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    29 April 2005

    ummm. Mr. President

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    Or Mr. Rove most likely.

    28 April 2005

    the Dem preButtal

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    To tonight's Q&A with dear leader.

    President Bush tonight is expected to make a new proposal on Social Security. There are rumors that the president will propose new benefits for those with the lowest incomes, an old idea that enjoys broad support, but one that would leave most middle-class seniors vulnerable to the deep benefit cuts required by the president’s privatization plan.

    Senate Democrats eagerly await the President’s statement and believe listeners need to focus on two overriding questions:

    1) Does the president continue to support using Social Security dollars for private accounts, requiring deep benefit cuts for most beneficiaries and massive borrowing from China, Saudi Arabia and other foreign countries?

    2) Did the president make specific new proposals to ensure that Social Security remains solvent beyond 2052, the insolvency date currently projected by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office?


    The president is widely expected to fully endorse Robert Pozen’s plan for progressive price indexing. Though the word “progressive” may lead you to believe that this plan provides some progressive benefit for seniors, the truth is that this plan will provide deep benefit cuts for middle-class seniors. It is just another wrinkle in the bad privatization plan this president refuses to give up.

    Deep Benefit Cuts for Lower Waged Earners. There would be a 28% benefit cut for a worker who is born five years from now, who retires at age 65, and who has average career earnings (under the definition of average earnings of the Social Security Administration Actuaries’ office). In 2005, such average earnings is $36,000. [Social Security Administration Memo, Estimated Financial Effects of a Comprehensive Social Security Reform Proposal Including Progressive Price Indexing, 2/10/05]

    Deep Benefit Cuts for Average Earners in the Future. There would be a 42% benefit cut for a worker who is born five years from now, who retires at age 65, and who has career earnings that are “the equivalent” of $59,000 in 2005. [Social Security Administration Memo, Estimated Financial Effects of a Comprehensive Social Security Reform Proposal Including Progressive Price Indexing, 2/10/05]

    Deep Benefit Cuts for Average Earners Today. There would be a 24% benefit cut for a worker who is 25 years old today, who retires at age 65, and who has career earnings that are “the equivalent” of $59,000 in 2005. [Social Security Administration Memo, Estimated Financial Effects of a Comprehensive Social Security Reform Proposal Including Progressive Price Indexing, 2/10/05]

    Progressive Price Indexing Will Come On Top of the Privatization Tax in the Bush Plan. The progressive price indexing plan that the president has indicated he prefers and that Robert Pozen has proposed will include two benefit cuts for workers. “Under private accounts like those the President has proposed, the cost of the private accounts is offset by reducing substantially the Social Security benefits of those who elect the accounts. If progressive price indexing is combined with private accounts of this nature, Social Security benefits will be lowered twice — once due to the indexing changes and a second time to pay for the private accounts. As this analysis explains, the result would be that millions of middle-income workers would receive little or no Social Security benefits in retirement. They would be left largely with only their private account.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/26/05]

    27 April 2005

    terrorism increasing

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    More than half the attacks reported for 2004 were in South Asia, which recorded 327 incidents that produced 502 deaths. The bulk of the incidents were reported in the divided Kashmir state claimed by both India and Pakistan.

    Most of those killed were in the Middle East, where 726 people died in 270 attacks. But the bloodiest strikes were in Europe and Eurasia, where 636 people were killed overall in 24 incidents, including a train bombing in Spain and school seizure in Russia.

    Nearly half the incidents (46 percent) involved armed attacks, the report said, while suicide and other bombings accounted for 29 percent. Sixteen percent of the attacks involved kidnappings.

    The State Department report highlighted the continuing terrorist threat despite what it said was success in whittling down the Al-Qaeda terrorist group.

    The annual "Country Reports on Terrorism 2004" also identified Cuba, North Korea, Syria and above all Iran as continued supporters of terrorism.

    The 129-page document said that "international terrorism continued to pose a significant threat to the United States and its partners in 2004."


    US money goes to arms traffickers in China

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    It's true, $29 million for weapons for the new Iraqi army. This in the same company that most right-wingers were smearing Kerry over a visit in the 90's on a trade mission. As well as Clinton earlier:

    note: CITIC is known as a front for the munitions manufacturer Poly Technologies Corp

    The photo shows Kerry, an unnamed Chinese government official and Paul Marcus, the head of Boston Capital & Technology. Marcus also refused to provide details of the China trip, including the time and date, whether the senator took money for his services, or the identity of the Chinese officials with whom Kerry met. "I am not doing an interview with you, and please don't call me again," Marcus declared.

    more on this here.


    Poly Technologies was run by international arms dealer Wang Jun and his "princeling" friend, the powerful He Ping, son-in-law of long-time Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. The Rand Corporation noted that "Wang Jun is both director of CITIC and Chairman of Poly Group, the arms-trading company of the General Staff Department."

