Mission Accomplished

From Bloomberg via Think Progress:

Richest Americans’ Income Doubled as Tax Rate Slashed
By Ryan J. Donmoyer
Jan. 30 (Bloomberg)—The average tax rate paid by the richest 400 Americans fell by a third to 17.2 percent through the first six years of the Bush administration and their average income doubled to $263.3 million, new IRS data show.

The 17.2 percent tax rate in 2006 was the lowest since the IRS began tracking the 400 largest taxpayers in 1992, although the richest 400 Americans paid more tax on an inflation-adjusted basis than any year since 2000.

The drop from 2001’s tax rate of 22.9 percent was due largely to ex-President George W. Bush’s push to cut tax rates on most capital gains to 15 percent in 2003.

Dear America, I have news for you. POLARIZED ECONOMIES TEND TO TANK! The fact that this economy has been directed by the federal government for eight years to be so vastly polarized and the fact that this economy is now in the crapper is NOT A COINCIDENCE. And that House Minority “Leader” John Boner continued pressing a case for tax cuts over infrastructure spending as a means of stimulus should have everybody shaking in their boots. (And, please note that when Boner and Comedian Rush Limbaugh talk about tax cuts and when President Obama talks about tax cuts, they are not actually discussing the same subject. Remember that Comedian’s plan suspended the capital gains tax for a year and then slashed it to 10 percent; that’s this very tax cut that just gave the rich even more paper to burn. Do you feel it tricklin’ down on ya yet? Do ya?)

Heh-Heh. Heh. He Said 'Stimulus.'

It is a crying shame how the House vote went on the stimulus package, but it was a valuable object lesson for the Democratic Party and its leader, President Barack Obama.

The package isn’t perfect, but nothing is in Washington. It should have done more for infrastructure, and the provision expanding contraception programs should have stayed in. Or, is a recession not a good time to encourage people not to create new little mouths to feed? John Boner is an idiot.

With Obama’s mandate and overwhelming approval numbers, the Democrats probably could have included a provision to outlaw Republigoats altogether and shoved it right down their friggin’ throats. Instead, the man played it damned smart and gained a wealth of information in the process.

Obama was downright gracious with the Republigoats, despite their obstruction and unwarranted whining. He went to them. He listened. He even dropped the contraception provision. This President, who presently has so much political capital that he’s had to store half of it at Fort Knox, bent over backwards to include these assholes, and he didn’t have to. Despite this, they voted the party line completely, and on the singularly most important issue in America right now.

Very informative.

What we’ve learned is just how effective “reaching across the aisle” is going to be (not very). We’ve learned that House Republigoats have eschewed the honeymoon, and that House Democrats still cannot afford to handle those mofos with kid gloves.

This was but the first of many times President Obama and the House Democrats will have to wrangle with these asshats. Hopefully, they will learn that this ain’t a pleasant game of checkers. This is a cage match, and if they continue to show up not in possession of a folding metal chair, Democrats are going to continue getting clobbered.

Rush Limbaugh Is A Big, Fat Idiot

Wait. Has that title been taken already?

Well, what the hell. If the shoe fits…then haul them both at Rush Limbaugh.

Limbaugh writes an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal—I know, right?—advising President Obama to blithely indulge in the Two Santas strategem. Really.

Why President Obama should listen to a man who has conditionally hoped for his failure, and why anyone should listen to any idiot neoconservative regarding economics, and why the WSJ is giving this big fat idiot a single column inch is beyond me. Nonetheless, Comedian Rush Limbaugh has suggested his own stimulus package:

I say, cut the U.S. corporate tax rate — at 35%, among the highest of all industrialized nations — in half. Suspend the capital gains tax for a year to incentivize new investment, after which it would be reimposed at 10%. Then get out of the way! Once Wall Street starts ticking up 500 points a day, the rest of the private sector will follow.

First of all, who gives a rat’s ass hair what you say? America’s been the goose for your foie gras for far too long. Even your own Republigoats didn’t believe in supply-side until that traitor Raygunner. HW called it “voodoo.” Everyone used to call it “trickle down.” You know why? Because what it really means is that all the rest of us are getting pissed on.

Yours, Comedian Rush Limbaugh, are the people who believed it was acceptable to ship money out on pallets and not to demand a receipt. They did this not just once, in Iraq, but a second time as well, as with the $350 bazillion bailout. Why should we listen to anything you have to say about anything much more important than whether or not to double-lace one’s shoelaces?

Yes, you fat stupid fuckpig, getting “out of the way” is always such a wonderful idea. As we all know, people are rational, long-sighted creatures who will always do the right thing and will never allow greed to sway them to create foolish investment instruments. The market is a beautiful, mythical creature that eats rainbows and poots marshmallows and money. Yes, government infrastructure investment is, without a doubt, a complete waste of money—though it does include the pleasant side effect of having an infrastructure afterward that has actually been invested in, which doesn’t seem like a bad idea in light of Bridge 9340.

