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Will 'The Hammer' Get Nailed?   

TIME Mar. 21, 2005 The G.O.P. leader's troubles mount, with new questions about his dealings with the former aide who helped build his political machi
The G.O.P. leader's troubles mount, with new questions about his dealings with the former aide who helped build his political machine. Read on...
Just as new scandals concerning alleged ethical violations by DeLay (R-TX) and other Members have erupted in recent days, the House Ethics Committee has become virtually powerless. The reason? Rules passed by the GOP congress at the beginning of 2005 make it virtually impossible for the Committee to launch any investigation of unethical conduct. But you can help to resolve the gridlock in the Ethics Committee: click here     [thnx to Dabobbo

Oy... Matthew Yglesias

As I just IMed to a colleague, someday when I'm powerful and important, I'll write my chilling expose about how little journalists understand about the issues they write about. Until then, you'll have to read U.S. News and World Report's thoughts on the labor market:

Breathe easy, workers: The jobless recovery is indisputably over. Some 262,000 new jobs were created last month, with almost every sector of the economy contributing, including manufacturing. That's icing on the cake after January, when the U.S. labor market at long last recouped all of its losses from the 2001 recession. There are now about 300,000 more people working than in February 2001, the pre-recession peak.

This is a bit like John Kerry taking solace in the fact that he's the second-highest all-time vote getter in an American presidential election. The American population grows at around 0.9 percent each year -- that means we've got something like 9 or 10 million more people than we had in February 2001 chasing the additional 300,000 jobs. click here [thnx to Dabobbo

Oy... Matthew Yglesias

As I just IMed to a colleague, someday when I'm powerful and important, I'll write my chilling expose about how little journalists understand about the issues they write about. Until then, you'll have to read U.S. News and World Report's thoughts on the labor market:

Breathe easy, workers: The jobless recovery is indisputably over. Some 262,000 new jobs were created last month, with almost every sector of the economy contributing, including manufacturing. That's icing on the cake after January, when the U.S. labor market at long last recouped all of its losses from the 2001 recession. There are now about 300,000 more people working than in February 2001, the pre-recession peak.

This is a bit like John Kerry taking solace in the fact that he's the second-highest all-time vote getter in an American presidential election. The American population grows at around 0.9 percent each year -- that means we've got something like 9 or 10 million more people than we had in February 2001 chasing the additional 300,000 jobs.The recovery, clearly, is no longer literally jobless. We've got the old jobs back, and then some. But there's no reason workers should be "breath[ing] easy" or believing that "A brightening labor market could make this the time to look for a new job." Note that real wages have been stagnating or slightly declining (mine have been slightly declining, and, frankly, I'm getting pissed about it), evidence of a slack labor market.
 
 
JOHN BOLTON PUSHED NIGER-URANIUM FIASCO AT STATE  Then Tried to Hide his Tracks and Staff Lied to Congress     Steve Clemons

I just received this March 1, 2005 letter written by House Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Henry Waxman to Representative Christopher Shays who chairs the Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Security. The recovery, clearly, is no longer literally jobless. We've got the old jobs back, and then some. But there's no reason workers should be "breath[ing] easy" or believing that "A brightening labor market could make this the time to look for a new job." Note that real wages have been stagnating or slightly declining (mine have been slightly declining, and, frankly, I'm getting pissed about it), evidence of a slack labor market.

JOHN BOLTON PUSHED NIGER-URANIUM FIASCO AT STATE Then Tried to Hide his Tracks and Staff Lied to Congress Steve Clemons

I just received this March 1, 2005 letter written by House Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Henry Waxman to Representative Christopher Shays who chairs the Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Security.

Waxman is basically blowing the whistle on the administration's extravagant use of "sensitive but unclassified" designations on official acts to block public access to and transparency of government policymaking.

On pages 5-7, Waxman reveals that John Bolton promulgated the Niger-Uranium fiction at the State Department despite rejection of this claim by State Department and CIA intelligence analysts.

Waxman then argues that not only did Bolton and his people then try and conceal Bolton's role in pushing the Niger-Uranium agenda by marking the material "sensitive but unclassified" and blocking it in case of a Freedom of Information Act request, the State Department actually LIED TO CONGRESS about John Bolton's role.

I think Senator Chuck Hagel might want to reconsider his support for the Bolton nomination now. . .

Here is the excerpt from the Waxman letter:

Concealment of a State Department Official's Role in the Niger Uranium Claim

In April 2004, the State Department used the designation "sensitive but unclassified" to conceal unclassified information about the role of John Bolton, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control, in the creation of a fact sheet distributed to the United Nations that falsely claimed Iraq had sought uranium from Niger.

Waxman is basically blowing the whistle on the administration's extravagant use of "sensitive but unclassified" designations on official acts to block public access to and transparency of government policymaking.

On pages 5-7, Waxman reveals that John Bolton promulgated the Niger-Uranium fiction at the State Department despite rejection of this claim by State Department and CIA intelligence analysts.

Waxman then argues that not only did Bolton and his people then try and conceal Bolton's role in pushing the Niger-Uranium agenda by marking the material "sensitive but unclassified" and blocking it in case of a Freedom of Information Act request, the State Department actually LIED TO CONGRESS about John Bolton's role.

I think Senator Chuck Hagel might want to reconsider his support for the Bolton nomination now. . .

Here is the excerpt from the Waxman letter:

Concealment of a State Department Official's Role in the Niger Uranium Claim

In April 2004, the State Department used the designation "sensitive but unclassified" to conceal unclassified information about the role of John Bolton, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control, in the creation of a fact sheet distributed to the United Nations that falsely claimed Iraq had sought uranium from Niger.

