Monday, October 08, 2007

Helen Thomas, Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Reconcilitation Kaput, Hell's Embassy, Healthcare?, Bush and Jobs and Coney Island.

Helen Thomas, who has covered every President since JFK and who happens to be one of my few heroes, has written a piece where she unequivocally agrees with what I wrote last week.

"Unequivocally agrees with" may be a little strong, considering that she has no idea of who I am or what I wrote. But still, it's nice to think that my hero and I tend to think alike. Did I mention she's really, really smart? She also has the biggest set of cojones in Washington, D.C..

WASHINGTON -- President Bush has no better friends than the spineless Democratic congressional leadership and the party's leading presidential candidates when it comes to his failing Iraq policy.
Those Democrats seem to have forgotten that the American people want U.S. troops out of Iraq, especially since Bush still cannot give a credible reason for attacking Iraq after nearly five years of war.

While Bush has no idea of what's happening in Iraq and our three top Democrat contenders are showing us just how afraid they are of the Right-Wing Propaganda Machine when it comes to Bush's war in Iraq, Iraqi leaders are telling us that we can put to rest any hope of reconciliation and that they would like someone competent to handle the occupation and rebuilding of their country. It's about the same thing we'll be looking for in next year's election.

BAGHDAD -- For much of this year, the U.S. military strategy in Iraq has sought to reduce violence so that politicians could bring about national reconciliation, but several top Iraqi leaders say they have lost faith in that broad goal.

Iraqi leaders argue that sectarian animosity is entrenched in the structure of their government. Instead of reconciliation, they now stress alternative and perhaps more attainable goals: streamlining the government bureaucracy, placing experienced technocrats in positions of authority and improving the dismal record of providing basic services.

Also in Iraq our new embassy in Iraq is kind of a microcosm of our whole situation in Iraq. When I first mentioned the embassy last year it was supposed to be a secret. I'll bet Bush wishes it still was. I'd imagine it's safe to say this well secured pleasure palace will end up costing over a billion dollars. It's a good thing that we're not wasting money on poor kid's health when we can waste money on this.

The massive U.S. embassy under construction in Baghdad could cost $144 million more than projected and will open months behind schedule because of poor planning, shoddy workmanship, internal disputes and last-minute changes sought by State Department officials, according to U.S. officials and a department document provided to Congress.
The embassy, which will be the largest U.S. diplomatic mission in the world, was budgeted at $592 million. The core project was supposed to have been completed by last month, but the timetable has slipped so much that the State Department has sought and received permission from the Iraqi government to allow about 2,000 non-Iraqi construction employees to stay in the country until March.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said he does not know when the embassy will be ready. "I can't tell you right now when it will open," he said Friday. "Now, that's not to indicate to you that it's going to be a lengthy period of time. It could be a brief period of time. But the fact is, I can't give you an opening date right now."

Just like everything else from the Bush Administration, we pay way too much for way too little.

Thank goodness we have the Republican Party and some Democrats to protect those of us who want a nationalized health system from ourselves. Yes, to protect us from an evil government and let us benefit from the benevolence of the private sector.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 — Tens of thousands of Medicare recipients have been victims of deceptive sales tactics and had claims improperly denied by private insurers that run the system’s huge new drug benefit program and offer other private insurance options encouraged by the Bush administration, a review of scores of federal audits has found.

The problems, described in 91 audit reports reviewed by The New York Times, include the improper termination of coverage for people with H.I.V. and AIDS, huge backlogs of claims and complaints, and a failure to answer telephone calls from consumers, doctors and drugstores.

Gee, I don't have any of those problems with the V.A. hospital in Muskogee, OK, which BTW, should be the model of V.A. hospitals across the country. It sure beats the hell out of the V.A.'s show place hospital, DeBakey in Houston. Houston let me lay there for 24 hours, with me telling them I had peritonitis, but I lived anyway.

I know you heard it, it's certainly been said enough, "lowering taxes for the rich creates jobs". A lot of people believe that, a lot of those same people believe that there are still WMDs that haven't been found in Iraq.

Well the latest bit of message mangling from the White House and the Right is how, under Bush we have had the longest stretch of job growth ever. Well it's true, with an asterisk. Paul Krugman gives us that asterisk. Paul Krugman is really, really smart too.

The new White House “fact sheet” on the economy declares that job growth since August 2003 is the “longest continuous months of job growth on record.”
That’s literally true – the Bureau of Labor Statistics data from the great jobs boom of the 1990s do show a couple of scattered months of job decline, although these are probably statistical blips. But by any reasonable standard, job growth in the Bush years has fallen way short of growth in the Clinton years.

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.

You know, growing up a redneck I'm supposed to have some kind of innate antipathy towards New York City. I guess I did once. When I got out of the Army a Fort Dix, me and some other guys took a cab to JFK in NYC. I had no desire to see the city, I just wanted to go home. It was 1975, New York City had more problems then.

I ran across an article that says that we might lose Coney Island. Even tho' I probably couldn't be trained to be a New Yorker, I feel a sense of loss. I think this country is lucky to have a city like New York City. It's the city that other cities in the world aspire to be. I mean it is America's City. So NYC I hope we can hang on to Coney Island because it's part of our culture and history too.

It's Monday, things will be better in four days.

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I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.

John Stuart Mill (May 20 1806 – May 8 1873)