Bush Helps Save the World

President Bush talked about the breathtaking progress the U.S. has made during his administration in the helping developing nations. Read the speech. It is good. He also talked about the environment. For example, in 2006, U.S. carbon emissions decreased by 1.3 percent while our economy grew by 3.3 percent.

President Bush still did not propose a carbon tax, but the reduction in CO2 even with a fast growing economy is a good sign. Throughout the 1990s, we never reduced our CO2 emissions and last year. Reducing CO2 by means of economic slowdown is not really an acceptable option.

The foreign aid numbers are even more impressive. Since President Bush took office, we have more than doubled U.S. development spending across the world - from about $10 billion in 2000, to $23 billion in 2006. This is the largest increase in development assistance since the Marshall Plan. I know that the first responses will be that this is not enough, but it is more than anybody else is doing and much more than before the previous administration.

It began soon after Presdent Bush took office. He launched the African Education Initiative in the his second year and a new initiative to combat HIV/AIDS - the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR in 2003 with $15 billion over five years for AIDS prevention and treatment and care programs. More recent innovations such as the President’s Malaria Initiative will save many lives in the face of an old time killer.

I expect this effort will be criticized both by those who say we are doing too little and by those who think we are already doing too much. To the first group, I just say "get over it." $23 billion is a lot of money and President Bush is using a conservative estimate BTW. The OECD, quoted in the Global Philanthropy Indes, puts the figure above $27 billion. It is about a quarter of the world’s total official development aid, and that does not even count the $95 billion private Americans send overseas each year.

Now let me segue to answer the other side of the criticism. The "too little" group should still stick around. Foreign aid does not ensure development. Sometimes it doesn’t help at all and some foreign aid is harmful. That is why the numbers alone are not meaningful. Under President Bush, however, aid has been more closely targeted to address specific and real issues. The Millenium Challenge is helping to break the link between kleptocrats and aid programs.

Even if you do not care to help others, there is a strong pragmatic reason to be interested in development. Helping others develop pays dividends for Americans. We make a lot more money trading with rich and prosperous countries than with poor ones. Poor people are not good customers or partners. Beyond that, prosperous countries tend to be stable, making them much less a security risk.

In the area of the environment, helping others develop is essential to our own health and safety. We all share the same water and air. This year China displaced the U.S. as the leading emitter of CO2. They were already the leaders in most other sorts of pollution. India and others are not far behind. By helping them develop clean and sustainable energy, we clearly help ourselves too.

So we do well by doing good and only those doing well have the capacity to do good on a significant scale. It is a virtuous circle.

In any case, we can be very proud of our country's accomplishments under President Bush in the areas of international development and world environment. His legacy will certainly be Iraq and if that turns out badly, history may record that saving millions of lives in Africa did not compensate for the thousands lost in Iraq. But President Bush’s practical accomplishments in development have been seldom equaled and never surpassed by any other American president. Many other people have contributed, but President Bush was driving the vehicle. Those so eager to blame him for the bad things should also consider the good ones.

So to the Bush haters I say this. Be proud today of your country and your president. You can go back to your characteristic churlish resentment tomorrow.

Posted by Jack at May 31, 2007 8:58 PM
Comments
Comment #221837

Jack,
When we aren’t paying our own bills, I say pay down the deficit, then worry about spreading the wealth. We don’t have any wealth to spread around. Charity begins at home. If I wish to be generous, I’ll spend MY money thank you.

Posted by: barneygoogle at May 31, 2007 10:27 PM
Comment #221838

barney

You fall into the too much already category. I think we are behaving in enlightened self interest.

BTW -You know that we are paying down the deficit. It is lower this year than last and it is only a bit more than 1% of GDP.

Posted by: Jack at May 31, 2007 10:33 PM
Comment #221841

We know Bush is successful in areas like the economy, hiring minorities, world development, world environement, etc. Because we are not hearing about his failures in those areas in the media. Pretty safe bet to just watch what is “not” reported to get a decent idea of where his successes lie. No excuses for Iraq, it will, per Jack’s comments, define his Presidency. However, it would be more objective to hear what this administration has done, that is positive.

I think I might just hold my breath!

Posted by: Edge at May 31, 2007 10:48 PM
Comment #221842

Jack,
Are you refering to the $59.1 trillion or the phoney $248 billion that is created by accounting magic? The first number is about 430% GDP. Credit cards are nice, but they come due.

Too much what already? Our debt increased by 2.3% from last year this quarter. Too much debt? I’ll agree.

Posted by: barneygoogle at May 31, 2007 10:54 PM
Comment #221845

Jack, I’m just going to address energy/environment here. You know very well why carbon emissions dropped a tad, and it had little to do with Bush unless you believe that 1) he manipulated fuel prices to make them higher, and 2) he controlled the weather. The one real carbon-related success is the continuing improvements in industrial efficiency that we’ve seen now for decades. For specific information on the technologies behind some of this increased efficiency, visit the Industrial Technologies Program secton of the EERE website.

Political stuff aside, the numbers in the EIA story show to some degree the nature of the issue. Since 1990, carbon emissions have increased nearly 18 percent while carbon intensity of the economy fell by 26 percent. The story about energy by itself is similar — consumption continues to climb at the same time effiency increases. Increasing demand far outpaces gains in efficiency and carbon emission reduction. Given that at this historical moment, capitalism implies ever-increasing growth, it’s hard to be optimistic about this issue.

Posted by: Gerrold at May 31, 2007 11:09 PM
Comment #221851

Bush of course has opposed any meaningful measures to address the issues of energy or global warming. I mean, come on, the supreme court itself had to step in and remind Bush that the EPA has a purpose and it’s not to ensure oil industry profits. Do you honestly think our country is better off because of Bush? If say Gore was elected I bet we’d be far better off than a measly 1-2% efficiency improvement that wasn’t because of Bush anyway. It’s nice unlike some conservatives you don’t seem to blame all problems on the “liberals” and of course are very reasonable most of the time. But then I have to wonder when you write posts like “Bush Helps Save the World!”

