The AP’s Spin, Abusing State’s Secret Claims

The AP’s fishy economic story

The AP doesn’t have a Ron Fournier by-line, but it has some right leaning Fournier, FACT CHECK: Obama disowns deficit he helped shape. Obama liked most Democrats and Republican leaders like Rep.John Boehner and Mitch McConnell voted for TARP. How is an accurate despiction of the facts to say Obama’s single vote is responsible for the deficit. A vote made on the Bush administartion’s claim that the sky was falling. Even the basic premise is wrong. Bush’s tax cuts and spending made up the vast majority of the debt that Obama did in fact inherit along with an economy that most economists agree lost $3 trilion dollars in value. Obama did not vote for that, it was a result of piss poor economic management by Bush and Republicans, including that trillion dollar debacle called Iraq.

Myth 1:  Tax cuts “pay for themselves.”

“You cut taxes and the tax revenues increase.”  —  President Bush, February 8, 2006

“You have to pay for these tax cuts twice under these pay-go rules if you apply them, because these tax cuts pay for themselves.”  — Senator Judd Gregg, then Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, March 9, 2006
Reality:  A study by the President’s own Treasury Department confirmed the common-sense view shared by economists across the political spectrum:  cutting taxes decreases revenues.

Proponents of tax cuts often claim that “dynamic scoring” — that is, considering tax cuts’ economic effects when calculating their costs — would substantially lower the estimated cost of tax reductions, or even shrink it to zero.  The argument is that tax cuts dramatically boost economic growth, which in turn boosts revenues by enough to offset the revenue loss from the tax cuts.

Myth 3: The economy has grown strongly over the past several years because of the tax cuts.

“The main reason for our growing economy is that we cut taxes and left more money in the hands of families and workers and small business owners.”  — President Bush, November 4, 2006
Reality:  The 2001-2007 economic expansion was sub-par overall, and job and wage growth were anemic.

Members of the Administration routinely tout statistics regarding recent economic growth, then credit the President’s tax cuts with what they portray as a stellar economic performance.  But as a general rule, it is difficult or impossible to infer the effect of a given tax cut from looking at a few years of economic data, simply because so many factors other than tax policy influence the economy.  What the data do show clearly is that, despite major tax cuts in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006, the economy’s performance between 2001 and 2007 was from stellar.

Growth rates of GDP, investment, and other key economic indicators during the 2001-2007 expansion were below the average for other post-World War II economic expansions

Did the AP’s selective and spun fact checkhecking present the alternative. The plan we would have if Republicans had their budget. No. Its a very easy plan to follow. Rep. Paul Ryan Concedes GOP Alternative Budget Would Increase The Deficit ‘A Lot’

As ThinkProgress previously noted, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) also stumbled and refused to offer a number when questioned by MSNBC about the deficit under the GOP plan.

Citizens for Tax Justice analyzed the income tax provisions of the GOP alternative budget and concluded that they would cost $300 billion more annually than the President’s income tax plans.

Is Obama perhaps over hyping the benefits of his budget. Maybe, maybe not. he is, like all politicians putting out his numbers based on a best case scenario. many analysts think Obama should rise taxes to some crazy level, like you know, taxes under Saint Ronnie Reagan, but he is obviously resistant to doing that. A year or two down the road reality may dictate that he has no choice if he really wants to make substantial progress against the deficit. But Republicans will whine, perpetually in short memory mode, that Reagan sized taxes will kill the economy.

One excerpt from the pity the wealthy GOP tax plan,

The richest one percent of taxpayers would pay $100,000 less, on average, under the House GOP plan than they would under the President’s plan.

The median income Americans will take a lifetime of labor to earn what the GOP thinks is a burden to multi-millionaires, whose wealth is totally dependent on the work provided by the median wage earner. No wonder the tea smoking parties attract mostly uninformed crazies.

From TPM, Obama: State’s Secrets Privilege Too Broad.

Scherer asked the President to reconcile that contradiction. And Obama’s answer was…a bit disingenuous. “I actually think that the state secrets doctrine should be modified,” he said. “I think right now it’s overbroad.”

So why has he been hiding behind its breadth? “We’re in for a week, and suddenly we’ve got a court filing that’s coming up…and we don’t have the time to think up what an overarching form that doctrine should take.”

But it’s hard to square that with what the administration’s actually done. DOJ lawyers haven’t asked the courts for more time, or to withhold key pieces of information.

If President Obama had taken the position that they had a lot on their plate and had asked the courts for more time as they made more supporting appointments at the DOJ and OLC one could understand. The president has not done that. he has jumped in full throttle to invoke states secrets in every case that Bush had. If Obama is having second thoughts we’ll find out how sincere he is if he supports Leahy, Specter, Feingold, Kennedy Introduce State Secrets Legislation

Leahy said, “The State Secrets Protection Act will help guide the courts to balance the government’s interests in secrecy with accountability and the rights of citizens to seek judicial redress.  The bill does not restrict the Government’s ability to assert the privilege in appropriate cases.  In light of the pending cases where this privilege has been invoked, involving issues including torture, rendition and warrantless wiretapping, we can ill-afford to delay consideration of this important legislation.  I hope all Senators will join us in supporting this bill.”

Specter said, “While national security must be protected, there must also be meaningful oversight by the courts and Congress to ensure the Executive branch does not misuse the privilege,” Senator Specter said.  “This bipartisan legislation provides guidance to the federal courts in handling assertions of the privilege.  It is designed to protect state secrets from disclosure, while preventing misuse of the privilege and enabling litigants to achieve justice in court, regardless of which party occupies the White House.”

Politicians are politicians. If they have a power, even though well intentioned, they can be counted on to abuse that power. It is time for the executive to take a step back on executive power and Congress and the courts to take more their rightful powers back. If Obama was sincere about acting rashly so far on state secrets claims then hopefully we’ll see some genuine support for the Leahy plan.

More Blue Rain Drops wallpaper

Fox’s Henneberg repeats right-wing myth that hate crimes bill could gag ministers

However, the assertion that the legislation would allow individuals or groups to “be prosecuted for their religious beliefs” is false: Section 8 of the bill states that “Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the Constitution,” and the First Amendment to the Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (emphasis added). Indeed, the House Judiciary Committee’s report on the legislation states that the purpose of Section 8 of the bill is “to lay to rest concerns raised in the 110th Congress mark-up of the legislation, and repeated since then, that religious speech or expression by clergy could form the basis of a prosecution. … Nothing in this legislation would prohibit the constitutionally protected expression of one’s religious beliefs.”

If an operation was available that made it pssible to cut out the looney conspiract theories from a hard Right conservatives mind, they might half way reasonable to deal with.