Saturday, October 13, 2007

Rightist Spew


Some crap from Faux Nooz:
Time political analyst Mark Halperin asserted that if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY), Sen. Barack Obama (IL), or former Sen. John Edwards (NC) "get[s] in" to the White House, "I think they're going to have a come-to-Jesus moment where they sit down with Dick Cheney and George Bush." Host Bill O'Reilly interjected, "And change their minds." Halperin continued: "And get a little bit of an eye-opening about just what's on the line every day in that job now, post 9-11 -- how hard it is."
What is this crap supposed to mean? That no one can be president because it's so hard post-9/11? Or only Dems can't but any Republican can? And what's so much harder since 9/11? One would think it's the Iraq fandango (and the silliness in Afghanistan) that's made it harder. Or is Halperin sort of, kind of referencing all the myriad screw-ups of Our Leaders?

No, what it is is specious crap, nonsense some of the feeble-minded will tke seriously....

Sub-Saharan Africa; What's The Story?

I mean, other than depressing. Why does it so lag much of the rest of the world? Overly corrupt leaders? Insufficient education? No meaningful investment? What's going on there that the people can't see what's happening in the rest of the worl and find it enticing? Too long too much the outsiders?

Talk about inscrutable.

For example look at this and see if you can figure out why this is so. South Africa became a majority-led state under the best circumstances and inside of what, 10, 20, years, it's come to this.... Why?

The Radical Leftist Agenda

Greenwald:
[Quoting Bill O'Reilly: W]ould you support President John Edwards? Remember, no coerced interrogation, civilian lawyers in courts for captured overseas terrorists, no branding the Iranian guards terrorists, and no phone surveillance without a specific warrant.
Who could even fathom an America plagued by habeas corpus, search warrants, and a military that fails to beat, freeze and mock-execute its detainees?
[more]

What a Goddam shame it would be for our nation to embrace, well, these former American policies....

The Large Man That Is Our Beloved Leader


Actually, this has been an administration of... well, I could use the C word but why diss all women? Less just say Our Leaders' machoness is actually the bully-like bleating of the manque, not real men. They are so not the real deal. Pols are per se unmanly and these guys hit a new low for that low standard even as they, and their enablers, mouth off.

So here's what a big man Our Beloved Leader is, the largeness of Our Beloved Leader, via the War Room:
Over the course of the last year, George W. Bush has offered his personal congratulations to the 2007 Presidential Scholars, the Super Bowl-winning Indianapolis Colts, the 2007 Scripps Spelling Bee champion, the owner of the World Series-winning St. Louis Cardinals, the NBA champion Miami Heat, the Stanley Cup-winning Carolina Hurricanes and the NCAA champions from 21 universities.

So, a reporter asked deputy White House press secretary Tony Fratto today, will the president be calling Al Gore to congratulate him for winning the Nobel Peace Prize? Fratto's response: "I don't know of any plans to make calls to any of the winners at this point."

Retire From The Military, Become A Traitor


From the Now He Tells Us Dept.:
In a sweeping indictment of the four-year effort in Iraq, the former top commander of American forces there called the Bush administration’s handling of the war “incompetent” and said the result was “a nightmare with no end in sight.”
Of course, as the rightwing bullshit machine would say in its faith-based way, What does he know?

A More Typical News Story, Reminiscent of Judy Miller

(Of course, in honor of my new obsession with Maggie Q, maybe I'll start refering to her as Judy M....)

This is more typical of the Times: How it relies on the thinnest straw to support a loony assertion of an alleged major sea-change:
In a number of Shiite neighborhoods across Baghdad, residents are beginning to turn away from the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia they once saw as their only protector against Sunni militants. Now they resent it as a band of street thugs without ideology.

The hardening Shiite feeling in Baghdad opens an opportunity for the American military, which has long struggled against the Mahdi Army, as American commanders rely increasingly on tribes and local leaders in their prosecution of the war.

***

In interviews, 10 Shiites from four neighborhoods in eastern and western Baghdad described a pattern in which militia members, looking for new sources of income, turned on Shiites.

The pattern appears less frequently in neighborhoods where Sunnis and Shiites are still struggling for territory. Sadr City, the largest Shiite neighborhood, where the Mahdi Army’s face is more political than military, has largely escaped the wave of criminality.
Link.

Victory, it would seem is just around the corner.... Of course, the byline was a clue that the article was silly bullshit. If it was Dexter Filkins, then there would have been credibility to it... well, actually, so speciously sourced, it wouldn't have even been reported by him because it would have been too bogus....

Something, I Don't Know, Touching, Inspirational....

With death breathing down your neck, what can one do but keep on moving, one step at a time....

From the frigging Times (remember, when it's good, it's pretty Goddam good*):
Forty minutes before the start of the New York Marathon, Victor Navarra has always been in the same place, perched in the bucket of a rescue truck, surveying the starting line and sending down orders from 85 feet in the air.

“It’s like being God for a day,” said Navarra, 55, a retired Fire Department lieutenant who has coordinated the start of the race for 25 years. “I say something on the radio and it just happens.”

Each year, as the runners inched toward the race’s three starting lines, Navarra made last-minute adjustments so that the field, now numbering about 40,000, could safely leave Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island and set off across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Now, in the buildup to his 26th New York City Marathon, Navarra’s biggest challenge will not be making sure that instructions to the runners are broadcast in seven languages or that 28,000 cups of coffee are ready for them. It will be living long enough to attend this year’s race.

He was diagnosed in 2005 as having malignant tumors next to his sinuses, a condition he attributes to volunteering at ground zero in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In April of this year, Navarra said his doctors estimated he had three months to live after multiple operations to remove the tumors failed to eliminate the cancer. In July, he gathered his wife, two daughters and two grandchildren to celebrate Christmas early. By then, he had already planned his funeral. And last week, even though the tumors have taken away his eyesight, he was on conference calls with the New York Road Runners, going over minute details for the start of the Nov. 4 race.

“His faculties aren’t failing him when it comes to the marathon,” said Mary Wittenberg, the director of the marathon. “It’s been a rock for him as much as he’s been a rock for us.”

The mutual dependency is not lost on Navarra.

“I’m not a doctor, but the fact that I have a reason to get up keeps me going,” he said. “I wake up every day and I say: ‘I’m alive. That’s a good start.’”

