Monday, October 29, 2007

Hillary as Evita

The election of the President's wife in Argentina brings to mind the story of Evita Peron, and makes you wonder about the election of a President's wife in the US. Is Hillary America's Evita? While Evita relied more on her husband than Hillary claims to, she was independent, and Hillary may rely more on Bill than she lets on during the campaign.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Support the Troops

A great op-ed in the NYT points out the hypocrisy of the Bush administration, the Republican party, and politicians in general on the Iraq war. Nobody supports the troops, except their families. America is in party mode! Let those soldiers die! America doesn't give a damn!

As the op-ed says, a draft would sort things out. Let's have a draft now! Of course, that's a little problem for Bush and Cheney, both of whom dodged the draft during Vietnam. They don't believe in fighting for their country. They believe in sending somebody else to fight for the United States. That's why we have thousands of mercenary troops like Blackwater fighting in Iraq, in addition to our "volunteer" military.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

AIPAC, Iran and Gravel

See this link to The Vineyard of the Saker for info on how AIPAC is trying to get the US to attack Iran, and how Presidential candidate Gravel spoke out about it.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Regressive Income Taxes

A news article that the EU finance ministers are going to meet to discuss how US financial problems will impact the EU raised a question in my mind about how the US would fit into the EU.

Previously the Wall Street Journal printed an op-ed suggesting that the US join some larger currency scheme that would take the pressure off the dollar as an international exchange currency. The problem with that is that when you join such an international scheme, you have to conform to certain standards.

The above article on the EU says that EU countries must keep their budget deficit below 3% of GDP to meet Euro guidelines. That made me wonder if the US would qualify to join the Euro regime. It took me a while to find what appeared to be a reliable table giving budget deficit estimates as a percentage of GDP. Finally, I found this one by the Congressional Budget Office done in 2004, with projections for future years.

What surprised me was that we would meet the 3% guidelines overall, by taking into account the Social Security "off-budget" SURPLUS. The projected overall budget deficit for 2007 is only 2% of GDP. But the "on-budget" deficit is 3.6%. The 3.6% is the budget actually approved by the President and Congress. BUT, there is a 1.6% Social Security SURPLUS. So, the working people who fund Social Security through payroll taxes are in surplus, while the rich people, who got the huge Bush tax cuts and who pay no payroll tax on the millions they earn above the approximately $90,000 ceiling on income subject to the payroll tax, are causing a budget deficit in excess of the EU guidelines for good government.

This is truly a government of Robin Hood's Sheriff of Nottingham that takes from the poor and gives to the rich. A fat cat who paid social security payroll taxes on maybe 5 or 10 percent of his income during his earning years (as opposed to most salaried workers who pay the tax on 100% of their earnings), and who then retires and lives off of his investments, can collect 100% of his social security, while workers who still earn a salary after age 62 have their social security payments reduced by a formula linked to how much they continue to earn.

Neocons the New Liberals

Roger Cohen has my number in his NYT column on Neocons being the new L-word, instead of "liberal." He says with some contempt, "Neocon, for many, has become shorthand for neocon-Zionist conspiracy, whatever that may be, although probably involving some combination of plans to exploit Iraqi oil, bomb Iran and apply U.S. power to Israel’s benefit."

I think AIPAC played a large role in the policy making process that led to the US invasion of Iraq. Cohen may not, but look at those arguing for invastion: Perle, Adelman, Krystal, Wolfowitz, Feith, et al.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Obama Stops Wearing Coward's Flag Pin

It's indicative of the cowardice of George Bush and Dick Cheney that they lead the pack of lapel flag pin wearers, because they are draft dodgers from the Vietnam war. If they had fought in the war they would have had some kind of little ribbon to wear on their lapel, a bronze star, an Army Commendation medal, something. But they didn't serve; so, they wear a flag. It's a sign that they didn't serve their country.

Congratulations to Obama for ending the charade that wearing the flag pin somehow symbolizes patriotism. Where were Bush and Cheney on 9/11? Bush was reading "My Pet Goat," and then got in Air Force One and hid out for hours when he should have been leading the country. Cheney went into his spider hole in Washington and ran things from remote control because he was afraid to come out. Cheney and Saddam: the spider hole twins!

Blackwater Perils

I recommend the editorial in today's (10/4/07) Financial Times, "Blackwater and the outsourcing of war." A web link is:

Two main points are:

"...Privatising war is, in reality, financially, politically and militarily very expensive," and

"Neither [the Senate's nor the Pentagon's efforts to control Blackwater] has a chance, much less moral validity, unless the US and its allies adhere to the rule of law they claim their forces are there to defend."