Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Monday, September 4th, 2006.

Those Were the Days

Bush Administration, Terrorism

Via Avedon — “President wants Senate to hurry with new anti-terrorism laws.”

July 30, 1996
Web posted at: 8:40 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Clinton urged Congress Tuesday to act swiftly in developing anti-terrorism legislation before its August recess.

“We need to keep this country together right now. We need to focus on this terrorism issue,” Clinton said during a White House news conference.

But while the president pushed for quick legislation, Republican lawmakers hardened their stance against some of the proposed anti-terrorism measures.

See also “Hijacking 9/11” by Sheldon Rampton at firedoglake.

And this blast from the past from April 2001 cannot be repeated often enough (CNN Transcript):

The State Department officially released its annual terrorism report just a little more than an hour ago, but unlike last year, there’s no extensive mention of alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. A senior State Department official tells CNN the U.S. government made a mistake in focusing so much energy on bin Laden and “personalizing terrorism.”

Still, Secretary of State Colin Powell says efforts to fight global terrorism will remain consistent.


POWELL: The results are clear: state sponsors of terrorism are increasingly isolated; terrorist groups on under growing pressure. Terrorists are being brought to justice, we will not let up. But we must also be aware of the nature of the threat before us. Terrorism is a persistent disease.


and John Amato discuss ABC’s upcoming (and apparently bogus) 9/11 “documentary.” But let us not forget this great moment in the Global War on Terror.

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Labor Day

Bush Administration, Republican Party, workers

More Labor Day reading:

David Sirota: “Republicans are waging a war on the very workers they purport to care about.”

Editorial from today’s Los Angeles Times

The problem is that a country with such stark divides between rich and poor is in deep trouble. Especially when that country is a democracy.

Paul Krugman

Some still think of the V.A. as a decrepit institution, which it was in the Reagan and Bush I years. But thanks to reforms begun under Bill Clinton, it’s now providing remarkably high-quality health care at remarkably low cost. …

… Not surprisingly, hundreds of thousands of veterans have switched from private physicians to the V.A. The commander of the American Legion has proposed letting elderly vets spend their Medicare benefits at V.A. facilities, which would lead to better medical care and large government savings.

Instead, the Bush administration has restricted access to the V.A. system, limiting it to poor vets or those with service-related injuries. And as for allowing elderly vets to get better, cheaper health care: “Conservatives,” writes Time, “fear such an arrangement would be a Trojan horse, setting up an even larger national health-care program and taking more business from the private sector.”

Think about that: they won’t let vets on Medicare buy into the V.A. system, not because they believe this policy initiative would fail, but because they’re afraid it would succeed.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration is pursuing a failed idea from the 1990’s: channeling Medicare recipients into private H.M.O.’s. … Years of experience show that H.M.O.’s actually have substantially higher costs per patient than conventional Medicare, because they add an expensive extra layer of bureaucracy and also spend heavily on marketing. H.M.O.’s for Medicare recipients prospered for a while by selectively covering relatively healthy older Americans, but when the government began paying less for those likely to have low medical costs, many H.M.O.’s dropped out of the Medicare market.

In 2003, however, the Bush administration pushed through the Medicare Advantage program, which offers heavy subsidies to H.M.O.’s. According to the independent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, Medicare Advantage plans cost the government 11 percent more per person than traditional Medicare. Oh, and mortality rates in these plans are 40 percent higher than those of elderly veterans covered by the V.A. But thanks to the subsidy, membership in Medicare Advantage plans is surging.

On one side, then, the administration and its allies in Congress oppose expanding the best health care system in America, even though that expansion would save taxpayer dollars, because they’re afraid that allowing a successful government program to expand would undermine their antigovernment crusade and displease powerful business lobbies.

On the other side, ideology and fealty to interest groups make them willing to waste billions subsidizing private H.M.O.’s.

Remember that contrast the next time you hear some conservative going on about excessive spending on entitlements, and declaring that we need to cut back on Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

Update: Via Steve GilliardThe historic 1936-37 Flint auto plant strikes.

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conservatism, science

Every now and then some genius on the Right will point to statistics showing that “conservatives” have more children than “liberals” and conclude that this is why liberals lose elections. Like this guy:

Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They’re not having enough of them, they haven’t for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That’s a “fertility gap” of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20%–explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today.

I pooh-poohed this in an earlier post, because most of the liberals I know have conservative (or at least less liberal) parents. I don’t have statistics, but after years of observation of our species I concluded that offspring are much more likely to move to the left of their parents than to move to the right of them. I figured that in the long run it will all balance out.

However, I have come to realize that righties may have found a way around the leftward-drifting generational factor. They aren’t just having more children; they are selectively breeding to produce stupid children.

That’s the only possible explanation for this post.

By producing children dumb enough to believe, for example, that George W. Bush is a great president, or that Bill O’Reilly is a journalist, rightie parents can make sure their offspring don’t fall too far from the ideological tree. However, in the long run I think this plan will backfire. In a generation or two your standard rightie will be too stupid to come in out of the rain. Literally. They will have high mortality rates, not just from pneumonia but from accidents. Conservative think tanks will close for lack of funding; their donors will have squandered their fortunes responding to emails from Nigeria. Come election time, they’ll be too dense to locate the correct polling place. (Some righties already have this problem.)

And when only liberals understand rocket science, peace will reign in the land.

See also: This guy.

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entertainment and popular culture


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