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Dom Heffner
06-25-2005, 07:02 PM
Aside from the $159,000 salary we pay to Rove, this might have been one of the more inane uses of our money at work.

Ashcroft gone, Justice statues disrobe


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by Mark Sherman



June 24, 2005 | Washington -- With barely a word about it, workers at the Justice Department Friday removed the blue drapes that have famously covered two scantily clad statues for the past 3 1/2 years.

Spirit of Justice, with her one breast exposed and her arms raised, and the bare-chested male Majesty of Law basked in the late afternoon light of Justice's ceremonial Great Hall.

The drapes, installed in 2002 at a cost of $8,000, allowed then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to speak in the Great Hall without fear of a breast showing up behind him in television or newspaper pictures. They also provoked jokes about and criticism of the deeply religious Ashcroft.

The 12-foot, 6-inch aluminum statues were installed shortly after the building opened in the 1930s.

With a change in leadership at Justice, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales faced the question: Would they stay or would they go?

He regularly deflected the question, saying he had weightier issues before him.

Paul R. Corts, the assistant attorney general for administration, recommended the drapes be removed and Gonzales signed off on it, spokesman Kevin Madden said, while refusing to allow The Associated Press to photograph the statues Friday.

In the past, snagging a photo of the attorney general in front of the statues has been somewhat of a sport for photographers.

When former Attorney General Edwin Meese released a report on pornography in the 1980s, photographers dived to the floor to capture the image of him raising the report in the air, with the partially nude female statue behind him.

The first attorney general to use the blue drapery was Republican Richard Thornburgh, attorney general under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He had the drapery put up only for a few occasions when he was appearing in the Great Hall, rather than permanently installed as it was under Ashcroft.

Most news conferences now are held in a state-of-the-art conference room, although the Great Hall still hosts speeches and other special events.

zombie-a-go-go
06-25-2005, 07:29 PM
Hey, we have to think about the children. ;)

KronoRed
06-25-2005, 07:30 PM
8000 dollars? how bout just put a paper bag on them? ;)

zombie-a-go-go
06-25-2005, 07:32 PM
Or black electrical tape. :evil:

Falls City Beer
06-25-2005, 07:33 PM
Or black electrical tape. :evil:

Or John Ashcroft's panties.

KronoRed
06-25-2005, 07:33 PM
Too expensive, you can get the bags free ;)

Yachtzee
06-25-2005, 07:54 PM
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y14/grottoboy/homer_simpson_drool.jpg

Hmmmm...Boobies

Mutaman
06-25-2005, 08:23 PM
I know that a lot of intelligent folks who post here think there isn't much difference between the two political parties, and I agree that the Democrats aren't much to write home about, but this statue drapping is a good example of why I hate Republicans.

RFS62
06-25-2005, 11:16 PM
I know that a lot of intelligent folks who post here think there isn't much difference between the two political parties, and I agree that the Democrats aren't much to write home about, but this statue drapping is a good example of why I hate Republicans.


You hate Republicans because of this ridiculous waste of time?

That's astonishing to me.

Falls City Beer
06-25-2005, 11:38 PM
You hate Republicans because of this ridiculous waste of time?

That's astonishing to me.

While yes, it's ill-advised to hate a body of people based on one isolated incident, speaking for myself, an incident like this just pulls back the hair to reveal the horns of the devil on the beast. It's not so much that the horns themselves will kill you, but what the horns represent about the creature that bears them. :eek: :evil:

RFS62
06-25-2005, 11:41 PM
What I find astounding is how such smart guys could rubber stamp all Republicans like this.

Prejudice is the purest form of ignorance.

Falls City Beer
06-25-2005, 11:44 PM
What I find astounding is how such smart guys could rubber stamp all Republicans like this.

Prejudice is the purest form of ignorance.

Guys? I'm kidding. And I suspect (though I don't know) that Mutaman is as well.

Hate? Nah. Well, some of 'em (just can't apologize for that in some cases--some of 'em frankly deserve nothing but hatred).

But no, I don't have the time or energy to hate a populace. Nor the will for that matter.

RFS62
06-25-2005, 11:52 PM
Listen, I've been a Republican all my life. I grew up in an area of Southern West Virginia with a ratio of about 20 or 30 to 1, Democrats to Republicans. I'm not a Republican to be popular.

And I loathe many things about certain aspects of the party. Just as I support many others.

Painting an entire party, Republican or Democrat, with a broad brush as if all are the same is prejudice. Pre-judging. And it's ignorant, no matter how educated or enlightened the person may be who makes such a declaration.

I have always admired you, FCB. I think you're a brilliant writer and from what I've gathered, an exceptional human being.

It saddens me to hear this kind of stuff.

Falls City Beer
06-26-2005, 12:08 AM
Listen, I've been a Republican all my life. I grew up in an area of Southern West Virginia with a ratio of about 20 or 30 to 1, Democrats to Republicans. I'm not a Republican to be popular.

And I loathe many things about certain aspects of the party. Just as I support many others.

Painting an entire party, Republican or Democrat, with a broad brush as if all are the same is prejudice. Pre-judging. And it's ignorant, no matter how educated or enlightened the person may be who makes such a declaration.

