Saturday, December 29, 2012

Eat or Heat? Kentucky Approves Rate Increase for Profitable Utilities

Private utility companies really are the absolute worst. They get monopolies so they don't have to compete on either price or service; they buy weak regulation from state legislators so the Public Service Commission is essentially required to give them rate increases; and their "customers" are really hostages, whose only "choice" is to pay the monthly ransom or go without water and electricity.

At least with public utility companies, you can vote with motherfuckers out.
The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) today accepted a settlement granting revenue adjustments that increase the base electric rates for customers of Kentucky Utilities Co. (KU) and the base electric and natural gas rates for customers of Louisville Gas and Electric Co. (LG&E).

The revenue adjustments are at levels agreed to by the two utilities, the Kentucky Office of Attorney General and other parties to the utilities’ rate cases, among them the Kentucky Industrial Utility Customers Inc. (KIUC), Kroger Co., the Kentucky School Boards Association and advocates for low-income consumers.
Uh, no. If they signed off on this abomination, they are not "advocates for low-income consumers." They are parties to the ass-fucking of low-income consumers.
In orders issued today, the PSC said that accepting the settlement is in the public interest because they result in a rates “consistent with those justified by our traditional rate-making analysis.” The PSC found that the rates in the settlement are fair, just and reasonable. The new rates take effect on Jan. 1, 2013.
KU, by the way, is a giant money tree for its non-Kentucky parent corporation.
Under the settlement agreement, the average monthly bill for a typical KU residential customer will increase by $5.16 (5.6 percent). A typical LG&E residential electric customer will see the average monthly bill increase by $4.25 (5 percent). The average monthly bill for an LG&E residential natural gas customer will increase by $5.57, a figure that includes a new surcharge for infrastructure improvements but does not take into account any fluctuations in the price of natural gas itself.
Five percent hike? In a year when inflation has been under two percent but unemployment over eight percent? A five percent hike for people who already have literally nothing left at the end of the month after paying rent and buying food and medicine? Why not 500 percent? The result for working people is the same.

But that's nothing compared to this little time bomb:
... does not take into account any fluctuations in the price of natural gas itself.
Translation: We'll hike your rates 10 percent, or 50 percent, or 100 percent whenever a new yacht catches our eye or just because it's fun to fuck with the poors and you can't stop us.

Because nobody knows the real price of natural gas any more than anybody knows the real price behind the roller-coaster changes at your local gas station.

But it's not like they didn't warn us.
Officials of the state's utility companies told lawmakers (in June 2011) that all Kentucky customers can expect average rate increases of 20 percent during the next five years.

John Voyles Jr., a vice president of Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities, told a legislative committee that a host of new Environmental Protection Agency regulations will mean upgrades and changes to the state's coal-fired power plants, resulting in increased costs to customers.

Voyles said power companies are looking at an "unprecedented number of proposed regulations" in the next four years that will require changes to comply with pollution standards.
Those would be the "unprecedented number of proposed regulations" that:
  •  are the absolute bare minimum necessary to prevent thousands of premature deaths caused by air pollution from those coal-fired plants.
  • will never take effect because the utility companies will use the millions of dollars they steal from ratepayers to bribe congress to block those regulations.
One lonely voice in the Kentucky General Assembly asked the right question.
But Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, questioned why statutes allow the companies to recover both capital and operating costs from customers for changes made to comply with regulations. That means they can still make a profit and pass all of the costs on to the customers.
Don't worry that Sen. Jones will make life difficult for the utilities.  Either he'll accept the bribes the utilities offer him, or his next election opponent will.

The private water companies are if anything even more arrogant and greedy.

Beth Musgrave at the Herald:
A rate increase requested Friday by Kentucky American Water would add an average of $5.76 to residential bills each month, raising the typical payment about 17.6 percent, from $32.75 to $38.51.
This from a German-owned company that has been stealing land and money from Central Kentuckians and conning the PSC for decades. I think their motto is:

"You can live without electricity or heat, but not without water. Pay us or die."
Prison Deform

I've been reading the Washington Monthly for more than 30 years, and while its passion for neoliberalism has led it into some nasty conservative traps before - welfare deform at the top of that list - this piece takes the cake.
Right-wing operatives have decided that prisons are a lot like schools: hugely expensive, inefficient, and in need of root-and-branch reform. Is this how progress will happen in a hyper-polarized world?
No, of course not. What a stupid question.

There is no conservative "war on prisons."  There is a conservative war on government-run prisons, and a conservative war on all non-white, non-Xian, non-straight prisoners.

Sure, conservatives would like nothing better than to fire all the government-employed prison guards and set free all the Aryan Brotherhood lynch mobs.

But when it comes to keeping dusky-hued, muslim and/or gay prisoners in the privatized hellholes run by corporate criminals like Corrections Corporation of America, conservatives are all about wasting as many billions of tax dollars as possible.

Yes, we desperately need massive prison reform as close as we can get to tearing the whole stinking edifice down and starting from scratch.  The only way to do that is with trillions of dollars in anti-poverty programs, education, substance abuse treatment, drug legalization and a huge expansion of social services.

But that's not what we're going to get if we let conservatives take the lead and set the rules.

Seriously, Monthly: Do you not, after the overwhelming evidence of the last four years, accept the fundamental truth that conservatives are interested in two things only:
 - establishing permanent white xian male supremacy
 - diverting all tax dollars to rich, white, xian males.

Interpreting conservative claims and efforts through any other lens is political malpractice and terminal naivete.

Friday, December 28, 2012

When You Care More About Basketball

Yesterday, the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training announced that the unemployment rate fell in 99 Kentucky counties between November 2011 and November 2012. But parents taking second or third minimum-wage no-benefit part-time jobs isn't solving the real problem.

Laura Ungar at the Courier:
A quarter of Kentucky children live in poverty — more than 240,000 across the commonwealth.

And those numbers are on the rise, according to a new report prepared for release today.

