Monthly Archives: December 2006

Ford Disagreed with Bush about invading Iraq.

Disagreed with the whole shooting match..no pun at Deadeye Dick intended..he also didn’t have much nice to say about Rummy and Cheney regarding the Iraq war either..Good read up over at WaPo. Its an interview Ford did a few years ago, but wouldn’t allow it to be published until after his death..and with good cause after you read it. Some choice quotes from the interview:

“Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq. They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction,” Ford said. “And now, I’ve never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do.”

*snip*

“Well, I can understand the theory of wanting to free people,” Ford said, referring to Bush’s assertion that the United States has a “duty to free people.” But the former president said he was skeptical “whether you can detach that from the obligation number one, of what’s in our national interest.” He added: “And I just don’t think we should go hellfire damnation around the globe freeing people, unless it is directly related to our own national security.”

Go check it out my dear reader..worth your time I think.

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So, how much does the war really cost Mr. President?

Remember that old song, “Me and my Shadow”? Well, the Decider-in-Chief has been using a “shadow budget” to fund the war in Iraq from the start. This isn’t news to people that have been paying attention. Bush has used emergency spending bills to cover virtually the entire costs of the war in Iraq. Not only are lawmakers bitching, the Iraq Study Group stated the budgetary system should not be circumvented.

No kidding gents.

The real complaint about this method of funding the war is that the oversight duties of the legislature are removed, not to mention how it screws up the federal budget projections. Three senators have sent a letter to the President demanding an end to this “shadow budget”. The 2 senators and 1 congressman who drafted and signed this letter: Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, current chairman of the Senate Budget Committee; Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, incoming chairman of the Senate Budget Committee; and Democratic Rep. John Spratt of South Carolina, incoming chairman of the House Budget Committee.

A very telling excerpt from a Rueters article on this subject explains quite a bit;

“In legislation passed in June to authorize the latest infusion of funds for Iraq, an amendment was added requiring the president to finance the war costs through the annual budget. But Bush indicated in a signing statement that he does not necessarily view that requirement as binding because it is the president’s role to submit the budget. “

Ah yes..the infamous signing statement…best way to circumvent any laws or bills the Decider-in-Chief doesn’t like, is it not my dear reader?

This war is estimated to cost American taxpayers roughly $8 Billion a month. Let me type that again…..$8 Billion a month. Surely there is a better way to spend that money which would offer more protection to the U.S.? The line” If we don’t fight them there, they will follow us home” got a lot of airplay..but I don’t think most folks are buying that bs any longer, other than perhaps the staunch neocons that still support Bush and his war-mongering ways.

Incoming Senate Budge Committe Chairmain, Rep. John Spratt(D,S.C.) has stated in this MSNBC article: “When the president talks about staying the course, he never mentions cost as a factor,” Spratt said. “But it is a factor, particularly when you get costs over $100 billion a year.”

The MSNBC article also tallies up for us the “terror-related” spending since that fateful day known as 9/11…here it comes..are you sitting down?

FIVE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS

That money of course was approved by a legislature that was controlled by the Republicans. Yes, the Democrats went along for the ride. Even if every Democrat had voted against most of the expenditures..they would of passed.

The Democrats now hold the purse strings, do they not? They have the power to hold hearings and subpoena people within the government. The budget deficit has declined..amazingly..to a mere $248 Billion. This is explained by White House Budget Director Rob Portman this way: “Revenues are up because of a growing economy, “That has enabled us not just to afford the relatively high [war] supplementals — higher than we expected — but actually to decline the deficit.”

The Democrats explain away this logic by stating “the annual deficit is kept artificially low with cash borrowed from the Social Security trust fund. The nation’s overall indebtedness is approaching $9 trillion, and interest on that debt grew by 23 percent last year, making it the fastest-growing part of the budget.”

Thanks to the ever-expanding military budget, there is roughly only 20% of the budget left to spend on things like education, highways, housing and courts, and the like. You know, things that keep our country going. Wasn’t it nice of the Republican-led Congress to leave unfunded most of the programs needed to run this country and provide services critical to our citizens?

Not really. But never fear, the Democrats have a plan..they want to cut out the “pet funding” otherwise known as PORK or Earmarks from the federal budget. That will teach the bastards to rubber stamp the war in Iraq, won’t it?

Not really. It does however, provide the Democrats with a huge dilemma on how to carry out many of the promises made such as cutting interest rates for student loans in half, getting rid of the Medicare drug plan “doughnut hole”, more cash for veterans and children’s health services and all the other programs and promises made during the mid-term election.

The Democrats will have to get creative. But first, we need to know what this friggin war is really costing us.

Cross-posted at Bring it On!

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Robert Scheer: Its not the Oil, its the MIC

The MIC=Military Industrial Complex. In his latest piece for TruthDig, Robert Scheer examines the whys and where-for’s of the reasons we are still in Iraq. His title is: “Ike was right”. What we need to fear is the MIC. I blogged about this angle earlier in the year. I think Ike was spot on, and Scheer, like myself, quotes Ike’s final speech on the subject:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

The phrase “unwarranted influence whether sought or unsought” really jacks my jaw. Its true you know, there is far too much influence brought to bear on what we do in our foreign policy based on what private companies, such as Halliburton, can reap.

One paragraph I smirked at in Scheer’s piece was this:

“Yes, some, like Paul Wolfowitz, the genius who was the No. 2 in the U.S. Defense Department and has been rewarded for his leadership with appointment as head of the World Bank, did argue that Iraq’s oil revenue would pay for our imperial adventure. A recent study by Nobel Prize-wining economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard University’s Linda Bilmes marked that absurdity by estimating the true cost of the Iraq adventure to U.S taxpayers at a whopping $2.267 trillion, in excess of any cost borne by the Iraqis themselves.”

Wolfowitz is a fucking tool, and he has done everything in his power to distance himself from the fray that is the war in Iraq. This nimrod was part and parcel of the group that planned and executed the beginnings of the war. He needs to be singled out on the same level as Rummy and Bush when it comes down to the idiots that got us into this nightmare.

Its a good read if you wish to avail yourself of Scheer’s words. They echo many of my sentiments from the August post. I want a strong military, I just don’t want private corporations little greedy fingers involved in it without tremendous oversight by our legislative branch…. I am looking at you the Democratic-led 110th Congress.

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President Gerald Ford has died.

His wife Betty made the announcement a few minutes ago. He was 93,and the story will be updated here as it develops. He was the 38th and the ONLY unelected President of our nation. He lost his election bid. His time as our President was only 895 days long. He originally replaced disgraced Spiro Agnew, then his boss Nixon.

Rest in Peace President Ford, you ran things when the country was divided and at war..God bless you sir, even if you did pardon Richard Nixon.

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Katrina fraud and corruption: $2 Billion and counting…

This quote from a Forbes article this morning says it all for me:

“Based on their track record, it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw another billion more in waste,” said Clark Kent Ervin, the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general from 2003-2004. “I don’t think sufficient progress has been made.”

So, the Katrina corruption could actually rival that of the Iraq reconstruction fraud and corruption..friggin great, more waste of tax dollars.

In reports set to be released in January, auditors examined over $12 Billion in contracts. One of the charges that will be leveled are political favoritism via No-Bid contracts. Under pressure last year, Federal Emergency Management Agency director David Paulison pledged to rebid many of the agreements, only to backtrack months later and reopen only a portion.

Here is another quote from Ervin: “It’s a combination of laziness, ineptitude and it may well be nefarious,”. Ain’t that some shit my dear reader.

I get to use my favorite tag today:

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Cross-posted at Bring it On!