Bush Gang War on Social Security Loses a Banger

All of George’s efforts within the federal government to “educate” Americans about the “flat bust” Social Security system have been aided by an adjunct group outside of government.  This group of robber barons, called Compass, has lost a key member of its contingent:

Signaling more troubles ahead for President Bush’s campaign to overhaul Social Security, a group representing the nation’s biggest financial companies said Monday that it had decided not to renew its membership in a business coalition raising millions of dollars to back the effort.

The Financial Services Forum, which represents chief executives from such corporate heavyweights as American Express, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, was a co-founder of the Coalition for the Modernization and Protection of America’s Social Security, or Compass. But it left the coalition last month after its members failed to agree on Bush’s plan to let workers divert some of their payroll tax into individual investment accounts.

REAL Democrats: Slaughtering the Push-Me-Pull-You

Dems face this harsh reality:

The Dems are currently reduced in the public eye to what both parties really are: competing election winning machines driven not by consistent ideals or policy goals, but by a balancing of the interests and influence of it’s largest contributing constituencies.

The GOP would like to thing they are not only different but distinct. I’m sorry but the two parties are really just the two heads of a push-me-pull-you beast that needs it’s neck snapped.

Greenspan Confirms: GWB Stole Social Security Trust Fund

crossposted at dKos

Oh so many emotions surrounding the Social Security debate!  But what has become increasingly clear to me is that George W. Bush has actually stolen the Social Security trust fund and Big Al Greenspan conviently confirmed that for me with his statements this morning:

The 2004 federal deficit was $412.5 billion, and “would have been $564 billion,” if Social Security revenue hadn’t been included in the budget, Greenspan said.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, when the federal budget was in surplus, current President George W. Bush and then- Vice President Al Gore both endorsed the idea of “locking up” Social Security revenue to ensure the retirement fund’s surplus, which in 2004 totaled $115.9 billion, couldn’t be used for other national expenses.

Let’s see, that $564 billion dollars minus $412.5 billion dollars…that equals….$151.5 billion dollars!

What was that 2004 SS surplus?  $115.9 billion.  Gone.  Stolen.

Blowing My Cover

Blowing My Cover

Everybody has lives that they might have led if some little detail had been different, or if they just hadn’t been lacking some critical skill.

For me, that critical skill was learning foreign language. I never could get the spoken part. I did best in dead languages, particularly Ancient Greek. But after 5 years of Spanish, even though I could read a newspaper, I couldn’t understand the soap operas on Telemundo.

My inability to catch on to foreign languages led to my aversion to studying them. And that led to me giving up on pursuing a Doctorate of Philosophy and a career in academics.

I don’t know if it started after seeing The Return of the Pink Panther or The Spy Who Loved Me but I have been fascinated with the clandestine services ever since I was a young boy.

I didn’t play with decoder rings or anything, but I read anything I could about espionage. During the Cold War spying seemed glamorous to me. And I often fantasized about being sent off to Tashkent or Cairo to glean the secrets of our enemies.

I always wanted to be a case officer, never an analyst. Of course, I figured that once I was inducted into the CIA that I would learn all our nations secrets, and the answers to every nagging question. I’d learn who killed JFK, and lord it over my friends that still were in the dark.

But I didn’t keep the kind of lifestyle that would impress the CIA, and I knew I never would be able to understand spoken Arabic.

So that dream died too.

Unlike Bob Baer, George Clooney will not be starring in a movie about my adventures and exploits in far off lands.

And I guess that’s a good thing. Amor fati as they say. After reading Lindsay Moran’s book (which I consumed in a few hours) I finally learned exactly what the training is to become a clandestine officer. And it is not for the weak-willed.

But it’s also become clear over the years that there is something fundamentally wrong-headed about our intelligence services. It’s not at all clear that they are the good guys anymore, if they ever were.

For anyone really interested in the origins of the CIA, and the building of our national security infrastructure this is a good resource.

L. Fletcher Prouty headed up the Air Force liaison office with the CIA. Technically, he was in both services, and he designed a lot of the architecture for how the CIA procured weapons from the military and handled accounting.

He later left the service and remained convinced till the day he died that JFK had been killed by a “high cabal” within the US Government, including the CIA. But conspiracy theories aside, he gives a fascinating history of the period between 1955 and 1964.

He gives a kind of a behind the scenes review of the Cuban revolution, the Gary Powers U-2 incident, the Bay of Pigs, and the Cuban missile crisis.

Prouty helped build our clandestine services, but he ended up being highly critical of what they do, and what they became. Now, with Porter Goss and John Negroponte in charge, I do not foresee any improvements.

Rapture Capitalism & Taking back the House and Senate!

The Political Twofer: My first diary … not cross posted anywhere, even at dKos …

We’ve spent much of the last decade or so wishing the rapture right would just go away.
At other times we’ve told them they need to get a new hobby.
When they inform us that they’ve lost Jeezus for the umpteenth time and want to know if we’ve found him, it never strikes them as being odd that he might just be avoiding them on purpose.

What follows is my ad campaign to win back Congress using rapture capitalism … Give ’em what they want, supply what they demand.