They are among the statistics in the Kentucky Kids Count 2012 County Data Book, a joint project of Kentucky Youth Advocates and the Kentucky State Data Center at the University of Louisville. The annual report examines indicators such as poverty levels, educational performance and child health, and paints a disturbing picture of child welfare in Kentucky.
“Kentucky ranks 35th in the country in the overall well-being of children,” said Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, referring to the state’s ranking in the national Kids Count report. “With the big game coming up this weekend, I don’t think the fans of the University of Louisville or the University of Kentucky would be satisfied if their team was 35th in national rankings.”
Touche, Terry.  But Kentucky taxpayers put a shitload more money into college sports than we do into eliminating poverty - or even attempting to alleviate it.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Forget the Fiscal Cliff: Agenda 21 is the rage for today's Teabag Party

On the same day that the Washington Post graced its front page with the story of how Dick Armey attempted an armed-coup at the "grassroots" Teabag Party group FreedomWorks, the NYT reported on what regional local Teabag parties across the nation are up to now after the election. Given the movement's breathless rage in townhalls a few years ago over legislation intended to make healthcare access more universal (the Teabaggers were against that), you'd think they'd be ready to set themselves on fire over the ramifications stemming from the year-end Fiscal Cliff, in which the Bush tax cuts will expire, finally, and defense spending will be cut. But you'd be wrong.

Mr. Cummings, who is the Midwest coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, a national group, said a major issue he would be focusing on now was Agenda 21, a United Nations resolution that encourages sustainable development. It has no force of law in the United States, but a passionate element of the Tea Party sees it as a plot against American property rights.

Hear that? A major issue for the Teabag Front of Patriots is something called Agenda 21, from some Communist entity known as the United Nations, which although it has no force of law in the U.S. is nevertheless a "plot against American property rights".
Be afraid. Be very afraid.

What else?

Billie Tucker, an activist with the First Coast Tea Party in Florida, said she and others suspected that corruption on local election boards had led to Mr. Obama’s victory in the state. Activists want to investigate.

“Some people say it’s just a conspiracy theory, but there’s rumbling all around,” she said. “There’s all kinds of data, and no one’s talking about it, including, hello, the mainstream media.”
Voter fraud. Of course. Have you heard the "rumbling"? Apparently, "there's all kinds of data" about it, confirming it, one presumes. Anybody have any of all that data? Well, don't worry, "activists want to investigate".

And the Lost Cause of denying healthcare access to millions of fellow citizens of the country they profess to love marches on:

Another issue boiling is the “nullification” of the Affordable Care Act. Angry that Mr. Obama’s re-election means that the health care law will not be repealed, some activists claim that states can deny the authority of the federal government and refuse to carry it out.

At a Florida State Senate meeting this month, two dozen Tea Party activists called the law “tyrannical” and said the state had the right to nullify it.
The nullification battle faces an uphill climb, though, even though General Jackson is still dead because RINOs in statehouses far and wide think we should follow the law, even laws they don't like:

Mr. Gaetz, the Senate president, a conservative Republican, said in an interview that he, too, disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the law. But he called nullification “kooky.”
“We’re not a banana republic,” he said. It is “dangerous to the foundation of the republic when we pick and choose which laws we will obey.”
A banana republic? Sounds like another major issue for Teabag Party misanthropes to investigate.

How Dare Workers Demand Pay

The epitome of capitalism: workers who get paid only at the whim of their employer.

From the Mountain Eagle:
A coal company owned by one of the world’s wealthiest men is refusing to pay money owed to laid off coal miners who had participated in a “loyalty reward plan,” lawsuits filed by five underground miners charge.
The Mountain Eagle knows how to write a lede.

The rest of the article is behind a paywall, but the AP has more details at the Herald:
Five Eastern Kentucky miners who were laid off have filed lawsuits claiming a Tennessee coal company and two subsidiaries are refusing to pay them according to a signed agreement.

The Mountain Eagle reports the miners filed suit in Letcher Circuit Court against United Coal Co., based in Blountville, Tenn., and its subsidiaries, Whitesburg-based Sapphire Coal and Wellmore coal based in Big Rock, Va.

The suits say that the employees signed a "loyalty reward plan" which offered early payment of deferred compensation for layoffs or closings and that the companies haven't provided the payments.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Platitude Adjustment

You can tell conservatives take Christmas very seriously by the messages of peace and goodwill they post on that sacred day:
Some people seem to think that, if life is not fair, then the answer is to turn more of the nation's resources over to politicians -- who will, of course, then spend these resources in ways that increase the politicians' chances of getting reelected.

The annual outbursts of intolerance toward any display of traditional Christmas scenes, or even daring to call a Christmas tree by its name, show that today's liberals are by no means liberal. Behind the mist of their lofty words, the totalitarian mindset shows through....

The more I study the history of intellectuals, the more they seem like a wrecking crew, dismantling civilization bit by bit -- replacing what works with what sounds good....

If someone wrote a novel about a man who was raised from childhood to resent the successful and despise the basic values of America -- and who then went on to become President of the United States -- that novel would be considered too unbelievable, even for a work of fiction. Yet that is what has happened in real life.

Everybody is talking about how we are going to pay for the huge national debt, but nobody seems to be talking about the runaway spending which created that record-breaking debt. In other words, the big spenders get political benefits from handing out goodies, while those who resist giving them more money to spend will be blamed for sending the country off the "fiscal cliff"....

After watching a documentary about the tragic story of Jonestown, I was struck by the utterly unthinking way that so many people put themselves completely at the mercy of a glib and warped man, who led them to degradation and destruction. And I could not help thinking of the parallel with the way we put a glib and warped man in the White House.
Two things: first, Thomas Sowell is what passes for an intellectual among conservatives. He's one of their deep thinkers. And all that brilliance, all those ideas, come down incoherent mess of fatuous sloganeering. That's all they've got.

And Thing Two: this was posted on December 25. This is his Christmas message. The guy who's pissing and moaning about liberals' totalitarian hatred of Christmas also thinks it's appropriate to celebrate that joyous holiday by comparing the President to Jim Jones.

The intellectual and moral bankruptcy of modern conservatism are all neatly summed up in this one idiotic column.


Good for Wayne LaPierre, the head honcho of the National Rifle Association!

After a godawful silence concerning the Sandy Hook gun massacre of innocent children and their teachers by a gun maniac (who killed his own mother with her licensed guns), although before the massacre of firemen by yet another unhinged nut in upstate New York, LaPierre finally had something to say that we can wrap our minds around – not to mention our teeth.

We should have more guns in schools, he said. In fact, he insisted, we should have an armed guard at every school. He made no estimate that I’m aware of the cost of doing this, although others estimate that it would be a bare minimum of $5,500,000,000 (that’s five billion, five hundred million dollars) a year.

Who’s supposed to pay for it? Why, you and me, of course.

