Sunday, February 25, 2007

War Casualties, War neglect, War Profit

Last Sundays Investigation in the Washington Post (free registration required) by Dana Priest and Anne Hull about the substandard conditions at Walter Reed Hospital:
    ...Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan's room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.
should be no surprise to those of us who are familiar with the Crony Capitalist (thank you Joe) who have been running the joint since '94. It is part of a pattern that has come full circle since evil Clinton was no longer around to interfere 6 years ago. For those who still do not understand, this post is an introduction to Republican Government and Philosophy 100.

The modern Republican Bidness man (ah Molly, you will be missed) views Government tax money as another source of revenue. This is the Core principle that defines all other policies, that Government exist only to make a profit for Major (and occasionally minor) Corporate interest by transferring as much money from the pockets of the majority into the bank accounts of the minority.

Now it is at this point that the Lords of Loud™ will come along and scream "class warfare", as if this somehow screaming loud enough nullifies reality. But the reality of Tax money as profit can be painfully demonstrated in numerous situations, most recently in an embarrassing audit of Iraqi funds that disappeared.

So how does this relate to disbursal of tax money? When President Bush and his Republican syncopates fund certain projects and ignore others, a pattern develops; does the money add to profit to the Corporate balance sheet? Examples of good and bad projects:

Good use of tax money
  • Weapons Systems for high profit. Star Wars, Antimissile defence, and other such systems insure a healthy bottom line
  • No Bid contracts for Iraq (foreign) or Katrina (domestic). No oversight, abuse of the H-2B guest workers program, and substandard work or services when provided.
  • Bridge to Nowhere (yes, I do link to conservative sites if they speak the truth) or the road projects initiated after the land is bought on speculation by some Republican Congress critter.
  • Medicare drug plans that do not allow negotiation for lower prices and provide a coverage gap (the "donut hole") that insures maximum profit with minimum outlay.
  • Tax cuts and tax subsidies to increase profit.
Bad use of tax money
  • Head start, Aid to Family's with Dependent Children, medicare, etc. No chance for profit, as money is given directly to needy citizens.
  • Social Security that is not privatized. Without privatization, investors can not make a profit.
  • Student loans, school lunch programs, cash assistance for the elderly and disabled. Again no chance for profit.
  • Tax cuts that help the poor, such as Earned Income Child Credit (unless it is used to attack minimum wage)
  • Critical care for soldiers. Unlike weapons systems, soldiers divert needed funds without returning a profit. Veterans services also do the same, especially long term care.
The last bullet point (thanks Stephen) pretty much sums it up, even if some of my Conservative friends think that I am exaggerating the problem. The only reason there is a major investigation at Walter Reed is that the Bush administration broke the 11th commandment (1st definition).

The majority of these chickenhawk bastards don't give a damn about anything except profit. Privatise is their mantra. the free market is their religion.

But the hypocrisy of the so called true believer is out there, naked for all to see. If these crooks had to depend on market forces instead of tax cuts and tax dollars, War profiteers such as Halliburton and its subsidiary KBR would be out of business in a week.

The Commander is a capitalist, not a Ferengi (look it up). This is not the way we did business back in the day. And now that Waxman is in charge of oversight and has the power to issue subpoenas, the next two years should be very interesting.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Worst President Ever?

While riding with Ms. Commander Ogg, we were listening to the Ron Reagan Show from Seattle. Mr. Reagan was talking about Presidential rankings from a political/historical view, and whether or not Bush deserved the title of worse President ever.

Opinion surveys are useless in this regard, as they usually result in nothing more then a popularity contest. (To quote one anonymous wag, opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and they all stink).

Various Scholarly Surveys from 1948 to 2005 produced a ranking of 22 out of 42 for George W Bush. By contrast, Bill Clinton was ranked 21 and George H W Bush was ranked 25.

In polls for Quinnipiac University (2006) and Washington College (2005), GWB ranked 7-8, Bill Clinton 4-5. (Reagan rated a 2).

