4.01.2005

Bush Launches Preemptive Attack On Social Security

Sure it's the Onion, but it still rings true and reminds us strangely of some other war...

At an appearance at the St. Louis Convention Center Sunday evening, President Bush declared the "grave and pressing need" for a preemptive attack on the Social Security program.

"My fellow citizens, at this hour, brave administration and congressional forces are in the early stages of an all-out attack on Social Security, with the ultimate goal of bringing down the oppressive legacy of the New Deal, and big government itself," Bush said. "Through bold and decisive action, we will liberate our grandparents and our grandchildren from the threats of the system established by Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide retirement compensation for America's workers."

According to the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees, if Social Security revenue and payouts remain unchanged, the nation's largest entitlement program will be unable to pay full benefits in 2041.

"The Social Security system is a dangerous, financially unsustainable program," Bush said. "If we allow it to continue unchecked, we will need to resort to benefit cuts, tax increases, or massive borrowing in 36 short years. I call upon the combined forces of my administration and Congress to destroy this program and the threat that it presents to our way of life."
Hilarious!

Our favorite part?
Bush defended his decision to make a preemptive attack.

"September 11 taught us that, in our unstable world, we must take bold, decisive action to protect our citizens from threats both foreign and domestic," Bush said. "We must free citizens everywhere from the threat of financial dependence on the government."
Ha ha ha! Oh, could we love the Onion more? Sad when the best points are made through comedy...

Bush said he was reluctant to detail the specifics of his strategic plan, as he did not wish to jeopardize national security.

U.S. Army War College professor of economics Henry Reed said destroying the program will require a "broad and concerted campaign."

"The Social Security system is complex and resilient, with a network of cooperative agents across the country and an entrenched relationship with many of the nation's most desperate elements," Reed said. "Luckily, a well-funded coalition of pro-business forces has already begun striking selected targets of legislative importance in order to stop the cells that provide assistance to people on the extreme end of the age spectrum."

Reed put the current situation in historical context.

"Bush could ignore this threat, like all the presidents since Truman have done," Reed said. "By confronting this potential future crisis now, Bush will free all Americans from the treacherous safety net that currently entangles their futures."
We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

3.31.2005

Wal-Mart: The Best Press $$$ Can Buy

21 House Democrats angry over ABC news sponsorship deal with Wal-Mart
Hmmm, Wal-Mart is buying good press. There's a shocker.

Four Ohio lawmakers are among 21 Democrats in Congress crying foul over a new sponsorship deal between Wal-Mart and ABC News.

The ABC morning news segment is supposed to highlight hardworking Americans. The Congressional critics say Wal-Mart’s sponsorship is misleading because the company treats workers poorly, hires illegal immigrants and hurts small businesses.
Again, what a shocker. Here in California Wal-Mart's "We're the best business ever 'cuz we hire the poor" make us sick. Did you know that, along with McDonald's, Wal-Mart almost single-handedly surpresses wages in this country? That they're so large the warp markets? That they're like China's 5th (or 8th depending on who you talk to) largest trading partner (ahead of Russia)? Check out this article from Fast Company about how they hurt the products they sell.

Or check out this site about the 'Store Wars' from PBS on their 'Business Practices'... they're not very pretty.

What the 'Ownership Society' Is Really All About...

And it ain't the hokey-pokey.
Bush's bridge back to 19th century
Oh this is good, very good and if you've been paying attention... well, let's just say that this is does a really good job of connecting the dots...

If you're trying to understand what George W. Bush is proposing, let us put it as clearly as we can: repealing the 20th century.

The 20th century's reforms represented an immense expansion of rights for workers, people of color, women, the elderly, the poor, the disabled, and others barely regarded as human beings at all by those in power. Moreover, the environment became a precious legacy to be protected for all Americans, not just a target for corporate plunder.
Wow. Sums it all up nicely doesn't it... now, what about this bridge the Bush wants to sell us? We'll hit some of the highlights...
Now George W. Bush seems to be launching a breathtaking offensive against the very notion that government exists to promote the common good. While Corporate America would continue to be showered with government goodies, the rest of us would be left out in the rain to fend for ourselves. Social Security: this insurance system has lifted many tens of millions of senior citizens, disabled workers, and children out of poverty since its founding 60 years ago. It is the very cornerstone of economic security for Americans, providing an expansive insurance policy for all of us. But President Bush has been declaring a looming crisis, based on very shaky assumptions, to peddle the privatization and shredding of this immensely important safety net.
More GENIUS analysis! But they forgot one thing: the wealthy. It should read: "While Corporate America & the wealthy..." Do that and the whole thing is pitch perfect.
However, simply subjecting incomes above $90,000 to the Social Security tax would take care most of any potential problem. Repeal of Bush's tax cuts for the richest 5 percent of Americans would also solve the problem. But President Bush's real aim seems to be promoting the risky privatization scheme at any cost, rather than taking small steps to protect Social Security.
BRAVO! GENIUS! YES, yes exactly right! We could "fix" whatever ails Social Security in a second with either of these... but that would hurt the wealthy and be "Class Warfare" wouldn't it? And we can't have the Middle Class fighting back now can we?

Oh so much more, and the authors are spot-on everytime, but here's the money shot:
From Bush's proposals on Social Security, health care, and our Constitutional rights, we are glimpsing what he really means by the "Ownership Society:" big corporations would own the government while hard-working, taxpaying families would be left without a safety-net, without the social-contract/social insurance programs and legal protections that make it possible for ordinary families to survive adversity and have an income at retirement that permits them to escape poverty.
Think about it...

Is Outsourcing Really the Fault of 1 Man?

Outsourcing: It's The Fault of a Guy from India
Alrighty, so this is one woman's report of an interview on Fox. Sorry, we don't watch Fox because we find it repulsive and we don't want to add to their success (which is the the same reason we don't view the Drudge Report: so we don't add to his hit count). Intereseting. Take a look.

Under a banner reading "Behind the Outsourcing Boom," substitute host Stuart Varney interviewed Sam Pitroda today (March 29, 2005) on Your World w/Neil Cavuto. Pitroda is the former chief technology officer for the nation of India and is now the chairman of a company called Worldtel.

Introducing Pitroda, Varney said: "He's the man many credit, or depending on how you look at it, blame for the outsourcing boom." Varney asked Pitroda to "tell me how that is good news for American workers."

[snip]

Varney smiled but got nastier: You're a "star" in India and in Europe but "this is your first network TV interview in the US even though you've lived here for 30 years." Pitroda corrected Varney, saying he'd lived here for 40 years. Varney continued: "Why do you keep such a low profile here? Do you think perhaps you're unpopular for all this outsourcing?" A flustered Pitroda said no, he travels, he's busy and that's the way its worked out.

Comment: Ah yes. The simple, simple, simple world of Fox News. Outsourcing boils down to one man from India. Don't ever let it be said that the (according to Fox) benevolent, patriotic, job-creating corporations in this country had anything to do with it.
Ha ha! Hilarious. She's right: easier to blame one person, and totally confuse the issue, than to think that business/government is doing something wrong.

Read & think for yourself.