“Waiter! This is not my check!
Please send it over to Mr. La Pierre's table.”

But why should any taxpayer who doesn’t want to own a gun, or who is horrified by the proliferation of guns, pay for protection against the misuse of an arsenal of guns owned by his cranky neighbor with the slightly off-kilter son, the one who lives in the attic and really hasn’t held a steady job since he got fired from a fast food joint for general insubordination and surliness?

Hold that thought while I mention this:

So, uh, I own the home I live in. And whaddya know – surprise, surprise! – I pay taxes on it.

It’s called a property tax because
governments can tax your property

Not only do I pay annual real estate taxes. If I sell my home at a profit  I’ll have to pay capital gains taxes. People complain about taxes on their homes, of course. Doesn’t matter. There’s an old principle of law that says, “If you own property, you owe the government.” Goes back to the founding of the Republic in this country. And to the English Crown under the legal system on which our legal system is based.

In fact, some states, like Connecticut, have a general property tax. You pay tax not only on the assessed value of your home, but also on your car. And of your snowmobile or your horse if you happen to own any of those, as some Connecticut citizens do. [Connecticut taxation statutes, chapter 203 - Sec. 12-71)]

Which brings me back around to, uh, guns. And to bullets. And to high capacity magazines. They’re personal property. And they’re personal property designed to kill people, and sometimes to kill large numbers of people in a very short amount of time, which they are doing with increasing regularity.

Which means any government in whose jurisdiction you reside, or in whose jurisdiction you keep your weapon, has the right to tax you even if you don’t personally ever shoot your weapon – just as you might not ride your snowmobile or your horse.

Introducing the Guns, Bullets,
and High Capacity Magazine Tax

So why not charge gun and ammunition owners with a federal, and state, and local “Guns, Bullets, and High Capacity Magazine Ownership Tax?” That would put the cost of all those armed guards in schools right where it belongs – in the tax bills of those who are the source of the problem.

Hey, I cross a bridge, I pay a toll. I go through a tunnel, I pay a toll. I use the Pennsylvania Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway, or the New York State Thruway, I pay a toll. It’s a user tax.

What’s that? You say you never use your weapon? Listen, even if you keep it locked in a safe and only want it to ward off a violent home invasion, or you hang your automatic rifle on the wall in your den as a decoration, you’re using it for that purpose. So you’re a gun user. If you live in Connecticut, you can't escape the tax on your horse and snowmobile by demonstrating you never ride either the vehicle or the animal. If you own it, that's enough. Pay up, dude.

Or don’t pay and go to the pokey

How would we enforce a guns, bullets, and high capacity magazine tax? The same way we enforce income and other taxes. Willful failure to pay taxes – say, by not registering and reporting your guns, bullets and high capacity magazines – is a felony, punishable by fine and imprisonment.

With other taxes, we don’t catch every tax cheat, but we catch and punish enough of them to keep most citizens honest. If we can have honest business owners, doctors, and ribbon clerks, there’s no reason we can’t have honest gun, bullet and high capacity magazine owners.

Ultimately, the only thing that will reduce the amount of gun-and-bullet violence in this country is to get rid of, or largely get rid of the guns and bullets. But until we can have that, let’s at least make the people who manufacture, distribute, sell, keep, and play with lethal weapons pay to keep all the rest of us safe from their....oh, call it a pastime.

It’s perfectly legal. And it will lay the cost of protecting our kids – with a plan the representatives of the gun owners themselves are calling for – right at the feet of the cost creators.

Cross-posted at the New York Crank

Fix The Debt: Immediate, Gradual Stuff Must Be Done, Soon

Speaking of astroturfs, as we approach the looming Fiscal Cliff, after which income tax rates will revert back to Clinton Administration, 1990's levels, and across-the-board cuts through sequestration will take effect--cuts necessitated because Republican teabags in Congress demanded scalps in order to raise the debt limit, I thought I would venture over to the website belonging to the latest Next Great Debt Thing organization to see what they had to say about the prospect of increasing revenue levels in order to, you know, fix the debt. Surely, they must heartily approve of ending the Bush tax cuts.

Um,  no:

The Time To Act Is Now

Immediate action must be taken to reverse the ballooning debt. Congress and the President have deferred this decision too long. The upcoming “fiscal cliff” provides an opportunity to replace the drastic, automatic tax hikes and spending cuts with a gradual and intelligent plan. The principles of the Campaign to Fix the Debt provide guidance on how to move forward.
          (So, the time to act is NOW, but not through DRASTIC tax hikes.)
          America’s Debt Is Unsustainable
The United States’ debt is over $16 trillion, and growing by more than $1 trillion per year. Mounting debt will lead to higher interest rates, lower wage growth, and an eventual economic crisis.

(Gosh, this sounds awful. Returning tax rates to 1990's levels should help, right?)
          A Solution Must Address All Parts of the Budget
Any realistic solution to our budget problems must cut out wasteful and low priority spending, must slow the growth of unsustainable entitlement costs, and must simplify the tax code and eliminate loopholes through pro-growth and revenue-positive tax reform. The recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles National Commission On Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and other recent bipartisan efforts can serve as an effective framework for a plan to reduce the federal debt by more than $4 trillion over ten years.
          (Do the Fix The Debt people know how much the debt would be
          reduced if we allowed the automatic budget cuts and income tax
          rate increases to proceed? )

I don't know. Does this fire you up about Fixing The Debt as much as it does for me?

They don't say how many Facebook "likes" they have, but they apparently do have 300k signatures from American businesspeople citizens allegedly supporting their plan.

Fear the 4 million Facebook 'likes' of FreedomWorks

I've made it a point these past four years to not read any of the zillion newspaper articles on the massive "grassroots" movement known as the Teabag Party(s).

But since the election I've dipped my toe in the water a little, like for today's Washington Post front page (front page!) article on the September coup and counter-coup waged at one of the largest teabag groups, Dick Armey's FreedomWorks. At least it used to be Dick Armey's grassroots organization. After trying to force out other leaders he thought were conspiring against him, Armey was himself pushed out, albeit with a nice little multi-million dollar golden parachute, courtesy of the "grassroots" organization.

For an article that's almost all about the millionaire shills funding the ideological racket, it does dare mention that some people think the teabag party is kind of astroturf-like.

