Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Paulson Another Rich White Guy, Zinsmeister Wankermeister, Nicholson Safe, Estate Tax, Alito Rules and Hillary Doesn't.

Bush named Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chairman Henry M. Paulson Jr. as Treasury secretary.

Paulson, who's known as being good in a crisis, is also known a being in charge when those crises occured.

Paulson has been kissing Bush's butt for a number of years, he was a pioneer in the 2oo4 campiagn, raising $100,000 for the current lame dork president. In this year's election cycle, he has given $68,000 to the GOP.

Filthy rich, devoutly religious and loyal, Paulson should fit in well. Of course, Bush has never paid much attention to the Treasury Secretary anyway.

Balding and lanky, Paulson spent part of his early career in Washington, working
first in the Pentagon and then as a staff assistant in the White House under
President Richard M. Nixon. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1974 but spent most of
his career in the Wall Street firm's Chicago office, only moving to New York
after being named chief operating officer in 1994.

Since then, Paulson and his wife, Wendy, have largely shunned the New York
social circuit. Though he is worth hundreds of millions of dollars -- last year
alone he pulled down $38.8 million -- they have never joined a country club.
Rather than summering in the Hamptons or tony Martha's Vineyard, the Paulsons
maintain a home on a five-acre plot carved out of the Barrington, Ill., farm
where he grew up. They are practicing Christian Scientists, so Paulson does not
drink, and he regularly reads the Bible while on the road.

Between them, they have given $426,000 to federal candidates since 1989, more
than $370,000 of it to Republicans, according to the non-partisan Center for
Responsive Politics. Henry Paulson was a "pioneer" for President Bush, meaning
he raised more than $100,000 for the 2004 campaign. Most of the $55,000 that
went to Democrats came from Wendy Paulson, who listed her occupation as
homemaker or volunteer.

While we're on the Bush Administration, Karl Zinsmeister, the new chief domestic adviser to President Bush is just out and out, right wing loony toons. Besides doctoring a newspaper profile of himself before placing it on another website, Zinmeister held the news coverage of Iraq and those who covered it in contempt.

Here's some of his comments:

"many of the journalists observable in this war theater are bursting with
knee-jerk suspicions and antagonisms for the warriors all around them. A
significant number are whiny and appallingly soft."

This from an article titled, "The War Is Over, and We Won." Tell Bush what he wants to hear and you can go far in this country.
"What the establishment media covering Iraq have utterly failed to make clear
today is this central reality: With the exception of periodic flare-ups in
isolated corners, our struggle in Iraq as warfare is over....Contrary to the
impression given by most newspaper headlines, the United States has won the day
in Iraq.... the battle of Iraq is no longer one of war fighting—but of policing
and politics."

In that 2003 article, Zinsmeister wrote that reporters considered soldiers "from
another species. Typical reporters know little about a fighting life. They show
scant respect for the fighter’s virtues. Precious few could ever be referred to
as fighting men themselves. The journalists embedded among U.S. forces that I’ve
crossed paths with are fish out of water here, and show their discomfort clearly
as they hide together in the press tents, fantasizing about expensive
restaurants at home and plush hotels in Kuwait City, fondling keyboards and
satellite phones with pale fingers, clinging to their world of offices and
tattle and chatter where they feel less ineffective, less testosterone
deficient, more influential.

Spoken like a true right wing chickenhawk.

In the Veterans Administration's Social Security number giveaway, there's going to be one firing of a flunky, an acting assistant secretary put on administrative leave and political appointee Michael H. McLendon, deputy assistant secretary for policy is sacrificing himself to protect the incompetent V.A. Secretary Jim Nicholson. Nicholson, who admitted that he had no idea what was going on in his own agency when he informed us that it was almost two weeks before he knew about the identity theft.

We need someone heading the V.A. that cares more about veterans than they do about Bush's
butt crack.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson announced several personnel
changes yesterday that will include the firing of a senior career data analyst
who lost the sensitive personal information of millions of

The 60-year-old civil servant, a GS-14 employee who earns between
$91,407 and $118,828 a year, has been notified that he will be terminated, VA
officials said. The employee violated department policy by taking home
electronic files containing the names, birth dates and Social Security numbers
of as many as 26.5 million veterans.

When the Republicans aren't trying to change the Constitution, or trying to do away with public schools, or sucking up to the religious right, they like to take time out to do charity work for the truly needy.

The repeal of the estate tax. The Republicans primary reason for being is to shift wealth upwards and that's exactly what they'll try to do next week with the repeal of the estate tax.

From Harold Meyerson at the WaPo.

The Senate, meanwhile, is scheduled next week to take up legislation by Arizona
Republican Jon Kyl that would permanently repeal the estate tax on the
wealthiest Americans. If enacted, Kyl's bill would plunge the government another
trillion dollars into the red during the first decade (2011-2021) that it would
be in effect.

Katrina vanden Heuvel at The Nation has this to say about it.

Here are the facts: the estate tax is levied only on estates worth over $2
million ($4 million for couples), which means approximately one-fourth of one
percent of all estates on America will pay it in 2006. Over 99 percent of all
Americans will pass their estates on to their heirs completely tax free – and
there is no tax whatsoever on assets left to a spouse no matter the amount.

The Supreme Court limited protection to government whistleblowers, with the latest right wing dud appointee casting the deciding vote.

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court scaled back protections for government workers
who blow the whistle on official misconduct Tuesday, a 5-4 decision in which new
Samuel Alito
cast the deciding vote.

Real Democrats are taking notice of Hillary's ooching to the right.

Some Manhattan Democratic clubs are launching a backlash against Sen. Hillary
Clinton amid some of her recent shifts toward the right. Once a liberal
favorite, Clinton is being shunned in her reelection bid by four local
Democratic groups furious over her vote in favor of the Iraq war and her newly
cozy relationship with conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

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I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.

John Stuart Mill (May 20 1806 – May 8 1873)