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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Parents refuse to send their kids to Walter Reed via Iraq

What? You think your kids are as valuable as the Bushes? Shut your piehole and send your kid to Iraq.

Growing Problem for Military Recruiters: Parents


Rachel Rogers, a single mother of four in upstate New York, did not worry about the presence of National Guard recruiters at her son's high school until she learned that they taught students how to throw hand grenades, using baseballs as stand-ins. For the last month she has been insisting that administrators limit recruiters' access to children.


A Department of Defense survey last November, the latest, shows that only 25 percent of parents would recommend military service to their children, down from 42 percent in August 2003.

"Parents," said one recruiter in Ohio who insisted on anonymity because the Army ordered all recruiters not to talk to reporters, "are the biggest hurdle we face."


Recruiters, in interviews over the past six months, said that opposition can be fierce. Three years ago, perhaps 1 or 2 of 10 parents would hang up immediately on a cold call to a potential recruit's home, said a recruiter in New York who, like most others interviewed, insisted on anonymity to protect his career. "Now," he said, "in the past year or two, people hang up all the time. "

Several recruiters said they had even been threatened with violence.

"I had one father say if he saw me on his doorstep I better have some protection on me," said a recruiter in Ohio. "We see a lot of hostility."


But Col. David Slotwinski, a former chief of staff for Army recruiting, said that the Army faced an uphill battle because many baby boomer parents are inclined to view military service negatively, especially during a controversial war.

"They don't realize that they have a role in helping make the all-volunteer force successful," said Colonel Slotwinski, who retired in 2004. "If you don't, you're faced with the alternative, and the alternative is what they were opposed to the most, mandatory service."


Unlike Mr. Terrazas, Ms. Rogers, 37, of High Falls in the upper Hudson Valley, had not thought much about the war before she began speaking out in her school district. She had been "politically apathetic," she said. She did not know about No Child Left Behind's reporting requirements, nor did she opt out.


On May 24, at the first school board meeting since the gym class, she read aloud from a recruiting handbook that advised recruiters on ways to gain maximum access to schools, including offering doughnuts. A high school senior, Katie Coalla, 18, stood up at one point and tearfully defended the recruiters, receiving applause from the crowd of about 70, but Ms. Rogers persisted.

"Pulling in this need for heartstrings patriotic support is clouding the issue," she said. "The point is not whether I support the troops. It's about whether a well-organized propaganda machine should be targeted at children and enforced by the schools."

Gee, maybe seeing all those parents at gravesides and shuttling around Landsthul and Walter Reed has had something to do with this. So I guess Katie Coalla is planning to enlist. Because if she isn't, she should remain silent.

Col. Slotwinski is basically saying offer up your kids or we will take them. If they think they have problems now, start talking about a draft.

This is the anti-war movement. Individuals opposing the military on a one to one basis. And it is far more effective than a hundred marches. Army recruiting is down by half at least

[The News Blog]
11:59:09 PM    

Hollow Army: Parents kill recruitment.

 Nobody wants their kids killed. Not for a war without a purpose.
Two years into the war in Iraq, as the Army and Marines struggle to refill their ranks, parents have become boulders of opposition that recruiters cannot move.

Mothers and fathers around the country said they were terrified that their children would have to be killed - or kill - in a war that many see as unnecessary and without end.

Around the dinner table, many parents said, they are discouraging their children from serving.

At schools, they are insisting that recruiters be kept away, incensed at the access that they have to adolescents easily dazzled by incentive packages and flashy equipment.

A Department of Defense survey last November, the latest, shows that only 25 percent of parents would recommend military service to their children, down from 42 percent in August 2003.

Once upon a time, my wife and I sparred over military service for our son. Yeah yeah, he's 19 months old, but I fantasized about a military stint for him. I wouldn't be half the man I am today without my three years service. The Army gave me much of the self-confidence I carry to this day, that feeling that no matter how bad things may seem, I've been through worse and survived.

My wife and I no longer have that argument. The Army I served in is not the same Army we have today. Despite having Bush in office, there was a sense that we wouldn't be used and abused for dubious causes. We liberated Kuwait, sure, but Bush, Powell, and yes -- Cheney -- knew better than to push forward to Baghdad. They knew that in that path lay quagmire.

As I've written before, it breaks my heart that the military is no longer a viable option to many people who could benefit from its pluses. I owe the Army my education. Without it, I don't know how I would've been able to afford college. Many others from the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder have used the military to escape their ghettos, trailer parks, or barrios.