Okay, so what about George Bush. Are the Bush Bashers™ so blinded by hatred for the President that they refuse to see how great he is? In the words of the Conservative Blog Powerline, is he:
    ...A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.
After reviewing Bushes job performance for the last 6 years, I would most definitely say that Mr. Hinderaker is a smoker, but he does not use tobacco. Consider the following:

  • Like Harding, Bush is intellectually unqualified to be President, with an inability to string two coherent sentences together coupled with the manners and mannerisms of an immature teenager.
  • Like Hoover, Bush has a mule headed stubborn attitude that prevents him from admitting he made a mistake, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. With Hoover it was his policy's for dealing with the depression. With Bush it's his policy toward Iraq. And Bush has no superior management or business skills that Hoover used in devising a plan for the recovery of post WWII Europe.
  • Like Lyndon Johnson, Bush made a series of insane foreign policy decisions that have landed the US right in the middle of a sectarian civil war (even a few Republicans have been courageous enough to use the V word when talking about Iraq). And unlike Johnson, Bush has no impressive record of Civil Rights legislation to balance his failure of foreign policy.
  • Like Nixon, Bush has most likely bent or broken the law, specifically the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and War Crimes Act of 1996 (I say most likely because for the last 6 years the Republican Congress has done a Three Wise Monkeys act). The on going trial of Lewis Libby shows a mania for secrecy and an obsession with destroying critics of the Administration that makes Nixon's Enemies List look like a letter to the editor of the hometown paper. And once again Bush has no great Foreign Policy achievements to balance these criminal acts (Nixon going to China).

The above mentioned comparisons present a strong case for poor performance as a President when it comes to what is best for the majority of American Citizens. You can dance an spin all you want, but to deny that the Presidents policy's have lowered the standard of living for the average Joe or Josephine and endangered the future for their children is idiotic.

But if you base Presidential rankings in terms of increasing and expanding the authority of the Executive branch, Bush ranks right up with FDR. The fear that spread after 9/11 attacks allowed the President to stage an unprecedented power grab, using the "signing statement"to claim the authority disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office; asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Crap of course, but so far no one has yet to challenge this "interpretation of the Constitution" BS, least of all the Republican do nothing Congress (Bush fears the Dem's may try).

Worse President ever? Hell yes.

Friday, February 16, 2007

President Bush may be poised for a political comeback

Or so writes David Broder in his February 16Th Column at the WaPo:

    Bush Regains His Footing
    By David S. Broder
    Friday, February 16, 2007; Page A23
    It may seem perverse to suggest that, at the very moment the House of Representatives is repudiating his policy in Iraq, President Bush is poised for a political comeback. But don't be astonished if that is the case.
Now mind you if you read the comments section of this article (24 pages worth as of Feb 16, 2007 7:35:51 PM), 90% or more of the readers responses vary from the bad:
    You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Did you see the Press Conference? Were you there?
The Ugly:
    What an irrelevant twit
To the almost unprintable:
    Dear Broder: How much did Karl have to pay you for this blow job of a story?
Still in all, even if I agree with the majority of the above comments (I do), is it possible that Broder could be right? To use an old cliche', does Bush stand a "snowballs chance in hell" of staging a political comeback.

With all that we know of today, reports on the scene outside the Green Zone of Iraq, from the various government agency's and from those retired Generals that no longer work for the White House, the answer is no, not as long as Bush's legacy is tied to the success in Iraq. Because We Can Not Win.

As a soldier stationed at APG Maryland during the first few months of the Iraq War (I retired July 2003), I am honest enough to admit that I believed we would be successful. This lasted about 1 month until the first reports of the Resistance started to show up, what would later be called the "Iraqi Insurgency", a term resisted by the little Rummer Boy.

All that was foreseen by General Eric "Ric" Shinseki has come to past. The only way that the situation in Iraq can be stabilized or even reversed is with a massive troop build up of half a million personnel. Such a large enough force would provide enough security that an effective civilian infrastructure can be reestablished while at the same time combating those elements, foreign and domestic, that are hell bent on destabilizing the region.

