Thursday, March 27, 2008

More incompetence - how Bush is spending our money and screwing the troops

KBR, the company that began under Dick Cheney's Halliburton, is the biggest contractor/war profiteer in Iraq. They have received $ billions in no bid contracts, thanks to Dick.

So how is KBR doing? Due to contaminated water being supplied to the troops by KBR, dozens of US soldiers experienced skin abscesses, cellulitis, skin infections, diarrhea and other illnesses after using discolored, smelly water for personal hygiene and laundry at five U.S. military sites in Iraq, according to the Defense Department's inspector general's report.

Even more disgusting, KBR has provided unsafe wiring in military barracks that has resulted in the electrocution deaths of 12 US soldiers. The case is under investigation and the House Oversight committee has requested documents from the Bush administration on the matter. I would not be surprised to see the Bush administration claim executive privilege and refuse to cooperate, protecting the contractor.

KBR has avoided paying up to a $ half billion in US taxes and Medicare by hiring workers through front companies in the Cayman Islands. In case you missed it, Halliburton moved it's headquarters to Dubai last year when they began to be investigated for contract fraud.

Today we hear the results of an investigation where a new company, AEY - run by a 22 yr old guy, was given a $300 million contract to supply ammunition to our troops. This is what the investigation found:
"the company has provided ammunition that is more than 40 years old and in decomposing packaging, according to an examination of the munitions by The New York Times and interviews with American and Afghan officials. Much of the ammunition comes from the aging stockpiles of the old Communist bloc, including stockpiles that the State Department and NATO have determined to be unreliable and obsolete, and have spent millions of dollars to have destroyed. In purchasing munitions, the contractor has also worked with middlemen and a shell company on a federal list of entities suspected of illegal arms trafficking."
This, in a time of a faltering economy is how the Bush Administration is spending our money and supporting the troops. And when they come home from Iraq without legs, they can go to Walter Reed. As if it wasn't bad enough sending them in without proper armor or an adequate plan. Not to mention how they're being stressed and abused with this back door draft - the stop loss program. Dick Cheney says he doesn't care what Americans think. Why should he? He's profited handsomely from the war he started.
crossposted at TNFree

Bushie Neocons in Fantasy Land

Crossposted at TNFree
H/T - Michael aka "Doc at the Autopsy"

"...we've broken the grip of al Qaeda on the capital. We've weakened the influence of Iranian backed militias. We've dramatically improved security conditions ..."
-- GW Bush, 3/27/08

"The Civil War in Iraq is over. And until the American domestic political debate catches up with that fact, we are going to have a very hard time discussing Iraq on the basis of reality." -- Fred Kagen, 3/24/08

Less than 24 hours after this statement by Kagan and before Bush's statement above, this came across the wire:
With Iraq's top leaders directing the battle, Iraq's army and national police pressed a major operation Tuesday to wrest control of the southern port city of Basra from the Shiite Mahdi Army militia. Fighting between government forces and the militia quickly spread through Iraq's south and into Baghdad.
BAGHDAD — American-trained Iraqi security forces failed for a third straight day to oust Shiite militias from the southern city of Basra on Thursday, even as President Bush hailed the operation as a sign of the growing strength of Iraq’s federal government.

The fighting in Basra with the Mahdi Army, the armed wing of the political movement led by the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, set off clashes in cities throughout Iraq and major demonstrations in Sadr City, the huge Baghdad neighborhood that is Mr. Sadr’s base of power, and other Shiite neighborhoods in the capital.
Two Americans have been killed and the Green Zone in Iraq is under attack. The level of denial is amazing. Bush is just tap dancing til he can hand his mess over to someone else to deal with.... leaving America in a shitty situation, with a faltering economy and a weakened military.

Republican Senator and Vietnam Vet Chuck Hagel said it best:

"This is another episode of 'Alice in Wonderland.' ... What do you mean stability and security? Baghdad has been over the last year essentially ethnically divided. You've separated the Sunnis and Shiites. To make some assertion somehow that things are looking much better in Baghdad and it's calm and it's back to where it used to be is just not the case. . . and when you look at the casualties the United States has taken since the so-called military surge, over 900 deaths, you look at 30,000 wounded and the money we've put in there, then the other point of this is if, in fact, the surge has calmed things to a point where the president and others are saying, well, they've done a great service, they've achieved terrific things; why are they talking about keeping more troops in Iraq for the rest of the year? This is still a serious, dangerous situation in Iraq."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

John McCain proved 3 times last week that he is dumb about war.

