re-lighting the political lamp....
I am so glad that others, like Stefan, are able to post about an interesting project - like an article about city transportation - and get surges of helpful suggestions from you all.. This isn’t just my blog. It’s yours, too. SO continue the public transportation line of thought here, too, if you like.
(Personally, I despise how crude the format for discussion has remained, on the web, with abysmal threading and outlining protocols that have never matched what I once used on a Caltech experimental “hyperforum” years ago. True, blogs aren’t set up that way, but even the best fora that I’ve seen do not take best advantage of threading possibilities. My Holocene software would have. But there are no VCs with imagination, anymore. Sigh.)
Anyway, I’ve been trying to limit postings to twice a week, but a piece of news seems urgent. This item from the Daily Kos is especially frightening to anyone who loves the State of California, which is today the biggest obstacle to complete domination od our civilization by the kleptocheater cabal.
”Our Republican Secretary of State Bruce McPherson--appointed by our Governator--has, according to the email sent out by Secretary of State candidate Debra Bowen, conditionally certified problem-plagued Diebold machines for use in our 2006 elections. It's also no coincidence that Bruce decided to take the Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend to announce this controversial decision--he's hoping it won't get very much play. Well, I'm hoping it will, and I'm asking you to do something about it.
What can you do? First, no matter where you live: flood their switchboard. Call the California Secretary of State’s office (916) 653-6814 and let them know that Diebold voting machines are not welcome in the Golden State.
In better news. The New York Times appears to be recovering some spine. See a devastating editorial that lists some of the unbelievable facts behind the “Trust Gap” -- The bizarre thing is all the millions who took it as “wellknown” that Clinton was untrustworthy... yet were reduced finally to clutching one proved lie, just one, having nothing to do with official duties, but nookie on the side. Yet, a relentless tsunami of lies that are proved for this admin, just don’t seem to matter.
All are excused as “necessary in wartime.” Ah, but a few people have started to ask... um... what war?
We are engaged in a voluntary police action in Iraq. Yes, a violent one that is using up half of our military. We can argue endlessly over the correctness of the decision to go there, or the inanity of the plan (created in secrect by men with a proved record of delusion) ot (in)competence of its execution. But again, that is a separate matter. (As you know, I am exceptional among critics of this war, in that I have long agitated FOR assertive removal of Saddam from power! I just find it hard to trust in that job the very hypocrites who deliberately fostered and then left him in power, in 1991.)
All of which is beside the point at issue here. Which is that this is not wartime! This was never an emergency action. It is at best elective surgery. Not the kind of urgency that could even remotely excuse the behaviors we’ve seen. There is absolutely no excuse for using “war” as a rationalization for quashing morality, accountability and democracy, especially at levels that exceed anything that Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan asked for, when the republic was under genuine threat and dire jeopardy.
Finally, Russ Daggatt has shared some items with us:
Check out this routine on Bush by Frank Caliendo: http://movies.crooksandliars.com/Frank-Caliend-on Letterman.wmv
It’s still hard to beat the real thing: http://www.ianai.net/jokes/GeorgeWWhatThe.wmv
Also. this MoveOn ad with Nixon morphing into Bush is great.
Now... about the budget. Let’s look back in time for a credibility check. In 2003 the BushAdmin looked ahead and forecast of a three-year cumulative SURPLUS of more than $133 BILLION turned into a cumulative DEFICIT of over $1.45 TRILLION. For just three years. It appears Bush learned accounting from his buddies at Enron.
But hold on. His 2002 budget (written in 2001) made his 2003 budget look honest by comparison. For example, Bush’s 2002 budget forecast a SURPLUS of $262 billion in 2004. In fact, the DEFICIT was $412 billion -- off by OVER $670 BILLION! For just ONE year. Why such a big error? At the time of Bush’s 2002 budget he was still insisting that his then-proposed $2 trillion in tax cuts wouldn't cause deficits. As soon as he got those tax cuts through Congress -- mere weeks later (and before 9/11) -- those forecasts were revised to show ... SURPRISE! ... deficits. ( But that seriously understates the deficit because it nets out the surplus in the Social Security Trust Fund.)
The result of Bush’s tax cuts and other fiscal profligacy has been a massive increase in the federal debt. Total federal debt has increased by $2.3 TRILLION under Bush (from $5.6 trillion to $7.9 trillion). It took from 1776 to 1987 – 211 years -- for the United States to run up its first $2.3 trillion of debt – Bush managed to add that much in just FIVE YEARS.
And Bush continues to propose more tax cuts (about $2 TRILLION over ten years), which will increase even further the “Bush Tax” on future generations. (A little aside on tax equity: Estimates based on data from the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center show that if Bush’s tax cuts are made permanent, the top 1 percent of households will gain an average of $71,420 a year when the tax cuts are fully in effect, reflecting a 6.5 percent change in their after-tax income. By contrast, people in the middle of the income spectrum would secure just a 2.1 percent increase in their after-tax income, with average tax cuts of $870.) There is simply NO credible economic theory that would justify massive tax cuts four years into an economic expansion at a time of record structural budget deficits with even bigger bills coming due a little way down the road. Bush's tax cut fixation is pure ideology and massively irresponsible -- it's right-wing economic nihilism.
...Another hazard is losing what Robert E. Rubin, Summers' predecessor as treasury secretary and my guru on this subject, calls "resilience." A deficit of 3.2 percent of GDP, which is what Bush predicts for this year, curtails the ability of policy-makers to respond effectively to the unforeseen and unforeseeable. The U.S. economy was able to absorb the shock of Sept. 11 without falling into recession in part because of Washington's use of fiscal as well as monetary policy in response. But when the budget is already deeply in the red, the "break glass in case of fire" box comes pre-smashed. In the event of another major terrorist attack or natural disaster, such Keynesian tools as tax cuts and stimulus spending will be much harder to deploy than they were in 2001, when the budget was still in surplus.