The group played a crucial role in ushering a wave of tea party candidates into office in recent years, staging rallies, hawking books and videos, and organizing media appearances with conservative personalities such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

“I’ve enjoyed my association with FreedomWorks,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who defeated incumbent Bob Bennett with help from the group. “Matt Kibbe and Dick Armey endorsed me early in my candidacy for the U.S. Senate, and they were a big help to me.”

Despite such testimonials, FreedomWorks has struggled with accusations that it is an “astro­turfer” — a national organization of big-money donors that swept in to lay claim to an independent movement.

Well, for those of you who might have thought such a thing, the new FreedomWorks has a response:

Brandon, back in the No. 2 spot as executive vice president, scoffed at the notion that the group is in trouble or that the dispute with Armey was indicative of a larger problem for the tea party. He said FreedomWorks has 2.1 million members, nearly 4 million fans on Facebook and a budget that has grown sixfold in five years. He also pointed to the elections of Senate conservatives Ted Cruz in Texas and Jeff Flake in Arizona as evidence of the group’s electoral success.

So there. Four million likers on FB and two million people on their mailing list members. They might get all their money from one or two people and "businesses". But look at all their members and likes.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Still the most powerful anti-war song ever written.

Monday, December 24, 2012

In the Weeds

The Boston Globe had a long post mortem on the Romney Campaign. Everybody else has already taken their licks at it and unless your Schadenfreude tank is low I wouldn't recommend it since there is A) nothing new in it and B) it insists on quoting people whose opinions are simply not believable, such as Tagg's statement that his father never really wanted the Presidency. So aside from this instant classic:

Rich Beeson, the Romney political director who co­authored the now-discredited Ohio memo, said that only after the election did he realize what Obama was doing with so much manpower on the ground. Obama had more than 3,000 paid workers nationwide, compared with 500 for Romney, and hundreds of thousands of volunteers.
“Now I know what they were doing with all the staffs and ­offices,” Beeson said. “They were literally creating a one-to-one contact with voters,” something that Romney did not have the staff to match…

there's not much there there.

 But what is really quite gripping is down in the weeds, in the comment section.  I know its nutpicking but its still interesting.  In Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) Tavris and Aronson discuss research showing that people misremember who they vote for, or whether they voted at all, in elections where their desired candidate did not win.  Years after an election more people think they voted for the winner than actually did as people try to align their vote with popular opinion. They don't discuss the phenomenon known as "sour grapes" in which people refuse to admit that they voted for a losing candidate but are too close to the event to start fantasizing that they voted for the winner.   Down in the Boston Globe comments we can see a version of that with people who probably did vote for Romney when they thought he might win now disavowing having voted at all when, in retrospect, they discover he lost.  Here's "Dotcomsiren" a self proclaimed "part of the 1 percent:"

DotcomsirenExactly.  As Peter Brimelow, Dick Morris, and Sean Trende have shown, Romney lost the white vote.  He took white voters for granted and they didn't bother to vote.  I should know, I am white and I didn't vote either.  What would have been the point?

"Filibuster Jones" makes a related argument--all voters are fools and knaves and any politician who doesn't treat the that way will be rejected.  Romney's voters, mysteriously being neither fools nor knaves, stayed at home:

FilibusterJonesThe above comment aptly illustrates the operative principal of the Obama campaign: There's a sucker born every minute. 

Shallow, unsophisticated, low information voters who know very little about politics were treated like kings and queens by the President who went on late night talk shows and pushed all the right buttons, relating nicely to the self-obsessed ADD crowd who are all about the cult of personality, who can't be bothered to pay attention to the issues and simply want more and more free stuff. There is no way that Romney, who treated voters like responsible adults, could compete with that.

Also, Romney simply did not get his base out to vote for him. Millions of GOP voters stayed home, unhappy with the options. A moderate candidate, like John McCain was greated with a lukewarm GOP reception on election day.   

DotComSiren repeats her assertion that she and her husband didn't vote

DotcomsirenMitt lost because he spurned the white vote.  All he cared about was the nonexistent "Hispanic vote."  My husband I decided to sit out this election after Mitt hired "Ed Gillespie" to his campaign team.  We don't need Tagg Romney asking for our vote in Spanish, even though we both speak it. Hey, we're white, wealthy, and both have advanced degrees.  But Mitt didn't want our votes, so he didn't get them.

For which she gets one of the all time greatest knockdowns:

JAIL-TIME-4-EVERYONEWhy the quotes around "Ed Gillespie"?

Do you think "Ed Gillespie" is actually George Lopez?

A few other commenters come on and basically argue that they did vote for Romney but it was useless to vote at all in a democratic system that allows any fool to vote and that Obama's destructive capacity would eventually bring down the entire country and they would just stand aside and sigh and say "I told you so."

Its not that I think this is anything new:  I well remember the bumper stickers after the 1972 election--"Don't Blame Me I'm From Massachusetts" but its not that people thought the world was coming to an end but rather than we chose to disassociate ourselves from the crimes that were being committed by Nixon. The apocalyptic gloating you see from the commenters is straight up Fox News Style--that distinctive combination of authoritarian paternalism and weepy victimology. Before the election it was all "Just you wait until Daddy gets home and Romney is elected" and now its all "God will repay" and "the righeteous will get their reward in the afterlife."


Sunday, December 23, 2012


I'm going to be traveling to see various and sundry family members over the holidays, so I want to wish you happy holidays, and thank everyone for reading and commenting all year. The folks who spell me when I'm gone will, I think, be showing up again, so please check out what they have to say.

It doesn't seem like a holly-jolly late December, so I'll leave you with a broody British song from my early-'70s adolescence. (Elvis Costello remembers it, too, and has covered it live.) It's not really about Christmas except in the last verse, where the hippie Jesus shows up (and gets persecuted). So farewell, and I'll see you on January 2.


In general, I share Andrew Cuomo's pro-gun-control agenda. But I regret that he used the word "confiscation" in a radio interview yesterday in response to a question on guns, because it rallies the opposition while getting us no closer to more intelligent gun regulation:
... Cuomo told Albany's WGDJ-AM that while gun control hasn't been on the docket recently, he plans to reach out to state legislators and eventually submit a proposal for new laws. One of his stated goals is to change state laws regarding the possession of so-called "assault" weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines....

The governor then laid out several ideas for how the state would enforce stricter laws on those so-called "assault" weapons: "Confiscation could be an option. Mandatory sale to the state could be an option. Permitting could be an option -- keep your gun but permit it," he said.
Cuomo's blowing smoke. Cuomo knows he's blowing smoke because the mostly rural state Republican Party has control of the state Senate, thanks to a handful of rogue Democrats (a coup Cuomo has done nothing to prevent).

