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In Bush's State of the Union address, he mentioned personal accounts seven times but private accounts zero times, which is interesting because only a few months ago he was using both terms interchangeably. But fear not, this was no mistake. The Republicans tested the phrase private accounts and found public support was much lower than when the same, exact, identical concept was called personal accounts. (Personally, I like caring accounts, but they didn't ask me.)

So the White House and its paid spin doctors, many of whom play journalists on TV, have taken to the airwaves to push the phrase personal accounts and chastise anyone in the media who employs the banished words to characterize ther Administration's Social Security agenda. Proof, if more was needed, that language is power and debates are won or lost based on definitions.

But here is the really funny thing about the personal/private accounts debate. Not only are they not personal accounts, they're not private accounts either. They are in fact US government loans. (Bear with me now, because this will only hurt for a moment.) You see, your payroll taxes will still be used to cover the benefits of current retirees, but under Bush's scheme the government will place a certain "diverted" amount into an account in your name. It sounds like a personal retirement account, but it's not. It's a loan. Because if your account does really well (above 3 percent), when you retire the government will deduct the money it lent you (plus 3 percent interest) from your monthly Social Security check leaving you with almost the same amount you would have received under the current system. If your account does really poorly (below 3 percent), you are out of luck. According to Congressional Budget Office, the expected average return will be 3.3 percent, so the net gain will be zero.

The federal budget is not just an accounting tool--it's a statement about our nation's values and priorities. This week, Bush released a budget that Representative Jan Schakowsky calls a "weapon of mass destruction."

It would drastically underfund domestic initiatives, from education to children's healthcare to homeless shelters to support for small businesses. The vast majority of Americans will be asked to sacrifice, with one exception: the millionaires who can afford to give something up. Their tax cuts--the same tax cuts that brought us unprecedented deficits--would be protected and likely even extended under Bush's proposal.

Bush's reckless policies are mortgaging our country's future. When he took office, the budget had a projected 10-year surplus of $5.6 trillion. We now have a more than $3 trillion deficit. That $9 trillion swing is the largest fiscal reversal in US history.

If it's budget time, it must be disinformation time. That's how it goes in the Bush II era. George W. Bush released a budget today that he claims is respons...

A new report recently highlighted in Ruy Teixeira's valuable Public Opinion Watch shows that one of the bright spots for the Democrats in the 2004 election was their performance among single women. The study, done by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Womens' Voices/Women Vote, showed that the "marriage gap is a defining dynamic in today's politics, eclipsing the gender gap, with marital status a significant predictor of the vote, independent of the effects of age, race, income, education or gender."

As Teixeira writes, the new research shows that unmarried women, who voted overwhelmingly for Kerry, "are social and economic progressives advancing a tolerant set of values." One more reason to oppose marriage. (Click here to check out the full report.)

The neocon think tank's recent call for an increase in troop strength is myopic.

Much was said in the Senate during the debate over the nomination of Alberto Gonzales. But it fell to the two senators with the most powerful records of upholding the Constitution to sum up the arguments against making the disgraced White House counsel the 81st Attorney General of the United States.

One decried Gonzales's shameful record:

"I simply cannot support the nomination of someone who, despite his assertions to the contrary, obviously contributed in large measure to the atrocious policy failures and the contrived and abominable legal decisions that have flowed from this White House," said the dean of the Senate, Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

Millions of young people are unprotected.

I've heard Argentines say that Buenos Aires is more densely populated by psychoanalysts than anyplace else in the world.

Scholars of the New Testament speculate that the Gospel of Mark was the first of the canonical Gospels to be composed, sometime between 68 and 73 CE, or thirty-five to forty years after the Cruci

Daphne Eviatar has written on Africa for the New York Times Magazine and the Boston Globe, among other publications. She last wrote for The Nation on Angola.

It's not often that a new style appears in American prose, but this is what happened with John Haskell's first book, a collection of short stories called I am not Jackson Pollock.

Strategies that unite the vast majority against a tiny elite are sure to win.

The faith of our Founding Fathers definitely wasn't Christianity.

When getting sick means going broke.

ISRAELI PEACENIKS

New York City

As the saying goes, behind every successful woman is a man who is surprised. Harvard president Larry Summers apparently is that man.

When it comes to left and right, meaning the contrapuntal voices of sanity and dementia, we're meant to keep two sets of books.

JUDGMENT DAY IN CHILE

So now this election is done.
What will follow it--maybe a
Reversal so women can drive
Cars in Saudi Arabia?

The boldness of Bush's ambition is matched only by the wrongheadedness of his priorities.

Once upon a time, a psychiatrist named Fredric Wertham went on a tear over Wonder Woman.

On the long list of resignations of Cabinet members, agency heads and political appointees that has accompanied the launch of the second Bush term, no member of the Administration's team left und

The determination and hopefulness of Iraqis on election day were captured in many dispatches, none better than in one by British journalist Robert Fisk.

Call out the fifes, sound the bugles, strike on the drums. With the State of the Union behind us, the Battle for Social Security now officially begins--again.