    In 1996, Poly Chairman Wang Jun met with President Bill Clinton inside the White House with convicted Chinagate figure Charlie Trie, who donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the 1996 Clinton/Gore campaign from Red Chinese sources. The Democratic Party later returned much of this donated money.

    (blaa blaa blaa)

    John Kerry frequently has stated that he has had contacts with high-ranking officials of foreign governments. Yet, the Kerry campaign is refusing to answer any questions about the candidate's privately sponsored trade trip to China or his relationship with Marcus. But it would appear that the presidential candidate has many friends at high levels in Beijing. The Chinese official Internet news outlet of the People's Daily, official newspaper of the Communist Party of China, recently endorsed the senator from Massachusetts for president of the United States.

    More on CITIC/Poly Technologies

    While CITIC is reported by U.S. military authorities to be involved in the international sale of illegal arms it also is interested in obtaining advanced U.S. technology. The Boston Capital Website notes that the firm has been involved with the transfer of advanced U.S. space technology to China. Such references are viewed in the arms trade to have missile applications.

    This company is known to provide arms to the world and also our cities.

    A wholly-owned U.S. subsidary[sic] of Poly Technologies, Dynasty Holding Company of Atlanta, was charged in the March 18, 1996, seizure of 2,000 AK-47s illegally shipped from China into Oakland, Calif. Dynasty Holding Co. is now defunct but its president, Bao Ping “Robert” Ma, a former Chinese army general who's a fugitive believed to be in China, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also was indicted.

    But if the price is right....We'll take it!
    The U.S. Army has approved the purchase of more than $29 million worth of weapons for the new Iraqi army from a Chinese state-owned company that's under indictment in California for trying to smuggle 2,000 AK-47 automatic rifles into the United States.

    Army Lt. Col. Joe Yoswa, a Pentagon spokesman, said the Warren, Mich.-based U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, approved the contract with Poly Technologies to help equip the new Iraqi army after a check into the company’s background.

    Poly Technologies of Beijing is to deliver 2,369 light and heavy machine guns, 14,653 AK-47 assault rifles and 72 million rounds of ammunition worth $29.3 million by Saturday, according to a Pentagon statement.

    It isn't clear whether the deal, which comes as the Bush administration is pressing the European Union to maintain an embargo on high-tech arms sales to China, was discussed or approved by higher ranking officials at the State and Defense Departments. Hungary, Poland and Romania, all members of the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq could supply the same weapons. China opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

    Poly Technologies won the competitively bid $29.3 million contract to help equip the Iraqi army in February from The International Trading Establishment, a Jordan-based consortium that the U.S. Army selected to supply Iraq’s fledgling security forces with as much as $174.4 million worth of radios, night vision equipment, weapons and ammunition.

    No progress against the insurgency

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    But at least we have learned to put Iraqi soldiers in the line of fire
    Gen. Richard Myers told reporters Tuesday that the number of insurgent attacks has run between 50 and 60 a day in the past week, up from a recent average of about 40 a day.

    "In terms of the number of incidents, it's right about where it was a year ago," he said. "And weeks will differ, and months will differ a little bit. But if you look at the scope of this, over time since May of 2003, that's the conclusion you draw."

    26 April 2005

    americans waking up

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    finally, half of americans realize that they were misled...

    Half of Americans, exactly 50%, now say the Bush administration deliberately misled Americans about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the Gallup Poll organization reported this morning.

    “This is the highest percentage that Gallup has found on this measure since the question was first asked in late May 2003,” Gallup observed. “At that time, 31% said the administration deliberately misled Americans. This sentiment has gradually increased over time, to 39% in July 2003, 43% in January/February 2004, and 47% in October 2004.”

    Now we need to work on the other 50%

    25 April 2005

    Bush = Stone

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    From WaPo:

    Do you approve/disapprove of the Bush Presidency?

    -------- approve/disapprove
    4/05 --> 47%/50%
    3/05 --> 50%/48%
    1/05 --> 50%/45%

    Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bush is handling:

    ---------------------- Approve / Disapprove
    A. Social Security --> 31 / 64
    B. Iraq --------------> 42 / 56
    C. Economy ----------> 40 / 57
    D. Terrorism --------> 56 / 41
    E. Energy Policy ----> 35 / 54

    Would you support or oppose changing the Senate rules to make it easier for the Republicans to confirm Bush's judicial nominees?

    Support - 26%
    Oppose - 66%

    Which party better represents your personal values?

    Dems - 47%
    GOP - 38%

    (MoE +/-3%)

    The Democratic Party, the Party of Values. Can I get an Amen for that...

    The Senate has confirmed 35 federal appeals court judges nominated by Bush, while Senate Democrats have blocked 10 others. Do you think the Senate Democrats are right or wrong to block these nominations?

    Right 48
    Wrong 36

    Would you support or oppose changing Senate rules to make it easier for the Republicans to confirm Bush's judicial nominees?

    Support 26
    Oppose 66

    from ABC News/Washington Post Poll. April 21-24, 2005. MoE +/- 3%


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