Although he can barely stand and a tumor the size of an orange inside his mouth has impaired his speech, he still tells stories about the races he has seen since he began volunteering with the New York Marathon in 1976.

“The setup at the start was about six card tables,” Navarra said. “We’d cut a hole in the fence and send the runners onto the bridge with arrows painted on pieces of wood to tell them where to go.”

As the race grew from 2,000 runners to nearly 20 times that, he learned to innovate and is now credited with inventing the modern method to kick off a major marathon.

Now, on race day, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is closed to traffic shortly after midnight, leaving the organizers barely enough time to set up three separate starting corrals, each with its own athlete village that includes food, massage tents and the world’s longest urinal (285 feet). “You can make a mistake once,” Navarra said of setting up. “But you don’t do it again.”

Those six hours, between the time the bridge is closed and the time runners begin arriving at Fort Wadsworth, require a year of preparation. At every turn, Navarra said, a dozen things can and do go wrong. “I love challenges,” Navarra said. “If nothing went wrong, it would boring.”

He recalled the time, in 1993, when Mayor David N. Dinkins came to the start to watch the race’s founder, Fred Lebow, who was then dying of cancer, begin his last marathon. According to Navarra, Dinkins wanted a photograph of himself pretending to start the race.

“So, with 52 seconds to go before the start,” Navarra said, “Dinkins raises the air horn for the picture. All the cops saw this and they got nervous. The motorcycles start moving and adios. The runners started going out.”

It was his worst marathon moment. “When you work the whole year for that one second and lose it, I bawled my eyes out,” he said.

Navarra and Joanne, his wife of 37 years, have worked as a team to organize races throughout the country. But as much as Navarra enjoys the smaller events — he once did 22 in one year — New York is closest to his heart. That is why in 25 years, the marathon has become an afterthought to Navarra only once — on Sept. 11, 2001.

After 21 years of serving in the city’s Fire Department, Navarra had been retired for four years. “I got my family together, hugged them and made sure they were O.K.,” he said. “The next thing I had to do was go to the firehouse because I needed to know that I didn’t stay home and watch television. I had to do something for my brothers.”

His firehouse, Engine 40 and Ladder 35 at 66th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, was one of the hardest hit. Twenty-six men from the firehouse where he spent 11 years as a lieutenant set out that morning. Thirteen did not return.

“That’s my other family,” Navarra said. “I can never look through the list without falling apart. I can’t deal with it.”

On Sept. 12, Navarra was back in his fire gear and working the bucket brigades at ground zero, clearing debris and looking for survivors.

“Over the course of the next few weeks, I basically lived there, doing all sorts of things,” he said in his living room in Staten Island. “When I arrived, it was bedlam.”

Whether he was searching for his friends at ground zero or dealing with the countless donations that poured into the station, he tried not to let a second go to waste. He knew he also had a job to do for the marathon, which was only weeks away. Sleeping two or three hours a night, Navarra coordinated the start, and on the day of the race, with F-16s circling overhead and snipers on every roof, he was perched above Fort Wadsworth to make sure it went off without a hitch.

Navarra said he was convinced his exposure to ground zero’s noxious fumes and sweltering heat caused the cancer that left him blind and unable to walk.

He said he had been receiving regular examinations from the department’s 9/11 medical monitoring program and that commission doctors certified his condition as affected by the toxins at the site. For privacy reasons, Jim Long, a Fire Department spokesman, said he could not discuss or confirm medical records. Officials at the Uniformed Firefighters Association said they did not have access to medical records.

“I know I’m not going to live,” Navarra said. “How long I have, I don’t know. But I know that I’m never going to see my granddaughter get married.”

Still, Navarra has made a career of planning ahead, and he does not think now is a time to stop. He has already started thinking about the 2008 race. And even though he will probably not be there, his wife will continue the family tradition, hovering 85 feet above 40,000 runners.
(*It's just that it's rarer and rarer....)

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Little Nightmare for the Wingnuts

Wanted the Nobel Peace Prize to go to General Betray-Us.

Got President Gore instead.

Another Moral Exemplar....

An Illinois man who worked as a "Christian clown" named Klutzo was arrested yesterday on child pornography charges for allegedly taking naked photographs of young boys at a Philippines orphanage.
Yet Ann Coulter believes Christians are perfect. How do we reconcile the two...?

Under Our Leaders, America is Greater than Ever

(Illo link.)

The inference is, Jesus, maybe, uncontrolled, unchecked capitalism maybe isn't healthy for democracy.... And talk about an economy that ever-healthier reflects a distortion created by the growth of extreme wealth (but the, Our Leaders do not believe in facts or even reality).

Fox Bidness Journal:
The richest Americans' share of national income has hit a postwar record, surpassing the highs reached in the 1990s bull market, and underlining the divergence of economic fortunes blamed for fueling anxiety among American workers.

The wealthiest 1% of Americans earned 21.2% of all income in 2005, according to new data from the Internal Revenue Service. That is up sharply from 19% in 2004, and surpasses the previous high of 20.8% set in 2000, at the peak of the previous bull market in stocks.

***

The data highlight the political challenge facing Mr. Bush and the Republican contenders for president. They have sought to play up the strength of the economy since 2003 and low unemployment, and the role of Mr. Bush's tax cuts in both. But many Americans think the economy is in or near a recession. The IRS data show that the median tax filer's income -- half earn less than the median, half earn more -- fell 2% between 2000 and 2005 when adjusted for inflation, to $30,881. At the same time, the income level for the tax filer just inside the top 1% grew 3%, to $364,657.

Why We Love Micro$oft

"I'm one of those early adopters of Vista," said Yvonne Genovese, an analyst who was interviewing Ballmer along with fellow analyst David Smith on stage at a conference forum. "My daughter comes in one day and says, 'Hey Mom, my friend has Vista, and it has these neat little things called gadgets -- I need those.'"

Said Ballmer: "I love your daughter."

"You're not going to like her mom in about two minutes," said Genovese, while the crowd laughed.

She went on to explain that she installed Vista for her daughter -- and two days later went right back to using the XP operating system. "It's safe, it works, all the hardware is fine, and everything is great," she said of XP.

Genovese also argued that her experience with Vista is broadly shared: "What we're seeing and what we're hearing from users is a very similar thing. It's difficult to implement. What should we be seeing that we're not seeing?"