Old soldiers never die, they get young soldiers killed

McCain said for the third time in two days, that Iran, a Shi’ite stronghold was training al Qaeda a militant Sunni organization. This complete misunderstanding was more than a mere gaffe. Fox News' Brit Hume called McCain's confusion a "senior moment". Perhaps pushing this misconception will give McCain the groundwork as a possible future president to, in his words sung to the Beach Boys song... "Bomb, bomb, bomb ... bomb, bomb Iran".

Of course Gen. Petraeus refuted this claim of an Iran / al Qaeda link on CNN:
"As you know the flow of foreign fighters and suicide bombers that help out al Qaeda typically is through Syria." - Gen. David Petraeus.

Unwittingly, with Bushies in tow, GW has done more to strengthen al Qaeda than they could have ever accomplished on their own - FACT. Ahjmadinejad smooches Iraqi leaders and our enemies have become united. Are the Bushies too oblivious to see this?

McCain is in total agreement now with bin Laden and al Qaeda. McCain wants to continue the Bush "stay the course" doctrine - playing right into the hands of the enemy. Al Qaeda has us exactly where they want us, waging an expensive unilateral war, depleting our military in a war where there is no defense against suicide bombers, where our economy is being sucked dry slowly and surely while feeding the hate for America by our presence in Iraq - the best recruiting campaign that al Qaeda could hope for. That's what we can expect from John McCain.

Speaking of the fact that McCain clearly doesn't understand the war we're in, as usual Bill Maher, nailed it:

"But it’s not just a ‘gaffe,’ it’s what McCain really thinks. And therein lies the paradox of this campaign: McCain’s strength is really his weakness. He’s a warrior who’s dumb about war. Whoever read The Art of War, chapter three of The Art of War says, “Know thy enemy.” And John McCain plainly doesn’t. He thinks the solution is our presence in the Middle East. No, the problem is our presence in the Middle East. ... he’s exactly the same as Bush on the war. They both don’t get the same thing. As long as we’re setting up shop in the heart of the Arab world, we’re not keeping America safer. ... Winning the War on Terror comes down to this: what will make us safer from pissed off Arab teenagers who are willing to die? There are a number of good answers to that question, but occupying their land for the next 100 years is not one of them."

Do we really want someone who has "senior moments" and is dumb about war with his finger on the trigger? Just a reminder here, we could be hiring 11,000 new border patrol guards for a year to protect this country from illegals with the amount that is spend in Iraq EVERY DAY - now nearly a half billion ($435 million / day).

A vote for McCain is a vote for GW Bush, more war, and a continually worsening economy.

Blogger "Doc" at The Autopsy - identity revealed

UPDATE 8/29/10:
Seems that Mikey is lying to the ankle-biters at Protein Wisdom.

The fact is that I never threatened to call his University to discredit him. I have better things to do. I would never stoop to the level of manbaby Jeff Goldstein who threatened me as such for merely commenting on his blog, saying, "I have nothing to lose." But I did say that I wondered what Mikey's colleagues would think of having a proponent of Intelligent Design and a climate science denier as a science educator/colleague. Particularly true in retrospect, now that his pet Climate-gate scandal has been thoroughly debunked.

In our lengthy debates, I had thought I had identified "Doc" at the Autopsy, the rabid conservative, devoted Bushie, anti-abortion rights, global warming denialist blogger. Based on tracking data, I had deduced that "Doc" was "Tony" at U of Wisconsin, Barron County. I was wrong. Tony emailed me the other day and notified me of my error. My apologizes to Tony!!

"Doc" at The Autopsy is:


Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin- Platteville

After numerous debates with "Doc" in which I called him "Tony" and even made a joke of Tony's lack of hair, "Doc" never corrected my misidentification and acknowledged my apologies for poking fun of his lack of hair to which he responded:

Willy apologized for the baldness comment. All the hair remaining on my head thanks you.

In doing so, even after a photo of Tony was cited, Michael perpetuated the misconception that he was "Tony." (Michael is not balding). I find this disingenuous and cowardly.

Looking at his bio, he is the product of Catholic schooling which explains his anti-abortion stance. An entry on his blog also suggests he supports Intelligent Design. The identifying clincher is the photo on his personal website of an actor is the same actor in the photo on his blog icon. Gotcha.