I have always admired you, FCB. I think you're a brilliant writer and from what I've gathered, an exceptional human being.

It saddens me to hear this kind of stuff.

I just got finished saying I was kidding. I don't think it does paint a populace.

I have good friends who are Republicans, but they're GOP Republicans, not of this bitterly evangelical, nationalistic, morally repugnant and hypocritical stripe that runs through this current administration that is very, very dangerous for this country, liberals and, yes, conservatives alike.

So yes, I'm fully aware that "Republicans" isn't a catch-all term: I like and respect guys within the party like Arlen Spector who aren't trying to drive this country into a new Dark Age. I think there's real opportunity for growth and compromise between Democrats and the Republican party of guys like Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, McCain, and Spector, etc. But this clown and his goons that are currently in the White House are a disgrace to the Republican party I grew up with. I have to tell you. I do not use the word "hate" without first thinking long and hard about its severity, but I hate some members of this current administration. I just can't help that or apologize for it.

RFS62
06-26-2005, 12:26 AM
I just got finished saying I was kidding. I don't think it does paint a populace.


Yeah, I replied before I saw that.

I'm not an evangelical Christian. I'm not in favor of the death penalty. I'm not even remotely wealthy. I've spent my life in service of people in need.

I'll be working until the day I die, most likely. I won't inherit wealth. I have worked for and with many government agencies, and I see incredible waste that nearly every agency, no matter how well intentioned, accepts as business as usual.

And even though I think that tax and spend liberals would cause the framers of the constitution to spin in their graves, I understand their motivation and don't doubt their good intentions. Nor would I ever paint them all as evil or ignorant. If I did, I'd have to include all of my relatives.

Speaking for myself, I find it incredible that John Ashcroft's hangups could be latched on to by good people to promote the notion that I'm like him in any way, just because I'm a Republican.

That's prejudice, no matter how you dress it up, and it's every bit as evil as Ashcroft's ignorance.

Mutaman
06-26-2005, 12:41 AM
Nah, I hate them all. I hate them because they are hypocrites, I hate them because they are Chicken hawks, I hate them because of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and George Will and Peggy Noonan and Ann Coulter and Dick Nixon and Dick Cheney and Faux News and for covering up statues and Terry Schiavo and because they yell about state's rights except when its in their interests not too, and because of George Bush the first and George Bush the second.

Let me count the ways. Because they invaded Iraq for no good reason. because they took a hugh surplus and turned it into a hugh deficit. Because of the Swift Boat Vets. Becuse they spent a million dollars on Whitewater and couldn't prove a thing. Because of Spiro Agnew and Tom Delay and Michael Savage. I could go on all night. Nah except for john Wayne and Curt Schilling and RFS62 and GAC, who seem like nice enough guys, I can't stand any of them.
Did I mention George Pitaki? And Rudy, I mean the guy announced to his wife and kids that he was getting divorced at a PRESS CONFERENCE!!! And Bernie kerik? The taxpayers of New York rented an apartment overlooking Ground Zero so rescue workers would have a place to relax while cleaning up and Chief of Police Bernie used it to sleep with his mistress. His wife was pregnant at the time. And this is the guy Bush appoints to be head of homeland security.

And i hate them for getting every bit of political mileage they can out of 9/11. And I hate them for letting OBL get away. Sorry, i want to be open minded about this, and I know you should judge everybody as individuals, but I haven't even scratched the surface here. You have to admit, this is a hard group of people to like. And don't get me going on Condi Rice.

MWM
06-26-2005, 12:46 AM
Wow!

RFS62
06-26-2005, 12:54 AM
Wow!


Yeah, no kidding.

See, I don't believe all Democrats are like that. In fact, I know they're not.

But I am reminded why I very rarely comment on a political thread.

Mutaman
06-26-2005, 12:54 AM
And I really hate the fact that we're all going to end up in a corner of some god forsaken nursing home drooling on our shirts because republicans won't fund stem cell research. And while i didn't have any feelings one way or annother for Jed Bush, I now read that this guy actually wants to reopen the Schivo case. Nah, Howard Dean speaks for me.

Dom Heffner
06-26-2005, 03:06 AM
I now read that this guy actually wants to reopen the Schiavo case.

He wants an investigation to look into whether her husband called 911 in a timely manner. These people never give up, and it's all to satisfy the evangelical wing of their party.

Be thankful he isn't your governor like he is mine.

And Falls City Beer- keep up the great posts, but Reagan and Eisenhower are not to be thrown into the moderate wing of the GOP. Reagan was as much a wolf in sheep's clothing as has ever been. The old guy persona was neato and all, but his administration was filled with the same can of nuts we have in there now. Iran-Contra was just the sort of thing they were capable of- I love how they deny any wrongdoing while at the same time will tell you it was the right thing to do.

Eisenhower ruled over the ultra-conservative 50s, so I'm not sure how he fits in with McCain and Specter. We have his administration to thank for many measures that I'm not going to open a can of worms about here, but they are in the same vein as the second Bush regime.

MWM
06-26-2005, 03:11 AM
He wants an investigation to look into whether her husband called 911 in a timely manner.