"Let's start with the end user. Your daughter saw a lot of value," said Ballmer.

"She's 13," Genovese shot back.

***

"I think there is a lot of value in Vista," he said. Ballmer went on to argue that the real issue for some customers is ensuring that everything they need to support the operating system -- such as device drivers -- is ready before they make the transition to Vista.

"When we initially shipped, fewer device drivers were ready for Vista than I would have liked, but we constantly worked with the device vendors to get new drivers available and implemented through our Windows update service," he said. And because of the changes made to the operating system to improve security, there were things some applications that vendors needed to update as well, according to Ballmer.

He then listed a number of a number of corporations that have installed Vista, including Citibank and Continental Airlines Inc. "We are in, from ... a corporate and enterprise side, an early adoption cycle," said Ballmer.

Service Pack 1 is in beta "and addresses a lot of the customer feedback," said Ballmer. Moreover, because of the "instrumentation" built into Vista, Microsoft knows what problems people are facing, what drivers are missing and what application compatibility problems they are having, he said.

Ballmer also said that Vista is bigger than XP, and "for some people that's an issue, and it's not going to get smaller in any significant way in SP1. But machines are constantly getting bigger, and [it's] probably important to remember that as well."

"Good, I'll let you come in and install it for me," said Genovese.
Link.

Why We Love The Times

War Room tells us why:
The New York Times on Democratic voters in rural Iowa: They may be racist, but they're also too stupid to do anything about it.

From the Times' piece this morning on Bill Richardson:

"In Iowa, he is taking a page from Mr. Edwards's playbook and courting rural Iowans -- who, under the complicated rules of the caucus, have disproportionate power and who may be uncomfortable supporting a woman or a black man.

"For these conservative voters, even though Mr. Richardson is the first Hispanic to seek the presidency, his name does not give that away, and Mr. Richardson does not define himself as the 'Hispanic candidate.'"

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why Is This Man Laughing?


Because he shits on you all the time.

(Photo link.)

What Mortgage Crisis?


Fox Bidness Journal:

The mortgage mess is claiming a new group of victims: renters.
Across the country, a rising number of landlords are falling behind on mortgage payments, sending their properties into foreclosure, according to legal-services attorneys, local officials and financial experts -- and in many cases, their tenants are being forced out of their homes. Often, the tenants' first inkling of trouble occurs when they get a letter from the bank directing them to leave the premises.
[more]

(Photo credit.)

The Leadership of Our Leaders: A Class Act

Now do you believe that they hate us, that they only believe we're there to be used by them?

From the War Room, Our Leaders' compassion:
Two words for Rush Limbaugh, right-wing bloggers and other Republicans who say the family of a 12-year-old boy the Democrats have used as a poster child for expanding SCHIP (the State Children's Health Insurance Program) is too rich to deserve government help with medical care: Tony Snow.

When Snow announced in August that he was leaving his job as White House press secretary, he said he was doing so because he "ran out of money." Snow made $168,000 at the White House and presumably received health insurance as a federal employee. Snow said that he'd made "more money" in his "previous career" working for Fox News, and that he didn't want to dip into what he'd managed to put away before coming to the White House just so that he could keep working there. "I made the decision not to say to my wife and kids, 'You know, we've finally saved up all this money and done these things, and you're just going to have to give them away so Daddy can work at the White House,'" Snow explained. "We took out a loan when I came to the White House, and that loan is now gone. So I'm going to have to pay the bills."

The clear implication: The $168,000 Snow was making at the White House wasn't enough to handle month-to-month expenses for Snow, his wife and their three kids.

So how about that 12-year-old? His family of six -- one kid bigger than Snow's -- has an annual income of about $45,000. Without SCHIP -- and without health insurance subsidized by an employer -- the family's only route to medical insurance for the kids would have been to buy it themselves on the open market, if they could have gotten it; they apparently tried but were refused because of preexisting conditions.

Yes, the family has equity in a house and a commercial property worth about $160,000, but anyone want to guess how long even a few hundred thousand dollars in equity would last if you had to pay out of pocket -- as the kid's family would have if not for SCHIP -- for the medical care for two children who suffered severe brain injuries in a car crash? And anyone want to explain how a family that makes $45,000 a year could afford the payments on the home equity loan that would have been needed to extract that equity in the first place?

Tony? You out there?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

For Those Who Don't Learn From History, A Little History

Prof. Krugman's lecture of the day (and I thought Our Leaders were sort of unique...):
There have been a number of articles recently that portray President Bush as someone who strayed from the path of true conservatism. Republicans, these articles say, need to return to their roots.

Well, I don’t know what true conservatism is, but while doing research for my forthcoming book I spent a lot of time studying the history of the American political movement that calls itself conservatism — and Mr. Bush hasn’t strayed from the path at all. On the contrary, he’s the very model of a modern movement conservative.

For example, people claim to be shocked that Mr. Bush cut taxes while waging an expensive war. But Ronald Reagan also cut taxes while embarking on a huge military buildup.

People claim to be shocked by Mr. Bush’s general fiscal irresponsibility. But conservative intellectuals, by their own account, abandoned fiscal responsibility 30 years ago. Here’s how Irving Kristol, then the editor of The Public Interest, explained his embrace of supply-side economics in the 1970s: He had a “rather cavalier attitude toward the budget deficit and other monetary or fiscal problems” because “the task, as I saw it, was to create a new majority, which evidently would mean a conservative majority, which came to mean, in turn, a Republican majority — so political effectiveness was the priority, not the accounting deficiencies of government.”

People claim to be shocked by the way the Bush administration outsourced key government functions to private contractors yet refused to exert effective oversight over these contractors, a process exemplified by the failed reconstruction of Iraq and the Blackwater affair.

But back in 1993, Jonathan Cohn, writing in The American Prospect, explained that “under Reagan and Bush, the ranks of public officials necessary to supervise contractors have been so thinned that the putative gains of contracting out have evaporated. Agencies have been left with the worst of both worlds — demoralized and disorganized public officials and unaccountable private contractors.”

People claim to be shocked by the Bush administration’s general incompetence. But disinterest in good government has long been a principle of modern conservatism. In “The Conscience of a Conservative,” published in 1960, Barry Goldwater wrote that “I have little interest in streamlining government or making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size.”

