Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The New York Times floods the zone with articles on the Bully Boy's budget proposals

This morning's New York Times. Let's start with Rick Lyman's "Some Bush Foes Vote Yet Again, With Their Feet: Canada or Bust." Other than a "briefing"we really haven't gotten a story in months on members of the military who have gone to Canada to avoid Iraq and maybe the Times isn't all that interested in, for instance, Jeremy Hinzman (Democracy Now! profiled Hinzman in U.S. Army War Resister Jeremy Hinzman: "I Have a Duty to Disobey" on December 13th of last year). Now the Times turns its attention to Americans wanting to move to Canada.
Lyman's article (A14) is fairly straight forward and worth reading.

In Iraq news, please check out "19 dead in Baghdad violence" which gives a summary of the "worst day of violence" since the elections in Iraq:

At least 14 people were killed and 11 were wounded today in a mortar attack on an Iraqi army recruitment centre in Baghdad, police and hospital officials said.
The blast occurred near the old Muthana airfield in the heart of the capital and may have been caused by a suicide bomber, police said. . . .
Militants clashed with Iraqi troops elsewhere in Baghdad, leaving at least five people dead. Three police officers were killed in the western Ghazaliya neighbourhood, which has been the scene of numerous clashes and assassinations over the past six months.
Gunmen also sprayed a politician's car with gunfire, killing his two sons, an interior ministry official said. . . .

And after you finish that summary, check out Rory McCarthy's "27 die as new wave of attacks hits Iraq Bombers and kidnappers bring worst day of violence since poll:"

Two suicide bombers struck in Iraqi towns yesterday, claiming at least 27 lives, in a return to the grim familiarity of insurgency just a week after millions of Iraqis flocked to the polls.
It was the most violent day since the January 30 elections and signals that after a brief lull the attacks and kidnappings have restarted in earnest.
Iraq's interior minister said it could be a further 18 months before Iraqi forces could properly secure their country.

. . .
Along with an increase in violent attacks has come a resumption of the kidnapping of foreigners. Four Egyptian telecoms engineers were kidnapped from their house in Baghdad on Sunday and were still missing yesterday.
The Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, who was kidnapped in daylight on Friday at Baghdad University, was still missing. Two groups have claimed responsibility for her kidnap and both have threatened to kill her. Sgrena had been to interview refugees from the city of Falluja who are camped near a mosque inside the university.

Both of those stories, by the way, are from The Guardian, not the New York Times.

Back to the Times. Give them credit for "flooding the zone" now that the Bully Boy's budget wishes are known and not mere speculation.

Richard W. Stevenson's front page article -- "President Offers Budget Proposal With Broad Cuts" -- on the budget offers a strong framework for enterting into the topic:

President Bush proposed a budget on Monday that would scale back or eliminate scores of agriculture, education, health, environmental and other domestic programs to help him meet his goal of slashing the budget deficit while providing more money for national security.
. . .
Democrats denounced the budget as wrongheaded in its priorities and said it masked the fiscal effects of the administration's policies. Noting that the administration's budget made no allowance beyond this year for the costs of the military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan and left out entirely the costs of Mr. Bush's proposal for overhauling Social Security, they said his proposals were not credible.
. . .
Spending on that category - in budgetary language, nondefense, nondomestic-security discretionary spending - would be trimmed by almost $3 billion, or about seven-tenths of 1 percent, for the year starting Oct. 1, to $389 billion from $392 billion. It would then be frozen at $389 billion for four years, effectively imposing a further cut each year after taking account of inflation.
The proposal also calls for substantial reductions in programs like Medicaid and food stamps where spending levels are largely determined by eligibility criteria.

And check out the additional stories:
The Deficit Is in the Details
White House Using Cuts to Shuffle Staff
Education Domestic Military

When the Times chooses to use their reporters to cover and explore various angles of the same story, they provide perspective and a better understanding for readers. They deserve praise for their coverage of the budget proposal.

Clicking on domestic will take you to Robert Pear's "Subject to Bush's Knife: Aid for Food and Heating" (which I'm highlighting because members who e-mail consistently cite concerns in this area):

Under President Bush's budget, many food stamp recipients, farmers, veterans, small-business owners, nursing students, air travelers and Amtrak passengers would have to pay more or would receive less from the government.
. . .
One indication of new priorities is Mr. Bush's proposal to end the Community Services Block Grant, a $637 million program that helps pay for community action agencies begun more than 35 years ago as part of the fight against poverty.
The agencies provide housing, nutrition, education and employment services to low-income people. But the Bush administration said the program had been "unable to demonstrate results."
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps people pay their heating bills, would be cut 8.4 percent, to $2 billion.

The only other front page story I'd highlight (other than Stevenson's) is Nina Bernstein and Marc Santora's "Asylum Seekers Treated Poorly, U.S. Panel Says:"

Thousands of people who come to the United States saying they are seeking refuge from persecution are treated like criminals while their claims are evaluated - strip-searched, shackled and often thrown into solitary confinement in local jails and federal detention centers - a bipartisan federal commission found in a report to be released today.
The report, by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, an agency created by Congress in 1998, describes an ad hoc system run by the Department of Homeland Security that has extreme disparities in who is released or granted asylum, depending on whether someone seeks refuge in Texas or New York, comes from Iraq or Haiti, or is represented by a lawyer.
The New York metropolitan region ranks among the harshest in terms of the conditions of detention centers, with constant surveillance, stark quarters and degrading treatment. Those awaiting a court decision on asylum are also less likely to be freed. For example, 3.8 percent of asylum seekers were freed from the detention center in Elizabeth, N.J., compared with 94 percent in San Antonio. There were 8.4 percent released from the detention center in Queens, while in Chicago 81 percent were let go.
One of the experts who examined the centers for the commission, Craig Haney, a psychologist who briefed the Senate Judiciary Committee on the subject yesterday, said he was shocked by what he found.

NPR's Morning Edition did a story on voter fraud and voter "prevention" in Iraq. I'll try to find a link for it and post it tonight.