Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Bush’ Category

I haven’t been 100% up on what was and wasn’t getting included in the Farm Bill as it made its way through Congress over the last year – but I read just now that today Pres. Bush vetoed the Farm Bill! And then the House overrode the veto! The Senate will begin consideration tomorrow, and according to the AP they’re expected to have enough votes to override as well.

Read Bush’s veto notice here, and the USDA support of the veto here.

NPR’s coverage highlights that the vetoed bill contained prosocial things like food aid for the poor, biofuel development, and incentive to let farmland lay fallow (this is prosocial because of its long term benefits to the land). Unsurprisingly, NPR’s take on things is different from the federal government’s. What IS surprising is that the issues the feds object to are totally easy to agree wtih. Bush’s and the UDSA’s statements cited subsidization of farmers with income over $15 million (?!!?! This figure comes from Bush’s statement – I don’t know where that number comes from); funding and authority for the noncompetitive sale of National Forest land to a ski resort; and a $170 million earmark for the salmon industry.

Here are the beginnings of my thoughts on the Farm Bill as it stands now (or, as the media is reporting that it stands now):

PRO: Cuts tax credit for corn-based ethanol (less sustainable of biobased fuels), and creates tax credit for cellulosic ethanol (more sustainable of biobased fuels).

 

PRO: Adds $10.4 billion over 10 years to nutrition programs, including food stamps and food pantry donations. 

CON: Well, not a con so much as a ‘that’s good, but you need more.’ As in, those are poverty mediation efforts, not poverty prevention/eradication efforts. But they’re necessary for the world we live in now.

 

PRO: Increases funding for land stewardship. Almost $30 billion, according to NPR. When food prices are so high, farmers have way more incentive to plant, and take advantage of the record prices. It takes $$ to encourage them NOT to plant. Not planting is important in safeguarding the longterm viability and quality of the soil.

 

CON: National reserve land gets turned into a ski resort!

 

PRO: The bill would deny all subsidies to people with more than $500,000 a year in off-farm income and bar “direct” payments to those with more than $750,000 a year in farm income.

CON: Is this stringent enough?

 

CON: This salmon farming business – wtf? Haven’t seen an explanation of that anywhere yet.

 

And yet… I’m confused! Is Bush trying to distract us with images of richy rich farmers raking it in, when really he wants higher corn-based ethanol rates for his buddies at high corn-producing outfits like Monsanto and Cargill? Or does he want to squeeze the nutrition and emergency food money out? And did the Dem’s in Congress really let these porky earmarks in at the last minute?  Or was Bush just feeling bored and ornery and wanted to use his veto power while he still could? All of the above?

With a 1700 page, $300 billion behemoth legislation like this it’s pretty safe to assume that no one has read it cover to cover. Shit gets snuck in at the last minute – who the fuck knows how. The legislators are so disassociated from the actual effects of their work that budget items and restrictions and tax credits get traded back and forth as though they were items of comparable value. 

drama Drama DRAMA!

Read Full Post »

Regarding oneiroi’s recent post about Congress stepping aside and letting Bush quietly ream our democracy: MoveOn.org has created a petition that you can read and sign here. Go on record saying, “I’m outraged that Congress capitulated to President Bush and gave him more unchecked power to wiretap Americans without a warrant. I demand Congress act swiftly to reverse this reckless act.”

Because, seriously. Why the fuck did we elect democrats if this is what they’re doing with their time?

Read Full Post »

When the Republicans lost their iron grip on all 3 branches of government, losing to the Democrats in both in the House and the Senate, many people sat around trying to figure out why. Was it the Iraq War? The fun & exciting sex scandals? The government’s role in warantless wiretapping, “torture”, and other dubious actions?

Congress took on the mission to prove themselves worthy of the seats they sat in, and started putting pressure against the war, promised to clean up the scandals, and started inquiring about some of those questionable activities. They put Gonzales on the stand and grilled him on the legality and constitutionality of things like the warrantless wiretapping. Congress expressed concern about how the Bush administration was administering a secretive program to wiretap people phones without oversight, as established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

These concerns were not really about the existence of the wiretapping, which has always happened, just that they’re not being approved by the proper authorities. The fact that they’ve gone this far to avoid judicial oversight is troubling, because the process was a breeze anyways. The court is already held secret from the public, and there can even be surveillance without a warrant as long as its reported within 72 hours. There is no delay to worry about. Even
then, from the program’s inception in 1978 at least until 2005, there have been four rejections out of 20,806 approved warrant requests. That’s .019% of all requests that were outright rejected.

