Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Odds 'n' Ends

State of the State (Michigan)

I heard some of Gov. Jennifer Granholm's State of the State address last night (courtesy of the local university/NPR affiliate, of course). She made some interesting proposals regarding Michigan's future, in terms of employment, technology, and education. To me, the most interesting proposal was what she termed "college credit amnesty", in which Michigan's colleges and universities would accept virtually all college credits, regardless of age. To someone like me -- a proud member of the 30-year-plan community -- that's really good news. I hope the programs she discussed last night are all passed.

I did not listen to the rebuttal by the mouth-breathers.

From Kevin Drum:

BUDGET MAGIC....Imagine that. The administration's prescription drug bill isn't going to cost $400 billion, and it's not going to cost $534 billion. It's going to cost $1.2 trillion.

But it's not so bad. Honest. The White House says there are offsets that will make the real cost $720 billion, a mere doubling of the original estimate. Personally, my guess is that these "offsets" will turn out to be less than the White House is saying, but you know me. I have an irrational hatred of George Bush that causes me to distrust his numbers. I don't know where it comes from.

Kevin, it comes from experience. It comes from hearing the same tired old lame excuses from the campaignistration time after time after time after time.....

As Matt Yglesias points out, the worst part of this whole charade is being forced to listen to congressional Republicans who pretend that they're outraged at being duped. The clarification about costs (that is, today's clarification, not last year's) has a simple source: the White House is now using the first ten years that the prescription drug program actually exists (2006-2015) instead of the first ten years after the bill passed (2004-2013) — which included a couple of years in which the program wasn't even scheduled to exist.
In other words, once again, the Bush Cartel is lying. That is what they do. They are constitutionally incapable of telling the truth. In Rape of the A.P.E., Allen Sherman (the one who did "Camp Grenada") points out that 'lies are more valuable than truth'. Obviously, that may well be the only book Shrub has ever read (or had read to him at bedtime).*

This is childish, and no one can pretend to be astonished about tactics like this, especially since Republicans routinely use them on other programs as well. Dick Cheney, for example, uses estimates for the cost of Social Security privatization based on ten years starting right now, even though the program won't start up until 2009 at the earliest. The real number is at least 50% higher than the White House estimate, and everyone knows it.
Repeat after me: They are lying. They are lying. They are lying!

Tax cuts are treated the same way. Two years ago, for example, Republican Senator George Voinovich loudly insisted that Bush's 2003 tax cut be limited to $350 billion. How responsible! But the deal he cut only got to $350 billion by pretending that the cuts would be temporary, thus cutting their apparent 10-year cost. Everyone knew perfectly well that Bush would turn around and fight to make the cuts permanent, and that's exactly what happened. Voinovich knew it too.

The Bush White House is congenitally unable to produce honest figures for any of its programs, and the sleight of hand it uses is transparent to everyone. But Republicans pretend to accept it anyway and then pretend further to be shocked when the real numbers eventually can't be concealed any longer. I wonder if their constituents will ever wake up?
The constituents will never wake up. If they did, they would realize that all the rosy promises coming out of Twig's smirking little face were nothing but the baldest of lies. The neocon wingnut mouth-breathers couldn't handle that.

Best Name of the Year (So Far):

Bush's trips promoting his Social Security privatization/personalization/overhaul/dismantling:

Bamboozlepalooza Tour
Coined by (to the best of my knowledge) Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo.

From Atrios:
Above the Law
So, Republicans want to give the Secretary of Homeland Security the power to exempt itself and its contractors from all laws.
Can we hear a big "Indeed! Heh!"

...The Raw Story has more.

I don't know why anybody would be surprised. After TSA -- which was the first 'agency' designated to become a part of the Ministry of Homeland Security -- exempted its employees (and hence itself) from various troublesome laws like collective bargaining, it should have been obvious what was coming.

Another disturbing thing about the Ministry is the fact that it's broken into "directorates"... like the old KGB. Not to mention that "Homeland" is awfully close to "Fatherland" (Nazi Germany) and "Motherland" (Russia and the USSR) for my liking.

(Gawd, if I'm not careful, I'm gonna wind up 'disappeared'...)

* A propos of nothing, I found a great bumper sticker before the election: "Librarians for Laura: Because One Reader in the Family is Enough".

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