Friday, July 9


Greg Palast:

Under the racketeering law, RICO, even before a verdict, anything bought with the proceeds of the crime goes into the public treasury.

But there seems to be special treatment afforded those who loaded up on the 'bennies' of Ken Lay's crimes. If the G-men don't know where the tainted loot is cached, try this address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Ask for George or Dick.

Ken Lay and his Enron team are the Number One political career donors to George W. Bush. Mr. Lay and his Mrs., with no money to pay back bilked creditors, still managed to personally put up $100,000 for
George's inaugural Ball plus $793,110 for personal donations to Republicans. Lay's Enron team dropped $4.2 million into the party that let Enron party.

OK now, Mr. President, give it back - the millions stuffed in the pockets of the Republican campaign kitty stolen from his Enron retirees.

And what else did Ken Lay buy with the money stolen from California electricity customers? Answer: the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Just before George Bush moved to Washington, Kenny-Boy handed his hand-picked president-to-be the name of the man Ken wanted as Chairman of the commission charged with investigating Enron's thievery. In a heartbeat, George Bush appointed Ken's boy, Pat Wood.

Think about that: the criminal gets to pick the police chief. Well, George, give it back. Dump Wood and end the "de-criminalization" of electricity price-gouging that you and Cheney and Wood laughably call
"de-regulation." Give us back the government Lay bought with crime cash.

And while we're gathering up the ill-gotten loot, let's stop by Brother Jeb's. The Governor of Florida picked up a cool $2 million from a Houston fundraiser at the home of Enron's former president long AFTER the company went bankrupt. Enron, not incidentally, obtained half a billion of Florida state pension money -- which has now disappeared down the Enron rat-hole.

And Mr. Vice-President, don't you also have something to give back? In secret meetings with Dick Cheney in the Veep's bunker prior to the inauguration and after, you let Ken and his cohorts secretly draft the
nation's energy plan - taking a short break to eye oil field maps of Iraq. Let us remember that the President's sticky-fingered brothers Neil and Marvin were on Enron's payroll, hired to sell pipelines to the
Saudis. The Saudis didn't bite, but maybe a captive Iraq would be more pliant.

While we're on the subject, read this letter from The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Pat Wood (here's an intro) --

Dear Chairman Wood:

We have received a copy your June 7, 2004 letter to Senator Barbara Boxer and are appalled at your indifference to both already established facts surrounding Enron's gaming of California ratepayers and to the suffering of Californians due to market manipulation perpetrated by companies that you regulate.
Most disturbing is the misstatement of conclusions already reached by your agency and that you show far more empathy for the discredited positions of Ken Lay, who first recommended you as a utility commissioner to then-Governor Bush, than for Californians. Despite the revelation by CBS News of taped conversations among Enron employees revealing overtly criminal behavior by Lay's employees (and explicit acknowledgement that Mr. Lay himself was in on the schemes), you have once again dismissed evidence of one of the largest crimes against consumers in our nation's history.
• You state: "the Commission found no evidence that there was market manipulation specific to the long-term contract negotiations and no evidence of unfairness, bad faith or duress in the negotiations of the long-term contracts."
In fact, that conclusion contradicts the findings of your own agency. According to FERC's "Final Report on Price Manipulation in Western Markets" of March 26, 2003 the manipulated spot market prices "significantly influenced" the energy prices agreed to in longer term contracts. Your agency found that "forward power prices were distorted" and FERC even developed "a detailed statistical analysis providing estimates of the extent of the distortion based on a certain level of distortion in spot power prices." Your claim that the awful behavior of Enron and its energy generation and trading counterparts did not improperly alter the environment in which California's long-term contracts were negotiated cannot be reconciled with the findings of your agency or the plain history of California's energy crisis.

Thursday, July 8


A Texas legislator joins the war effort in Afghanistan:

Rick Noriega met his cousin to say goodbye Tuesday before heading off to Afghanistan with the National Guard, leaving his job and family just as many other Americans have done.

These two did it differently, though, because Mr. Noriega is a state representative, his cousin Michael Solar is a powerful lawyer and legislators headed off to war have special needs. So, the goodbye was a fund-raising luncheon to operate Mr. Noriega's legislative office while he's gone.

The good wishes expressed by supporters were heartfelt, and the event was an essentially American one: Mr. Noriega, descendant of sharecroppers, Hispanic success story, reporting for military duty today. He's the first Texas legislator sent into Afghanistan or Iraq.