People claim to be shocked that the Bush Justice Department, making a mockery of the Constitution, issued a secret opinion authorizing torture despite instructions by Congress and the courts that the practice should stop. But remember Iran-Contra? The Reagan administration secretly sold weapons to Iran, violating a legal embargo, and used the proceeds to support the Nicaraguan contras, defying an explicit Congressional ban on such support.

Oh, and if you think Iran-Contra was a rogue operation, rather than something done with the full knowledge and approval of people at the top — who were then protected by a careful cover-up, including convenient presidential pardons — I’ve got a letter from Niger you might want to buy.

People claim to be shocked at the Bush administration’s efforts to disenfranchise minority groups, under the pretense of combating voting fraud. But Reagan opposed the Voting Rights Act, and as late as 1980 he described it as “humiliating to the South.”

People claim to be shocked at the Bush administration’s attempts — which, for a time, were all too successful — to intimidate the press. But this administration’s media tactics, and to a large extent the people implementing those tactics, come straight out of the Nixon administration. Dick Cheney wanted to search Seymour Hersh’s apartment, not last week, but in 1975. Roger Ailes, the president of Fox News, was Nixon’s media adviser.

People claim to be shocked at the Bush administration’s attempts to equate dissent with treason. But Goldwater — who, like Reagan, has been reinvented as an icon of conservative purity but was a much less attractive figure in real life — staunchly supported Joseph McCarthy, and was one of only 22 senators who voted against a motion censuring the demagogue.

Above all, people claim to be shocked by the Bush administration’s authoritarianism, its disdain for the rule of law. But a full half-century has passed since The National Review proclaimed that “the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail,” and dismissed as irrelevant objections that might be raised after “consulting a catalogue of the rights of American citizens, born Equal” — presumably a reference to the document known as the Constitution of the United States.

Now, as they survey the wreckage of their cause, conservatives may ask themselves: “Well, how did we get here?” They may tell themselves: “This is not my beautiful Right.” They may ask themselves: “My God, what have we done?”

But their movement is the same as it ever was. And Mr. Bush is movement conservatism’s true, loyal heir.

Moral Leadership

Minister dies, accidentally suffocated, tied up and wearing two wet suits, with a dildo... (read about it all here).

Query: Did his sermons reflect or reference his outside interest??

Where is the Honor?


Not here:
Two weeks ago, the Democratic radio address was delivered by a 12-year old Maryland boy named Graeme Frost. Graeme told his story of being involved in a severe car accident three years ago, and having received access to medical care because of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. He said:
If it weren’t for CHIP, I might not be here today. … We got the help we needed because we had health insurance for us through the CHIP program. But there are millions of kids out there who don’t have CHIP, and they wouldn’t get the care that my sister and I did if they got hurt. … I just hope the President will listen to my story and help other kids to be as lucky as me.
The right-wing immediately condemned Democrats for daring to put a human face on the SCHIP program at a time when Bush was proposing a “diminishment of the number of children covered.” Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) — who has posed with children to advance his own political agenda — claimed Graeme was being used “as a human shield.”

Conservatives have more recently turned their targets on young Graeme Frost himself. A poster at the Free Republic propagated information alleging that Frost was actually a rich kid being pampered by the government. Among other bits of information, the post by the Freeper “icwhatudo” asserts that Graeme and his sister Gemma attend wealthy schools that cost “nearly $40,000 per year for tuition” and live in a well-off home.

The smear attack against Graeme has taken firm hold in the right-wing blogosphere. The National Review, Michelle Malkin, Wizbang, Powerline, and the Weekly Standard blog have all launched assaults on the Frost family. The story is slowly working its way into traditional media outlets as well.

Here are the facts that the right-wing distorted in order to attack young Graeme:
1) Graeme has a scholarship to a private school. The school costs $15K a year, but the family only pays $500 a year.

2) His sister Gemma attends another private school to help her with the brain injuries that occurred due to her accident. The school costs $23,000 a year, but the state pays the entire cost.

3) They bought their “lavish house” sixteen years ago for $55,000 at a time when the neighborhood was less than safe.

4) Last year, the Frosts made $45,000 combined. Over the past few years they have made no more than $50,000 combined.

5) The state of Maryland has found them eligible to participate in the CHIP program.
Desperate to defend Bush’s decision to cut off millions of children from health care, the right wing has stooped to launching baseless and uninformed attacks against a 12 year old child and his family.

Right wing bloggers have been harassing the Frosts, calling their home numerous times to get information about their private lives. Compassionate conservatism indeed.
Link.

Our Leaders: Genius in Action


Maybe Our Beloved Leader actually does lead his administration. Maybe its stupidity is a trickle down thing, you know? Rot at the top and all that?

From the War Room
, Our Leaders work to make the world and our country safer by refusing to heed those who know better:
When the private SITE intelligence group obtained a copy of the most recent Osama bin Laden video, SITE founder Rita Katz provided free and early access to White House counsel Fred Fielding and Michael Leiter, the principal deputy director of the government's National Counterterrorism Center. Just one condition, she said: "We ask you not to distribute ... [as] it could harm our investigations."

The Washington Post explains what happened next: About 12 minutes after Katz e-mailed a link to the video to Fielding and Leiter, somebody at the Pentagon used the link to access it. Two minutes later, someone at the Defense Department's Network Information Center did the same. A minute later, someone at the Army Information System Command used the link. Within the next three hours, the Post says, computers with "addresses registered to defense and intelligence agencies" accessed the video dozens of times.

By that afternoon, the Post says, journalists had transcripts of the video and were talking about it on television. Katz says al-Qaida supporters responded by taking steps to block SITE from using the methods it had used to get the video in the first place. The result, Katz says: "Techniques that took years to develop are now ineffective and worthless."
(Photo link.)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Crazy Rightwing Crap

One of those wingnuts who spread shit for a living:
I've thought for a long time that Obama's not in quite as strong a position on the war in Iraq as he really thinks he is. Remember, when he famously came out against the war, it was back in a time when the entire world believed that Saddam Hussein in Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, that he would probably be willing to use them himself at some time or pass them along to terrorists who would use them. And yet, Barack Obama was against going to the war at that point. I don't think that shows that he is very strong on national security, which he needs to be.
And what Obama said in the 2002 speech the whack liar was referencing:
What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income -- to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That's what I'm opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. Now let me be clear -- I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He's a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.
So Obama was in fact denying the existent of WMDs -- which we know -- and those of us with eyes open at the time knew -- well, just didn't exist, was an Administration lie, plain and simple.

