Something serious (yet amazingly sureal sometimes)
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- This topic has 3 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 18 years, 5 months ago by theFrey.
26th August 2004 at 3:42 am #40136
I get these alerts everyday. They are from the labor point of view.
1) More data arrived today on the notion that George W. Bush’s
campaign is “independent” of the attacks on Sen. John Kerry’s
military record in the form of the resignation of a top lawyer for
the campaign who was found to be advising the smear perpetrators.
The lawyer, Benjamin Ginsberg, had the gall to say he was resigning
because his actions had become a “distraction” to the campaign.
The New York Times quoted the Kerry campaign as noting that
evidence has shown people deeply involved in the Bush campaign have
paid for the attack ads, appeared in them and provided legal
Meanwhile, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson — who has
accepted $150,000 in campaign contributions from Bob Perry, the
Houston homebuilder who is financing the attacks on Kerry — rushed
to Crawford to meet former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland, who tried and
failed to deliver a letter to Bush at the ranch.
Blogger Josh Marshall had this take, among several, on
(August 25, 2004 — 01:16 PM EDT)
Yet more Navy records support Kerry, according to the Associated
Meanwhile, John O’Neill — Mr. uber-Swift, he wrote the book, etc.
— has been going on all the shows for weeks saying that John Kerry
never could have been in Cambodia on a black mission. It was
impossible because there were all sorts of precautions in place to
prevent any border crossings and that he would have been
“court-martialed” had he done so (see this column for excerpts from
his book and his appearance on ABC’s This Week program last
Now CNN has come up with tapes of O’Neill telling Richard Nixon in
1971 that he himself had been on missions inside Cambodia. From
last night’s Aaron Brown show …
O’Neill said no one could cross the border by river and he claimed
in an audio tape that his publicist played to CNN that he, himself,
had never been to Cambodia either. But in 1971, O’Neill said
precisely the opposite to then President Richard Nixon.
O’NEILL: I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border on the
NIXON: In a swift boat?
O’NEILL: Yes, sir.
JOHNS: Now, O’Neill may have an explanation for this but he has not
returned CNN’s calls. What does seem clear is that a top member of
the swift boat group is now being held to the same standard of
literal accuracy they’ve tried to impose on John Kerry — Aaron.
So there you go. It really seems like O’Neill has been going on all
these shows lying right through his teeth. Not misremembering some
date, not having a conflicting recollection of some battle action,
but telling everyone that none of the Swift Boats crossed into
Cambodia when, in fact, he himself appears to have done so
Of course, the underyling facts here aren’t in dispute. As Fred
Kaplan points out here and many others have as well, it is well
known that the US military — and Swift Boats in particular — made
covert ventures into Cambodia.
But, again, right from O’Neill’s own mouth — Mr. Swift Boat
Veterans for the Truth.
And all of this raises the question, though it’s not precisely the
right analogy, what exactly is the statute of limitations on these
guys? How many times do they have to get caught making false
claims, unsubstantiated assertions or putting forward witnesses who
weren’t there, before they cease to have any credibility and get
treated as such in the media?
At the moment the standard seems to be, “Okay, on your first
nineteen claims, it seems like you were lying to us, but send along
number twenty and we’ll run that one up the flag pole too.”
— Josh Marshall
Copyright 2004 Joshua Micah Marshall29th August 2004 at 5:44 pm #72785
1) With George W. Bush’s attempt to sell privatization of Social
Security justifiably floundering, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan
Greenspan is trying the more direct approach: Promoting a reduction
in Social Security benefits.
AP reports Greenspan, who is most certainly no politician, said
today the nation will face “abrupt and painful” choices if Congress
does not trim Social Security and Medicare benefits promised to the
Baby Boom generation.
Since the 2000 campaign, Bush has attempted to promote the notion
that Social Security is in trouble and needs to be replaced, at
least partly, by private accounts. These private accounts would
substitute the ups and downs of the stock market for the guaranteed
safety net of retirement income and death and disability benefits
that Social Security has provided since its inception.
