Archive for March, 2005

America’s Endless News Loop

Thursday, March 31st, 2005

By Tina Brown
Thursday, March 31, 2005

Doesn’t it seem like a hundred years ago that the Ashley Smith/”Purpose Driven Life” hurricane hit? Actually, that pre-Easter salvation epiphany of Brian Nichols in Smith’s Atlanta apartment had us by the throat only a couple of weeks ago. Then the Terri Schiavo opinion-train came thundering down the track.

It’s become downright harrowing to live in the crucible of these hourly Passion plays. The endlessly repeated tape loop of Terri’s gaping mouth has become as ubiquitous as Starbucks, but it’s a vision of pathos that would mortify the self-conscious Schiavo were she to see it. We spend every waking moment heart-in-mouth waiting for some fresh stranger to die, be rescued, get fired. Like the Bush economy, the culture of news has become a winner-takes-all proposition.

Only after a full 10 days had passed since the removal of Schiavo’s feeding tube did it feel safe to crawl out from under the avalanche and see what else might be happening in the world. Lebanon: Everyone still upset about whatever it was they were upset about over there? Michael Jackson: Still in his pajamas? Even a superstar in the soup can’t draw a crowd while the Schiavo heat is raging. If it weren’t for past pedophilia allegations now allowed into trial testimony, Jackson would have had to show up at court this week borne aloft by four steroid-swollen big-leaguers to have a shot at recapturing the nation’s attention.
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You Gave to Kerry? No Job For You!

Thursday, March 31st, 2005

In at least one case, a key appointment was made despite the contrary wishes of an agency head. New Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez, former head of the Kellogg Co., was set to bring in a longtime vice president, George A. Franklin, to be a senior adviser. But the White House scuttled that plan after officials learned that Franklin had made a $500 contribution to the presidential campaign of Democrat John F. Kerry, an administration source said. Later, White House deputy press secretary Claire Buchan was named Gutierrez’s chief of staff.

New TV Ads Highlight Tom DeLay’s Corruption

Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

Campaign for America’s Future Fights Most Corrupt Congress’ Abuse of Power

WASHINGTON — March 30 — The Campaign for America’s Future unveiled a new television ad today that urges Congress to “wash its hands” of Rep. Tom DeLay, highlighting the controversy surrounding the House majority leader, who is increasingly seen as a liability to his party.
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The Campaign for America’s Future spot begins airing Thursday throughout Rep. Delay’s Texas district and on major news stations in Washington. The initial $75,000 buy runs for a full week.

The Public Campaign Action Fund begins a $25,000 buy of television ads also calling on Rep. DeLay to resign this week in three districts represented by Republican members Rep. Rob Simmons, R-Conn., Republican National Committee Chair Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y., and House Ethics Committee Chair Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash.

The Campaign for America’s Future spot is available for viewing at http://www.ourfuture.org. Text of the ad follows:

“Washing Hands” TV :30

Narrator:

Tom DeLay. He’d like to wash his hands of corruption.

He’d like you to forget he’s been accused of accepting a gift worth thousands from a foreign agent.

He’d like you to forget that two of his close associates have been indicted for money laundering.

Tom DeLay can’t wash his hands of corruption by involving Congress in one family’s personal tragedy.

(Onscreen: http://www.ourfuture.org, paid for by the Campaign for America’s Future.)

But Congress can certainly wash its hands of Tom DeLay.

The Public Campaign Action Fund ads are available for viewing at http://www.pcactionfund.org/resign.
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Now That’s What I Call Democracy!

Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

Three Denver residents yesterday charged that they were forcibly removed from one of President Bush’s town meetings on Social Security because they displayed a bumper sticker on their car condemning the administration’s Middle East policies.

The three, all self-described progressives who oppose Bush’s Social Security plan, said an unidentified official at an event in Denver last week forced them to leave before the president started to speak, even though they had done nothing disruptive, said their attorney, Dan Recht.

Initially, the three believed Secret Service agents had grabbed them and ushered them out of the auditorium, Recht said. But he said that Lon Garner, the Secret Service agent in charge of the Denver office, told them the service investigated the matter and found it was a “Republican staffer” who removed them because they had a “No More Blood for Oil” bumper sticker on their car.

UPDATED HERE.

Brain Tumor Claims Johnnie Cochrane

Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

Wonder if Cochrane is now trying to convince God that O.J. is innocent?