It’s almost like part of being a card-carrying Republican is that even if you don’t just use talking points, you still are required to smear “bush bashers” every other sentence and stick up for politicians even when they don’t deserve it.

Posted by: rick at June 1, 2007 12:53 AM
Comment #221854
U.S. carbon emissions decreased by 1.3 percent while our economy grew by 3.3 percent.

LOL! C’mon, Jack, cut the BS. It was widely reported that little dip had nothing to do with policy. It was due to “moderate U.S. winter temperatures and relatively moderate prices for clean-burning natural gas helped cut the emissions.”

And I love the Millinium Challenge Account. All foreign aid should be based on business plans proposed by the recipient country and using local labor. How come Bush and you guys screwed that up in Iraq?

Posted by: American Pundit at June 1, 2007 12:58 AM
Comment #221857

Jack,
You write: “The foreign aid numbers are even more impressive. Since President Bush took office, we have more than doubled U.S. development spending across the world - from about $10 billion in 2000, to $23 billion in 2006. This is the largest increase in development assistance since the Marshall Plan.”

Source? I cannot find it. Does this number include aid to Iraq, Afghanistan, and/or Israel?

Posted by: phx8 at June 1, 2007 1:35 AM
Comment #221860

Gerrold

I just thought if the President gets blamed for the bad weather, he may as well get credit for the good. BTW – the weather was good last year. It will probably be worse this year and the pessimists will compare the two. They were quiet last year.

As everybody knows, I favor a carbon tax and I am happy when prices are higher. It shows that the price of energy helps cut the consumption of energy. It just makes sense.

No matter the precise reasons for last year, however, it is a good sign. We managed to drop our CO2 emissions in the past only by economic decline. To reduce emission in the face of such robust growth is amazing.

Rick

There is a lot of talk from Dems, but sometimes not as much action. Gore was not president, so we cannot say for sure. He was vice president and the Clinton/Gore administration talked the talk. Yet during that time CO2 emission rose (look at the chart linked in the Department of Energy publication) every year. Foreign aid was another Clinton/Gore talking point, yet they invested less than half as much as Bush.

These are real world comparisons. We can talk hypothetical forever.

IMO the only real way to reduce CO2 in the long run is through price. That is why I favor a carbon tax. I have few allies in either party on this one. The Dems are working to LOWER the price of gas and electricity as we speak. That is exactly the wrong thing to do.

AP

See above. Variables happen, but this is the first time we managed to grow strongly AND reduce CO2. You guys blame Bush when variable break the other way.

Iraq is a country at war. It looks like the good guys might lose. This is a terrible tragedy, but that is why you cannot do the MC style programs well. No surprise. The establishment of security always must come before economic or social progress.

Phx8

You can find various sources. They are readily available government figures. Read through the President’s speech and you will see how we doubled aid to Africa, greatly increased anti AIDS efforts and literally saved millions of lives. I linked to some specifics reports. The totals you can find in the linked Index of Philanthropy. They use OECD figures and that report has citations. You can find the data and sum it up.

As I wrote, you can be proud of your country and president at least for today and go back to Bush bashing later. There will certainly be some bad weather this year and probably a couple of hurricanes. You can blame Bush for whatever happens.

Posted by: Jack at June 1, 2007 8:03 AM
Comment #221863

Nothing meaningful or useful will be accomplished for the good of all men as long as the bush crime family is in control of our government. We have a great deal of work ahead of us to undo the damage done to this country and the world under this bush crime family occupation. I am so sorry for all the death, destruction and looting caused by this bush crime family. I am so ashamed of what has gone on under this occupation of our government. Words can not express my outrage. Every opportunity that has risen to make an honest and meaningful contribution to mankind has been seen as a chance for him and his cronies to make a profit. Most of these profits where made on the backs of victims of a tragedy. This must be one of the darkest points in the history of this country. 2009 can not arrive soon enough. For the sake of all mankind we must never fall asleep and let this happen again.

Posted by: Outraged at June 1, 2007 8:39 AM
Comment #221865

Jack,

Given the problems the EU has had with its carbon markets approach, I’ve started to lean toward carbon taxes myself. Here’s a recent article that spells out some of the issues. As the chief proponent of carbon taxes on this site, I’d really like to see you make the case for carbon taxes using as much specifics as possible — reputable projections of costs and effects, for example. The disadvantage of the carbon tax approach is it doesn’t set firm limits on emissions, and, of course, the United States had success in reducing sulfur emissions using a cap and trade approach. The EU used that scheme as a model for its own scheme, but so far less successfully because member governments have been creating far too many permits — some that permit CO2 emissions that are 15 percent greater than they are now! The carbon tax approach, however, removes some uncertainty from business planning, and prevent some of the fluctuation that can derail longterm plans. The fluctuation in oil prices, for examples, has been making it harder for renewables to make inroads. Also, we can tweak carbon taxes as we see their effect, though to some degree that puts fluctuation back into the equation. I also like that political manuerving under a carbon tax scheme would be more transparent than under a carbon market one, for which we know there would be much behind the scenes lobbying for specific rules and regulations.

I think it’s smart for humanitarian and political reasons to couple such schemes with some sort of aid to the hit on the less affluent. The Reason article quotes a source claiming that a 15 percent reduction in carbon emissions would cost the poorest households something over $500 a year.