But that was when we trusted our leaders to take the lives of our men and women in uniform seriously. That's clearly no longer the case.

And parents are fighitng back, taking military service off the table for their children.

So the Pentagon is now resorting to gimmicks to try and spur enlistments (like bullshit 15-month enlistments), all the while refusing to release the latest recruitment numbers until a week from tomorrow -- conveniently a Friday.

The Pentagon thinks that recruitment will surge in the summer months as highschoolers graduate. And the numbers will rise relatively, but not at levels they hope to see. Without the parents, the recruiter's job gets much, much tougher.

So what's left? The war cheerleaders won't enlist nor encourage others to enlist. They want their painless war, sans sacrifice. They can't even pay for the damn thing, deferring the bill to our grandchildren.

So it'll come down to getting the hell out, or instituting a draft.

The choice will have to be made eventually.

 [Daily Kos]

11:58:07 PM    

Kelly Preston: Fighting for Kids

As a parent, I am deeply concerned over the escalating number of American children who have been placed on mind-altering psychiatric drugs over the last decade because of being labeled with subjective, non-medical mental disorders, like Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). All too often, parents are told that their child has a mental disorder and that this is a medical condition requiring that they be put on drugs. This is fraudulent. There are no blood tests, brain scans or “chemical imbalance” tests that can prove that any of these so called mental disorders are a disease, illness or medical condition. No such tests exist. These “tests” are simply a checklist of behaviors -- subjective questionnaires -- to determine if these children have so-called mental illnesses. Some of these questions are: does the child fidget, squirm in his seat, or stare out the window? Does he sometimes lose his homework, pencils or toys?

Where in all of medicine is a diagnosis of disease made strictly by talking to someone? Would a parents subject their child to chemotherapy if there were no evidence of cancer cells? Would they take a doctor’s word for it that he could diagnose their child with cancer simply by asking the child some questions or observing his behavior? Yet parents are being told that their child has a mental “disease” and that they need to take dangerous and unproven drugs -- when there is no medical proof that anything is wrong with the child.

I have spoken out for parent's rights for the last seven years. Two years ago I worked to garner national support for the federal Child Medication Safety Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a landslide vote of 425 to 1, and was signed into federal law by President George Bush in December 2004, as the Prohibition Mandatory Medication Amendment. The federal bill required that federal funding be withheld from any school that coerced parents to drug their children with controlled substances. That is also why I supported Florida House Bill 209 which took the federal amendment several steps further by preventing any student from being coerced onto any psychotropic drug in schools and requiring parents be informed that their child’s problematic behavior may have physical causes that could be treated with actual medical care -- as opposed to potentially damaging mind control drugs. Both SB 1090 and HB 209, a similar bill, were passed unanimously by both the Florida House and the Florida Senate. However, Governor Bush chose to veto HB 209 and sign only SB 1090, which did not include informing parents that their child’s behavior could be the result of an undiagnosed physical condition. While Governor Bush vetoed HB 209, the passage of SB 1090, as recognized by the Governor in his statement, does mark forward progress in addressing this serious problem. Governor Bush said: “I share the concerns of many of the proponents of this bill (HB 209) who draw attention to the all too frequent use of pharmaceuticals for children whose health and behavioral problems may benefit from other forms of intervention. Further, I am a firm supporter of parental notification in all types of medical care provided to children.” Now that Senate Bill 1090 is law, safeguards have been created for parents in Florida that prevent them from being coerced to put their children on dangerous psychotropic drugs or from being psychologically evaluated -- simply, parents now have the right to refuse psychiatric testing with invasive questionnaires that could easily result in any child being diagnosed mentally “ill” and subsequently drugged. I want to thank Florida Senators Skip Campbell and Victor Crist, and Representative Gus Barreiro, for their courageous efforts in bringing the urgent problem of psychiatric drugging of children to the forefront of the Florida Legislature. Through their efforts, the problem was also spotlighted onto the national scene.