I suppose Cuomo sees this as a negotiating tactic -- it's an opening bid that's far to the left of what he'll gladly accept -- but, as President Obama learns in every time he negotiates with Republicans on anything, that tactic only works if the people you're negotiating with fear the consequences of not arriving at a compromise with you. If the people you're negotiating with are absolutists and/or nihilists, and if you don't have an angry mob that can and will punish those people at the polls if they don't yield on their extreme positions, then they have no reason to budge. That's why D.C. Republicans never yield, and it's why Republicans in the New York state legislature won't yield either. (The only punishment they fear is from their own angry mob, which is real, and which will punish them if they go wobbly. For comparison, look at the gay marriage fight: four Republicans in the state Senate voted to put marriage equality over the top, and three of those four didn't survive to serve another term.)

So Cuomo mouthed off -- and now his use of a red-flag-to-a-bull word is going to be waved at gun-control advocates every single time we ever try to advocate for any change in any law in any way, however small or incremental, even if it's far from New York State. We are now all Andrew Cuomo, forever. All of us now want to take all their guns, and anything we ever want to do is a smokescreen for that agenda. Just ask Jazz Shaw, writing at Hot Air about Cuomo's remarks:
It's one of the most common refrains coming from the "reasonable discussion" crew as they pave the way for upcoming gun control legislation. Whether we hear it from the clucking tongues of guests on Morning Joe or from their legions of supporters on the web, the patter is the same. "No one is coming for your guns." You're all just being paranoid, disingenuous or worse. All we're talking about is making little children safer. There’s not going to be anybody kicking down your doors.

(Of course, some very high profiles voices on the Left don't seem to be able to stay on message.)
Shaw goes on to quote Cuomo, but, as backup, he gives us that extra link, the one on the phrase "don't seem to be able to stay on message." Did you click on it? It's a post by a Daily Kos diarist titled "Yes Conservatives, We Want to Take Away Your Guns..." But here's what the diarist means by that:
We liberals really do want to take away your guns and never let you have them back.


If your gun is an UZI
If you are using a gun with an extended clip...we want to take your gun
If you are concealing a high powered automatic weapon designed to best law enforcement...we want to take your gun away from you.
If you are a mentally unstable student or postal worker...we want your gun right now!
If you are currently intoxicated with alchohol or some other drug...give us your gun, right now.
If you have a criminal may not have a gun, hand it over and never ask for it back
If you are angry at your spouse and it's a hot summer night and you just stumbled into a gun shop...You may not buy a gun today, you must wait 72 hours from today to buy your gun so go to a hotel/motel and think about what we just saved you from...we don't want you to have a gun!!
That's the horrible, unreasonable, jackbooted-fascist secret liberal gun-grabbing agenda.

Oh, and did I mention that what Cuomo is proposing pretty much what Australia has done with semiautomatic and automatic rifles and shotguns, with great success, under conservative prime minister John Howard, a policy that Rupert Murdoch has praised?


The gun fetishists are are arguing that gun-control supporters are the only extremists in the debate -- an argument that will sound reasonable to much of the country. Meanwhile, some in the "liberal media" are determined to get the gun issue safely back into "Both sides do it!" territory.

Here's Ross Douthat:
FOR a week after the Newtown shooting, the conversation was dominated by the self-righteous certainties of the American center-left. In print and on the airwaves, the chorus was nearly universal: the only possible response to Adam Lanza's rampage was an immediate crusade for gun control, the necessary firearm restrictions were all self-evident, and anyone who doubted their efficacy had the blood of children on his hands.

The leading gun control chorister was Michael Bloomberg, and this was fitting, because on a range of issues New York's mayor has become the de facto spokesman for the self-consciously centrist liberalism of the Acela Corridor elite.... [Bloomberg's] bedrock assumption is that the liberal paternalism with which New York is governed can and should be a model for the nation as a whole.

It's an assumption that cries out to be challenged by a thoughtful center-right....

But instead of a kind of skepticism and sifting from conservatives, after a week of liberal self-righteousness the spotlight passed instead to ... Wayne LaPierre. And no Stephen Colbert parody of conservatism could match the National Rifle Association spokesman's performance on Friday morning.
Yes, Bloomberg and LaPierre are equally extreme, according to Douthat.

And Craig R. Whitney, a former Timesman and self-described liberal, would apparently agree -- or certainly agree that Cuomo and LaPierre are equally extreme -- judging from this review of his new book, Living with Guns: A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment:
In [Whitney's] estimation, that stalemated debate is the fault of uncompromising extremists on both sides. "Gun confiscation is a shibboleth that brings together everybody on the gun-rights side," he says, "just as it is a chimera dreamed of by all on the gun-control side." But this is a false equivalence. Not only does the gun-rights side, in the form of the National Rifle Association, have exponentially more political power than the gun-control side, the gun-rights side is also much more radical. After all, the shibboleth of gun confiscation that the N.R.A. uses to such great effect in stoking the fears of its members is a shibboleth precisely because most gun-control advocates don't seek it, instead favoring far more modest regulations, like increased background checks and better data collection.
Even this reviewer, who is skeptical of Whitney's arguments, seems to agree that it certainly would be extreme to talk about confiscation. That seems to be true even for strictly limited classes of weapons or weapon owners, never mind the fact that such a plan would meet with the approval of Rupert Murdoch and John Howard. You just can't say such things in public.

And that's where we stand now: LaPierre and his army, extremist in everything they say or do, vs. Cuomo, who made one provocative proposal, and Bloomberg, who's made none. The conclusion we're trending toward: both sides are equally extreme.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Please tell me that working the press this way isn't going to get Marco Rubio elected president in 2016:
You can learn a lot about a politician by watching him watch football. Or can you?

"I've never psychoanalyzed it, man." Senator Marco Rubio says. "I just like football. We all like something, right?" Well, yes, we do, but we all don't watch N.F.L. coaches' film or study long-snapping techniques and binders full of predraft player data.

Rubio, 41, is legitimate, a serious fan who not only can name the Dolphins' long snapper (John Denny) but can also tell you that an N.F.L. long-snapper must get the ball to the holder in seven-tenths of a second.