Thanks to the sheer incompetence of the present administration, we do not have the troops or the money to accomplish this.

Mr. David broder is indeed a twit. Or a lapdog.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Space Women Nowak, Starlet Anna Nichole, Speaker Pelosi

The title of this post could also be: 24 Hour News, 24 Hour Nonsense.

If ever you needed a crystal clear example of Eric Boehlert's term Lapdogs to describe the Main Stream News Media of America 2007, this was the "WEEK" (emphasis mine). We started the week off with several potential story's, all worthy of a Cronkite moment:

    There was the Justice Department under the direction of Alberto "Torquemada" Gonzales firing Seven US Attorneys without cause and replacing them with partisan hacks.)
    There was the ongoing trial Of Lewis "Scooter" Libby on perjury charges and the explosive testimony of NBC's Tim Russert.)
    There was the report on the secretive Office of Special Plans that skewed intelligence reports about Iraq in 2001 and 2002 in an attempting to justify an invasion (total dead approx 3123 as of 11 FEB 2007)
I could go on, but the point is that we have three separate 24 News outlets CNN, MSNBC and Fox (the last is questionable). They have lots of air time that could be filled presenting information about government policy to the Citizens of this country, critical information that could help Mr/Mrs/Ms average Joe/Josephine make informed decisions when exercising that most precious of rights, the sovereign franchise (vote to the lay person).

More powerful then any weapon in any revolution, the greatness of America is the vote; and no politician or party can avoid its deadly effect. But the key is an informed citizenry.

So what information did We the People get from our so called Watchdogs of Democracy. 100% high quality drek.

On Monday and Tuesday was the Astronaut Lady or as the master satirist Jon Stewart said:

    And just as you were about to vomit from seeing this non stop for 48 hrs, the tragic death of a national icon wipes the crazy lady off the screen. Who is this VIP whose death may well paralyze the very foundations of our Democracy? The President. The Vice President. A former President. A high Government official. Wrong. Model and Actress Anna Nicole Smith:
    A tragic death for sure, she was much to young to die (39). But not worthy of 48 hours of non stop coverage. Not important enough to be referenced 500 to 700% more then Iraq on the 24 News Shows (Thank you Think Progress).

    But we are still not done people. The lapdogs must make sure that the critical thinking skills of the masses are so thoroughly saturated with mindless drivel that they would not dare question the Administration about Iraq, or Libby, or abuse of power. So make way for the False story about Madam Speaker Pelosi, an airplane, and the Right Wing Noise Machine™ (thank you TPM).

    As I said, pablum for the Masses. An it will stay this way until we heed the words of that actor and radio host Al "Grandpa Munster" Lewis:

    Thursday, February 1, 2007

    Senator Clinton, Perfumed Pundents and Scripts

    For those of you who can stomach it, Goldberg of the National Review comes out with the Standard Script for Senator Clinton. It is 100% choice fertilizer, but it does not stop others in the so called MSM from attempting to give it legitimacy.

    This is what Bob Somerby, aka “The Daily Howler”, refers to as perfumed pundits following the script. Not only do these stenographers insist on following the script, they get angry, testy and down right defensive when their subjects refuse to follow the script.

    Remember Howard Dean, and his refusal to follow the Republican script as dutifully put out by the pre$$titutes Blitzer and Couric about "Casino" Jack Abramoff alledgedly giving money to both political partys.

    Damn, but the reaction of these two “journalist” when the Doctor refuse to play the game was priceless. Wolfie looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Katydid reacted with self righteous indignation.

    Howard Dean showed all Dem Politicians how to deal with lying media lapdogs, Do Not Play Their Game. If you refuse to follow the script, you can put them on the defensive and force them to deal with reality. You tell them NO, you may be a lapdog/pre$$titute/media whore, but I am not a customer. Start practicing journalism instead of stenography.