Neo-Conservatives are bad for America


neocons+straussIt’s been extraordinary watching how neocons have made everything up, down, everything black, white and everything evil, good and back again.  In the process they have managed to weaken America, tarnish her image in the world community and imperil the world.  In my wildest of conspiratorial dreams, I surmise they are responsible for the election of Barack Obama in order to undo some of the damage they have done, but they have not kept themselves out of the policy making apparatus of government; they are rather firmly entrenched there and have installed gate keepers at every door of the branches of government.  Rahm Emmanuel in the executive, and policy wonks at State, two previously mentioned here on the pages of Miscellany101.  They are not working in the best interests of the US; American interests take a back seat to interests feuled by tribalism and history they want to rewrite in order settle old scores at the expense of an unconcerned and uninitiated American public.  Sure most of it is based on OIL, oil, Israel and logistics, but personal aggrandizement and wealth also play a part in their deception.

So while going through my daily reading I wandered on this article which reinforced these notions above.  What picqued my interest and aggravated my anger was the explicit statement that Saddam wanted the help of America and would have entered into a defense pact with the US in order to defend him against Iran.  That’s not altogether surprising since Saddam fought the Iranians before in the 80s for eight years, at no expense to US personnel or materiel.  Saddam wanted to talk to Bush about that and if he had been successful in pitching the idea all the American lives killed and money wasted at great expense to the country could have been avoided with an even better policy result!  But Bush was convinced to ignore Saddam’s overtures, no doubt with the blessings of the many neocons entrenched in his government who advised against such acceptance.  Instead these people using fascist tactics of deception and the increased powers of the state  got Bush to promote the lie of WMDS and consequently,  America has  installed  a pro-Iranian regime, and destabilized one of the largest Arab speaking countries of the region.  All this happened because neocons have been pitching the idea of regime change to Democrats and Republicans alike since the mid 90s.

They have managed to pitch war at the expense of peace before, when they similarly got Bush to ignore Iranian attempts at rapprochement with America in 2003.  Now a second US administration is being led by the nose with the help of a belligerent ally, Israel, that wants a war and ostensibly drag America into it, with a country that wants peace and is willing to  make major concessions towards that aim.  Such a war would not be in the interests of America and could prove to be more costly than even the Iraq debacle.  The authors of American government advised this country in its infancy from foreign entanglements and that advice still reverberates throughout time but there are few in government who are able to hear it because of the noise being made by neoconservatives and their spin doctors.  The fact that Obama has further embraced them, making government positions a revolving door for the enemies of America to spin, deceive and escalate and involve this country in military adventures means there isn’t much that has changed with his election.  It’s time for Americans to show neocons the door.

The Elephant party with an un-Elephant like memory


The  ‘era of big government is back’ screamed the headline with a quote from republican minority leader John Boehner, talking about the stimulus package President Obama is trying to implement. “My question to my Democratic friends is how are you going to pay for it?”, claims Boehner and my answer to him would be why don’t we try to recoup all the money wasted on the Iraqi misadventure, that was documented here

Overall, the Defense Contract Audit Agency has found $4.9 billion in overpricing and waste in Iraq contracts since 2003. US auditors have identified another $5.1 billion in expenses charged without documentation.

“Clearly there has been some significant level of corruption,” says Steven Kosiak, director of budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

But the biggest problem may be the waste that results from doing big-budget projects quickly, with little oversight, in a war-torn country.

“Fraud has not been a significant component of the US experience in Iraq … waste is another matter,” said Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq, at a House hearing on February 15.

here

The three top auditors overseeing contract work in Iraq told a House committee of $10 billion in spending that was wasteful or poorly tracked. They pointed to numerous instances in which Defense and State department officials condoned or otherwise allowed poor accounting, repeated work delays, bloated expenses and payments for work shoddily or never done by U.S. contractors.

and here.

Though Defense has long been notorious for waste, recent government reports suggest the Pentagon’s money management woes have reached astronomical proportions. A study by the Defense Department’s inspector general found that the Pentagon couldn’t properly account for more than a trillion dollars in monies spent. A GAO report found Defense inventory systems so lax that the U.S.

Army lost track of 56 airplanes, 32 tanks, and 36 Javelin missile command launch-units. And before the Iraq war, when military leaders were scrambling to find enough chemical and biological warfare suits to protect U.S. troops, the department was caught selling these suits as surplus on the Internet “for pennies on the dollar,” a GAO official said.

