Monday, August 28, 2006

  • With McCain's recent lukewarm criticism of the Iraq war, it's obvious he was advised to once again stoke the "maverick" label. McCain is simply walking the pre-2008 tightrope, trying to appease the most with the least. A little Falwell fawning and Bob Jones U. consideration here, a little anti-Bush rhetoric there....

  • Instead of being on the correct side of issues, the best hope for conservatives: breed like crazy!

  • Some in the blogosphere are making the case that too much effort is being expended on the Lamont/Lieberman race in CT, and that more energy and time should be spent where Dems can defeat actual Republicans. Personally, I don't believe it's a waste of time or resources. Many other races around the country are watching the Lamont/Lieberman race very closely and in response will be influenced by it. If Lamont's poll numbers ascend, candidates will take note and be emboldened to voice anti-Iraq / anti-Bush language. If Lamont's poll numbers head south, they'll tone the criticism down and resort to alternatives. Either way, by influencing this race, one can influence many other races.

  • It was announced recently that Karl Rove will once again be turning the dials on the GOP election machine. Given the many unnamed sources we frequently read quoted, any chance we'll see a few from Republicans regarding resistance to Rove once again steering the electoral ship? With polls in the toilet, you'd think more than a few would have grave reservations about going to the well one more time with the evil genius. Rove has not reinvented anything for this time around, apparently just looking to force-feed the same old fear-mongering and painting Dems as weak -- hoping the public will be stupid (once again) when it counts.

  • However, fear-mongering is not working as well this time. When Republicans repeat the word "terror" it's reminding people not of 9/11 but of the failure in Iraq.

  • Lieberman hires pollster Neil Newhouse, a former Rick Santorum pollster!

  • Greg Sargent nails it: "Whenever the bad news starts flowing -- whether on Iraq or, more worrisome, on Bush's poll numbers -- the default strategy is to try to color that bad news with the idea that the media wants the news to be bad. The worse the news for Bush, the more intense the attacks on the press get." They don't govern, but instead spend most of their time conducting perception management. If truth becomes irksome, prop up fantasy by blaming and shifting the focus. It's what they do.

  • Don't you just love the way the GOP has abandoned their candidate in CT, supporting instead (D)/(I) Lieberman (notice: no (R)).

  • A. Yasmine Rassam recently wrote about the danger of Iran moving in if the U.S. were to withdraw from Iraq. Understood, but why is the Iran threat to Iraq possible at all? Could it be due to an ill-conceived, unwarranted, lied-into war that has descended the country into chaos, with rampant insurgent brutality providing the perfect conditions for Iran's rise? Hmm, maybe....

  • Right-wing talking head Joe Scarborough: "[Bush] lacks intellectual curiosity, and he inspires fear among allies every time he gets behind a microphone."

  • Ezra Klein recently wrote about Hillary's chances in 2008, and in one paragraph made the case for John Edwards beating her. The primary schedule appears to favor him over her. Did the Dems reshuffle the order on purpose to screw her and stack the deck in Edwards' favor? And I wonder how this new schedule would favor Gore....?
  • In yesterday’s editorial, the NY Times covered three topics all of which involved at least one common theme.

    The first topic: “charter schools score worse in reading and math than their public school counterparts.” Not overly surprising, but the most telling tid-bit:
    On average, charter schools that were affiliated with public school districts performed just as well as traditional public schools. That may be a disappointment to advocates who expected them to show clear superiority. But the real stunner was the performance of free-standing charter schools, which have no affiliation with public school systems and are often school districts unto themselves. It was this grouping that showed the worst performance.
    As long as the charter school was affiliated with a public counterpart it did fine, but off on its own spelled trouble. Wow, talk about nail in the coffin of another right-wing assumption.

    Next topic: "In coming weeks, the Internal Revenue Service plans to start siccing private debt collectors on people with up to $25,000 in unpaid income taxes and laying off nearly half of the auditors who examine estate tax returns of the wealthiest taxpayers." Private collectors will be paid with taxpayer money to go after past-due taxes of the less-than-rich, at the same time funding/personnel will be slashed in the area insuring that the rich pay their fair share. The little guy gets hounded while the fat cats get a pass. And the Times mentions private collection is more costly and raises privacy concerns. Recall how wonderful a job Halliburton and the hired soldiers have done in Iraq.

    Final topic: our national parks, which are receiving increasingly less funding and thus falling into disrepair. In fact, "the past few years have been among the hardest in the history of the National Park Service, whose first principle -- preservation -- has been attacked by the very people in the Interior Department who are supposed to uphold it."