Link to the quotes
.

Why Shouldn't the Stock and Financial Markets Keep Rising?

There are certain memes locked into the public discourse for which the reasons for being locked in I don't understand. Like Our Beloved Leader actually sets policy or even, most of the time, selects "his" "aides".

And this is the second: Why a devise for making money by speculating, fueled not by responses to reality but simply all the loose cash for growing wealth with no where to go since it isn't taxed to, like, pay for schools or the Iraq fandango or children's healthcare or whatever, shouldn't just keep rising independent of reality.

This piece just shows the continued life of that meme that the stock market has any significant relationship to the economy as opposed, basically, to the economy of the wealthy. I mean, if the subprime disaster isn't enough to slow it down....

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Follow Our Leaders' Actions too Closely and this is What You Need

Thanks to Canadian health care....

The Dream of the Exiled Anti-Saddamites was in Fact a Nightmare that's Come True

Query: You watch the radical right in the America fuel the destruction of Saddam's Iraq after Gulf War I then you push for an invasion to kick Saddam out (because the Iraqis can't be made to rebel) and you expect what? A better Iraq? How does one achieve that level of stupidity? These exiles are in fact traitors, every last one of them.

Dexter Filkins, in a profile of one Saddam-hating exile in the freedom of Boston:
Then came Fouad Ajami, a Johns Hopkins professor of Middle East history, a Lebanese-American intimately identified with the Iraqi project. The American invasion of Iraq, Ajami said between bites of fish, would yet prove to be a transforming moment in the region. “Persuading the Americans to take down Saddam was Chalabi’s finest hour,” Ajami said, referring to the Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi. The conversation drifted along on a cloud of agreement until Kanan Makiya, an Iraqi intellectual and professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at Brandeis University near Boston, leaned forward to pose a question.

“How many Iraqis have died since 2003?” Makiya asked his friends.

There was silence at the table. Makiya was asking the others, but he also seemed to be asking himself.

“Five hundred thousand?” Makiya mused. “Two hundred thousand? What are the estimates?”

Someone said something about a study.

“It’s getting closer to Saddam,” Makiya said. Then he sat back in his chair, and the conversation continued on its way.

That moment in Dokan encapsulated the terrible paradox of the Iraq war and, for Makiya, a crushing turn in a long personal journey.
[way more]

If There is Such a Thing as a Justifiable Lynching, this is it

Rich on the embarrassment that is Justice Clarence Thomas -- idiot or blatant liar:
WHAT'S the difference between a low-tech lynching and a high-tech lynching? A high-tech lynching brings a tenured job on the Supreme Court and a $1.5 million book deal. A low-tech lynching, not so much.

Pity Clarence Thomas. Done in by what he calls "left-wing zealots draped in flowing sanctimony" — as he describes anyone who challenged his elevation to the court — he still claims to have suffered as much as African-Americans once victimized by "bigots in white robes." Since kicking off his book tour on "60 Minutes" last Sunday, he has been whining all the way to the bank, often abetted by a press claque as fawning as his No. 1 fan, Rush Limbaugh.

We are always at a crossroads with race in America, and so here we are again. The rollout of Justice Thomas's memoir, "My Grandfather's Son," is not happening in a vacuum. It follows a Supreme Court decision (which he abetted) outlawing voluntary school desegregation plans in two American cities. It follows yet another vote by the Senate to deny true Congressional representation to the majority black District of Columbia. It follows the decision by the leading Republican presidential candidates to snub a debate at a historically black college as well as the re-emergence of a low-tech lynching noose in Jena, La.

Perhaps most significant of all, Mr. Thomas's woe-is-me tour unfolds against the backdrop of the presidential campaign of an African-American whose political lexicon does not include martyrdom or rage. "My Grandfather's Son" may consciously or not echo the title of Barack Obama's memoir of genealogy and race, "Dreams From My Father," but it might as well be written in another tongue.

It's useful to watch Mr. Thomas at this moment, 16 years after his riveting confirmation circus. He is a barometer of what has and has not changed since then because he hasn't changed at all. He still preaches against black self-pity even as he hyperbolically tries to cast his Senate cross-examination by Joe Biden as tantamount to the Ku Klux Klan assassination of Medgar Evers. He still denies that he is the beneficiary of the very race-based preferences he deplores. He still has a dubious relationship with the whole truth and nothing but, and not merely in the matter of Anita Hill.

This could be seen most vividly on "60 Minutes," when he revisited a parable about the evils of affirmative action that is also a centerpiece of his memoir: his anger about the "tainted" degree he received from Yale Law School. In Mr. Thomas's account, he stuck a 15-cent price sticker on his diploma after potential employers refused to hire him. By his reckoning, a Yale Law graduate admitted through affirmative action, as he was, would automatically be judged inferior to whites with the same degree. The "60 Minutes" correspondent, Steve Kroft, maintained that Mr. Thomas had no choice but to settle for a measly $10,000-a-year job (in 1974 dollars) in Missouri, working for the state's attorney general, John Danforth.

What "60 Minutes" didn't say was that the post was substantial — an assistant attorney general — and that Mr. Danforth was himself a Yale Law graduate. As Mr. Danforth told the story during the 1991 confirmation hearings and in his own book last year, he traveled to New Haven to recruit Mr. Thomas when he was still a third-year law student. That would be before he even received that supposedly worthless degree. Had it not been for Yale taking a chance on him in the first place, in other words, Mr. Thomas would never have had the opportunity to work the Yalie network to jump-start his career and to ascend to the Supreme Court. Mr. Danforth, a senator in 1991, was the prime mover in shepherding the Thomas nomination to its successful conclusion.

Bill O'Reilly may have deemed the "60 Minutes" piece "excellent," but others spotted the holes. Marc Morial, the former New Orleans mayor who now directs the National Urban League, told Tavis Smiley on PBS that it was "as though Justice Thomas's public relations firm edited the piece." On CNN, Jeffrey Toobin, the author of the new best-seller about the court, "The Nine," said that it was "real unfair" for "60 Minutes" not to include a response from Ms. Hill, who was slimed on camera by Mr. Thomas as "not the demure, religious, conservative person" she said she was.