On December 19, 2002, the State Department issued a fact sheet entitled "Illustrative Examples of Omissions from the Iraqi Declaration to the United Nations Security Council." (9) The fact sheet listed eight key areas in which the Bush Administration found fault with Iraq's weapons declaration to the United Nations on December 7, 2002. Under the heading "Nuclear Weapons," the fact sheet stated:

The Declaration ignores efforts to procure uranium from Niger.
Why is the Iraqi regime hiding their uranium procurement?

It was later discovered that this claim was based on fabricated documents. (10) In addition, both State Department intelligence officials and CIA officials reported that they had rejected the claim as unreliable. (11) As a result, it was unclear who within the State Department was involved in preparing the fact sheet.

On July 21, 2003, I wrote to Secretary of State Colin Powell, asking for an explanation of the role of John Bolton, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, in creating the document. (12) On September 25, 2003, the State Department responded with a definitive denial: "Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, John R. Bolton, did not play a role in the creation of this document." (13)

Subsequently, however, I joined six other members of the Government Reform Committee in requesting from the State Department Inspector General a copy of an unclassified "chronology" on how the fact sheet was developed. (14) This chronology described a meeting on December 18, 2002, between Secretary Powell, Mr. Bolton, and Richard Boucher, the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Public Affairs. According to this chronology, Mr. Boucher specifically asked Mr. Bolton "for help developing a response to Iraq's Dec 7 Declaration to the United Nations Security Council that could be used with the press. According to the chronology, which is phrased in the present tense, Mr. Bolton "agrees and tasks the Bureau of Nonproliferation," a subordinate office that reports directly to Mr. Bolton, to conduct the work.

On December 19, 2002, the State Department issued a fact sheet entitled "Illustrative Examples of Omissions from the Iraqi Declaration to the United Nations Security Council." (9) The fact sheet listed eight key areas in which the Bush Administration found fault with Iraq's weapons declaration to the United Nations on December 7, 2002. Under the heading "Nuclear Weapons," the fact sheet stated:

The Declaration ignores efforts to procure uranium from Niger.
Why is the Iraqi regime hiding their uranium procurement?

It was later discovered that this claim was based on fabricated documents. (10) In addition, both State Department intelligence officials and CIA officials reported that they had rejected the claim as unreliable. (11) As a result, it was unclear who within the State Department was involved in preparing the fact sheet.

On July 21, 2003, I wrote to Secretary of State Colin Powell, asking for an explanation of the role of John Bolton, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, in creating the document. (12) On September 25, 2003, the State Department responded with a definitive denial: "Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, John R. Bolton, did not play a role in the creation of this document." (13)

Subsequently, however, I joined six other members of the Government Reform Committee in requesting from the State Department Inspector General a copy of an unclassified "chronology" on how the fact sheet was developed. (14) This chronology described a meeting on December 18, 2002, between Secretary Powell, Mr. Bolton, and Richard Boucher, the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Public Affairs. According to this chronology, Mr. Boucher specifically asked Mr. Bolton "for help developing a response to Iraq's Dec 7 Declaration to the United Nations Security Council that could be used with the press. According to the chronology, which is phrased in the present tense, Mr. Bolton "agrees and tasks the Bureau of Nonproliferation," a subordinate office that reports directly to Mr. Bolton, to conduct the work.

This unclassified chronology also stated that on the next day, December 19, 2003, the Bureau of Nonproliferation "sends email with the fact sheet, 'Fact Sheet Iraq Declaration.doc.'" to Mr. Bolton's office (emphasis in original). A second e-mail was sent a few minutes later, and a third e-mail was sent about an hour after that. According to the chronology, each version "still includes Niger reference." Although Mr. Bolton may not have personally drafted the document, the chronology appears to indicate that he ordered its creation and received updates on its development.

The Inspector General's chronology was marked "sensitive but unclassified." In addition, the letter transmitting the chronology stated that it "contains sensitive information, which may be protected from public release under the Freedom of Information Act" and requested that no "public release of this information" be made. (15) In fact, however, the chronology consisted of nothing more than a factual recitation of information on meetings, e-mails, and documents.

This is not a constructive reformer out to promote American interests in a dignified manner in the world's most significant multilateral institution.

There are many administration jobs that John Bolton may be completely appropriate for -- but the one that he has been nominated for is not on that list.

Senator Hagel -- don't you see that?

 
Also....Condi Preparing for Battle with Bolton

Yes, I know. Rice said that John Bolton was her "

This unclassified chronology also stated that on the next day, December 19, 2003, the Bureau of Nonproliferation "sends email with the fact sheet, 'Fact Sheet Iraq Declaration.doc.'" to Mr. Bolton's office (emphasis in original). A second e-mail was sent a few minutes later, and a third e-mail was sent about an hour after that. According to the chronology, each version "still includes Niger reference." Although Mr. Bolton may not have personally drafted the document, the chronology appears to indicate that he ordered its creation and received updates on its development.

The Inspector General's chronology was marked "sensitive but unclassified." In addition, the letter transmitting the chronology stated that it "contains sensitive information, which may be protected from public release under the Freedom of Information Act" and requested that no "public release of this information" be made. (15) In fact, however, the chronology consisted of nothing more than a factual recitation of information on meetings, e-mails, and documents.

This is not a constructive reformer out to promote American interests in a dignified manner in the world's most significant multilateral institution.

There are many administration jobs that John Bolton may be completely appropriate for -- but the one that he has been nominated for is not on that list.