Mr. Noriega, 46, three-term Democrat from Houston's House District 145, clearly found all the attention a bit embarrassing.

"What I've tried to do is shine some light on what every soldier and their family have had to go through," Mr. Noriega told the gathering. "I just hope that when all of our soldiers come home, we can celebrate them equally."

He's had a family gathering, a union hall celebration, a City Council proclamation. He's also had other experiences of the weekend warrior called to active duty, such as comforting his wife and two sons, reworking the family budget, checking his will, being turned down for insurance.

"It's no different than anybody else," he said. "The separation, the anxiety, the T's that need to be crossed, the I's that have to be dotted."

Wednesday, July 7


I would advise Bush-Cheney '04 to reconsider their tactic of smearing Kerry-Edwards as "two trial lawyers" vs. "two CEO businessmen." As a top prosecutor in Middlesex County, Kerry took on organized crime and put the Number Two mob boss in New England behind bars. He modernized the District Attorney's office, creating an innovative rape crisis crime unit, and as a lawyer in private practice he worked long and hard to prove the innocence of a man wrongly given a life sentence for a murder he did not commit. John Edwards, the "People's Lawyer," is "uniquely situated to refute Bush's attacks on trial lawyers and tort reform because he's the living embodiment of how a trial lawyer can serve a regulatory function in the face of misbehaving corporations, cities, and professionals. Indeed, attacking him is one of the surest ways for Bush to inadvertently highlight his own greatest vulnerability: the perception among voters that he's a shill for corporate America." (Read the whole article.)

George Bush, on the other hand, failed in every business undertaking he was ever associated with, the exception being his tiny stake in the Texas Rangers baseball club, which his cronies helped him parlay into a fortune. Dick Cheney's only business experience was with Halliburton, where his government and political connections were his only real contribution to the company, and which also made his personal fortune. It's hilarious to visit the Bush-Cheney '04 web site and read the two men's bios. W's skips from his graduation from Harvard Business School in 1975 to his work on his father's presidential campaign in '88 -- a failure to mention thirteen years of failures in business, always being financially rescued in one way or the other by friends or connections of his father. Cheney's resume, which begins with "a distinguished career in business and public service," completely fails to mention his only experience in business -- Halliburton, probably because it is currently a dirty word for most non-somnolent Americans.

I'll take the lawyers any day.


Arianna Huffington on John Edwards:

Here are five things about John Edwards that should be sending a cold shiver down Karl Rove's spine right about now:

1) He can help Kerry make this campaign about what kind of America we want to live in -- a campaign not just about policies and programs but about our fundamental values as a country. Throughout his primary campaign, Edwards showed an uncanny ability to frame his positions in the language of morality and traditional American values.

"I believe we can build a better life for our families," he said during a Democratic primary debate. "But it has to be based on the values of hard work and responsibility, not accounting tricks and corporate greed. I want to bring your values, the values of Main Street America, to Wall Street and then to Pennsylvania Avenue. I want to give this White House back to the American people."
2) Edwards' core theme of the two Americas -- "one for the powerful insiders, and another for everyone else" -- helps sharpen the differences between the two tickets, and underlines that far from being a uniter George Bush has been the ultimate divider. As Edwards evocatively paints it, Bush has created two school systems, two healthcare systems, two economic systems, two tax systems, and even two systems of government, all designed to benefit "those who never have to worry about a thing" -- and at the expense of ordinary Americans.

Edwards has also shown a commitment to putting poverty fighting front and center in his campaign, sending a message that dates back to the beginnings of this country: We are all in the same boat together.
As Edwards put it during his presidential run (and will no doubt repeat many times now that he has a much bigger megaphone), "2004 is a make-or-break election because we need to create one America again. And that is the one thing George Bush will never do. Dividing us into two Americas -- one privileged, the other burdened -- has been his agenda all along."

3) Without wearing it on his sleeve, Edwards' comfort with matters of faith, morality and religion will allow Kerry and the Democrats to make an unabashed appeal to the millions of Americans whose spiritual beliefs are central to their lives.

The Bush Republicans have made it clear they believe that God is on their side, blessing everything from the war in Iraq to the president's multitrillion-dollar tax cuts. Edwards' central message of fairness and economic justice puts the question in play: Which is the true political morality? Opposing gay rights and abortion or heeding the biblical admonition "We shall be judged by what we do for the least among us"? During the Democratic debates, Edwards was asked if, like Bush, he felt God is on America's side. He responded by quoting Lincoln, who, when asked in the middle of the Civil War to join in prayer that God is on "our side," replied: "I won't join you in that prayer, but I'll join you in a prayer that we're on God's side."