Ms. Hill, who once taught at Oral Roberts University and is now a professor at Brandeis, told me last week that CBS News was the only one of the three broadcast news divisions that did not seek her reaction to the latest Thomas salvos. Mr. Kroft told me that there were no preconditions placed on him by either Mr. Thomas or his publisher. "Our story wasn't about Anita Hill," he said. "Our story was about Clarence Thomas."

In any event, the piece no more challenged Mr. Thomas's ideas than it did his insinuations about Ms. Hill. As Mr. Smiley and Cornel West noted on PBS, "60 Minutes" showed an old clip of Al Sharpton at an anti-Thomas rally rather than give voice to any of the African-American legal critics of Justice Thomas's 300-plus case record on the court. In 2007, no less than in 1991, a clownish Sharpton clip remains the one-size-fits-all default representation of black protest favored by too many white journalists.

The free pass CBS gave Mr. Thomas wouldn't matter were he just another celebrity "get" hawking a book. Unfortunately, there's the little matter of all that public policy he can shape — more so than ever now that John Roberts and Samuel Alito have joined him as colleagues. Indeed, Justice Thomas, elevated by Bush 41, was the crucial building block in what will probably prove the most enduring legacy of Bush 43, a radical Supreme Court. The "compassionate conservative" who turned the 2000 G.O.P. convention into a minstrel show to prove his love of diversity will exit the political stage as the man who tilted American jurisprudence against Brown v. Board of Education. He leaves no black Republican behind him in either the House or Senate.

While actuarial tables promise a long-lived Bush court, the good news is that the polarizing racial politics exemplified by the president and Mr. Thomas is on the wane elsewhere. Fittingly, the book tour for "My Grandfather's Son" began just as word of Harry Dent's death arrived from South Carolina last weekend. An aide to Strom Thurmond and then to Richard Nixon, Mr. Dent was the architect of the "Southern strategy" that exploited white backlash against the civil-rights movement to turn the South into a Republican stronghold.

Mr. Dent recanted years later, telling The Washington Post when he retired from politics in 1981 that he was sorry he had "stood in the way of rights of black people." His peers and successors have been less chastened. One former Nixon White House colleague, Pat Buchanan, said on "Meet the Press" last weekend that it was no big deal for Republican candidates to skip a debate before an African-American audience because blacks make up only about 10 percent of the voting public and Republicans only get about a tenth of that anyway. It didn't occur to Mr. Buchanan that in 21st-century America many white voters are also offended by politicians who snub black Americans — whether at a campaign debate or in the rubble of Hurricane Katrina.

Republicans who play the race card may find that it has an expiration date even in the South. In 2000, Mr. Bush could speak at Bob Jones University when it still forbade interracial dating among its students, and John McCain could be tarred as the father of an illegitimate black child in the South Carolina primary. No more. Just ask the former Senator George Allen, the once invincible Republican prince of Virginia, whose career ended in 2006 after his use of a single racial slur.

Mr. Thomas seems ignorant of this changing America. He can never see past his enemies' list, which in his book expands beyond his political foes, Yale and the press to "elite white women" and "paternalistic big-city whites" and "light-skinned blacks." (He does include a warm mention of Mr. Thurmond, a supporter in 1991, without mentioning that the senator hid away a child fathered with a black maid.) Always eager to cast himself as a lynching victim, Mr. Thomas is far more trapped in the past than the 1960s civil-rights orthodoxy he relentlessly demonizes.

The only way he can live with his various hypocrisies, it seems, is to claim that he's the rare honest, politically incorrect black man who has the guts to tell African-Americans what no other black leader will. Thus he asserted to a compliant Jan Crawford Greenburg of ABC News last week that everyone except him tiptoes around talk of intraracial crime and out-of-wedlock births.

This will come as news to the millions of Americans who have heard Mr. Obama, among other African-American leaders whose words give the lie to this bogus claim. But the fact that America's highest court harbors a justice as full of unreconstructed racial bitterness as Clarence Thomas will prove more eye-opening still.

Springsteen

Me, I'm ambivalent about the Boss. Love the "Born in the U.S.A." album, don't theink there's even ten other tracks of his that do much for me.

On the other hand, he's a comrade and is an unusually honest performer. He puts out at live shows like he's the hardest working man in showbiz (yeah, yeah, harder than JB was, maybe, but in an apples and oranges way.

That said, when the Boss nails it -- pow, right out of the ballpark. Two off of "Magic":
Radio Nowhere

I was tryin' to find my way home
but all I heard was a drone
bouncing off a satellite
crushin' the last lone American night
this is radio nowhere, is there anybody alive out there?
this is radio nowhere, is there anybody alive out there?

I was spinnin' 'round a dead dial
just another lost number in a file
dancin' down a dark hole
just searchin' for a world with some soul

this is radio nowhere, is there anybody alive out there?
this is radio nowhere, is there anybody alive out there?
is there anybody alive out there?

I just want to hear some rhythm
I just want to hear some rhythm
I just want to hear some rhythm
I just want to hear some rhythm

I want a thousand guitars
I want pounding drums
I want a million different voices speaking in tongues

this is radio nowhere, is there anybody alive out there?
this is radio nowhere, is there anybody alive out there?
is there anybody alive out there?

I was driving through the misty rain
searchin' for a mystery train
boppin' through the wild blue
tryin' to make a connection to you

this is radio nowhere, is there anybody alive out there?
this is radio nowhere, is there anybody alive out there?
is there anybody alive out there?

