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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dare to Hope?

Do you suppose? - can we dare to hope? - now that Karl Rove is no longer in charge of White House policy, we might see an end to the playground mentality that has characterized U.S. relations with the rest of the world?

-Carroll S. Rankin

How a Spin Machine Works

Recently I heard (on Al Franken's Show - Air America Radio) that Bill O'Reilly claimed the poverty rate in the US has gone down by over a whole point since George W. Bush took office. When a caller (Franken had the audio) mentioned that it wasn't true, O'Reilly offered up "Factor Proof".

"We'll begin by comparing the halfway point of President Clinton's tenure to the 50-yard line of the Bush administration. In 1996, the poverty level in the USA stood at 13.7 percent. In 2004, the poverty level was 12.7 percent, so Bush beats Clinton here by a full percentage point. To be fair, Clinton did bring the poverty rate down during his administration, while it has been rising slightly since 9/11. But at the halfway point, Bush wins."

Spin in the "No Spin Zone". Ya gotta love this guy, dont'cha?

So, in fairness to President Bush, you could actually say that The Bill Clinton Administration's poverty level hit a whopping 15.1 percent while, using O'Reilly's football analogy, GW's poverty rate at the same time in their presidency was a mere 9.9 percent. I'm surprised that O'Reilly didn't bring that up. Using this analogy, Clinton's poverty level would have been almost 53 percent higher than GW's, at that same time in their respective presidencies.

Wow... What a great job GW is doing, wouldn't you say, Bill?

The problem is that that date, or "yard marker" (in O'Reilly's football terms) The date I'm speaking of is March 1993 (Clinton) and March 2001 (Bush). The data being used is the inherited data from the previous administration. So, if you really do want to use O'Reilly's "50-yard line" data, you have to say this:

In 1996, the "50-yard line" marker for the Clinton administration, the US poverty rate fell from his inherited 15.1 percent (when Clinton took office) to 13.7 percent, a drop of 9.27 percent.
In 2004, the "50-yard line" marker for the GW Bush administration, the US poverty rate rose from his inherited 9.9 percent (When Bush took office) to 12.7 percent, an increase of more than 8.5 percent.

Additionally, in real population numbers, using O'Reilly's same "50-yard line" marker, there is close to an additional 2.2 million more households that are below the poverty level now then under Clinton, at the same time in their respective presidencies!

Is it halftime yet?

All this means that, in spite of what "Luffa-Boy" O'Reilly says, is that President Bush has done an awful job at "un-pooring" the poor. The Poverty level has been in a constant state of acceleration without an end in sight. jobs that are being created aren't the "jobs of the future" unless the "future" jobs start off with the question "Do you want fries with that?"

In fact, looking back over the last three administrations, we see that the only one to leave office with a net drop in poverty was the Clinton - Gore administration.

Adminstration Year Total Number Percent Total Number Percent
Bush (41) - Quayle 1989 245,992 31,528 12.8 209,515 24,066 11.5
Bush (41) - Quayle 1990 248,644 33,585 13.5 210,967 25,232 12.0
Bush (41) - Quayle 1991 251,192 35,708 14.2 212,723 27,143 12.8
Bush (41) - Quayle 1992 256,549 38,014 14.8 217,936 28,961 13.3
Clinton - Gore 1993 259,278 39,265 15.1 219,489 29,927 13.6
Clinton - Gore 1994 261,616 38,059 14.5 221,430 28,985 13.1
Clinton - Gore 1995 263,733 36,425 13.8 222,792 27,501 12.3
Clinton - Gore 1996 266,218 36,529 13.7 223,955 27,376 12.2
Clinton - Gore 1997 268,480 35,574 13.3 225,369 26,217 11.6
Clinton - Gore 1998 271,059 34,476 12.7 227,229 25,370 11.2
Clinton - Gore 1999 276,208 32,791 11.9 230,789 23,830 10.3
Clinton - Gore 2000 278,944 31,581 11.3 231,909 22,347 9.6
Bush - Cheney 2001 281,475 32,907 11.7 233,911 23,215 9.9
Bush - Cheney 2002 285,317 34,570 12.1 236,921 24,534 10.4
Bush - Cheney 2003 287,699 35,861 12.5 238,903 25,684 10.8
Bush - Cheney 2004 290,605 36,997 12.7 241,153 26,564 11.0

(To see this data charted, please visit  http://www.nationalview.org/POVERTY.htm

So today, an Associate Press headline read "Leading Economic Indicators Down 0.1 Pct. ", according to The Conference Board, a think-tank not known for its "progressive" views. This is bad news for the US economy as a whole. The drop was from February to March of this year. The drop from January to February was 0.5 percent. Of course, if you are, using "Luffa Boy's" numbers, there was actually a 500 percent improvement.

Don't you wish you were an optimist, too? Every time the Bushites say "the economy is strong", they seem to cite their own set of "economic indicators", like how well their "base" of "haves and have-mores" are doing.

"With the price of a barrel of oil rising above $70 and with interest rates slowly increasing, the global economy isn't likely to be picking up steam soon,"
"The latest leading indicator readings suggest some slowing in the pace of economic activity through this summer,"
-Ken Goldstein, labor economist at the Conference Board

This is not good news. If the rich people indicators are showing a lull, then what chance do the rest of us have?

According to the Conference Board's Website, http://www.conference-board.org, the US is the only nation (of those they reported) that had a negative loss in their leading economic indicators:
U.S. - 0.1%
Australia 0.2%
France 0.5%
Germany 0.2%
Japan 0.4%
Korea 1.4%
Mexico 0.1%
Spain 0.3%
U.K. 0.8%

This means that we're making all of our "friends" richer, while we're are getting poorer. And let me get one thing straight... the "Bush Base" aren't the ones who are suffering. They're doing just fine in the land of "trickle-down" and "voodoo" economics.

Combine all of this news with the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://stats.bls.gov), tells us that the CPI (Consumer Price Index) rose 0.4 percent while hourly wages rose a mere 0.03 percent. In case you couldn't figure it out, when prices rise faster than wages, we're all in big trouble.

The bottom line is this: All of the Fox News Spin can't make the people of this nation feel as if they are doing great, good or even as good as yesterday because we aren't people know when they are using charge cards to pay everyday bills because they get the credit card bill in the mail. People know when they don't have enough money to pay for their groceries because they know how much they can write that check for. People know when they can't afford to go on vacation because they can't afford the gasoline to get them there.

Maybe the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party was able to fool about fifteen percent of the people, enough to get "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and his gang of economic terrorists re-elected in 2004, but they aren't fooled now.

And not even Fox News Channel and Bill "Luffa-Boy" O'Reilly can change that with "Spin", even in the "No Spin Zone".

-Noah Greenberg

Selling US

Has anyone noticed our landlord (China's leader, regarding the trade deficit) is touring what he believes to be his property, this week? Dinner tonight at the Gates place. Tour of a Boeing assembly plant tomorrow. He'll be received in DC toward the end of the week.

While musing on this epic visit, keep in mind that Tibet is still held in the iron grip of the Chinese government, that 700 missiles are pointed at Taiwan. Remember Tienamen Square, and think about the imprisoned in China, who make the stuff we buy for no wages at all.

Keep in mind that Google is censored by orders of this little control freak monkey, in China, and that his military has two and one half trained, equipped fighting soldiers for every human in the US.

The fete of brutal dicators, paid for by our tax dollars, is just one more very good reason to organize a protest for 2007. No paid taxes.


Media Madman
Screwing the Troops, Again

"To pay for the Ospreys, the Senate Appropriations Committee - guided by the (Marine) Corps - cut into funding for night vision goggles, equipment for destroying mines and explosives, fire suppression systems for light armored vehicles and new vehicles that can be transported into battle inside the V-22."
The Associated Press, from "Senate Bill Shorts Gear for Troops" by Andrew Taylor

The latest Iraq scam:
They cut equipment for the troops and give away pork to defense contractor Bell for that dangerous and clunky killer-copter, the Osprey--and to Boeing for a cargo plane. Et cetera. The usual military-industrial complex crap--and our kids continue to die while we go deeper and deeper into debt for this junk.

These Chickenhawks JUST DON'T CARE.

-Jenny Hanniver

In response to "I heard this statement on the Randi Rhodes Show (Air America Radio) and what struck me was the venom with how GW said it. It sounded like he was questioning anyone who could possibly question him. It was a "How dare you!" moment, like he was a King, or even... a deity!" Robert Scardapane writes:

Bush is a nasty little cuss. Cheney is just plain evil. I am not surprised that the rest of their crew are people of low character and poor judgment such as "Crummy Rummy". Indeed, expect Bush to be venomous and arrogant for the next two years. His agenda has been rejected by the American people and he is not a person that handles rejection well.

In response to Bush, "The Decider" and "I decide what is best," Pat Thompson writes:

Yes, we have a real Democracy here in Bush & Co. He's made wonderful decisions all his life, ones that caused multiple failed businesses, drunken driving tickets, unfinished National Guard service, and a stock sale just before a business went down. He would have done jail time if his father wasn't Vice President at the time. He has stolen two elections. Our country is almost bankrupted, indebted to the Chinese and Saudis.

Oh yes, he decides what's best. But for WHOM???

In response to "And then this piece of news: Rove is resigning as deputy Chief of Staff. I guess he'd rather run the oval office from a different office. Rove, of course, isn't leaving the employ of the American People, he's just going back to his old job of stealing elections. Personally, I believe that Rove is leaving because, any day now, he is going to be joining I. Scooter Libby on the defense side of the courtroom. Resigning now makes it look a whole lot better than resigning after you've "surrendered" yourself to police custody." Pat Thompson writes:

My prayers will be answered when Rove goes to jail. And when (figuratively speaking), we have Bush's head on a pike. We the People, who have been cheated and lied to for the past 6 years, should have some of Bush's own style of justice. Lethal injection for Treason isn't it?

Maybe I'll just some Abu Ghraib type of treatment.

In response to "So, I wonder if Fleischer left the BWH (Bush White House) because of his own, religious bombardment, and if he did, do you think he gave Joel Kaplan, Rove's replacement a head's up?" Pat Thompson writes:

Fleisher was raised a Democrat. Bush often asked him, "do we have your mother yet?", meaning has she drunk the Kool-Aid and joined the neo-cons. I think Ari Fleisher saw the light.

In response to Former Gov. Jim Florio (D-NJ) and his replacement, Former Gov. "Chrissie" Whitman (R-NJ), and "(A Democrat leaving office with a surplus and a Republican entering office and creating a deficit. Hmm... Sound familiar?)", Pat Thompson wonders:

Yes, Florio inherited a deficit from Former Gov. Tom Kean (Senior) (R-NJ), who is a pretty moderate Republican and not as bad as some. That being said, do we have a Hereditary Monarchy complex or something like it developing in this country? Just how is Tom Kean's little boy (Tom Kean Junior) qualified to become a United States Senator? Is it just because some idiots can remember the name? Sounds like the same way Bush got to be President, doesn't it?

I wonder what percentage thought they were voting for his father?

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-Noah Greenberg