February 2004 Archives

by David Remer, PoliWatch.Org, WatchBlog

Allen Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Banking System, dropped a time bomb in the Republican's laps. Greenspan is appointed and retains his position at the discretion of the President and answers regularly to the Congress. So, Greenspan is never going to come out and say his boss is missing the boat, or the Congress is cheating Americans now paying into the Social Security. At least he would never say so overtly.

He did however; bring the issue of Social Security insolvency in 30 years or more down the road, into focus for the November elections. He did this quite effectively by linking Social Security problems to the deficits which this President and Republican Congress are responsible for. Specifically, Chairman Greenspan said according to Ken Moritsugu of Knight Ridder:

"I think it is terribly important to make certain that we communicate to the people who are about to retire what it is they're going to have to live with. And if we promise more than we can actually deliver, I think it will be a major blot on our whole fiscal process," Greenspan said.

The looming Social Security and Medicare crisis makes it all the more important to get today's growing federal budget deficit under control, Greenspan said. He described today's situation as "probably one of the most difficult fiscal situations we've ever faced."

Now Chairman Greenspan is not about to attack President Bush's tax cuts, that could get him fired. So if revoking any of the tax cuts is off the table, cutting spending is the only option left. And with a half trillion more dollars being spent in 2005 than are taken in by tax revenues, it is clear the President and Congress are not dealing with the problem at all. In fact, Congress and the President are using about 120 billion dollars of Social Security income to help keep the deficit numbers lower than they actually are.

Remember when all the politicians were talking, promising and debating the Social Security lock box? For all the talk, it never happened. And this Republican Congress is consuming Soc. Sec. income for pork projects and their own pay raise while managing even still, to spend more than 1/3 trillion dollars more than they are taking in. Chairman Greenspan is quite correctly bringing to the public attention, the fact that uncontrolled and unpaid for spending by this President and this Republican Congress is going to result in a breach of contract with the American tax payer with regard to Social Security. And such spending threatens future borrowing ability by the U.S. Government. Yes, the U.S. has a credit rating too, just like credit card users. While American credit is fine today, continuing to add interest on the debt, to the debt, and spending more than the government takes in, for years on end, will bankrupt the U.S. just as it would an undisciplined credit card user.

Cutting government spending is one approach. Raising tax revenues is another. Either or both of these solutions applied together will solve the future bankruptcy of the U.S. What Chairman Greenspan is pointing out in his own inimicable way is that this Congress and this President are doing NOTHING to deal with the solution. They are acting like thieves with stolen credit cards, spending with abandon because they know they will not have to pay the bill.

The American people owe Chairman Greenspan a vote of thanks for making this all important issue to Americans, an issue to be raised in the November elections.

A week in review

Consumer Confidence Drops in February ... Nah, all Americans believe Bush - the economy is in great shape and going to be fantastick by December. Note that is only a couple weeks after the election. Hmmm... why didn't he say it would be fantastick before the election - it only a couple weeks?

Jobs Expected to Continue to Lag Economy ...Only one who didn't seem to know that was Bush before he stuffed his foot in mouth claiming millions of new jobs this year.

Washington's data-mining 'shell game?' ...This is a must read for those who thought the data collecting/mining effort by our government to track us all was a dead issue.

Border agents feel betrayed by Bush guest-worker plan ...Along with a few millon other folks.

Bush Education Secretary calls teachers' organization terrorists ... Ooops! His thinking is out of the bag. Talk about being honest with the public about your biases, Paige takes the cake.

U.S. Shelves Nuke Safety Rules Proposal ... Thank the Great Spirit.

Panel Urges Bush to Finance Climate-Change Research

"A panel concluded today that the president's plan for examining climate change can succeed only if it is shielded from politics and if budgets grow." Guess we can throw that research out the window.

Security Efforts Turning Capital Into Armed Camp And we still think we live in the land of the free? Free to what, respond and focus on our fears regardless the cost?

Bush Defends Decision for War in Iraq Again? Geez, does he really think anyone who didn't believe him before will change their mind now that the proof is in, or isn't in, --ahh, you know what I mean.

Scientists Accuse White House of Distorting Facts

"The group, which included 20 Nobel laureates, said that the White House has deliberately and systematically distorted scientific fact in the service of policy goals. By James Glanz." Oh, please, say it isn't so. I am so disillusioned, I may never vote again.

Republican dirty tricks used doctored photo of Kerry (shades of every election held since).

Comments by David R. Remer

Army Cancels Comanche Helicopter Program [AP Politics]

Finally, our Federal Government does something RIGHT for the American people. Oh wait, I forgot to ask if they were giving us our money back on that program. Oh, well, made a nice headline though didn't it.

Posted by David R. Remer, PoliWatch.Org, WatchBlog

Bush's no brainer choices.

