The party of Lincoln

January 4th, 2011 § Comments off § permalink

Contrary to yesterday’s report, House Republicans are now claiming that they never really promised to cut $100 billion from the budget. Oh, wait, except they totally did:

“A Pledge to America,” the manifesto House Republicans published last September, included the promise, “We will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone.”

Republican leaders have repeatedly invoked the number. On Tuesday the Web site for Representative John A. Boehner, the incoming House speaker, included a link to his national radio address on the Saturday before the midterm elections, in which he said, “We’re ready to cut spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving roughly $100 billion almost immediately.”

Representative Paul D. Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who will become chairman of the House Budget Committee, said in December that the goal was to cut “a good $100 billion.”

It’s nice to see the New York Times taking a cue from The Daily Show and calling people out when they make stuff up.

Maybe I shouldn’t be complaining about the Republicans, though, since Jerry Brown is about to propose a budget that attempts to close a $25 billion deficit in California alone. I don’t doubt that California needs to get its finances under control, but man, a $25 billion cut is going to be painful. And I’m extremely frustrated that Brown isn’t willing to talk about amending Proposition 13. Is it so crazy to suggest that part of the solution to inadequate revenue should be more revenue?

In which I rue the ascent of the Tea Party

January 3rd, 2011 § Comments off § permalink

Oh, goody, the incoming House Republicans are getting ready for some good old-fashioned budget hackin’ and slashin’:

The incoming Republican majority in the House is moving to make good on its promise to cut $100 billion from domestic spending this year, a goal eagerly backed by conservatives but one carrying substantial political and economic risks.

House Republican leaders are so far not specifying which programs would bear the brunt of budget cutting, only what would escape it: spending for the military, domestic security and veterans.

That makes sense, because God knows the military and the Department of Homeland Security would never waste enormous amounts of money.

How fortunate that our nation has the new, improved, fiscally responsible Republican Party to bail us out, after all those years of misrule by the stupid old Democrats! Oh, wait:

Looming over the budget fight is the battle over the debt limit. An increase in the debt limit is essential for the government to borrow to meet its obligations, but it is adamantly opposed by the Tea Party movement and other small-government conservatives.

While they complain that lifting the limit enables new spending, mostly it allows the government to cover existing commitments, including trillions of dollars run up when Republicans controlled Congress and the White House from 2001 to 2007.

He also spat in the mojitos

February 28th, 2008 § Comments off § permalink

If you’re looking for an inexplicably hilarious summary of Fidel Castro’s tenure as the leader of Cuba, look no further. George W. Bush is all over it:

[Bush] said that Raul Castro is “nothing more than an extension of what his brother did, which is ruin an island.”

You hear that? Cuba was a perfectly good island. And Fidel Castro ruined it.

Fucking island-ruiner.

Deliberately created suffering

September 9th, 2005 § Comments off § permalink

Okay, one more on New Orleans, and then I’ll try to stop: Here’s a hideous account of how local police deliberately sabotaged many survivors’ efforts to leave the city on foot and provide food, water, and shelter for one another.

The Fox News clip that’s linked from that article is one of the most astonishing pieces of television I’ve ever seen. When even Fox is railing against the government like this, you know things are grim.


September 8th, 2005 § Comments off § permalink

For reasons known only to himself, Michael Brown, the pathetic, incompetent excuse for a FEMA director who’s supposed to be running the Hurricane Katrina response effort, is still not allowing rescue personnel to enter New Orleans:

[Brown]—who is under fire for the agency’s slow response to the flooding—said Wednesday that scores of police and volunteer firefighters from around the nation, as well as trucks loaded with donated water, were even now being prevented from entering New Orleans while troops conduct house-to-house searches.

“They can’t just yet,” Brown said during a briefing in Baton Rouge. “There is going to come this natural time when we will release this floodgate of cops and firefighters who want to help. It’s the same for anyone who wants to volunteer—we have over 50,000 offers of donations from the private sector. It has to be coordinated in such a way that it helps.”

Does that make any fucking sense to anyone? The city is filled with corpses, people are still in need of supplies and medical help, and Michael Brown is keeping the relief out of the city?

Meanwhile, Congress is merrily allocating tens of billions of dollars to FEMA for reconstruction, even though FEMA’s proven itself to be unqualified beyond all comprehension (and even though reconstruction is not FEMA’s job).

Also, keep in mind that I’m only posting about the absolute worst aspects of the relief effort. If you want a fuller picture of how America has failed its neediest citizens, read Making Light (my source for the first link), Talking Points Memo (my source for the second), and This Modern World.

UPDATE: It gets even better. Not only is FEMA keeping rescuers out of New Orleans, it’s apparently paying a private security firm to patrol the city instead.

After the storm

September 4th, 2005 § Comments off § permalink

Hurricane Katrina would have devastated Louisiana and Mississippi even if the federal government had been prepared to clean up the damage. But it clearly wasn’t. Now, as a major American city lies beneath 20 feet of water, filled with the rotting corpses of thousands of its residents, with tens of thousands more just now getting supplies and escaping their wretched surroundings, our nation’s government is responding with its usual furious spin. As Josh Marshall notes:

…[T]his whole conversation we’re having now is not about substance, but procedural niceties, excuses which is it is beyond shameful for an American president to invoke in such a circumstance. We don’t live in the 19th century. All you really needed was a subscription to basic cable to know almost all of the relevant details (at least relevant to know what sort of assistance was needed) about what was happening late last week. The president and his advisors want to duck responsibility by claiming, in so many words, that the Louisiana authorities didn’t fill out the right forms. So what they’re trying to pull is something like a DMV nightmare on steroids.

Look at New Orleans today. The severity of the flooding and the plight of its residents are the result of administration policies that diverted money and troops to Iraq and away from a city that has long been a disaster waiting to happen. (Note that the last article was published in October 2001.)

This is what happens when you put government in the hands of people who hate government.

Hope is on the way

November 22nd, 2004 § Seven comments § permalink

John Kerry’s next career move should be to record an album called In a Blue State. Something Leonard Cohen-esque, perhaps.

Four more years!?

November 3rd, 2004 § Five comments § permalink

Ladies and gentlemen, we are seriously fucked.

Where do we go from here?

Missing the connection

October 12th, 2004 § Eight comments § permalink

I swear to God, if I see another Berkeleyan driving a pickup truck with a “How many lives per gallon?” or “No blood for oil” bumper sticker, I’m going to scream.

Oh, homonyms, will you never cease to amuse me?

October 10th, 2004 § Six comments § permalink

From an article in today’s New York Times about why Bush and Kerry can’t stand each other:

Aides to Mr. Bush said that Mr. Kerry reminded him of the Brahmins he met, and disliked, at Yale and Harvard Business School. “One word the president uses sometimes is ‘haughty,’” said one person close to Mr. Bush…

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I am that “one person close to Mr. Bush,” and the word Bush actually uses sometimes is “hottie.”

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