Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Feel safer?

From the Times ...

It reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have written: Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified “Beach at End of a Street.”

But the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, in a report released Tuesday, found that the list was not child’s play: all these “unusual or out-of-place” sites “whose criticality is not readily apparent” are inexplicably included in the official federal antiterrorism database.

The National Asset Database, as it is known, is so flawed, the inspector general found, that as of January, Indiana, with 8,591 potential terrorist targets, had 50 percent more listed sites than New York (5,687) and more than twice as many as California (3,212), ranking the state the most target-rich place in the nation.

“Nix’s Check Cashing,” “Ice Cream Parlor,” “Tackle Shop,” “Donut Shop,” and “Bean Fest” also made the list.

I've been forgetting to make another trip to Bean Fest. Beans!

Treason canard 2.0.

House Intel Chief Hoekstra on press leaks: I have no evidence, but probably al Qaeda or foreign spies are responsible for the leaks.

"More frequently than what we would like, we find out that the intelligence community has been penetrated, not necessarily by al Qaeda, but by other nations or organizations. I don't have any evidence. But from my perspective, when you have information that is leaked that is clearly helpful to our enemy, you cannot discount that possibility."

The more you think about it, the more surpassingly amazing it is how big a fool you need to be to fall for the White House's song and dance today about the falling budget deficit.

The budget deficit last year was $318 billion.

In February, the White House 'estimated' (I use quotation marks because this is a standard trick for the Bush White House) the deficit for 2006 would be $423 billion.

Today they released a new estimate that it would be $296 billion.

In other words, between February and July tax cuts reduced the deficit by a whopping $127 billion.

Would you fall for this?

Hey, did you know contributions to political campaign's are now tax deductible?

Me neither.

But on his campaign website, Rep. Greg Walden (R) of Oregon says contributions to his campaign are tax deductible. (Below is a snapshot from the frontpage of Rep. Walden's site.)

Maybe he got a special dispensation from the IRS? Inquiring minds ...

Late Update: Oregon state income tax gives you a small deduction (up to $50) for political contributions. Not the feds. But, hey, for Walden, details, details.

Even Later Update: Actually, the Oregan law has a tax credit, not a deduction. So it seems Walden is back to a plain fraudulent claim.

So Late It's Tomorrow Update: Seems the Walden tax policies have changed. The donate button now reads, "It's fast, easy & secure."

Don't believe Social Security phase-out is coming down the pike again next year?

This from a press release just out from from Finance Committee ranking member, Sen. Max Baucus ...

U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, today blasted the President’s renewal of a plan to privatize Social Security and slash benefits for millions of Americans. The Mid-Session Budget Review released by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) today included a proposal that would spend $721 billion – nearly $10 billion more than originally planned in the President’s original Fiscal Year 2007 budget – to turn Social Security into a system of private accounts with lower guaranteed benefits to Americans. The President’s proposal to privatize Social Security includes significant cuts in guaranteed benefits for the vast majority of Social Security recipients through the indexing of initial benefits to prices, rather than wages.

This is only one of several behind the scenes initiatives over the last few weeks aimed at laying the groundwork for phasing out Social Security next year. Is Social Security phase-out a good issue for Democrats in the mid-term elections? Yep, absolutely. But the president and his allies on the Hill really are getting ready to do phase out the program next year.

Don't pretend you weren't told in advance.

The press is ignoring it. And a lot of Dems across the country are too.

And as long as they do, candidates around the country can refuse to say where they stand on the issue until after election day. Tom Kean, Jr. in New Jersey is just one example.

But there's actually something you can do. Right now. Find out where the candidates in your state and district stand on the issue. Are they in favor of preserving Social Security or will they vote for phasing it out and replacing it with private accounts? Simple question. And you can get an answer.

President Bush is out saying that his tax cuts are responsible for the deficit this year being lower than his economists predicted earlier this year and slightly lower than the actual deficit last year. But is someone going to mention that the tax cuts are the prime reason we have record deficits to begin with? President Bush came into office with surpluses. He ran up the deficits, structural deficits created by his tax cuts. Or have we forgotten that?

Late Update: There's a good editorial making this point in The New Republic a few weeks back. Unfortunately, it's behind their subscription wall. But I'll give you this snippet: "Halving a deficit you inherited would be something to brag about. Halving a deficit you created, not so much. You don't see Bush's former chief domestic policy adviser Claude Allen boasting that he has returned half the merchandise he filched from Target." And as the editors point out, this would be the case if the claim of reducing the deficit were true, which it turns out not to be. Oh well. News editor dorks who got taken in can seek absolution where?

Sen. Craig (R-ID) applauds the Bush administration for rounding up those dingbats in the warehouse outside Miami as key win in the War on Terror ...

In times of crisis, the Bush administration is relentless in the hunt for those who would harm our nation. Every day thousands of dedicated public servants stand on guard to protect us -- whether it's our privacy or our security, whether it's in Iraq or in the back alleys of our nation's inner cities -- and we owe each of them our thanks.

Nice to see Sen. Craig's got his head screwed on straight.