Monday, February 28, 2005

Bush does Camus

I'm sure he remembered it from his college days...

Bush recently made a trip to Europe to reassure Europeans that he does not plan an imminent invasion of Europe to impose democracy.

When in Brussels, he spoke of Camus.

"Albert Camus said that 'Freedom is a long-distance race,' " Mr. Bush said in his opening speech about the future of the United States and Europe. "We're in that race for the duration and there is reason for optimism."

Hey that makes me more optimistic. I would have given Bush more credit all this time if I knew he were capable of quoting Camus. I'm sure if further pressed, he would have been able to identify the book the quote came from, The Fall, and discuss existentialist philosophy. Certainly he didn't just memorize one line did he?

No, he did not.

What Bush says Albert Camus said... “Albert Camus said that ‘Freedom is a long distance race.’ We’re in that race for the duration and there is reason for optimism.”

What Camus actually said: “I didn’t know that freedom is not a reward or a decoration that is celebrated with Champagne. Nor yet a gift, a box of dainties designed to make you lick your chops. Oh, no! It’s a choice, on the contrary and a long-distance race, quite solitary and very exhausting. No Champagne. No friends raising their glasses as they look at you affectionately. Alone in a forbidding room, alone in the prisoner’s box before the judges, and alone to decide in face of oneself or in the face of others’ judgment. At the end of all freedom is a court sentence; that’s why freedom is too heavy to bear, especially when you’re down with a fever, or are distressed, or love nobody.”

Now what does Albert Camus say Bush said?

Funny he cut out that part about freedom being a court sentence; I mean he could have used it to justify his military tribunals, right?

To his credit, Mr. Bush answered a call from in regard to this matter. He reminded GoBacktoTexas that the Fall also warns about terrorists who hate Freedom. When pressed for page numbers, he mumbled something about national security interests, and put Dick Cheney on the phone. Dick Cheney told me to go $#%$# myself, and promptly hung up.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

To be or not to be [HIV positive]...

So the Bush administration is against distributing free needles to drug addicts to prevent the spread of HIV. According to the administration, there is insufficient evidence to show that free needle exchanges reduce HIV rates (as scant as the evidence that global climate change indeed exists, perhaps?).

So what support does the health/bioscience community lend to this view? Some support Bush (he alleges).

The administration claims that the evidence for the effectiveness of needle exchange is shaky. An official who requested anonymity directed us to a number of researchers who have allegedly cast doubt on the pro-exchange consensus. One of them is Steffanie A. Strathdee of the University of California at San Diego; when we contacted her, she responded that her research "supports the expansion of needle exchange programs, not the opposite." Another researcher cited by the administration is Martin T. Schechter of the University of British Columbia; he wrote us that "Our research here in Vancouver has been repeatedly used to cast doubt on needle exchange programs. I believe this is a clear misinterpretation of the facts." Yet a third researcher cited by the administration is Julie Bruneau at the University of Montreal; she told us that "in the vast majority of cases needle exchange programs drive HIV incidence lower." We asked Dr. Bruneau whether she favored needle exchanges in countries such as Russia or Thailand. "Yes, sure," she responded.

The Bush administration attempted to bolster its case by providing us with three scientific articles. One, which has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, was produced by an author unknown to leading experts in this field who is affiliated with a group called the Children's AIDS Fund. This group is more renowned for its ties to the Bush administration than for its public health rigor: As the Post's David Brown has reported, it recently received an administration grant despite the fact that an expert panel had deemed its application "not suitable for funding." The two other articles supplied by the administration had been published in the American Journal of Public Health. Although each raised questions about the certainty with which needle-exchange advocates state their case, neither opposed such programs.

Hey George,

Would Jeb prefer that Noel shoot up with a clean needle, or that she share one? That is the question.

P.S. My apologies to the reader whose post I inadvertently deleted. He's welcome to repost, but basically he said that 1.) We liberals are bitter and 2.) He is the only conservative in New York. I'll cede the second point since New Yorkers are very intelligent people, but with regard to the first, I would say we are not so much bitter as frustrated that science is being completely ignored and very selectively used to the extent that it is used at all in this administration.

Typically, the administration has relied upon scientists who are in the extreme minority of the scientific community (to put it more bluntly, laughed at) and who are coincidentally heavily funded by the energy/health care industries etc, to support their ridiculous policies.

In this case however, even their self-selected "shills" didn't agree with their claims. Nevertheless, these claims form the basis for the policy of the United States government, and a direct result of this policy will be more Americans infected with HIV when W's reign comes to an end. That's the Bush legacy.

