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This Is What GW's Democracy Looks Like

Weekend Madman

Friday-Sunday, March 23-25, 2007

Iraq War Funding

Here's a question: Just why do we need an Iraq War Emergency funding bill each and every year? By President Bush not including it in his fiscal budget, just what is he attempting to prove. Yeah, I know that these are rhetorical questions but, much like their the president's budgets, and each and every bill pushed through congress by the Bushies, they are designed for debate. We all know the reason why President Bush doesn't include funding for the Iraq war in his budget is because if it is included it makes his (yes, his) budget deficit all the more outstanding (and not in a good way) than it might appear. Maybe the President is genuinely surprised that the war isn't self-funding year after year. after all, it was Paul Wolfowitz, the former deputy Defense secretary who told us that Iraq's oil will pay for the war and all of its aftermath.

"There's a lot of money to pay for this that doesn't have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people,"
-Wolfowitz, 2003

By the way, this guy is now in charge of the World Bank. Just how dumb are we?


Others in the White House came up with ridiculously low estimates. White House economic advisor Lawrence Lindsay's estimate of $100-$200 billion dollars was perceived by the Bushies as ridiculous, it was lowered to $50-$60 billion by the OMB's (Office of Budget and Management) Mitch Daniels to $50-$60 billion. That was a TOTAL ESTIMATE, not an annual one. [Source: WSJ, “Bush Economic Aide Says Cost Of Iraq War May Top $100 Billion,” Davis 09/16/02; NYT, “Estimated Cost of Iraq War Reduced, Bumiller, 12/31/02; Reuters News, “Daniels sees U.S. Iraq war cost below $200 billion,” 09/18/02]

“The United States is committed to helping Iraq recover from the conflict, but Iraq will not require sustained aid.”
-Daniels, adding this prediction

Others had similarly cloudy crystal balls:

“Well, the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that's something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question.”
-Then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, January, 2003

“I don’t know that there is much reconstruction to do.”
-Rumsfeld, April, 2003

In fact, you can see many of the nonsensical White House Quotes by viewing them on their very own website: http://www.house.gov/schakowsky/iraqquotes_web.htm

The truth of the matter is that we have to pay for this war and it will keep on contributing to our national debt whether we put it in the budget or we go through the charade of using emergency funding bills each and every year instead. it will be interesting to see whether the new democratic majority will allow president Bush the "luxury" of presenting them with an incomplete budget before the end of this year (The budget for 2007 was passed by the Republican majority in 2006.)

We all know of this President's ability to "spin" like no other in American history. Even the Iraq Study Group, led by the guy (Howard Baker) who led the "troops" into action and got Bush elected in the first place, realized how dishonest the president's funding of the Iraq was truly is,

"RECOMMENDATION 72: Costs for the war in Iraq should be included in the President’s annual budget request, starting in FY 2008: the war is in its fourth year, and the normal budget process should not be circumvented. Funding requests for the war in Iraq should be presented clearly to Congress and the American people. Congress must carry out its constitutional responsibility to review budget requests for the war in Iraq carefully and to conduct oversight."
-The Iraq Study Group

It should have been included this year as well.

In fairness to the Democrats, they complained about this almost at the war's onset (http://www.house.gov/budget_democrats/analyses/admin_war_costs_chronology.pdf). here are some of the points:
-September 2003 – Submitted an $87 billion supplemental request to finance 2004 military and reconstruction operations before the start of fiscal year 2004
-January 2004 – Promised to include war costs in the 2005 budget request. The President stated in his State of the Union address, “I will send you a budget that funds the war...”
-February 2004 – A broken promise: Submitted 2005 budget request without any funding for Iraq, Afghanistan, or enhanced security operations here at home
-May 2004 – Submitted $25 billion supplemental funding request for 2005, half the amount that most considered to be a conservative estimate.

Need we go on?

Now the President is complaining that the Democrats are attempting to put strings on any Iraq funding. Many Republicans, and their mouthpieces like Fox News Channel are telling us that the Dems are trying to "micromanage" the war. What they call "micromanaging" I call oversight, something that has been sorely lacking these past six-plus years.

And as for the new "too much pork" argument that these GOP hypocrites are spouting, need I remind them of Senator Ted Steven's (REPUBLICAN-AK) bridge to nowhere? It might be of note to notice that, even as President Bush was calling for cutting the "pork" in government spending, he hadn't vetoed a single, solitary bill during his whole first term, and much of his second, not even to reduce the extra money being spent so frivolously. One also has to note that these bills all came through a congress controlled by his party, the Republicans.

The House, under the control of Republicans, have added "earmarks" (a.k.a. "Pork") in the guise of such things as:
-a half million dollars to renovate a swimming pool
-a quarter million dollars for a performing arts center
-one million dollars for a locomotive demonstration
-another million dollars for the "Southern and Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association" (whatever that is)
-$180,000 for tomatoes
-$1.4 million (two separate earmarks) for the Mystic Aquarium

And this big one: $2.5 million for the Illinois Technology Transition Center, brought out for a quick "voice vote" by none other than then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert (REPUBLICAN-IL).

We can also view the bloated spending by the Bushies on the Iraq war in terms of how much war profiteers are "earning" on the backs of the American people as well. has anyone even taken a look at Halliburton's profits since the war began? They're obscene! No wonder why they're moving to Dubai.