Senator Hagel -- don't you see that?

Also....Condi Preparing for Battle with Bolton

Yes, I know. Rice said that John Bolton was her "first choice" as the nominee for American Ambassador to the U.N.

Appearances are sooo important in this town. What we know is that Bolton was on Condi's "No way, Never List" as Deputy Secretary of State -- and that Cheney's obsession with getting Bolton well-placed produced a compromise decision on the U.N.

But Condi is now working quickly to outflank Bolton even before he is confirmed, which I hope the President reconsiders with all of the material this blog and others is going to generate on why this is such a tremendously bad appointment.

On Friday, Condoleeza Rice announced the selection of Shirin Tahir-Kheli as Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State on United Nations Reform. I guess it's good to have her own person feeding her perspectives on how to shape up the United Nations that depending on Bolton and his team.

Come to think of it, why not just make Shirin Tahir-Kheli our Ambassador?

 

Artic Refuge Sneak Attack     Lean Left 

The Republicans don’t seem to enamored of democracy here at home. They are planning to attach a bill to the budget that would allow for drilling in ANWR. Not only does that have zero to do with the budget, first choice" as the nominee for American Ambassador to the U.N.

Appearances are sooo important in this town. What we know is that Bolton was on Condi's "No way, Never List" as Deputy Secretary of State -- and that Cheney's obsession with getting Bolton well-placed produced a compromise decision on the U.N.

But Condi is now working quickly to outflank Bolton even before he is confirmed, which I hope the President reconsiders with all of the material this blog and others is going to generate on why this is such a tremendously bad appointment.

On Friday, Condoleeza Rice announced the selection of Shirin Tahir-Kheli as Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State on United Nations Reform. I guess it's good to have her own person feeding her perspectives on how to shape up the United Nations that depending on Bolton and his team.

Come to think of it, why not just make Shirin Tahir-Kheli our Ambassador?

Artic Refuge Sneak Attack Lean Left

The Republicans don’t seem to enamored of democracy here at home. They are planning to attach a bill to the budget that would allow for drilling in ANWR. Not only does that have zero to do with the budget,it is a deliberate attempt to get around the fact that the majority of Americans do not want to drill in the Arctic Refuge. Since the budget process doesn’t allow for extended debate, the Republicans hope to push through this measure and avoid public scrutiny. Even more, they hope to provide cover for GOP House and Senate members by allowing them to say “Well, I had to vote for the budget” instead of making them defend an up or down vote on the drilling.

Make sure they cannot do either. Go here to find out what you can do.

 

Our little Osamas  David Neiwert for The American Street

Now that the dust has settled from the Lefkow murders, it’s clear that the killer was not connected to any known hate group. That idiosyncratic outcome might ordinarily leave us to write it off to the vagaries of crime in our society, but it’s worth reflecting a little on what the incident, perhaps incidentally, revealed. it is a deliberate attempt to get around the fact that the majority of Americans do not want to drill in the Arctic Refuge. Since the budget process doesn’t allow for extended debate, the Republicans hope to push through this measure and avoid public scrutiny. Even more, they hope to provide cover for GOP House and Senate members by allowing them to say “Well, I had to vote for the budget” instead of making them defend an up or down vote on the drilling.

Make sure they cannot do either. Go here to find out what you can do.

Our little Osamas David Neiwert for The American Street

Now that the dust has settled from the Lefkow murders, it’s clear that the killer was not connected to any known hate group. That idiosyncratic outcome might ordinarily leave us to write it off to the vagaries of crime in our society, but it’s worth reflecting a little on what the incident, perhaps incidentally, revealed.

The most striking feature of the incident involved the reaction by the extremist right to the murders: openly cheering them, and urging similar action for other judges. This is consistent, it should be observed, with the far right’s historic approach to violence that benefits their cause: Even if they cannot claim credit for it, they will exploit it.

It’s called piggybacking, and it was evident, as I’ve explained previously, in the aftermath of September 11, particularly in the actions of the anthrax killer. The domestic terrorists of the American far right see any kind of violent disturbance as an opportunity to spread chaos, which is the centerpiece of their long-term strategy. More...

 

Hal Turner: The right's Ward Churchill    

The most striking feature of the incident involved the reaction by the extremist right to the murders: openly cheering them, and urging similar action for other judges. This is consistent, it should be observed, with the far right’s historic approach to violence that benefits their cause: Even if they cannot claim credit for it, they will exploit it.

It’s called piggybacking, and it was evident, as I’ve explained previously, in the aftermath of September 11, particularly in the actions of the anthrax killer. The domestic terrorists of the American far right see any kind of violent disturbance as an opportunity to spread chaos, which is the centerpiece of their long-term strategy. More...

Hal Turner: The right's Ward Churchill Orcinus

One of the real consequences of the right-wing transmission belt is that it has an amplifying effect. It's often described as an echo chamber, but what actually occurs is more of a two-sided dynamic of upwardly spiraling ugliness: the mainstream "transmitters" indulge in a little bit of rhetorical nastiness, and soon those on the extremist right are playing the same tune, but even more hatefully, more viciously, more ... fascistically.

They keep pushing the envelope, and after awhile, they can't push any farther without becoming explicit bigots and unmistakable fascists. So they push farther anyway.

Usually, Michael Savage provides some of the more vivid examples of this amplification -- as when he said of the tsunami disaster, "It's not a tragedy. I wouldn't call it a tragedy." However, Savage occupies a somewhat unique space somewhere exactly in between the mainstream and genuine extremism; most "transmitters" tend to align more clearly with movement conservatism (see especially Rush Limbaugh) or the extremist far right.