Conservatives get bitter, we get sad.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Blogging of my car

Friday, February 18, 2005

I wonder...

How many people currently the subject of a felony narcotics investigation are able to get clearance to visit U.S. Troops in Afghanistan, along with a U.S. Government official?

Who cleared Limbaugh?

What was the procedure?

What is the cost to the taxpayers (U.S. and Afghani)?
Dupe me again George, Oh yeah!

Can we get someone to challenge Feinstein?

First President Bush wanted to "reform" Medicare.


"Wrestling with the complexities of how to add prescription drug coverage to the Medicare program has been high on the political to-do list for at least five Congresses. This year, more than ever, there is a glimmer of hope that all the debate, formulas and analyses might coalesce into law.

That would be good news for today's seniors. But if a final agreement is devoid of even the smallest steps to make Medicare more financially sound, it would be bad news for tomorrow's seniors."

Then she voted for it and...

Medicare's new prescription drug program will cost taxpayers $720 billion over its first 10 years, with costs reaching $100 billion a year by the middle of the next decade, according to a new estimate by the Bush administration.

Then, apparently, she read the bill.

Now she says:

This new information further demonstrates what appears to be an attempt to dupe Congress and win passage of the legislation,” said one such lawmaker, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., calling for an investigation by the Senate Finance Committee.

Now President Bush wants to "reform" Social-Security.

As you know, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina has been running a bipartisan phase-out book club up on the hill. And my sources tell me that the participants are ...

Baucus (D)
Carper (D)
Collins (R)
Conrad (D)
Feinstein (D)
Graham (R)
Grassley (R)
Gregg (R)
Lieberman (D)
Lincoln (D)
Ben Nelson (D)
Bill Nelson (D)

This isn't even ideological. It is just manifest incompetence, and stupidity. Who could challenge Feinstein?

Well, there's
this guy.

And this guy.

And then there's her (she might want to re-design her webpage, though).
The Right-Wing Reaction to "Gannon"-gate
(departing from the sub-contintent)

Why is the media starting to inquire into the story of a man with no journalistic experience (but experience as a gay escort), who, working under a pseudonym, was able to get a White House press pass (and apparently have an uncanny ability to get inside scoops into things such as Plamegate and the Iraq war)?

My theory is that they are upset that a pervert, normally a Democrat constituent, is actually a Bush supporter. I mean, come on, we all know some Christians vote democrat, it only makes sense that some percentage of perverts and ex-cons would vote Republican.

We know that Hillary has called for all felons to be allowed to vote, afraid that they may be losing the felon support, of which they greatly depend, so too I guess they have to fight to maintain the pervert vote.

That has to be it. Has to be. There's no other explanation.

Indeed, there is no other explanation...No other explanation that is as completely devoid of reason and logic and blinded by bigotry, the Freeper forgot to add.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I Fire the Crew

Yup, John and Chris are gone....Indian labor is so much cheaper. Here is some of the insightful new coverage you can expect...*

Thulla in Bakery Case

Delhi police joint commissioner Kanwaljit Deol will be a member of a high-level Supreme Court panel appointed to probe the veracity of a series of charges and counter-charges made by Best Bakery case controversial witness Zahira Sheikh and social activist Teesta Setalvad. The latter was in the forefront of the litigation for having the case transferred from Gujarat to Mumbai.

Certainly we all agree that it is long past time for the veracity of these charges to be investigated, yaar. Whether they turn out to be true or not, the palour cast over the Bakery industry alone calls for a speedy resolution to this case. Although we would have preferred that the case had been transferred to Andhra Pradesh and not Mumbai, let us hope that Mumbai ultimately proves the venue where justice will be done, na?

Do you think you have what it takes to out-perform our team in Bangalore? Send in a writing sample and tell us about yourself, and you may be the next (or first?) great writer. Ideological persuasion no bar (except, of course, if you are a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party).

*Actually I didn't exactly fire the crew, and I didn't outsource the jobs to India. I think Chris and John are doing other things right now. They are of course welcome to come back (although a little-noticed provision placed in the emergency appropriations bill passed by Congress last year will make their compensation much less lucrative).

This is excellent. A reader writes

Hi, my name is jeff slick (not my real name). I,m an ex gay porno star/prostitute(not that there is anything wrong with that) who has just been named bush's economic advisor on dismanteling social security. I attenended an intense two day course at a school in Texas which of course gives me instant access to the inner oval office!

I'll say this for the guy: he certainly seems to have the credentials.