I will continue to work with other concerned groups and legislators to find legislative measures that will not just prevent parents being forced to put their children on psychotropic drugs, as this new law now does, but to ensure that parents are fully informed of the dangers of psychotropic drugging and alternative solutions, including actual medical examination and non-harmful treatments to resolve underlying conditions for the child’s behavior (an important section of HB 209). Parents are the ones who have the right, the duty and the responsibility to nurture, care and protect their children. They should not be coerced in any manner to place their children on psychiatric drugs. They should also be given all the relevant information so they can make their own informed decision, not just the information coming from the industry that benefits from the drugging of children. Child drugging is over a one billion dollar a year industry, and growing. Parents need to know that there are alternatives to drugging. It is ridiculous that here in America, citizens have to fight for laws that protect a parent’s fundamental right to informed consent so they can fully protect their children and ensure their safety in schools. But fight we must.

Today we have 10 million children on psychiatric drugs. Side effects of these drugs include mania, psychosis, hostility, suicide and drug dependence. The administration of these mind-altering and dangerous drugs to children has become a national disgrace. If we keep drugging our children at this rate, in ten years we will have 40 million children on psychiatric drugs -- that’s almost 4/5ths of our nations school children. Parents are risking their child’s life with drugs that can cause future drug addiction, mania, suicide, psychosis and violence. Medical studies show that children can suffer not only from allergies, but from chemical toxicities or exposure to heavy metals (i.e. lead and mercury) or even poor diet. In 2002, the President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education found an astounding 2.4 million children who had been labeled with "learning disorders" when they had never been taught to read. Another study showed that 50% of the students labeled with a “learning disability” were just not getting enough sleep. The point is that there are many solutions to handling a child’s academic difficulties or behaviors. Parents have the right to know their options -- to consult a medical doctor to discover if there are real physical causes, and to be informed that that these labels of mental disorders are created by questionnaires and not medical tests. I know that there are concerned parents out there who are concerned about this issue. I have heard from many of them. I encourage all concerned with protecting parental rights to join me in letting our legislators know that they must not just notice that there is a problem, they must do something effective to handle it.


The number of children on psychotropic drugs has increased by 500% since 1999.

8 of the last 13 school shootings in America were committed by children under the influence of psychiatric drugs linked to hostility and suicide.

Many children have committed suicide as a result of psychiatric drugs. One study shows that 81% of the child suicides in Pinellas County, Florida were committed by children who were either on these psychotropic drugs or under psychiatric treatment. It was 100% in Pasco County. Last year, the FDA ordered that antidepressants include a warning that they can cause suicidal tendencies in children and adolescents. British and European Medical Regulatory Agencies banned the use of many of these drugs for most purposes with children under the age of 18.

According to an IMS Health survey, between 1995 and 1999, the use of antidepressants increased 580 percent in children under the age of six.

It is undisputed that actual physical, medical problems are routinely misdiagnosed as ADHD, ADD, and other “behavioral disorders.” Parents and teachers are not being informed that the reason for their child’s behavior may just lay in an actual, diagnosable, physical medical problem that could be solved through normal medical treatment. Consider the case of Austin Harris from Florida who was hailed as “the poster child for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” (ADHD). He was the child no one wanted to be around and was kicked out of 11 preschools in three years for doing everything from shouting obscenities and hitting other children to poking a teacher in the eye with a pencil. He was prescribed stimulants with no dramatic change in his behavior. But something unexpected happened after Austin went to the hospital to have a blockage removed from his colon. The child no one wanted to be around was no longer terrorizing his teachers and classmates. Instead, Austin, who is now 12, was able to sit quietly and was a joy to be around. He gave up the psychotropic medication. According to leading medical experts, the connection between behavior and chronic constipation in children is not uncommon. “The bad behaviors disappear as soon as the impaction is removed,” said Dr. Paul Hyman, chief of pediatric gastroenterology at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City.

