‪”We Don’t Know Where That 2.3 Billion went and a lot of people don’t seem to care‬‏


We’re in the middle of one of the worse economic crisis of modern times,and much if not most of that is because of the careless nature of expenditure within the Defense department, according to some estimates as much as the deficit we are now hampered with. Yet the opposition party doesn’t seem at all interested in reducing the deficit by reigning in Defense department spending, instead opting to impose tax hikes on the middle class over the wealthiest Americans, and by cutting social services whose waste is a drop in the bucket compared to the Defense department. So while millions of Americans are without jobs…jobs that if you believed trickle down economics should be generated by the massive wealth accumulated by corporations like Exxon Mobile, GE, and yes our very own Defense Department, these very same entities are not being held accountable by members of government. Can anyone take elected officials seriously anymore?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Agenda Driven Terror


America with enough manly men to populate the planet Earth is the most scared country in the world when it comes to terrorism, terrorists and terror, or at least that’s what government wants you to think.  We are a country where even our women are manly men; we have two women running for President who think they can do a better job than the present occupant and one of them has even been heard telling other men to put their man pants on before going off to work, a sort of way of encouraging men who might otherwise not be up to the task of being men.  However, when it comes to brown or funny named people we just loose all sense of proportionality and turn to government, which always solves problems by throwing money at things, to calm us down and protect us.  Tom Engelhardt talks about this phenomenon in his article, The 100% Doctrine in Washington.

…in the near decade since 9/11, while hundreds of Americans died from E. coli, and at least 30,000 from food-borne illnesses generally, only a handful of Americans, perhaps fewer than 25, have died from anything that might be considered a terror attack in this country….in the near decade since 9/11, while hundreds of Americans died from E. coli, and at least 30,000 from food-borne illnesses generally, only a handful of Americans, perhaps fewer than 25, have died from anything that might be considered a terror attack in this country.

…in only one area of life are Americans officially considered 100% scared, and so 100% in need of protection, and that’s when it comes to terrorism. Having lost its communist super-enemy in 1991, it now lives, breathes, and grows on its self-proclaimed responsibility to protect Americans 100% of the time, 100% of the way, from any imaginable terror threat. The National Security Complex has, in fact, grown fat by relentlessly pursuing the promise of making the country totally secure from terrorism, even as life grows ever less secure for so many Americans when it comes to jobs, homes, finances, and other crucial matters.  It is on this pledge of protection that the Complex has managed to extort the tidal flow of funds that have allowed it to bloat to monumental proportions, end up with a yearly national security budget of more than $1.2 trillion, find itself encased in a cocoon of self-protective secrecy, and be 100% assured that its officials will never be brought to justice for any potential crimes they may commit in their “war” on terrorism.

Right now, even in the worst of economic times, the Department of Homeland Security, the Pentagon, and the sprawling labyrinth of competing bureaucracies that likes to call itself the U.S. Intelligence Community are all still expanding.….Any potential act of terrorism simply feeds the system, creating new opportunities to add yet more layers to one bureaucracy or another, or to promote new programs of surveillance, control, and war-making — and the technology that goes with them.  Every minor deviation from terror safety, even involving plots that failed dismally or never had the slightest chance of success, is but an excuse for further funding.

We have been conditioned to gasp and cry for help whenever we hear about an act of terror or an impending act, even though bin Laden is dead.  The military complex has managed to dredge up some others who are equally frightening, ominous and reason for continued vigilance at the expense of American tax dollars.  It doesn’t matter that we have placed ourselves in harms way on the soil of countries that were heretofore not our enemies but have since become after our destruction of their infrastructure and way of life.  Their anger only serves to emphasize, in some perverse way, the need for our continued presence in their country with the possibility of expansive forays into their neighboring countries. 

