The missing comments for Bush's blog
"These people for the first times in their lives have an opportunity to do something not for one man but for their entire communities," he said. ...
They visited one rebuilt school in Baghdad. It was similar to any classroom in America, he pointed out. "For the first time the students were getting lessons that weren't stilted to creating a god-like image Saddam Hussein. We met with the teachers. They weren't shy to tell us how appreciative they were. But, they also gave us a list of things they felt they still needed," McHugh said. ...
"There are a lot of good things going on that people aren't hearing about," McHugh said. "That's why those of us who have some responsibility in this area wanted to go and see things for ourselves."
The evidence on productivity is particularly important since growth in technology and productivity are the most significant determinants of improvements in the standard of living. ...
However, the productivity gains of the past several years are much less dependent on IT and are more widespread in the economy. I continue to believe that even after the burst of the bubble in high-tech stocks, the U.S. economy is in the relatively early stages of a major technological revolution. ...
...the most significant news from the past few years is the continuation and possible acceleration of the sizable productivity advance that began almost a decade ago.
A robust, 12.2 percent growth in retail sales over the three-month period that ended Sept. 30 suggests that the national economy is poised for a major rebound. A number of private economists believe an annual growth rate of 7 percent or higher is possible for the third quarter -- more than double the pace we experienced earlier this year. Ten of the nation's 12 Federal Reserve districts reported a pick-up in growth, with increased hiring by temporary employment services -- a reliable predictor of job creation -- also included in the good news.
Why the unexpected turn of events? Independent analysts credit the latest round of tax cuts pushed by the Bush administration, which for the most part accelerated reductions in marginal tax rates that would otherwise have taken effect years down the road. Consumers have more money and are spending it; businesses are investing in new employees, buildings and equipment; investors are returning to the markets.
I welcome today's unanimous passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1511. The world has an opportunity -- and a responsibility -- to help the Iraqi people build a nation that is stable, secure, and free. This resolution will help marshal even more international support for the development of a new, democratic Iraq. I look forward to continuing to work with the United Nations to aid the transition in Iraq to self-government and help the Iraqi people rebuild their nation.
[R]etail sales grew at a 12.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter, despite a 0.2 percent decline last month. Some analysts said the federal personal income tax cut that took effect July 1 was partially responsible for the jump in spending.
"You give consumers a tax cut and they'll spend it," said Ken Mayland of ClearView Economics in Cleveland. "That's the way America works." ...
Mayland said he is optimistic that a sustainable expansion is underway.
But there's no doubt that the second round of Bush tax cuts, which advanced the marginal-rate reductions to this year, are having exactly the growth effect that supply-siders predicted. They boosted incentives, both for individuals and small businesses that pay taxes at the individual tax rate, and investment has accelerated in turn.
"They are rasslin' with this thing," Senator Burns said. "These people have courage you won't believe. They are going to have a constitution."
"I was surprised just at the look of things," Thomas said. "People on the streets, the cars, the shops, were going pretty much as you imagine they would in normal times."
Iraq has become in my view the central battle in the war against terrorism. We’ve received many reports of terrorists entering Iraq from countries throughout the region. We must remember that they’re entering Iraq not because we are failing, but because we are winning – because we are succeeding. This is the time we must push on – we must build on that mission – we must give our diplomats, we must give our soldiers, we must give the leaders the tools and the resources they need to finish this job. To fail to give this money to our troops – to fail to give money to the reconstruction they are overseeing
"The previous month's retail sales numbers were revised significantly higher, and if you simply do the arithmetic, I'm willing to bet it's been a long, long time since we've seen consumers this charged up, if you'll pardon the pun," said Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics in Pepper Pike, Ohio. "Consumer spending is the biggest piece of GDP, and retail sales suggest we're going to see a gangbusters third-quarter GDP figure," he said. (Reuters)
"What we are likely to see now is a pickup in production, so the economy has good momentum," said Kevin Logan, a senior economist at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein in New York. (Bloomberg)
Some economists said the benefits of the tax cuts will be even greater next year. Tony Crescenzi, chief bond market strategist for Miller Tabak & Co., said "the tax cuts that will be realized in 2004 pack a wallop that is greater than the effects of the tax cuts that will be realized in 2003." (Bloomberg)
"The last couple of months have been a lot more buoyant," said Paul Charron, chief executive officer of Liz Claiborne Inc. (Bloomberg)
"We're very bullish" on the prospects for sales and the economy, said Brad Anderson, chief executive of Best Buy Co. (Bloomberg)
This is the second poll in recent weeks to find among Iraqis a generally positive opinion of the war’s results. Yet the big media continue to portray Iraqis as anti-American and opposed to the war, which has helped drive down Americans’ support for the war and the rebuilding. How different the world could be if America’s most influential media outlets reported the news instead of spinning it.
Local veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom are optimistic that Iraqi citizens will find something that many here take for granted.
"It was obvious a lot of them weren’t happy being under Saddam," [Sgt. Erika] Stein, 23, said of the Iraqi citizens.
"They were happy to see us. As we drove through the cities, we were getting people cheering us on. There are the few that will sit back and won’t say anything, and maybe there are a few that didn’t want us there at all. People are afraid of change."