One of the most repugnant of these latter figures is the fellow who pushed himself to the fore during last week's investigation into Orcinus

One of the real consequences of the right-wing transmission belt is that it has an amplifying effect. It's often described as an echo chamber, but what actually occurs is more of a two-sided dynamic of upwardly spiraling ugliness: the mainstream "transmitters" indulge in a little bit of rhetorical nastiness, and soon those on the extremist right are playing the same tune, but even more hatefully, more viciously, more ... fascistically.

They keep pushing the envelope, and after awhile, they can't push any farther without becoming explicit bigots and unmistakable fascists. So they push farther anyway.

Usually, Michael Savage provides some of the more vivid examples of this amplification -- as when he said of the tsunami disaster, "It's not a tragedy. I wouldn't call it a tragedy." However, Savage occupies a somewhat unique space somewhere exactly in between the mainstream and genuine extremism; most "transmitters" tend to align more clearly with movement conservatism (see especially Rush Limbaugh) or the extremist far right.

One of the most repugnant of these latter figures is the fellow who pushed himself to the fore during last week's investigation into the murders of a federal judge's husband and mother in Chicago: Hal Turner.

Turner's case is particularly instructive, because he not only is unusually -- even eagerly and proudly -- vile, he also has history of activity within the Republican Party. On top of that, he reportedly has (or had) a friendship with one of the conservative media's leading figures: Limbaugh Jr. himself, Sean Hannity.

What it illustrates is how the dynamic of the transmission belt works: the extremist side of the equation provides the mainstream right-wing agitators with a fresh supply of outrage and talking points, and the mainstream connections give the far right a legitimacy, a connection with the larger political discourse, they would not otherwise have.

During the 1990s, Turner made a habit of calling into Hannity's WABC radio program as "Hal from North Bergen," one of the show's regular callers. "Hal" liked to say increasingly outrageous things: in August 1998, according to the One People's Project profile [Google cache],
he remarked on Hannity's show that "if it weren't for the white man, blacks would still be swinging from the trees in Africa." Hannity not only failed to rebuke "Hal" for the remark, he continued plugging into Turner whenever he called.the murders of a federal judge's husband and mother in Chicago: Hal Turner.

Turner's case is particularly instructive, because he not only is unusually -- even eagerly and proudly -- vile, he also has history of activity within the Republican Party. On top of that, he reportedly has (or had) a friendship with one of the conservative media's leading figures: Limbaugh Jr. himself, Sean Hannity.

What it illustrates is how the dynamic of the transmission belt works: the extremist side of the equation provides the mainstream right-wing agitators with a fresh supply of outrage and talking points, and the mainstream connections give the far right a legitimacy, a connection with the larger political discourse, they would not otherwise have.

During the 1990s, Turner made a habit of calling into Hannity's WABC radio program as "Hal from North Bergen," one of the show's regular callers. "Hal" liked to say increasingly outrageous things: in August 1998, according to the One People's Project profile [Google cache],
he remarked on Hannity's show that "if it weren't for the white man, blacks would still be swinging from the trees in Africa." Hannity not only failed to rebuke "Hal" for the remark, he continued plugging into Turner whenever he called.
Turner in fact had a history of quasi-racist activism, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which profiled Turner last year:

As early as 1994, he was defending racism, holding a rally for New York radio talk show host Bob Grant, who had been fired from his show for making racist comments about blacks. In the late 199s, Turner often called in to local radio shows as "Hal from North Bergen," telling their hosts things like, "The problem with police brutality is that cops don't use it enough."

All this culminated in 2000, when Turner stepped forward to run for the Republican nomination for Congress in his home district in New Jersey. He appeared on Hannity's Fox News program and received his old friend's endorsement. Turner himself has claimed that during this time, he and Hannity were "good friends." Hannity himself has since remained mum on the subject -- because as noxious as Turner may have been before 2000, afterward, his true stripes became unmistakable.

Turner lost that race, and it became something of a turning point for his ideological career. Where before his bigotry had been of the "edgy" variety, he soon openly embraced the ideology of various hate groups and white supremacists, as the SPLC explained:

In 2000, Turner sought the local Republican nomination for Congress, and was enraged when GOP leaders instead supported Theresa de Leon, a dark-skinned Hispanic who was the chief financial officer for New York's Legal Aid Society and the mother of 10 children. It was at this moment that Turner had a reported "epiphany," deciding the system was rigged against white men and abandoning all ties to the mainstream.

Turner in fact had a history of quasi-racist activism, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which profiled Turner last year:

As early as 1994, he was defending racism, holding a rally for New York radio talk show host Bob Grant, who had been fired from his show for making racist comments about blacks. In the late 199s, Turner often called in to local radio shows as "Hal from North Bergen," telling their hosts things like, "The problem with police brutality is that cops don't use it enough."

All this culminated in 2000, when Turner stepped forward to run for the Republican nomination for Congress in his home district in New Jersey. He appeared on Hannity's Fox News program and received his old friend's endorsement. Turner himself has claimed that during this time, he and Hannity were "good friends." Hannity himself has since remained mum on the subject -- because as noxious as Turner may have been before 2000, afterward, his true stripes became unmistakable.