Bushism of the day:

"Benefit cuts is an interesting word."

Sunday, February 13, 2005

You're the President of Serbia....

And let's say that there was a war a few years back during which the biggest divisions between Serbia and and what used to be an autonomous province of Serbia, Kosovo, were divided along ethnic/religious lines.

And now, that province, where the population is over 90 percent Albanian, and somewhere around 2 percent Serbian, after having been governed by the U.N. for several years, is working towards statehood.

Now let's suppose you make a trip to Kosovo. That's a good step...but this sure ain't:

Serb leader unyielding on Kosovo

Mr Tadic is the first Serbian leader to visit Kosovo in years
Serb President Boris Tadic has declared he would never accept an independent Kosovo, during a visit to the province.
He told Serbs at a rally in Strpce, 25 miles south of Pristina, he would do all in his power to prevent secession


"I am against the independence of Kosovo and for me, it is unacceptable," Mr Tadic told some 2,000 Serbs gathered to greet him."

[At a later rally with 2000 Albanians, he said that he had just been "jokin' around" about that comment].

[Actually, there was no such later rally].

He added:

"I don't have a magic wand to fix all the problems," Mr Tadic told a crowd of hundreds in the village of Silovo.

A magic wand? You don't need a magic wand. How about starting off by talking to the 98 percent of Kosovars that are not Serbian? Even if you are only concerned about the 2% minority Serbs, don't you think a dialogue with the Albanians would be a starting point for ensuring their welfare? Because that 98% majority is going to have a great deal of influence over what happens to the 2% minority. That would be a much more effective strategy than a search for a magic wand.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Dude, Check Out My Social Security Plan

To make his case, Mr. Bush held two town-hall-style meetings with younger and older workers, events that recalled some of the most carefully orchestrated, and successful, moments of his re-election campaign last year. There were teachers, preachers, recent retirees and a widow, all embracing elements of his message.

But when he got to the details of his plan, he warned his audience that he had been a history major, and a middling student.

So when the president, in Raleigh, introduced Andrew G. Biggs, the associate commissioner for retirement policy at the Social Security Administration, and asked him to frame the issues, he added, "Andrew has a Ph.D., and I got a C." Then, smiling, Mr. Bush said, "And look who's working for who."'re like, working for the corporations and stuff?
It's All Dean

I found an article with some interesting info about Howard Dean, and what he thinks our priorities should be as a country. One interesting factoid:

HEALTHCARE: Everyone knows that universal healthcare is one of the cornerstones of Dr. Dean’s campaign. According to Cici Connolly of The Washington Post, census bureau statistics show Vermont to be the best state for insuring children. Doctors who have private practices know how health insurance should work.

Dean doesn’t believe we should immediately begin a total overhaul of the system. Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, and Bill & Hillary Clinton all tried and failed. People need insurance now. In Vermont after trying and failing to develop a single payer system, he went with a Medicaid-like state funded program. It covers all citizens under the age of 33 who are not already insured. All people over 65 get covered by Medicare and get prescription benefits. The folks in between, aged 34-65, if not covered at work, can buy into the same program that the U.S. Congress uses and it will never cost more than 7 1/2 % of their adjusted gross income. He knows it’s not the perfect solution, but it covers almost everyone right away and leaves time for the total overhaul. And the cost…87 billion dollars to insure everyone in the country. Familiar number?? It should be. We just spent this on Iraq [late 2003 article].

Yeah, it's also less expensive to cover that healthcare than it is to pay for the annual cost of Bush's medicare program over the next 10 years....

Medicare Drug Benefit May Cost $1.2 Trillion

Wed Feb 9, 7:29 AM ET Politics -

By Ceci Connolly and Mike Allen, Washington Post Staff Writers

The White House released budget figures yesterday indicating that the new Medicare prescription drug benefit will cost more than $1.2 trillion in the coming decade, a much higher price tag than President Bush (news - web sites) suggested when he narrowly won passage of the law in late 2003.

Health care for everybody, every year, for less than Bush's Medicare "reform" alone? I'm on board. The article also has info on Dean's positions on other issues of importance.
Warmonger and FEARMONGER

“If you're 20 years old, in your mid-20s, and you're beginning to work, I want you to think about a Social Security system that will be flat bust, bankrupt, unless the United States Congress has got the willingness to act now,” he said Tuesday at a forum on Social Security. The stark choice of words was hardly a slip of the tongue – Bush used the word “bankrupt” five times in the 45-minute session.