I’d support either approach; both are far better than doing nothing.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 1, 2007 8:55 AM
Comment #221867

Outraged,

That post above is identical to one you posted in the Blue column. Regardless of political affiliation, most of us think spamming is poor form.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 1, 2007 8:59 AM
Comment #221868

Jack
Re: Out National Debt
Comeon
You’re really not THAT stupid that you confuse the national DEBT (our total bill) with the national Deficit (annual addition to the total bill)are you?

Servicing the National Debt is one of THE MAJOR components of the Budget — and with a deficit we are even borrowing money to pay the interest on borrowed money — not too bright by any measure and I don’t really give a rat’s behind what percentage of GDP it is — it is STUPID.
That interest money that is currently being paid to interests in China could be more effectively used to
let’s see, gosh, where to begin?
repay the SS loans that are NOT showing up on the National Debt??
fund Healthcare initiatives
Buy Iraq
Fix Highways
Fix New Orleans
Fund new technologies to reduce dependence on foreign oil
clean up the environment (polluted by the energy companies, seen Prudoe Bay lately??)
Don’t play stupid Jack, it doesn’t become you and it ruins what little credibility you might have left.

Posted by: Russ at June 1, 2007 9:06 AM
Comment #221869

Outraged,

That post above is identical to one you posted in the Blue column. Regardless of political affiliation, most of us think spamming is poor form.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 1, 2007 08:59 AM

Thank you Gerrold for reading my post.

I wanted eveyone to get a chance to read my post.
I guess I could reword it for you but the message will not change. Im sorry I don’t have a lot of time. But I feel I need to have a voice just as you do. I wish you good luck in the future.

Posted by: Outraged at June 1, 2007 9:21 AM
Comment #221873

President Bush talked about the breathtaking progress the U.S. has made during his administration in the helping developing nations.

Jack,

Welllll…he opened his mouth…you know what THAT means…

Posted by: Marysdude at June 1, 2007 10:00 AM
Comment #221875

I’m an educator so my comments to this post are not about its content. This post and the comments that follow are an excellect educational tool providing numerous example of how to scrutinize fact from fiction.

As I read the post many questions came to my mind. I was very pleased to see in the comments that others addressed these questions and put Jack’s comments into a different context for readers to consider.

My one comment about the content of the post. There is not a great deal to be proud of regarding this “president.” Pride in country does not have to go hand-in-hand with pride in the president. This “president” is a bafoon and a fascist terrorist with an administration riddled with corruption, secrecy and the like.

I think it will take quite awhile to weed through and dissect out fact from fiction with respect to whether or not GWB has done “any good” for his own country let alone the “world.” I would be astonished to learn that he has contributed positively in any way to the improving the lives of individuals outside of those people in his admininstration.

Iraq should define his “presidency”; it is the hallmark of his character, his leadership, his intelligence, his integrity.

I think we should be proud of the fact that as Americans we live in country that can withstand the likes of a George W. Bush. It is that quality that makes the US unique and great. And GWB certainly cannot take any credit for that fact.

The “president’s” own speeches regarding his putative accomplishments as Chief Executive are hardly credible sources of objective factual information. I dare say, any information from government sources regarding this “president” and its administration should be taken with tons (not a grain) of salt.

Posted by: Kim-Sue at June 1, 2007 10:17 AM
Comment #221878

Jack
You continue to amaze me. You really are the kind of guy who would look at your house burning down as an opportunity to toast marshmellows. I am willing to wager that we will not see GWB’s face on money as a great president for awhile.

Posted by: Bills at June 1, 2007 11:06 AM
Comment #221879
So to the Bush haters I say this. Be proud today of your country and your president. You can go back to your characteristic churlish resentment tomorrow.

Too bad, I’m both a Bush hater and french, not american! What could I do!?

While I can be proud of my country and my president (well, maybe not, I’ll wait to see his policy results first), I guess I’ll just say I’m glad that, at least, US CO2 emissions have started to drop. That’s a welcomed trend change.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 1, 2007 11:14 AM
Comment #221882

I just thought if the President gets blamed for the bad weather, he may as well get credit for the good.

No one has blamed Bush for the bad weather. It’s just that he has finally started to complain about the weather but, unlike the rest of us, isn’t doing anything about it.

Posted by: bobo at June 1, 2007 12:10 PM
Comment #221888
Variables happen

Thanks, Jack, for renouncing your claim that Bush policy was responsible for the dip.

but this is the first time we managed to grow strongly AND reduce CO2.

Proponents of this issue have always said we could grow our economy and reduce CO2. When a CO2 reduction plan is actually created and implemented, I expect that to happen.

In fact, when we get around to having a CO2 reduction policy, I predict the economy will do far better than the dismal 0.6% GDP rate we’re seeing now.

Posted by: American Pundit at June 1, 2007 12:53 PM
Comment #221893

I only wish Jimmy Carter had found the nerve to stand by his initial observation:

George W. Bush most assuredly IS the worst president in American HISTORY!!!

He has involved us in an illegal war that is not only killing Americans and Iraqi civilians in pursuit of terrorists that cannot even find, but in the history of country, no president has run up the amount of debt and deficeit spending as this one has. In fact, George W. has outstripped all the others COMBINED!

He has put us in position to be the focus dis-respect not only among those nations that either sit the fence with regard to the Islamist extremists in their midst, but also with regard to those who have tradidtionally been our ALLIES!

He has put our economy is a ever dependent position with respect to foreign oil as well as with CHINA! He has backtracked us with regard to the Kyoto accord and has pulled the plug on our advancement into alternative energy.

Further, he continues to make a mockery of American law and our CONSTITUTION!

His vile minions have carried out illegal wiretaps, demanded confidential information from telephone and cellular telephone companies on account and billing information (Sprint was a hold out - they alone had a moral spine!), terminated people for NOT violating the rules for professional, ethical conduct of lawyers by playing politics with legal cases during an election, revealed confidential information with regard to our CIA, led to Congress and lied to the U.N.

