The Bush-Edwards Plan on Social Security

Bush May Raise Taxes for Social Security,” by Laura Meckler, Associated Press,, 16 February 2005 (from Democratic Underground).

“Dear Friend,” by John Edwards, One America Committee, 18 February 2005.

Former Senator John Edwards emails his supporters…

If President Bush chose to side with working families, he could have asked those with a lot to do with a little less by deferring or canceling tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. For instance, we could have generated nearly $200 billion in revenue to fund critical initiatives like child care over the next ten years simply by canceling or deferring two special tax cuts, 97 percent of which go to families making over $200,000 a year. But instead, he chose to ask those with very little to make do with even less.

Last week, I asked to hear your ideas about how we can make Social Security stronger. I was amazed by the response, and reminded of how much our leaders and Washington could learn if they took more time to just stop and listen to the people they work for.

Hmmm… making the tax code less regressive while strengthening social security… who else is open to that?…

President Bush is not ruling out raising taxes on people who earn more than $90,000 as a way to help fix Social Security’s finances.

Asked directly, Bush said he would not bar raising the $90,000 cap, although he does not want to see the payroll tax rate go up.

“The one thing I’m not open-minded about is raising the payroll tax rate. And all the other issues go on the table,” Bush said in the interview, according to an account in Wednesday’s New Haven (Conn.) Register.


Oops! We won! Inshallah!

Shiite Iraq,” by Juan Cole, Informed Consent,, 18 February 2005.

It’s not often that pro-insurgent ballot boycotts coincide with Monty Pythonesque hilarity, but these are interesting times

In a startling development to which the Western press is paying little attention, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq has won the provincial governments in 8 of the 18 provinces in the country, including Baghdad. Over-all Shiite lists won 11 of the 18. Sadrists won Wasit and Maysam, and perhaps one other. Dawa doesn’t appear to have run well at the provincial level. The Kurds won several of the northern provinces, including Ta’mim (where Kirkuk is) and Ninevah. The Iraqi Islamic Party won Anbar province, even though it withdrew from the elections. (It couldn’t properly withdraw because the ballots had already been printed.) But only 2 percent of the residents of Anbar voted, so the IIP victory doesn’t mean much.

In l33t speak: 1010^^65^^^135835064^/

Free Lebanon

Lebanese opposition demands ‘independence uprising’,” China Daily,, 19 February 2005.

Not sure what to make of this, so without comment. Certainly hopeful, though.

ebanese opposition figures urged Lebanese to join what they called an independence uprising against Syria’s grip on Lebanon on Friday, escalating a war of words after former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri’s assassination.

Hariri’s killing in Beirut on Monday sparked anti-Syrian fury among many Lebanese and renewed world pressure on Damascus to loosen its political grip and remove its troops from Lebanon.

The United States, which this week recalled its ambassador from Damascus in reaction to the bombing, warned Syria it must help investigate the assassination or face the possibility of further sanctions.

Lebanese Tourism Minister Farid al-Khazen resigned in another sign of the country’s political turbulence, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad named his brother-in-law, Major-General Asef Shawkat, as head of military intelligence to replace retiring Major-General Hassan Khalil.

Khazen, a Maronite Christian, became the first minister to quit because of the assassination and said he had done so because the Syrian-backed government was unable to “remedy the dangerous situation in the country.”

“There is no substitute for national dialogue on the basis of the Taif agreement,” he said, referring to the deal that ended a 1975-1990 civil war and committed Syria to moving the troops it keeps in Lebanon to the eastern Bekaa Valley.

Druze leader Walid Jumblatt and figures from the disparate opposition movement blamed the government and its Syrian backers for Hariri’s death and called for its resignation.

They urged Lebanese to back a peaceful “independence uprising” — the first time they had used the term. It was not immediately clear what form of protest the uprising would take.

Everything’s Legal in Thailand

World Shaking Discover… UFO Found on Beach after Killer Tsunami: Alien pilots & missing woman are onboard!,” by Mike Foster, World Weekly News,, 18 February 2005 (from The Corner).

An astounding discovery of cosmic proportions has been made in the wake of the horrific Asian tsunami that has killed more than 150,000 men, women and children.

Weekly World News has learned from a respected scientific source that rescuers searching for survivors of the December 26 monster wave stumbled across a UFO half buried in the beach on Hong Island, a remote isle off the coast of Thailand.

Thai officials have desperately tried to hush up the staggering find, but WWN has managed to obtain top-secret photos of the craft, which measures 90 feet across, and its insides taken by Thai solders and other officials probing the discovery.

The source tells WWN that the drowned corpses of two space alien astronauts were found in the saucer-shaped craft’s cockpit. Even more incredible, a human abductee — a Missoula, Mont., woman missing since October 31 — was found strapped to an examination table in a water-tight chamber. The source says she was naked, babbling incoherently and was possibly a guinea pig for ghoulish experiments.

“The human survivor, identified as 27-year-old Wendy Carpsdale, has been airlifted to a medical facility in Bangkok,” reveals Dr. Robert Wilton, a leading Australian physicist with high-level contacts in the Thai scientific community.

American Multilaterialism, French Unilateralism

Leaders’ statement on Iraq: Full text,” BBC News,, 30 January 2003.

Chirac lashes out at ‘new Europe’,” CNN,, 18 February 2003.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003 Posted: 10:06 AM EST (1506 GMT)

Old news. But in the face of revisionism it’s nice to look back at the run-up to the Iraq War.

About the time eight European nations came together to endorse the Iraq War

The Iraqi regime and its weapons of mass destruction represent a clear threat to world security.

This danger has been explicitly recognized by the United Nations.

All of us are bound by Security Council Resolution 1441, which was adopted unanimously.

We Europeans have since reiterated our backing for Resolution 1441, our wish to pursue the UN route and our support for the Security Council, at the Prague Nato Summit and the Copenhagen European Council.

In doing so, we sent a clear, firm and unequivocal message that we would rid the world of the danger posed by Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.

We must remain united in insisting that his regime is disarmed.

The solidarity, cohesion and determination of the international community are our best hope of achieving this peacefully. Our strength lies in unity.

The combination of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism is a threat of incalculable consequences.

Jacque Chirac acted like a spoiled child, calling on the nations France did so little to liberate from tyranny to “shut up”

French President Jacques Chirac has attacked eastern European countries hoping to join the EU, saying they missed a great opportunity to “shut up” when they signed letters backing the U.S. position on Iraq.

France has been a leading voice against Washington’s press for war in Iraq to disarm President Saddam Hussein and is insisting weapons inspectors in the country be given more time.

But 13 countries either set to join the EU or in membership talks have signed letters supporting the United States.

“Romania and Bulgaria were particularly irresponsible. If they wanted to diminish their chances of joining Europe they could not have found a better way,” Chirac said.

The French Republic…. of blighted unilateralism