He also warned of a potentially “bankrupt” system in a radio address last month, referring to demographic changes that signal a “looming danger.”

“In the year 2018, for the first time ever, Social Security will pay out more in benefits than the government collects in payroll taxes,” Bush said.

That is just plain wrong. In 14 of the past 47 years, including 1975 to 1983, Social Security paid out more in benefits than the government collected in payroll, with the gap reaching $10 billion in 1983. So the projected “crossover” point in 2018 is a relatively meaningless milestone, say opponents of Bush’s privatization plans, even as they acknowledge the system faces long-term problems.

Remember how Bush and Cheney starting talking DOWN the economy and triggered a recession to get their tax cuts passed?

Your fearmongering isn't so easy now the Democrats have gotten a spinal transplant from the good Doctor, is it Mr. Bush?

Joshua Micah Marshall:

Second, what the president said today almost certainly violates his oath of office in which he swears to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

That would be the Constitution which reads (Am.XIV, Section 4): "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."

Were any of the military governments that destroyed Argentina's economy actually foolish enough to actually spread the word that their government was on the verge of default? What's more incredible is that these guys started doing this shit when the economy was in great shape, and actually fooled people into thinking that it wasn't so that they could get their tax cuts, which, combined with the Enron et al merde, actually made what they were saying true.

What kind of President boasts about the unsoundness of government finances, especially when they have gone from stellar to absolute rot on his watch? Is that patriotic?

Bush pushes for large tax cut this year

March 28, 2001
Web posted at: 6:04 a.m. EST (1104 GMT)

KALAMAZOO, Michigan (CNN) -- President Bush on Tuesday took issue with a Democratic push for an immediate tax rebate, saying the "winded but fundamentally strong" U.S. economy needs more than a one-time tax cut.
"Our economy needs more than a pick-me-up, more than a one-time boost," he said. "We must put more money in the hands of consumers in the short term, and restore confidence and optimism in the long term."

When you say restore confidence, you imply that it is missing. It wasn't before you got there:

Clinton declares economy sound, trumpets fiscal discipline
January 12, 2001
Web posted at: 8:19 p.m. EST (0119 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton released his eighth and final economic report to Congress on Friday -- a massive 402-page analysis that declares the nation's economy strong, but counsels that continued budget discipline is the best way to safeguard against a much-feared recession.

"The message of this final report is clear: The economy remains strong, on a sound foundation with a bright future," Clinton said during a new conference on the White House South Lawn.

The "2001 Economic Report of the President" credits remarkable advances in computer hardware, software and telecommunications as the catalyst for the unprecedented economic boom the United States has enjoyed under Clinton's tenure in office.

Clinton, seeking to safeguard his economic legacy in the history books, told reporters Friday: "We have resisted politically attractive but economically unwise temptations to veer from the path of fiscal discipline."

That last sentence: Did Clinton know exactly what was about to happen...did he want to remind Americans one last time that at that point in history, they had a chance at a future that was more....well....Canadian?

Wait a second...maybe we're not being fair here. Maybe Clinton was trying to scare and mislead people when he began his second term as well....

NBC - Professional March 7, 1997, Friday (from lexis-nexis database, no link)

Copyright 1997 FDCHeMedia, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Copyright 1997 CNBC/Dow Jones Business Video, a Division of CNBC/Dow Jones Desktop Video, LLC
All Rights Reserved
NBC - Professional

March 7, 1997, Friday

Today we learned some very good news about the American economy. Our nation has created almost 600,000 new jobs in the first two months of 1997, almost 12 million since January of 1992.

At the same time, the deficit has been reduced by 63 percent. Investment in our peopel has increased. Inflation remains low. Our economy is on the right track.

But to stay on that right track, we have to balance the budget while we go forward with the work that leads to continued growth and low inflation.

CLINTON: That's what our balanced budget will do, eliminating the deficit in five years and strengthening critical investments for the future of all of our people.

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office certified that even under its assumptions, because of the protections we built into the budget, it would be balanced by 2002.

So I am hopeful, and I want to say again, that the talks that we have been continually having with congressional leaders in both parties will produce a balanced budget agreement this year and in the not-too-distant future.

I also want to talk a moment about our commitments to our Gulf War veterans. And I thank Secretary Brown and the other veterans leaders who are here, including Elaine Larson from the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses; the leadership of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and other veterans organizations; and the Persian Gulf veterans who joined with us here today.

Two months ago, when I accepted the final report of the presidential advisory committee on Gulf War illnesses, I pledged to the committee and to all America's veterans that we would match their efforts with action.