    A common theme among the above three topics? Thomas Frank summed it up in the NY Times a week ago:
    What happens when you elevate to high public office people who actually believe these things — who think that “the public interest” is a joke, that “reform” is a canard, and that every regulatory push is either a quest for monopoly by some company or a quest for bribes by some politician? What happens when the machinery of the state falls into the hands of people who laugh at the function for which it was designed?

    The obvious answer is an auctioning-off of public policy in a manner we have not seen since the last full-blown antigovernment regime held office, in the 1920’s.
    And look at some of the results from such moves: non-public schools worse than public, tax collection swayed against the average person in favor of the wealthy, and the increasing neglect of our national parks.

    One of many things that's certain over the last 6+ years: Grover Norquist has been wrong about oh-so-much, in particular his "starve the beast" mantra. Under GOP control, the government has been anything but starved -- bigger than it was under Clinton -- and instead has been made less effective, less efficient, and more rotten to the core.
    At this point, the comments of Katherine Harris cannot be taken anymore seriously than anything that comes out of the mouth of Ann Coulter. Both are desperate and have a bolt loose.

    Friday, August 25, 2006

    Max Boot recently wrote that Israel should've attacked Syria instead of Hezbollah, endorsing a preemptive strike of sorts. In a way, he's recommending the U.S. vs. Iraq move: attack the country that did not attack you. As GW stated in his press conference, Iraq had "nothing" to do with 9/11 and it was Hezbollah, not Syria, that abducted the Israeli soldiers. Yes, one can trace Hezbollah support back to Syria, but Hezbollah receives support from entities other than just Syria and nonetheless it was not a direct attack by Syria.

    In fact, Boot crosses up his logic (surprise!) by later stating that "It is, of course, hard for a liberal democracy such as Israel to contemplate war if it hasn’t been attacked directly." But what the heck, it didn't stop GW with the once liberal democracy here in the U.S., so why should it stop Israel. And just look at what a success Iraq has been -- go for it!

    Ah, the infinite intelligence of the neocon mind....
    In the NY Times:
    It was the most direct attack on Democrats that Mr. Bush has made from a White House lectern this election year, and it effectively signaled the beginning of a more outright political season for him and his aides as they work to help Republicans maintain control of Congress.
    Make no mistake: Bush is going to fight dirty and fight hard to keep Congress GOP-controlled -- and it won't be to help those in his party. It will be to save his own skin. If the Dems gain control of at least one chamber, they should (emphasis added) initiate impeachment proceedings.

    Why is "impeachment" such a verboten word? Unlike Clinton's charade, it won't be due to trumped up charges about a private sexual indiscretion. As opposed to lying about blowjobs, this president is guilty of lying about illegal wiretappings and lying about intel leading up to the Iraq debacle (among other things). And Bush can thank the Republicans for effectively lowering the bar to the point where if you proceeded against Clinton then you must proceed against Bush. But of course, for GW the bar is suddenly to the moon.

    If the Dems do succeed this November and finally win back some power in Washington, here's hoping Bush will be forced to hire a team of good lawyers.

    Thursday, August 24, 2006

    Dan Froomkin points out one of many lies spoken by Bush in his recent press conference. Regarding Iraq, Bush said, "Nobody wants to turn on their TV on a daily basis and see havoc wrought by terrorists." Froomkin correctly replies, "Americans are most certainly not seeing havoc wrought by terrorist on a daily basis on their televisions. The violence in Iraq is almost entirely taking place off camera. When was the last time you saw a dead or grievously wounded American soldier on TV?"

    How true. Americans continue to be insulated from such graphic and disturbing images -- by design. Who is Bush kidding? Instead, the horrible footage we are allowed to witness is of the Israel/Hezbollah fighting. From Eric Effron of The Week:
    The images reaching us from the war have been stark and jarring. We’ve been bombarded with close-ups of bombed-out apartment buildings, of mortally wounded soldiers, of maimed civilians, including children. We have watched interviews of grieving mothers, and of rescue workers desperately digging through smoldering rubble. We have seen the anger, the fear, and the anguish. We have beheld the faces of the dead and the dying. In short, we have witnessed what war looks like. Only not our war.