This assertion of yours makes no sense, Jack. You are taking the role of BUSH APOLOGIST to some VERY silly heights.

The only reason I can see for ANY continued support of this president, is out of loyalty to the label, republican - loyalty that outstrips any care for law, morality or the health and well-being of our people or our nation.

The terrorists wish to destroy us by attacking us directly. This president seems hell-bent on undermining everything great about this country from within.
I am more concerned about the influence Bush has on our country than I am about terrorism. Bush seems FAR more dangerous.

Posted by: RGF at June 1, 2007 2:37 PM
Comment #221894

You’re right outraged….I personally feel your summation is right on.
You’ll find that you’ve either been accepted and have opinions that are valid to other contributors, or you will just be deemed invisible. There are many others who post across all 3 columns and seem to not be chastised…

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at June 1, 2007 2:40 PM
Comment #221900

Comment #221894
You’re right outraged….I personally feel your summation is right on.
You’ll find that you’ve either been accepted and have opinions that are valid to other contributors, or you will just be deemed invisible. There are many others who post across all 3 columns and seem to not be chastised…


Posted by: Sandra Davidson at June 1, 2007 02:40 PM

Thank you Sandra Davidson for your input.

I see that some of you have read my post.
For three years or so I have been reading the watchblog posts. It looks like there are a lot of people who feel the same as I do. You are one of those people Sandra. I think that 2009 will be the start of a new and improved era for all of us, red or blue. I hope you all have a bright future.

Goog Luck!!!

Posted by: Outraged at June 1, 2007 4:04 PM
Comment #221902

Jack:

Bush makes a speech about global warming (never using this phrase) and makes suggestions that offer no specifics, such as goals, timetables, penalities - and starts in about 4 years. He’s doing this only because he is being hounded by the other 7 of the G8. And you get excited about this “achievement.”

Bush gives money for AIDS and attaches conditions so that any outfit that even suggests anything other than abstention gets no money. This hurts the best groups working to help Africans. And you call this an advance.

As far as the deficit goes, Bush built the deficit pretty fast with his tax cuts and the deficit will be with us for a long while.

I can’t see anything to rave about. Yes, he has given money for development. Not nearly enough for a rich country like U.S.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at June 1, 2007 4:48 PM
Comment #221922

Bush saves the World yet, the World still needs saving. So typical of W.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 1, 2007 8:16 PM
Comment #221937

Paul

Millions of lives are being saved in Africa. We are sending more aid then ever before. If you consider the Bush contribution insufficient, you must have really hated Clinton, who didn’t even manage half as much.

Outraged

Yes, anger is always fun. It is self satisfying to be outraged. Have fun with that while you can, but don’t make a habit of it. Hate is a barren country.

RGF

You ever wonder why the Dems didn’t pursue that wiretapping thing more aggressively or why Fitzgerald never charged the person he KNEW outed Plame or why all those smart Dems voted for the Iraq resolution?

You have constructed a story that I know you feel is coherent. Many times people have felt that way about various things. But when you really start asking yourself the disconfirming questions, you find the world is not so simple.

I guess you are really disappointed with Clinton for doing even less than Bush in terms of foreign aid or climate change, but do not worry. Hope will triumph over experience.

AP

Presidents get way to much credit or blame for what happens in the country. What you can say is that the Bush policies are certainly consistent with CO2 reductions. CO2 never was reduced during the previous administration and as far as I can determined this is the very first time we have seen a reduction while the economy was growing briskly. You can theorize that someone might do a better job, but you are basing that on supposition, not information.

BillS

Yes. If my house burned down and I could do nothing to change the situation, I would certainly try to get whatever benefit I could from the coals. It is always a good idea to make the most of any situation, good or bad.

In what I am writing about here, we have mostly good. We could argue about the climate change part, but the African aid is beyond dispute.

Posted by: Jack at June 1, 2007 9:25 PM
Comment #221940

The world needs to be saved from Cheney/Bush…

Posted by: Marysdude at June 1, 2007 9:30 PM
Comment #221945

Jack
Right. That appears to be a good thing and if so ,he deserves some credit. Sorry I am so deeply suspicious.That was not a character flaw I posessed in any great measure before this administration. He could also help Africa by funding and ungagging family planning assistance.
This is not just a “He could do more” comment. I probably do not have to remind you of the words of the great Republican president,Eisenhaur,who said something like”every bullet and every bomb is in the end a theft from the poor of the world”. Outside of getting us into a very costly and avoidable war he has also started up the arms race with Russia again for no great reason other than to keep the MIC in clover.Now Ike was a great president. I wish you guys would start looking for a candidate like him instead of another second tier Reagan.

Posted by: BillS at June 1, 2007 10:38 PM
Comment #221948

Jack
Your response to RGF about blameing Clinton for not adressing global warming was unfair. The science was not conclusive enough to effect policy. It is now with a need for urgency. Kind of like faulting Adrew Jackson for not funding AIDS research.

Posted by: BillS at June 1, 2007 11:00 PM
Comment #221963

Yes, anger is always fun. It is self satisfying to be outraged. Have fun with that while you can, but don’t make a habit of it. Hate is a barren country.

Jack….Interesting bit of condescension. “Hate is a Barren Country” seems an odd phrase coming from a supporter/member of the political party who has used hate and it’s closest ally, fear, as their tools of choice for gaining and retaining power.

23 Billion dollars. Hmmmm…that seems such a measly sum…when compared to the 500 billion this administration has spent on their “foreign policy jaunt”….just a drop in the bucket really…of course it is conservatively estimated that 1 trillion will be the final tally.