There is a world of difference between the art of identifying symptoms and the science of finding and treating causes. Psychiatrists specialize in cataloguing symptoms and then try to convince people that the symptoms are causes and that their treatments “work,” merely because the symptoms appear to have dissipated or changed. But these are not causes, they are just symptoms, and their treatments often bring about a worsening of the person’s condition. Any medical doctor who takes the time to conduct a thorough physical examination of a child exhibiting signs of what psychiatrists say are “mental disorders,” can very often find undiagnosed, untreated physical conditions. Medical doctors have established that mercury poisoning, environmental toxins and allergies can affect behavior and academic performance and can create symptoms, which have been labeled as childhood behavioral and attention “disorders.” Gases, cleaning fluids, scents and other chemicals can make a child “irritable, inattentive, spacey, aggressive, depressed or hyperactive.” Physical conditions such as thyroid malfunction can produce symptoms of various “mental disorders.” It is well known that abnormal thyroid conditions can dramatically effect mood and cause severe depression, fatigue and memory loss. Dr. Sydney Walker III, a psychiatrist and neurologist wrote that thousands of children put on psychiatric drugs are simply “smart.” “They're hyper, not because their brains don’t work right, but because they spend most of the day waiting for slower students to catch up with them. These students are bored to tears, and people who are bored fidget, wiggle, scratch, stretch, and (especially if they are boys) start looking for ways to get into trouble.” Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld, educator and author, says that psychotropic drugs for any reading or comprehension problem is very wrong. Often, he says, the problem is the child has never been taught phonics and doesn’t understand what he or she is reading, causing disruptive behavior. Again, I encourage all parents and concerned citizens to get educated on this very important issue and to support state and federal protections for parents’ and children’s rights. For more information, go to

- Kelly Preston

 [The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]
11:39:36 PM    

Syria test-fires three Scud missiles, Israeli military officials tell the New York Times. But why is the Ha'aretz report a summary of the NYT report if the sourcing is domestic?...Little was especially startling about the tests, Israeli officials said, except...

 [War and Piece]
11:35:23 PM    

Stem Cells: The Democrats 2006 holy Grail.

The Democrats need an issue that puts the religious right on the defensive, attracts swing-voters and helps the country. Here is the answer: stem cell research. This is the holy grail of the 2006 election, the issue that will bring voters to the Democratic party, successfully court business, and break the religious right. How can this one simple issue accomplish all that? Here’s the answer.

11:34:48 PM    

White House Personnel.

Praktike writes:

Priorities | Liberals Against Terrorism:

I don't usually go in for cheap shots these days, as they're so easy ... but what's up with the Bush administration rushing to name the pro-Enron Chris Cox as the new SEC Chair when AFAIK there's been no similar rush to fill long-vacant counterterrorism slots and top Treasury jobs, the State Department is still waiting for Karen Hughes to do whatever she's doing, and there's been no US ambassador in Iraq for some months now?...

 [Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal]
8:58:34 PM    

The Virtues of Genocide

Read Eugene Oregon on whether or not the situation in Darfur has "improved" over the last few months. Also, read Eric Reeves. It comes down to this, really: the gangsters running Khartoum are attacking aid workers, arresting members of Doctors Without Borders, arresting a translator for the UN Secretary General, and conducting massacres while Kofi Annan is in the goddamn country, all for one good reason—because they can. And that's sort of a problem. Besides the bloody fact of genocide in Darfur, which is a monstrosity in its own right and a latent security threat, didn't we establish in the run-up to the war in Iraq—on both sides of the debate—that letting regimes flout international law was a terrible thing that undermined the credibility of the international order? Yes? No? Yes? Well, consider it undermined.

If I were a budding dictator in the year 2005, contemplating genocide as a means of putting down an insurgency within my own borders, I'd be learning some very interesting lessons here.

UPDATE: Eh, I'm becoming less impressed with the "we'd have to invade if we wanted to stop the genocide" school of thought. Not because it's not true—heck, I wrote a whole article on the subject—but because the intermediate battles here really are crucial and tend to get obscured by talking too much about "perfect" possible solutions. The ICG recently put out, for a change, a realistic assessment of peacekeeping needs in Darfur. It's still probably a lowball on troop needs, but as Reeves points out, it's the first time an organization has been willing to think "realistically about the essential features of true civilian protection in Darfur." The next step is to convince the African Union to think in these terms as well.

 - Brad

[Bradford Plumer]
8:51:11 PM    

PA-08: Republican County Commissioner Switches Parties.

 Good news from a swing district:

Calling Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick a "DeLay Disciple" and decrying the Republican Party's move to the right, former Republican Bucks County commissioner Andy Warren on Wednesday announced he has become a Democrat and is not ruling out...


8:50:03 PM    

Noe gave $39k 'loan' to lobbyist.

Investigated for laundering money for Bush/Cheney Ohio, now in more trouble.

 [The Raw Story | A rational voice - Alternative news]
3:56:15 PM    

Federal government wants 9/11 funds back.

White House wants aid money back; NY says claims still outstanding.

 [The Raw Story | A rational voice - Alternative news]
3:55:20 PM    

Cox v. Lay.