"You are two-tenths of a second from getting every kicked blocked in the N.F.L.," he says. Rubio learned this from reading a Web site devoted to long snapping.
This is from an article in the sports section of The New York Times. Rubio invited Mark Leibovich of the Times to attend a Dolphins game. They meet the beloved former coach of the Dolphins, Don Shula; they watch the game in the owners' box with two of Rubio's kids (ages five and seven), who give the senator the opportunity to be an attentive dad with a reporter watching, just as Rubios fandom gives the senator the chance to be an appealing, Dubya-in-2000 sort of bro. And no, don't think that owner's-box thing is Romneyesque elitism:
Rubio prefers sitting in the stands -- which you would expect any politician to say, though this rings true. Rubio, however, has decided the owner's box will be easier, given the needs of his kids, and his desire to talk uninterrupted to me about the game.
Besides, who cares when Rubio's interest in football is so darn genuine?
Rubio attended his first Dolphins game at age 6, a victory over the Seattle Seahawks at the Orange Bowl. By fifth grade, he was watching games with a notepad on his lap, diagraming plays....

Colleagues once discovered Rubio studying a binder of pre-N.F.L. draft scouting reports during an important debate, according to a biography by the Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia.

Rubio shows easy recall of seemingly every significant Dolphins game in recent memory. He takes big losses hard.

"Remember when President Bush passed out eating a pretzel?" Rubio says in what seems to be a non sequitur as we pull into the stadium parking lot. "He was watching a Dolphins-Ravens playoff game at the time. I don’t know why I remember that."

Indeed, the Dolphins lost that January 2002 game, 20-3. "I felt like passing out," Rubio says.
If, as I assume, the 2016 Boys on the Bus are still mostly boys, they're going to eat this up. A lot of them are going to decide that this makes him more qualified to be president than Hillary or Andrew Cuomo or Martin O'Malley or whoever. So be very afraid.

And yeah, I know that Barack Obama has played the hoop-shooting-ESPN-watcher card for years. Use what you've got if it works, I guess -- but I'm still sorry it works.


Most online lefties seem certain that that the Wayne LaPierre press conference yesterday was a big flop. But I think Gail Collins is right in The New York Times: the press conference was, among other things, a warning to the NRA's already docile, gelded pet legislators that they'd better not stray:
Wayne LaPierre, the C.E.O. of the N.R.A., has major sway in Congress when it comes to gun issues....

However unhinged LaPierre might have seemed to the casual observer, he sent a clear message to members of Congress who fear the wrath of the N.R.A.: No compromise on banning assault weapons or any gun control issue. That made it hard to imagine any reform getting past the great, gaping maw that is the House of Representatives.
Also see Michael Shear of Times, who contrasted the memorial for Daniel Inouye with the current D.C. climate:
Across town, democracy was, at best, showing its gritty side as it ground along angrily, noisily and slowly: A weary Speaker John A. Boehner admitted failure in his efforts to avert a fiscal crisis with a bill to increase taxes on millionaires but asserted that his job was not at risk; a top National Rifle Association official bluntly challenged Congress to embrace guns at schools, not control them; and Mr. Obama bowed to the reality that Republicans had blocked his first choice to be the next secretary of state.

Though it has been 45 days since voters emphatically reaffirmed their faith in Mr. Obama, the time since then has shown the president's power to be severely constrained by a Republican opposition that is bitter about its losses, unmoved by Mr. Obama's victory and unwilling to compromise on social policy, economics or foreign affairs.
(Emphasis added.)

So there you go: the NRA presser wasn't LaPierre wearing out his welcome with decent people -- it was the head of a powerful lobbying group serving notice that it was going to dig in its heels, and that the Republican Party needs to follow suit.

Do you know of any politician who used to be sympathetic to the NRA but is now treating the group as radioactive? No, and it won't happen. Scott Brown may have tacked to the left on guns (after the shooting and before the press conference), but he clearly feels he has to do that to win another special election in Massachusetts next year. Chris Christie may have denounced LaPierre's armed-guards-in-schools proposal, but he's always supported a certain amount of gun control.

We're not going to have real change in this county on guns until the NRA as it currently exists is regarded as a pariah organization -- if not in Red America, then at least in Purple America.

Remember ACORN? It was considered sufficiently mainstream that even some Republicans -- John McCain, for one -- supported it. But near the end of its organizational life, hardly any politician with national standing wanted to defend it.

In 1988, Michael Dukakis ran for president as an avowed member of the ACLU. That became a serious liability for him in the fall campaign, and he lost. What politician with national ambitions has dared to boast of ACLU membership since then?

That's what has to happen to the NRA in order for the balance of power on guns to tilt -- and nothing of the sort is happening.

Yesterday's New York Times had a fawning story about how awful Mayor Mike Bloomberg feels every time someone is a victim of gun violence, a scourge he's determined to stop using all the resources at his disposal:
It is a moment when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's heart races and his breath gets caught in his throat: the ringing of a bedside telephone in the middle of the night.

The message is inevitably the same: A police officer has been shot on the streets of New York.

"I just gag," Mr. Bloomberg said, recalling his feeling of dread. "Chances are I'm out of bed, into the bathroom, get some clothes on and off to a hospital."

...Now, furious at the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and frustrated by inaction in Congress, Mr. Bloomberg said in an interview this week that he would ratchet up his fight to overhaul gun laws, drawing on his considerable political and finance resources to bring about change.

One of the world's wealthiest men, Mr. Bloomberg plans to spend millions of dollars over the next two years to aid political candidates willing to oppose the gun lobby. He said he would not wait until 2014: the mayor's "super PAC" is already looking at special elections next year, including governor's races and an open House seat in Illinois.
Really, Mike? You might put some money into races in 2013? Gee, I can think of a big race coming up then:
President Obama's nomination of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for secretary of State on Friday will set off a mad scramble -- particularly among Democrats -- to fill the Massachusetts Senate seat in a special election to be held next year.

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who just lost his Senate seat in a nasty election against Elizabeth Warren (D), is widely viewed as the favorite among Republican candidates....
Mike Bloomberg gets emotional thinking about gun violence, but do you know which candidate he endorsed in the Brown-Warren race? That's right: he endorsed Scott Brown, the candidate who'd once had an A rating from the NRA, and who still votes with the NRA nearly half the time. Warren, by contrast, is solidly pro-gun control:
... Warren's positions are largely in line with those of gun-control advocates, while Brown had long been endorsed by gun rights groups until he recently broke rank on a high-profile issue.