Sorry Jack…but there is nothing in your post that truly holds water…except for the African Aid…if that helps you sleep at night then …God bless, sleep well.

Posted by: Scott at June 2, 2007 1:00 AM
Comment #221978

Scott


Hate is not one of my dominant emotions and I am giving good advice. I admit to the condescension. Outraged people are usually a little childish. It is a self indulgent emotion and not one that produces generally good results. You can see from what outraged people write that they do not think clearly.

It is also dishonest. If you can say that you are outraged, you probably truly are not.

RE the billions in aid, you can say what you want about it, but it is more than any other president has done and more than any other country has ever done. So anybody outraged at Bush over this, should be even more upset with Clinton et al, and anybody disappointed with the U.S. is disappointed with the world.

Posted by: Jack at June 2, 2007 9:09 AM
Comment #221980

Jack,

You create the outrage with outragous statements and posts, then condescend to those who are outraged. Stupid game…similar to the one being played out in Iraq by your hero. Your game is superior to his only in it costs less lives.

Posted by: Marysdude at June 2, 2007 10:15 AM
Comment #221982

And our national debt increased by more than 3 trillion dollars during Bush’s 6.5 years in office. This country needs leadership which can prioritize its agenda within budgetary constraints and not continue this path toward national bankruptcy.

Bush has spent tax dollars trying to save the world at the expense of future American taxpayers whose taxes MUST increase to support the national debt expenses and opportunity costs that debt carries. In other words, his priorities have put the people of other nations ahead of the American people here at home.

Thankfully, this lame duck is going to leave office in the foreseeable future, and we voters will have another opportunity to do a better job of electing a president with a sense of Appropriate priorities.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 2, 2007 10:27 AM
Comment #221984

Dear Jack, how much of the money that we are calling aid in this conversation is money spent in the either Afghanistan or Iraq? Contrary to your “opinion” - our history proves that outrage is a mature, powerful and necessary component of societal change. It was slowly building outrage over the “peculiar institution” we called slavery through exposes such as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” that helped us get to a place where we would no longer tolerate such a thing. It was the eventual outrage over the endless carnage in Vietnam which finally forced our government to extricate itself and us from that untenable conflict (which a portion of the far right still believes we should have remained involved in - perhaps you are amongst these - I don’t know). While I respond to these posts I can barley contain my outrage over the outrageous behavior displayed by this administration and its political allies. I am outraged by the silly display of John Boehner’s weeping on the floor of the house. I am outraged that every time someone from the right gets caught for something dimwitted they have said or done they revert to their excuse for everything; their personal outrage over Bill Clinton (who spent 10 billion dollars on the war in Bosnia and didn’t lose an American Soldier). Most of all I am outraged by people who believe that outrage is childish and childish condescension is just dandy. Childish condescension, especially coming from those who have been consistently wrong and backed policies which gotten us into this unprecedented mess is, I’m going to have to be blunt, a sign of willful ignorance and whistling in the dark. The time for outrage is now - it should have come six years ago - but now is just as good a time as any. To others reading this post - let your outrage be heard as loudly and as often as is humanly possible! So, Jack, continue to express yourself and thereby stoke the outrage of the growing majority - it is the willfully ignorant who will most help create change: and I thank you & Sean & Bill & Rush & Drudge & Savage & even Tony Snow for all the help you given.

Posted by: Scott at June 2, 2007 11:08 AM
Comment #222000

Scott

You can be very effective in making changes w/o being outraged. Outrage and the hate the goes with it just are not in my character as a general rule. I prefer self-control.

Slavery was ended by the Union army, most of whom were not outraged by slavery. Sherman and Grant were not. Lincoln freed the slaves in the areas of rebellion first. These were self controled and effective men. Not haters and ragers. Richard Nixon got us out of Vietnam after his political consideration that we could not continue. All those outraged guys helped him get elected (with their negative examples), but I am not sure that was their strategy.

If you are outraged by almost everything, I think you have to question your points of reference.

And if I can make you outraged by what I (a bloggin’ nobody) write on an anonymous blog open to anybody, I am surprised and - I guess - flattered by the respect you give me.

Posted by: Jack at June 2, 2007 1:44 PM
Comment #222003

Jack,

Clinton did MORE, not less.
The Oslo accord and Kyoto are not less.
Neither is food and medical aid to Haiti, the poorest nation in our hemisphere.
What is it with you republicans and this unholy tendency to re-write history to serve your purposes?

Keep it up, if you must. It is rather thoroughly self-defeating. Let it roll, Jack.

We’ll finally put all the ills of your party to right by weakening your party utterly. I just hope the Dems grow enough spine to stand up to the bs and power brokers that are running your party and this country into the ground.
Ultimately, it will probably take some rather significant campaign reform and some vigilence on all our parts to ensure that the lobbyists and power brokers that are corrupting your party and our nation don’t find a back door.

This lot seems to value their own power far greater than that which they were sworn to uphold. The saddest part of the whole mess is the existence of those who value some kind of misguided party loyalty far greater than our nation’s Constitution and laws.

Jack, you can see what is going on as clearly as anybody else can, can’t you? How does it come to pass that you should find yourself a Bush apologist? Why do you put greater value in defending the indefensible than in the foundations of our country? Why is it that party loyalty means more to you than American law?

WAS THERE ANY POINT IN THE LAST 6+ YEARS THAT YOU EVEN CONSIDERED THAT BUSH WAS A MISTAKE?

If the answer is no, than party loyalty means more to you than morality or even law.

As disgusted as I am with Bush, I am even more disgusted with the fact that 20% of America still feels as you do about him and are still loyal in the face of all he has done.