Chris Cox, 3/7/95: The threat of lawsuits over so-called forward looking information, how is this company going to do in the future, is so serious that many if not most CEO’s these days refuse to talk to the press at all about their company’s performance and yet that is exactly the ...

 [Think Progress]
3:54:29 PM    

Matt Cooper: Protecting sources

I was delighted to see that a bipartisan group attorneys general from the states and the District of Columbia have filed a brief to the Supreme Court asking them to take the case that I’ve brought to the high court. Right now, I’m fighting a subpoena from the special prosecutor in the Valerie Plame case who would like me to reveal confidential sources for a piece I coauthored in 2003. My piece didn’t out Valerie Plame, a CIA operative. Robert Novak, the columnist, had done that some days earlier. But my piece took note of the leaking, which may have constituted a crime, and suggested it was widespread. As you’ll recall, Plame’s husband, Joseph Wilson, had written an op-ed for the New York Times questioning one of the administration’s rationales for going to war in Iraq--namely, that Saddam Huessein had sought to acquire a kind of uranium ore in Africa. For over a year, with the exceptionally generous backing of my employer, Time, Inc, I’ve been fighting this subpoena in court and now we’ve asked the Supreme Court to take the case. The attorneys general didn’t weigh the merits of my case but they did agree that the court should take it.

A lot of people were surprised when the Attorneys General stepped in. But if you look at the legal landscape, it’s less surprising. Forty-nine states offer some form of legal protection for journalists who are protecting confidential sources--giving them a privilege akin to that afforded doctors and patients, clergymen and parishoners, and groups as disparate as licensed social workers. As the chief law enforcement officer in their states, the attorneys general know that these protections work well and are totally compatible with law enforcement. But my case is in FEDERAL court and the courts have been divided about whether there’s protection under federal law. The attorneys general argued that in the absence of a federal privilege, the state laws essentially could be rendered moot. My hope is that the Supreme Court will take my case and sort out the confusion.

The bipartisan consesus extends to Congress. Right now, Congress is considering adopting a federal shield law that would allow journalists a degree of protection in keeping their confidences to sources. It, too, is bipartisan, sponsored by Sen. Richard Lugar and Rep. Mike Pence, both Indiana Republicans with many Democratic and Republican cosponsors. This is not a left-right issue. It’s about whether citizens can get the information they need in order to be able to rule themselves.

- Matt Cooper

 [The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]
3:53:54 PM    

A Cox in the Henhouse.
President Bush on Thursday named Rep. Christopher Cox -- a champion of curbing investor lawsuits -- as the White House's choice to head the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, prompting academics to predict a major shift in the market-regulating agency's focus.

Bush picks Cox to head SEC
June 2, 2005


Contributions to Rep. Christopher Cox by the financial services industry 1993-2004: $988,763

Financial services sector’s rank among Cox’s contributors 1993-2004: 1st

Share of Cox’s total 1993-2004 contributions received from financial services industry: 21%

Total brokerage and investment industry contributions to Cox 1993-2004: $214,995

Total accounting industry contributions to Cox 1993-2004: $188,284

Cox’s largest single donor ($19,825) in the 2004 election cycle: Latham & Watkins

(Contribution data courtesy of Open Secrets)

With teams of lawyers working together seamlessly from our network of offices in Europe, North America and Asia, we are able to deliver support for a wide range of M&A, corporate finance, private equity and venture capital transactions . . . From major investment banks and Fortune 500 companies to the emerging company, our clients turn to us for active and dedicated representation and our broad collective expertise.

Latham & Watkins
Corporate web site
Date unknown

From 1978 to 1986, [Cox] specialized in venture capital and corporate finance with the international law firm of Latham & Watkins, where he was the partner in charge of the Corporate Department in Orange County and a member of the firm's national management.

Rep. Cox’s congressional web site
Date unknown

Cox . . . wrote the 1995 Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, aimed at stopping what corporate interests — especially Silicon Valley — said was a flood of abusive securities-fraud lawsuits aimed at shaking down companies.

Los Angeles Times
Bush Names Orange County's Cox to Head SEC
June 2, 2005

To sell his reforms to colleagues in early ’95, Cox claimed there had been an explosion in tort cases, citing 100 million filed annually. Nader accused Cox of being 98 million cases off; the figure the congressman was spouting represented all cases filed—including traffic tickets—not just torts. Even the conservative-leaning U.S. News & World Report agreed that statistics showed there had been no explosion of abusive litigation.