Let’s not forget the $700 billion with a “b” Bush got Congress to approve that would place no restrictions on the administration of that money other than requiring semiannual reports to Congress.  That some of that money went on to build up the personal wealth of many people at the expense of the American taxpayer is without question.

The 116 banks that are receiving billions in taxpayer-provided bailout money this year actually paid out $1.6 billion in compensation and benefits to their top executives last year – even though the results at some of these institutions were so poor that they would soon have to turn to Washington for a government-engineered rescue.

The $1.6 billion was paid out to nearly 600 executives at the 116 banks that have so far accepted federal money to bolster their financial foundations, The Associated Press concluded after a review of U.S. securities filings. In addition to salary, the compensation included bonuses paid in both cash and stock. The benefits reaped by top executives included the use of company jets for personal purposes, personal chauffeurs, home-security services, country-club memberships and professional-wealth-management services, the news service said.

All of this happened during the Republican watch, so it’s really disingenuous of Boehner to claim that Obama has returned to big government spending…it’s never gone away or at least not in the last eight years.  With the Republican track record on the economy the way it is, the Party really shouldn’t throw rocks while they live in their glass houses.  My last parting shot at the Republicans who claimed the stimulus package bill was not read before passage comes this

This is not the first time this has happened. It happened with the TARP bailout bill (2008) that was rushed through Congress with few provisions for accountability; the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 which was Congress’ Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout and the PATRIOT Act (2001) that was rushed through Congress before the bill was even printed.

Congressional legislation, which can consist of hundreds or even thousands of pages of text, is routinely drafted by congressional staff members, special interest groups and/or lobbyists and oftentimes is not even read by the members of congress themselves. Although the people, via the U.S. Constitution, have exclusively given Congress the power to write our laws, many of our representatives have delegated this power to their staff members, government agency bureaucrats, special interest groups and corporate lobbyists who prepare much of the legislation.

There’s nothing new to see here people, just move along.

The Republican Epiphany


It’s a bit too late and dishonest, but it’s now being said that Bush is a socialist.  Progressives and people on the left have been saying the same thing but were excoriated for it, accused of being traitors and in so many words told to leave their country.  However, the signs of Bush’s socialist leaning tendencies have been apparent since 911.  That marked the beginning of big government, although that may not quite be the “big government” Republicans now have in mind.

“We can’t be a party of small government, free markets and low taxes while supporting bailouts and nationalizing industries, which lead to big government, socialism and high taxes at the expense of individual liberty and freedoms,” said Solomon Yue, an Oregon member and co-sponsor of a resolution that criticizes the U.S. government bailouts of the financial and auto industries.

What seems to have particularly drawn the Republicans’ ire is the financial bailouts and that indeed should be enough to upset EVERYONE within the borders of the US.  The Republicans however, are responsible for the mechanism behind the bailouts and how it works.  Although the country has been in a recession for over a year, the Bush Administration made the economy a priority only within the last 6 months and hurried initiatives through Congress, much like they did after 911, scaring all who opposed them with dire political consequences (this was an election year) as well as economical ones for the country.  In that kind of atmosphere all felt obliged to give the Administration what it asked for, but this is how Bush has worked throughout his two terms, turning every issue into a national crisis which could only be solved through the immediate and direct involvment of Government.  At every turn Democrats and Republicans participated in this turns towards “socialism” and very few people, except those on the fringe, complained.

Now, Republicans are claiming Bush is a socialist? Bush is NOT the target of this resolution being mulled within the RNC, rather it is Obama.  In fact the resolution itself won’t be considered until after Obama takes office, but what party officials want to do is tie Obama to Bush’s policies and plaster the “socialist” pejorative to the Democrats to use against them in ’12.  Republicans are quite happy with the big government they voted in during the last eight years and they know much of what they instituted will not be rescinded.  Government rarely if ever gives back power, and Bush has done a very good job of handing Democrats hot button issues that are irreparable in the short term so Republicans can position themselves as a “viable” opposition party….much like the Democrats did in ’06, and regain control of the executive and legislative.  Why anyone would want to be President under these circumstances is beyond me.

