Discussion in 'Politics' started by jimnyc, Mar 16, 2004.
Watch the latest ad released called "Troops"
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Kerry is going to burn in hell before he will become president. I'll make sure if it is in my power in the least to ensure this guy does not even come close to getting in the office.
Bush in '04
"This is just another jab by the vast-republican-right-wing-attack-conspiracy-machine. I'd like to talk about the issues. Blah, blah, blah...."
- (probable) John Kerry response
Kerry is the one who is willing to talk issues with monthly debates against Bush. Bush has declined for obvious reasons. A monthly debate on the issues is one of the best ways to utilize these next 8 months left before the elections. All this dribble and mudslinging that both Kerry and Bush are slinging back and forth at each other, is ultimately just a waste.
Can you cite a source showing that he declined (just haven't read that yet). What are the obvious reasons?
And to say "Kerry is willing to talk issues" is a bit misleading. Have you kept up with this guys campaign? ZERO on the issues and 100% on bashing Bush! It's been asked MANY times on this board to have someone explain to us, without bashing Bush, what good has Kerry done and why someone should vote for him. To date there have been ZERO answers.
Also, wasn't it just one short month ago that Edwards asked for 4 debates with Kerry and Kerry refused for obvious reasons?
Just another flip flop.
I'm sure Kerry would want a monthly debate, that way he can cover alot more ground by flipping on each issue each month. Yeah, that'll get more voters.
A year ago tonight, President Bush took the nation to war in Iraq with a grand vision for change in the Middle East and beyond.
The invasion and occupation of Iraq, his administration predicted, would come at little financial cost and would materially improve the lives of Iraqis. Americans would be greeted as liberators, Bush officials predicted, and the toppling of Saddam Hussein would spread peace and democracy throughout the Middle East.
Things have not worked out that way, for the most part. There is evidence that the economic lives of Iraqis are improving, thanks to an infusion of U.S. and foreign capital. But the administration badly underestimated the financial cost of the occupation and seriously overstated the ease of pacifying Iraq and the warmth of the reception Iraqis would give the U.S. invaders. And while peace and democracy may yet spread through the region, some early signs are that the U.S. action has had the opposite effect.
Much of the focus on prewar expectations vs. postwar reality has been on the failure to find weapons of mass destruction. But while that was the central justification for the war in Iraq, the administration also made a wide range of claims about the ease of the invasion and the benefits that would result. Though comparisons between expectations and results are complex, it appears that the administration, based on limited human intelligence and conversations with a small corps of Iraqi exiles, was overly optimistic.
White House officials, who did not respond to requests for information for this report, acknowledge that the financial costs have been greater than expected but say they are pleased with the progress toward democracy, security and prosperity in Iraq.
Bush, who will deliver a speech today outlining the successes of the past year, gave a taste of his themes in an address in Kentucky yesterday to troops just back from Iraq. "A year ago, Iraq was ruled by the whims of one cruel man," Bush said. "Today, Iraq has a new interim law that guarantees basic rights for all: freedom of religion, the right to cast a secret ballot and equality under the law." Iraqis, he said, are "building a country that is strong and free, and America is proud to stand with them."
On April 23, 2003, Andrew S. Natsios, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, laid out in a televised interview the costs to U.S. taxpayers of rebuilding Iraq. "The American part of this will be $1.7 billion," he said. "We have no plans for any further-on funding for this."
That turned out to be off by orders of magnitude. The administration, which asked Congress for another $20 billion for Iraq reconstruction five months after Natsios made his assertion, has said it expects overall Iraqi reconstruction costs to be as much as $75 billion this year alone.
The transcript of that interview has been pulled from the USAID Web site, the agency said, "to reflect current statements and testimony on Iraq reconstruction." The earlier $1.7 billion figure was "the best estimate available at the time, based on very limited information about the conditions inside of Iraq."