OC Weekly
Made in Newport Beach: How Chris Cox
helped produce the Enron scandal

March 2002

While the Enron culprits, whoever they are, embraced greed with particular enthusiasm, their greed was given a huge assist by . . .the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. The PSLRA rolled back investor protections as part of the Republicans' "Contract With America." Heavy lobbying and even heavier campaign contributions won the bill support from many Democrats as well. Lawmakers acted despite warnings that the PSLRA would lead to another savings-and-loan type scandal. Now the warnings are coming true.

Abner Mikva
When Congress Eased Restraints, Investors
Lost Protection from Enron, Others

April 9, 2002

More recently, in 2000, Cox and Representative Cal Dooley (D-Fresno) introduced a bill that would have delayed the implementation of accounting standards established by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) so investors could know the true cost of company mergers.

OC Weekly
Made in Newport Beach: How Chris Cox
helped produce the Enron scandal

March 2002

The potential legislation must be seen for what it is -- legislative interference with the FASB's ability to do its job. The proposed bill would directly hamper the FASB's independence by legislating the timing of the FASB's proposed improvements to the transparency of the accounting and reporting for business combinations. The bill, if passed, would have a serious and negative impact upon consumers of financial information.

FASB Chairman Edmund L. Jenkins
Statement on the Cox-Dooley Bill
October 4, 2000

Before he was elected to Congress in 1988, [Cox] was a corporate lawyer for the failed Irvine securities firm First Pension Corp . . . First Pension collapsed in 1994 after stealing $136 million from 8,500 investors, many of whom were senior citizens who lost their life savings . . . An investor suit accused Cox of knowing of the securities fraud and helping to conceal it.

OC Weekly
Made in Newport Beach: How Chris Cox
helped produce the Enron scandal

March 2002

[First Pension CEO William} Cooper used part of his ill-gotten money to make campaign contributions to California Republican leaders, including former Gov. Pete Wilson and Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach). Wilson later refunded $8,000 in contributions Cooper made to his gubernatorial campaign. Cox returned $2,000 donated to one of his congressional elections.

Los Angeles Times
Investors settle with accountants
August 29, 2000

Civil lawsuits ensnared Cox, who helped prepare a securities offering for a First Pension entity in the mid-1980s when he was in private practice at Latham & Watkins. He has said the work was unrelated to the First Pension scam. He also worked in 1984 on Cooper's attempts to acquire a California bank . . . As he fought the claims against him in the First Pension lawsuits, Cox carried a controversial bill in Congress to make it harder for investors to prove securities fraud in federal court.

Los Angeles Times
O.C. jury finds accounting firm liable for fraud
July 29,2000

Robb Evans of Los Angeles, the court-appointed receiver for First Pension's parent company, said Friday that he would not pursue the Orange County Superior Court complaint against [Cox] and his former law partner at Latham & Watkins, John R. Stahr . . . "We dropped Stahr and Cox to streamline the case," Evans said.

Los Angeles Times
Cox is dropped as defendant in First Pension suit
June 15, 1996

Congress and your administration, Mr. President, have both done their part to strengthen the laws that protect investors and our financial markets. And if confirmed, I look forward to carrying out that mandate in the special role occupied by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Rep. Christopher Cox
Remarks to the Press
June 2, 2005


[Whiskey Bar]
3:52:14 PM    

Gene Sperling on Social Security.

 He writes, at Bloomberg:

Gene Sperling: June 1 (Bloomberg) -- Yesterday, President George W. Bush promised that his strategy for selling his now sinking Social Security private accounts proposal will eventually cut through opposition ``like water through a rock.'' Perhaps a more fitting water-related metaphor for Bush's proposal could be found at the end of the movie ``Annie Hall''.... I think what we've got on our hands is a dead shark.''.... When that moment of realization comes, the White House will certainly blame Democrats for being unwilling to negotiate on private accounts for purely partisan reasons.... Conservatives claim they simply want Democrats to come forward with their own positive ideas on Social Security. I drew a couple of pats on the back from them for proposing a three-part framework calling for no debt increases, a 3 percent surtax on any income exceeding $200,000, and a Universal 401(k) with matching credits to low- and middle-income savers.... What non-political reason, I am often asked, could there be for someone like myself who supports Universal 401(k)s outside of Social Security to so stubbornly refuse to even consider private accounts within Social Security? The answer is twofold. First, Social Security is simply the...

