Monday, January 28, 2008

Defeat of Cloture Vote is a Victory for the Bill of Rights

Today the senate cloture vote on the FISA reauthorization failed. That means the FISA bill which contained immunity for the Telecoms did not pass, at least not today. This is a victory for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

However, it seems the Republicans are going to try and use the expiration of the Protect America Act on February 1st as an example of how the Democrats are weak on Terror. To remind you the primary purpose of the Protect America Act, which was passed with no deliberation or public notice last August, was to legalize the spying on American citizens telecommunications without a court order, or warrant. In my opinion it is a bill which is completely unconstitutional and never of should have been passed in the first place.

So letting this misbegotten bill expire is the best thing that can happen for people who still believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Please contact your Congress persons and tell them it is time they stopped playing political football with the Constitution. Furthermore, it would be better if they actually lived up to their oath to defend the Constitution and therefore made it their goal to defeat the extension of the Protect America Act with or without immunity for the Telecoms.

They should make the case that it is their obligation as patriotic Americans to defend the Constitution, and that is why they want to defeat this unconstitutional bill. The American people have a very deep and profound allegiance to the Constitution and I believe they would support Congress persons who stood up proudly in it's defense.

If they do not try to sell their actions as defense of the Constitution it is only a matter of time before the capitulate and give the Bush Administration exactly what it wants and look weak in the process. To date, far too few Democrats have even tried to frame this issue in this way. Perhaps if they hear from enough of us on this matter they will see that the defense of the Constitution message might resonate with the electorate and will give it a shot.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Tax Cut Inflation

In 2001 President Bush wanted to cut marginal income tax rates for the top income brackets. He also wanted to eliminate the estate tax and reduce the capital gains tax. To help push this through he offered a tax "rebate" of $300 for singles and $600 for couples.

Now, in 2008 President Bush wants to make those tax cuts permanent. To do this he is offering a tax "rebate" of $800 for singles and $1600 for couples. Now that is either a indication of just how much inflation their has been in the last seven years, or it is an indication of just how weak the case for permanent tax cuts, and Republican hopes this fall, are.

I know that the Administration has said that making the tax cuts permanent is a high priority this year, but they have insisted that the "rebate" is a separate issue. They claim that the "rebate" is strictly a stimulus package aimed at holding off the oncoming recession. How much do you want to bet, that before this stimulus package is passed this spring, permanent tax cuts is the concession that the hapless Democrats give up to get some one time cut in the social security payroll taxes.

Another interesting point related to this stimulus package. It appears that politics have finally returned to the pre 9-11 world. The economy is in a crunch, Republican's want another tax cut and a tax "rebate" to buy some voters this fall. All of this has little to do with 9-11. It is of course related to the totally wasted Billions of dollars that have been poured into Iraq, but that will not be talked about this spring. Further tax cuts, which will be touted as temporary but will end up being permanent, will further weaken our fiscal health which is the root cause of our current economic malaise.

So, while this plan might offer some temporary relief, and will surely improve the publics image of the Republicans, it will not help us in the long run. What we need is a increasing manufacturing base, increasing wages and investments into our public infrastructure. Tax cuts will not give us these things. Enjoy your $800 or $1600 it may be the only raise you get for some time.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

WWELD? (what would elmore leonard do?)

--thx TPM; but esp thanks to the great orange satan

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Chris Matthews has a little tiny pecker...