...In January 2011, following an Arizona shooting that killed six people and injured US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Brown offered more pointed opposition to federal gun restric­tions, saying he was "not in favor of doing any additional federal regulations with regard to any type of weapons or federal gun changes."

... Warren's campaign said she favors an extension of the ­assault weapons ban, supports proposals to require more rigorous background screenings, including for people who purchase firearms at gun shows; and opposes limits on the sharing of firearms trace information.
Bloomberg endorsed Scott Brown even though he opposed reinstating the assault weapons ban.

On that issue, Brown has changed his position -- possibly in the hope of getting some more of that sweet, sweet Bloomberg cash in a 2013 run.

Bloomberg shouldn't give him a dime. In fact, the right thing on guns would probably be for Bloomberg to give money to Brown's Democratic opponent.

Among the possible Democratic candidates, Congressman Mike Capuano has zero ratings from the NRA and Gun Owners of America. So does Congressman Ed Markey. Governor Deval Patrick's most recent NRA rating (in 2010) was F, as was Attorney General Martha Coakley's. And while the Kennedys who are said to be considering a run -- Edward Kennedy Jr., the late senator's son, and his widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy -- have never held elective office, they're members of a family scarred by two gun assassinations. I think we can assume they'd be to Brown's left on this issue. (It should be noted that a couple of other possible Democratic candidates -- Congressman Stephen Lynch and State Representative Benjamin Downing -- have much more NRA-friendly records.)

We know why Bloomberg endorsed Brown over Warren -- Brown has been a friend to billionaires and plutocrats, and that, for Bloomberg, clearly trumped Warren's position on guns.

Brown's opponent in this race is unlikely to be as much of a threat to fat cats as Warren -- so maybe Bloomberg will remain neutral. But I think he'll stay loyal to Brown, praising him for "evolving" on assault weapons.

If Brown is running against a Democrat who's zero-rated by the NRA and Bloomberg doesn't endorse that Democratic rival, the billionaire mayor will be demonstrating that gun violence is less important to him than he wants you to believe.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Via Adam Serwer, some choice Bork quotes, from
Feminist gatherings within traditional denominations celebrate and pray to pagan goddesses. Witchcraft is undergoing an enormous revival in feminist circles as the antagonist of Christian faith...The feminists within the [Catholic] church engage in neo-pagan ritual magic and the worship of pagan goddesses.


As one might suspect from their hostility to men, marriage, and family, radical feminists are very much in favor of lesbianism.


So far as I know, no multiethnic society has ever been peaceful except when constrained by force. Ethnicity is so powerful that it can overcome rationality. Canada, for example, one of the five richest countries in the world, is torn and may be destroyed by what, to the outsider, look like utterly senseless ethnic animosities.


Hispanics, who will outnumber blacks in the United States by the end of the century, often do not regard this country as their own.

*** is on the Internet. That's a category. They have a variety of things under, which is alternative sex. Particularly horrifying was this I don't know how to work the Internet yet, but I did that research. I found it written up.


The fossil record is proving a major embarrassment to evolutionary theory.
Much more at the Waggish link. Many of the quotes are from his book Slouching Toward Gomorrah; some others are from
this C-SPAN interview.

Yeah, 86'ing that guy was the right thing to do.


UPDATE: Scott Lemieux has more.

I didn't watch the NRA's news conference, but I did read the transcript. (You can read it at The Washington Post's site, though I prefer the transcript PDF at the NRA's own site, which has a lot more italics.) It's easy to mock Wayne LaPierre for desperately seeking things other than the proliferation of guns to blame -- Hollywood movies (including Natural Born Killers, which came out the year Adam Lanza turned two), video games (including a crude, primitive, unpopular game from 2002) and even music videos (I guess the ones from 2001 and earlier, given the fact that no one's seen a music video on TV since then).

The headline recommendation from LaPierre's press conference is this:
I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school -- and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January.

Before Congress reconvenes, before we engage in any lengthy debate over legislation, regulation or anything else, as soon as our kids return to school after the holiday break, we need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to work -- and by that I mean armed security.
We can laugh, we can be appalled, but all over America the response of the usual noisy minority of gun extremists is: Yes, exactly. Here's what that means: it means that, in many school districts in America, LaPierre and the NRA have created another school-shooting scapegoat: any parent who questions the NRA's approach. In many cities and towns, pro-gun people are going to demand that skeptics accept this approach. They're going to say that skeptics are literally putting children at lethal risk.

(I know: they've been saying this for years about gun-free zones. But this ups the ante: it's not just that guns should be allowed in schools, it's that they should be required.)

Oh, and the NRA is branding this:
The NRA is going to bring all of its knowledge, dedication and resources to develop a model National School Shield Emergency Response Program for every school that wants it. From armed security to building design and access control to information technology to student and teacher training, this multi-faceted program will be developed by the very best experts in their fields.

Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson will lead this effort as National Director of the National School Shield Program, with a budget provided by the NRA of whatever scope the task requires....

Under Asa's leadership, our team of security experts will make this the best program in the world for protecting our children at school, and we will make that program available to every school in America free of charge.
I don't think this means the NRA is going to pay the armed para-cops, buy the weapons, buy the ammo, or pay to insure and indemnify the armed personnel. Nevertheless, I guarantee that, all over Red America, there'll soon be schools sporting some snazzy new NRA National School Shield Program logo somewhere on the building or grounds. And if any mass shooting takes place in any school or mall or hospital or church in America (in the world, really) that hasn't adopted this NRA program, the smugness from program participants is going to be insufferable. (If a shooting happens at an NRA-program location, well, that fact will be swept under the rug.)

We're talking, of course, about either (a) a volunteer George Zimmerman in every school or (b) a paid cop in every school. Business Insider estimates that the latter would cost about $5 billion overall. My first thought was that we should defray the cost of this with a hefty tax on the gun industry -- but then I read that the gun industry claims to generate only about $32 billion in direct or indirect economic activity. So we'd be talking about a 15% tax on all gun-related economic activity.

Hmmm ... maybe that's not such a bad idea.