I hadn't read that. That's beyond unbelievable. I'm never surprised anymore by the depths career politicians will go to in order to convince their constituents that they really care.

Dom Heffner
06-26-2005, 03:25 AM
I hadn't read that. That's beyond unbelievable. I'm never surprised anymore by the depths career politicians will go to in order to convince their constituents that they really care.

Apparently over the years, the husband's story has differed on when he called. It is most likely a case of telling a story so many times that it evolves, but hardly worth wasting tax dollars on something that would be absolutely impossible to prove.

This is just punishment because Jeb didn't get his way. I'm telling you, these people are out of their minds with this case down here.

Falls City Beer
06-26-2005, 11:32 AM
This is just punishment because Jeb didn't get his way. I'm telling you, these people are out of their minds with this case down here.

You better believe it. These goons are vindictive and sinister--they do things out of spite anymore, not even out of conviction. Now THAT'S scary.

Falls City Beer
06-26-2005, 11:40 AM
He wants an investigation to look into whether her husband called 911 in a timely manner. These people never give up, and it's all to satisfy the evangelical wing of their party.

Be thankful he isn't your governor like he is mine.

And Falls City Beer- keep up the great posts, but Reagan and Eisenhower are not to be thrown into the moderate wing of the GOP. Reagan was as much a wolf in sheep's clothing as has ever been. The old guy persona was neato and all, but his administration was filled with the same can of nuts we have in there now. Iran-Contra was just the sort of thing they were capable of- I love how they deny any wrongdoing while at the same time will tell you it was the right thing to do.

Eisenhower ruled over the ultra-conservative 50s, so I'm not sure how he fits in with McCain and Specter. We have his administration to thank for many measures that I'm not going to open a can of worms about here, but they are in the same vein as the second Bush regime.

Yeah, I'm probably pushing the envelope with Reagan, but even Reagan knew better than to push too hard at many social issues like abortion. He knew to draw the line at many of our civil liberties. He was a military superstructure hawk first, governmental programs last kind of Republican. He was able to see that there needed to be a gap between church and state. Don't me wrong, he was still disliked and distrusted in my house, but he's nothing like Bush. These guys are just bone-chillingly evil. That's all I'm saying.

Dom Heffner
06-26-2005, 03:09 PM
He was able to see that there needed to be a gap between church and state.

He did? Perhaps I am not giving the man any credit. I think of Reagan and I think of Edwin Meece who thought the deficit was no big deal because aramageddon would be upon us soon. Think about the lunacy there.

Reagan had the astrology thing, which would not have fit well with religious conservatives, but he is worshipped today by Ralph Reed and his cronies, so it always seemed to me he was bedmates with the religious right.

On a side note, anyone hear about the gift the gay community bestowed upon Rick Santorum? I could not stop laughing. If anyone doesn't know, PM me, or just do a google search. It's too risque for here, that's for sure.

Redsfaithful
06-26-2005, 03:19 PM
On a side note, anyone hear about the gift the gay community bestowed upon Rick Santorum? I could not stop laughing. If anyone doesn't know, PM me, or just do a google search. It's too risque for here, that's for sure.

Yes. It's hilarious and quite appropriate.

Falls City Beer
06-26-2005, 03:22 PM
He did? Perhaps I am not giving the man any credit. I think of Reagan and I think of Edwin Meece who thought the deficit was no big deal because aramageddon would be upon us soon. Think about the lunacy there.

Reagan had the astrology thing, which would not have fit well with religious conservatives, but he is worshipped today by Ralph Reed and his cronies, so it always seemed to me he was bedmates with the religious right.

On a side note, anyone hear about the gift the gay community bestowed upon Rick Santorum? I could not stop laughing. If anyone doesn't know, PM me, or just do a google search. It's too risque for here, that's for sure.

I'm sure Reagan the man was a total religious right kook. He just knew better than to drag America into that particular cesspool (vis. abortion, the new "life" movement, giving religious groups government funding), knowing that his future in office would be compromised if he did, not out of goodheartedness or respect for the Constitution necessarily.

GAC
06-26-2005, 08:57 PM
And I really hate the fact that we're all going to end up in a corner of some god forsaken nursing home drooling on our shirts because republicans won't fund stem cell research.

Wonder which political party will be catering to get that voting block. :lol:

I was raised a Democrat and left the party after the Carter presidency. Alot of my relations are still Dems, and have been all their lives. But if some (not all) of the Dems on here sat across a table from them discussing some of the ideologies argued/discussed on here, they'd thoroughly disagree with them on alot of the reasons, and as to why they vote Democratic still.

You can't put people in a box.

Some say that there is a right-wing element that has invaded, controls, or exercises great influence on the Repub Party. I don't deny that one bit. The same can be said about the radical far left that has invaded and controls the Dem Party. The lines have been drawn, and were marked out IMO about 20 years ago, and in the 80's with the Reagan administration.

Funny how those within the Democratic party can promote grassroots activism and getting involved, and see it as a good thing; but when evangelicals started doing it 20 something years ago, it's seen as wrong. I have never totally agreed with everything that some within the evangelical movement has done over the course of that time either. But I'm glad they overcame their complacency (accusations that use to be leveled at church-goers 40-50 years ago), and have gotten involved.