    The photographs and video footage that I just described were from the Israel-Hezbollah conflict. But while news coverage of the fighting in Lebanon has been relentless and strikingly vivid, the same cannot be said of the war in Iraq. Thanks to a combination of military controls, self-censorship by the media, and the far-flung nature of the battle, Americans have been privy to virtually no pictures of wounded or dead GIs. We don’t even get to glimpse the coffins. Images of the war’s massive toll on civilians have been just as elusive. In July, the insurgency and the sectarian warfare in Iraq claimed 3,438 Iraqi civilians, according to the Iraqi Health Ministry—that’s an average of 110 a day. The deaths of far fewer civilians in Lebanon have generated far more outcry, no doubt in part because we have been unable to avoid those pictures. Yet much of the carnage in Iraq has been invisible to us. This may be one reason the war can at times seem more surreal than real, something vaguely taking place on the periphery of our vision. It’s so easy not to see.
    Most Americans now believe Iraq will generate more terrorism, not less.
    An AP-Ipsos poll released Wednesday found that 60 percent of Americans believe that in the long run there will be more terrorism in the United States because of the war in Iraq.
    Could it be the public has finally spit-up the Kool-Aid?
    Yesterday I wrote, "Sounds like Israel PM Olmert can feel GW's pain. He's declaring the Hezbollah attack a triumph, but admits to 'failings and shortcomings.' OK, it took GW years to admit any such fault with his offensive, but both underestimated and lacked the proper planning of what they were getting themselves into. There's now a growing call for Olmert's resignation."

    On a related note, Kevin Drum writes:
    Israel fights a four-week war that fails to achieve its aims and the public is so irate that the prime minister is almost immediately forced to create a panel with the teeth to (possibly) bring down the government. Here in America, we fight a three-year war that has not only failed to achieve its objectives but has demonstrably weakened our national security, and the collective response is a yawn. What a contrast.
    The military is utilizing what appears to be a "soft" or "back-door" draft, under the name of Individual Ready Reserve. Soldiers are being called back to duty mainly because voluntary recruits have become so hard to come by.
    "All that happy talk about getting down to 100,000 by the end of this year, that's not on the cards for this year," said John Pike, the director of GlobalSecurity.org, a military thinktank in Washington.

    "Instead, they might bump up the numbers even further ... They are going to do whatever it takes to keep a lid on this damn thing in Baghdad, because if there's anywhere it's going to fly off the handle it's in Baghdad. And if ethnic cleansing takes on a life of its own, people in this town are going to say it's time to leave."
    In addition, Colonel Guy Stratton is quoted as saying "this is going to be a long war."

    If that's true, that this war is going to be a long one, then doesn't it logically follow that a mandatory draft is just around the corner? If not, then the shorthanded U.S. forces will continue to be in harms way with less than adequate support. But if so, then imagine what will happen to poll numbers when this already unpopular war necessitates a draft.

    Wednesday, August 23, 2006

  • The always-enlightening Robert Reich recently stated on Air America that wage earners (80% of the U.S. work force) are earning less today in inflation-adjusted dollars than thirty years ago. Incredible.

  • Apparently Bush's poll numbers have bumped up, by about 5% to 42%. Most cite the recent terrorist break-up as the reason -- uh, despite the fact it was the Brits who used old-fashioned intel techniques (as opposed to shock & awe bombing) to foil the entire thing! As a reminder, even the worst of stocks always tend to enjoy periodic mean-reverting "dead cat" bounces before heading south again.

  • With Israel/Lebanon, we once again observe that shock & awe bombing = fueling deep-seated hate which lays groundwork for future terrorism. In the NYT:
    Like many of the people who were finding their way back to their old neighborhoods, Mr. Kubaisy blamed the United States as much as Israel for the destruction, saying the conflict had only redoubled his allegiance to Hezbollah. "If Nasrallah will raise his hand, everyone will follow," he said. "This time we defended our land, next time we will take the offensive."
  • Meanwhile, sounds like Israel PM Olmert can feel GW's pain. He's declaring the Hezbollah attack a triumph, but admits to "failings and shortcomings." OK, it took GW years to admit any such fault with his offensive, but both underestimated and lacked the proper planning of what they were getting themselves into. There's now a growing call for Olmert's resignation.

  • In July, nearly 3,500 Iraqi civilians were killed making it the most lethal month of the war thus far, and surpasses the number killed in the Israeli/Lebanon conflict by at least threefold. From the NYT:
    “The insurgency has gotten worse by almost all measures, with insurgent attacks at historically high levels,” said a senior Defense Department official who agreed to discuss the issue only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for attribution. “The insurgency has more public support and is demonstrably more capable in numbers of people active and in its ability to direct violence than at any point in time.”
    Bush's plan? To repeat "stay the course" and pray. Oh, and he still maintains democracy is the goal in Iraq, stating such just a few days ago, despite this:
    “Senior administration officials have acknowledged to me that they are considering alternatives other than democracy,” said one military affairs expert who received an Iraq briefing at the White House last month and agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity.