John Boehner couldn't round up enough votes in his own caucus for his Plan B last night; he looks weak, Republicans who are leaving town probably look childish and stubborn to most of the country, and now, I'm told by Brian Beutler, Democrats have a great deal of control over what happens next:
It sets up a scenario where Boehner's old nemesis Nancy Pelosi is suddenly back in the driver's seat, controlling the votes necessary to pass a deal.
Ezra Klein writes:
The failure of Plan B proved something important: Boehner doesn't have enough Republican support to pass any bill that increases taxes -- even one meant to block a larger tax increase -- without a significant number of Democrats. The House has now adjourned until after Christmas, but it's clear now what Plan C is going to have to be: Boehner is going to need to accept the simple reality that if he's to be a successful speaker, he's going to need to begin passing legislation with Democratic votes.
Politico says that can only happen if an institutional barrier is overcome:
The White House's best hope is that Boehner takes a drastically different course and breaks with his own allies. He could decide to negotiate the best bipartisan package possible and put it on the floor with unanimous Democratic support and the backing of Republicans who want to avoid the cliff.

But there's little expectation that he'll go that route and weaken his already shaky hold on the speakership. Boehner would flout the "majority of the majority" policy, which was instituted a decade ago by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill). It means that leaders do not put a bill on the floor unless it has the support of a majority of the majority.

"If Boehner keeps insisting on majority of the majority, we go over the cliff, since it's now clear nothing but a straight-up tea party bill can pass the house under those conditions," a senior Democratic Senate aide said.
I keep reading that if Boehner didn't care about keeping his speakership, ultimately he could get plenty of votes for a bipartisan deal that could then pass with Democratic as well as Republican votes. I'm not sure I believe that. If Boehner couldn't get enough votes to put a tax-increase-on-millionaires-only bill over the top when that bill was just meant to humiliate the president, why should we think he could get a vote to actually lock a tax increase into law -- even if it's past January 1 and we're all freaking out over the fiscal cliff? I know it would be a matter of wrangling far fewer votes than Boehner had last night. But that was for humiliation -- and he couldn't pull it off. This would be for a tax increase, which is the worst thing in the world to Republicans. Outside pressure to thwart a deal would be greater. GOP House members' fear of primary challenges would be greater.

I'm not sure we'll ever get a deal that reverse the majority of what the cliff does, even if Boehner agrees to work toward a bipartisan bill.* His caucus is crazy. I think last night was the tip of the crazy iceberg.

*I should have added: unless Democrats agree to (and propose) brutal benefit cuts and agree to restore all the Bush tax rates, with the possible -- possible -- exception of the rate on those making over $1 million a year, which Republicans may generously agree to sacrifice for real, although I wouldn't count on it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Carl Bernstein, writing for The Guardian, is appalled that ex-partner Bob Woodward's story about the Ailes/Murdoch presidential overture to David Petraeus didn't get more attention:
So now we have it: what appears to be hard, irrefutable evidence of Rupert Murdoch's ultimate and most audacious attempt -- thwarted, thankfully, by circumstance -- to hijack America's democratic institutions....

... in the spring of 2011 -- less than 10 weeks before Murdoch's centrality to the hacking and politician-buying scandal enveloping his British newspapers was definitively revealed -- Fox News' inventor and president, Roger Ailes, dispatched an emissary to Afghanistan to urge Petraeus to turn down President Obama's expected offer to become CIA director and, instead, run for the Republican nomination for president, with promises of being bankrolled by Murdoch. Ailes himself would resign as president of Fox News and run the campaign....

... almost as dismaying as Ailes' and Murdoch's disdain for an independent and truly free and honest press, and as remarkable as the obsequious eagerness of their messenger to convey their extraordinary presidential draft and promise of on-air Fox support to Petraeus, has been the ho-hum response to the story by the American press and the country's political establishment....
Well, the presidency seems to be just about where Murdoch's power reaches its limit. The Murdoch media empire was a tireless cheerleader for the last Republican president -- who left office despised by a broad cross-section of the American public. Murdoch failed to get a president elected in 2008 and 2012 -- and this year, in particular, he and Ailes failed to persuade their favorites (Petraeus, Christie) to run, while the candidates and wannabes they championed (Palin, Gingrich, Trump, Cain) made utter fools of themselves, leaving them a standard-bearer they supported with gritted teeth.

But it doesn't matter, because Murdoch and Ailes, deploying their rabid army of Fox-watching rage junkies (funded by Fox's billionaire allies), still manage to exercise veto power over much of what the president we actually elected tries to do. Ask Susan Rice. Ask Van Jones. Note that Gitmo is still open and the Bush tax cuts are still in place.

So the coup, though partial, has already happened -- Murdoch already has power to rival that of the White House. Winning the GOP nomination for an ex-general who, by his own admission, is more or less a Rockefeller Republican, would be a relatively mild abuse of press power by Murdoch standards. So who cares, really?

Bryan Preston at Pajamas Media:
Disgraceful: Obama Invokes Newtown Massacre to Pressure Republicans to Go Along with His Tax Hikes

During his press conference today, called to announce his new gun control task force, President Obama invoked the Newtown massacre to apply pressure on congressional Republicans in the fiscal cliff standoff.
OBAMA: If this past week has done anything it should give us some perspective. I-I-I-If there's one thing we should have, after this week, it should be a sense of perspective about what's important....
This has to be one of the lowest moments of a very low presidency....
Yes, because no Republican president would ever use a crisis to justify his policy preferences:

Exact quote:
I want to remind the American people that the Congress has been working with us to provide relief. We passed monies for disaster relief, monies to help the people in New York. We passed appropriations to help beef up our security. We passed appropriations to help airlines. Yesterday, I proposed additional expenditures to help workers who have been laid off as a result of the September 11th tragedy. That spending totals about $60 billion.

And in order to stimulate the economy, Congress doesn't need to spend any more money -- what they need to do is to cut taxes. So I propose this: I propose that the United States Congress, as quickly as possible, pass tax relief equal to or a little bit greater than the monies that we have already appropriated.
Bush also ran a campaign ad in 2004 boasting about cutting taxes after 9/11:
Announcer: After recession, 9/11 and war, now our economy has been growing for ten straight months.

The largest tax relief in history....

Oh, and there was this at near the end of Bush's term:
President Bush demonstrated that letting people keep more of their own money leads to economic growth. In 2001, America was experiencing the unprecedented triple shock of a recession following the dot-com bust, economic disruption due to the terrorist attacks of September 11, and corporate accounting scandals. Fortunately, the country was able to overcome these challenges, in part because President Bush's tax relief put more money in families' pockets and encouraged businesses to grow and invest.
So spare me the sanctimony, Bryan.