Neither side is going to compromise. The only time they do is when election time rolls around. As the old adage goes... move to the center.

But the fact is- one on the far left or far right would strongly disagree with a centrist. ;)

GAC
06-26-2005, 09:04 PM
You better believe it. These goons are vindictive and sinister--they do things out of spite anymore, not even out of conviction. Now THAT'S scary.

Which party are you talking about? Cause it describes both. :lol:

Falls City Beer
06-26-2005, 09:31 PM
Which party are you talking about? Cause it describes both. :lol:

I'm not referring to a party, just to Bush and his intimates and cronies.

GAC
06-26-2005, 10:23 PM
I'm not referring to a party, just to Bush and his intimates and cronies.

And those within the Democratic leadership would not, or have not, ever been capable of the same characteristics?

I'm reading/listening to some of the liberals on here standing on their pulpit, preaching and pointing fingers, as if their illustrious leadership has never been guilty or culpible of the same when they were in power.

I'm still a firm beleiver that absolute power corrupts absolute- regardless of who has it. It has or makes no party/ideological distinctions. And the Clintons were evident of that for example. From their austere beginnings in Arkansas, and all the way to the White House.

Someone mentioned Reagan and the Iran Contra investigations, and how even though Walsh sent millions of taxpayer dollars in a purely partisan effort to nail Reagan, and nothing was turned up to get him, that he was still guilty.

And yet, they mocked Ken Starr's investigation into the Clinton's (and cronies) in Whitewater. The same corporate greed and failed S&L's that the Clinton's railed on in that "decade of greed" in the 80's, they were up to their necks in. And when the investigation came up with very little, liberals were then procaiming their innocence, and that this was proof of nothing more then a partisan smear campaign/effort.

Notice any hypocrisy or double standard here?

Was political retribution involved? Heck yes. That is what it has come to anymore, and on both sides. It can probably be traced back to Watergate too, where it all began.

Personally, in both situations above, I think they were all guilty. :lol:

Redsfaithful
06-26-2005, 11:07 PM
Comparing Iran Contra to Whitewater is absolutely ridiculous.

GAC
06-27-2005, 09:27 AM
Comparing Iran Contra to Whitewater is absolutely ridiculous.

My comparison of Iran Contra to Whitewater was ONLY in the sense of the double standard being used when it came to right and wrong, and the meeting out justice. Both escaped that. I wasn't alluding to the seriousness or extent of what occurred.

I didn't agree with what went on with Iran Contra either. And I don't think Oliver North is a hero for what he did.

But who got hurt more in these two situations? Our government diverting monies to help fight rebels in S. America, or all the people, including many elderly, who lost everything in Whitewater?

I'm not justifying either. Both situations were wrong and laws were broken or circumvented. Investigations were initiated, at taxpayer expense, and nothing or very little found. And few of the underlings went to jail in both situations, while the head honchos walked scott-free.

You think it was a travesty that Reagan didn't get nailed, even thought the investigation turned up nothing to implement him...yet on the other hand you feel it was simply vindication and nothing but partisan politics when the physical trail of evidence couldn't be pieced together on the Clintons concerning Whitewater (Thank God for shredders, lost files, and memory loss huh?).

In both cases the American people believed, even though the evidence couldn't be produced to solidify that belief, that both parties were guilty as could be.

You don't. Which shows your lack of objectivity in this matter IMO.

Dom Heffner
06-27-2005, 10:39 AM
But who got hurt more in these two situations? Our government diverting monies to help fight rebels in S. America, or all the people, including many elderly, who lost everything in Whitewater?

With all apologies to John McEnroe, you simply cannot be serious. Never mind, I guess, that the rebels that Reagan compared favorably with our own founding fathers raped women and killed children, the entire shenanigan was unconstitutional. When the nation's founding document is circumvented - Congress implemented an amendment to explicitly forbid the Reagan administration from doing what they did, you'll remember because they knew what they were up to- the entire credibility of the government is at stake. Comparing that to some people losing some money is not even comprehensible.


(Thank God for shredders, lost files, and memory loss huh?).

If you add Oliver North and George Bush's pardons, you just described Iran Contra. Reagan couldn't recall anything either - something like 53 times in front of Congress. Imagine that - the great American President Ronald Reagan could not remember if he ordered an unconstitutional act.There shouldn't even be a question in his mind for such a moral man, should there? I mean, that would be like asking you if you killed someone yesterday. Even if you forgot the entire day's events, I'm guessing you would come back and let us know you would never do such a thing under any circumstances. Not old Ronnie. He simply couldn't remember if he did it or not. In other words, there's a possibility that he did, which shouldn't even exist in CNN's most intriguing American of the past 25 years. What a joke.

The only person who served any time during that whole affair was a man who put a sign in his yard protesting the whole thing, or something very similar.

registerthis
06-27-2005, 10:49 AM
If you add Oliver North and George Bush's pardons, you just described Iran Contra. Reagan couldn't recall anything either - something like 53 times in front of Congress. Imagine that - the great American President Ronald Reagan could not remember if he ordered an unconstitutional act.
Everyone who can remember what they were doing on August 8, 1983, raise your hand.

registerthis
06-27-2005, 10:51 AM
But who got hurt more in these two situations?
I believe my vote would go to the thousands of men, women and children killed/maimed/raped during the violence in Central/South America during the 80s.

