Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Brushed Off by the World

I guess insulting much of the world and then asking for help wasn’t such a great idea. Here are some salient excerpts from a story, Brushed Off by the World, Bush Calls India for Help, in today’s Washington Post:

From Asia to Europe to Africa, President Bush’s televised appeal Sunday night for international help in rebuilding Iraq drew as much scorn as sympathy in the online media.

…In Brunei, the oil-rich enclave in southeast Asia, the headline in the Borneo Bulletin minced no words: “U.S. Admits Failure in Iraq.”

…reported Michael Settle in the Glasgow Herald, “drew an embarrassingly muted response across the globe.”

…Even Norway, which has already sent 150 soldiers to Iraq, was critical. Foreign minister Jan Petersen was quoted in the English-language Norway Post as saying that he regretted that Bush didn’t offer “a greater political role for the U.N. in Iraq. This he could have done and should have done.”

…The real acid test for Bush’s appeal is India, where recent developments give the Bush administration at least some hope of a positive response…By itself, India nearly could satisfy the Bush administration’s immediate desire for 20,000 fresh troops in Iraq.

AB

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Tours of Duty

Just heard on NPR that some reservists tours will last for one year, rather than six months.

AB

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the story.

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Democratic Ranks Swelling in Texas

Not really, but there are now or will soon be ten more Democrats in Texas than there were last week:

The runaway senators had vowed to stay out of Texas until another redistricting session was called and a quorum established on the Senate floor. However, Ms. Van de Putte said, the decision last week of Houston Democrat John Whitmire to return to Texas changed the other Democrats’ thinking.

They will still stay out of Austin until Mr. Whitmire helps the Republicans reach the 21-member quorum needed to do business but will return to their families in Texas, she said.

Nuts to you, Mr. Whitmire.

AB

P.S. Note to Texans: patriotism and love of State and Country come from the heart and mind, not from statutorily mandated recitation.

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Talking Points Memo

This is a good example of why Josh Marshall is one of my favorite political writers.

AB

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2004 Projected Deficit Now Over Well Over $500 Billion

Way back on 8/24 the projected deficit was $480 billion (see this post). Now it’s $525b and counting. That’s another $45 billion in 15 days–deficit projections for the next year are growing by $3 billion per day. If current trends continue then by New Year’s Eve, the projected deficit will reach $846b or about $3,400 per U.S. citizen. That’s extreme. Most likely, the fiscal year 2004 deficit will turn out to be in the $550b to $600b range.(*) That’s a mere $2200-$2400 per person over the next year.

Fortunately, the grown-ups are in control. They understand the simple economics of trade-offs and tough choices. From CNN:

Senior administration officials told reporters there were no plans at the White House to seek “offsets” — or spending cuts elsewhere in the budget — to ease the strain of the new war budget request on the Treasury.

Nor is the White House open to scaling back tax cuts already passed by Congress, these officials said.

Officials still maintain that the deficit will be cut in half over the next few years. They don’t really say how this will happen, but I’m guessing it involves the magic of tax cuts and possibly the awesome stain-fighting power of Oxiclean.

AB

(*) Because Fiscal Year 2004 starts on October 1, 2003, I’m playing a bit fast and loose with this example, but you get the point.

UPDATE: Via corrente, I find this impressive bit of buck-stops-here-ism:

Asked who bears the blame for the nation’s growing budget deficit, Bush said “It’s nobody’s fault.”

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More Christianistanity

Can we, based on the worthless jackasses in the top picture, now say that the entire Right is composed of diversity-hating, first-responder-hating, and freedom-hating morons–much in the way the entire Left is held to account whenever ANSWER does something stupid? No, you say? Well then quit blaming “Liberals” when Chomsky says something goofy. In the meantime, the answer to my original question is yes.

AB

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Christianists

Jesse has a great series of posts on those who would like to see this country become a theocracy–Christianists(*). It starts here with a Phillis Schlafly smackdown, but keep scrolling up to see more. Why do they insist on defying the Constitution? Are they Enemies of Freedom?

AB

(*) I believe Dave Neiwert coined this phrase as an amalgam of Christian and Fundamentalist.

P.S. While at Pandagon, be sure to check out Jesse’s play-by-play recounting of his thoughts while watching DC 9/11: Time Of Crisis, Showtime’s Bush puff-piece “docudrama that traces the nine days after the terrorist attacks on America of September 11, 2001, a week and a half that challenged…”

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Bold or Foolish?

Edwards Says He Won’t Run for Re-Election

ABC News – 3 hours ago

John Edwards said he’ll stick to one term in the US Senate, convinced his presidential campaign is going well enough to bow out of the 2004 race for his seat.

There’s still a lot of time before the election, but I’m leaning toward foolish.

AB

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Deficits

I got a hit today from someone Googling this:

economy’s budget deficit graphs that do not start at 0 and have good artwork to deceive the public

I wonder who the Googler thinks is likely to issue misleading deficit graphs?

In Lying Liars, Al Franken has two graphs that illustrate the point about scaling graphs in a misleading fashion. I’ll add an update with the page number this evening, or someone can do it for me in the comments.

AB

UPDATE: It’s on p. 174 of Lying Liars.

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Bush Tax Cut Jobs Scoreboard

Mike at The 18½ Minute Gap has a nice graph showing the jobs promised by Bush and the jobs delivered, with the former category consisting of positive numbers and the latter consisting of only negative numbers so far. The predictions are plotted through 12/04 while the results only go through 8/03. If the eventual results for 9/03 thorugh 10/04 look at all like Bush’s results to date, the 2004 Democratic nominee just might be the favorite.

AB

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