Edwards' championing of those left behind will help America reclaim the moral high ground we've abandoned in the last three years.

4) Edwards can help Kerry ride the wave of idealism that was unleashed after Sept. 11. Rare among populist politicians, Edwards radiates optimism and inspires hope. "This election is not about what we are against," he said before the Iowa primary, "it is about what we are for ... We offer a new beginning for America based on hopes, dreams and endless optimism -- not fear, greed and attack politics."

This spirit is the perfect antidote to the pessimism the GOP is desperately trying to tag Kerry with. And it doesn't hurt that Edwards has got charm and charisma to burn, is the most natural politician the party has to offer, has a great story of humble beginnings and triumphing over adversity and personal tragedy, and can move an audience to tears with his heartfelt oratory.

5) Edwards has made a very successful career out of eating folks like Dick Cheney for lunch in courtrooms all across America. He'll know exactly how to wield Halliburton like a stiletto. I give Cheney 30 minutes before he drops his first F-bomb. I can't wait.

The Republican attacks on Edwards as "unaccomplished and inexperienced," "out there in left field" and, above all, "Kerry's second choice," sound like wishful whistling past the graveyard. Edwards' selection has not only energized the Democratic base -- which was pretty energized anyway -- it has, more important, the potential to arouse the dormant passion of the 50 percent of eligible voters who have given up on voting.

All in all, not a bad payoff for a fallback plan.


New York Times reporting can no longer be trusted, when it makes stupid, biased mistakes(?) like this (not to mention its coverage of Clinton and the runup to the Iraq war):

What happens when fresh polling data gets in the way of a selected campaign narrative, in this case that Sen. John Kerry is not connecting with voters in Ohio? If it's the New York Times, the poll numbers just get ignored. How else to explain the paper's page-one piece over the weekend about the crucial swing state?

On Sunday, after detailing how Ohio is the new Florida -- a must-win state that’s too close to call -- the paper reported, a "Democratic victory will also require convincing fence straddlers that Mr. Kerry has the right character, experience and message to run the country. So far, polls and interviews show, Mr. Kerry has yet to do that." The paper's proof for Kerry's supposed soft standing? "Several surveys earlier in the year showed Mr. Kerry with a slim margin. A more recent poll in The Cleveland Plain Dealer had Mr. Bush with a 47 percent to 41 percent lead," according to the Times.

The fact is that Cleveland Plain Dealer poll was published IN MAY . The most recent Ohio polling data was released on Thursday, or three days before the Times published its story. Conducted by American Research Group, it shows Kerry beating Bush in the Buckeye state, 50 percent to 43 percent. And even with Nader in the race, Kerry still leads comfortably; 49 percent to 42 percent. The poll also addressed the Times' notion that voters had doubts about Kerry's "character." In fact, it's Bush who Ohio voters are uncomfortable with; the poll found 52 percent have an unfavorable view of him, while just 36 percent view Kerry unfavorably.

Thanks to vigilant Eric Boehlert and Salon.


Jimmy Breslin:

What's the matter?" Christ was asked.

"My feet. I'm not 33 anymore and they're going to have me out until I can hardly take a step."

Christ was talking about the start of the political campaigning when the Republicans trying to stay in office have started dragging Christ everywhere, and they will have him out there on the road right up to Election Day.

"The public wants to hear politicians talk about their religion," the Republican message went out to all members.

Straight off, here was George Bush in West Virginia: "God bless you. And God bless America."

Here was Cheney in someplace, I don't know where he was and he didn't seem to know, either:
"God bless the United States of America."

That was just the start. They are going to go right through to November. From every podium will be heard:

"This nation is under Jesus Christ!!!"

Christ was asking, "Don't they bother to look at me?"

"To see what?" he was asked.

"My feet. I walk on bare feet. Do they think of that when they schedule? They better look at my feet. If they cared, if they had any compassion, they would see my bare feet."

In an effort to save their jobs, Bush and Cheney are calling on Christ to walk with them all through the Low IQ states, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana. That is where Bush half smiles or smirks, it is hard to tell which, and he says Christ and waves his arm and the crowd screams: "Jeeee-zus!"