Comedian missed it. In November 2008, the American people took a step back, reviewed what was happening, and rather decisively indicated that it was time to do things differently. What we need now, what actually works, is a muscular monetary policy, which means that Uncle Sam needs to upgrade some bridges and fix the grid. Rush Limbaugh, John Boner, and all the rest of the lot of them need to STFD and STFU and let the Democrats clean up the rotten, fetid mess they’ve created for all of us. Again.

On a more personal note: For years, and I mean as long as I can remember—and I’ve been around here for a long, long time—near the bus and subway stop where I leave my suburb for downtown, a Chinese restaurant existed. Not anymore. There is a “For Lease” sign on the old Hunan. A Ruby Tuesday restaurant—a chain I resent the hell out of for appropriating one of the most classic songs ever created—that is directly beside the subway stop, has also gone under.

How bad are things when you can’t keep a restaurant, one a long-running success, the other a familiar chain, open with such a winner of a location? You’re right on top of a major Metro hub, and you can’t make the lease?

Get under your desks, kids. The next wave is coming.

Ms. Crowley: What Went Down in Your Head?

Monica Crowley and I are very different people.

On the most recent McLaughlin, the post-resignation Nixon aide (::headscratch::) said that President Obama’s determination to close the detainee camps at Guantánamo Bay “…will prove to be one of the most irresponsible things ever done by a Commander-In-Chief.”

You see, I was thinking the exact opposite, that closing that facility is remarkably responsible, and that opening it in the first place and subverting the law to detain these people in this manner was actually the irresponsible thing.

And it gets worse with every tale you hear about it.

They reported last night that many of the 245 or so detainees left there don’t even have a complete case record filed. So, for many of them, there’s not even a printed sheet of paper that spells out why they’re there, not even on the grounds. And yet, as Dr. Maddow wondered last evening, the Pentagon seems to know exactly what happened to 61 of them (a number that is shaky at best) once they left the facility. What, did we tag their ears?

This is where conservagoats work the hardest at driving a guy like me crazy. They’re all over the TV now, positing about what might happen if one of these guys shows up in your hometown. Witness the best of these concerns, voiced by Rep. Steve King of Iowa:

Let’s just say that, that, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, is brought to the United States to be tried in a federal court in the United States, under a federal judge, and we know what some of those judges do, and on a technicality, such as, let’s just say he wasn’t read his Miranda rights. … He is released into the streets of America. Walks over and steps up into a US embassy and applies for asylum for fear that he can’t go back home cause he spilled the beans on al Qaeda. What happens then if another judge grants him asylum in the United States and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is on a path to citizenship. I mean, I give you the extreme example of this.

I’ll say.

Let me tell ya something, Steve King. If a guy like Mohammed were able to secure asylum and citizenship, that’s not President Obama’s fault. It’s the fault of whatever mofo ordered to have him waterboarded.

No, no. What we’re seeing here is a return to reason and responsibility, not a flouting of it. President Obama has made closing it a top priority, as he absolutely should.

Your Church. Welcome to it.

In 1998, The Catholic Church excommunicated an entire parish in Rochester, NY. Now they have a new church called Spiritus Christi (you can Google it up). The reason for this drastic measure was the prominent role of women on the altar (they had women deacons, they now have a woman priest), the blessing of gay unions, and the offering of communion to those who were not Catholic. These are terrible crimes, I am sure, designed to encourage people to get along and love one another in a world where divisiveness and hatred are an every day scourge.

Last week, Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunications on four bishops of the traditionalist Society of St Pius X, including the English Bishop Richard Williamson, who denies that the Holocaust ever happened. Does not care much for Jews, I guess.

The four bishops were excommunicated 20 years ago because they had been consecrated by the late ultraconservative Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre without papal consent. Apparently the Vatican at the time believed the mass should be celebrated uniformly …in the vernacular…while these guys believed the Mass should be kept secret, in Latin. (Not that there is anything wrong with it.)

The Vatican said last week that Pope Benedict rehabilitated the four Bishops as part of his efforts to bring Lefebvre’s Society of St. Pius X back into the fold and normalize relations with the Society. And the Vatican says Bishop Williamson’s views on the Holocaust are despicable, but they are his personal views, and thus not a matter of concern to the Pope.

Guess not. But I have a couple of questions. Do we carry political correctness too far when we demand that a leader in the Church willingly accept basic facts on the historical record? Facts such as the existence of death camps throughout the Third Reich, a comprehensive plan to kill all Jews in Europe, the mass graves, the pits of human ashes? All of which are documented photographically and in written statements by millions of people who were there?