ANNAN CLEARED in UN OIL FOR FOOD SCANDAL

Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

RADIO FREE EUROPE/ RADIO LIBERTY

‘Insufficient Evidence’ Annan Interfered In Contract
29 March 2005 — An inquiry into the UN’s oil-for-food program has found insufficient evidence that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan interfered in the awarding of a contract to a company that employed his son.

The inquiry found that Annan appeared to be unaware in 1998 that the company — Cotecna — was bidding on a humanitarian inspections contract.

But the head of the inquiry, former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, said a later investigation into a possible conflict-of-interest initiated by Annan was inadequate.

“We have had no suspicion of evidence from anybody we talked to that he interfered with the selection process for Cotecna. The adequacy of the investigation I am sure is a subject that has consequences and how that will come up again in the future I don’t know,” Volcker said.

The inquiry also found that Annan’s son, Kojo, and Cotecna deceived the secretary-general about an ongoing financial relationship from 1999 to 2004.

Annan released a statement saying the inquiry had cleared him of any wrongdoing. But a U.S. Senator who heads a key committee, Norm Coleman, repeated his call for Annan’s resignation over the affair.

Former Ambassadors Say No to Bolton

Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

Looks like some people who actually know what they are talking about think John Bolton is a lousy choice for Ambassador to the UN. I agree. It seems like appointing a cat to chair a canary convention.

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It’s Not Your Father’s America Any More

Sunday, March 27th, 2005

It’s Not Your Father’s America Any More

by Hubert G. Locke

This country is becoming more unrecognizable with each passing day. The government, we’ve learned recently, now packages the news. It provides television stations with hundreds of video news releases made up to resemble actual news reports that give us predigested, Orwellian information designed to convince the public that everything in the nation is being well-managed.
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“Lisa No-Pryor Experience”

Sunday, March 27th, 2005

Lisa No-Pryor Experience!!== Lisa Pryor for Chair, Oklahoma Democratic Party

I have read with great concern about Lisa Pryor and her puppet
candidacy for State Democratic Party Chair, where Governor Henry
thinks he is the puppet-master. It seem to me that Mrs. Pryor lacks
experience for such a seemingly commanding job as state party chair. Even the Oklahoma Gazette of March 23rd mentions twice Mrs. Pryor’s
green-horn background.

Mrs. Pryor says on her website that her mission will be electing
Democrats.

What kind of Democrats does she have in HER mind or has that word
become a euphemism for DINOS–Democrats in Name Only?

DINOS like Debbe Leftwich, Brad Carson, Dan Boren, Rebecca Hamilton
come into MY mind.

I object highly to the attempt by Governor Brad “DINO-mite” Henry to
choose the Demo State Party Chair and Co-chair, thereby making the
State Convention nothing but a rubber stamp for furthering the
inroads of his fellow DINOs and GOPers in Oklahoma politics.
Governor Henry makes many appointments, but the State Democratic
Party leadership is NOT one of his duties.

Candidates have for too long run from the Democratic State Party and
too many of them have lost their races and/or seats to GOPers.
Democrats can not win by being an imitation GOPer when the real thing
is so readily available.

Is Mrs. Pryor the kind of puppet Democrat I want running the State
Party with Brad Henry pulling the strings? No, Never, Niet, Nada!

The Party leadership is elected by the state party delegates who do
the grinding work of keeping the Party going with endless hours of
stuffing envelopes, phone banking, door knocking, donations of time,
matierals, and hard-to-come-by money and Brad Henry thinks he can
just waltz in and name his vizier for his next term–if he’s lucky to
get re-elected!

I don’t think so!

I would describe Mrs. Pryor using her own background: “Lisa No- Pryor Experience!!”

James Nimmo, chair, pct.452, HD 85

POLL: Bush Sucks

Saturday, March 26th, 2005

The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Bush hits a new low in polls for job approval

President Bush’s job-approval rating has sunk to 45 percent, the worst of his presidency, amid public opposition at his intervention in the Terri Schiavo case and growing concern over gasoline prices.
The 45 percent rating is a far cry from his record 90 percent approval after the Sept. 11 attacks, but it’s still well above the low marks scored by most recent presidents.
Except for a slight bounce after the Jan. 30 Iraqi elections, Bush’s job-approval rating has been stuck in the high 40s to low 50s since early 2004. The Gallup polling organization tests the president’s standing almost weekly by asking voters if they “approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job.”

OOH We’re So Scared!