The Bushies need to look into themselves for their failures rather than push them on the Democrats. But in this, the Administration of Deferred Blame, don't expect them to place the blame firmly where it belongs.

Has anyone seen that buck?

-Noah Greenberg


Health Care for All?

Good news everybody. Due to an error in programming at the US Census Bureau, the number of Americans without health insurance has declined. No longer are there in 46.6 million Americans without health care coverage; no longer is 15.9 percent of the US population uninsured in case they get sick. That's right, America, "ONLY" 44.9 million Americans live without health care coverage, a drop of 0.6 of a percentage point down to 15.3 percent

Is this administration doing a great job or what?

However, since this error has been occurring since 1995, the real numbers haven't changed. The percentage of Americans without health care coverage is still the highest it has been since George W. Bush and his "base" of "haves and have mores" have taken over.

Do you think that the would have the gall to get on TV and tell us that "Today, an additional 2.3 million Americans have health care coverage than they had yesterday." Nah... you think?

Okay... We all know that this was an honest error, but could the Bushies actually spin information like this for their own political benefit? After all, under this administration, we have changed the way we look at things such as unemployment figures, to make it appear that more Americans are working when, in actuality, they have just simply become unrecorded statistics.

I can hear Karl Rove's wheels a-turnin' now.

*****

And speaking of health care, has anyone else noticed that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) sponsored forum on health care was attended by only the 2008 Democratic candidates? It should be noted that all of the candidates, Republican and Democrat alike, were invited by this union which represents millions of American workers. Many questions arise from this forum, but the one that stands out is this: Why wouldn't even one GOP presidential candidate show up at this event? Surely the guys who are trailing in this race, and more to the point former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts would have jumped at the opportunity to flex their health care muscles.

Of course, one has to realize that although Romney took credit for the health care for all bill that his state passed under his administration, he would have to explain why he vetoed the bill which passed without his signature.

Where were the big boys of the GOP - the front runners? Where was Rudy Giuliani - America's mayor - when it came to telling us all what he would do to make sure every man, woman and child had access to health care? Why was John McCain's "Straight-Talk Express" taking detours around the issue of making sure all Americans could see a doctor when they are sick?

I think the Democrats are showing the nation that they are willing to answer all questions, even the tough ones, while the Republicans are showing that they are not. As the GOP higher-ups keep attempting to distance themselves from President Bush, his failed policies and his practice of partisan politics at the exclusion of all else, those same leaders seem to be embracing his and Karl Rove's methods.

For the American people, it's like having the worst of both worlds.

-Noah Greenberg


"Snow" Kidding on Oversight?

 

When Tony Snow made the rounds of talk shows this week, some might have been surprised at his message.

Snow to CNN:  "There's another principle, which is Congress doesn't have the legislative -- I mean oversight authority over the White House."

Snow to NBC: "Congress doesn't have any legitimate oversight and responsibilities to the White House."

Snow to NBC: "First, the White House is under no compulsion to do anything. The legislative branch doesn't have oversight."

Snow to ABC: "The executive branch is under no compulsion to testify to Congress, because Congress in fact doesn't have oversight ability."

 

****

 

Excuse me Tony Snow Job but not only does Congress have the right of oversight but indeed they have the obligation.

I think to face the truth that the only way to end the tyranny of GWB/Cheney administration is to impeach them.  They are well on the way toward a confrontation with Congress that may result in impeachment.

 

-Robert Scardapane

 

You have to love an Administration that has so little grasp on how that pesky thing the Constitution works.

 

-Victoria Brownworth


On Impeachment

 

Impeachment is clearly in order, and Congress must send both Bush and Cheney packing.

As a former Naval officer and veteran, I am sworn to protect our nation against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic. I am outraged at the duplicity that resulted in the Iraq war, which has done nothing but destroy American influence worldwide, kill hundreds of thousands of people, wreck the lives of millions, and ruin the oldest civilized nation on earth.

As a citizen, I resist with body, mind and soul the erosion of our own Constitutional rights and liberties, through the insidious takeover of all power by the Big Brother executive branch.

As a Medievalist, I am outraged at the offhand dismissal of ancient legal barriers against kingly power, such as habeas corpus--which only a vicious tyrant would destroy by fiat.

As a voter, I assure you that I will vote ONLY for those who have been active in pursuing impeachment, and do my best to turn out any elected officials who sat on their hands while this country's traditional values were being crushed by our domestic enemies.

 

-Jenny Hanniver


On the Mass Health Care Plan

I understand that the politicians in Massachusetts boast that the new plans are cheaper than anything in the private market.  The reality is that the cheapest plan costs 6000 per year with a 5000 deductible.  A person would pay 11,000 before the insurance pays one dime. Consider that such cost would wipe out the yearly salary of a minimum wage worker.
 
Such insurance may save a person from total financial destruction but otherwise it's a useless rip off.  Many years ago such insurance plans were known as catastrophic.  Now, they are passed off as if they are a bargain.  Mandated insurance is not the answer. We need a shared system of risks and rewards.  We need single payer health care. Please ask your congressional representative to support House bill HR676.

-Robert Scardapane


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-Noah Greenberg