Turner lost that race, and it became something of a turning point for his ideological career. Where before his bigotry had been of the "edgy" variety, he soon openly embraced the ideology of various hate groups and white supremacists, as the SPLC explained:

In 2000, Turner sought the local Republican nomination for Congress, and was enraged when GOP leaders instead supported Theresa de Leon, a dark-skinned Hispanic who was the chief financial officer for New York's Legal Aid Society and the mother of 10 children. It was at this moment that Turner had a reported "epiphany," deciding the system was rigged against white men and abandoning all ties to the mainstream.
Not long after, he started up "The Hal Turner Show," renting time on shortwave radio maverick Allan Weiner's WBCQ, located in Monticello, Maine.

Building up a substantial audience and paying for the five-nights-a-week, two-hour show with advertising and donations, he became a favorite of many on the radical right, including several in the neo-Nazi National Alliance*. After neo-Nazi World Church of the Creator* leader Matt Hale was arrested in late 2002 for allegedly soliciting the murder of a federal judge, Turner openly supported Hale.

"I don't think killing a federal judge in these circumstances would be wrong," he said, referring to the judge's ruling against Hale's group in a copyright dispute over its name. "It may be illegal, but it wouldn't be wrong."

Turner's reptilian nature, of course, was revealed for all to see this past week as he expanded on the earlier remarks -- "I have rendered an opinion that what she did on the bench makes her worthy of being killed, yeah" -- as well as posting "Gotcha!" over a picture of Judge Lefkow after the killings in her home by someone, it turned out, who had no connection to the white-supremacist movement.  More...

 

Checkowt: Discover Your Mommas Network

Not long after, he started up "The Hal Turner Show," renting time on shortwave radio maverick Allan Weiner's WBCQ, located in Monticello, Maine.

Building up a substantial audience and paying for the five-nights-a-week, two-hour show with advertising and donations, he became a favorite of many on the radical right, including several in the neo-Nazi National Alliance*. After neo-Nazi World Church of the Creator* leader Matt Hale was arrested in late 2002 for allegedly soliciting the murder of a federal judge, Turner openly supported Hale.

"I don't think killing a federal judge in these circumstances would be wrong," he said, referring to the judge's ruling against Hale's group in a copyright dispute over its name. "It may be illegal, but it wouldn't be wrong."

Turner's reptilian nature, of course, was revealed for all to see this past week as he expanded on the earlier remarks -- "I have rendered an opinion that what she did on the bench makes her worthy of being killed, yeah" -- as well as posting "Gotcha!" over a picture of Judge Lefkow after the killings in her home by someone, it turned out, who had no connection to the white-supremacist movement. More...

Checkowt: Discover Your Mommas Network 

 

Security Is Opportunity        The Decembrist

Regular readers know that I've always seen the Bush Social Security plan as, more than anything else, an attempt to create a showdown between big concepts: Opportunity and Security. Let the Democrats be stuck with Security -- dull, backward-looking, wear-your-mittens, protect-the-losers government security programs. The Republicans, win or lose, become the party of Opportunity -- a little risk in return for progress, dynamism, information-age, "Dow 36,000," take-responsibility-for-yourself, find-the-winner-within-you shiny new Opportunity.

(I'll let the Lakoff fans graft their "nurturing mother"/"strict father" archetypes onto those alternatives. That's not my game.)

That this dichotomy has unraveled as thoroughly as the proposal itself is clear from a recent change in Bush's rhetoric and that of privatization supporters. Trying to salvage something not laughably inconsistent from their many turns of phrase in the last two months, they have taken to describing Social Security itself as "wobbly" and uncertain, while private accounts are secure and "safe" because the government can't take them away. Of course, this is all nonsense from a pre-New Deal netherworld in which the government must never provide any security because what the evil, alien government gives the evil, alien government can taketh away.

But rather than rebut that silliness in detail, let's just note that it is the death rattle of the entire ideological gambit. Because the whole point was supposed to be about

Security Is Opportunity The Decembrist

Regular readers know that I've always seen the Bush Social Security plan as, more than anything else, an attempt to create a showdown between big concepts: Opportunity and Security. Let the Democrats be stuck with Security -- dull, backward-looking, wear-your-mittens, protect-the-losers government security programs. The Republicans, win or lose, become the party of Opportunity -- a little risk in return for progress, dynamism, information-age, "Dow 36,000," take-responsibility-for-yourself, find-the-winner-within-you shiny new Opportunity.

(I'll let the Lakoff fans graft their "nurturing mother"/"strict father" archetypes onto those alternatives. That's not my game.)

That this dichotomy has unraveled as thoroughly as the proposal itself is clear from a recent change in Bush's rhetoric and that of privatization supporters. Trying to salvage something not laughably inconsistent from their many turns of phrase in the last two months, they have taken to describing Social Security itself as "wobbly" and uncertain, while private accounts are secure and "safe" because the government can't take them away. Of course, this is all nonsense from a pre-New Deal netherworld in which the government must never provide any security because what the evil, alien government gives the evil, alien government can taketh away.

But rather than rebut that silliness in detail, let's just note that it is the death rattle of the entire ideological gambit. Because the whole point was supposed to be aboutrisk: ownership and risk, opportunity and risk, personal responsibility and risk. Capitalism and risk. For ten years or more, Americans have been asked to choose between risk and security, and every time, risk has seemed to win. Now, in the ultimate battle between risk and security, the first one in which the choice was made explicit, security won without a shot being fired.

This is one major point (or perhaps my interpretation of it) of Greg Anrig's excellent article from last week: The President's Gift: The Social Security privatization battle gives liberals more than just a good shot at a legislative victory. It gives them a chance to define themselves, which I highly recommend reading in full.