In response to this concern over the legality of the program, the Democrat controlled congress approved of Bush’s ability to conduct these wiretaps without even this small piece of oversight. And even goes so far as to make it easier to get information from telephone companies, who before had occasionally resisted!

So…good job Democrats!

Read Full Post »

It has been a fun month for health and the current administration. Let’s just go over some of the more recent news! stem cell alternatives

A couple weeks ago, Bush rose to the defense of embryos everywhere and vetoed the second stem cell research bill from congress. But just to prove that he still likes everyone with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes and Lupus, he issued an executive order to “encourage” non-mini-baby stem cell research. He proudly gave his support for these alternative methods with a big thumbs up (while neither offering funding nor new avenues of research).

Then early last week the surgeon general also claimed that the Bush’s administration sought to “weaken or suppress important public health reports,” so research and general information on topics including secondhand smoke, global warming, AIDS, contraception, and stem cells were all altered to fall better in line with the current opinion of the Bush administration. Traditionally, positions such as the surgeon general (and attorney generals) have sought to be beyond the political fray, to better serve the public. Luckily these topics affect very few people. It’s not like public needs more scientific information on global warming, std prevention, or smoking. Who would that help? My personal favorite part of this story is the White House’s spokesman’s response: “It’s disappointing to us, if he failed to use this position to the fullest extent in advocating for policies he thought were in the best interests of the nation.” So the White House’s response to the surgeon general’s accusations of them bullying him: “Grow a pair”

Hearing from the surgeon general that the administration officials wanted to water down more negative information on secondhand smoke, comforted me with the idea that the tobacco lobby is still doing well. Before this I thought TheTruth.com won. Speaking of which, I’m sure the tobacco lobby has no influence on the White House’s disapproval the proposed $1 tax hike on cigarettes. This bill is set to support The Children’s Health Insurance Fund by adding $50 billion to the fund over 5 years, as opposed to Bush’s proposed $5 billion. In fact Bush “denounced the Democratic proposals as a step toward ‘government-run health care’ for all”. Truthfully, I’m just amazed that someone can have gumption to spend an estimated 1.2 trillion dollars on a war, while “denouncing” a $50 billion effort for children’s insurance and the idea of universal health care…while offering little alternative. Kudos to you sir!

*A fun and interesting thing to note from the second nytimes article, was that the surgeon general was discouraged from going to the Special Olympics because of politics (the Kennedy family’s involvement). I didn’t really think this was news because Bush has always had a rocky relationship with the mentally disabled.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Remember Scooter Libby? He was the one who got convicted of perjury and obstructing justice. That whole Valerie Plame thing. Her husband was an ambassador who said that the administration was lying about Iraq buying uranium in Africa (back before we shock and awed them – remember that shit?). The administration got pissed and so they told Robert Novak, this conservative columnist to write a column “outting” Valerie Plame as the CIA agent that she so was. Turning against “their own.” Or whatever. Clearly issues exist between the exec’s and the CIA type of people, but to me they’re all government people doing sneaky stuff.

Anyway, that was a long time ago. And Scooter Libby was the chief of staff for Dick Cheney. And he was the one who took the fall for all of it. I don’t say that to mean that he wasn’t guilty, but just that he obviously wasn’t the only guilty one.

So he got sentenced to 30 months in prison and $250,000. But, I guess Bush agreed with this guy:

“This is not a man who deserves to go to jail in any sense of the word,” said Kenneth L. Adelman, a former Defense Department official and longtime friend of Mr. Libby, who stayed at his Colorado vacation home before his trial.

“Whatever he did wrong, he certainly paid,” Mr. Adelman said, referring to Mr. Libby’s resignation from his prominent position and his public humiliation. “This is a good person who served his country very well and is a decent person,” he said.

Bush commuted his sentence – meaning that he doesn’t have to serve any jail time. Huh.

Me? I aree with this guy:

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, called the commutation “disgraceful.”

“Libby’s conviction was the one faint glimmer of accountability for White House efforts to manipulate intelligence and silence critics of the Iraq War,” Mr. Reid said. “Now, even that small bit of justice has been undone.”

delicioussmall.gif Save This Page

Read Full Post »

As it is Wednesday, I am now up to the “Week In Review” section of the NY Times I bought on Sunday. Don’t judge me. It’s still relevant, in the middle of the next week.

So I am not one who normally opens up the newspaper expecting to be wowed. Mostly I expect to be angered and disgusted and disappointed. So imagine my surprise as I stood in the crowds of yesterday afternoon’s 4 train reading Frank Rich’s Op-Ed (subscription link) “All the President’s Press.” He was talking about the White House Correspondent’s Dinner. Sounds stupid and boring, right? Right. Exactly. That was his point. Specifically, that it is a ludicrous unconscionable event that further leads to the corruption of the news media.

