Friday, February 23, 2007

Cheney World

"Shortly after the first Gulf War, then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney was a little sensitive to charges that he failed to “finish the job” against Iraq. More than a few hawks thought that Cheney and the other Bush administration dropped the ball when it had the opportunity to take out Saddam but chose not to.

In a 1991 speech, Cheney delivered a rather defensive speech on the subject, noting the intense sectarian rivalries that dominate Iraqi society and the likely inability to maintain stability in Baghdad. As for replacing Saddam with a democracy, Cheney asked his audience, “How much credibility is that government going to have if it’s set up by the United States military when it’s there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for the government, and what happens to it once we leave?”

One of the comments is particularly appropos...

"In Cheney's Batshit Crazy World there are only two rules:
1) No matter what the facts say, Dick Cheney is always right.
2) If Dick Cheney is wrong, see rule number one. "

Matter of fact that seems to be the entire Republican modis operandi...never admit a mistake, tell the big lie enough times until people think it's the truth - exactly what Reichsfuhrer Goebbels did in WWII.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

What's so funny about helping people instead of the MIC?

Mr. Samuelson's implication is that there is something wrong with helping people via the federal budget and by contrast a $500b+ military budget, which is being used less and less for self defense and more for offensive pre-emptive war, is so small in comparison to the total budget, there is no sense in reducing it.

What's wrong with helping people? It is barbaric to kill with WMD and invade other countries under false pretenses but to help the poor and see that our seniors aren't left destitute by crippling medical bills is simply the mark of an advanced society. Where is the discussion of massive transfers of tax money to large corporations, whose profits are at all time highs, in the form of subsidies, tax breaks and no-bid defense contracts? If indeed “two thirds of all taxes come from the richest fifth” I say bravo… encore! It’s not enough. The so-called conservatives love to point back to the days when Ike was president, when society behaved, we didn’t have social ills as we do today and our infrastructure wasn’t crumbling. One thing they forget to mention when pining for the good old days is that the top tax rate was up to 90%; under a Republican President. One could also raise a family with one income.

Despite the so-called conservative revolution of the past 20+ years it seems the American people, via their elected representatives, decided that welfare for the people is not such a bad thing after all in this crazy unpredictable world; doesn’t the Constitution call on the Union to “promote the general welfare…” of the people? I don’t see where it calls on the Union to promote the welfare of corporations and Wall Street. I’m all for making a profit and believe in free enterprise but we are too laissez-faire and tilted toward business and not enough toward the people. 10 Amtraks would be great! We need much more publicly subsidized transportation in this country to wean us off the lethal oil economy.

Our allies in Europe obviously have had this discussion and decided the state exists mostly for the welfare of its people and less for its corporations and defense contractors. We in the USA have only a fraction of what the Europeans have gained. I posit that if we had not spent so much of our national treasure on weapons of mass destruction life in the USA would be much less harsh and we wouldn't have over 500,000 homeless people living in the streets of this country and new parents would have more than 12 weeks of leave to care for newborn children. Where are our priorities? Trillions for the military industrial complex while our cities, roads and society crumble and the rich retreat to gated communities with private security.

Of course the politicians are craven and in denial about our country’s priorities. That doesn’t mean we should stop helping ourselves – to paraphrase GWB... "it’s our money." Why shouldn’t we give it back to ourselves in the form of national health, educational grants and subsidies, pensions for the elderly and programs to help the poor extricate themselves from poverty? This is simply what a mature society focuses on. So the next time you see an article such as this questioning the premise of Social Security, Medicare and the other government programs that promote the general welfare remember that’s what government is for and the people we’re helping are us. The defense budget is for the common defense not for aggressive war and enriching the military industrial complex.