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:: Friday, March 04, 2005 ::

Ouch...

Well, looks like Greenspan's myth is starting to get hammered. Krugman states:
Four years ago, Alan Greenspan urged Congress to cut taxes, asserting that the federal government was in imminent danger of paying off too much debt.

On Wednesday the Fed chairman warned Congress of the opposite fiscal danger: he asserted that there would be large budget deficits for the foreseeable future, leading to an unsustainable rise in federal debt. But he counseled against reversing the tax cuts, calling instead for cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Does anyone still take Mr. Greenspan's pose as a nonpartisan font of wisdom seriously?
[...]
In fact, Mr. Bush celebrated the budget's initial slide into deficit. In the summer of 2001 he called plunging federal revenue "incredibly positive news" because it would "put a straitjacket" on federal spending.

To keep that straitjacket on, however, those who sold tax cuts with the assurance that they were easily affordable must convince the public that the cuts can't be reversed now that those assurances have proved false. And Mr. Greenspan has once again tried to come to the president's aid, insisting this week that we should deal with deficits "primarily, if not wholly," by slashing Social Security and Medicare because tax increases would "pose significant risks to economic growth."

Really? America prospered for half a century under a level of federal taxes higher than the one we face today. According to the administration's own estimates, Mr. Bush's second term will see the lowest tax take as a percentage of G.D.P. since the Truman administration. And don't forget that President Clinton's 1993 tax increase ushered in an economic boom. Why, exactly, are tax increases out of the question?
After talking about Greenspan's hackery, he goes on to note that there's a serious problem in government. The middle class isn't going to give up their safety net, and the rich aren't going to give up their tax cuts.

Offhand, I'd say "vast wealth" can only hold out against "large numbers" for so long. I'm guessing that when Bush's bill comes due, the rich are going to end up paying for it.
:: Morat 10:15 AM :: ::

:: Thursday, March 03, 2005 ::

Kreepy Kline

Let me give you the short version of Kansas' Attorney General Kline's fishing expedition. Before we start, bear in mind two things. First, the old axiom "Watch what a man does, not what he says." Second, that Kline's stated goal in seeking this subpoenas is to prosecute statutory rape of minors. Having taking a look at Kline's words, let's check his actions:
  1. NOT asked for the records of any women -- of any age -- who have had first or second trimester abortions.
  2. NOT asked for records of births to girls below the age of consent.
  3. NOT asked for school records documenting pregnancies to girls below the age of consent.
  4. NOT asked for medical records detailing STDS for girls and boys under the age of consent.
  5. Asked for the records of ALL women -- regardless of age -- who have had a third-trimester abortion.
His actions are clear -- he is only interested in any woman who has had a third-trimester abortions. His real goals having nothing to do with his stated goals, making Mr. Kline not just creepy -- but a big fat liar too.

Not that it wasn't obvious from the beginning, but as Mr. Kline is beginning to utilize the favorite "If you oppose me, you're PRO CHILD RAPE" line, I thought it worth mentioning again.
:: Morat 9:31 AM :: ::

10 Commandments and You

Dahlia Lithwick's latest Supreme Court Dispatch is up -- this one over the 10 Commandments case. Before I dig into that, let me state something for the record: Her column is the only column on Slate worth reading regularly. Whatever the hell they pay her, it's not enough.

In any case, she manages to boil down the facts before the court: First, the Lemon test sucks -- but it's the best they've ever been able to come up with. Second, the Supremes have painted themselves in a corner over the 10 Commandments.

My two cents? If the Supremes want a way out, I suggest exempting every 10 Commandments plaque, monument, statue, carving, invocation or other usage prior to, oh, the date the decision was handed down. Claim they're "historical" or "ceremonial" or some-such. Then forbid any new ones.

Base your decision on Constitutionally mandated respect for religion. Point out that politicians and interest groups have made the 10 Commandments -- and religion -- into a political football, thrown into the public arena to score cheap points or prove who is or isn't a "True American". Talk about how it was to prevent just politically-based disrespect for religion that the Church/State wall was erected in the first place.