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Bush Launches More Aggressive Campaign With Speech. WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush, battered by his Democratic challengers and slipping in the polls, answered back on Monday, arguing that his opponents are hesitant in combatting terrorism and that their policies will raise taxes. By The Associated Press. [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

Now this is an interesting tactic. Bush argues his opponents might hesitate and contemplate a bit, come up with an exit strategy, and a plan that will minimize losses and get the job done as fast as possible, before embarking on war that will kill our sons and daughters. Hmmm... sounds like we need to give his opponents another look see.

Bush goes on to argue that his opponents and their policies will raise taxes. I guess he means instead of indebting our next generation of children to higher taxes like Bush himself has done. Hmmm... So the choice we have is to vote for Bush and sell out our kids to a lifetime of higher taxes through Bush's spend now, tax later policy, or, vote for the spend now and pay for it now Democrats. Hmm... seems like a no brainer to me.

Posted by David R. Remer, PoliWatch.Org, WatchBlog

Great article on why the Kerry Steamroller is unstoppable, can be found here at WatchBlog.

Great article on DNC's Terry McAuliffe's call for Ralph Nader to not run for President on the basis that it will help Bush and hurt Democrats. Insightful treatment of the subject.
An excellent article about Ralph Nader's announcement of Presidential candidacy and what it means can be found at WatchBlog. Democrats, take heed.

Kerry Steamroller: Part II

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By David R. Remer - ( PoliWatch.Org - WatchBlog )

Kerry wins Wisconsin by an apparent single digit margin, but exit polls indicate it was a landslide. Polls show Kerry received a large majority of the Democratic vote. The primary was open to Independents and Republicans as well. Edwards got a majority of the Independent vote, but, lost large to Kerry amongst Democrats.

As I pointed out in a previous article, Kerry provided voters the one overriding issue and quality that disparate groups in the Democrat party would need to unify them - potential to send Bush packing in November. The exit polls tonight as reported on MSNBC with Chris Matthews hosting, showed that beating Bush in November is the unifying interest of Democratic voters, and Kerry's frontrunner status gave voters that confidence in him to get the job done.

Normally, a frontrunner, this early in the primaries would make the frontrunner a target in other primaries. This phenomenon is not at play in this election cycle. The reason is the Democrats having a common priority, unseating President Bush from the Oval Office. All other differences among a huge majority of Democrats have receded. It is probably safe to say, that Edwards' popularity amongst Independents in Wisconsin, will have little problem shifting allegiance to Kerry, for their goal is not dissimilar from Democrats, just less a priority amongst other priorities, such as likeability.

The large Democratic candidate field created confusion for Democrats trying to decide who, among so many, could win? The psychological impact of Kerry coming out of Iowa and New Hampshire with clear wins, was devastating to the other candidates. Kerry's strong showing in the first primary and caucus of the season helped bewildered voters make up their mind. His frontrunner status took the ambiguity out of the equation for a majority of Democratic voters. That frontrunner status turned Kerry into a Steamrolling machine over the other Democratic candidates and short of a major gaffe, that steamroller will carry him to the nomination.

If Nader decides not to run (very likely), the Green Party nominee will not have the 2000 effect of drawing Democratic and Independent voters away from the Democratic candidate as it did then. Given the dead even numbers of Republicans and Democrats in the country today, this could result in the Kerry steamroller effect carrying Kerry right into the Oval Office. The reason is that the Republican Party is likely going to lose some conservative Independents to the Libertarian candidate (a Nader effect in reverse) and a small, but perhaps significant number of conservatives failing to show up at the polls because of broken faith with the conservative agenda by President Bush.

I can see the slogan in October - JFK IS BACK TO STAY. That is John F. Kerry

Posted by David Remer -- PoliWatch.Org

WatchBlog, a political debate site, broke a story 6 days ago about a rumor of Kerry and an affair. Apparently Drudge "broke" the story today and now it is making the circuit around the net. There is nothing so far to substantiate the rumor. Check out the objective coverage of this story here at WatchBlog.

We are still nine months from the election and the "dirty political tricks" are already so deep it is hard to breathe.

Why would a Texan, such as myself, be sending a campaign contribution to Wisconsin and Arizona Senator's campaigns? As an Independent voter, I am able to choose to support candidates regardless of party based on their record and positions which reflect my values and interests. This year is the first that I am sending campaign money across the political spectrum to the Green Party, Democrat, and Republican Senators. This year I am supporting John McCain (R) and Russ Feingold.(D) I choose these candidates both because they are Senator's of very high integrity, and because together, they gave us the first down-payment on real campaign finance reform in America.

The main additional reason I am supporting John McCain is found in the following transcript of McCain's address to the Senate regarding President Bush's 2005 Budget.