Pretty scary stuff (not the part about balancing budget and helping veterans).

Bush created a fake economic crisis for his political gain that turned into a real one.

Then he created a fake new front in the war on terror for political gain which turned into a real one.

Now he wants to create a fake social security crisis for political gain....

What's next: a "fake" nuclear showdown with Iran/N. Korea right before the 2006 Congressional Elections?

Friday, February 11, 2005

Then why the FUCK did you vote for it?

"The Medicare Prescription Drug bill should have been an opportunity to help America ’s seniors afford their prescription drugs, not to provide the pharmaceutical companies with a massive government-sponsored subsidy,” Feinstein said. “When it was clear that the bill didn’t include provisions for the government to use its purchasing power to negotiate for lower prices, I knew there was a major problem.

When it was clear? What, you didn't read it until after you voted for it?
In Marriage Hatin' Gay Lovin' Pot Smokin' Iraqi Freedom Hatin' French...(you get the picture)...Canada, Abortion Rate Continues to Decline

Abortion rate continues to fall, Statscan says

Friday, February 11, 2005 Updated at 1:22 PM EST

Canadian Press

Toronto — The number of women seeking abortions across Canada appears to be continuing a downward trend, although in some provinces rates remain the same or are slightly on the rise, figures from Statistics Canada suggest.

Meanwhile, in America, where we value life, the abortion rate is going up.

Although in the U.S., the Federal government mysteriously stopped reporting comprehensive data after 2000, which was the last year of a long term decline...

Under Bush, the decade-long trend of declining abortion rates appears to have reversed. Given the trends of the 1990s, 52,000 more abortions occurred in the United States in 2002 than would have been expected...

I don't know why, but no one seems to have noticed this. In 1993, both the US and Canada elected center-left governments after years of right-wing rule, then at almost exactly the same time, they balanced their budgets, and had record surpluses and economic growth.

They also both experienced declining abortion rates. Then a strange thing happened. Both countries had an election in November of 2000. In both countries, the center-left parties said if you go back to the right, you are going to go back to the days of economic stagnation and deficits.

Gore, in St. Louis, says Bush would put U.S. back in record red ink
August 14, 2000
Web posted at: 8:43 p.m. EDT (0043 GMT)

[...]Gore said his Republican opponents would lead the country back to the policies of the 1980s, adding, "What they caused last time were record deficits, repeat recessions, high unemployment."

In one of those countries....people didn't buy it.

Since then, Canada has continued to have record surpluses, just like the US....

President Clinton announces another record budget surplus
From CNN White House Correspondent Kelly Wallace

September 27, 2000
Web posted at: 4:51 p.m. EDT (2051 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton announced Wednesday that the federal budget surplus for fiscal year 2000 amounted to at least $230 billion, making it the largest in U.S. history and topping last year's record surplus of $122.7 billion.

"Eight years ago, our future was at risk," Clinton said Wednesday morning. "Economic growth was low, unemployment was high, interest rates were high, the federal debt had quadrupled in the previous 12 years. When Vice President Gore and I took office, the budget deficit was $290 billion, and it was projected this year the budget deficit would be $455 billion."

OOPS, wrong quote....

Budget office projects U.S. deficit to hit $477 billion

Budget numbers likely part of election battle

Monday, January 26, 2004 Posted: 1:22 PM EST (1822 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal deficit will hit a record $477 billion this year and get worse if lawmakers cut taxes or increase spending, the Congressional Budget Office projected Monday in a report sure to become ammunition in the election-year fight over red ink.

Man that old Al Gore....he was willing to say anything to get elected.

Monday, February 07, 2005

This is it, America!

OK, so there weren't any weapons of Mass Destruction, but aren't we trying to liberate the Iraqi people and spread freedom? Well, NO, but in addition to the fact that the US has concluded Iraq abandoned its WMD program in the early 90s, and the fact that Iraq got many of its WMDs from the United States, the United States


U.S. Redesigning Atomic Weapons

Published: February 7, 2005

Worried that the nation's aging nuclear arsenal is increasingly fragile, American scientists have begun designing a new generation of nuclear arms meant to be sturdier and more reliable and to have longer lives, federal officials and private experts say.

What's the problem here? We invented the weapons that are capable of destroying the entire world, and we'll be damned if we don't continue to create new weapons that are even more capable of destroying civilization. I mean look, we've gotta fight the terrorists, and that's hard work. Why? So we can spread freedom. You don't hate freedom, now , do you?

Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.