True American values are giving way to dirty politics and immoral/amoral thugs who call themselves political party leaders. Karl Rove, for instance. He no sooner saw his adoptive father out (Who was gay) and he proceeded to mobilize the right wing evangelicals for an attack on the dems in ‘04 based on Gay marriage and homosexual rights! Rove himself is agnostic/atheist. It is only the politcal motivation machine he likes about the evangelicals in this country.

This shit has got to stop, Jack. Votes need to count and be counted in this country or our very foundation will rot out from under us. We need a better educated electorate. We need better educated Americans. We need to put a MUCH higher priority on education than we have been.

Posted by: RGF at June 2, 2007 2:08 PM
Comment #222006

RGF

Did Clinton ever submit Kyoto to the Congress? And how did that Oslo thing work out?

Yes, Clinton did good in Haiti and Bush is doing good in Africa. Take a look at the relative sizes.


Re mistakes

Bush made lots of mistakes and did many thing I did not like. But when I consider the alternatives, I think we did better. We cannot judge Bush against a hypothetical president. We have Kerry or Gore. We do not know how these guys would have done. Given their records (as VP and Senator) I would not be very confident.

It is easy to talk about what we wooda, shoulda, coulda done. During the last Dem administration, we did less in terms of foreign aid and we did nothing re global warming except heat up the air by talking about it.

Dems now control both houses of congress. They have not done much noteworthy. They passed on the tougher ethics rules they so boldly advocated for other. Murtha goes around threatening other members of congress when they oppose his earnmarks. Pelosi visits Assad and treats him like her buddy. I guess those power brokers are pretty strong in your party too.

What was Conyers postition about a cooling off period? He would not want to miss that prime lobby time, would he.

Dems press for ethics as long as the rules do not apply to them.

Maybe Dems will do better in the future, but they have not shown much talent yet.

Posted by: Jack at June 2, 2007 2:36 PM
Comment #222038

Didn’t outrage win the last election?

Posted by: Edge at June 2, 2007 10:13 PM
Comment #222063

Wasn’t it Jefferson who said America needs a revolution every decade, or some such? Isn’t it difficult to hold a revolution without at least a little outrage? You are outragous to think otherwise, Jack…

I am outraged to think that my outrage is a compliment to you…

Posted by: Marysdude at June 3, 2007 6:48 AM
Comment #222064

By the way, I’m also outraged at Cheney/Bush, and I can GUARANTEE it ain’t complimentary…

Posted by: Marysdude at June 3, 2007 6:51 AM
Comment #222075

Marysdude

Jefferson was a man. A great man. But even great men make serious mistakes. Although I would say that the American free market system has managed to create essentially a permanent revolution w/o all the burnings and beheadings.

It is a bit silly, as I pointed out, to get outraged at a somebody like me. It IS a compliment that you take me seriously enough that I can sit here and remotely provoke outrage. What power you have ceded to me!

Posted by: Jack at June 3, 2007 9:44 AM
Comment #222091

Marysdude,
I’m sick of both parties offering, frankly. As to Jack’s assertion that Kerry or Gore would have been worse….I’ll say this. What a discussion!!!! A race to the bottom.

This is exactly why I am supporting Ron Paul. He is changing the debate. He is focused on long term, real issues, rather than the blather of either side of the isle. If it’s revolution you want, you have to look outside of what the power elite is offering.

I’ll agree with Jack we don’t need to storm the castle and behead anyone, but like Marie Antionette, Jack best heed rage and not presume his catbird seat makes him safe.

Posted by: barneygoogle at June 3, 2007 12:17 PM
Comment #222108

barney

Catbird seat? I write for a blog, for which I do not get paid. If readers of this blog get outraged at me enough that I get “fired” the only result will be that I have more time on my hands.

This whole outrage thing we see around here is so bourgeoisie. We have comfortable people claiming outrage over words. People who have the leisure and educations to write (plus the computers to do it on) claiming to be like oppressed peasants. There has been a fantastic change in the way society is organized and how it works, but we still think in terms of the French revolution. In those days, the poor did most of the work, while rich were mostly idle. They lived off the rents of properties they had inherited and protected their privileges with laws and monopolies that prevented others from competing with them.

Today, the poorest 20% works hardly at all. If everybody earning in the lowest 20% disappeared tomorrow, you might not have your grass cut and some people might miss a haircut, but you really would not be greatly inconvenienced. If they wanted to be revolutionary, so what. They might be angry and outraged, but they lack the skills, ability or motivation to even get a full time job. It is unlikely they could sustain the effort to be revolutionary. Everybody else has a lot more to lose than to gain and we have the pseudo revolutionary guys who will not even pay more for a tank of gas to save the environment, a cause they claim to feel passionately about.

We Americans live in a state of constant revolution and churning. We reorganize all the time. Our strength is its mobility and flexibility that makes revolution unnecessary. In the political area, we can vote out anybody we really dislike. On the economic side, people with good ideas and ambition get ahead. We successfully integrate them into the successful groups. Many of them still claim to be revolutionary, but they are not. Look at the angry Dems. We have John ($400 haircut) Edwards talking about the poor. Hillary (millions in book deals) Clinton defending the helpless and lets not forget John Kerry is one of the richest men in America w/o ever meeting a payroll.

Revolution to most U.S. radicals is a kind of kabuki.

This is good. Real revolutions always fail. They end up costing millions of lives with little to show for it. If they are lucky, a couple of decades later they evolve into something approaching a market based economy, but they could have done that without all the shouting and bloodshed.

Bush hatred is strong, but that is mostly just self indulgent outrage, sound and fury signifying nothing. Bush will not be president in 2009. They can rage against him until then and then it will be a waste of time.

Posted by: Jack at June 3, 2007 2:14 PM
Comment #222129

Jack
“Real revolutions always fail.”