We welcome President Bush's restatement last week of U.S. policy toward Cuba. Included were old and new measures designed to help Cubans on the island, and that prepare the United States for Cuba's inevitable transition to democracy. ...
A new Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, headed by cabinet members Mel Martínez and Colin Powell, will search for ways to encourage Cuba's transition to a free society. Such clout, if applied, could help unite the international community in promoting change. After the Cuban regime's crackdown on dissidents and summary executions of three men who attempted to flee the island, the world realizes that Cuba's problem is its brutal dictator -- not U.S. policy.
Practically all commentary about the Bush environmental record goes on in this humor — it's a disaster, it's a nightmare, the world is ending. ...
[M]ost of the charges made against the White House are baloney — baloney being rolled and deep-fried with cheese for purposes of partisan political bashing and fund-raising.
Bush has implemented three major new environmental reforms for which he has received zero credit. He ordered that diesel fuel be reformulated to reduce its inherent pollution content — over the howls of his natural constituency, Big Oil. He ordered that new diesel trucks and buses meet significantly stricter emissions standards — over the howls of House Speaker Dennis Hastert, in whose Illinois district sits an enormous diesel-engine factory. Third, he imposed new emissions standards on a range of previously unregulated machines — construction vehicles, outboard motors, all-terrain vehicles and others.
Taken together, Bush's three dramatic anti-pollution decisions should lead to the biggest pollution reduction since the 1991 Clean Air Act amendments.
Thankfully, lessons have been learned and better forest management is on the way. President Bush has provided leadership with his Healthy Forests Initiative, which asks for legislation that speeds up thinning to reduce the risk of catastrophic fires. To enact it, the House has crafted H.R. 1904, Rep. Scott McInnis' "Healthy Forests Restoration Act," under which environmental and judicial reviews would be streamlined and the use of lawsuits curtailed to permit thinning projects on 20 million acres of fire-prone federal land.
...we're also optimistic the House-Senate conference will produce a bill with real impact. Without it, the Forest Service won't be able to implement fuel-reduction projects before the next fire season. For those of us in the West, that could mean a summer of choking on smoke and praying for rain.
When I left office, there was a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for. That is, at the end of the first Gulf War, we knew what he had. We knew what was destroyed in all the inspection processes and that was a lot. And then we bombed with the British for four days in 1998. We might have gotten it all; we might have gotten half of it; we might have gotten none of it. But we didn't know. So I thought it was prudent for the president to go to the U.N. and for the U.N. to say you got to let these inspectors in, and this time if you don't cooperate the penalty could be regime change, not just continued sanctions.
The reason for war, in the first instance, was always the strategic threat posed by Saddam because of his proven record of aggression and barbarity, his admitted possession of weapons of mass destruction, and the certain knowledge of his programs to build more. It was the threat he posed to his region, to our allies, and to core U.S. interests that justified going to war this past spring, just as it also would have justified a Clinton administration decision to go to war in 1998.
"No Child Left Behind addresses achievement overall and achievement in subgroups," said Bill Niday, Wood County Schools superintendent. "It addresses highly qualified teachers, school choice and accountability of all students. Any enrolled student is included in accountability.
"Education has moved from compulsory attendance to compulsory education with this act," he said. ...
The legislation was designed to change the culture of American schools by closing the achievement gap, offering more flexibility, giving parents more options and teaching students based on what works. The education reform law also calls for stronger accountability and instruction provided by highly qualified teachers.
"I believe the legislation will lead to an improved education for all students," Niday said.
In Kay's complete testimony, you will find descriptions of Hussein's tenacious pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441. The report describes actual weapons materials, including some hidden at the homes of scientists; secret laboratories, some apparently used for human experimentation; intentionally destroyed documents; clandestine efforts to procure long-range missiles, to perfect weapons of mass destruction delivery systems and to reignite a nuclear weapons program; intentional deception of UN inspectors, and possession of prohibited equipment, such as centrifuges, some of it buried in back yards--all in violation of the UN resolution. All of this evidence proves that the United States did the right thing by enforcing the UN's own resolution when the UN would not.
Waiting it out, as Kay's report demonstrates, was not an option. Waiting it out is not a policy; it is the absence of policy. Giving Hussein another opportunity to ignore the rightful demands placed on him by the UN would have been a green light for him to embroil the Middle East in more instability and, of course, more suppression and killing of his own people.
"Welfare" used to mean a monthly check that could be immediately converted to cash. But statistics tabulated by the Department of Health and Human Services, at the request of The New York Times, show that the proportion of federal and state welfare money spent on cash assistance declined to 44 percent in 2002, from 77 percent in 1997. The proportion allocated to various types of noncash assistance shot up to 56 percent, from 23 percent in 1997.
"The program has been fundamentally transformed," said Wade F. Horn, assistant secretary of health and human services in charge of welfare policy.
The federal and state money is used not only to provide a minimal income to single mothers, but also to help them move from welfare to work, hold onto low-wage jobs and move into better-paying jobs.