I just want to feel some rhythm
I just want to feel some rhythm
I just want to feel your rhythm
I just want to feel your rhythm
I just want to feel your rhythm
I just want to feel your rhythm
I just want to feel your rhythm
I just want to feel your rhythm
Then for Our Beloved Leader, one to slap (or more particularly have someone slap for him) onto his iPod and then to have same shoved deeply up his nasty, lazy, stupid ass:
Last to Die

we took the highway till
the road went black
we'd marked, Truth or
Consequences on our map
a voice drifted up from the radio
and I thought of a voice from long ago

who'll be the last to die for a mistake
the last to die for a mistake
whose blood will spill, whose heart wil break
who'll be the last to die, for a mistake

kids asleep in the backseat
we're just counting the miles, you and me
we don't measure the blood
we've drawn anymore
we just stack the bodies outside the door

who'll be the last to die for a mistake
the last to die for a mistake
whose blood will spill, whose heart wil break
who'll be the last to die, for a mistake

the wise men were all fools, what to do
the sun sets in flames as the city burns
another day gone down as the night turns
and I hold you here in my heart
as things fall apart

a downtown window flushed with light
"faces of the dead at five"
our martyr's silent eyes
petition the drivers as we pass by

who'll be the last to die for a mistake
the last to die for a mistake
darlin' will tyrants and kings
fall to the same fate
strung up at your city gates
who'll be the last to die for a mistake
(Both written and (c) by Bruce Springsteen)

The Sub-Prime Disaster in Orlando

So how did so many people end up in this fix?

"They didn't really look at the quality of the people who could afford to pay the loans," Randy Martin of the Orlando Association of Realtors said. [Not that a realotor has, you know, any responsibility to a buyer.]

Mortgage brokers signed people up for the biggest, fanciest house possible, offering low rates to buyers didn't truly understand.

"I've had clients come in and I've told them that they had an adjustable rate mortgage because I read their mortgage to them. They had no idea," lawyer Rosalyn Dunlap said.

Many people are now so desperate they'll try anything to get out of the mess they're in. They are trapped in homes they can't afford and can't sell.

Some mortgage companies and lenders don't want you to know how bankruptcy lawyers can help, telling you bankruptcy is for deadbeats.

In bankruptcy, retirement savings and 401(k)s [and in Florida, homes as well!!] are protected. You can be freed from second and third mortgage obligations. Some lawyers are even negotiating directly with lenders, which has never been done.
Link (editorial notes added).

That's pretty interesting. But what's nearly more interesting is that in Celebration, a town created by Disney, 50% of the homes are on the market!

What the Wingnuts Find Funny

[Sheikh] Mishan receives us as honored guests. I am so at ease that I soon commit a faux pas: I tell an “Iraqi joke,” which, in my defense, seems safe because I have been told it by an Iraqi-army colonel.

This is the joke: In Saddam-era Iraq, an official of the Baath party is informed that he is to be transferred out of Baghdad to become head of one of the provincial party offices. His daughter is very upset because she is studying English and loves the teacher she has in Baghdad. Father promises to find a great new English teacher for her in their new home.

A few weeks after they move, the Baath official calls his men in and tells them, “Go find the man who speaks the best English in this town.” They leave right away. Several days later, the official realizes that he has never heard back about the best English-speaker, so he calls his men in and asks if they were able to find him. “Yes sir,” say the men. “We beat the confession out of him. He is buried in the back.”

My hosts and the other guests laugh and nod politely at the punch line. Then a Marine lieutenant takes me aside and says gravely, “Mario, think. The joke was told to you by an Iraqi-army colonel, which means that he was probably Shiite. And this is Baath country. Basically you just told a Shiite joke making fun of these people.”
Link.

Fred Thompson's Key to Victory in Iraq

All the front-running GOP whackos are running on platforms essentially more of the same failed policies of Our Leaders.

However, Thompson looks like he won't only continue Our Beloved Leader's policies (well, not actually his since he, doesn't, you know, lead) but him for his personal idiocy as well:
"Congressional Democrats are trying to divert attention from insulting our military leader in Iraq and pandering to the loony left by attacking Rush Limbaugh. He is one of the strongest supporters of our troops, yet Democrats claim he is not being strong enough. I wonder who General Petraeus and his troops think is most supportive."

WTF News: Who's Running Things in Iraq?

It's a prime example of the lawlessness in Iraq. The details are sketchy and disputed, but here they are: An Iraqi corruption judge, continually thwarted in his pursuit of justice, finally helps convict a high-ranking official. But then the official breaks out of jail. Or, rather, the official is helped out of jail by guards working for one defense contractor, but is then returned -- only to leave jail with the help of another. Allegedly.

Testimony today from Iraqi corruption judge Radhi Hamza al-Radhi touched on the conviction of Ayham al-Samarrai, the former Iraqi electricity minister. al-Radhi helped put al-Samarrai away for what the judge called "wasting" public funds. al-Samarrai is the highest-ranking official to be convicted of corruption in Iraq.

His name may be familiar to Blackwater watchers. Last month, an Iraqi defense official told McClatchy's Leila Fadel that Blackwater helped break al-Samarrai out of prison in the Green Zone last December. Today, however, al-Radhi suggested that the defense official was wrong. A rival private-security company, DynCorp, assisted al-Samarrai's prison break, al-Radhi said.

But DynCorp says it's a huge misunderstanding. "It's absolutely untrue," says spokesman Gregory Lagana. "We are absolutely 100 percent convinced it wasn't us." However, Lagana says, he knows why al-Radhi thinks DynCorp was behind it. Two DynCorp employees, one named George Dillman and another whom Lagana didn't recall, were stationed in Iraq to assist in training Iraqi policemen. Among the police stations the two were detailed to was the Green Zone station where al-Samarrai was detained. In October, al-Samarrai, who holds dual U.S.-Iraqi citizenship, told the DynCorp employees that he would be murdered if he was convicted.

When Samarrai was convicted, the DynCorp employees tried to help al-Samarrai, to whom they had become sympathetic. They improperly transported him to the U.S. embassy to seek protection for him. But the embassy told them that their intended transfer was improper, and took al-Samarrai back to the Iraqi police. "That was our last contact with him, and the two guys were fired," Lagana said. "They had no business doing what they did." The story was first reported in The Chicago Tribune last December.

However, al-Samarrai's story doesn't end there. According to Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) -- and confirmed by Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction -- al-Samarrai is currently living in Chicago. It's still not certain which contractor sprung al-Samarrai from jail. But beyond that: who helped al-Samarrai get back into the U.S.?
Link.
The crook in question, Ayham al-Samarrai, the former Iraqi electricity minister, now apparently lives in Chicago. So maybe they can ask him.

In Case You Wondered, I Use "Beloved" Ironically

Worst. President. Ever.

Well, certainly damn close to the dishonor.

