Thursday, June 08, 2006

Death Tax Dead, al-Zarqawi, Iraq's New Ministers, Hagee No Talkee, NATO, Daddy Bush, Fun With the Religious Right, Warbirds Fly High, MSM and PBS .

The Senate has done the right thing by not voting to repeal the extate tax. This is a major victory for most of us, our kids and our grandkids.

However, it's a resounding defeat for 18 of the most avaricious families in America. Together they have pumped into a campaign to abolish the estate tax more than $500 million.

I think that this is the first time since Bush became President that Congress has made an attempt at fiscal responsibility that didn't adversely effect the lower and working classes.

If Congress had put half the effort to take care of the country as a whole, as they have in taking care of Big Business, the rich and the religious right, we'd all be a lot better off.

Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation has a simple and accurate decription of the estate tax.

This is simply not a tax on death. If anything, it is a tax on Paris Hilton.
And let's
not fall for the argument that Paris will be the victim of "double-taxation"
either. First of all, everyone pays taxes any number of times as money cycles
through the economy. Workers pay income, payroll and sales tax. The truth is
that more than half of the value of large estates consists of unrealized capital
gains that would never be taxed without the estate tax.

After many White House reports of his death, it's looks like we've finally, really got Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Long portrayed as the biggest boogy man in Iraq, does anyone really think that his death will lessen the violence in Iraq? Oh, there's a hand up in the back.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush and his military chiefs said Thursday that
killing terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi struck a severe blow to al-Qaida
and opens a new opportunity for the fledging democracy in Iraq.

"This violent man will never murder again," Bush said in the Rose Garden as
he announced the U.S. airstrike on the militant whom Osama bin Laden had dubbed
the "emir," or prince, of al-Qaida in Iraq.

No comments yet from Osama bin Laden.

Iraq has a complete government for the first time in six months. They were able to stop feuding among themselves long enough to name the three top security ministers. Who could have foreseen that security would be an issue in Iraq?

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq's parliament on Thursday approved three new key
ministers, including a Sunni Arab to head the defense ministry, as violence left
at least 19 people dead and 40 wounded, according to police.

The three, including ministers for national security and interior, were
sworn in after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced the death of al-Qaida in
Iraq chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Marine Corps Commandant Michael Hagee gave a briefing, but wouldn't say anything.

There seemed to be a substantial risk that Marine Corps Commandant Michael Hagee
would, at the beginning of his Pentagon press briefing yesterday, start crooning
about the halls of Montezuma and the shores of Tripoli.

He was giving the first briefing by a top Pentagon official since fresh
allegations surfaced three weeks ago about Marines killing two dozen Iraqi
civilians in Haditha. But, unable or unwilling to provide information about that
dark episode, he chose to talk "about what it is to be a Marine."

NATO is going to ramp up it's mission in Afghanistan in reponse to increased Taliban activity. And I bet you thought we were the only ones in Afghanistan. It's bound to be better than "stay the course."

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- NATO defense ministers expressed confidence Thursday that
their beefed-up mission in Afghanistan can stem the surge in violence by
supporters of the deposed Taliban
NATO is increasing its force in Afghanistan from 9,700 to 16,000, with an
expansion into the volatile southern region of the country due to be completed
by late July. The alliance hopes to take on eastern Afghanistan by November,
completing its expansion across the country and increasing its total numbers to

Daddy Bush has been working to get rid of Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense. He even found a retired four star general to replace him. But Daddy forgot that he raised an idiot.

When seven retired generals who had been commanders in Iraq demanded
Rumsfeld's resignation
in April, the younger Bush leapt to his defense. "I'm
the decider and I decide what's best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to
remain," he said. His endorsement of Rumsfeld was a rebuke not only to the
generals but also to his father.

The Religious Right didn't get their gay marriage ban amendment, but they still have clout. Macy's removed a window display because some whiners don't understand what living in a free country is all about.

But the store yanked the mannequins from the window after MassResistance, the
conservative group formerly named Article 8 Alliance which has also campaigned
against sex education and gay-themed books in public schools, complained the
display was offensive


Now the Religious Right has something to do when they're not trying to run everyone else's lives. A new video game.

When you have nothing but abstinence to look forward to, I guess knocking off a bunch of infidels relieves the pressure.

What's the game actually about? How do you play? I believe the pro-choice, pro-religion Talk to Action blog describes it best:

Imagine: you are a foot soldier in a paramilitary group whose purpose is to
remake America as a Christian theocracy, and establish its worldly vision of the
dominion of Christ over all aspects of life. You are issued high-tech military
weaponry, and instructed to engage the infidel on the streets of New York City.
You are on a mission -- both a religious mission and a military mission -- to
convert or kill Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, gays, and anyone who
advocates the separation of church and state -- especially moderate, mainstream
Christians. Your mission is "to conduct physical and spiritual warfare"; all who
resist must be taken out with extreme prejudice.

Don't know about you, but this scares the hell out of me. Course, I live right in the big middle of 'em.

What are all the liars that took us into the Iraq mess doing now? They seem to be doing all right.

President Bush has not fired any of the architects of the Iraq war. In fact, a
review of the key planners of the conflict reveals that they have been rewarded
– not blamed – for their incompetence.

OK, which is it? Is the media liberal or are they just lapdogs of the right? Jamison Foser knows.

But if you're angry about this, you should be far more angry that for years, the
media has employed a double-standard in covering progressives and conservatives.
You constantly hear about the Clintons' personal lives on television; you read
about it in the newspaper. John McCain doesn't get the same treatment; nor does
George Bush or Rudy Giuliani. Intrusive, irrelevant tabloid-style coverage of
candidates is wrong. Intrusive, irrelevant tabloid-style coverage of some
candidates, while others are afforded an appropriate zone of privacy is even
worse. And it can't go on.

And the GOP is up to it's old tricks, once again trying to do away with PBS.

WASHINGTON -- House Republicans yesterday revived their efforts to slash
funding for public broadcasting, as a key committee approved a $115 million
reduction in the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that could
force the elimination of some popular PBS and NPR programs.

On a party-line vote, the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees
health and education funding approved the cut to the budget for the Corporation
for Public Broadcasting, which distributes money to the Public Broadcasting
Service and National Public Radio. It would reduce the corporation's budget by
23 percent next year, to $380 million, in a cut that Republicans said was
necessary to rein in government spending.

And this from the folks that just tried to give billionaires a trillion dollar tax break.

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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)