 [Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal]
1:12:51 PM    

DeLay investigation delayed.

Some of you may be wondering what the status is of the House ethics investigation into Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Now that the rigged rules have been repealed and the Ethics Committee can operate, the investigation is finally on track, right? Wrong.

Despite an apparent breakthrough when Republican congressional leaders reversed ethics committee rule changes opposed [...]

[The Carpetbagger Report]
1:11:41 PM    

William Donaldson, we hardly knew ye.

In a sense, we can consider William Donaldson's tenure at the Security and Exchange Commission a rare example of Bush admitting a mistake. The White House tapped Donaldson to replace Harvey Pitt over two years ago, and expected Donaldson to follow the conservative line on corporate regulation. Which is to say, ignore and disregard all [...]

[The Carpetbagger Report]
1:11:15 PM    

Bush Refers to Butcher Karimov as a “Friend”.

On Tuesday, President Bush was finally asked to explain his silence about the brutal massacres ordered by Uzbek dictator – and White House ally – Islam Karimov. His response was remarkable: VAN DE HEI: Two questions about the consistency of a U.S. foreign policy that’s built on the foundation of spreading ...

[Think Progress]
1:10:38 PM    

Today's Action Alert

Today's Action is simple. Go to and make a donation. If your penny jar is empty, write a letter to the editor of your local paper and explain why Amnesty International's charges of torture are not "absurd" and should be taken seriously.

Thanks for taking today's action.

1:10:07 PM    

Publishing May's Recruitment Data

This will be delayed. Specifically, until June 10, 2005, which is, can you guess it? A Friday. The day when the administration releases all bad news hoping that we don't read anything on Fridays and that we will have forgotten all about the bad news by Monday morning.

So I'm doing them a favor and giving the summary of past findings now when you are all still around. May is probably even worse:

Military recruiters have said potential recruits and their parents were expressing wariness about enlisting during the Iraq war. They said improving civilian job opportunities also were affecting recruiting.

The regular Army missed its recruiting goals for three straight months entering May, falling short by a whopping 42 percent in April. The Army was 16 percent behind its year-to-date target entering May, with a goal of signing up 80,000 recruits in fiscal 2005, which ends Sept. 30.

The Marine Corps missed its goal for signing up new recruits for four straight months entering May and was 2 percent behind its year-to-date goal. It hopes to sign up 38,195 recruits in fiscal 2005.

Check the May numbers on Friday or on Monday morning.

1:08:00 PM    

Yikes. While I am sure that Americans would express a great deal of confidence in Democracy as an abstract concept, when it comes to actual institutions that are, at least ostensibly, Democratic, they tend to express very little confidence....

1:07:00 PM    

Cabbage logic . The conservative movement is fighting to eliminate all the positive changes of at least the last 60 years, and their argument is that we need change. They've hijacked the language of progress in order to support their program of regress. And this morning we have an example of this from David Brooks, who says:
Western Europeans seem to be suffering a crisis of confidence. Election results, whether in North Rhine-Westphalia or across France and the Netherlands, reveal electorates who have lost faith in their leaders, who are anxious about declining quality of life, who feel extraordinarily vulnerable to foreign competition - from the Chinese, the Americans, the Turks, even the Polish plumbers.

Anybody who has lived in Europe knows how delicious European life can be. But it is not the absolute standard of living that determines a people's morale, but the momentum. It is happier to live in a poor country that is moving forward - where expectations are high - than it is to live in an affluent country that is looking back.

The wingers have been having fun all week talking about the vote for the European constitution that failed in France and seems to be going nowhere whenever it comes up for referendum. They have different explanations (and different reasons) for this, but I think it's just that they desperately need to believe that Europe is a failure, and they'll take any "evidence" of this that they can get.

I'm sure it is better for David Brooks to be living in a country where a lot of people who are not op-ed columnists for The New York Times are seeing their futures being frittered away by a parasitic leadership that thinks only the rich have a right to accumulate wealth. But I doubt you'd find many people here in Welfare-state-land who'd trade their peaceful existence for the "forward momentum" of Iraq. And, frankly, fewer and fewer Europeans are looking at America as the land of opportunity these days, either.

BenP at MyDD has written a letter to the NYT to take issue with the disingenuous Mr. Brooks in more detail. But I'll tell you for free that it's actually pretty nice living in a country where what Americans think of as "poverty" doesn't really exist.

