Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Hundreds gather in South Bend to protest the Count, the president and their plan to phase-out Social Security ...

Hundreds of protestors gathered outside the Joyce Center, starting as early at 10 AM Friday morning, to protest the president's Social Security reform plan. Some were students and others were community members of all ages, races and backgrounds. A few protestors drove from as far away as Indianapolis.

Soon, on the scene accounts from TPM Readers.

Are things going so badly on phase-out that the president is threatening to do "something drastic"?

Seems so.

Just off the wire from Bloomberg ...

President George W. Bush, facing a decline in public support for private Social Security accounts, said "something drastic has to happen" to fix the retirement safety net that has served workers for decades.

Without changes to the system, younger taxpayers won't be able to collect Social Security after paying into it for years, Bush told a crowd today in Westfield, New Jersey. "If we act now, we can do it in a way that saves the system for younger workers," he said.

What a small-minded bully this man is. <$Ad$>When the public begins to turn against him all he can think to do is up the antics and the melodrama. "Something drastic has to happen." What a thing for a president to say? Think about it. Something drastic? FDR was right about more than just Social Security. Also with, The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And it's good to remember that now because fear is the only thing this man has to peddle.

A new National Journal poll just out finds that disapproval of the president on Social Security risen to 61% from 52% in January.

And along those lines Bloomberg also tells us more about Rep. Mike Ferguson (R) of New Jersey, the president's host today in Westfield. Ferguson is another first-tier Social Security bamboozler who's repeatedly tried to hoodwink his constituents in just the same way as Rep. Heather Wilson or New Mexico.

And now we see, on the very day President Bush is in town, he's trying to slither away from his support for phasing out Social Security.

"The congressman still has a lot of questions that he's looking to get answered about the plans and proposals that are being talked about to strengthen Social Security," his spokesperson Abby Bird tells Bloomberg. He thinks private accounts maybe "part of the solution," but not the sole answer.

It's too late, isn't it? Ferguson's for phase-out and he has been for years. There's nothing left to figure out about it. The least he could do is be a stand-up guy about it like Santorum and say what he believes in even when the tide is turning against him.

You can make a <$NoAd$>difference.

From Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) ...

Iranian blogger and human rights activist Arash Sigarchi was sentenced to 14 years in prison on charges of "espionage and insulting the country's leaders." His harsh sentence, given by a Revolutionary Court on February 22, 2005, sends a stark message to other bloggers and independent government critics in Iran.

Arash Sigarchi is editor of a daily newspaper in the province of Gilan and has run a social and political blog for the past three years. His blog has from time to time dealt with human rights issues and criticized government policies ...

Click here to read the rest of the story and find out what you can do right now to help get him released.

As you've probably seen, all but three Senate Democrats signed the letter to President Bush today calling on the president to categorically reject phase-out in the form of private accounts paid for with Social Security funds.

The three were Conrad, Feingold and Nelson of Nebraska.

Conrad and Nelson aren't much of a surprise. But, to many, Feingold was.

I checked into this and it turns out that Sen. Feingold's mother just passed away and for that reason he is currently back in Wisconsin.

After speaking with a member of the senator's staff, it seemed clear to me that there was nothing more to read into his failure to sign the letter than that he was not in Washington to sign it and is understandably busy now attending to personal matters.

So who got to go to the <$NoAd$> Bamboozlepalooza event in New Jersey today?

Says Gannet ...

Among those organizations [receiving tickets to distribute] are the chambers of commerce in Hunterdon and Union counties, the Somerset County Business Partnership and the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, Bird said. Those groups distribute their allotment at their discretion, she said.

Organizations representing seniors, many of whom oppose the president's plan, did not receive tickets. Bird said that's because many seniors were among those who called in and are receiving individual tickets. The list of invitees includes firefighters, the families of military personnel serving in Iraq and the Democratic mayors of Fanwood and Summit, she said.

(ed.note: Thanks to this local site for alerting our attention to this passage.)

Reader mail ...

While I understand leaving Joe in the faction, I'm not entirely sure why the other Senate faction signees haven't been bumped out on the basis of signing on. Joe is a special case, but for Landrieu and Carper, it'd seem like the letter would be a good enough statement of intent to revoke their faction membership.


Membership for Carper and Landrieu is now under review.

Mums the word for Rep. Steve Buyer (R) of Indiana. From the Indianapolis Star: "Rep. Steve Buyer would not say whether he supports personal investment accounts." All the rest of the Republican House delegation from the state, including the Count, are private accounts men, says the Star.

So Joe Lieberman signed the senate Democrats' letter insisting that phase-out (i.e., private accounts funded with Social Security dollars) has to be taken off the table once and for all before there can be any serious discussion of legislation to strengthen and extend the solvency of Social Security.

Good for them.

And really how could it be otherwise? It is no more complicated than saying that the option of euthanizing the patient has to be ruled out before there can be any real discussion of how to cure him.

And good for Joe.

With someone like Lieberman who's been out of the Faction, in the Faction, out and then back in again, I think it's too early to strike him from the rolls entirely. But you certainly can't be the Dean of the Faction if you're going to show signs like this of standing tall and doing the right thing. And certainly you can't be Dean when Sen. Kent "the Kernel" Conrad is way outdoing you in terms of Faintheartedness.

So Lieberman gives up the Deanship but for the moment at least remains in the Faction.