At a time when the opposition is talking about ways of reducing government they make no mention of pairing down the military complex that Engelhardt talks about, instead choosing to reduce the over trillion dollar deficit, much of it because of militarization on the backs of the elderly and the poor.  We’ve managed to look the other way while the Pentagon robbed us and our allies of billions of dollars as well as investment bankers like Bernie Madoff, who made the Pentagon look like petty thieves, who made away with another couple of hundred billion all under and during the fog of war on terror.  The major players of this shell game, the where did the money go, have managed to escape into obscurity untouched while finger pointing goes on in ways that are so funny it’s pathetic.   Yet there are several constants that remain throughout and that is, terror can only be committed by people of color with funny sounding names who we need to eliminate and whatever other acts of criminality take place on American soil are reason enough for an ever increasing federal government determined to grow even bigger, and less efficient at taxpayers’ expense.  There are a lot of players who are guilty of keeping you stupefied.  Please discover who they are, so you can remove the blinders.

Caught in another lie–it just never stops with them does it?


“We strongly condemn the unauthorized disclosure of classified information,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell prior to the release of  Wikileaks almost 400,000 documents outlining the abuses as well as body counts during the Iraqi invasion.  The Wikileaks figures surpass the Pentagon’s figures by some 30,000 and are  lower than five other groups’ estimates, which probably doesn’t mean much to you if you aren’t the victim of a foreign invasion.  But two things come out both news reports.

First, the Pentagon, despite its own claims during the war to the contrary, was keeping a tally of casualties during the war and secondly the final total was far greater than what the Pentagon claimed during the war when it was releasing it “officially unofficial” figures.  Once again,  government bureaucracy lied about the war and once again we just seem to take it as business as usual.  We get what we deserve, don’t we?

Obama Continues to disappoint


President Obama has many issues but the ones dealing with his approach to the phony war on terror, torture and armed conflicts that he is escalating continue to baffle and upset me.  Now he has petitioned the US Supreme Court to suppress release of pictures taken at Abu Ghraib which show torture and prisoner abuse.  I understand why he doesn’t want them released; it would force his hand to prosecute those who would be clearly shown violating every conceivable law in the books, our books as well as international treaties we’ve sworn to uphold and protect.  However, he can’t give that as a reason for asking they not to be released so instead he chose this:

“there are nearly 200,000 Americans who are serving in harm’s way, and I have a solemn responsibility for their safety as Commander-in-Chief. It is my judgment … that releasing these photos would inflame anti-American opinion and allow our enemies to paint United States troops with a broad, damning and inaccurate brush, thereby endangering them in theaters of war.”

Obama was forced to petition the high court after  a lower court ruled the photos should be released  ignoring the pleas by some in government that their release would imperil US personnel.  The courts have sided with those who cite the Freedom of Information Act which they say requires, or mandates the release of such pictures.

Obama’s petition to block the release is an about face from his earlier position where he called for their release.  He has decided to escalate US involvement in Afghanistan and is using that escalation as an excuse for keeping the pictures locked up but he goes on to say with a straight face,  ‘Any abuse of detainees is unacceptable. It is against our values. It endangers our security. It will not be tolerated.’

If abuse won’t be tolerated Mr. President, prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who carried it out as well as those who ordered it.  I assert the photos should imperil the freedom and liberty of those who are engaged in the abuse chronicled therein or who were responsible for it.  If he is worried about inflaming anti-American opinion, correct those anti-American notions by restoring the rule of law and showing the world we apply that law equally to all even when it hits close to home and involves members of American government.  If he’s worried about negative opinions of American foreign policy he should  curtail America’s wars of aggression and remove American troops from foreign lands that pose no direct threat to American personnel or American interests.  He should return them to America and de-escalate American forces that have been used as advance teams for US corporations to set up permanent bases and expand global markets at the expense of US resources.  These theaters of war are ones he has chosen to engage in when the survival or prosperity of our Republic is not at stake.  The greatest danger to our military is their deployment to these areas by the very government that wants to protect them by infringing on the rights of the society they are fighting to protect.    People who claim that photos showing abuse and or torture of prisoners under American control should be released should also proclaim  those who are responsible for their ugly content must be brought to justice.   If the Supreme Court rules against the Obama petition most likely he will used the powers of the unitary executive, finely tuned by the Bush administration, to block the release of the pictures.  Just one more example of ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same’.

