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Old 04-15-2003, 12:07 AM   #46
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I disagree that deregulation is the cause of what would be considered by most economist to be uncomfortable economic times but not catastrophic.

I certainly don't think the USA has an underpayed labor force. The USA has the 6th highest Standard of living in the world according to the annual UN Development Index. Europe is far more regulated than the USA which is why unemployment and economic problems there are worse. The European Union on average has an unemployment rate 50% higher than the USA. Countries like Italy and France are busy trying to deregulate their economies and adopt the American like models because they have worked better.

The economic downturn of the past 2 and half years is not nearly as serious as past economic downturns. Many would argue that a recession, two consecutives quarters of negative GDP growth, has not taken place. The economy has continued to move slowly. Unemployment has crept up from 4% to 5.8%. But 5.8% is still less than the level of unemployment during Bill Clintons first two years in office. According to economist in the 1990s, the natural rate of unemployement is 6%, meaning there would always be at least 6% unemployment do to normal transitions in the job market. Bottom line is that 5.8% unemployment can be improved and its nothing to panic about.

I agree though that a continued muddled economy, if not a serious downturn, will not get Bush re-elected in 2004, but the problems with this economy at this point are not as severe as the actual recession that W's father experienced.

A poll out today shows that 62% of people in this country believe the USA is headed in the right direction.
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Old 04-15-2003, 03:15 AM   #47
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I cannot believe the direction Bush is trying to take the US. It makes me physically ill. Apparently might does indeed make right.
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Old 04-15-2003, 06:09 AM   #48
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I'm horrified by what the Bush administration has been saying about Syria in the last few days. I always knew that war on Iraq wouldn't be the last war Bush wanted to wage, but it's just unbelievable how quickly they've started preparing to attack Syria. The war in Iraq isn't even over, and yet every day we're hearing about how Syria "has weapons of mass destruction" and "is harbouring Iraqi leaders" etc.
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Old 04-15-2003, 08:11 AM   #49
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Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees
I'm horrified by what the Bush administration has been saying about Syria in the last few days. I always knew that war on Iraq wouldn't be the last war Bush wanted to wage, but it's just unbelievable how quickly they've started preparing to attack Syria. The war in Iraq isn't even over, and yet every day we're hearing about how Syria "has weapons of mass destruction" and "is harbouring Iraqi leaders" etc.
So am I! They are just next on a long list. I'm seriously ill by the thought of what my gov't may do and the people that blindly follow along the "party" line.
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Old 04-15-2003, 08:31 AM   #50
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From todays NYTimes:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/15/in...15INTE.html?th

INTELLIGENCE REPORTS
Syria Harbors Iraqis and Grants Transit to Hezbollah, U.S. Asserts
By DON VAN NATTA Jr. and DOUGLAS JEHL

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/15/in...15DIPL.html?th

DIPLOMACY
U.S. Threatens to Impose Penalties Against Syrians
By STEVEN R. WEISMAN

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/15/in...15SYRI.html?th

Syria Fears the Unknown: What's Behind U.S. Threats
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR

Sounds like preparation for the next strike to me

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Old 04-15-2003, 10:24 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees
I'm horrified by what the Bush administration has been saying about Syria in the last few days. I always knew that war on Iraq wouldn't be the last war Bush wanted to wage, but it's just unbelievable how quickly they've started preparing to attack Syria.
While I fundamentally agree with this, I don't think Bush is in charge of this. Maybe his administration, but Bush is not in charge of this. Not to sound like some off the rocker conspiracy theorist but has anyone seen Cheney lately?

Last year, Powell said Syria had done a great job helping America with information on suspected terrorists. How did that change?

As for Qatar, there is no way where are going in there. They are friends to us now, have given many more rights to women than any other Middle Eastern country, and are moving toward creating a democracy.
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Old 04-15-2003, 10:51 AM   #52
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Originally posted by Basstrap
shhh...don't tell Bush about lybia...hopefully they can keep low under the radar until bush gets out of office

++ Suspected of WMD + Terrorist Activity
+ Fundamentalist dictator
+ Horrible human rights record
+ American hating country
+ a pretty small army
+ Memmories of fun times during the 70s that can be brought back through videotapes!!!

all the necessary ingredients to be invaded
Actually, Libya's dictator is not an Islamic fundamentalist--quite the opposite. A notable event was when his Parliament (why do dictators always have puppet Parliaments?) overwhelmingly voted to marginalize women, according to Islamic tradition, and Qadhafi (sp?) literally ripped the bill into pieces.

He is a secular, Marxist-leaning dictator in the tradition of Egypt's Nasser. That certainly doesn't mean I'm defending him; we just have to stop stereotyping all Middle East leaders as Koran-thumping Islamic fanatics.