Trustees' Report      Eschaton

I know I keep banging on this, but it really is something we need to keep an eye on. Sometime this month, presumably, the SSA Trustees will release their annual report on the health and wealth of the trust fund. Included in that will be a "high," "medium," and "low" cost projects about the solvency of the system, each with different economic and demographic assumptions. The "medium" cost one will be adapted as the most accepted number for use in the media. risk: ownership and risk, opportunity and risk, personal responsibility and risk. Capitalism and risk. For ten years or more, Americans have been asked to choose between risk and security, and every time, risk has seemed to win. Now, in the ultimate battle between risk and security, the first one in which the choice was made explicit, security won without a shot being fired.

This is one major point (or perhaps my interpretation of it) of Greg Anrig's excellent article from last week: The President's Gift: The Social Security privatization battle gives liberals more than just a good shot at a legislative victory. It gives them a chance to define themselves, which I highly recommend reading in full.

Trustees' Report Eschaton

I know I keep banging on this, but it really is something we need to keep an eye on. Sometime this month, presumably, the SSA Trustees will release their annual report on the health and wealth of the trust fund. Included in that will be a "high," "medium," and "low" cost projects about the solvency of the system, each with different economic and demographic assumptions. The "medium" cost one will be adapted as the most accepted number for use in the media.
Last week Krugman wrote:

Many people involved in the debate over Social Security's future worry that the 2005 trustees' report will be slanted in favor of privatization.

I don't expect to see books that are literally cooked: Stephen Goss, the agency's chief actuary, has an excellent reputation. But it's not out of the question. After all, in 2003 the chief actuary of Social Security's sister agency, which oversees Medicare, was told that he would be fired if he gave Congress accurate information about the cost of the Bush Medicare bill.

Even if the numbers aren't fabricated, however, it's a good bet that they will be presented in a way intended to make Social Security's financial outlook seem much bleaker than it really is.

From what I understand he's underestimating the potential for tricksyness. Goss may have an excellent reputation, but there is a lot of wiggle room for the choices of projected numbers to throw into the model. And, most importantly - the Trustees themselves, a bunch of Bush cabinet officials and other assorted hacks, will be the ones choosing the final numbers.

DEATH OF ONLINE NEWS?....Via Susan Madrak, it looks like the New York Times online edition may finally be

Last week Krugman wrote:

Many people involved in the debate over Social Security's future worry that the 2005 trustees' report will be slanted in favor of privatization.

I don't expect to see books that are literally cooked: Stephen Goss, the agency's chief actuary, has an excellent reputation. But it's not out of the question. After all, in 2003 the chief actuary of Social Security's sister agency, which oversees Medicare, was told that he would be fired if he gave Congress accurate information about the cost of the Bush Medicare bill.

Even if the numbers aren't fabricated, however, it's a good bet that they will be presented in a way intended to make Social Security's financial outlook seem much bleaker than it really is.

From what I understand he's underestimating the potential for tricksyness. Goss may have an excellent reputation, but there is a lot of wiggle room for the choices of projected numbers to throw into the model. And, most importantly - the Trustees themselves, a bunch of Bush cabinet officials and other assorted hacks, will be the ones choosing the final numbers.

DEATH OF ONLINE NEWS?....Via Susan Madrak, it looks like the New York Times online edition may finally begearing up to go subscriber-only.

Hermeneutics   slacktivist

Our Text:

So this gorilla walks into a bar. The gorilla slaps a $10 bill on the counter and says, "Give me a beer."

Bartender figures what does a gorilla know? So he gives him the beer, but only gives him $1 in change. It's a slow night, though, so the bartender figures he should make some conversation. "We don't get many gorillas in here," he says.

Gorilla says, "Yeah, well at $9 a beer I'm not surprised."

The Fundamentalist Interpretation

(Fundamentalists read the text literally. This means they adhere as closely as possible to the simplest, most obvious reading of its meaning.)

The talking gorilla indicates that the great apes, perhaps all beasts, once were able to speak. This, like the great longevity of the early patriarchs, seems incomprehensible to us. Yet the text says it is so, so therefore it is so.

How is it that gorillas could speak? How is it that Methuselah could live to the ripe old age of 969? Those of you who have been attending our Wednesday night Bible study series, "Six Days; 6,000 Years Ago," already know the answer to these questions.

gearing up to go subscriber-only.

Hermeneutics slacktivist

Our Text:

So this gorilla walks into a bar. The gorilla slaps a $10 bill on the counter and says, "Give me a beer."

Bartender figures what does a gorilla know? So he gives him the beer, but only gives him $1 in change. It's a slow night, though, so the bartender figures he should make some conversation. "We don't get many gorillas in here," he says.

Gorilla says, "Yeah, well at $9 a beer I'm not surprised."

The Fundamentalist Interpretation

(Fundamentalists read the text literally. This means they adhere as closely as possible to the simplest, most obvious reading of its meaning.)

The talking gorilla indicates that the great apes, perhaps all beasts, once were able to speak. This, like the great longevity of the early patriarchs, seems incomprehensible to us. Yet the text says it is so, so therefore it is so.

How is it that gorillas could speak? How is it that Methuselah could live to the ripe old age of 969? Those of you who have been attending our Wednesday night Bible study series, "Six Days; 6,000 Years Ago," already know the answer to these questions.

Please note, however, that this was not what we today understand as the sin of drinking. The "beer" in our text is not the alcoholic beverage we think of today, just as the "wine" the Bible speaks of is not what we think of as wine. (Drinking wine is a sin. Jesus was without sin. Jesus drank "wine." Therefore "wine" is not wine.) The "beer" the story speaks of thus was probably a nonalcoholic drink similar to malta.