Laura at the dinner

They [journalist revelers] served as captive dress extras in a propaganda stunt, lending their credibility to the presiden’t sanctimonious exploitation of the Virginia Tech tragedy for his own political self-aggrandizement on national television. Meanwhile the war was kept as tightly under wraps as the troops’ coffins.

Yow. I have to admit, he lost me a little on the details. I didn’t follow the Pat Tillman situation, but I guess the basic gist was that Tillman, a football star serving in Afghanistan, was reported by the Pentagon and later the White House as being killed heroically, but was actually killed by friendly fire. In 2004 at the press dinner Bush eulogized about Tillman’s sacrifice in order to distract from the recently-released Abu Ghraib photos and Ted Koppel reading the names of the war dead on “Nightline.” Basically,

The Washington press corps that applauded the president at the correspondents’ dinner is the same press corps that was slow to recognize the importance of Abu Ghraib that weekend and…..even slower to label the crimes as torture.

So I guess what happened at this week’s dinner was more of the same, as “this year Mr. Bush made a grand show of abstaining [from doing his own comic shtick], saying that the killings at Virginia Tech precluded his being a ‘funny guy.’ Any civilian watching on TV could formulate the question left hanging by this pronouncement: Why did the killings in Iraq not preclude his veing a ‘funny guy’ at other press banquets…?”

The real kicker, though, the thing that to me felt actually exhilarating to read (so exhilarating that I missed my stop) was when Rich outlines the difference between the press’ (minus Rich’s) perception of Iraq and Rich’s (and maybe the NY Times’?) perception of it:

…much of the press still takes it as a given that Iraq has a functioning government that might meet political benchmarks (oil law, de-Baathification reform, etc., etc.) that would facilitate an American withdrawal. In reality, the Maliki “government” can’t meet any benchmarks, even if they were enforced, because that government exists only as a fictional White House talking point. As Gen. Barry McCaffrey said last week, this government doesn’t fully control a single province. Its Parliament….has passed no major legislation in months. Ira’s sole recent democratic achievement is to ban the release of civilian casualty figures, lest they challenge White House happy talk about “progress” in Iraq.

Mmmm. I know I’m not the only transitional democracy buff out there. Reckles, I’m looking at you….

Mr. Rich finishes it off by saying that the Times won’t continue participating in such events. I hope they will continue participating in this kind of fucking awesome truth-telling and…. dare I say…. muckraking. You go baby. You rake that muck.

**

I know, I know, a mainstream journalist deriding other mainstream journalists, it smacks of a Paris-Nicole showdown. But if that means next up in the ring is Frank Rich v. Ann Coulter, then bring it on bitch, bring it on.

Read Full Post »

From: xXGeorgieBushieXx@hotmail.com
To: KarlRove19283@yahoo.com

“OMG!1 Dude, man…Gonzo is being friggin’ ripped to shreds. They want to interview you man, but LOL I’m the pres-E-dent. LMFAO. I’ll show them !!one!1!!!11!. Hold on, I’m sending more troops to Iraq.”

That’s what I imagine the personal, secret, emails between the administration officials sounds like, since the Republican Party set up a private email server. Which sorta/kinda/mostly/does breaks a law. There’s this nice little thing called the Presidential Records Act, which is based on the idea that public/government work is public record, and that the ownership lies ultimately with the public. So it’s automatically saved. It’s part of the idea hoping for a “transparent” government. This is frightening for our current administration, because our president is scared of teh internetz and umm…accountability:

“I tend not to e-mail – not only tend not to e-mail, I don’t e-mail, uh, because of, uh, the different record requests that could happen to a president. I don’t want to receive e-mails, ’cause, you know, there’s no telling what somebody would e-mail me and it would show up as, uh, you know, part of some kind of a story that – and I wouldn’t be able to say, ‘Well, I didn’t read the e-mail’ – ‘But I sent it your address; how can you say you didn’t?’ So, in other words, I’m very cautious about e-mailing.”BUSH (youtube)

Luckily, other people in the administration use email. Rove is on the cutting edge of science. And since they were not on the government’s email system, they have to give them up (no executive privilege). Except…drats Rove accidentally deleted his emails regarding congress’ investigation into the whole GONZO thing. It’s not his fault though, the whole White House was just really confused:

“…any deletion of e-mails from the Republican accounts was sparked by confusion over a White House policy…” – CNN

Awww, poor guys. The interweb is a big scary place, especially when you throw in laws and policies in the mix. Well while they get everything straightened out, can someone buy them this book?

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »