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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Mother's Day Madman

Friday-Sunday, May 12-14, 2006

Spinning the Economy

Maybe the easiest thing to do it to spin the American economy to make yourself look good (i.e.; the Bushies) or to make the other guy look bad (i.e.; the Bushies). For example, if you had listened to the spin being spun by the disciples of "G"lobal "W"arming Bush prior to the 2000 elections, you would have thought the American economy was in a tailspin. Even after the election, with numerous bad ideas, one of which being a titanic ax cut for the very , the Bushies were still trying to spin the economic woes, which he and his cronies created, squarely on the administration of Bill Clinton. All one has to do is look at the numbers to see the truth.

And since Today's Note from a Madman is the last place you'll ever find spin, you know, like a No Spin Zone, today we're going to tell you the truth and examine the REAL NUMBERS of the economy. No more looking at the stock market. For those of us in the vanishing middle class, it's an afterthought. No more looking at how well Wal-Mart is doing. It seems that the better they do the worse their employees fare. And looking at the Bush administration manipulated unemployment numbers makes one ask "How'd they do that?" After all, according to the Bushies, over 95 percent of Americans are employed and are living the American Dream. They are if their dream is a nightmare.

Bill O'Reilly boasted about well the economy is doing when he said that at the same points in time, during their presidencies, President Bush's numbers, regarding those below the poverty line, were lower than those of President Clinton's administration's numbers. O'Reilly chose to look at 1996 (Clinton's 13.7 percent) as compared to 2004 (Bush's 12.7 percent), and what do you know... he was right! (At least in his mind.) Of course, after the kids finished reading "My Pet Goat" and took a look at the REAL NUMBERS, they would have seen that the 1996 numbers were down from an inherited 15.1 percent (from George H.W. Bush) to that 13.7 percent number, a decrease of 29 percent. In contrast, the jump in the poverty rate from Clinton to George W. Bush ("Georgie-Boy") was from Clinton's final 11.7 percent to "W's" 2004 numbers of 12.7 percent in 2004. That's a hike of close to 9 percent in only three years (the data is taken from the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics and is measured from March 2001 to March 2004). Of course, when the O'Reilly's of the world are faced with these TRUE NUMBERS they say "Well you can spin it anyway you want, but we both know the real truth."

Yes we do, Bill.

Using O'Reilly's logic, you could say that Clinton's worst numbers in relation to poverty was 15.1 percent (In march 2003) while Bush's numbers would show, at the same point in their respective presidencies, that his numbers were only 11.7 percent (March 2001). Of course, those numbers reflect each of those presidencies in their infancies, both being just a little over one month in office. In actuality, the only way to compare the poverty numbers, and any other numbers, for that matter, is to examine the increase or decrease from the beginning of each administration's respective terms to the latest numbers available for each. In other words, the REAL NUMBERS read that Bill Clinton's administration had a 29 percent decline in Americans living in poverty while the Bush administration numbers show an increase of 9 percent in the level of Americans living in poverty. (Up = Bad; Down = Good)

But maybe looking at only one REAL ECONOMIC factor isn't fair to the legacy "C" student from Texas by way of Connecticut and Kennebunkport, Maine. Maybe we should look at something else. I know, how about comparing the percentage of all employed Americans as it related to the whole population for both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush? Why, that sounds like a great idea... let's do it! (Who said that?)

To examine this, we need to know the following:
1- How many Americans have jobs?
2- How many Americans are out of work?
3- How many Americans are able to work, but aren't working?

For this, we'll again is the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Using the month of December as our barometer). Today, under the guidance of the Bush administration, of the "Able to work" workforce, which includes: Those Americans with jobs; those Americans collecting unemployment insurance or counted by the "Household survey", which generally shows better numbers than the "payroll jobs"; and those Americans who either have given up looking for a job (a group, according to the Bush administration and Fox News, that doesn't exist, if you believe their 95.3 percent of all Americans are employed "spin") and "choose" not to work. According to these numbers, at the end of 2005, 62.9 percent of all able-bodied Americans have jobs. That's up 0.5 percent from the year before but down a whopping 1.6 percent from the number of employed Americans at the end of Bill Clinton's presidency, when it was at 64.5 percent, the highest of Clinton's presidency.


In other words, when Bill Clinton left office, he left a legacy of increasing the number of Americans who had jobs.

But what kind of jobs were they?

Real wages are down for the overwhelming majority of Americans under the stewardship of George W. Bush while poverty is up. Disposable income (the stuff we use to purchase the things we don't need, but the things we want) is virtually non-existent at the middle class level while Corporate CEO's enjoy the finer things in life and the Bush "base" of "have and have-mores" are controlling more and more of the wealth in this world's wealthiest nation. After a first term (four years) with a net job loss (remember that it takes about 150,000 jobs per month just to keep up with the growth in population) there is finally a rise in jobs for Americans, but on a percentage basis, only 98.4 percent of Americans are working today as compared to the end of Bill Clinton's administration. And with production numbers up while hourly wages are down, that means Americans are working more hours for less money. The good jobs that were created during the Clinton years have gone to India, Pakistan and any other nation who can teach their workers to speak English (or some variation of English, well enough to get by) while former IT professionals, Quality Control Managers and other skilled laborers are forced to ask "Do you want fries with that?" or "Where to, buddy?"

So, Bush, Fox News Channel, MSNBC (Fox-Lite) and all of the other "liars for the cause" can continue courting their contributors and advertisers by "spinning the truth" into a web of manufactured statistics and lies while we, here at Today's Note from a Madman, will always offer you the REAL TRUTH backed up by REAL NUMBERS.

-Noah Greenberg

The Third Term - Bill Clinton Vs. George W. Bush

"Any poll like this is just a snapshot in time. But CNN just commissioned a poll comparing public attitudes toward President Bush and his predecessor ...

"Respondents favored Clinton by greater than 2-to-1 margins when asked who did a better job at handling the economy (63 percent Clinton, 26 percent Bush) and solving the problems of ordinary Americans (62 percent Clinton, 25 percent Bush). (Watch whether Americans are getting nostalgic for the Clinton era -- 1:57) On foreign affairs, the margin was 56 percent to 32 percent in Clinton's favor; on taxes, it was 51 percent to 35 percent for Clinton; and on handling natural disasters, it was 51 percent to 30 percent, also favoring Clinton.

"Moreover, 59 percent said Bush has done more to divide the country, while only 27 percent said Clinton had.

"When asked which man was more honest as president, poll respondents were more evenly divided, with the numbers -- 46 percent Clinton to 41 percent Bush -- falling within the poll's margin of error. The same was true for a question on handling national security: 46 percent said Clinton performed better; 42 percent picked Bush."
-Josh Marshall of the superb TalkingPointsMemo.com reports on May 13th

Speaks for itself. And I suspect Americans' attitudes toward President Bush will only grow more grim over time and he nostalgia for Clinton grow more voluble.

-Contributed and commented by Victoria Brownworth

Well Below Freezing...

President Bush's popular support has finally dropped beneath the 30-point threshold, as a new Harris Interactive poll finds that only 29% of Americans approve of the way he's handling his job, down from 43% in January. Congress also continued its dramatic slide, finding support with only 18% of respondents. Overall, more than two-thirds of American adults consider the country to be headed in the wrong direction.


How low can it go? Nixonian level numbers are on the horizon.

-Forwarded and commented by Robert Scardapane

...And This

First lady Laura Bush said on Sunday she does not believe opinion polls showing her husband's approval ratings at record low levels.

Interviewed on Fox News Sunday, Laura Bush said she did not think people were losing confidence in President George W. Bush, despite a series of polls showing support for him at its lowest point in his five-year presidency and among the lowest for any president in the past 50 years.

"I don't really believe those polls. I travel around the country. I see people, I see their responses to my husband. I see their response to me,"

"As I travel around the United States, I see a lot of appreciation for him. A lot of people come up to me and say, 'Stay the course'."
"He's the one that has to make the hard decisions. And, of course, they don't please everyone."
-Reuters, from the Washington Post

This shows just how detached these people are from reality.

1) Okay, Georgie is real popular if you conduct a poll of Fox News listeners.
2) The problem is that the crowds are pre-determined. The White House doesn't let "hostiles" anywhere near the bubble head.
3) Yep, he's the decider, we heard that one already.
4) He isn't pleasing over 2/3 of the country that thinks we are on the wrong track.

Perhaps, these people are victims of their own propaganda. Sorry Mrs. Bush but this dog just won't hunt.

-Robert Scardapane

In response to, "This is George W. Bush's Amerika. Remove our civil rights; Take away our right to privacy; and tell us it's for our own good. Personally, I think the Bushies are just getting ready for life after the White House and this is their way of preparing the largest potential customer call list of all time," Robert Scardapane writes:

Jane Harman and John Conyers have just introduced a bill to stop this attack on the Fourth Amendment. According to Raw Story:

The Act would require any attempt to listen in on Americans or collect telephone or e-mail records to be be conducted in accordance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), or Title III of the criminal code. In both cases, court warrants based on probable cause are required. The Act states that FISA is the exclusive way to conduct electronic surveillance of U.S. persons on U.S. soil for intelligence purposes.

Thank goodness! But, with the Fascist Republicans in charge, it is unlikely to pass.

Today's "New Kid on the Block" Quotes

"As the new kid on the block, I'm not fully briefed on the issue,"
-Tony Snow, at his first White House briefing, in response to a reporter's question about the illegal woretaping of American citizens

It's good to see Tony Snow get off on the "Right" foot, isn't it? In the spirit of the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party's and President Bush's "tell 'em nothing" attitude, Press Secretary Snow has offered up their favorite defense: The Sergeant Schultz (Hogan's Heroes) Defense of "I know nothing. I see nothing." Snow even deferred a question to one of his underlings, Dana Perino, whose soft voice couldn't be heard by the White House press corps. (or as I like to call them, the Bush "Chorus".)

"This is just a mess,"
-Snow, whimsically referring to the illegal wiretap program

(Wink-wink. Nod-nod. Say no more) Ain't he just the cutest thing? You bet it's a mess, Tony. Why not get a briefing or something and get into the game. Or maybe this is the White House plan. They'll just tell us all "We got new people who need to learn the ropes."

After all, ignorance is not only bliss, it's a White House policy.

-Noah Greenberg

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-Noah Greenberg