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Old 04-15-2003, 10:55 AM   #53
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"5.8% unemployment" is a misleading figure, courtesy of the Reagan administration. "5.8% unemployment" refers to jobless claims; those who fall off the system are no longer categorized as "unemployed," and, statistically-speaking, assumes that they have been employed. That is clearly not the case, nor does it measure the quality of the jobs out there. "Employed" could mean working for a temp agency, down from a full-time position that paid more than twice as much.

We ridicule nations like France and Germany with their unemployment, but I question whether they fiddle with their statistics as much as we do. If these nations have such terrible unemployment compared to us, then why are there five nations ahead of us in the quality-of-life scale? It is my view that our unemployment and inflation statistics are grossly miscalculated, due to some crafty redefining during the 1980s.

As for that "62% approval," who really cares what the public perceives? The public may be settling for less than they could have.

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Old 04-15-2003, 11:03 AM   #54
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This article was printed before the Syria chant began. But it's erie in its parellels. (not in it's entirety). That is here:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/fea....marshall.html

In their view, invasion of Iraq was not merely, or even primarily, about getting rid of Saddam Hussein. Nor was it really about weapons of mass destruction, though their elimination was an important benefit. Rather, the administration sees the invasion as only the first move in a wider effort to reorder the power structure of the entire Middle East. Prior to the war, the president himself never quite said this openly. But hawkish neoconservatives within his administration gave strong hints. In February, Undersecretary of State John Bolton told Israeli officials that after defeating Iraq, the United States would "deal with" Iran, Syria, and North Korea. Meanwhile, neoconservative journalists have been channeling the administration's thinking. Late last month, The Weekly Standard's Jeffrey Bell reported that the administration has in mind a "world war between the United States and a political wing of Islamic fundamentalism ... a war of such reach and magnitude [that] the invasion of Iraq, or the capture of top al Qaeda commanders, should be seen as tactical events in a series of moves and countermoves stretching well into the future."

In short, the administration is trying to roll the table--to use U.S. military force, or the threat of it, to reform or topple virtually every regime in the region, from foes like Syria to friends like Egypt, on the theory that it is the undemocratic nature of these regimes that ultimately breeds terrorism. So events that may seem negative--Hezbollah for the first time targeting American civilians; U.S. soldiers preparing for war with Syria--while unfortunate in themselves, are actually part of the hawks' broader agenda. Each crisis will draw U.S. forces further into the region and each countermove in turn will create problems that can only be fixed by still further American involvement, until democratic governments--or, failing that, U.S. troops--rule the entire Middle East.

There is a startling amount of deception in all this--of hawks deceiving the American people, and perhaps in some cases even themselves. While it's conceivable that bold American action could democratize the Middle East, so broad and radical an initiative could also bring chaos and bloodshed on a massive scale. That all too real possibility leads most establishment foreign policy hands, including many in the State Department, to view the Bush plan with alarm. Indeed, the hawks' record so far does not inspire confidence. Prior to the invasion, for instance, they predicted that if the United States simply announced its intention to act against Saddam regardless of how the United Nations voted, most of our allies, eager to be on our good side, would support us. Almost none did. Yet despite such grave miscalculations, the hawks push on with their sweeping new agenda.

Like any group of permanent Washington revolutionaries fueled by visions of a righteous cause, the neocons long ago decided that criticism from the establishment isn't a reason for self-doubt but the surest sign that they're on the right track. But their confidence also comes from the curious fact that much of what could go awry with their plan will also serve to advance it. A full-scale confrontation between the United States and political Islam, they believe, is inevitable, so why not have it now, on our terms, rather than later, on theirs? Actually, there are plenty of good reasons not to purposely provoke a series of crises in the Middle East. But that's what the hawks are setting in motion, partly on the theory that the worse things get, the more their approach becomes the only plausible solution.

Moral Cloudiness

Ever since the neocons burst upon the public policy scene 30 years ago, their movement has been a marriage of moral idealism, military assertiveness, and deception. Back in the early 1970s, this group of then-young and still mostly Democratic political intellectuals grew alarmed by the post-Vietnam Democrats' seeming indifference to the Soviet threat. They were equally appalled, however, by the amoral worldview espoused by establishment Republicans like Henry Kissinger, who sought co-existence with the Soviet Union. As is often the case with ex-socialists, the neocons were too familiar with communist tactics to ignore or romanticize communism's evils. The fact that many neocons were Jewish, and outraged by Moscow's increasingly visible persecution of Jews, also caused them to reject both the McGovernite and Kissingerian tendencies to ignore such abuses.