Every time Bush floats the plan, the slightest look between the
lines reveals its true nature. Nonpartisan analysts concede that
implementing privatization while preserving benefits for current
retirees would cost well into the trillions of dollars. And those
blessed with elementary logic concede the misdirection: How could
this possibly save the government money if it did not result in a
massive reduction of benefits paid by the system?
At least Greenspan is not trying to shave the political points
finely and did not advocate privatization as the only possible
solution. Greenspan suggested that when one examines the actuarial
reality, the government simply won’t be able to continue providing
the benefits that current workers are scheduled to receive upon
retirement without significant changes.
“As a nation, we owe it to our retirees to promise only the
benefits that can be delivered,” Greenspan said in remarks in
Kansas City. “If we have promised more than our economy has the
ability to deliver, as I fear we may have, we must recalibrate our
public programs so that pending retirees have time to adjust
through other channels. If we delay, the adjustments could be
abrupt and painful.”
Greenspan said one way to reduce benefits would be to raise the
retirement age, which is already in the process of increasing from
65 to 67. He counseled against raising the payroll tax further,
saying it would be a detriment to hiring.
“Though the challenges of prospective increasingly stark choices
for the United States seem great, the necessary adjustments will
likely be smaller than those required in most other developing
countries,” Greenspan said, noting that Europe and Japan will have
a much higher proportion of retirees to current workers in coming
This is one of the key economic issues in the presidential
campaign. While Bush has endorsed privatization, U.S. Sen. John
Kerry opposes it and has said he wants to maintain the existing
Social Security system. Left unsaid is the long-term need to make
adjustments of some type to maintain the actuarial integrity of the
system, and therein lies a potential congressional morass in a
Kerry administration. What Greenspan didn’t mention, however, are
recent reports on Social Security that suggest there is still time
to act. In fact, the latest reports have added years to the several
decades in which the system is expected to remain solvent. One
might argue that the need for some change is getting more urgent,
but the need to blow up the system to save it simply is not there.
Yet the debate in the campaign concerns the very nature of Social
Security, not the details of how to keep it going in the long run.
The Bush vision of an “ownership society” paints the clearest path
to a return to the days when being old and being retired often
meant living in poverty, and if Social Security goes in these mean
times, living without even the meager pensions of old. The Bush
vision plays to the crowd that believes Social Security is a Ponzi
scheme, doomed to fail, and Mr. Market will take care of everyone.
Some people don’t need Social Security, but many more do, and many
of those need it desperately. American workers already have an
ownership stake in a strong Social Security system. They don’t need
a bait-and-switch scheme to reward salivating financial services
The Kerry vision is concededly not going to remain pretty — people
are indeed living longer and the demographics say that fewer
workers are going to support more retirees. But Kerry starts with
the notion that preserving Social Security as a safety net that
forestalls poverty among the elderly is a choice the nation made
nearly 70 years ago and a choice worth preserving. Congress has
“rescued” Social Security before and it could do so again. But
first the folks who out of one side of their mouth say that no
retiree’s benefit should be touched and out of the other seem ready
to put the hammer on middle-aged and younger workers need to
acknowledge their real agenda for Social Security.
2) A Failed Presidency
The Nation | Editorial
Monday 13 September 2004 Issue
As Republicans gather in New York City, the Bush campaign will
undergo a drastic makeover, camouflaging gutter tactics with a
veneer of moderation calculated to help the President win another
four-year term. But the hard truth of this campaign is that George
W. Bush, while attempting to impose an extremist right-wing agenda
on this country and the world, has compiled a record of
The debacle in Iraq has already claimed close to 1,000 American and
10,000 Iraqi lives. Far from making America safer or the Middle
East more democratic, it has turned out to be what this magazine
warned it would be: a reckless abuse of power that has damaged US
security, destabilized the region and undercut America’s position
in the world. The high cost of the war is evident not just in the
number of deaths but also in burgeoning federal budget deficits
(the war has cost more than $200 billion) and in the record
gasoline prices Americans now pay. It is also evident in the
reported swelling of the ranks of Al Qaeda-inspired groups and in
the rising hatred of America reflected in public opinion polls
which show that even among traditional allies like Jordan and
Egypt, as much as 95 percent of the population view the United
States with disfavor. Meanwhile, the war has diverted resources
from urgent international problems ranging from the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the widening AIDS pandemic.