Then Bush calls for capital punishment. The crowds scream. "Kill. Kill. Kill."

And Christ is saying, "They go in all these churches, but do they ever look up once and see a crucifix? That's how the religion was started. It was an execution. Now they use my name to call for more executions? Bush never looks up at a cross. Would he know what he is looking at?"
Bush says that Christ is on his side on abortion, late-term abortions, same-sex marriages, stem cell research. "Do they think any of this is as important as a mother who can't feed and clothe her children? I don't know where he gets it all from," Christ said. "I never said anything like that in the Scriptures."

He does not like it a bit when they claim they kill in Iraq in his name. They say they are killing for both America and Christ. Everybody should be in favor of that - Christ waging war in the sands to protect America. They say he is helping them kill guerrillas and insurgents and thugs from other countries. Outside agitators!

"They are Iraqis," Christ was saying. "They are residents. They act on free will. We are going to see about that later. But I do know that mortals on Earth can't have me killing for America. Or doing anything for America alone. Try using me anywhere in America. Tell people in the mountains in Wyoming, or on a parkway in Memphis. But they cannot say that I am only with America. God bless America. But God blesses Jordan, too. And Syria. And Israel and Palestine both. And I say to you that God blesses Iraq. Watch out, if you think you are the favored people. There are none!"

Most disgusting is looking out at one of these big dinners in Houston, where they raise millions and a couple of thousand people sit there formal and up on the dais, George Bush, who insists that Christ is with them, chews.

Now you look out at the thousands and see every white jaw moving with him as one. Chewing on filet mignon. Up, down. Some give a sideways motion. White mouths in white faces. To the right side, and others to the left. Tucking meat against the jowls. They have spent $3 million to eat all at once with Bush. They have napkins ready. Steak juice down the chin.

So I look like a pig. God bless this meal. God bless my teeth. God bless America!

They use strange language. They are calling Christ's name and it is about killing Iraqis, cutting welfare, controlling women's bodies and cutting taxes for these wealthy at the dinner.
From the dais the crowd is told, "We give you your tax money back and you let it get down to the poor folks when you think they need it! God wants you to have this money. If he didn't want that, then he'd have made you poor and you sure aren't poor, so that means God wants you to have money. Big money in the name of God."

Hearing this, Christ said, "I wonder if they ever looked at what I said about the rich having an impossible time getting into heaven?"

Then he said, "I know one other thing they never looked at. Not one of them."

"What is that, Lord?"

"Look at the color of my skin. See for yourself. My color is nowhere near theirs."


David Corn of The Nationinterviews Bill Clinton while waiting to go on NPR:

While I was tussling with rightwing activist Grover Norquist this morning on NPR's "Diane Rehm Show," Norquist did what many conservatives do when confronted by the charge that George W. Bush dishonestly hyped the WMD threat in Iraq. He referred to Bill Clinton. The 42nd president, Norquist maintained, supported Bush's invasion of Iraq because he (Clinton, that is) also believed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
When we were just on, I said to Clinton, Norquist claimed that you supported Bush's invasion because you were concerned about Saddam Hussein's WMDs. Is that true?
With Norquist squeezed next to him, Clinton said that had not been his position. He acknowledged that he had endorsed the congressional resolution granting Bush the authority to wage war. But, he explained, that was because he had figured Hussein would not have permitted weapons inspectors to return to Iraq without the threat of force. "Hans Blix [the chief weapons inspector] was tough," Clinton said, adding that he had wanted to see inspections continue.

Clinton, who later told Diane Rehm that he had indeed been concerned about the possibility of unaccounted-for WMDs in Iraq after inspections ended in 1998, dismissed WMDs as a reason to go to war. "Paul Wolfowitz tried to get me to invade Iraq," he recalled. In the 1990s, he said, Wolfowitz considered Iraq to be "the biggest problem"--greater than terrorism or the absence of peace in the Middle East.

Being kind to an ideological foe, Clinton noted that Wolfowitz had developed a whole theory about how a US invasion of Iraq would lead to a democratic Iraq and that the existence of this new Iraq would remake the region. Clinton indicated he never accepted this point of view, but it was, he said, a theory worth debating. Referring to the Bush administration's rationale for war, he remarked, "They should have just said that, without the pretext [of WMDs]." It was a polite way of saying the Bushies had been untruthful. After all, who is Clinton to call another president a liar?