It's time Michael, to take responsibility for the opinions you deliver instead of trying to hide. The normal conservative tact: deny everything, admit nothing, blame someone else... it's time to come out Michael, we found you.

As I said to Tony, at the risk of stereotyping, "he sure looks like a conservative."

Mikey edited my comment on his blog, eliminating his last name and link to this post. Still a coward.
Since Mikey linked my photo on his blog with a nasty caption, touche....
Heeerrre's Mikey, (no dumb caption required). Does he "look like a Republican" or what?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sign of things to come

Despite being outspent 2 to 1, Democrat Bill Foster won the Congressional seat held by former Republican Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert in a special election in the heavily Republican district west of Chicago.

Mr. Foster’s success deeply disappointed Republicans, in part for its broader implications: the victory in this early race may buoy Democrats as they look ahead to a string of Republican retirements this fall. By last week, the National Republican Congressional Committee had poured $1.2 million into this race; the Democratic Congressional Committee had given $620,000.

UPDATE: This report shows the dire straits of the Republican National Committee

NRCC Blows Nearly One Third of its Cash on Hand on IL-14 Special Election
The NRCC simply does not have the kind of money to go toe-to-toe with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. As of the latest filing period, the NRCC finally was able to pull itself out of debt for the first time this cycle, with a net $4.1 million in the bank as of the end of January. Crunching out the math, then, the $1.2 million the NRCC has had to spend defending this Republican seat in a Republican district amounts to 29.2 percent of the committee's net cash-on-hand, or nearly a third. In contrast, the D-trip has spent about 3.0 percent of its net cash-on-hand on the race, not nearly depleting its coffers in the same way.

You Republicans can cling to the unlikely possibility that John 'the old white hope' McCain might get elected, but in Congress... it is clear - the GOP is going to get buried. You can thank the disastrous Bush presidency for that.

Bush failed to act on 9/11 warnings, tried to manipulate 9/11 Commission to cover his negligence

This subject I've posted on previously. Here's a new book that chronicles the summer leading up to 9-11-01 and the 9-11 Commission's investigation: The Commission - The Uncensored History Of The 9/11 Investigation by Philip Shenon

This excellent summary of excerpts published here recap of the events leading up to 9-11. Worth a read! From the book:

Even reporters in Washington who covered intelligence issues acknowledged they were largely ignorant that summer that the CIA and other parts of the Government were warning of an almost certain terrorist attack. The warnings were going straight to President Bush each morning in his briefings by the CIA director, George Tenet, and in the presidential daily briefings. It would later be revealed by the 9/11 commission into the September 11 attacks that more than 40 presidential briefings presented to Bush from January 2001 through to September 10, 2001, included references to bin Laden.

Emails from the National Security Council's counter-terrorism director, Richard Clarke, showed that he had bombarded Rice with messages about terrorist threats. He was trying to get her to focus on the intelligence she should have been reading each morning in the presidential and senior briefings

  • "Bin Ladin Planning Multiple Operations" (April 20)
  • "Bin Ladin Public Profile May Presage Attack" (May 3)
  • "Terrorist Groups Said Co-operating on US Hostage Plot" (May 23)
  • "Bin Ladin's Networks' Plans Advancing" (May 26)
  • "Bin Ladin Threats Are Real" (June 30)
  • "Bin Ladin Attacks May Be Imminent" (June 23)
  • "Bin Ladin and Associates Making Near-Term Threats" (June 25)
  • "Bin Ladin Planning High-Profile Attacks" (June 30),
  • "Planning for Bin Ladin Attacks Continues, Despite Delays" (July 2)

There is no record to show that Rice made any special effort to discuss terrorist threats with Bush. The record suggested, instead, that it was not a matter of special interest to either of them that summer.

David Kay, the veteran American weapons inspector sent to Iraq by the Bush Administration in 2003 to search for weapons of mass destruction, passed word to the commission that he believed Rice was the "worst national security adviser" in the history of the job.

Then came the famous Aug 6, 01 briefing - "bin Laden determined to strike in US." This is how it was handled by Rice in a press conference:

It would later become clear to many of the commission's members and its staff that she had tried to mislead the White House press corps about the contents of the briefing.

She acknowledged that Bush had received a briefing about possible al-Qaeda hijackings, but she claimed that the brief offered "historical information" and "was not a warning - there was no specific time, place, or method".