And this from an American? Jefferson would cringe.

The poorest 20% will just not do us the favor of”just disapearing”. Bear this in mind the next time the cities burn. Our prisons are full to the brim. All is not right in wonderland. We can do better.

BTW A large campaign requires the meeting of a payroll.Also concern for the less fortunate does not require a vow of poverty. Thats a cheap shot.

Bush hatred? Has it ever occured to to you that that there mat be some justification for it ,seeing that it is so popular. That maybe it is not some viralent personality defect spreading like wildfire for no reason? Bush is a figure head. He represents the MIC,the oil oligarchs,the imperialist,the very worst of our country.He is a figure head not just for the left. You spend a great deal of thought and time defending him when he has clearly been incompetant at best. No need for the litany here.You know it already.

Posted by: BillS at June 3, 2007 4:02 PM
Comment #222156

BillS

Our revolution was more like an independence movement. Before the revolution, men like Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin and Adams ran the show in the colonies. After the revolution, men like Washington, Jefferson, Madison & Franklin ran the show in the new nation. They just got rid of foreign top management. That is why it worked. It was not a revolution in the sense of the French, Russian, Chinese etc.

Re the rich Dems - Edwards’ $400 haircuts are not really needed for his campaign. Kerry had the billions before he ran.

Re the poorest 20%, I am not saying that we should not try to help the situation. I am merely pointing out that these guys are not revolutionary material.

Re Bush hatred - people can hate whomever they want. But hatred is not a very useful emotion and besides Bush will not be around much longer. Besides Bush hatred makes people overlook many important things he has done and/or embrace things that are destructive to their own goals.

Posted by: Jack at June 3, 2007 7:01 PM
Comment #222160

Jack

Does that 20% include the people that harvest your food. You dismissed them.
The American revolution was more than a change of management. Though glossed over there were also retributions against loyalist. The term “too lynch’ someone comes from a post revolutionary judge that was fond of hanging British loyalist. Many of the same were driven out,leaveing their holdings ,to Cananda. Property redistribution.The revolution did not get as out of hand as say the French revolt but then again King Goerge and company were protected by the Atlantic ocean from the guillotine. My point here is that as Americans we were born to revolution and susequent immigrations have only added to that propensity. Lets face it. Most of our forefathers were kicked out of every self-respecting country in the world. We are restless,we are impatient and too many of us are poor.We have been spared revolution because,as you point out, we have revolutions all the time through the ballot box. So far so good but increasingly the ballot is not working for an ever growing segment of the population and indeed one rapidly growing portion is legally dis-enfranchised. This is dangerious. Your characterization has the smack of whistling past the graveyard.

Posted by: BillS at June 3, 2007 7:38 PM
Comment #222162

BillS

I would surmise that the produce harvesters are not in the 20% range. Take a look at a number of the check stubs or cash take-away from their “employers” and you will see they do not fit into the low 20%. I have seen them cash checks at Safeway for 600, 700, 800 dollars for a weeks worth or work. That’s for those jobs Americans don’t want of course.

Posted by: tomh at June 3, 2007 7:47 PM
Comment #222163

I do not think the lower 20% includes most of the people who harvest my food. Most of the lower 20% does not work at all.

America is very revolutionary. It is just constantly revolutionary and not very politically revolutionary in the sense we use the term today. We are a people of good sense. Revolutionaries tend not to be. We just like to call ourselves rebels, but when 300 million people call themselves rebels, you have to ask yourself how they are using the term.

Re redistribution. I live on property once owned by George Washington. He owned pretty much everything around here. What he didn’t own, his friends Mason, Madison, Monroe or Jefferson owned.

We were revolutionaries for the free market. That is why ours worked, while the Russian, French and Chinese slipped into despotism.

Posted by: Jack at June 3, 2007 7:52 PM
Comment #222168

Jack
So you think lettuce and strawberry pickers are lower middle class or do you not regard them in your equasions?

Posted by: BillS at June 3, 2007 8:26 PM
Comment #222173

BillS

They simply are not in the lower 20%. That is precisely the point. The lower 20% does almost no work. The U.S. has become a very affluent society. The pictures in our minds are just old fashioned. The Grapes of Wrath was the 1930s.

We have some working poor in America. We are trying address their problems with earned income credits etc. But we need to update our perceptions. When some of the biggest problems of the poor are releated to obesity, we may need to redefine means to be poor. Les miserables they ain’t.

Posted by: Jack at June 3, 2007 9:00 PM
Comment #222193

Jack
Perhaps it is regional. I live in Ca.wine country. The grapes of wrath and I are nieghbors.
An aside.I live on land that belonged to General Vallejo,of course the Coast Miwoks had a thousand years of squatter’s rights.
We have regional insurrections from time to time already. The Rodney King riots for example. It is also a truism that prison are always full before a revolt.The nearest we came to a national revolution was during the depression. It was forstalled by the ,genious cripple,FDR and the New Deal. That is another reason why the long going assault on the New Deal by the right is troublesome.As a student of history and economics you must know that another depression could indeed happen and when it does it is likely to involve social unrest. In which case,sleep lightly, my friend.

Today Gingrich called this administration,”dysfunctional”.I would call that rats off a ship. Whats your take?

Posted by: BillS at June 3, 2007 11:46 PM
Comment #222212

Rodney King riots. I remember them. That is where a bunch of thugs attacked mostly Korean stores and stole what they could easily carry. They then burned and vandalized their own neigborhoods and beat and raped their neighbors. This is a bad thing, but not an insurection. Do not dignify those criminals.

Re the Great Depression - Back then we had an economic collapse. Unemployment reached 29%, which was even worse than it would be today since most families has a single breadwinner. FDR put in some good programs, which we still have today. I do not advocate returning to 1929. The very point is that we have moved well beyond that today. We just do not have those conditions.

