Bush to raise defense spending 7.1%. Nearly double what the PNAC proponents advocate- 3.8%. That is without including 50 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan war efforts, not to mention the others the administration wishes to persue around the world. You'll note that much of this is an indirect subsidy to his buddies in the defence industry. The money earmarked for space will benefit many of the same concerns.
Democrats and some Republicans say Mr Bush is on a spending spree. Senator John Kerry, who leads the polls to be the Democratic presidential candidate, said Mr Bush's budget was "more of the same: record deficits, tax cuts for the wealthy and special interests, and cuts in areas that matter to families, such as health care and education."
January held the second highest death toll for US forces in Iraq since the George W Bush "Mission Accomplished" press happening on the USS Lincoln in May, 2003.
This piece from Paul de Rooij bears reading. Here's a teaser quote.
The Bush regime is doing its best to hide the human cost of its recent wars. Publicity of the soldiers? deaths is bad during an election year, and would be bad for the continued justification for the American occupation of Iraq. If they are intent on hiding the casualty figures, then it behooves us to uncover and amplify them.
War is about Death. Force, death and domination. Bottom line. The folks that are selling us the Iraq without the UN occupation need us to forget this basic fact.
It is hard to live without a job in America, Republican policy sees the "Safety Net" shredded, calling for smaller government. Since Mr Bush was appointed 3 million jobs have disappeared. Keep in mind that "free trade" and "globalization" have been readily supported by both parties in our government. "We the People" are a "special interest" group until election time, and even then moneyed interest fill their campaign coffers. Whatever happened to the idea "Buy American" anyway?
Contracting jobs overseas is 'simply the latest manifestation of free trade', a top White House economic aide said in defence of a practice used by American companies.
Since the ending of the Temporary Extended Unemployment Program 375,000 workers will go without any benefit income at all. A new record.
With the ending of the federal Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation (TEUC) program, jobless workers whose regular, state-funded unemployment insurance benefits run out before they can find a job no longer qualify for any federal unemployment aid. An estimated 375,000 unemployed individuals are exhausting their regular unemployment benefits in January without qualifying for any further assistance ? and are receiving neither a paycheck nor unemployment benefits. Based on the latest data, nearly two million unemployed workers are expected to be in this situation during the first six months of 2004. (This analysis also includes state projections for the first half of 2004.)
Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index rose to 63.6 in January a record his since 1983.
The U.S. manufacturing sector continues to post numbers showing a very strong economic recovery," said Lara Rhame, senior economist at Brown Brothers Harriman.
New orders, a key sign of future growth, hovered at the best levels since the early 1970s. But a surge in factory output has yet to translate into jobs, with the employment index slipping to 52.9 from 53.5 in December.
I'll admit I have no idea what those two "index" numbers mean. I just know what I see around me.
What sort of "recovery" is this?
Over at Dissident Voice I found an article that touches very powerfully on the pervasive ability of the corporate media to shape political dialogue in our media saturated culture. I won't offer a synopsis of the article but I will mention a couple observations of my own. I spoke with a journalist from the Atlanta-Constitution who was present at the speech where Howard Dean was hooting and hollering to pump up his volunteers after a less than stellar showing in Iowa; he said it was popular consensus that the act was unremarkable, was not given a second thought. Another journalist has said it could hardly be heard over the din of the crowd. Funny that TV media made it a defining moment for him. Remember "The Mighty Wurlitzer"effect. Not policy, but enthusiasm was the crime. Remember when the press made the comment that Al Gore appeared "wooden"? That rather than policy was used to typify his (successful) bid for the votes of the American people for the Presidency.
Another observation is backed up by a link I found at the always excellent Cursor. Why would The New York Times advocate leaving Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton out of further Democratic debates? Could it be that Mr Kucinich has sensible ideas, ideas that resonate with the majority of Americans- and furthermore other candidates are picking up on them? Truly Democratic ideals are dangerous to the Times largest advertisers, such as Mr Kucinich stands on trade laws, and "special interests", stands I heard Mr Dean and Mr Kerry echoing.
Mr Kerry has recieved 225,000 dollars from corporate lobbyists, nearly double that of Howard Dean, who is second in the reaping of lobbyist dollars. Mr Edwards has taken money from people connected to business interests. He has also accepted the use of corporate jets to the tune of 150,000 dollars. Edwards' campaign manager was a registered lobbyist in 2002.
Read the transcript of the South Carolina debate.
Kucinich gives fact and figure based substantive answers, and asks questions that the other candidates shy away from. Sharpton too asks questions that America needs to hear.
KUCINICH: Well, Tom, keep in mind, there's so much talent on this stage that I believe this race is going to go all the way to the convention. And what that means -- no one's going to get 50 percent of the delegates going to the convention. And I expect to be able to pick up delegates, state by state. And I'll arrive at the convention right in the mix for the nomination, and I look forward to it.
And you have to love Reverand Al.
SHARPTON: Well, first of all, I think this is beyond politics. This is about the direction of the party.
I fully expect to win primaries in the coming weeks.
But I'm going to win because I'm speaking the issues and interests of people that have been ignoring.
BROKAW: No, no, I'm talking about the Islamic movement around the world, because it really does transcend nations in many ways.
SHARPTON: But, in many ways, I think that we can't allow the distortion, because Mr. Bush and some of his crowd have said they represent a Christian view against the Islamic. And I don't think Christ could join most of their churches.
I'd also ask you, as you read the transcript to note Mr Brokaw's "attitude". Would he ask questions this way of Mr Bush?
Are the monied elite afraid that the American people might think if they have more than soundbites and rhetoric to base their political analysis on?
You be the judge.