She failed to mention, as would later be clear, that the briefing focused entirely on the possibility that al-Qaeda intended to strike within the United States; it cited relatively recent FBI reports of possible terrorist surveillance of government buildings in New York.

Asked if September 11 didn't represent an intelligence failure by the Administration, Rice replied almost testily: "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Centre, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon - that they would try to use an airplane as a missile."

Rice's news conference came eight months after the attacks. Yet she was suggesting that in all that time, no one had bothered to tell her that there were indeed several reports prepared within the CIA, the aviation administration, and elsewhere in the Government about the threat of planes as missiles. Had no one told her in all those months that the Department of Defense had conducted drills for the possibility of a plane-as-missile attack on the Pentagon? Had she forgotten that when she and Bush attended the G8 summit in Italy in July 2001, the airspace was closed because of the threat of an aerial suicide attack by al-Qaeda?

And then there is this:

[911 Commissioner] Bass told colleagues that he gasped when he found a memo written by Clarke to Rice on September 4, 2001, exactly a week before the attacks, in which Clarke seemed to predict what was just about to happen. It was a memo that seemed to spill out all of Clarke's frustration about how slowly the Bush White House had responded to the cascade of terrorist threats that summer. The note was terrifying in its prescience.

"Are we serious about dealing with the al-Qaeda threat? Decision makers should imagine themselves on a future day when the CSG [Counterterrorism Security Group] has not succeeded in stopping al-Qaeda attacks and hundreds of Americans lay dead..." -- National Security Council's counter-terrorism director, Richard Clarke, Sept 4, 2001

Read this story, know the truth - After 40 specific dire warnings about a bin Laden attack, Bush chose to go on vacation... for a month. And then tried to revise history by misleading the 9-11 Commission.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

War profiteers screw the American people, evade a half billion in taxes

America's example of democracy in Iraq

KBR (Kellogg Brown & Root) started as a subsidiary of Halliburton, is the biggest war profiteer in Iraq employing 21,000. They have received more than $16 Billion in government contracts, mostly no-bid contracts.

You wonder why such great profits haven't been assisting the US economy? KBR hasn’t been passing on these enormous profits to American taxpayers or even its own employees, thanks to a plan that Vice President Cheney helped establish. The Boston Globe reports that KBR has avoided paying more than $500 million “in federal Medicare and Social Security taxes by hiring workers through front companies” based in the Cayman Islands.

Iraq take note - that's American democracy in action - the Republican war profiteer version.

Halliburton, KBR's former parent company has been the subject of numerous investigations including overcharging, fraud, bribery, substandard work, and dealing with terrorist countries - specifically Iran. To avoid the continuing investigations, Halliburton moved it's company to the United Arab Emirates last year.

Now that’s the way Republicans like Dick Cheney do business in American democracy:

Start a war, destroy a country, profit
billions of dollars from it’s rebuilding by securing no-bid contracts… contracts secured with a little inside help, and then avoid paying taxes on the billions of dollars made, screwing the KBR employees and the American people.

Large opportunities lost, everyday

We didn't hear too much about last week's Joint Economic Committee's public examination of the costs of the war. The witnesses included the Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, and Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International.

Think about this.

For a fraction of the cost of the war, Social Security could have been saved and put on a "sound footing for the next half-century or more."

Money spent on the war each and every day is enough to enroll an additional 58,000 children in Head Start for a year, or make a year of college affordable for 160,000 low-income students through Pell Grants, or pay the annual salaries of nearly 11,000 additional border patrol agents or 14,000 more police officers. Multiply that by 365.

What we’re getting instead is the stuff of nightmares - for America and the Iraqis. Civilian casualties are up 36% in Iraq in Feb. '08, and just today, we hear of another suicide bombing in Baghdad that has killed at least 53 and maimed 125.

Stiglitz notes:
...nearly 40 percent of the 700,000 troops from the first Gulf War, which lasted just a month, have become eligible for disability benefits. The current war is approaching five years in duration.

"Imagine then, what a war — that will almost surely involve more than 2 million troops and will almost surely last more than six or seven years — will cost. Already we are seeing large numbers of returning veterans showing up at V.A. hospitals for treatment, large numbers applying for disability and large numbers with severe psychological problems."

The Bush administration has tried its best to conceal the horrendous costs of the war. It has bypassed the normal budgetary process, financing the war almost entirely through “emergency” appropriations that get far less scrutiny.