But that may just be me.

Johnny Footstool
06-27-2005, 11:12 AM
Everyone who can remember what they were doing on August 8, 1983, raise your hand.

I was playing baseball, riding my bike, and getting ready to start 6th grade.

If you would have asked me that in 1987, I could have given a more detailed answer. If I was the President, and every day of my life was filled with meetings scheduled down to the minute, I probably could have given every detail of my day.

westofyou
06-27-2005, 11:16 AM
Everyone who can remember what they were doing on August 8, 1983, raise your hand.

It was a Monday so I was delivering auto parts in Walnut Creek California, for $4.25 an hour

KronoRed
06-27-2005, 11:36 AM
Everyone who can remember what they were doing on August 8, 1983, raise your hand.
I was 2 1/2, chances are I was hanging out in my sand box burying those little army guys.

Dom Heffner
06-27-2005, 12:30 PM
Everyone who can remember what they were doing on August 8, 1983, raise your hand.

Everyone who can remember if they ordered an unconstitutional act at any point in their lives raise your hand.

How can Reagan be a great president and not remember if he okayed a secret unconstitutional war? Reconcile those points for us, please.

Reagan pulled the "I don't recall" nonsense when he was called to testify about his governorship of California.

"I don't recall" saves you from perjuring yourself when there's a possibility invesitgators might discover something later that would discredit an earlier denial on the stand.

Hillary and Bill are slimeballs for doing it, too, but to compare it to Iran-Contra isn't even in the vicinty of reasonable.

The Clintons weren't even in office when Whitewater happened. How the comparison can be made is absolutely jaw-dropping.

And if you want to talk about bilking old people for money, Reagan sure did a good job with the deregulating of the savings and loans, didn't he?

That didn't cost anybody anything.

GAC
06-27-2005, 09:48 PM
With all apologies to John McEnroe, you simply cannot be serious. Never mind, I guess, that the rebels that Reagan compared favorably with our own founding fathers raped women and killed children, the entire shenanigan was unconstitutional. When the nation's founding document is circumvented - Congress implemented an amendment to explicitly forbid the Reagan administration from doing what they did, you'll remember because they knew what they were up to- the entire credibility of the government is at stake. Comparing that to some people losing some money is not even comprehensible.



If you add Oliver North and George Bush's pardons, you just described Iran Contra. Reagan couldn't recall anything either - something like 53 times in front of Congress. Imagine that - the great American President Ronald Reagan could not remember if he ordered an unconstitutional act.There shouldn't even be a question in his mind for such a moral man, should there? I mean, that would be like asking you if you killed someone yesterday. Even if you forgot the entire day's events, I'm guessing you would come back and let us know you would never do such a thing under any circumstances. Not old Ronnie. He simply couldn't remember if he did it or not. In other words, there's a possibility that he did, which shouldn't even exist in CNN's most intriguing American of the past 25 years. What a joke.

The only person who served any time during that whole affair was a man who put a sign in his yard protesting the whole thing, or something very similar.

Go back and read my previous response before you start making assumptions. ;)

Here's what I said....


I didn't agree with what went on with Iran Contra either. And I don't think Oliver North is a hero for what he did.

I'm not justifying either. Both situations were wrong and laws were broken or circumvented. Investigations were initiated, at taxpayer expense, and nothing or very little found. And few of the underlings went to jail in both situations, while the head honchos walked scott-free.

In both cases the American people believed, even though the evidence couldn't be produced to solidify that belief, that both parties were guilty as could be.

Liberals saw this as a huge travesty of justice. I agree. I said that then, and still believe that.

We were selling arms to Iran, which was engaged in a bloody war with its neighbor Iraq from 1980 to 1988, and then diverting the proceeds to Nicaraguan Contras rebelling against the leftist Sandinista government of Nicaragua. And even though the sales had a dual goal: appeasing Iran, which had influence with terrorist groups holding American hostages in Lebanon, and covertly funding a guerrilla war aimed at toppling Nicaragua's pro-Communist government, which was backed by Cuba and the Soviet Union.... it was wrong because both policies violated either stated administration policy or legislation passed by the Democrat-controlled Congress, which had outlawed funding the Contras.

So I am not giving you guys any argument on this matter. I thought it was amazing that Reagan wasn't prosecuted. But again, they (Walsh) couldn't piece it together to implement him.

You are again missing my point.

I am not comparing these two situations as far their severity.

Do you think the Clintons were guilty/not guilty in the Whitewater fiasco? Why/Why Not?

You see - my biases/partisanship ends when it comes to right/wrong, and what is ethical/unethical behavior. I don't care what the situation is, or who is involved. I don't "prostitute" myself to any political party or belief when certain lines are corssed/violated.

Can you say the same? Or do you tow that party line all for the sake of an ideology?

GAC
06-27-2005, 10:24 PM
Everyone who can remember if they ordered an unconstitutional act at any point in their lives raise your hand.

How can Reagan be a great president and not remember if he okayed a secret unconstitutional war? Reconcile those points for us, please.