To read the full text go to Sen. McCain's website :

Mr. President, here we go again. Another omnibus appropriations bill - and this one really takes the cake. Obviously the New Year's Eve parties didn't end for Congress on January 1st. We're on a spending bender and this bill proves it.

Americans have heard much about the growing problem of identity theft. Mr. President, what we have before us is perhaps the most costly case of identity theft imaginable. It appears that the big spenders in Washington have all but stolen the credit card numbers of every hard-working taxpayer in America and gone on a limitless spending spree for parochial, pork-barrel projects, leaving the taxpayers to pay and pay. These big spenders view the federal budget as a virtual shopping mall where they can buy their way to re-election.

And the additional reason I am supporting Sen. Feingold is the following text from his website:

1. Russ works hard to bring Wisconsin values to the US Senate: Russ fought for 7 years, along with Senator John McCain (R-AZ), to reform the way campaigns are financed and successfully passed the McCain-Feingold Act, which is the system's most sweeping change in a generation. The Act, which was signed into law in March 2002, bans party soft money (unlimited contributions to national party committees), which had a corrupting influence on government. In addition, Russ led the fight for such successful reforms as a ban on special interest gifts and travel. He does not believe that Congress should be able to receive a backdoor pay raise, and he sends his pay raise and millions of dollars from his federal office back to the US Treasury each year. By attending listening sessions in every Wisconsin county, every year-more than 780 since he took office. Russ has taken the inspiration of local residents back to Washington and has introduced very successful legislation based on their ideas.

2. Russ fights to provide quality and affordable health care for families and businesses, by supporting a "patients' bill of rights" to guarantee patients access to quality health care and protection from unfair insurance claim denials. He has introduced legislation to bring Wisconsin's fair share of federal Medicare dollars back to the state and to help small businesses provide quality health care to their employees, and supports efforts to provide seniors with a prescription drug benefit guaranteed by Medicare.

3. Russ works hard to protect Wisconsin jobs from being lost to unfair foreign competition, by opposing poorly crafted trade agreements such as GATT and NAFTA, by introducing legislation to require the federal government to buy American-made goods, and by working to eliminate tax breaks for US companies that manufacture goods overseas.

4. Russ fights to cut spending and has been honored by the bipartisan Concord Coalition and Taxpayers for Common Sense for his efforts to eliminate the federal deficit while protecting Social Security and Medicare. He has been recognized by the National Taxpayers Union as the ONLY senator to have an agenda that actually cut federal spending.

5. Russ has a deep commitment to improving public education, introducing legislation to reduce class sizes for the early grades, supporting Head Start funding increases to help low-income children get ready to learn in school, and voting to put more teachers in the classroom and improve teacher training.

By David Remer PoliWatch.Org

The President may not be sold on Kyoto Treaty Agreement or be concerned about global warming, but, the Pentagon is taking this issue very seriously and spending your tax dollars to lay plans to deal with what they now recognize may be a problem to face in just a decade, instead of millenia down the road. Note the following and click on this link for the full text from Fortune:

CLIMATE COLLAPSE
The Pentagon's Weather Nightmare
The climate could change radically, and fast. That would be the mother of all national security issues.
Monday, January 26, 2004
By David Stipp

Global warming may be bad news for future generations, but let's face it, most of us spend as little time worrying about it as we did about al Qaeda before 9/11. Like the terrorists, though, the seemingly remote climate risk may hit home sooner and harder than we ever imagined. In fact, the prospect has become so real that the Pentagon's strategic planners are grappling with it.

by David R. Remer PoliWatch.Org

Dick Cheney is reported to say this war on terrorism will be with us for decades. How bloody convenient for the hawks and military industrial complex. And how extremely unfortunate for America's sons and daughters who choose to enter the military, or, are drafted if they choose en masse not to. If the U.S. worked closely with other nations to stamp out terrorism and set a goal of 3 years or 5 years to get the job done, there is no doubt in my mind the international community could have and would have accomplished that goal since it would serve the interests of all nations. Who was served by the alienation of the U.N., France, Germany, Russia, and the E.U.? Who stands to gain from a war on terrorism that lasts decades?

If Americans by a majority do not ask and perceive the answer to this question, we will get a perpetual war, both hyped and propped up in the media as well as real with torn limbs, disemboweled bodies, and headless U.S. military victims. Why will we get this perpetual war? Because it will be good for the economy, it will be profitable for R&D companies, it will be profitable for energy companies, it will be profitable for arms and munitions manufacturers, and it will good for the Republican Party.

