An anniversary that still haunts us

Given the event’s lasting impact, it’s a shame the 24th anniversary passed with K Maphardly a mention. Back on August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein sent his forces storming into Kuwait. The sudden attack stunned the world, smashed rapprochement with the United States and cruelly crushed a neighboring state.

Although there had been Iraqi troop movements along the border, almost everyone thought they were another of Saddam’s pressure tactics to wring more support out of the Kuwaiti government. As the invading Iraqi troops moved in, the United Nations quickly reacted. On August 3, the UN Security Council called for Iraq to leave Kuwait. On August 8, a defiant Iraq announced the annexation of Kuwait as its 19th province. Fearing further Iraqi military advances, U.S Air Force jets began to arrive in Saudi Arabia.

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Rasmussen Polls: governor race a dead heat (after correcting for the ‘house effect,’ DuVal is leading)

Rasmussen Reports is out with a new poll today Arizona Governor – Rasmussen Reports™:

Chalkboard with Math ProblemArizona Governor: Ducey (R) 40%, DuVal (D) 40%

The race to be Arizona’s next governor is a dead heat.

Arizona is rated a Toss-Up on the Rasmussen Reports 2014 Gubernatorial Scorecard. The race will determine the successor to Republican Jan Brewer who is term-limited. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Dicey Ducey  has reason to be worried. After correcting for the Rasmussen “house effect,” a dead heat means that Dicey Ducey is actually trailing Democrat Fred DuVal, based upon the historical performance of Rasmussen Reports polls over the years.

I have explained to readers  over the years with links to numbers guru Nate Silver, formerly at, why the Rasmussen Reports poll has a “house effect” GOP bias, and is effectively a GOP “narrative” poll.

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More good news for ‘ObamaCare’ – Democrats should go on the attack

More good news for the Affordable Care Act aka “ObamaCare”: it is “bending the cost curve” on the expense of Medicare even more than originally forecast, which is reducing the federal deficit. the New York Times reported this past week, Medicare: Not Such a Budget-Buster Anymore:

Screenshot from 2014-08-31 12:40:51

You’re looking at the biggest story involving the federal budget and a crucial one for the future of the American economy. [use the article link for this interactive chart.] Every year for the last six years in a row, the Congressional Budget Office has reduced its estimate for how much the federal government will need to spend on Medicare in coming years. The latest reduction came in a report from the budget office on Wednesday morning.

The changes are big. The difference between the current estimate for Medicare’s 2019 budget and the estimate for the 2019 budget four years ago is about $95 billion. That sum is greater than the government is expected to spend that year on unemployment insurance, welfare and Amtrak — combined. It’s equal to about one-fifth of the expected Pentagon budget in 2019. Widely discussed policy changes, like raising the estate tax, would generate just a tiny fraction of the budget savings relative to the recent changes in Medicare’s spending estimates.

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R.I.P. legendary author Charles Bowden

Just heard this morning that Tucson author/former journalist  Charles “Chuck” Bowden passed away yesterday at age 69.

The Tucson Weekly’s The Range  has the scoop, click here.  Bowden died in Las Cruces, New Mexico, due to failing health.

He was the author of many books, several about border issues with Mexico including drug wars. I met him years ago when he was living here in Tucson, and I also knew his former partner, mother of his half Japanese American son.

More about Bowden’s works in wikipedia:

Charles Bowden (1945-2014) was an American non-fiction author, journalist, and essayist based in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He is a former writer for the Tucson Citizen and often writes about the American Southwest. He is a contributing editor of GQ and Mother Jones magazine, and writes for other periodicals including Harper’s MagazineNew York Times Book ReviewEsquire, and Aperture

Check back later as I will update with memorial service arrangements.

R.I.P. Chuck, you will be missed by many here in Tucson.

"The Charles Bowden Reader" published in 2010.

“The Charles Bowden Reader” published in 2010.

While corporate profits soar, American wages stagnate

Just in time for Labor Day, there are a couple of related news stories in the Sunday papers today. The Arizona Republic is almost celebratory of the fact that U.S. corporations excel at getting more out of workers:

trickle downOne of the major economic forces of the past several decades has been the steady rise in productivity. Thanks to computers, better manufacturing processes and demands that everyone work harder and smarter, American companies are doing more with less.

Big U.S. companies, in particular, are squeezing plenty out of each worker. In fact, greater efficiency is one reason that many of these corporations have become so large and successful.

But American workers, the most productive workers in the world, are not sharing in the benefits from their labor and increased productivity as they once did.

[R]estrained hiring by Corporate America has been a significant reason the economic recovery has been sluggish. Companies instead have become more efficient. A Labor Day analysis of America’s 100 biggest corporations by The Arizona Republic shows that these firms average about $550,000 in revenue from each worker. That’s one reason corporate profit and stock-market values of these companies have never been higher.

“Innovation and productivity have allowed us to elevate standards of living without inflation,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank. [This bankster is talking about his standard of living.] “The world has become more efficient.”

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Ducey Side Steps Tea Party & Bails on Rally with Palin & d’Souza

Doug Ducey Bad4AZRepublican Doug Ducey won his party’s nomination for governor last week with dark money from out of state, $3 million of his own cash, and a full Tea Party platform– support for unborn children and corporate persons but not so much for the rest of us.

With backers like Cathi Herrod, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Ducey looked like the Koch Brothers’ Mini-me last week. Ducey’s regressive social policies and “tooth fairy” economic ideas make him one of the most dangerous Tea Party candidates in a long time. He is a cookie-cutter copy of Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Kansas’ Sam Browback, or New Jersey’s Chris Christie. (Check out these Kansas and NJ budget stories linked here; Brownback and Christie destroyed their states’ budgets with the same Tea Party proposals Ducey is peddling in Arizona.)

The dire scenario in which Ducey becomes Arizona governor (shudder) prompted me to write the Top 10 Reasons Why Doug Ducey Is Too Extreme for Arizona Voters and start a Twitter campaign (@Bad4AZ) to educate people about Ducey’s platform and why he and other Tea Party candidates are #Bad4AZ.  (Check it out Twitter here and website here. Fellow Tweeters, help me out.)

Now Ducey appears to be backing away from the Tea Party. Was it something I said?

Details from AZ Central

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