It really bugs you that Reagan, according to the American public, is considred one of our greatest Presidents doesn't it? Especially of the 20th century. It never bugged me that many considered Clinton a very good President. I thought he did a good job too. Even with all his moral failings, and my dfferences with him from an ideological standpoint.

Yep. Even with Iran-Contra, I think Reagan was a great President. Do you think Clinton was a great President when he also abused his powers, lied before Congress and under oath?

I look at the overall performance of Reagans' adminstration, in comparisan to what I, and the American people, experienced before he was elected. Not much to brag on IMO; but alot to be disappointed in (Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter).

Reagan had his failings. But I don't evaluate the man on just one point/issue (Iran Contra); but what he stood for, and the various policies/legislation he supported/enacted during those 8 years. He was instrumental in bringing this nation back from the economic duldrums of the the 70's and a dismal Carter administration. This nation was at a low in about every aspect.

Does Reagan get more credit then he may deserve? Possibly. But we do that with alot of our leaders (both Repub and Dem). It's part of our nature to do so.

From 1982-89 the United States experienced a record-setting expansion. The expansion would set a record for peace-time growth, lasting longer than any other peace-time expansion up until that time. During this time the GDP grew at an annual rate of 3.5% (4.3% for the expansion).

I liked this study by the CATO Institute on the Reagan years. I know that some from the left will discount it because of WHO did it, but the fact is the figures provided in this study come from standard statistical sources: Bureau of the Census, the Economic Report of the President, and Historical Tables, Budget of the U.S. Government.

Compare the nation's economic growth/performance while under the Reagan years (1981-89) with its performance in the immediately preceding Ford-Carter years (1974-81) and in the Bush-Clinton years that followed (1989-95).

On 8 of the 10 key economic variables examined, the American economy performed better during the Reagan years than during the pre- and post-Reagan years.

* Real economic growth averaged 3.2 percent during the Reagan years versus 2.8 percent during the Ford-Carter years and 2.1 percent during the Bush-Clinton years.
* Real median family income grew by $4,000 during the Reagan period after experiencing no growth in the pre-Reagan years; it experienced a loss of almost $1,500 in the post-Reagan years.
* Interest rates, inflation, and unemployment fell faster under Reagan than they did immediately before or after his presidency.
* The only economic variable that was worse in the Reagan period than in both the pre- and post-Reagan years was the savings rate, which fell rapidly in the 1980s. The productivity rate was higher in the pre-Reagan years but much lower in the post-Reagan years.

This study also exposes 12 fables of Reaganomics, such as that the rich got richer and the poor got poorer, the Reagan tax cuts caused the deficit to explode, and Bill Clinton's economic record has been better than Reagan's.
Introduction

Judging from the partisan political discourse in Washington, there is virtually no agreement about what that record tells us. Republicans describe the 1980s as an era of prosperity--a decade when America reasserted its economic and military might. Democrats, on the other hand, portray the Reagan presidency as a period of record budget deficits, economic decline, and widening income gaps between rich and poor. Senator Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) recently described the 1980s as a decade of "discredited supply side economics."

Often partisanship and ideology prevent a dispassionate assessment of the Reagan years. The political left has adopted the convention of arguing that the beneficial economic changes in the 1980s--the conquering of inflation, the surge in employment, and the sustained economic expansion--had little to do with Reagan's policies, whereas any negative change--the explosion in the budget deficit, the savings and loan crisis, and so forth--was a direct consequence of the failed theology of Reaganomics. Meanwhile, the right argues that only the triumphs of Reagan's record deserve much attention, and that any blemishes--again the big budget deficits--were inconsequential or the fault of the Democrats in Congress.

This study attempts to cut through the fog created by this partisan dialogue and spotlight the real economic record of the 1980s--sticking to "just the facts." All the figures provided in this study come from standard statistical sources: Bureau of the Census, the Economic Report of the President, and Historical Tables, Budget of the U.S. Government. To judge how well the economy performed under Reagan's policies, we compare the economic performance of the Reagan years (1981-89) with that of the immediate pre-Reagan years (1974-81) and the post-Reagan years (1989-95).

In the last part of the study we provide some interpretation of these economic and fiscal data and sort out fact from fable regarding the 1980s. We also examine the implications of the economic data as they relate to the advisability of an income tax rate cut in 1997.

The Era of Reaganomics

In 1981 Ronald Reagan entered the White House and immediately implemented a dramatic new economic policy agenda for the country that was dubbed "Reaganomics." Reaganomics consisted of four key elements to reverse the high-inflation, slow-growth economic record of the 1970s: (1) a restrictive monetary policy designed to stabilize the value of the dollar and end runaway inflation; (2) a 25 percent across-the-board tax cut enacted (The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981) designed to spur savings, investment, work, and economic efficiency; (3) a promise to balance the budget through domestic spending restraint; and (4) an agenda to roll back government regulation.

Clearly, some of those goals were accomplished; others were not. The most objective way to assess whether the policies were a success is to examine the economic evidence for the Reagan years once the policies were implemented.