In the days that were before the flood, the earth was still protected by the great vapor canopy, or "firmament" (Genesis 1:6-8, KJV only, of course). This canopy shielded the earth, protecting the grandchildren of Adam and Eve and allowing them to live much longer than humans can today without the benefit of its protection. Creation scientists have posited that another consequence of this canopy may have been that, um, gorillas could talk. They lost this ability of speech after God unleashed the canopy, creating the Great Flood.

Public schools refuse to acknowledge that gorillas could ever speak. This is an example of the persecution that we face as believers.

The Premillennial Dispensationalist Interpretation

(Premillennial dispensationalists also consider their interpretation of the text to be literal, but they also believe that we must "rightly divide" the word of truth [see 1 Tim. 2:15]. The dispensational approach provides a key -- a kind of codebreaker -- for interpreting the text, which is explained in simple charts In Matthew 24:38, Jesus says that, "in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking ..." Our story is set in a bar, a place designated for eating and drinking, so we can conclude that it takes place "in the days that were before the flood."

Please note, however, that this was not what we today understand as the sin of drinking. The "beer" in our text is not the alcoholic beverage we think of today, just as the "wine" the Bible speaks of is not what we think of as wine. (Drinking wine is a sin. Jesus was without sin. Jesus drank "wine." Therefore "wine" is not wine.) The "beer" the story speaks of thus was probably a nonalcoholic drink similar to malta.

In the days that were before the flood, the earth was still protected by the great vapor canopy, or "firmament" (Genesis 1:6-8, KJV only, of course). This canopy shielded the earth, protecting the grandchildren of Adam and Eve and allowing them to live much longer than humans can today without the benefit of its protection. Creation scientists have posited that another consequence of this canopy may have been that, um, gorillas could talk. They lost this ability of speech after God unleashed the canopy, creating the Great Flood.

Public schools refuse to acknowledge that gorillas could ever speak. This is an example of the persecution that we face as believers.

The Premillennial Dispensationalist Interpretation

(Premillennial dispensationalists also consider their interpretation of the text to be literal, but they also believe that we must "rightly divide" the word of truth [see 1 Tim. 2:15]. The dispensational approach provides a key -- a kind of codebreaker -- for interpreting the text, which is explained in simple chartslike this one.)

The meaning of this passage is made clear through its use of the number nine: 9 = 3 + 6, or three sixes, or 666. The bartender thus clearly represents the Antichrist, who gives this number to the gorilla, or Beast.

The beer represents the alcoholic wine consumed by the apostate church of Rome. The $10 presented by the gorilla represents the 10 kings of the rebuilt Roman Empire, also represented by the 10 horns of the Beast described in Revelation 13:1. The apostle John, of course, would never have seen a gorilla firsthand and thus could not known what to call this Beast, but consider the description John provides in Revelation 13:2: "The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear [i.e., Soviet Russia] and a mouth like that of a lion." That sounds very much like a gorilla (or, perhaps, a gorilla in a leopard suit).

Thus our text makes it clear that the Antichrist is none other than the Roman Pope and that his servant is Leonid Brezhnev Saddam Hussein.

I have read that in many bars and restaurants in places like New York City it is not uncommon for patrons to be charged $9 for a beer. Such prices were unheard of before the recreation of the state of Israel in 1948.

The signs therefore are clear: We are living in the Last Days. Even now, the Bartender and his servant the Gorilla are preparing for a one-world government and a New World Order that will mark the beginning of the Tribulation.

 

like this one.)

The meaning of this passage is made clear through its use of the number nine: 9 = 3 + 6, or three sixes, or 666. The bartender thus clearly represents the Antichrist, who gives this number to the gorilla, or Beast.

The beer represents the alcoholic wine consumed by the apostate church of Rome. The $10 presented by the gorilla represents the 10 kings of the rebuilt Roman Empire, also represented by the 10 horns of the Beast described in Revelation 13:1. The apostle John, of course, would never have seen a gorilla firsthand and thus could not known what to call this Beast, but consider the description John provides in Revelation 13:2: "The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear [i.e., Soviet Russia] and a mouth like that of a lion." That sounds very much like a gorilla (or, perhaps, a gorilla in a leopard suit).

Thus our text makes it clear that the Antichrist is none other than the Roman Pope and that his servant is Leonid Brezhnev Saddam Hussein.

I have read that in many bars and restaurants in places like New York City it is not uncommon for patrons to be charged $9 for a beer. Such prices were unheard of before the recreation of the state of Israel in 1948.

The signs therefore are clear: We are living in the Last Days. Even now, the Bartender and his servant the Gorilla are preparing for a one-world government and a New World Order that will mark the beginning of the Tribulation.

   The Daily Howler

Yes, it’s truly amazing that pseudo-con spinners can still decry that “liberal” press corps. Just consider three different pieces in Monday’s Washington Post. Read on...

Tuesday, we continue to examine the way your “liberal spokesmen” bungled the Dan Rather episode. For ten years, the press corps battered, first Clinton, then Gore—but pseudo-cons still get to yell “liberal bias!” How can this odd situation obtain? We start playing rough on the morrow. 

Which brings us to... 

Report On American Jouranlism     Journalism.org

The State of the News Media 2005 is the second in our annual effort to provide a comprehensive look each year at the state of American journalism.
Our goal is to put in one place as much original and aggregated data as possible about each of the major journalism sectors.