    “Everybody in the administration is being quite circumspect,” the expert said, “but you can sense their own concern that this is drifting away from democracy.”
    I wonder what form of government -- other than democracy -- they'll decide on?
  • Sunday, August 20, 2006

    Just returning from vacation, will take a day or two to get caught up on world events.

    In the meantime, while away I came across this fitting quote that sums up the GOP's playbook:
    “Naturally, the common people don’t want war. But after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.
    --- Hermann Goering, Hitler’s Reich Marshall, at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II.

    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Ah yes, the bracing, lucid wisdom of Cheney:
    Vice President Dick Cheney went so far as to suggest that the ouster of Mr. Lieberman might encourage "al Qaeda types."

    "It’s an unfortunate development, I think, from the standpoint of the Democratic Party, to see a man like Lieberman pushed aside because of his willingness to support an aggressive posture in terms of our national security strategy," Mr. Cheney said.... Al-Qaida is "betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task."
    Yes, that's right, supporters of Lamont = aiding Al-Qaida. Does anybody still believe this tired connection? When will this old, decrepit, hate-mongering demagogue just fade away?

    Dick, it's called freedom of choice -- you know, a democratic ideal. As opposed to blindly following a neocon ideology down the road to apparent ruin.

    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    Party Be Damned

    Lieberman loses, 52-48, and immediately announces he'll run as an Independent. Notably this is only the fourth time since 1980 that an incumbent senator has lost his party's nomination.

    What does this tell you? It says people have had enough of the continued failure in Iraq. It says Lieberman is willing to put himself before party unity and helping in the cause to amass a large enough Dem majority post-November to hopefully change the power structure of key positions.

    It's amazing that not too long ago this guy ran as the Dem's VP. Meanwhile, Hillary has to be concerned about this outcome.

    Monday, August 07, 2006

    Heading into tomorrow's primary, Lieberman has apparently moved within six points of Lamont, still trailing but closing the double-digit gap.

    At this point, even if Lieberman were to squeak out a win, in many ways he and the established Dems still suffer a big blow to the belly. This Iraq thing isn't going away and it's not likely to suddenly become popular again before November. It will be a huge fly in the ointment for many candidates in both parties.

    An interesting thought being discussed is how this CT primary outcome will strengthen Gore's prospects for 2008 and weaken Hillary's. It makes sense.

    For one, Bill Clinton did Hillary a favor by stumping for Lieberman, thus backing another senator who voted for and strongly supported this war. But as I wrote earlier this morning, even the great Bill Clinton could not do much to boost Joe's standing in the polls. That does indeed say something about the deeply felt emotions and opinions concerning this issue.

    But again, this primary hugely bolsters Gore's chances for 2008. He defines the anti-GW. Hell, he beat the guy and then was robbed. Most sane people admit that this country would've been much better off the last six years under Gore's leadership (I know, not going out on a limb). And whereas Hillary voted for the war, Gore has always been against it. On top of that, related topics that seem to be resonating with the public, becoming more of a real concern with each blistering hot day, are the environment, global warming, and energy conservation -- all made-to-order issues for Gore that starkly contrast with the do-nothing actions of GW.

    Re-elect Gore in 2008!
    "You know, I hear people say, well, civil war this, civil war that," Bush said.

    Steve Benen writes:
    Yes, the president really did say, "civil war this, civil war that," as if it were a vaguely trivial matter that's hardly worth considering.

    As for the efficacy of the unity government..."More than 100 Iraqi civilians are dying per day, mostly in sectarian violence, according to a recent U.N. report." It sounds like just another concern for Bush to dismiss with his trademark cavalier attitude.
    "Church members say the troops deserve to die because they fight on behalf of a government that does not adequately condemn homosexuality."

    Ah yes, that incredible love from the religious right -- and so patriotic too!
    I've written several times about the banal idiocy of David Brooks. It's not difficult, and here Greg Mitchell of E&P takes a crack at it:
    [W]hat is truly bankrupt about his [Israel/Lebanon] stance is his admission that the current U.S. policy has little chance for success....Because, he admits, America's standing and influence has been fatally crippled by its Iraq debacle -- which Brooks strongly backed and still supports....In other words, Brooks in the end admits that all of his fulminating about a solution to the conflict is crippled by a U.S. war in Iraq -- which he always thought, and still thinks, was a swell idea, launched and managed by an administration he still showers with "enormous credit."
    Greg, don't feel bad, I can never get through a Brooks column without wanting to take a sledgehammer to my head.

