Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Cheney Puts Final Senate Stamp on Immoral Budget

"House Republicans are home now decrying the “War on Christmas,” their houses festooned with lights and pretty red bows. It’s hard not to wonder if their Christmas spirit is blunted at all by the big lump of coal they recently gave America’s poor and working families. Republicans have wished the nation’s least privileged citizens a "Merry Christmas" by whacking our already anemic social safety net system."

- Karen Dolan, Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies [ - Tiny Tim v. Scrooge]

Cheney Puts Final Senate Stamp on Immoral Budget
Cheney Breaks Tie to Pass Spending Cuts

"Bah Humbug!"


Jim Wallis in Washington D.C.

"Our basic moral principles tell us that caring for the vulnerable should be our first order of business before we provide more to the wealthiest."

- Rev. Jim Wallis,


Senate Roll Call Vote on Deficit Cut
No Democrats voted "YES".
Kudos to Republicans who voted their moral conscience: Lincoln Chafee, R.I.; Susan Collins, Maine; Mike DeWine, Ohio; Gordon Smith, Ore.; Olympia Snowe, Maine, along with one Independent: Jim Jeffords, Vt.

+ The truth from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorites:
Assessing the Effects of the Budget Conference Agreement on Low-Income Families and Individuals

+ Catherine Dodge/Bloomberg News:
U.S. Senate Approves $39.7 Bln in Cuts to Benefit Programs

+ Spending Cuts Would Barely Trim Deficit
With Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) slamming the package as "a bill Scrooge would love," all 44 Democrats and one independent were expected to [and did] oppose it...

...Much of the criticism of the measure came from groups speaking for the poor, the elderly and college students.

"The provisions … would cause considerable hardship among low-income families and people who are elderly or have disabilities," said the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Medicaid recipients, particularly those just above the poverty line, would have to pay more for their healthcare or accept fewer medical services. Some could be forced to pay as much as $100 for services that now cost $3, the center said.

For elderly and disabled Medicare recipients, the premium that covers visits to the doctor would be increased.

Heckuva job, Dick 'n Dubya.

The American public shares the blame for this immoral budget.

Our political leaders talk a good talk about alleviating the conditions that lead to poverty, but after election day, we see little action. Poverty increases in our communities by the year.

Pro-rich policies are passed by the Republican party, who have been elected by a majority of Americans who attend church services on a regular basis. How does that make sense? Was Jesus pro-rich? Is God pro-rich?

We hear a lot of empty talk about values - but what about the values being represented by this clearly immoral budget? Where are Americans of faith in this debate? There is virtually no discussion or debate in the public square about the moral values that would guide our Representatives to reconcile public policy with social justice. What good are values when we toss them aside?

- In the middle class churches today, what is being touted as good, noble, and lofty? Why are the poor so often blamed for their own poverty?

- Is the middle class so removed, both literally and figuratively, from the urban and rural poor that they have forgotten the importance of God's calling to serve the poor?

- We may never realize the full alleviation of poverty, but does that spiritually excuse us from trying to address such problems?

- Why are there literally thousands of references to poverty and/or serving the poor throughout the Bible, yet the Christian Right supports the policies of George W. Bush and his 'rubber-stamp Republicans?'

- What about man's propensity for social injustice, selfishness, greed, and prejudice? Why isn't the Church talking about committing to economic justice and reconciliation in our congregations and communities?

These are questions we need to ask ourselves - especially as the Holiday season is upon us.

"Peace on earth - good will to men?"
Not with this budget.


Note: The budget reconciliation measure must now return to the House after the Senate failed to overturn a Democratic point of order against the bill that makes a minor change to the legislation. After the House and Senate each pass a version of the reconciliation bill, members from each chamber will meet in a conference committee to produce a final bill. After both chambers approve this final version, it will be sent to the president for his signature.

"Wartime President"

"Wartime President"

Kevin Drum asks:
What is ‘wartime’? Is George Bush really a ‘wartime president,’ as he's so fond of calling himself? Conservatives take it for granted that he is, while liberals tend to avoid the subject entirely for fear of being thought unserious about the War on Terror. But it's something that ought be brought up and discussed openly.”

When we look back at the George W. Bush presidency, the word "wartime" will have had a suspicious tinge to it, just like the legitimacy of his election to the presidency in 2000 will always have an overshadowing of fraudulence. Learning about these domestic wiretaps has only increased the public's already skeptical (and ever-declining) view of the level of ethics and honesty in the government under Bush.

NYT columnist Paul Krugman [] put it this way:
"One way or another, the Bush administration will stagger on for three more years. But its essential fraudulence stands exposed, and it's hard to see how that exposure can be undone.

What do I mean by essential fraudulence? Basically, I mean the way an administration with an almost unbroken record of policy failure has nonetheless achieved political dominance through a carefully cultivated set of myths. The record of policy failure is truly remarkable. It sometimes seems as if President Bush and Mr. Cheney are Midases in reverse: everything they touch - from Iraq reconstruction to hurricane relief, from prescription drug coverage to the pursuit of Osama - turns to crud...
I hear right-leaning ideologues lately telling us to forget how the war was begun - and to look ahead. In other words, "don't look back." And yet, how can we forget that this war was, when all was said and done, completely unnecessary? How can we forget that fact when we hear Bush calling himself a "wartime president" every time he makes excuses for acting as if he's entitled to unchecked power - like a monarch or a dictator?

David Brooks tells us that
"...the Democratic Party's loudest voices are in the grip of passions that render them untrustworthy..."
The "passions" of which he speaks revolve around the proven failures of truth - the bona fide trust-damaging acts of this "war president," in whom a nation NEEDS to trust, because it is paramount in a democracy to trust a commander in chief. It's all about sending our own sons and daughters to war - or deciding to risk our own lives under a "war president" whose integrity is all-important. We trust with the blood of our own families - the flesh of our flesh. I can't imagine anything greater about which to get passionate. How about you?

Tip of the hat to Joe Clarke