For each area, we have produced original research and aggregated existing data into a comprehensive look at many of the pressing issues facing the news media. In addition, we have collected the statistical data in an interactive area called SHIP OF FOPS: The Daily Howler

Yes, it’s truly amazing that pseudo-con spinners can still decry that “liberal” press corps. Just consider three different pieces in Monday’s Washington Post. Read on...

Tuesday, we continue to examine the way your “liberal spokesmen” bungled the Dan Rather episode. For ten years, the press corps battered, first Clinton, then Gore—but pseudo-cons still get to yell “liberal bias!” How can this odd situation obtain? We start playing rough on the morrow.

Which brings us to...

Report On American Jouranlism Journalism.org

The State of the News Media 2005 is the second in our annual effort to provide a comprehensive look each year at the state of American journalism.
Our goal is to put in one place as much original and aggregated data as possible about each of the major journalism sectors.

For each area, we have produced original research and aggregated existing data into a comprehensive look at many of the pressing issues facing the news media. In addition, we have collected the statistical data in an interactive area calledCharts & Tables where users can customize their own charts. This year we have added new elements to the original content study and in most chapters have added an essay from a prominent industry professional or analyst.

The study is the work of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, an institute affiliated with Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The study is funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, and was produced with a number of partners, including Rick Edmonds, the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Michigan State University, the University of Alabama, and Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

Click here for info about printing pages from the report. [thnx to Paul D.

 

Perdition's Puppets   Charts & Tables where users can customize their own charts. This year we have added new elements to the original content study and in most chapters have added an essay from a prominent industry professional or analyst.

The study is the work of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, an institute affiliated with Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The study is funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, and was produced with a number of partners, including Rick Edmonds, the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Michigan State University, the University of Alabama, and Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

Click here for info about printing pages from the report. [thnx to Paul D.

Perdition's Puppets Jesus' General

Gary Glenn
American Family Association of Michigan

Dear Mr. Glenn,

The spirit of the Lord touched me in a way I found pleasurable yet disturbing as I read your report on witches at Midland school. I say pleasurable because I was physically stirred by your bold defense of Christian values. It took balls to stand up to a real live witch even if she is only in the eighth grade.

Like you, I fear witchcraft's seductive power. Indeed, I yearn to have my "feet, knees, stomach, breasts [masculine man-breasts in my case--there's nothing wrong with that], and lips" kissed by a comely spell caster, and the part about them drawing figures on my little soldier is very tempting.

That's what makes them so dangerous. It's every man's fantasy. Who among us hasn't drawn a face on his soldier's helmet and performed a little puppet show? It's as funny as it is erotic, although, believe me, it can cause problems in a locker room. I hate those humorless bastards at the YMCA. I thought the diving into the foxhole thing was funny. Perhaps I should have warned Pastor Roberts first.

Anyway, while I was glad that you thwarted the Wiccans in Midland, I'm concerned about Jesus' General

Gary Glenn
American Family Association of Michigan

Dear Mr. Glenn,

The spirit of the Lord touched me in a way I found pleasurable yet disturbing as I read your report on witches at Midland school. I say pleasurable because I was physically stirred by your bold defense of Christian values. It took balls to stand up to a real live witch even if she is only in the eighth grade.

Like you, I fear witchcraft's seductive power. Indeed, I yearn to have my "feet, knees, stomach, breasts [masculine man-breasts in my case--there's nothing wrong with that], and lips" kissed by a comely spell caster, and the part about them drawing figures on my little soldier is very tempting.

That's what makes them so dangerous. It's every man's fantasy. Who among us hasn't drawn a face on his soldier's helmet and performed a little puppet show? It's as funny as it is erotic, although, believe me, it can cause problems in a locker room. I hate those humorless bastards at the YMCA. I thought the diving into the foxhole thing was funny. Perhaps I should have warned Pastor Roberts first.

Anyway, while I was glad that you thwarted the Wiccans in Midland, I'm concerned about another headline I saw on the same page. Apparently, a Christian woman convinced officials in her district to be more accepting of religious practices in their schools. Don't get me wrong, I think it's time we put God back into the classroom. But doesn't that mean that other religions are welcome as well? What about Wiccans? If we allow Christian Prayer in school won't that lead to rampant Wiccan puppetry? How can we prevent it?

Heterosexually yours,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot

Kerik's Royalties     New York Daily News

Former Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik accepted thousands of dollars in royalties from a book published to raise money for the families of heroes killed on Sept. 11, 2001, the Daily News has learned.

Kerik contributed an 11-sentence foreword to the book of photographs, titled "In the Line of Duty," in which he praised police and firefighters who "desperately fought and struggled and bled and died in a noble effort."

"Theirs is a story beyond words; a story of bravery, fidelity and sacrifice; a story that must never be forgotten," Kerik wrote.

another headline I saw on the same page. Apparently, a Christian woman convinced officials in her district to be more accepting of religious practices in their schools. Don't get me wrong, I think it's time we put God back into the classroom. But doesn't that mean that other religions are welcome as well? What about Wiccans? If we allow Christian Prayer in school won't that lead to rampant Wiccan puppetry? How can we prevent it?

Heterosexually yours,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot

Kerik's Royalties New York Daily News

Former Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik accepted thousands of dollars in royalties from a book published to raise money for the families of heroes killed on Sept. 11, 2001, the Daily News has learned.

Kerik contributed an 11-sentence foreword to the book of photographs, titled "In the Line of Duty," in which he praised police and firefighters who "desperately fought and struggled and bled and died in a noble effort."

"Theirs is a story beyond words; a story of bravery, fidelity and sacrifice; a story that must never b

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