Story: The $2 Trillion Nightmare

FBI admits to illegal spying on Americans

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

- Benjamin Franklin (1706–90)

The FBI improperly used national security letters in 2006 to obtain personal data on Americans during terror and spy investigations, Director Robert Mueller said Wednesday.

Details on the abuses will be outlined in the coming days in a report by the Justice Department's inspector general.

We'll be looking forward to that.

Money talks - Dems crush GOP in campaign fundraising

It has been noted the much greater enthusiasm in the Democratic campaign and debates compared with the Republican. The huge turnout in the Dem primary compared with the Republicans is dismissed by some as irrelevant. Not all are blind to the facts.

"Since the midterm election of 2006, Democrats have had an enthusiasm gap with Republicans. They have big crowds, raise more money and appear to have more excitement on the campaign trail. Couple this with turnout numbers, which are off the charts."

-- GOP strategist Scott Reed

Well Repubs, if none of this shakes your confidence, try these cold hard facts you can not dismiss ...

Obama and Clinton together raked in as much as eight times as much cash in February as John McCain, the Republican nominee.

Obama raised $55 million in January. Clinton aides said she raised $35 million in February. McCain, who raised about $12 million in January, is on a similar pace for February, according to his campaign.

This trend also extends to the Senate campaigns:

Big-dollar contributions were few and far between for the National Republican Senate Campaign, which trailed the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee $59.3 million to $35.4 million for the entire 2007-08 election cycle to date, and by $30.5 million to $13.2 million in the crucial category of remaining cash on hand to spend on this year's 35 Senate contests -- including 23 in which the GOP is the incumbent party, and five in which Republican members have left their seats open to retire. All 12 Democratic incumbents whose seats are up this year are running for re-election.

Monday, March 3, 2008

In Bush's America - multitudes of working Americans line up to beg for medical care

How many people reading this that do not have health insurance through their employer and can afford to pay out of their pocket for insurance for themselves and their families? Many of the same people who speak of the 'evils of socialized medicine,' are uninsured themselves.

60 Minutes exposes terrible state of healthcare in TN

60 Minutes traveled to Knoxville, TN to film a free clinic set up by a charity group called Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps, or RAM. The charity was initially started in the 90’s by it’s founder, Stan Brock, to give health care relief to remote areas of Latin America, but after watching this segment it’s clear that America’s health care system doesn’t look too much different than that of a third world country.

The local response to this RAM clinic in Knoxville was amazing, yet profoundly saddening. Hundreds of people showed up for the clinic, many drove hours to get there and waited up to seven hours just to get a spot in line to be seen — and ultimately, hundreds had to be turned away. These were not Cadillac driving welfare queens, they were average, working Americans who are under insured or have no insurance at all. The most disheartening part of it all is to see how many of these people had avoided seeking medical treatment for years because they couldn’t afford it and are now reduced to begging for help. It’s a microcosm of our medical system and it’s a damn ugly sight in the world’s wealthiest nation.

Story - CBS
In the expedition to Knoxville, RAM saw 920 patients, made 500 pairs of glasses, did 94 mammograms, extracted 1,066 teeth and did 567 fillings. But when Stan Brock called the last number, 400 people were turned away.

So bloody sad... yet we can spend $10 billion a month in Iraq, so Bush can try and save face.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Bush crime family continues to hide from the law

Criminal behavior? You're damn right, that's why they call it "criminal contempt."

The criminal contempt citations of White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former presidential counsel Harriet Miers have been ignored by the Bush Administration, as was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 's request to Attorney General Michael Mukasey to refer the House's contempt citations to a federal grand jury. Instead of letting a jury decide, Bush uses his henchman Mukasey to subvert the law.

This means the vital separation of powers between the Executive and Judicial branches of our Federal government have been violated. The Dept. of Justice is in bed with Bush and is not acting responsibly.

This begs the question:

If the Bush Administration did nothing wrong in the attorney firings investigation and various other investigations, why don't they surrender documents, White House emails, and put people on record with testimony?


They've got something to hide - a crime.

This action is illegal - ignoring a contempt of Congress citation. Also, failing to produce White House emails is an illegal violation of the Presidential Records Act.

The criminals stonewall justice and have politicized the Department of Justice in an abuse of power and illegal violation of the Constitutional separation of powers.

So, as a result of this criminal behavior, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has filed a lawsuit against Bolten and Miers in federal court.

Let's hope the best for the integrity of our Justice system and show these cowards that they can't hide.