New jobs report –
Although the headline number for job creation was below expectations, this was still a decent report. Some positives include more wage growth (see below), fewer part-time workers for economic reasons, fewer long-term unemployed, and a decline in U-6 (an alternative measure of underemployment).
Earlier: April Employment Report: 160,000 Jobs, 5.0% Unemployment Rate
A few numbers: Total employment is now 5.5 million above the pre-recession peak. Total employment is up 14.2 million from the employment recession’s low.
Private payroll employment increased 171,000 in April, while government employment declined 11,000 in April, mostly at the Federal level. Private employment is now 5.8 million above the pre-recession peak. Private employment is up 14.6 million from the recession low.
With Jeb Bush fumbling an easy question from Meghan Kelly and Marco Rubio doing his Jeb Bush impersonation in front of Fox New’s Chris Wallace… I thought that I would repost this. It is a basic summary of why we went to war and how each one of those assumptions was wrong.
I will not say anything new in this post. I will not say anything that is outrageous or over the top. The Iraq War was one of the many reasons that caused me to start writing a book and to start a blog.
I think that the Bush Administration had four main reasons for going to war in Iraq. Yellowcake from Niger, aluminum tubes to concentrate uranium, mobile biological labs and the Al Qaeda (Mohamed Atta) – Saddam Hussein connection. It is now clear that none of these lines of argument were based in fact. I will not go into any of the details of why the above claims were lies. It should be clear to everyone by now. I will point you to Hubris and 500 Days as two very good books that go into detail about what happened and why. Also check out James Risen’s book State of War.
Cost of the War in Iraq
I guess the big question concerns what we gained from the Iraq War. Some will say nothing. Others will argue that we got rid of Saddam Hussein and that was worth it. I would argue that we squandered international good will. We fanned the flames of Muslim extremism. We played into the hands of Bin Laden by invading a country that was no threat to us or our allies. I would say that we turned a very backward nation into a battleground where there seems to always be war.
I wrote this a couple of years ago about the importance of the August 6th PDB. I still like it.
No other document, in my opinion, reveals how clueless the Bush administration truly was prior to 9/11. This document is little over a page long, yet it holds some alarming information. First, read the memo. Now, re-read the memo and imagine that you are the President of the United States in August 2001. You are responsible for the well being of over 275 million people. Secondly, focus on the title – Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US. Now, in August of 2001, this was not common knowledge. In 1993, the World Trade Center was bombed, but it is not clear to me that the Bush White House (well, I’m really talking about Bush, Cheney and Rice) clearly understood the connection between Ramzi Yousef, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Osama bin Laden. US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya are bombed in 1998. Hundreds of Africans were killed. A third Embassy was targeted but the attack was thwarted by the Ugandan police. October 12, 2000, the USS Cole was bombed. 17 sailors were killed. We cannot forget the Millennium Day Bomber who intended to bomb the LA airport. Just because he was caught does not mean that he isn’t part of the picture. As a matter fact, the Millennium Day Bomber is probably the most vivid example of Al Qaeda (he trained with Al Qaeda) trying to come into the United States. It was due to nothing but a lot of luck and some skill that this plot was thwarted. The US Customs agent said that the Millennium Day Bomber was acting hinky.
This should be the most superficial knowledge that the president should have as he was reading the August 6th daily brief.
The seventh paragraph of the PDB should have sent chills up and down the spine of any American who read it.
Al Qaeda members – including some who are US citizens – have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks. Two Al Qaeda members found guilty in the conspiracy to bomb our embassies in East Africa were US citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-’90s. Continue reading