Thursday, March 24th, 2005

All I can say Mr. “President” is kiss our donkey asses.–Editor

from www.washingtonpost.com with a hat tip to edwardpig
Bush Warns Democrats About Opposing Accounts

By Michael A. Fletcher and Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, March 23, 2005; Page A03

ALBUQUERQUE, March 22 — President Bush concluded a three-state swing to sell his plan to restructure Social Security, warning Democratic opponents Tuesday that they will suffer political consequences if they continue to oppose his proposal without providing one of their own.

Flanked by Republican Sens. Pete V. Domenici (N.M.) and John McCain (Ariz.), Bush invited Democrats “to come to the table” to help devise a solution to shore up Social Security’s finances. “I believe there will be bad political consequences for people who are unwilling to sit down and talk about the issue,” he said.

McCain has been especially supportive of his onetime rival, appearing with Bush at three events over the past two days in trying to prod Democrats into negotiations to include private accounts in a plan to revamp Social Security. The popular senator said that the nation’s aging population makes it impossible for Social Security to pay promised benefits far into the future unless fundamental changes are made in the program.

McCain said he supports Bush’s plan to allow workers to divert nearly a third of their Social Security taxes into personal accounts. Although those accounts will not address Social Security’s long-term funding problems, he said, they do provide “an important link to the future” by allowing workers to supplement Social Security checks with money earned in the stock and bond markets.

The accounts would buffer future retirees against cuts in Social Security payments that would be certain to accompany them. McCain said some critics have played down the severity of Social Security’s financial crisis, but he maintained that now is the time to act. “The longer we wait, the more draconian the changes will have to be,” he said.

McCain also challenged opponents of Bush’s plan, including the advocacy group AARP, to enter negotiations on Social Security. He said they are recklessly minimizing the fiscal problems looming for the nation’s retirement system.

“Some of our friends, who are opposing this idea, say, ‘Oh, you don’t have to worry until 2042.’ We wait until 2042, when we stop paying people Social Security?” he asked.

Bush’s two-day trip to Tucson, Denver and Albuquerque came as the White House is intensifying efforts to sell his plan for revamping the 70-year-old retirement and disability program. Bush has visited 17 states since his Feb. 2 State of the Union address, and other administration officials have been fanning out across the country to make the case for revamping Social Security.

Vice President Cheney traveled on Tuesday to the back yard of Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.), who is leading Democratic opposition to the plan, to promote the administration plan and chide critics for refusing to confront the fiscal threats to the nation’s retirement program.

At a town hall meeting in Reno, Cheney said several Democrats have privately told him they are willing to strike a deal on Social Security at the appropriate time. “The approach that we have seen that has been adopted publicly by both Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, and Harry Reid . . . has been initially no” to everything, he said. “I think we are beginning to chip away at that.”

In response to a question, Cheney raised the prospect that Social Security survivors’ benefits “could be addressed” as part of the broader debate. That differs from the stated position of Bush, who in an interview with The Washington Post this year said he had no plans to make changes that would affect Social Security benefits for the disabled or the survivors of deceased workers.

Despite the administration’s sustained pitch, the idea of carving private accounts out of the Social Security system still faces nearly unanimous opposition from Democrats. They point out that the plan would add trillions to the national debt, which the Bush administration has acknowledged. Also, they say, the plan would replace some of Social Security’s government-guaranteed income with benefits tied to the financial ups and downs of the markets.

Many Republicans in Congress are leery of changing a program that has proved so popular with Americans.

Also, opponents say they are unwilling to entertain the idea of personal accounts because they would take more money out of a Social Security system facing a cash deficit. They say the system’s core problem — that benefit payments are estimated to surpass tax receipts by 2018 — could be addressed through a modest mix of tax increases, targeted benefit cuts and changes in the retirement age.

“There is no need for a radical restructuring,” said John Rother, policy director for AARP, which is running newspaper and television ads in opposition to Bush’s proposal.

During his appearance here Tuesday, Bush said that private accounts would allow more workers to reap the financial benefits that the markets could provide, and that the accounts would make workers more attuned to government policy.

“All of a sudden tax policy, spending policy, debt policy — all of a sudden it makes a lot more sense to you if the effects of government affect your asset base,” he said. “Secondly, I think it makes a lot of sense for people just to watch things grow. And we want that extended throughout our society.”

What Will It Cost You?

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005

What will BushCo’s Social Security plan cost you? Click here and see.