And that, boys and girls, is the reason so many Democrats, including John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, voted for the Congressional resolution -- to give the pResident a tool, not a weapon. Their fault (and it IS a fault) lies in their unjustified trust in the most untrustworthy administration in our history. I guess they just couldn't believe that a son of George H.W. Bush, a man they respectfully oppose(d), could turn out to be a lying, scumbag dictator-in-the-making with a messianic complex. There were, of course, those of us who could.


From Congressman Henry Waxman's Washington Post Jan. 6:

When President Clinton was in office, Congress exercised its oversight powers with no sense of proportionality. But oversight of the Bush administration has been even worse: With few exceptions, Congress has abdicated oversight responsibility altogether.

Republican Rep. Ray LaHood aptly characterized recent congressional oversight of the administration: "Our party controls the levers of government. We're not about to go out and look beneath a bunch of rocks to try to cause heartburn."

Republican leaders in Congress have refused to investigate who exposed covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, whose identity was leaked after her husband, Joe Wilson, challenged the administration's claims that Iraq sought nuclear weapons. They have held virtually no public hearings on the hundreds of misleading claims made by administration officials about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda.

They have failed to probe allegations that administration officials misled Congress about the costs of the Medicare prescription drug bill. And they have ignored the ethical lapses of administration officials, such as the senior Medicare official who negotiated future employment representing drug companies while drafting the prescription drug bill.

The House is even refusing to investigate the horrific Iraq prison abuses. One Republican chairman argued, "America's reputation has been dealt a serious blow around the world by the actions of a select few. The last thing our nation needs now is for others to enflame this hatred by providing fodder and sound bites for our enemies."

Compare the following: Republicans in the House took more than 140 hours of testimony to investigate whether the Clinton White House misused its holiday card database but less than five hours of testimony regarding how the Bush administration treated Iraqi detainees.

There is a simple but deplorable principle at work. In both the Clinton and Bush eras, oversight has been driven by raw partisanship. Congressional leaders have vacillated between the extremes of abusing their investigative powers and ignoring them, depending on the party affiliation of the president.


More corruption in the Bush administration that will go unpunished, indeed rewarded (with a better job in industry):

An internal investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services confirms that the top Medicare official threatened to fire the program's chief actuary if he told Congress that drug benefits would probably cost much more than the White House acknowledged.

A report on the investigation, issued Tuesday, says the administrator of Medicare, Thomas A. Scully, issued the threat to Richard S. Foster while lawmakers were considering huge changes in the program last year. As a result, Mr. Foster's cost estimate did not become known until after the legislation was enacted.

But neither the threat nor the withholding of information violated any criminal law, the report said. It accepted the Justice Department's view that Mr. Scully had "the final authority to determine the flow of information to Congress.'' Moreover, it said, the actuary "had no authority to disclose information independently to Congress.''

Mr. Scully, who resigned in December, in part to become a lobbyist for health care companies, had denied threatening Mr. Foster but had acknowledged having told him to withhold the information from Congress.

The report, by Dara Corrigan, the department's acting principal deputy inspector general, said, "Our investigation revealed that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services did not provide information requested by Congressional members and staff, and that Scully threatened to sanction Foster if he disclosed unauthorized information.''
But Representative Pete Stark of California, the senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, said, "It sounds as though the Bush administration examined itself and found it did nothing wrong.''

The senior Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus of Montana, said that given a limited scope of the investigation, "we cannot know about the involvement or knowledge of White House officials'' in the suppression of information.

When President Bush signed the Medicare bill on Dec. 8, he hailed it as "the greatest advance in health care coverage for America's seniors since the founding of Medicare'' in 1965. Republicans were counting on the measure to help them win votes from the elderly in this year's elections. But Democrats, including Senator John Kerry, the party's expected presidential nominee, have waged a campaign to discredit the law, which they say is more helpful to drug companies and insurers than to elderly and disabled people.

The internal investigation was ordered by Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, on March 16, four days after House Democrats requested such an inquiry, and nearly four months after Congress approved the Medicare overhaul.

In recent weeks, Mr. Scully has registered as a lobbyist for major drug companies, including Abbott Laboratories and Aventis; for Caremark Rx, a pharmacy benefit manager; and for the American Chiropractic Association and the American College of Gastroenterology, among other clients. All are affected by the new Medicare law, which Mr. Scully helped write.


