Monday, June 30, 2008

Whose empire is it anyway? Questioning McCain's Military Record

McCain's neocon beliefs and the platform of the Republican party are enough for a thinking electorate (an oxymoron if ever there was one) to consign them both to the dustbin of history without questioning his military record even if it is, as some say, a dubious one. If Democrats would repudiate their own complicity in America's long, racist, extreme capitalist, imperialist agenda (when pigs fly) and let this country become a republic again, eschewing the empire it has become, we will enjoy a long, prosperous and glorious future living up to the ideals in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

Close the 750 odd military bases around the world return the trillions being spent on military-industrialist cronies of both parties to the people, reducing the military to a true defensive entity and cooperate with instead of dominate our fellow humans or, in a massive blowback of historic proportions, we will suffer the same fate as Rome. 9/11 was just the beginning my friends.

Why must we spend more on "defense" then the rest of the world combined if not to dominate? America, do we really want this? Read the ugly manifesto that is "The Project for a New American Century" for just the latest iteration of the ideology driving the corporatist ruling class. From nearly the beginning of the republic through "manifest destiny" to the neocons of both parties this country has been on a mission to subjugate and dominate for profit.

John McCain is a poodle for the military-industrialists: no more no less. He is no more interested in helping the American people than was John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, a modern hedge-fund manager or an oil market speculator. Barack, while initially offering a glimmer of hope, sadly is rapidly turning out to be the Democratic equivalent.

Same as it ever was.

sic transit gloria mundi

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Democracy Now? WMD was just a cover to bring Democracy to Iraq?

photo at left was taken at Camp Victory just outside Baghdad.

For those of us who still think, ala Scott McClellan, GWB's real reason for the war was to bring democracy to the Middle East here's a chunk of gristle to chew on.

BAGHDAD -Iraqi lawmakers say the United States is demanding 58 bases as part of a proposed "status of forces" agreement that will allow U.S. troops to remain in the country indefinitely.

Leading members of the two ruling Shiite parties said in a series of interviews the Iraqi government rejected this proposal along with another U.S. demand that would have effectively handed over to the United States the power to determine if a hostile act from another country is aggression against Iraq. Lawmakers said they fear this power would drag Iraq into a war between the United States and Iran.

impeach, convict, imprison...

Yes I know it will never happen - I suspect because the Democrats don't want anyone held truly accountable because when its their turn they don't want be held accountable either.

This used to be a Republic -

Monday, June 16, 2008

Unintended or intended Consequences?

Judge for yourself in this Q&A with the two authors of the book "The Three Trillion Dollar War"

A couple of choice ones:

How much money could we have saved if we did not have "contractors" doing the jobs that used to be done by our military? (i.e. security, food & laundry services, construction, etc.) A: It is hard to get a precise number. It appears that, at least in many case, using contractors at least doubles the cost. Part of the reason that it is difficult to get a precise number is explained in the book: the government appears to be financing both the insurance premia for death and disability and much of the benefits (as strange as that may seem.) There is no full accounting. The overall cost of using the contractors is, however, far greater. We have created competition for our military--contractors doing the same work as soldiers are paid far more. This is bad for morale, but it also means that when their service time is over, many leave to work for the better paying contractors. In response, the military is forced to pay big re-enlistment bonuses. But the contractors have cost us in other ways: they focus on minimizing costs and maximizing profits, and those objectives are often not consistent with our broader strategic objectives, as we explain in our book.

Q: The Iraq War has removed a significant amount of oil from the world market. How much has the absence of this oil contributed to the rise in prices? How great is the negative impact of the oil price increase on the American economy, especially now that we are in a recession.

A: In response to several earlier questions, I explained how the war contributed to the rising oil prices. In our book, we attributed only $5 to $10 of the $75 to $85 rise in the price of oil to the war, but I actually think the war was responsible for a far larger part of the increase in the price of oil. As we explain in the book, the high oil prices have had a very, very negative effect on the economy--the effects of which were covered up by the Fed. Money spent on Saudi Arabian or Kuwait oil (or oil purchased from any other oil exporter) is money that is not available to be spent here at home. That means the economy is weaker than it otherwise would be. As I mentioned, the Fed covered up these effects through a flood of liquidity and lax regulations. It fueled a housing bubble and a consumption boom. But it can't do it any more. So in the coming years, we'll be feeling the bite of the high oil prices much more.