Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Only in Idaho do mountains of facts fail to impress...

Just last night, Bush said: “In the long run, Americans can be confident about our economic growth;” in Bush-speak the qualifying term is “our.” Not you.

The dollar is poised on the diving board, ready to jump with any more interest rate cuts by the Fed. Those raw materials and goods we import? Think. Will foreign countries still want to provide the same goods at the same price if our money is worth less (or worthless as the case may be)? Inflation is already working on your gallon of milk.

Unfortunately, if they don’t cut the rate, the market will take another turn on the diving board and foreign investors will scatter anyway.

Investigative journalist Dave Lindorff writes, “The Bush chickens–endless deficits as far as the eye can see, and a $2-trillion military debacle that has no end in sight and is sucking money out of the country like a giant industrial vacuum cleaner–are coming home to roost.”

Chalmers Johnson writes, “It is virtually impossible to overstate the profligacy of what our government spends on the military. The Department of Defense’s planned expenditures for fiscal year 2008 are larger than all other nations’ military budgets combined. The supplementary budget to pay for the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not part of the official defense budget, is itself larger than the combined military budgets of Russia and China.

Johnson advises that It is impossible to actually discover what is spent in the name of “defense.” Other agencies even hide some of the costs, e.g., the Dept. of Energy receives $23.4 billion toward maintenance of nuclear warheads; the inappropriately-named Homeland Security gets $46.4 billion; have you ever seen actual results from that department? Separate from the DoD budget, $1.03 billion is for incentives for US Military, up from $174 million in 2003. Veterans Affairs gets $75.7 billion of which 50% is for long-term care of those severely injured in Bush’s war hobby, and pretty damn poor care it is!

Additionally, our Bush-compliant Dept. of Justice gets $1.9 billion for FBI paramilitary activities; military retirement funds to the Treasury Dept are $38.5 billion, NASA gets $7.5 billion for military-related activities, and over $200 billion is for interest on past financed defense outlays. Guess who the nincompoops perpetuating the myth that massive military outlay will make up for the continuing loss of the manufacturing base and jobs?

Johnson adds, “Some of the damage can never be rectified. There are some steps that this country urgently needs to take. These include reversing Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the wealthy, beginning to liquidate our global empire of over 800 military bases, cutting from the defense budget all projects that bear no relationship to the national security of the United States, and ceasing to use the defense budget as a jobs program. If we do these things, we have a chance of squeaking by. If we don’t, we face probable national insolvency and a long depression.”

Everyone should read Johnson’s article, but you might wait for an hour or so for your dinner to digest.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Idahoans, your future was being hijacked...

...even while some of you voted for people like B/Silly Sali.

Economist Jim Cramer appeared on Hardball on January 19, palpably disgusted with
the president’s “incentive” plan, noting that buying the kids new sneakers won’t
save our economy. Especially since mortgage insurance companies have only a
number of weeks before they admit they don’t have the resources to cover the $450
billion in mortgages they insure.

“You’ll not be able to open the stock market,” Cramer said, astounded that nobody
in Washington is talking about it.

Bushies had better start practicing their talking points right now.

Columbia professor Joseph Stiglitz wrote in December’s Vanity Fair: “The damage
done to the American economy does not make front-page headlines every day, but
the repercussions will be felt beyond the lifetime of anyone reading this page.”

He continued, “I can hear an irritated counterthrust already. The president has
not driven the United States into a recession during his almost seven years in
office. Unemployment stands at a respectable 4.6 percent. Well, fine. But the
other side of the ledger groans with distress: a tax code that has become
hideously biased in favor of the rich; a national debt that will have grown 70
percent by the time this president leaves Washington; a swelling cascade of
mortgage defaults; a record near-$850 billion trade deficit; oil prices that are
higher than they have ever been...In breathtaking disregard for the most basic
rules of fiscal propriety, the administration continued to cut taxes even as it
undertook expensive new spending programs and embarked on a financially ruinous
“war of choice.”

Media is pushing the idea that the economy has replaced the war in Iraq as the
number one concern of Americans. Seems to me they’re irrevocably connected.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Living in Idaho is no excuse

While reading an article in a British newspaper online a few weeks ago, I
noticed that most of the comments were from Americans, even to the point
that a Brit questioned whether the availability of similar information was
that scarce in America.

He has no idea.

What have you seen about Sybil Edmonds and what she discovered during her 6
months as a Turkish translator for the FBI? Look hard.

On January 7, Dave Lindorff in The Huffington Post reviewed an article from
The Sunday Times (British) from January 5 regarding Edmonds' discoveries
when working for the FBI and her subsequent experience as a whistleblower.

Lindorff wrote, "...there is enough in just this one London Times story to
keep an army of investigative reporters busy for years. So why...is this
story appearing in a highly respected British newspaper, but not anywhere in
the corporate US media?"

Lindorff also writes, "If Edmonds' story is correct, it casts an even darker
shadow over the mysterious and still unexplained incident last August 30,
when a B-52 Stratofortress, based at the Minot strategic air base in Minot,
ND, against all rules and regulations of 40 years' standing, loaded and flew
off with six unrecorded and unaccounted for nuclear-tipped cruise missiles."

US Navy and Air Force veterans say Defense Secretary Robert Gates'
explanation of an "accident" is not believable.

Lindorff adds, "Incredibly, almost five months after that bizarre incident
(which included several as yet unexplained deaths of B-52 pilots and base
personnel occurring in the weeks shortly before and after the
flight)...there has been no Congressional investigation and no FBI

It looks like the only "accident" was the failure to stop the three
as-yet-unnamed Air Force whistleblowers who contacted the Military Times
newspaper. I salute those three and their partner-in-truth Edmonds!