Are we asking too much if we demand that the Catholic Church place intellectual demands on its leaders, including acceptance of the basic facts of the historical record? Should we not demand that leaders in the church are selected for ability to not allow their personal hatreds to cloud their vision of reality? Should we be particularly concerned about the moral implications of Holocaust denial when it has become a popular a tool of antisemitism world wide? Should we be concerned that the church is willing to put the moral education of its flock in the hands of someone whose views even the Church finds repugnant?

Every church community has its own moral agenda. The Catholic Church has chosen to protect us from the influence of gays and women and non believers, but it has no problem sanctioning the moral primacy of Jew Haters. I guess that tells you something.

:: wave ::

We had an interesting commenter stop by and mark up my recent entry* on the abortion issue.* ‘Twas someone who knows me or knew me, enough to refer to me not by my nom de web.

More interesting, though, was the nom de web the commenter left.

Comment by A Planned Parenthood Nurse

I won’t pretend to know the commenter’s intent. It’s just interesting is all. Apparently, the “Planned Parenthood nurse” is a frequent character in pro-birther propaganda.

Most recently, a pro-birth student group posted film it claims is of a “Planned Parenthood nurse,” discussing the mechanics of abortion with a woman at 22 weeks. The nurse confirms to the woman that such an abortion is literally inducing labor.

“Is the baby alive?” asks the pregnant woman.

“Usually not,” the nurse replies.

The woman again asks if the baby could be born alive, to which the nurse responds:

“Usually, for the most part no, but it does happen.”

“It’s an actual delivery,” her explanation continues, “but it wouldn’t be able to survive on its own, so eventually the baby does die.”

The film has not come from a legitimate news organization. We cannot be certain of its actual origin. We cannot be certain the woman on camera is actually a “Planned Parenthood nurse.” The group presenting this “evidence” is rather enthusiastic about its own viewpoint on this particular issue. One could say I’m a bit skeptical.

Especially when you look at a few numbers.

According to the CDC, 59.3 percent of abortions in the United States were of age 8 weeks or less in 2002. 18 percent were of 9 to 10 weeks; 9.4 were of 11 to 12 weeks. That’s 86.7 percent of abortions in 2002 within the first trimester.

These numbers do not mollify at all for those hell-bent on life-at-conception. But the same numbers also gave the number of abortions in The United States at over 20 weeks: 1.4 percent.

That indicates that the story about the Planned Parenthood nurse is what one might suspect it is: Purely anecdotal and seized upon by pro-birthers for its ability to shock.

Is abortion lovely? Hell, no. You don’t need to show me pictures of little bloody corpses and in-utero fingernails or to regale me with tales of infanticide. I’m with you kids on that one. Abortion is not nice.

I just think there are better ways to combat the need for it than by returning to the states the option to throw doctors and women into jail for it.

*By the way, kids, let’s get this straight. A “blog” is not an indivdual entry in a “blog.” A “blog” is the Web site as a whole. One makes an entry in a blog; one does not sit down in an afternoon and write a “blog.” Thank you.

Busch 9/11 Redux

Curiosity about what The Moron George W. Busch was doing on September 11, 2001 will not be satisfied by viewing the Nation Geographic Channel’s special on Air Force One, which aired Sunday night. At best, this presentation, made with the full cooperation of The Moron AND Barack Obama, is hot air drama typical of this genre. At worst, another attempt by Busch to burnish his image for posterity.

The hype on the show was that it was the DANGEROUS 9/11 MISSION THAT HAD TO SUCCEED!!! I have been swearing since September 11, 2001 that Busch was drunk, panicked and cowering in the Presidential Suite of Air Force One that day. I came to this conclusion standing in front of a television at the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City, where I had heard…and felt the plane crash into the Pentagon. Where was Busch? Bill Clinton, I knew, would have been visible. Probably at Andrews AFB, reassuring the nation. Where was Busch? Flying around the country, popping up from time to time like a gopher out of his hole. Why wasn’t he on the ground where he belonged?

The National Geographic special tells us three things. First, that AF One was a target that day. Or they had reason to think so. Even the most gullible news outlets (I don’t consider Fixxed News a News Outlet) have not bought into this story, which surfaced just after the attack. It was polished up (by Rove & Co.) on the first anniversary in an attempt to demonstrate Busch’s heroism. The TV special tells us that the pilots of Air Force One had reports of an airplane tracking them as they took off from Sarasota, FL. They knew the plane was an airliner, not a small private plane. The pilot of AF One tells us he flew out over the Gulf because he knew Air Force fighters would be on routine patrol there. (Why didn’t they call for fighter cover to start with?) If it was an airliner (which it proved to be) did they think the airliner could be flown fast enough to actually crash into Air Force One? The Presidential Jet can travel at over 600 MPH, nearly supersonic speeds, the announcer tells us. Would another airliner actually travel fast enough to cross AF One’s bow before help could arrive? Could any plane not flying in excess of MACH One?