Natsios was far from the only one to offer low-ball figures. Similarly, a report by the White House Office of Management and Budget in late March 2003, said: "Iraq will not require sustained aid." Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, in February 2003, dismissed reports that Pentagon budget specialists had put the cost of reconstruction at $60 billion to $95 billion during the first year -- in retrospect, relatively accurate forecasts. In testimony to Congress on March 27, 2003, Wolfowitz said Iraq "can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon." In fact, the administration has already sought more than $150 billion for the Iraq effort.
In its predictions a year ago, the Bush administration similarly underestimated the resistance the United States would face in Iraq. "I really do believe we will be greeted as liberators," Vice President Cheney said in a March 16 interview.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz derided a general's claim that pacifying Iraq would take several hundred thousand U.S. troops. And Rumsfeld, in February 2003, predicted that the war "could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."
The capture of Iraq did proceed rapidly, allowing Bush to proclaim on May 1 that "major combat operations" were over and to declare "victory" in the "Battle of Iraq."
But those upbeat assertions were undermined by an Iraqi resistance that proved much more difficult. Washington had not counted on the scope, capabilities and endurance of the resistance after formal hostilities had ended -- or that Iraqis might eventually turn on their liberators. By yesterday, 574 American and 100 other coalition troops had died in Iraq. As many as 6,400 Iraqi soldiers are believed to have died in combat, and the insurgency continues to claim the lives of Iraqi civilians.
The "coalition has been unable to ensure a safe and secure environment within critical areas of Iraq," concluded a Council on Foreign Relations task force led by former defense and energy secretary James R. Schlesinger and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Thomas R. Pickering.
"This lack of security has created widespread fear among Iraqis, inhibited growth of private sector economic activity, distorted the initial development of a robust and open civil society, and places important limitations on the normal routines of life for most Iraqis," said its report, "Iraq: One Year After."
Iraqis, who had high expectations that the United States could make them secure, have been disappointed, analysts say.
"Unfortunately, it's been 11 months since the fall of Baghdad, and the U.S. still hasn't fulfilled those expectations of [providing] basic security or services," said Kenneth Pollack, research director of the Brookings Institution's Saban Center and a former National Security Council staff member in the Clinton and current Bush administrations. "At this point, Iraqis are beginning to think that, if those services have not been provided, it may be because we're unable or unwilling to do so."
A poll of Iraqis released this week by ABC News found that 42 percent of Iraqis, and 33 percent of Arab Iraqis, said the war liberated Iraq, but that 41 percent of Iraqis, and 48 percent of Arab Iraqis, said it humiliated the country. The presence of U.S.-led forces in Iraq is opposed by 51 percent of Iraqis.
Administration forecasts that the invasion would improve Iraqis' lives were closer to the mark. On March 17, 2003, Bush promised to help "build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free." Secretary of State Colin L. Powell vowed days later: "We will show the Iraqi people a better life. We'll deal with those segments of the population who have been . . . absolutely brutally deprived for years, and they will start to see a better life very quickly."
Thanks to the massive injection of foreign aid, an important transformation has begun in rebuilding an Iraqi society emaciated by a dozen years of tough economic sanctions and Hussein's preference for personal luxuries over public necessities, analysts say.
Considerable economic activity has resumed in Baghdad and other major cities, while living standards are better than at any time since the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the country's oil revenue is gradually climbing. "What's impressive -- and maybe more credit goes to Iraqis than to us -- is that economic activity has picked up. Clearly, there's money out there. People are going to jobs and working," said Henri Barkey, former State Department expert on Iraq and now chairman of Lehigh University's International Relations Department.
The ABC News poll confirms this. Fifty-six percent of Iraqis said things are better than before the war, and 71 percent expect that their lives will be even better next year.
The administration's forecast that the toppling of Hussein would start a wave of democracy and a disavowal of terrorism in the region has not yet happened. There has been progress; Libya, for example, has since relinquished its nuclear weapons program. But while the administration had often predicted that Hussein's ouster could resolve the impasse between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the standoff between the two has worsened.
A poll released this week by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that Muslim countries are highly skeptical that the ouster of Hussein will make the Middle East more democratic.