So the Bush is a socialist accusation is only window dressing to ensnare the Dems who will be forced to defend what transpired during Bush’s term, because once government gives, they can’t taketh back, while they, Republicans argue what they indeed voted for is no good and irrelevant.  A neat political trick.

Bush wants history to see him as a liberator of millions


Reading news like the above headline is hazardous to ones health and possessions.  After laughing until I nearly died I attacked my computer with a rage I haven’t felt since Bush was re-elected in 2004.  Indeed, Bush has been so obsessed with his “legacy” that he has done nothing for the country in the 8 years he’s been in office except liberate us of our hard earned money, and our constitutional freedoms!

“I’d like to be a president (known) as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace,” Bush said in excerpts of a recent interview released by the White House Friday.

“I would like to be a person remembered as a person who, first and foremost, did not sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process. I came to Washington with a set of values, and I’m leaving with the same set of values.”

He also said he wanted to be seen as a president who helped individuals, “that rallied people to serve their neighbor; that led an effort to help relieve HIV/AIDS and malaria on places like the continent of Africa; that helped elderly people get prescription drugs and Medicare as a part of the basic package.”

Starting with Iraq, he liberated them of their money too, to the tune of $20 billion or more for services his occupation forces and or no bid contractors never delivered, laid waste to their country on a scale that Saddam Hussein could never approach, his army simply wasn’t that good or that dangerous, and has the population of the country burning or defaming his image and demanding US forces leave.  Afghanistan isn’t much different.  Even the US appointed leader of that country has abandoned his American sponsors and turned to the Taliban offering them help and support.  Let’s not forget the freed citizens of those two countries who have since fled their homes because of the strife rained down on them by American occupation; George Bush liberated them of their homes too.

But the biggest benefactors of Bush’s liberation have been the American people…..to the tune of $8.5 trillion! American economists are grim about the prospects of the US government spending that amount of money which amounts to about 60% of US GNP to bailout companies and their managers for their bad business practices.  The US congress, has abrogated its responsibility turning over the cash without any oversight and leaving the decision making to a Bush appointee, Treasury secretary, who dispenses the money in any way he sees fit; he has seen fit to only give back to the taxpayer, the original source of that money , $800 billion, the rest going to only God knows where.  All this, mind you, under George Bush’s watch.

The reference Bush made to liberating came in an interview he did with his own SISTER and recorded as part of an oral history program known as Storycorps, and it goes without saying no one but her could take such pronouncements seriously. In my wildest dreams I could see Doro, reaching over the table where she sat with her brother and slapping him across the face while shouting, ‘snap out of it’ for surely Bush is delusional or high on some mind altering substance.  Once again, I’m reminded of how as a private citizen George W. Bush ruined all of h is business ventures and that has now been extended to the United States of America as well.  Gee, thanks George, now get lost!

Al-Qaeda pulling for John McCain


Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

James Madison, Political Observations, 1795

That’s not the kind of news John McCain wants to hear so close to the elections, but it’s what intelligence agencies are reporting in their monitoring of the airwaves.  We’ve been told how important it is to have super secret sensitive monitoring of all forms of communications and the best money can buy is saying that Al-Qaeda wants John McCain to win the presidential elections.  That’s not news however, for the same can be said for the 2004 elections when bin laden himself used the old disinformation ploy to claim support for John Kerry’s race against Bush while secretly hoping for Bush to win.

Why would terrorists want their ardent enemies to win elections in order to continue the fight against them? Quite simply the US is paying a greater price fighting terrorism than they are in securing American interests against terrorism, and especially in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. As for the former, it was never a threat against American interests nor those of its allies, and America knew that going into the war.  What that war has done is destabilize an oil producing country and its neighbors, caused a refugee problem that numbers in the hundreds of thousands, if not more, and presented America with the specter of war with another country, Iran.  Afghanistan, a perpetually poor country which had the misfortune of once hosting bin laden now looms large as a staging ground for incursions and another possible war in another Muslim country, Pakistan.  In both conflicts we are no closer to getting bin laden, if you think that was ever our goal, and yet we’ve alienated millions of Muslims telling them in the words of Thomas Friedman to ‘suck on this’.  It would appear to me therefore that Thomas Friedman and bin laden have much more in common than bin laden and the Muslim masses he purports to represent; neither one of them is interested in seeing the peaceful coexistence of Muslims with the West because in post cold war international relations there would be no one to justify the tremendous defense spending currently taking place in world governments, and especially ours. The current budget for defense is twice what it was in 2000 when Bush took office and with fighting taking place on two fronts, the US military will need to be rebuilt at a tremendous expense, no matter who wins the November elections.

