rating is solid, at “A+”, which is considered investment grade.
Oh, about 300 good-paying construction jobs are at risk. Yep, the credit markets are working just fine and the banks are using all of that tax money George Bush gave them to extend loans and otherwise extend capital. When the busiest airport (that means lots of revenue) can't sell it's bonds, we're in a depression.

Still doubting that George Bush and the Republican Party has driven the US into depression through misrule? New York state is facing
budget deficits of $1.5 billion this year and $12.5 billion next year.
Yep, that's a budget deficit of $12.5 billion. And George Bush goes blithely on doing nothing. Oh wait, he's done something, he's given billions to Wall Street bankers and is probably dreaming of tax cuts for the super rich.

Apparently George Bush doesn't think giving billions to bankers and giving tax cuts to the wealthy isn't a form of government intervention. Unfortunately, there are still enough delusional Republicans in Congress to force their delusions on the rest of us.

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Monday, November 10, 2008
Bush and Obama Tour the White House
Bush and Obama meet at the White House today. Bush is unlikely to be too excited to be showing Obama around. According to an unnamed White House source Bush is dealing with the disappointment pretty well,
“He has a way of coming to grips with things and moving on.”
Yeah, like a bottle of Jack, an eight ball of coke, and couple of hookers. Aides say Mrs. Bush plans to visit with her daughters.

Once Bush recovers from his week long bender aides say he'll spend a week or so clearing brush at his play Ranch outside of Wacko, TX and then focus on his plans for his play Presidential Library. Aides say the library may be relocated to an undisclosed location, though they can't be certain since Dick Cheney hasn't let them see any of the files on the library.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008
Barack and Howard
Well, with less than a week to go before that great accountability moment otherwise know as the election, it appears Howard Dean and Barack Obama have done it. What's it, you ask? And how did they do it?

It is forcing the Republicans to reveal their true selves. To force Republicans to say all the crazy, racist, sexists, xenophobic, and otherwise bigoted and prejudiced things that they say in private or say to themselves late a night. Just as Bill Clinton's run in 1992 forced the Republicans to reveal themselves in all their ugliness at the 1992 Republican National Convention, so did Dean and Obama's strategies force Republicans in 2008 to reveal their true selves. Together Dean and Obama gave truth to the lie of "compassionate conservativism."

Howard Dean's 50-State Strategy started the ball rolling. Dean's strategy of building grassroots organizations in every state, of raising money, and funding candidates in every state was key to what looks like a win for Barack Obama. The first sign that Dean's strategy was working was George Allen's Macca moment. Allen was so pressured by Webb and by the the Dean strategy that Allen felt compelled to pander to the racist base of the Republican Party.

In the past two months we've seen an increasingly desperate and shrill John McCain and Republican Party resort to racist, sexist, xenophobic, and bigoted attacks in a futile attempt to turn back Obama. Obama pushed McCain and his Republican Party not merely by raising a lot of money, but by using that money to open field offices all across the country, especially in places the Republican Party thought was safe. Moreover, Obama spent money in safe areas--those areas he or other Democrats were sure to win--in order to shore up his base and to build morale. By forcing the Republicans to play defense, Obama and Dean forced the Republicans to go to the mattresses, to resort to desperate measures, and to return to their old race-baiting, xenophobic, and hateful rhetoric. It's who and what the modern Republican Party really is and like in 1992, American voters are rejecting the hate, the prejudice, the racism, and the whole lot of it.

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