"Iraqi democracy will succeed -- and that success will send forth the news, from Damascus to Tehran -- that freedom can be the future of every nation," the president said in October.
But Iraqi democracy has proved messy in the making. Almost immediately, divisions within the Bush administration led to a temporary breakdown over the postwar plan for Iraq. The Pentagon abruptly jettisoned the State Department's plans for assembling a post-Hussein government and started from scratch -- a move from which analysts believe the United States has not recovered.
"Because we didn't have anything concrete to put in place the day after, it left a vacuum," Barkey said. The early chaos led the administration to change course. A plan to hold an Afghan-like national conference to select an interim Iraqi authority was tossed out in favor of appointing a 25-person Iraqi Governing Council, largely exiles and dissidents allied with Washington.
Two transition plans designed by the United States and its allies in the Coalition Provisional Authority were rejected out of hand by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, a Shiite cleric virtually unknown before the war. With about four months left before the U.S. occupation is due to end, there is still no plan for how to pick a new government.
"The challenges for U.S. policy in postwar Iraq, given the geopolitical stakes, the threat of ethnic conflict and armed resistance, and the political complexities of administering a legal occupation, were far more formidable than those that confronted U.S. officials in previous cases," from Haiti to the Balkans to East Timor in the 1990s, the Council on Foreign Relations report said.
Still, there is hope that democracy may yet take hold. "Iraqis are engaged in free and vigorous debate about their collective political future and the adoption of a Transitional Administrative Law represents a major success both for U.S. policy and for the people of Iraq," the report concluded.
The Economy and jobs
Bush retreats from job-growth forecasts
President upbeat, but sidesteps 2.6 million prediction I like that term 'sidestep
President Bush edged away Wednesday from his own administration's prediction that the U.S. economy will add 2.6 million new jobs before the end of this year.
While still upbeat, Bush tempered his tone about the prospects for a rebound in the lagging labor market. He would not endorse the specific forecast released last week by Bush's own Council of Economic Advisers, instead saying he was pleased with the creation of 366,000 new jobs since last summer.
"I think the economy's growing, and I think it's going to get stronger," Bush said.
"But," he added, "I'm mindful there are still people looking for work."
His comments were the latest in a series of quiet steps by the administration to cautiously back away from specific predictions on the economy that many economists believe to be too rosy.
First Cabinet officials, and then the White House, have tiptoed away from the 2.6 million figure.
"The president is interested in actual jobs being created rather than economic modeling," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.
"We are interested in reality," added McClellan, who quoted the president saying: "I'm not a statistician. I'm not a predictor."
The president's political hopes for this year's elections rest largely on his promises of an economic rebound. While broader measures of the economy have improved in the past couple years, few of the more than 2.1 million jobs lost during Bush's time in office have been added back to payrolls, giving him the worst record for job creation of any president since Herbert Hoover.
With so much on the line, there has been disagreement within the administration about the proper message to take on jobs recovery. Neither Commerce Secretary Don Evans nor Treasury Secretary John Snow ever endorsed the prediction of 2.6 million jobs, White House sources said.
By late Wednesday, even Gregory Mankiw, chairman of Bush's economic council and an author of the jobs forecast, had retrenched on his own predictions.
We dont have a projection today ... It will be months before we sit down and go through that exercise again, Mankiw told Reuters. We still expect 2004 to be a robust year. We still expect jobs to be created. But we have not put out a quantitative projection since Dec. 2, the day on which his projections were based.
'A lot of jobs'
The White House remarks were presaged Tuesday by comments from Snow, who backed away from the 2.6 million forecast during a visit to the Pacific Northwest with Evans and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao. The timing of his comments were puzzling, given that the trip, a sort of bus tour to visit workers and businesspeople, was intended to tout the administration's plans for job growth.
"I think we are going to create a lot of jobs," Snow said. "How many I don't know, but we're going to keep working on it."
Unemployment in Washington state, where Snow was visiting, is at 6.8 percent, up from 5.6 percent when Bush took office.