The idea that bin laden is an instrument for US foreign policy has traction when one considers the large amounts of money spent to “fight” him and the members of his group, but what is happening on an even larger scale is the fight the US is waging with Muslim societies world wide.  Under the leadership of the neoconservative cabal wing of the Republican Party, Islamofascism has taken expression and become the enemy of our Nation.  It is defined as any body of Muslims who are not ok with the notion that the US can go anywhere, break any law and do anything to fight its perceived enemies and in the process make more and new enemies.  It is a policy of perpetual confrontation which only benefits a large military complex that needs conflict on which to survive, which gets us back again to Osama bin laden who can only survive as a “hero” for Muslims if there is conflict between them and who “he” defines as their enemy, the US. What’s interesting to me is we have more than enough people who are willing to whet the appetite of both parties, the neocons of Washington, and al-Qaeda of some cave in the Hindu-Kush mountain range somewhere.  Perhaps it’s time to break this cycle.

The yo-yo called Gitmo


There’s a lot wrong with Guantanamo Bay and this latest episode demonstrates clearly the perils for those detained there.  Seventeen Chinese Muslims who have been detained for seven years were given their marching orders by a federal judge who told them they could go.  What’s extraordinary about that is since 2004 it has been known these men were not hostile to the United States, and were not declared enemy combatants, illegal or otherwise.

The United States determined in 2004 the 17 Uighurs are not enemy combatants, but has kept them at Guantanamo while trying to persuade other countries to resettle them. Officials said they were not returned to China because of credible fears they could be mistreated if returned.

The irony is that instead of turning them over to someone who officials thought might persecute them, it was decided to keep them locked up and persecuted at a US federal facility!  Go figure, but that’s not the end of it.  As I’ve said before, Americans are some of the kindest,  most decent people alive, and they demonstrated that kindness by offering to take care of the men from China once released by the government. Relief and faith based organizations throughout the country offered to take the men in and get them settled in the US, but acting on the politics of fear, the Administration said they were unsure what such a group in the heartland might do and didn’t want to release them.  I guess I can understand the fear the government would have of retribution from people who had been unlawfully detained, tortured and abuse for the last seven years.  Most people wouldn’t take too kindly to that sort of treatment and might want to “get even” as it were.

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there.  An appeals court has blocked the release of these men until further notice.

A US appeals court has temporarily blocked the release of 17 Chinese Muslim Uighurs from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp as President George W. Bush’s administration scrambles to appeal it.

*snip*

The 17 were officially declared no longer “enemy combatants” by the government in June, and the US government approved their release back in 2004.

But officials had maintained they could continue to hold the men at Guantanamo Bay if no other country accepted them.

The Uighurs were not returned to China due to credible fears they would be tortured upon return.

The White House condemned Tuesday’s ruling, saying it paved the way for extremists to demand the same freedom, and added it would continue to work to find another country to take in the men.

The article goes on to mention the resettlement of a group of the same ethnic Muslims to Albania where they live in peace but “with no possibility of returning to their families any time soon”.  However these Muslims from China are not acceptable in the US……it could be they are too close to corporate media who might in a fit of conscious decide to actually interview them to expose what took place in Guantanamo Bay.  In any event, their saga continues and the terrible legacy of Gitmo, left to us by this Administration, too continues and remains very much in the air.

Too good to be true


Which probably means it isn’t.  Reading comments Senator Joe Biden made me laugh.  As long as he has been in Congress, he should know better than to think Bush can be held accountable for his lawlessness in office, AFTER he leaves office!  C’mon Joe…that was your job as senator while Bush was in office, to impeach him.  What’s going to happen is Bush will surround himself in every presidential prerogative he can before he leaves office which will make it absolutely impossible for the judicial branch of government to lay a hand on him and Biden knows this.  In fact, even the language he uses to indicate this will happen is full of loopholes, which leads me to think that an Obama administration will be politics as usual.  Shame on you Joe for political grandstanding!  There are far more substantive issues to deal with them playing to a crowd with false promises!