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Bush on Meet the Press in 1999

Here is an excerpt from Meet the Press with George Bush in 1999
RUSSERT: In your speech, you said that arms reductions are not our most pressing challenge. Right now, we have 7,200 nuclear weapons; the Russians have 6,000. What to you is an acceptable level?

BUSH: That’s going to depend upon generals helping me make that decision, Tim. That’s going to depend upon the people whose judgment I will rely upon to make sure that we have a peaceful world…

RUSSERT: What would START II bring us down to?

BUSH: I can’t remember the exact number. But I know that we’ve got to spend enough money to help them dismantle the weaponry down to the START I level. And then hopefully they’ll ratify START II, secondly …

RUSSERT: But in terms of priorities, if START II brings it down to 3,500, would you be willing to go down to 1,000 with START III?

BUSH: That depends upon my advisers and the people who know a heck of a lot more about the subject than I do.

Heh. More here.

Tick, tick, tick

Time is running out to contribute to Howard Dean. reports that 139,360 voted for Dean. Considering that meetup is only 40k, that's an amazing number. Now, what if, instead of just voting for Dean, each of those 139,360 gave $25 to the campaign. Since that is less than $250, it will be matched and the effective contribution would be $50 each -- that's almost $7 million. When Howard Dean says that we have the power, he ain't kidding. We each give 25 dollars a quarter and this primary is over. Money follows money -- the other campaigns would be starved.

Give right now. June 30th is this Monday -- it makes a big difference to give before that.


Just got this note from Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director of Lambda Legal
We Won! Lambda Legal has convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to issue the most significant ruling ever for our civil rights, declaring Texas’s "Homosexual Conduct" law unconstitutional. In doing so the Court effectively struck down all remaining sodomy laws! It also overturned its terrible anti-gay decision in Bowers v. Hardwick, the Court’s 1986 ruling upholding Georgia’s sodomy law.

[...]Today, communities around the country will be celebrating today’s win with rallies and other events. For a partial listing of these events, visit

Howard Dean supporters should be at these events with their Dean Buttons and flyers if they have them.

Update: Here are New Flyers from the unofficial blog help you get the word out about Dean's positions regarding Gay Rights.

Flyer 1
Flyer 2

Update: Just came back from a rally in Northampton where I was allowed to read Howard Dean's statement to the crowd -- we also gave out some buttons and flyers. Get those flyers to your tables this weekend.

Do GOP Manipulations Have Mo?

Atrios points to this article in the Washington Post:
The Bush administration yesterday released a highly selective analysis of the cost to families of rolling back scheduled tax cuts

[...]Peter R. Orszag, a senior fellow in economics at the Brookings Institution, said the document "gives a misleading impression of the overall effect of the tax cuts." Just 27 million of the nation's roughly 140 million households consist of married couples with children, he said. Brookings figures show that under the most recent law, 81 percent of households would save $1,000 or less.
Bush lies, plain and simple. WMD -- lies, taxes -- lies, No Child Left Behind -- empty promises -- I can't wait until to see how he sabotages the new prescription drug benefit.

Northampton Declaration Celebration

Just wanted to post a couple of pictures from our Declaration Celebration in Northampton yesterday (70 attendees)

That's Peter on the left (who was in charge of getting the video displayed) talking to Phil (who gave a great intro and welcome speech).

View from outside (thanks to Good Thyme Deli for hosting the event).

More on Lying with Statistics

More on Lying with Statistics

The Left Coaster has a good post on how to counter GOP misinformation about taxes -- read the whole thing.

Also, there is another trick Russert/Bush like to play. It's the old percent increase (or percent decrease) trick. It completely removes all context from the numbers. For instance, how would you feel about hearing that someone's taxes went up 900%? Sounds pretty awful, doesn't it? But that could just be a raise from $1 to $10. When we talk about taxes, it's ok to talk about absolute numbers as a percentage of all income, but it's not ok to talk about the percent of increase, since that is pretty meaningless.

Also, let's examine that married couple a little more closely. They make $40,000 and have 2 children and pay $45 of income tax. What if the couple made $50,000 -- Since almost all of the savings comes from the tax credit for their children, the savings is exactly the same amount. This also means that if you have 1 less kid, the savings is nearly halved, and if you have one more, it is only slightly more (there is no more tax to credit back). This is what I mean by "cherry-picked". The 40k couple with 2 children is a local maxima, and almost any change to their criteria exposes how the cut was specifically designed to help just this family so that it could be touted as typical.

Here is an excerpt using the "average trick". (from Atrios)

Russert: But in the middle of an economic downturn, Howard Dean wants to raise taxes on the average of $1,200 per family.

If I average your tax cut with a millionaire's tax cut, that would be about a 40k tax cut each (on average). Even if I count you 100 times and average you in with a millionaire, we're still talking an average $1,400 tax cut (assuming the millionaire gets 80k and you get $600). Don't give me that "They pay more taxes" nonsense -- the cut is disproportional even to that, and I don't have to factor in that they get much more out of government than you do-- how much more? -- Ask Warren Buffet.