Seriously. Play up the "politicians are sleazing all over your religion" line pretty hard. Write it like the Lawrence decision, cast it as a victory for religion and wash your hands of it. Then you can apply a simple "10 Commandments" test in the future: "Was it placed before or after June 2nd, 2005?" and you don't have to futz with it anymore.
:: Morat 8:08 AM :: ::

:: Wednesday, March 02, 2005 ::

Speaking of the Judiciary

Shorter Sebastion Holsclaw: "Byrd is right, but I can't admit it, so I'll call him a racist instead".
:: Morat 10:58 AM :: ::

:: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 ::

Death Penalty Decision

About damn time:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday abolished the death penalty for juveniles, a major victory for opponents of capital punishment in the last country in the world that gave official sanction to the execution of people who commit crimes as minors.

By a 5-4 vote, the high court declared unconstitutional the death penalty those under the age of 18 when they committed their crimes, a decision that could affect more than 70 death row inmates who face execution for murders done when they were 16 or 17 years old.

:: Morat 10:10 AM :: ::

U.S. Cites New Bin Laden Plans

U.S. Cites New Bin Laden Plans:
Osama bin Laden is enlisting his top operative in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, to plan potential attacks on the United States, U.S. intelligence indicates.
Al-Zarqawi, who rivals bin Laden as the nation's public enemy No. 1, has been involved in attacks in the Middle East but has not been known before to have set his sights on the United States.

The Homeland Security Department issued a classified bulletin to officials over the weekend about the intelligence, which spokesman Brian Roehrkasse described Monday as 'credible but not specific.'

The intelligence was obtained over the past several weeks, officials said.
A White House Spokesman continued "And the only thing Osama Bin Laden hates worse than freedom is personal Social Security Accounts. The power of investment blocks Bin Laden's Muslim Death Ray. If we don't have private accounts, the terrorists will win."
:: Morat 9:12 AM :: ::

:: Monday, February 28, 2005 ::

An open letter to Joe Lieberman

Well, Josh Marshall thinks Holy Joe is looking to cut a deal on Social Security, and save the GOP from themselves. So in response, I thought I'd write an open letter to Joe.

Dear Joe,

Hi. I don't live in your state. However, I am an American citizen, a Democrat, politically active, and have some disposable income, so you should probably pay a bit of attention. We're in the middle of a war -- not in Iraq, but here at home. Gentleman's politics has been dead a very long time, if it ever existed. Politics in America is a war. You probably still think that it's about ideology, maybe even ideas. They have theirs, we have ours, and we're arguing over who gets to implement theirs and try to make this country a better place.

It's not. It's not our ideas they dislike (though they do) -- it's us. Liberals. The Democratic party. They don't want to kill our ideas, they want to kill us. They are quite willing to destroy the economy, the government, even the country if that's what it takes to eradicate liberals from the face of the Earth. It's gone past the politics of personal destruction and into scorched-earth politics. They want us gone, and every trace of liberal ideas. If they have to raze this country to rock and rebuild, that's what they're going to do.

And you, Sir, are giving them aid and comfort. I realize that you simple don't wish to believe politics has gotten this bloody, this savage. I realize you want to believe that compromise and cooperation are possible. Those are, after all, very liberal ideals. I took want to believe that the GOP is filled with good men and women -- misguided in their ideas, perhaps, but admirable for their desire to make America a better place.

Sadly, while such men and women do exist in the GOP, they are few and far between. The GOP you face is run by ruthless men without scruples, whose overriding goal is to destroy you, your party, and everything you have worked your whole life to build -- and if America falls in the process so be it.

I cannot allow your poor judgment, your refusal to accept reality, to aid them in their destructive ways. So I am telling you this: If you give them an inch of cover on Social Security, if you cooperate with them in any way, if you choose to help shield them from the price their ruthless practices entail -- I will donate every penny I can to your opponent in the primary. I will donate every penny I can to any 527 formed to oppose you in the primaries. If need be, I will create that 527 myself. And I promise you, Mr. Lieberman, that I am not alone.

If you do this, you will not have another term as US Senator. You will not become President, Vice President, or hold any other form of elected or appointed office as a representative of the Democratic Party. You will find that money and support will flow to your opponents, and pressure will be brought to bear on any who attempt to aid you.

You stand now at a critical choice. On this, there is no "middle way". You either fight with your party, or you fight on the other side. Choose carefully. Just keep your mouth shut, and don't offer a compromise when none is needed.

In the end, Senator, I'm not really asking you to do anything. The GOP is sinking under Bush's hubris...why help them? Let them drown.
:: Morat 9:35 AM :: ::

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