We have unemployment of 4.5%. Almost everybody owns a car, television, microwave and DVD player. Those rioters and looters (alternative shoppers) you mention were stealing electronics, not food. The biggest problems of the poor result from obesity. This is not 1929 and it might be useful to update the picture.

If we get another depression with 29% unemployed, I will take it very seriously. I cannot get too upset when unemployment hovers below 5% and any reasonably diligent person can find a job.

Posted by: Jack at June 4, 2007 8:14 AM
Comment #222215

Jack,

Having a job is not anymore a warrent to not being poor.

You’re right, the Great Depression picture must be updated. But the update should include the Job = Not Poor assertion.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 4, 2007 9:59 AM
Comment #222216

Sorry, “warrant”, not warrent!

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 4, 2007 10:00 AM
Comment #222231

Jack

This is the modern civilized world. There should not be the need for death and destruction that we are seeing at this time in Iraq. It was a mistake to do what we have done. What should I be if not outraged at what I have seen happen to our country our children and our hard earned tax dollars? My son came back from Iraq after two tours, I feel very lucky. There are a lot of people that did not get there child back. How should they feel? Should they feel strong emotions? My son got out of the Marines after his last tour in Iraq. He told me it was a very big mistake to do what we have done. I am sorry Jack maybe I should seek anger management or get some medications so I can be numb or oblivious.

Posted by: Outraged at June 4, 2007 11:13 AM
Comment #222276

Phillippe

If you work full time and are reasonably diligent, you are unlikely to stay poor very long. I will get back to the definitions we were using. Very few full time workers fall into the lower 20%.

Outraged

There have been many mistakes in this war. Most wars are like that. It is the nature of war. Remember that FUBAR and SNAFU are WWII terms. It is very easy to see what went wrong after it has happened. If we knew then what we know now, we would make other mistakes.

I do not know how the people whose sons did not come back feel. There are around 3500 families and I am sure they all have different responses. From the news reports, it seems that most are greiving but not outraged. The two do not have to go together.

Posted by: Jack at June 4, 2007 8:51 PM
Comment #222362

Jack,

You are deluding yourslef -

“If you work full time and are reasonably diligent, you are unlikely to stay poor very long. I will get back to the definitions we were using. Very few full time workers fall into the lower 20%.”

I have cited, many times, many reasons why it is that the bottom stays the bottom.

It is a myth that simply working hard and being diligent will pull you up. It is a common myth among Americans who have not yet opened their eyes to what goes on around them. The truth is that there are far too many whose situations are such that only by extreme luck and timing AS WELL as hard work, will they ever even be able survive. That is true right here in our own country and among our own citizens. It true along the border with Mexico to an even greater degree. It is true among the many dispossessed who endured hurricaine Katrina. It is true among those who live places like Detroit MI, Laredo TX, Espanola NM, The Pine Ridge reservation N. Dakota and various other places right here in our own country.

It is my belief that once you take a “conservative” (This term is a misnomer - by definition) and show them a thing or two - educate them or watch them travel a bit more, you end up with a liberal. That is why the still shetered and tunnel visioned “conservatives” imagine that the institutions of higher learning have somehow become liberal breeding grounds. The truth they are missing is that perhaps it only appears to be so because THEY ARE WRONG!!!!

…and it only takes a little exposure to unsheltered truth and reality to make that clear to those who travel and or educate themselves.

Posted by: RGF at June 5, 2007 5:19 PM
Comment #222363

Jack,

You are deluding yourslef -

“If you work full time and are reasonably diligent, you are unlikely to stay poor very long. I will get back to the definitions we were using. Very few full time workers fall into the lower 20%.”

I have cited, many times, many reasons why it is that the bottom stays the bottom.

It is a myth that simply working hard and being diligent will pull you up. It is a common myth among Americans who have not yet opened their eyes to what goes on around them. The truth is that there are far too many whose situations are such that only by extreme luck and timing AS WELL as hard work, will they ever even be able survive. That is true right here in our own country and among our own citizens. It true along the border with Mexico to an even greater degree. It is true among the many dispossessed who endured hurricaine Katrina. It is true among those who live places like Detroit MI, Laredo TX, Espanola NM, The Pine Ridge reservation N. Dakota and various other places right here in our own country.

It is my belief that once you take a “conservative” (This term is a misnomer - by definition) and show them a thing or two - educate them or watch them travel a bit more, you end up with a liberal. That is why the still shetered and tunnel visioned “conservatives” imagine that the institutions of higher learning have somehow become liberal breeding grounds. The truth they are missing is that perhaps it only appears to be so because THEY ARE WRONG!!!!

…and it only takes a little exposure to unsheltered truth and reality to make that clear to those who travel and or educate themselves.

Posted by: RGF at June 5, 2007 5:23 PM
Comment #222390

RGF

I have been to most of the states and many foreign countries. The more I travel, the more I see the free market is the way to go.

The upper limit of the lowest quintile is just over $17,000 a year. That is household income. It is possible that a single earner could work full time and not achieve that, but it would be unlikley he would stay at that level for long. It is around $8 an hour. Our local Arbys pays that.

I understand that there are some poor people. Some people are very unlucky and some habits keep people poor. But while it may be hard to become rich, it is not very hard to become NOT poor. When poverty is persistent, we have to figure out how to change the culture of poverty. We actually know what works, but often do not want to apply it.

Posted by: Jack at June 5, 2007 11:29 PM
Comment #222477

Don’t kid yourself, Jack!

We live in a MANIPULATED market.

The most hideous manipulating is what we do to other nations in order to stay on top.

Mexico is a prime example.

Posted by: RGF at June 6, 2007 9:06 PM
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