This has got Dallas talk radio hopping mad:

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas was among a dozen Democrats in Congress who on Friday asked the United Nations to watch for "questionable practices" in this year's presidential election.

They wrote that they do not want a repeat of the controversy and resulting legal wars of the 2000 race between George W. Bush and Al Gore that was ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A spokesman for the United Nations, Ari Gaitanis, said the request would be rejected because it came from elected officials, rather than directly from the government, as required by U.N. policy.

"We don't intervene in such affairs unless there is a proper request," Gaitanis said.

Despite the quick rejection, the request sparked the ire of some conservatives, including radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

Johnson was the first of 12 Democratic members of Congress to sign the letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. They said they feared a repeat of the 2000 election, which was won by Bush, a Republican, through the Electoral College count even though he lost in the popular vote.

The Democrats had asked in the letter for "international election monitors" to watch for "questionable practices and voter disenfranchisement on Election Day."

The close outcome between Bush and Gore in 2000 was clouded by accusations that ballots -- many of them cast by minorities who traditionally favor Democrats -- were not counted because of faulty voting machines and improper election instructions.

"We are deeply concerned that the right of U.S. citizens to vote in free and fair elections is again in jeopardy," the letter to the United Nations said.

The Democratic Congress members wrote that they did not believe that sufficient reforms had been implemented to prevent another voting debacle. "As the next Election Day approaches, there is more cause for alarm rather than less," the letter said.

A campaign spokesman for Bush declined to comment on the request, while a spokesman for presumptive Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry did not return a phone call.

Tuesday, July 6

"What has right-wing America done to Christianity?"

Opinion here:

Jesus has been appropriated by false prophets and infidels, and I want Him back. Other liberals talk about taking back the flag or wresting control of the country’s identity from the greedy little fists of the neocon state. I want to reclaim Jesus.


Paul Krugman ought to be required reading for all voters:

f you want a single number that tells the story, it's the percentage of adults who have jobs. When Mr. Bush took office, that number stood at 64.4. By last August it had fallen to 62.2 percent. In June, the number was 62.3. That is, during Mr. Bush's first 30 months, the job situation deteriorated drastically. Last summer it stabilized, and since then it may have improved slightly. But jobs are still very scarce, with little relief in sight.

Bush campaign ads boast that 1.5 million jobs were added in the last 10 months, as if that were a remarkable achievement. It isn't. During the Clinton years, the economy added 236,000 jobs in an average month. Those 1.5 million jobs were barely enough to keep up with a growing working-age population.

In the spring, it seemed as if the pace of job growth was accelerating: in March and April, the economy added almost 700,000 jobs. But that now looks like a blip — a one-time thing, not a break in the trend. May growth was slightly below the Clinton-era average, and June's numbers — only 112,000 new jobs, and a decline in working hours — were pretty poor.

What about overall growth? After two and a half years of slow growth, real G.D.P. surged in the third quarter of 2003, growing at an annual rate of more than 8 percent. But that surge appears to have been another blip. In the first quarter of 2004, growth was down to 3.9 percent, only slightly above the Clinton-era average. Scattered signs of weakness — rising new claims for unemployment insurance, sales warnings at Target and Wal-Mart, falling numbers for new durable goods orders — have led many analysts to suspect that growth slowed further in the second quarter.

And economic growth is passing working Americans by. The average weekly earnings of nonsupervisory workers rose only 1.7 percent over the past year, lagging behind inflation. The president of Aetna, one of the biggest health insurers, recently told investors, "It's fair to say that a lot of the jobs being created may not be the jobs that come with benefits." Where is the growth going? No mystery: after-tax corporate profits as a share of G.D.P. have reached a level not seen since 1929.

What should we be doing differently? For three years many economists have argued that the most effective job-creating policies would be increased aid to state and local governments, extended unemployment insurance and tax rebates for lower- and middle-income families. The Bush administration paid no attention — it never even gave New York all the aid Mr. Bush promised after 9/11, and it allowed extended unemployment insurance to lapse. Instead, it focused on tax cuts for the affluent, ignoring warnings that these would do little to create jobs.

After good job growth in March and April, the administration declared its approach vindicated. That was premature, to say the least. Whatever boost the economy got from the tax cuts is now behind us, and given the size of the budget deficit, another big tax cut is out of the question. It's time to change the policy mix — to rescind some of those upper-income cuts and pursue the policies we should have been following all along.

The rest is here.