The economy is growing again, thanks in part to President Bush's tax cuts, but high productivity has been keeping unemployment high - until lately. Just last month and this, there have been signs that things are getting better. Small signs, but important signs. ...
Growth in the second quarter was a healthy 3.3 percent. Some think growth in the third quarter could turn out to be as high as 5 percent.
The tax cuts have stimulated growth because of the money they have put in the pockets of consumers, who account for two-thirds of the economy and have been spending large amounts of what they have received through rebates and reduced tax withholding in paychecks.
BAGHDAD, Oct. 11 - Iraq's central bank has fired up its furnace and consigned thousands of banknotes bearing the smiling face of Saddam Hussein to the flames ahead of a massive currency swap to start next week. ...
The changeover "will help stabilise the economy and help give Iraqis confidence that Saddam is gone", said Lieutenant Colonel Scott Schmidt of the 230th Finance Battalion, who helped oversee the operation.
The Babylonian ruler Hammurabi, credited with creating the first written code of laws in human history, graces the new pink 25,000 dinar note, worth about $12 (7 pounds). The other side shows a smiling Kurdish farm worker holding a sheaf of wheat.
Astronomer and mathematician Abu Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham, born in Basra in 965 and known as Alhazen to medieval scholars in the West, is on one side of the 10,000 note, the only other human figure on the new notes.
The U.S.-led coalition plans to recruit and train about 21,000 corps members by February. They will staff checkpoints, protect convoys and try to root out loyalists of ousted President Saddam Hussein, who are still well-armed and mounting daily attacks in some parts of the country. After Iraq has a constitutionally elected government, the corps is likely either to continue as a national guard or be folded into the new Iraqi army.
At the recent ceremony, 228 men graduated. Moss helped train 55 of them.
As an instructor, Moss wanted to teach more than just military skills. "I wanted to give them hope," he said, "to let them know they are somebody and they can be successful if they just apply themselves."
"Now we've learned the real meaning of being a soldier," he said. "We are quite ready to serve our country, and now I am starting to love Americans because we actually met here people such as Sgt. Moss."
In six short months we have accomplished a lot. We are also aware that the progress we have made is only a beginning. A quarter century of negligence, cronyism and war mongering have devastated this country. Such profound damage cannot be repaired overnight. ...
We are fighting terrorism here and we will continue to fight it until it no longer threatens the hopes of Iraqis, the hopes of the world.
Many economists attributed the strength in consumer spending to the latest federal-tax reductions. Some economists said they were caught off-guard by the extent of the stimulus created by the cuts, which included rebate checks for some families of as much as $400 per child.
Consumer spending rose a strong 0.8% in August from July, after a 0.9% advance the previous month. September data aren't yet available, but if the rate continued -- and economists have their doubts, given a slowdown in auto sales last month -- that could mean quarterly spending growth not seen in more than 15 years.
“Just as our economy is coming around, some are saying now is the time to raise taxes. To be fair, they think any time is a good time to raise taxes,” [the President] joked. “At least they’re consistent. But I strongly disagree. A nation cannot tax its way to growth or job creation. Tax relief has put this nation on the right path, and I intend to keep this nation on the path to prosperity.”
The economic numbers from late summer and early fall are bearing this out. Consumer spending is on the rise, as is job creation. ...
About both the economy and the war on terror, President Bush made a great deal of sense. He has a clearer vision and a better understanding of these things than many give him credit for.
- Six months ago there were no police on duty in Iraq.
- Today there are over 40,000 police on duty, nearly 7,000 here in Baghdad alone.
- Last night Coalition Forces and Iraqi police conducted 1,731 joint patrols.
- Today nearly all of Iraq’s 400 courts are functioning.
- Today, for the first time in over a generation, the Iraqi judiciary is fully independent.
- On Monday, October 6 power generation hit 4,518 megawatts—exceeding the pre-war average.
- Today all 22 universities and 43 technical institutes and colleges are open, as are nearly all primary and secondary schools.
- Many of you know that we announced our plan to rehabilitate one thousand schools by the time school started—well, by October 1 we had actually rehabbed over 1,500.
- Six months ago teachers were paid as little as $5.33 per month.
- Today teachers earn from 12 to 25 times their former salaries.
- Today we have increased public health spending to over 26 times what it was under Saddam.
- Today all 240 hospitals and more than 1200 clinics are open.
- Today doctors’ salaries are at least eight times what they were under Saddam.
- Pharmaceutical distribution has gone from essentially nothing to 700 tons in May to a current total of 12,000 tons.
- Since liberation we have administered over 22 million vaccination doses to Iraq’s many children.
This is what some in this country want to stop. This is what would never have happened if we'd let Saddam Hussein stay in power. It's simply beyond me how anyone can describe this war as about "oil" or about "imperialism" or about "greed" or "militarism." It remains one of the most humanitarian acts in modern history. And, if successful, it could turn an entire region around - a region that has been the main source of real danger to itself and to the West in my lifetime. I'm banging on about this not simply because it's by far the most important issue in our politics right now, but because a willful and petty disinformation campaign is being waged to distort this achievement, undermine it, and reverse it. We mustn't let that happen. We cannot let these people - and ourselves - down again.