Polls show the public trusts the Republicans on security and military issues more than they trust any other party. There could be no better insurance policy for the Republican Party to retain power than a perpetual war overseas that is designed to protect us here at home from an invisible enemy. An enemy our Intelligence community was, and is, unable to detect, follow, or capture in whole. The 9/11 investigative commission has discovered that the dots were there to connect and they were huge DOTS. The dots screamed for increased security of American domestic and American bound aircraft. Many in our government and in the intelligence community warned of the DOTS and the picture they drew, and either their views were dismissed out of hand. The DOTS, information pieces from different intelligence sources, when connected, predicted a terrorist attack against the U.S. using aircraft as weapons. Intelligence agents connected these dots and spelled out the picture and they were dismissed. There is no excuse, no rationale, no way to understand why the U.S. did not beef up airline security prior to 9/11 unless there was a deliberate design to allow an attack to occur or a gross negligence on the part of this administration.

What intelligence officials did not know, and probably could not know, was just how devastating such an attack could be. Had this administration and intelligence leadership had any idea of the potential devastation of using planes as weapons, in all likelihood, airline security would have been implemented. But, this does not, in anyway, negate the fact, that airline security should have been beefed up based on reports by intelligence officials who did in fact connect the DOTS.

There is no doubt in my mind, that this Bush administration felt a bit cheated that Clinton had the first trade center attack on his watch. This administration no doubt viewed it as a wasted opportunity: If only it had happened on this administration's watch, it would have provided the justification and sales pitch they needed to carry out their predefined plan to establish a military presence in the middle east, to take out Saddam Hussein, to expand American military around the globe, and reap the benefits of those trillions of dollars of military buildup and spending, and demand for energy sources such expansion would create. Then 9/11 occurred, and an ironic "stroke of luck" gave this administration what they wished for.

In the end, it will be found that there is no evidence the Administration knew when or how the planes would be used as weapons for a terror attack on the U.S. Too, it will be found that this Administration did know there was a likelihood that planes would be used at some point as a means of terror attack upon the U.S. The only conclusion to draw from this is that the Administration was responsible for knowing there was a pending threat by aircraft, and they chose to not respond to that threat by beefing up airline security. That makes this Administration partly responsible for the attacks, and negligent in its duty to protect and defend the security of the United States and its people.

by David R. Remer PoliWatch.Org

This story in the NY Times: Charity Reopens Bible, and Questions Follow demonstrates precisely how Bush's funding of charitable organizations is paving the way toward government subsidized religion in American. In this story by Daniel J. Wakin, the Salvation Army of Greater New York is stressing to lay employees that the Army's core mission is not just social services but also spreading the Gospel.

by David R. Remer PoliWatch.Org

In a pair of stories about what Bush and Blair face in the backlash of the Iraqi invasion, trouble looms for them both as they must now answer to their democracies for unprecedented unilateral militance and the looming costs to their peoples for their haste to war and strategic miltary expansion on the globe.

The question is, how independent will the review committees actually be?

An Inquiry That's Awash in Disputes at the Outset. Intelligence officials are hoping that the commission that President Bush plans to appoint to examine intelligence lapses will offer them help, not finger pointing. By Douglas Jehl.

No 10 poised to confirm WMD inquiry. 11.45am: Downing Street is expected to announce an inquiry into the intelligence basis for the war in Iraq.

ID theft and Government

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Your local government taxes are hard at work, or are they? This story has the potential of growing large if not nipped in the bud immediately. But, with cash strapped state and local economies, that is very unlikely thanks to our friends in Wash. D.C.

Report Focuses on False ID's Made at Motor Vehicle Offices. Bribery and poor security at motor vehicle offices across the country allowed thousands of fraudulent driver's licenses to change hands last year, for as little as $350 each, a report says. By Jennifer Bayot. [New York Times: Business]

by David R. Remer PoliWatch.Org

The following story showed up in my news feed and begs a very important question to be asked:

White House Says Congress Underestimated New Medicare Costs. The budget is not only for prescription drugs, but also for private health insurance plans that would be offered to the elderly. By Robert Pearand Edmund L. Andrews. [New York Times: Business]

Before the question a couple of facts. Fact, the President has his own team of economists and accountants in the Office of Management and Budget. (OMB) Second, the Congressional counterpart is the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). So, obviously the CBO came up with and estimate, attached it to the bill and sent the Medicate Bill to the President's desk for signature. The President signed it.

Now, the question. Did the President do his homework and have the OMB determine the cost of the Medicare Bill before he signed the bill?

If he did, then the above headline story is a political ploy pure and simple whereby, the President knew how much it was going to cost from his OMB, approved that cost and signed the bill, and waited for wax to hit the fan, planning all along to blame the cost overruns on the Congress.

If the President did not do his homework by getting the cost of the bill from his own OMB before signing the bill, then folks, we have a grossly irresponsible man signing blank checks at the head of our government. One too busy planning on how to keep power to be bothered with the responsibilities of his office to the American people.

So, which is it, Mr. President? What did you know and when did you know it? Are you signing bills you know will sticker shock the American people spiral our national debt without foreknowledge of the people, or, are you child with a credit card with no discipline or knowledge on how to responsibly use it?

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