    As with many of the last hold-outs on the lunatic right, still pathetically defending what's obviously now indefensible, they're more than willing to shill and pander to this administration in exchange for swift disposal of all credibility.

    Brooks is a flat-out joke.
    Get ready to lose, Joe

    You have to sort of love the fact that in the final hours, Lieberman is desperately trying to convince voters that he's not Bush. He trails Lamont by 13% in the latest poll.

    Although in his most recent speech, Lieberman does list quite a few issues where he voted against GW, apparently all that matters is Iraq. This fact should resonate with all Dems as anti-Bush furor easily trumps any nostalgic love for Bill Clinton (stumped for Joe). That fact in itself should send shivers through many pro-Bush/pro-Iraq November candidates.

    Sunday, August 06, 2006

    Paul Krugman is on quite a roll. In his latest column, he criticized the Sierra Club, of all things, for endorsing Sen. Chafee, a good environmentalist but nonetheless a Republican. His point? Given the extreme views held by the GOP and the fact they're pulling all the triggers in DC, we can no longer afford to just align with individuals who offer personal virtue, but rather must face the fact that we need to adopt an "us vs. them" stance (as they have for years now).

    Those who wield the power are extreme Republican partisans, who have not been willing to compromise and reach across the aisle on anything (a theme taken from the K Street project). To rid Congress of these non-mainstream top dogs requires booting the entire team en masse, thus explaining why a vote for moderate Chafee -- no matter how well-deserved or intended -- is a vote for keeping the true nutjobs in power positions. As Krugman writes:
    But while this principle [Sierra Club's "We choose people, not parties."] might once have made sense, it’s just na├»ve today. Given both the radicalism of the majority party’s leadership and the ruthlessness with which it exercises its control of the Senate, Mr. Chafee’s personal environmentalism is nearly irrelevant when it comes to actual policy outcomes; the only thing that really matters for the issues the Sierra Club cares about is the “R” after his name.
    <..>
    The point is that those who cling to the belief that politics can be conducted in terms of people rather than parties — a group that also includes would-be centrist Democrats like Joe Lieberman and many members of the punditocracy — are kidding themselves.
    <..>
    We’re living in an age of one-letter politics, in which a politician’s partisan affiliation is almost always far more important than his or her personal beliefs. And those who refuse to recognize this reality end up being useful idiots for those, like President Bush, who have been consistently ruthless in their partisanship.
    Real change in policy and legislation will not occur until these zealots are tossed out of control. Yes, Chafee is a good guy regarding the environment as well as a number of other issues for that matter, but a vote for him is unfortunately just one more precious vote needed by the Dems to change majority control of key power positions.

    The Sierra Club is correct in theory (as they say, "we value performance above party affiliation"), but Krugman is right when considering the reality-based world as we've come to know it, in all it's ugliness and ruthlessness.

    Thursday, August 03, 2006

  • Some interesting factoids from Mother Jones magazine that further helps to illustrate the expanding income gap in this country.

  • It wasn't too long ago that the military and this administration would not dare even hint at the possibility of civil war breaking out in Iraq. That's all changed at least for the military, with Army Gen. John Abizaid, who commands U.S. forces in the Mideast, stating "Iraq could move toward civil war....The sectarian violence is probably as bad as I have seen it." Meanwhile, the administration continues to live in denial as Defense Secretary Rumsfeld testified today, stating the situation in Iraq "is not a classic civil war at this stage."

  • Former ambassador Peter Galbraith: "Iraq still exists on a map, but it no longer functions as a single country. We're trying to build national institutions right now — like the army and the police — when there is no nation."

  • Thank the government for any job growth at all: Private-sector jobs created by defense spending from 2001-2006: 1.5 million; Private-sector jobs created by other government spending from 2001-2006: 1.3 million; Private-sector jobs lost from 2001-2006: 1 million.

  • The Hezbollah/Iran connection could be keeping the Saudi elite up at night. Iran very much wants to expand its Shiite influence and Saudi Arabia is ruled by Sunnis, so one could see where Saudi Arabia is a likely next-target in line given all the mayhem breaking out between Israel and Lebanon/Hezbollah. Oh, and guess who would be forced to come to their aid? Yes, Uncle Sam, esp. since we absolutely depend on their oil and GW is one of their best buddies.