And this AP article excerpted here erred a little bit in W's favor! The reality is even worse....
Over and over, President Bush confidently promised to "solve problems, not pass them on to future presidents and future generations." As the clock runs out on his eight-year presidency, a tall stack of troubles remain and Bush's words ring hollow.

Iraq, budget deficits, the looming insolvency of Social Security and Medicare, high health and energy costs, a national immigration mess — the next president will inherit these problems in January 2009. With Bush's popularity at an all time low and relations with the Democratic-led Congress acrimonious, he has little or no chance of pulling off a surprise victory in his time left.

"We're in a worse place than we were in 1999" before Bush became president, lamented Matthew Dowd, a former pollster and chief campaign strategist for Bush who has become disillusioned with his old boss.

When Americans are asked to choose national priorities, they most commonly name the economy, health care, the war in Iraq, terrorism and gas prices. Consider the state of play on these and other issues:

_The economy is relatively sound and deficits are falling after peaking in 2004. But an entire presidency of red ink has ballooned the overall federal debt from $5.7 trillion when Bush became president to $8.9 trillion now. The Iraq war, including providing medical care and disability benefits to veterans, as well as expensive new programs like a Medicare prescription drug benefit threaten to drive deficits back up. Economists fear growing odds of a recession. [This should make the victims of the sub-prime mess, enabled by greed and the administration-fueled failure of oversight, happy to hear as they lose homes and money.]

_The nation's health care spending, public and private, totaled $1.5 trillion when Bush took office. By the time he leaves, it is expected to be $2.6 trillion — a 75 percent increase. Meanwhile, the nation's number of uninsured has swelled, from 14 percent of the population in 2001 to 16 percent last year, or a total of 47 million people.

_Now in its fifth year, the Iraq war has claimed the lives of more than 3,800 members of the U.S. military and more than 73,000 Iraqi civilians, wounded over 28,000 U.S. military personnel, and cost nearly half a trillion dollars. Even if combat ends, Bush says the United States will need to provide military, economic and political support beyond his presidency and have "an enduring relationship" with Iraq.

_No domestic terrorist attack has followed those of Sept. 11, 2001. [Not true. There was that alleged anthrax attack the source of which was never investigated.] But the intelligence community concluded in July, nearly six years after the attacks, that al-Qaida has been allowed to re-centralize and rejuvenate itself in Pakistan, where the still-missing Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding.

_Energy prices are volatile, and high. The cost of a barrel of oil has soared during Bush's presidency, from $29 to about $80 a barrel. Gas prices averaged $1.45 a gallon in 2001 and now are running about $2.80 — a 93 percent increase.

_With 78 million baby boomers beginning to retire, Social Security and Medicare move closer to insolvency each day. The Social Security trust fund is expected to last until 2041, while Medicare's will be exhausted much earlier, by 2019. Bush tried to overhaul Social Security [in a way that would exacerbate the problem] but couldn't find enough votes even when Republicans controlled the Congress.

_Bush tried unsuccessfully to make dramatic changes in the nation's immigration laws. There are an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the country and a few hundred thousand more come in each year.

_Bush promised to be "a uniter, not a divider," but instead, the partisan warfare has gotten worse.

"It's hard to find something he has done that really has improved the situation a great deal," said Stephen J. Wayne, a Georgetown University presidential scholar.

On June 23, 2003, Bush said: "I came to the office of the presidency to solve problems, not to pass them on to future presidents and future generations. I came to seize opportunities instead of letting them slip away." He was in New York, for the opening swing of his 2004 re-election campaign.

This get-the-job-done approach to governing had been a bedrock of Bush's first presidential race in 2000. The particular line appeared only briefly, though, as a rebuttal to Democrat Al Gore's Social Security plan. It was only with that New York speech that it became a staple, as the president sought a return to the White House in 2004 and stumped for fellow Republicans in the 2006 midterm elections.

"It's definitely part of his self-image to be a doer, and to be a person who throws the long pass and does big things, not just small things," said Bruce Buchanan, a University of Texas political scientist. [The record speaks for itself: he was never a doer, only a talker.]

The image was effective with voters. It also hinted at Bush's more sweeping political aspirations. He had hopes of governing in a way that would attract new constituencies into the Republican Party, transforming it into the nation's dominant political force far beyond his time.

This new agenda for an ascendant GOP included rigorous national educational standards, more market-based approaches to health care and retirement, increased emphasis on religious providers of government-funded social services, and radical changes in immigration policy to enhance enforcement and legitimize millions of illegals.

Only small bits have come to pass.

They include an expansion of health savings accounts, the addition of the prescription drug benefit [in the most inefficient way possible], along with other modernizations, to Medicare, and increased government money to religious charities.

A sweeping new education law now requires regular testing of children and penalizes many schools that fall short. There are serious doubts, however, that the law has enough support to be renewed this year — much less expanded as Bush wants.

On the foreign policy front, the president set the grand goal of "ending tyranny in our world." But early signs of progress on spreading democracy gave way to many setbacks. And the entire project has largely been eclipsed, some say hobbled, by continuing instability in Iraq.

(Emphases and stuff added.)

Lies of Our Leaders; This Minute's Update

In response to the latest monthly employment report, the White House released a "fact sheet" yesterday bragging about the president's record on job creation. It led Paul Krugman to take a closer look at Bush's numbers as compared to his predecessor's.
Over the whole of the Clinton administration, the economy added 22.7 million jobs -- 237,000 per month.

Over the whole of the Bush administration to date, the economy added only 5.8 million jobs -- 72,000 per month.
But, the White House says, the first two years of Bush's presidency shouldn't count because there was a recession and 9/11 affected the economy. It's only fair, the president's supporters say, to start counting since August 2003, and forget about his first 32 months in office.

Fine, Krugman said. Bush's monthly average, using the cherry-picked timeline, still trails Clinton, 172,000 per month to 237,000 per month.

Krugman concludes, "Did I mention that the Clinton job boom followed an, um, increase in taxes?"

I'd only add that U.S. News recently asked Rudy Giuliani about this in an interview about economic policy. The magazine said, "The Democrats are going to say, 'We raised taxes in the '90s, cut the deficit, and the economy boomed.' Why not try and rerun the '90s instead of cutting taxes?"

Giuliani responded, "Because we have actually done more job creation by lowering taxes than by raising taxes."

Reality shows otherwise.
Link.