America’s Iran jones


What is it with US policy makers that they have to go off and antagonize Iran at every chance they get, even when it’s not necessary?  Two threads have appeared in news stories today centered around Iran with this trend as if to anticipate and undermine what Obama is going to say in a letter he’s putting together to send to that country’s leaders.

Before getting onto those two themes, let me say I’ve always been distressed at how government has this seamy undercurrent that works to under cut what official Washington is doing, and both the official and unofficial seem to like the give and take in this relationship of setting, revising, ignoring, cancelling policy.  It would seem to me once you get  your marching orders from the CiC you take them and run with them, not go off and rub his nose in them with your own pronouncements, but that’s what it seems Robert Gates, Defense Secretary has done.

When U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates accused Iran of “subversive activity” in Latin America Tuesday, it raised the question whether he is trying to discourage President Barack Obama from abandoning the hard-line policy of coercive diplomacy toward Iran he has favored for nearly three decades.

In his Senate armed services committee testimony Tuesday, Gates said Iran was “opening a lot of offices and a lot of fronts behind which they interfere in what is going on.” Gates offered no further explanation for what sounded like a Cold War-era propaganda charge against the Soviet Union.

Gates has made no secret of his skepticism about any softening of U.S. policy toward Iran. In response to a question at the National Defense University last September on how he would advise the next president to improve relations with Iran, Gates implicitly rejected what he called “outreach” to Iran as useless.

Gates’ 1992 sabotage of the Bush plan for reciprocating Iran goodwill relied in part on making public charges against Iran that created a more unfavorable political climate in Washington for such a policy.

It will be interesting to see what Obama’s reaction to all this political posturing Gates is making so early in the Administration’s efforts towards rapprochement with Iran. We will  be able to take measure of Obama depending on his response; if he lets Gates continue with his “subversive” activity he can be viewed as a weak President undeserving of a second term, the nation’s trust, or respect of his “underlings”.  If he kicks Gates out so soon after asking him to stay on as Defense Secretary he’ll find himself facing criticism for not being a stable administrator or able to hold his people in check, preferring to give in to his impetuous side and getting rid of them whimsically.  The perfect damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

The second salvo against Obama comes from of all places the Likud party’s boisterous and wrong Benjamin Netanyahu who says the Iranian nuclear weapons are more a problem than the global economy.  Netanyahu is great for hyperbole, probably something he picked up as a result of his public school education in Cheltenham, Pa. back in the day.  This we expect from Bibi who likes to somehow challenge the masculinity of America’s leaders by questioning their ability to take on his enemies for his benefit.  Using his typical adroit slight of foot maneuvers he turns everything that has to deal with anything into Iranian nukes.

Asked about achieving peace in Gaza, Netanyahu swiftly turned his answer to Iran, which he said is in a “100-yard dash” to get nuclear weapons.

*snip*

“We have had two wars with two Iranian proxies in two years and Persia has now two bases on the eastern Mediterranean,” said Netanyahu, referring to this month’s brutal fighting in Gaza against Hamas and Israel’s 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“I think we are going to have to deal with neutralizing the power of the mother regime,” he said. “The Hamas stronghold would be about as important, if Iranian power was neutralized, as Cuba was when the Soviet Union became irrelevant.”