And there’s no end in sight. The US occupation grinds on with both
Bush and his Democratic opponent, John Kerry, ignoring the only
intelligent alternative: a phased US withdrawal. Iraqi opposition
to the occupation remains fierce-expressed even by Iraqi soccer
players at the Olympics-while the country’s appointed leaders
display authoritarian tendencies that undermine the democracy
Bush and his aides claim is being built.
If the war were Bush’s only failure, it would be enough to require
his departure. But it is not. By withdrawing the United States from
international treaties and conventions, mishandling crises in the
Middle East and North Korea and diverting resources from the
pursuit of al Qaeda, Bush has left America more isolated and less
secure. And the detention camps made infamous by the crimes of Abu
Ghraib have stripped America of the pride we once had in our
country and the role it played, however imperfectly, as a champion
of human rights, economic opportunity and the rule of law.
At home, Bush’s failures are equally manifest. He has amassed the
worst jobs record of any President since the Great Depression, the
worst budget deficits ever and the most precipitous decline in
America’s fiscal position-from $5 trillion in projected surplus to
$4 trillion in projected deficit. Bush’s Administration responds to
a corporate crime wave with calls for more regulation, embraces the
flight of jobs abroad as good for the economy, and exacerbates,
with top-end tax cuts, the greatest inequality since the Gilded
This Administration has also undermined the rights and policies
that social movements labored for a century to achieve. Bush has
nominated to the federal bench ideologues with a history of
antiunion and antichoice decisions. He signed into law the
blatantly unconstitutional “partial-birth” abortion ban, and then
watched as his Attorney General sought access to women’s private
medical records to defend the ban in court. He imposed the policy
known as the global gag rule, which forbids foreign groups
receiving US aid from even mentioning abortion, and vastly expanded
a misinformation campaign about the dangers of sex that has been
shown to encourage risky behavior among young people. And to secure
his place forever in the hearts of cultural conservatives, he
endorsed the gay-baiting federal marriage amendment, framing it as
a response to the activism of liberal judges rather than what it
was: an attempt to deny civil rights to millions of Americans and
to enshrine that discrimination in the Constitution. Civil
liberties, too, have suffered, as the “war on terror” has been used
to justify acts ranging from detention without trial to snooping
into citizens’ library records.
The list of failures goes on. The Bush years have seen a steady
increase in the number of Americans without healthcare while drug
company profits have soared. Bush’s prescription drug bill
prohibits Medicare from negotiating a better price for seniors and
bars importing cheaper drugs-with the result, according to
Consumer’s Union, that most older Americans will end up paying more
Bush’s vaunted No Child Left Behind education law actually leaves
most children behind. Not only has the law earned the ire of
educators; Bush’s failure to provide promised funding for his
“reforms” has prompted rebuke even from Republican state
legislatures from Utah to Virginia. Bush also broke his promise to
increase the amount of money eligible students could receive in
college scholarship grants, even as soaring tuition puts college
out of the reach of ever more families. His post-election budget
calls for yet more cuts to education funding.
The Bush Administration has also failed to protect the environment,
giving us new laws written by polluters, oil lobbyists and Enron
executives. And it has politicized and distorted basic scientific
and medical research.
But this President does not admit error. When asked at a press
conference whether he had ever made a mistake in office, he
couldn’t think of one.
If Bush wins in November, given this record of misfeasance,
American democracy is in much greater trouble than even the most
alienated citizens imagine. A President so out of step with the
needs of the American people can only rule by sowing division and
fear. Americans have one recourse: to ignore the costume ball in
New York City and fire the worst President in modern history on
November 2.30th August 2004 at 11:51 am #72787petParticipant
Mr. Pet suggests we solve the Social Security thing with Last Day and Soylent Green. But then most of us would be gone already…. 😀1st September 2004 at 10:58 am #72807
hummm, they could contract it out to Halaburton. After all why be president if you can’t be helpful to your friends.
Of course if Halaburton gets it, then the costs will rise dramatically…. after all they need to get the character assassination slush fund built back up.
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