A Model for Assessing the Reagan Record

There is some disagreement about what date should be used to measure the economic starting point of the Reagan era. A common ploy of Reagan's critics is to measure the economy's performance from 1979 to 1989 and falsely describe the record over this period as "the Reagan years." For example, in 1991 the Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee of Congress released a report entitled "Falling Behind: The Growing Income Gap in America," which purportedly proves that the victims of Reaganomics were the least affluent Americans. The report concluded that "families in the lowest forty percent of the income distribution actually had lower real incomes on average in 1989 than they did in 1979." Upon closer inspection, however, what the income data really show is that when Jimmy Carter's economic policies were in effect, family incomes plummeted by 9 percent, but that after Reagan's economic policies took effect (1982-89), family incomes rose by 11 percent. In the Joint Economic Committee report, Reaganomics is blamed for the poor performance of the economy under Carter. Ronald Reagan had many seemingly magical qualities, but his policies were never able to influence the economic direction of the nation at least two years before they took effect. Some of Reagan's supporters, on the other hand, define the Reagan years as only the seven years of economic expansion, 1983-89, while conveniently omitting the recession years of 1981 and 1982.

There are two defensible methods of measuring the performance of the economy on Reagan's watch. One method is to examine the economic record from the month Reagan formally took office, January 1981, through the month he left the White House, January 1989.

An alternative approach is to allow a one-year lag for the policy changes to be enacted and take effect on the economy. Reagan's tax cuts were not even passed by Congress until midsummer of 1981 and did not begin to take effect until October 1, 1981. His first budget proposal was for fiscal year 1982. Hence, if we define the beginning of the Reagan years as the first full year when the policies were in effect, the eight years in which Reagan's policies were in effect were 1982-89. This latter approach seems to provide a more accurate gauge of the economy's reaction to the change in policies Reagan enacted in 1981, and for this reason we adopt this as the standard for analysis in this study--that is, we measure the economic effects of Reagan policies beginning with January 1982 and using 1981 as the base year of comparison. (This still picks up the deep recession of the early 1980s.) For those who are unsatisfied with this method of measuring the Reagan record, in Table 1 we present the data both ways: first, from the month Reagan entered office through the month he left office, and second, with a one-year lag to adjust for the timing of the policy changes. The results do not differ substantially regardless of which dates are used.

Just as controversial is the issue of when the Reagan era ended. Again, Reagan's political foes often describe the entire 12 years of the Reagan and Bush administrations as the "Reagan years." At first blush this seems logical: two Republican administrations in succession would normally suggest a continuation of policy from one to the other. Yet the real and dramatic shift in economic policy in Washington occurred not in 1993, with the start of the Clinton administration, but rather in 1990, with George Bush's repudiation of his "no new taxes" pledge that led to both the enactment of a large anti-supply-side tax increase and a flurry of legislation--from the Clean Air Act amendments, to the Civil Rights Act of 1991, to the Americans with Disabilities Act--that began the reregulation of America in the 1990s. Indeed, the Clinton economic program in most respects has been closest to that of George Bush, particularly with respect to the direction of fiscal policy.

In sum, we delineate two years as marking turning points in economic policy in the United States: 1981 and 1990. Because these two years represent dramatic policy shifts, they provide a convenient and unique laboratory-like testing ground for assessing the success or failure of Reaganomics. In this study we compare the economic performance in the pre-Reagan years (1974-81), the Reagan years (1981-89), and the post-Reagan years (1989-95).

For fiscal variables examined at the end of this report, there is much less controversy over the start and the end of the Reagan presidency. Reagan's first budget was for fiscal 1982 (not 1981), and his last budget was for fiscal 1989.

The Real Reagan Economic Record

Table 1 contrasts side by side the economy's performance for the three periods of analysis--1974-81, 1981-89, and 1989-95--for 10 key variables. We measure the change in each economic variable from the start of the period through the end and present the annualized change. On 8 of the 10 key variables, the Reagan record unambiguously outperformed the records of the pre- and post-Reagan years. The two exceptions were the savings rate, which declined in the Reagan years at a faster rate than in the pre- and post-Reagan years, and productivity, which grew faster in the pre-Reagan years but slower in the post-Reagan years. The following is a summary for each of the 10 variables:

* Economic Growth. The average annual growth rate of real gross domestic product (GDP) from 1981 to 1989 was 3.2 percent per year, compared with 2.8 percent from 1974 to 1981 and 2.1 percent from 1989 to 1995. The 3.2 percent growth rate for the Reagan years includes the recession of the early 1980s, which was a side effect of reversing Carter's high-inflation policies, and the seven expansion years, 1983-89. During the economic expansion alone, the economy grew by a robust annual rate of 3.8 percent. By the end of the Reagan years, the American economy was almost one-third larger than it was when they began. Figure 1 shows the economic growth rate by president since World War II. That rate was higher in the 1980s than in the 1950s and 1970s but was substantially lower than the rapid economic growth rate of more than 4 percent per year in the 1960s. The Kennedy income tax rate cuts of 30 percent that were enacted in 1964 generated several years of 5 percent annual real growth.
* Economic Growth per Working-Age Adult. When we adjust the economic growth rates to take account of demographic changes, we find that the expansion in the Reagan years looks even better and that the 1970s' performance looks worse. GDP growth per adult aged 20-64 in the Reagan years grew twice as rapidly, on average, as it did in the pre- and post-Reagan years.
* Median Household Incomes. Real median household income rose by $4,000 in the Reagan years--from $37,868 in 1981 to $42,049 in 1989, as shown in Figure 2. This improvement was a stark reversal of the income trends in the late 1970s and the 1990s: median family income was unchanged in the eight pre-Reagan years, and incomes have fallen by $1,438 in the anti-supply-side 1990s, following the 1990 and 1993 tax hikes. Most of the declines in take-home pay occurred on George Bush's watch. Under Bill Clinton's tenure, there has been zero income growth in median household income.
* Employment. From 1981 through 1989 the U.S. economy produced 17 million new jobs, or roughly 2 million new jobs each year. Contrary to the Clinton administration's claims of vast job gains in the 1990s, the United States has averaged only 1.3 million new jobs per year in the post-Reagan years. The labor force United States has averaged only 1.3 million new jobs expanded by 1.7 percent per year between 1981 and 1989, but by just 1.2 percent per year between 1990 and 1995.
* Hours Worked. Table 1 confirms that hours worked per adult aged 20-64 grew much faster in the 1980s than in the pre -or post-Reagan years.
* Unemployment Rate. When Reagan took office in 1981, the unemployment rate was 7.6 percent. In the recession of 1981-82, that rate peaked at 9.7 percent, but it fell continuously for the next seven years. When Reagan left office, the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent. This reduction in joblessness was a clear triumph of the Reagan program. Figure 3 shows that in the pre-Reagan years, the unemployment rate trended upward; in the Reagan years, the unemployment rate trended downward; and in the post-Reagan years, the unemployment rate has fluctuated up and down but today remains virtually unchanged from the 1989 rate.
* Productivity. For real wages to rise, productivity must rise. Over the past 30 years there has been a secular downward trend in U.S. productivity growth. Under Reagan, productivity grew at a 1.5 percent annual rate, as shown in Figure 4. This was lower than in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s but much higher than in the post-Reagan years. Under Clinton, productivity has increased at an annual rate of just 0.3 percent per year--the worst presidential performance since that of Herbert Hoover.
* Inflation. The central economic evil that Ronald Reagan inherited in 1981 from Jimmy Carter was three years of double-digit inflation. In 1980 the consumer price index (CPI) rose to 13.5 percent. By Reagan's second year in office, the inflation rate fell by more than half to 6.2 percent. In 1988, Reagan's last year in office, the CPI had fallen to 4.1 percent. Figure 5 shows the inflation and interest rate trend.
* Interest Rates. In 1980 the interest rate on a 30-year mortgage was 15 percent; this rate rose to its all-time peak of 18.9 percent in 1981. The prime rate steadily fell over the subsequent six years to a low of 8.2 percent in 1987 as the inflationary expectation component of interest rates fell sharply. The prime rate hit its 20-year low in 1993 at 6.0 percent. The Treasury Bill rate also fell dramatically in the 1980s--from 14 percent in 1981 to 7 percent in 1988. In the 1990s, interest rates have continued to migrate gradually downward, as shown in Figure 5.
* Savings. The savings rate did not rise in the 1980s, as supply-side advocates had predicted. In fact, in the 1980s the personal savings rate fell from 8 percent to 6.5 percent. In the 1990s the average savings rate has fallen even further to an average of 4.9 percent --although the rate of decline has slowed.

The decline in the personal savings rate in the 1980s was disappointing, but two factors mitigate the implications of these statistics. First, the drop in the savings rate was partly a natural response to demographic changes in America--namely, the baby boomers entering their peak spending years. Second, the savings rate data fail to account for real gains in wealth, which clearly are an important form of savings. The real value of capital assets and property doubled from 1980 to 1990. The Dow Jones Industrial Average nearly tripled from a low of 884 in 1982 to 2,509 in 1989. These increases in the value of stocks, bonds, homes, businesses, and so forth added to Americans' balance sheets hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth that are not accounted for in the savings rate statistics.

Dom Heffner
06-28-2005, 12:56 PM
GAC wrote:
I am not comparing these two situations as far their severity.

Really? Then what did you mean by this statement:


But who got hurt more in these two situations? Our government diverting monies to help fight rebels in S. America, or all the people, including many elderly, who lost everything in Whitewater?

The question "who got hurt more in these two situations," I believe, is asking the reader to compare the severity of the situations. If you were not trying to compare the two, this sentence probably should have been omitted. :)

I miss talking with you, GAC. Good to see you around.

And as far as the CATO Institute study, I don't think it is in either one of our best interests to cite an obviously biased study on matters that we truly do not understand.

As well, how many unbiased studies take the time to insult another president while pointing out the greatness of another?

Johnny Footstool
06-28-2005, 01:17 PM
The Right Wing has been leading a concerted effort in the past 5 years or so to get Reagan canonized as one of our "greatest American presidents." Pretty much a blatant attempt to create a false history by heaping candy-coated praise on an undeserving target. Reagan was mediocre at best (IMO, so were Clinton and Bush I). I find it quite laughable when Reagan is mentioned in the same breath as Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, and FDR.