What Netanyahu doesn’t tell you about his metaphor  is while the Soviet Union became irrelevant because American ideas triumphed a military dictatorship without the US having to fire a single shot at the Soviet Union, Iran’s leadership and in fact all of that country has to be laid to waste militarily, according to the Netanyahu school of thought in order for his enemies, Hamas and Hezbollah, to become irrelevant. Typical.  In any event, this kind of bluster is to be expected from this quarter, and Obama would do well to ignore it and press on with his agenda, not that of an intractable and petulant “ally”.  Unfortunately, he can’t so easily dismiss Netanyahu, and if Gates continues with his own agenda as well, it might be even more difficult.  Bush may be gone, but the neocons are still lurking and haven’t given up hope of re-establishing themselves in policy making  positions or of somehow influencing policy.

Just what is it about Guantanamo Bay?


Remnants of the Bush administration’s fascination with Gitmo Bay keep rearing their ugly heads at Obama’s announcement Gitmo will be closed.  First the argument was there is no place to house those who have yet to be released, or that there are no facilities sufficient to hold them, or that we don’t want them housed in our midst, as if they’ll be our  next door neighbor. This argument, meekly advanced has been rather quickly disarmed and has dropped off the political discussion.

A more sinister argument with accomplices has taken its place, and this is the argument of recidivism, or terrorists released from Guantanamo Bay who have “returned” to terrorism.   The first point to make is if they were indeed terrorist why were they released by our government?  Does this mean the US is  NOT able to determine, even under the most draconian and loosely structure  means, those who are terrorists and who are not? But to underscore this point comes this news.

Two men released from the US “war on terror” prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have appeared in a video posted on a jihadist website, the SITE monitoring service reported.

One of the two former inmates, a Saudi man identified as Abu Sufyan al-Azdi al-Shahri, or prisoner number 372, has been elevated to the senior ranks of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, a US counter-terrorism official told AFP.

Three other men appear in the video, including Abu al-Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi, identified as an Al-Qaeda field commander. SITE later said he was prisoner No. 333.

A Pentagon spokesman, Commander Jeffrey Gordon, on Saturday declined to confirm the SITE information.

At first glance this seems rather ominous until you discover who the players are and the last sentence in the quote above really gives away what is being said/done with this “news”.   SITE is a group with an agenda, like all the other groups that have sprung up post 911 and that agenda is not even close to US interests.  Rather it appears it’s one based on settling old scores.   A terrorist cottage industry has risen on the US political landscape and it seems to have been given free hand, with the provision or understanding  that the US government won’t always rubber stamp what that industry produces.  This seems to be the meaning of the last sentence, “A Pentagon spokesman, Commander Jeffrey Gordon, on Saturday declined to confirm the SITE information”, because frankly under closer inspection the government has been burned by these self-appointed, government anointed terrorist experts.

However, what’s even sadder and more dastardly is the lies, damned lies and statistics game being played by the US when it comes to Gitmo Bay and who was once housed there.

The Seton Hall Center for Policy and Research has issued a report which rebuts and debunks the most recent claim by the Department of Defense (DOD) that “61, in all, former Guantánamo detainees are confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight.”

Professor Denbeaux of the Center for Policy & Research has said that the Center has determined that “DOD has issued ‘recidivism’ numbers 43 times, and each time they have been wrong—this last time the most egregiously so.”

Denbeaux stated: “Once again, they’ve failed to identify names, numbers, dates, times, places, or acts upon which their report relies. Every time they have been required to identify the parties, the DOD has been forced to retract their false IDs and their numbers. They have included people who have never even set foot in Guantánamo—much less were they released from there. They have counted people as ‘returning to the fight’ for their having written an Op-ed piece in the New York Times and for their having appeared in a documentary exhibited at the Cannes Film Festival. The DOD has revised and retracted their internally conflicting definitions, criteria, and their numbers so often that they have ceased to have any meaning—except as an effort to sway public opinion by painting a false portrait of the supposed dangers of these men.

“Forty-three times they have given numbers—which conflict with each other—all of which are seriously undercut by the DOD statement that ‘they do not track’ former detainees. Rather than making up numbers “willy-nilly” about post release conduct, America might be better served if our government actually kept track of them.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!