To see the "Average Trick" on rare display, check out this press release from the US Treasury
In 2003, 92 million taxpayers would receive, on average, a tax cut of $1,083 under the economic growth plan.
• 69 million women would see their taxes decline, on average, by $1,289.
• 46 million married couples would receive average tax cuts of $1,716.
• 34 million families with children would benefit from an average tax cut of $1,473.
• 6 million single women with children would receive an average tax cut of $541.
• 13 million elderly taxpayers would receive an average tax cut of $1,384.
• 23 million small business owners would receive tax cuts averaging $2,042.
Let's see Russert challenge Snow on this the next time he's on Meet the Press.

Bush Raises $5.7 Million

This is a call to arms:
In less than a week of fund-raising, the campaign has raked in nearly $12 million, a running start in its bid to raise $170 million for the 2004 primaries alone.

[...] Bush "has kicked off his special interest-fueled re-election campaign," said David Donnelly, director of the Reform Voter Project. "He is now sprinting around the country as if he's on a giant Monopoly board, scooping up checks as quick as the well-heeled can write them."

"Unfortunately, the administration's past record teaches us that the money they raise today puts them more in debt to special interests tomorrow," Donnelly said.

Aides said Bush and Cheney do not plan to layer "official" events into their fund-raising travels this year, as they did last fall. Adding such events allowed the administration to bill taxpayers for half of every fund-raising trip.

What are you waiting for?

Rural Issues

I'm a former NY'er, so really, I know nothing about rural issues. This strikes me as important though
The full impact of the law, known as No Child Left Behind, will depend on the flexibility given to rural states in applying its provisions, and so far the Bush administration has sent mixed signals. President Bush frequently describes the law as a triumph of education reform, and state officials report that White House officials have been adamant in refusing to grant waivers. [full article in the NYTimes]
I want every Democrat running for President to say, "If you're wondering about the No Child Left Behind bill, ask a teacher" (unless of course, you voted for it, then you have some explaining to do).

I ask with all seriousness, what has Bush done for rural areas? No Child Left Behind takes away their teachers, he's thinning their forests, he's never met a polluter he didn't like. Is it just about guns? Religion? What?!? It's time to WAKE UP.

Needless to say, Howard Dean is the alternative. He understands Gun Rights and the Environment. As the Governor of a rural state, he's much more in tune with their issues and he knows how the Federal Government can be a burden on the States (unfunded mandates and one size fits all programs).

Who Do Politicians Work For?

They are supposed to work for you, but invariably they tend to work for their donors. Bush's donors know that and give till it hurts. They know that they will average 80k in tax cuts (or more with the dividend tax cut) for just 2k in hard money and rounding up some corporate donations for the RNC.

Howard Dean is raising money a different way -- small amounts from me and you -- and we don't have to compete against corporates -- It is clear that he will have the lowest per person average contribution among the top fund raisers. But this only works if everyone actually gives something. If you support Dean or his strategy of raising money in small amounts from ordinary Americans, then please contribute today.

Update: Need more convincing? (from the NYTimes)
"There's nothing like having a few friends over for a cocktail or two," President Bush told more than 1,200 Republicans who paid $2,000 apiece last week to begin what will be a record-breaking binge of Republican money-raising. The president's gratitude went over well with the Washington crowd, who ponied up $3.5 million. Even more, it underlined the extraordinary gilded age of fat-cat politicking that has befallen the nation with the intersection of Bush tax cuts favoring the affluent — $1.7 trillion worth and counting — and the start of the president's phantom primary campaign season.
Also contains this quote
"The best way to `lobby' to be in next year's tax cut is to cheerfully support the president's tax cut this year," advised Grover Norquist, the candid genius of tax-cuts-forever, in The Washington Post.
In case you don't remember (or didn't hear) Super Grover was the one who called bipartisanship "Date Rape".

Lying with Statistics

Tim Russert like to show "statistics", because, well, statistics don't lie. Today he showed Howard Dean this:
Married Couple, 2 children, 40k Incomepays $45 post tax cut, paid $1,978 before the tax cutRepealing the cut is a $1,933 tax increase (or a 4,296% increase)
However, these numbers are just part of an American's tax picture because they only represent income taxes. Time and time again the Bush Administration and the GOP focuses only on income taxes, when for most Americans, that is only a small fraction of their total tax picture. Here are some other taxes most of us pay:

What does that do to the 4,296% increase?

Howard Dean focused on the source, the Treasury Department. However, these numbers are probably "right"--just very misleading. The Democrats need to force the GOP to give total tax figures, not focus in on one part of the overall tax picture. Also, the graphic that Tim Russert showed did not specifically say that these numbers were only income tax, but I am sure that they are. The GOP and Bush are usually very careful to always say "Income Tax" so I would bet that the original US Treasury source does say that, and Meet The Press just made a mistake -- but, it would be great if the Treasury Dept. actually left it off (because that's just a flat out lie).

When a Democrat is shown tax data, they should ask if the data includes all taxes or just income taxes. If the answer is "just income taxes", then they should go into a diatribe about how the GOP manipulates the debate with distorted data, and that it is the responsibility of the media to question the source -- that they must not perpetuate the idea that income tax is the only tax we pay. Also, the media should not just report the data they are shown, but instead should "stress test" the inputs -- what if it were 1 kid, what if it was a single parent making $32k, what if it's no kids and $50k. What about these same families with a payroll exemption instead of a tax cut? They don't do it because they are lazy, so we need to demand that they do it.