[The Sideshow]

8:39:12 AM    

No More Accountability "Moments".

 Shakespeare's Sister has put together the Big Brass Alliance, dedicated to directing the attention of the corporate media to the Downing Street Minutes. I was happy to join. Our story so far: On May 1, 2005, one month ago today, the Times of London reprinted the contemporaneous minutes of a meeting among the British Prime Minister's top security advisers concerning the imminent invasion of Iraq. Those minutes strongly suggest the following: The Bush Administration was intent on invading Iraq as early as the first half of 2002. This is of course correlated by Paul O'Neill and Richard Clarke. And who...

[Paperwight's Fair Shot]
8:37:20 AM    

Snowflakes in June

A veritable cavalcade of weirdness this morning, and one need look no further than the NYTimes to find it. First to smack one in the eye like the proverbial cream pie is the heartwarming tale of discarded cells rescued from the sink by nice white people in search of nice, perfect white children of a suitably malleable age: " protest a bill supporting the use of embryos for stem cell...

- Riggsveda

6:27:43 AM    

Scarier than you think .

The trouble with waking up in time for Rachel Maddow's show is that I actually have to think about this stuff before I've had time to erect my emotional barricades. Stuff like this:

The complete elimination of laws that affect corporate pirates proceeds apace, but when you can't change the law, you just get rid of the enforcement.

Donaldson Announces Resignation as S.E.C. Chairman:

William H. Donaldson, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, abruptly announced his resignation today, following repeated criticism from the two other Republican members of the agency and from some business groups and administration officials that his enforcement and policy decisions had been too aggressive.

His decision gives the White House a major opportunity to sharply alter the direction of the agency and cede controlling power to the deregulatory-minded two remaining Republicans on the five-person commission.

In so doing, the agency could become more responsive to some of the administration's most important supporters in the business community, including the Business Roundtable, an organization of chief executives from the nation's largest companies, and the United States Chamber of Commerce. They have complained that the agency, blowing with the political winds of the times, overreacted to the wave of corporate frauds by imposing rules that have been more burdensome than beneficial.

At a time of corporate fraud and abuse unprecedented in my lifetime, that was no overreaction. Despite being a Republican and a friend of the Bush family, Donaldson has actually been trying to do his job. Obviously, this must be stopped. But not everyone is happy that he's leaving.
But they have also been opposed by investor groups such as the Council of Institutional Investors and the Consumer Federation of America, which often found an unusual ally in Mr. Donaldson and which have raised concerns about a retrenchment at the agency.
The SEC was a sensible reaction to the Great Depression. It worked. The Republicans haven't liked that, and have been gradually stripping the SEC rules for the last twenty years. Bush is expected to appoint Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach) to replace Donaldson. Cox is definitely not expected to enforce strict rules on business.

Meanwhile, the permanent campaign is in full swing, of course. Rachel's weblog says:

We're sharpening our sticks of metaphor for today's particularly fatuous Underbelly. Patriot Pastors are religious leaders willing to defy law, tradition, good will and God in order to preach from the pulpit. Right Wingers are those willing to take them up on the offer. Ohio Restoration Project is how they are doing it. In the Great-Rewriting-of-2004, an election lost on 9/11 became an election lost on morality, so don't think this is a "religion story." It's not. It's a political story, one about organization and building communities of strict conservatives. It's about coddling your base in hushed tones. It's about taking a swing state and making sure 3 years out you are already working on 2008.
Rounding out our A1, a woman who thinks women should not have been granted suffrage is running for Secretary of State in Kansas... You know, so she can be in charge of elections.
Kay O'Connor, of course, thinks women should stay home and take care of their families. I bet you can guess what party she'll be working for.

In other news, Amnesty responds to the attack on them from the Bushistas and notes the irony of having the same Saddam apologists who dismissed their complaints about Iraq 20 years ago now dismissing their complaints about Iraq and Gitmo.

Meanwhile, we continue to win in Iraq, with three suicide bombers taking 17 lives so far today. I need more coffee.

 [The Sideshow]

6:24:24 AM    

Hoover and Deep Throat.

A very small observation about the revelation that Deep Throat was Mark Felt: I hate entrenched, unaccountable power. And there's probably never been anyone in the U.S. political system whose power was so deeply entrenched, so unaccountable, and for so...

 [The Decembrist]
6:22:26 AM    

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