The administration's refusal to back its own jobs estimate brought criticism from John Kerry, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Now George Bush is saying he's going to create 2.6 million jobs this year alone and his advisers are saying, 'What, you didn't actually believe that, did you?' Apparently George Bush is the only person left in the country who actually believes the far-fetched promises he's peddling," Kerry said in a statement.
Democrats on Capitol Hill also took the chance to jump on the president for his apparent retreat. Six Democratic senators sent Bush a letter lambasting the administration and saying that "serious questions are raised that the administrations economic policies are in disarray." It was signed by Sens. Tom Daschle of South Dakota, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer of New York, Jon Corzine of New Jersey and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.
Other critics of the president also see the jobs issue as a weak spot for a White House facing a tough election fight.
The reason that the White House has been slow to admit that this isn't a typical recovery is because they don't want to admit that their tax-cut policies are not producing the jobs that they promised, said Isaac Shapiro, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
"It's one thing to distance yourself from the numbers," added Jared Bernstein, Shapiro's counterpart at the Economic Policy Institute, which has ties to labor unions, "but this is the guy who sold his jobs and growth package based on job predictions."
The actual forecast, released as part of the White House's annual report on the state of the economy, projected 132.7 million nonfarm jobs by the end of 2004, up from an estimate of 130.1 million jobs at the end of 2003.
The U.S. work force held 130,043,000 nonfarm jobs in December, according to preliminary data in the Labor Department's employer survey, and 130,155,000 jobs in January.
By those estimates, 112,000 new jobs were added last month, though other surveys have shown more modest growth. Even if payrolls continue to expand at that rate, only about 1.3 million new jobs would be created by year's end, half of the administration's projection. Assuming the higher number was accurate for January employment, over 231,000 jobs would have to be added each month through December to meet the council's prediction. By other analyses, the growth would have to be even stronger; Bernstein and Shapiro's organizations forecast required growth of 460,000 a month to meet the White House targets.
Based on the January 2004 figures, more than 2.1 million jobs would need to be added to match employment levels in February 2001, Bush's first full month in office.
Both Democrats and Republicans agree some job recovery will occur this year, but many economists feel the White House's recent estimate is overly optimistic.
Actually, the administration's employment forecast has become its second economic flap in recent days. Last week, Bush was forced to distance himself from another Mankiw assertion: that the loss of U.S. jobs overseas has long-term benefits for the U.S. economy.
McClellan defended the president's new assessment of the job outlook, saying said the annual economic report was based on data from about three months ago. The estimates for growth, he said, were not necessarily a fair reflection of current conditions.
"The number crunchers will do their job. The president's job is to make sure we're creating as robust an environment as possible for job-creation," McClellan said. "That's where his focus is."
He was either wrong, was lied to, or decieved congress regarding the cost over 10 years for this. hopefully the investigation will reveal enough to initiate a repeal of this law and make congress rewrite a better one and hold those who deliberately deceived us accountable.
DK, Im a bit unclear as to what those articles have to do in relation to "Kerry wrong on defense" or the issue of them debating. Did I miss something? Anyway, just a few points...
The war - Seems this debate will never end! Ayway, I could cite many articles right now showing the huge positive happenings in Iraq that we don't hear about. I don't think anyone thought this was going to be a walk in the park or it would be cheap, and if they did they were being a bit naive. The things that article speak of sound about right for what happens when you overthrow a government and occupy a country while in transition. "it'll get worse before it gets better". There's little doubt that Iraq is much better off as a result of the US efforts. Another thing that the article made clear is that the majority of Iraqi's think they are better off now and an overwhelming majority believe it's only going to get better, as do I.
The economy - The Bush administration had a goal and didn't achieve it. I don't think that makes any of them wrong or unworthy. They are working hard to restore jobs to many Americans. The job losses are always touted, but no one wants to acknowledge the amount of jobs created. Right now there are more americans employed than any other time in the history of the USA. The economy has gotten better on so many levels, and those that lagged are also starting to pick up.
Medicaid - Haven't followed this on too much, but I do believe there must be an investigation. I'm as curious as you to see how that presents itself.
Separate names with a comma.