In Ronald Reagan, the neocons found a politician they could embrace. Like them, Reagan spoke openly about the evils of communism and, at least on the peripheries of the Cold War, preferred rollback to coexistence. Neocons filled the Reagan administration, and men like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Frank Gaffney, and others provided the intellectual ballast and moral fervor for the sharp turn toward confrontation that the United States adopted in 1981.

But achieving moral clarity often requires hiding certain realities. From the beginning, the neocons took a much more alarmist view of Soviet capacities and intentions than most experts. As late as 1980, the ur-neocon Norman Podhoretz warned of the imminent "Finlandization of America, the political and economic subordination of the United States to superior Soviet power," even raising the possibility that America's only options might be "surrender or war." We now know, of course, that U.S. intelligence estimates, which many neocons thought underestimated the magnitude and durability of Soviet power, in fact wildly overestimated them.

This willingness to deceive--both themselves and others--expanded as neocons grew more comfortable with power. Many spent the Reagan years orchestrating bloody wars against Soviet proxies in the Third World, portraying thugs like the Nicaraguan Contras and plain murderers like Jonas Savimbi of Angola as "freedom fighters." The nadir of this deceit was the Iran-Contra scandal, for which Podhoretz's son-in-law, Elliot Abrams, pled guilty to perjury. Abrams was later pardoned by Bush's father, and today, he runs Middle East policy in the Bush White House.
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Old 04-15-2003, 01:44 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
I cannot believe the direction Bush is trying to take the US. It makes me physically ill. Apparently might does indeed make right.
Completely agree with you. The last thing we need now is another conflict in the Middle East.

***

Btw, Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 after 18 years of occupation, but it still occupies the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in the 1967 war, and Israel still refuses to give the land back, in spite of several UN resolutions ordering the withdrawal of Israel from the Golan Heights. In fact, the UN Human Rights Commission today passed four resolutions strongly condemning Israel's human rights record and its occupation of the Golan Heights. Guess which country voted against all four resolutions.
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Old 04-15-2003, 03:16 PM   #56
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Well, now Colin Powell is telling the press that the U.S. government doesn't plan to attack either Syria or Iran. They're just screaming bloody murder at them for whatever reason. Gah, I don't want to have to stop the war in Syria or Iran or wherever.
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Old 04-15-2003, 10:10 PM   #57
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Originally posted by Electric Blue

Guess which country voted against all four resolutions.
must not have been Libya, maybe Texas?
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Old 04-15-2003, 10:40 PM   #58
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Ormus,

There are only 3 nations in Europe that have a higher standard of living than the USA, Switzerland, Norway, and Sweden. Canada and Australia are the other two nations ahead of the USA in standard of living. The big countries in Europe, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom are all behind the USA in standard of living.

Well one could debate for a long time whether your idea's about Reagan's fudging statistics are true are not. Its definitely a tactic of those who can't easily refute such statistics. But it really does not matter here since what ever the system is, we have been using it longer than the time frame in which I made the comparison. I was not comparing Unemployment an inflation today to the pre-Reagan era of the 70s. I was comparing it to conditions in this country 10 years ago. Most economist still use these statistics and if they do, thats because they think its an accurate measure of the economy. Those that have a political agenda to push will of course dispute them. But the non-aligned objective economist continues to use them and thats good enough for me.
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Old 04-15-2003, 10:46 PM   #59
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RELAX

The United States is not going to be attacking Iran or Syria. A simple look at military deployments will tell you what is really going on. Two Aircraft Carriers are on their way home. Other ships and aircraft are heading home. The US 1st infantry division that was supposed to deploy to Iraq as a follow on force has had those orders canceled. There will be a force of 75,000 to 100,000 US troops that will stay in the region to keep Iraq secure as it rebuilds and begins the tough road of creating a democracy.
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Old 04-15-2003, 10:55 PM   #60
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Electric Blue,

"Btw, Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 after 18 years of occupation, but it still occupies the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in the 1967 war, and Israel still refuses to give the land back, in spite of several UN resolutions ordering the withdrawal of Israel from the Golan Heights. In fact, the UN Human Rights Commission today passed four resolutions strongly condemning Israel's human rights record and its occupation of the Golan Heights. Guess which country voted against all four resolutions."

Guess who offered to give Syria 99% of the Golan Heights back despite Syria's invasions, terrorism and refusal to recognize it as a state? Israel. How many of you know how many Israely civilians were killed by Syrian artillery every year when they owned the Golan Heights? Syria supports Hezebolah and Humas, two terrorist organizations! Where is the Human Rights Commissions outcry over that?

Its sad that Israel has to put up with this shit after everything they have been through over the past 50 years, not to mention what many of them went through while they were still in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. We know some of the strongest opposition to Israel comes from the continent where 6 million Jews were slaughtered.
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