  • More "good" news from Iraq. The U.S. is going to hand over reconstruction responsibilities to Iraq but doing so with no plan in place, no outline, no proposals, no suggestions, zilch. In a few years (or perhaps less), as Iraq descends into (bloody?) chaos riddled with rampant corruption, the invasion will be universally deemed a complete waste of human lives and U.S. taxpayer money -- much like Vietnam has been regarded.

  • It appears as if Pentagon officials lied to the 9/11 commission: "I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described," John Farmer, a former New Jersey attorney general who led the staff inquiry into events on Sept. 11, said in a recent interview. "The tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years....This is not spin. This is not true." Isn't it about time a new, comprehensive, truly independent investigation be opened to get to the bottom of the truth concerning this national tragedy? Will we have to endure the incessant guessing games over the years, much like JFK's assassination? Has political chicanery risen to the level where it's overtaken any sense of duty to what's owed the American people?
  • Wednesday, August 02, 2006

    I've received a few emails commenting on my apparent lack of postings regarding the Israel/Lebanon situation.

    I've been putting together a somewhat comprehensive take on the subject when I came across Paul Krugman's recent column on the matter. As usual, he says it best. I urge reading the entire piece, an excellent, lucid analysis of the quagmire.

    Also, note that General McCaffrey stated on Monday's Keith Olbermann show that Israel did not learn from the U.S. in Iraq and is unfortunately conducting this attack "on the cheap," with air bombings emphasized more so than on the ground operations. The result: little damage to Hezbollah, widespread civilian deaths, horrifying images for global consumption (and exploiting by radicals), and growing world condemnation.
    As for Iraq, we may not have a choice in staying longer:
    The temperamental Rumsfeld erupted at Schoomaker after the general revealed the Army’s lack of readiness in painful detail to the House Armed Services Committee. "I remain concerned about the serious demands we face," Schoomaker said in asking Congress for $17 billion in an emergency appropriation. The ranking Democrat member of that committee, Rep. Ike Skelton, cited Schoomaker’s blunt honesty in a letter he wrote to President Bush last week. “When I asked General Schoomaker in recent testimony if he was comfortable with the readiness level for the non-deployed units located within the continental United States, he simply answered no,” said Skelton. Equipment like tanks and Humvees are badly worn down after three years in the sand and heat, and the Army is cannibalizing units still based in the United States. It is also asking soldiers to prepare for third overseas deployments in a row, which many fear could trigger an exodus of professionals.

    The Army’s budgetary squeeze raises questions about whether the United States can “stay the course” in Iraq even if it wants to. While the world has focused on Lebanon, Iraq has been sliding downhill fast. U.S. officials battling the counterinsurgency who were positive six months ago are now far more skeptical that the center can hold.
    Now, back to trying to find some good news about Iraq....
    Yesterday's NY Times had an article about the rich avoiding taxes, an exploding trend to the point of epidemic ("So many superrich Americans evade taxes using offshore accounts that law enforcement cannot control the growing misconduct").

    The right will say it's the oppressive, onerous tax code forcing the hand of the super-rich, serving as an unfortunate catalyst in the shielding of income. One problem: there's never been a six year period of tax cut nirvana like we've seen under King George, and yet still the rampant income sheltering, in fact accelerating to the point where it's "out of control."

    What gives? Hmm, could it be naked greed combined with massive gutting/easing of tax enforcement on the wealthy?

    Recall that billionaire Ross Perot once stated his effective tax rate was much lower than the average American, mainly due to exploiting tax loopholes and shelters and obviously not even referring to the illegal activity mentioned in this article.

    The income gap continues to expand and you have to wonder at what point will ugly class warfare break out in earnest in this country?

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

  • "Rick Santorum has reached a new low in gutter politics by trying to ridiculously link Bob Casey to terrorists."

  • Mel Gibson: "Fucking Jews … The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world"

  • More of the the New Federalism (i.e. states giving the finger to GW) and beyond (I've been documenting this trend here for months; everyday I come across examples of states deviating from Bush Inc. and deciding their own fate.... Soon the likes of California will govern itself like a mini-nation).

  • Dems united regarding Iraq pullout.

  • More David Brooks idiocy....

  • "Tar baby": first Tony Snow uses, now Republican Gov. Mitch Romney -- which Republican is next?

  • Regarding Rumsfeld: "He seems literally in a parallel universe and slightly deranged." That's just what we need now given all that's occurring in the world, a psycho Sec. of Defense....

  • Daily video segments....