The second thing we learn, from The Moron himself (who, wearing a cute little blue pilot jump suit is extensively interviewed) is that it was not his idea not to return to Washington. It was the other guys that made him stay away. Is no my fault man!! We have heard that before. Whether he was in Washington, or at OFUTT AFB in Nebraska, is hardly the issue. What was he doing? Thats the question. Why was he was not leading the country?

That’s the third thing we learn. He was not leading because Air Force One does not have the equipment necessary to communicate with Washington during a crisis. NO? Air Force One? (For a very well documented 9/11 chronology go to Historycommons.org.)

The TV show goes on to document some of the other really dangerous missions it conducted with the brave Moron Busch, including the famous Thanksgiving in Iraq where he posed with a fake bird. Barack did participate in this production. There is a vignette at the end in which the new president is welcomed to the plane, greets the pilot and talks to the steward about a cheese burger. He likes them medium well, with Dijon or Grey Poupon, lettace, tomato. Cheddar Cheese.

John Boner's Stimulus Package

Before we take too seriously John Boner’s whining about the stimulus plan, we should look closely at the GOP economic record. Not good…particularly if you are trying to make the case…as is House Minority Leader Boner… that the GOPers know what they are talking about.

In the beginning of VooDoo economics, The Raygunner, traitor to his nation, cut taxes… and cut taxes… and swore it would result in lower deficits and economic growth. We got some growth in the 1980s, but by the time Busch the First was done with the economy, we were in a recession. More important, we had the biggest deficit in history.

Bill Clinton came into office and insisted on fiscal discipline. He raised taxes and balanced the budget and we had the greatest economic expansion in history. The Moron Busch was elected with a budget surplus at his command …the first since Jimmy Carter left a surplus for the Raygunner to squander… and quickly set about squandering it,too. Instead of using it to shore up Social Security, as his advisors suggested, he began a new round of Tax Cuts which, he assured the world, would mean prosperity for all.

After eight years of Voodoo economics under The Moron Busch (not that the return to VooDoo is the only… even the biggest blunder from the Moron’s reign) the economy is in the tank.

So now comes John (“I’m concerned about the size of the package”) Boner to argue that one problem with the stimulus is it needs more tax breaks. Who is he kidding? Like VooDoo Economics works? Where is the evidence that it ever worked? This is no time to give in to these monkeys. This is no time for tax breaks.

If there is a real issue with the stimulus package it’s the fact that only 18 percent of the package is aimed at infrastructure. That’s where the real benefits in this program are.. the repair of roads, replacement of bridges, construction of an electrical grid, rebuilding schools, greening public facilities, encouraging the public to get greener. There are a zillion jobs in those programs. Why isn’t the GOP on that issue? Guess Busch is not the only moron in their ranks.

They Missed The Biggest One Of All

The British Guardian newspaper today runs Twenty-five people at the heart of the meltdown …, an attempt to quantify the crisis. The list includes Al Greenspan, Bill Clinton, Chris Dodd, and The American People, but it neglects to mention the most at fault of all: Milton Friedman and his band of merry maniacs from Chicago.

It is ironic that Friedman could have stood to take a lesson from Karl Marx: Just because that shit looks good on paper doesn’t mean it’s good public policy. Friedman’s ideas gave birth to the mantra that government regulation is always bad and that a market is a silvery, flax-coated unicorn that eats rainbows and poots out silver dollars.

Sure, Greenspan was a Friedman believer, until recently (Oct. 23, 2008).

Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief.

I hope President Obama can lead the charge to stab this mindless philosophy of Free Markets Rule and Government Is The Problem right in the heart. It would help if a piece like the Guardian‘s would acknowledge its culpability.

Like The Weasels That They Are

From TPM:

…because the central objective of burrowing is for political appointees to fly under the radar while Washington changes hands, it’s often hard to tell when the practice is actually occurring. Consider the case of Kathie Olsen, who just made a very curious move: going from the No. 2 post at the National Science Foundation to the far less influential job of “senior advisor” in the NSF’s Office of Information and Resource Management.

As Science magazine observes, Olsen had already submitted her resignation to the Obama administration and would have been out the door had she not slipped into her new, seemingly secure post. And this isn’t just any Bush appointee avoiding the need to find a new job—Olsen was at the forefront of the former president’s systematic denial of the human causes of climate change.

How can we miss you assholes if you won’t go away?