Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bush's $1 Trillion War on Terror: Even Costlier Than Expected

The news that President Bush's war on terror will soon have cost the U.S. taxpayer $1 trillion - and counting - is unlikely to spread much Christmas cheer in these tough economic times. A trio of recent reports - none by the Bush Administration - suggests that sometime early in the Obama presidency, spending on the wars started since 9/11 will pass the trillion-dollar mark. Even after adjusting for inflation, that's four times more than America spent fighting World War I, and more than 10 times the cost of 1991's Persian Gulf War (90 percent of which was paid for by U.S. allies). The war on terror looks set to surpass the cost the Korean and Vietnam wars combined, to be topped only by World War II's price tag of $3.5 trillion.
The cost of sending a single soldier to fight for a year in Afghanistanor Iraq is about $775,000 - three times more than in other recent wars, says a new report from the private but authoritative Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. A large chunk of the increase is a result of the Administration cramming new military hardware into the emergency budget bills it has been using to pay for the wars. (See pictures of U.S. troops in Iraq)
These costs, of course, pale alongside the price paid by the nearly 5,000 U.S. troops who have lost their lives in the conflicts - not to mention the wounded - and the families of all the casualties. And President Bush insists that their sacrifice, and the expenditure on the wars, has helped prevent a recurrence of 9/11. "We could not afford to wait for the terrorists to attack again," he said last week at the Army War College. "So we launched a global campaign to take the fight to the terrorists abroad, to dismantle their networks, to dry up their financing and find their leaders and bring them to justice."
But many Americans may suffer a moment of sticker shock from the conclusions of the CSBA report, and similar assessments from the Government Accounting Office and Congressional Research Service, which make clear that the nearly $1 trillion already spent is only a down payment on the war's long-term costs. The trillion-dollare figure does not, for example, include long-term health care for veterans, thousands of whom have suffered crippling wounds, or the interest payments on the money borrowed by the Federal government to fund the war. The bottom lines of the three assessments vary: The CSBA study says $904 billion has been spent so far, while the GAO says the Pentagon alone has spent $808 billion through last September. The CRS study says the wars have cost $864 billion, but it didn't factor inflation into its calculations.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Poll: 75% glad Bush is done

A new national poll suggests that three out of four Americans feel President Bush's departure from office is coming not a moment too soon.
Seventy-five percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Friday said they're glad Bush is going; 23 percent indicated they'll miss him.
"Earlier this year, Bush scored some of the lowest presidential approval ratings we've seen in half a century, so it's understandable that the public is eager for a new president to step in," said Keating Holland, CNN polling director.
CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider added, "As President Bush prepares to leave office, the American public has a parting thought: Good riddance. At least that's the way three-quarters feel."
Recent reports say cost soon to surpass $1 trillion mark, and counting.

"Hey, my phones are tapped and reporters and god knows who else is always following me and the family so no privacy.

Trooper: Election Delayed Case Against Bristol Palin's Future Mother-In-Law

WASILLA, Alaska -- The mother of Bristol Palin's boyfriend sent text messages discussing drug transactions less than a month after the young woman's mother, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, was nominated as the Republican vice presidential candidate, according to court documents filed this week.
An affidavit from an Alaska state trooper, filed Monday, states that Sherry L. Johnston referred in her messages to two police informants to "coffee" as a code for the drug OxyContin.
Johnston, 42, was arrested on felony drug charges last week after state troopers served a search warrant at her Wasilla home. She allegedly sold OxyContin tablets to the informants on three occasions this fall, the affidavit states. Police said two of the meetings were recorded by a hidden camera and a microphone.
Johnston is the mother of Levi Johnston, 18. Sarah Palin announced in September that her daughter Bristol, also 18, was pregnant and that Johnston was the father. Their child was due to be born Dec. 18, her grandfather Chuck Heath told the Anchorage Daily News recently.

Robin Williams

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

CNN Poll: Obama transition draws approval of 4 in 5 Americans

(CNN) – Hawaii's always been a great spot for honeymoons — and Barack Obama, who's spending the holiday season there on the beach at Kailua, is unquestionably having one of the best in modern presidential history.
Eighty-two percent of those questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday morning approve of the way the Obama is handling his presidential transition. That's up 3 points from when we asked this question at the beginning of December. Fifteen percent of those surveyed disapprove of the way Obama's handling his transition, down 3 points from our last poll.
The 82 percent approval is higher than then President-elect George W. Bush 8 years ago, who had a 65 percent transition approval rating, and Bill Clinton, at 67 percent in 1992.
"Barack Obama is having a better honeymoon with the American public than any incoming president in the past three decades. He's putting up better numbers, usually by double digits, than Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, or either George Bush on every item traditionally measured in transition polls," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Go Rachel

slugbug said:


Exclusive: Cheney’s admissions to the CIA leak prosecutor and FBI

Vice President Dick Cheney, according to a still-highly confidential FBI report, admitted to
federal investigators that he rewrote talking points for the press in July 2003 that made it much more likely that the role of then-covert CIA-officer Valerie Plame in sending her husband on a CIA-sponsored mission to Africa would come to light.
Cheney conceded during his interview with federal investigators that in drawing attention to Plame’s role in arranging her husband’s Africa trip reporters might also unmask her role as CIA officer.
Cheney denied to the investigators, however, that he had done anything on purpose that would lead to the outing of Plame as a covert CIA operative. But the investigators came away from their interview with Cheney believing that he had not given them a plausible explanation as to how he could focus attention on Plame’s role in arranging her husband’s trip without her CIA status also possibly publicly exposed. At the time, Plame was a covert CIA officer involved in preventing Iran from obtaining weapons of mass destruction, and Cheney’s office played a central role in exposing her and nullifying much of her work.
Cheney revised the talking points on July 8, 2003– the very same day that his then-chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, met with New York Times reporter Judith Miller and told Miller that Plame was a CIA officer and that Plame had also played a central role in sending her husband on his CIA sponsored trip to the African nation of Niger.
Both Cheney and Libby have acknowledged that Cheney directed him to meet with Miller, but claimed that the purpose of that meeting was to leak other sensitive intelligence to discredit allegations made by Plame’s husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, that the Bush administration misrepresented intelligence information to go to war with Iraq, rather than to leak Plame’s identity.
That Cheney, by his own admission, had revised the talking points in an effort to have the reporters examine who sent Wilson on the very same day that his chief of staff was disclosing to Miller Plame’s identity as a CIA officer may be the most compelling evidence to date that Cheney himself might have directed Libby to disclose Plame’s identity to Miller and other reporters.
This new information adds to a growing body of evidence that Cheney may have directed Libby to disclose Plame’s identity to reporters and that Libby acted to protect Cheney by lying to federal investigators and a federal grand jury about the matter.
Still, for those in search of the proverbial “smoking gun”, the question as to whether Cheney directed Libby to leak Plaime’s identity to the media at Cheney’s direction or Libby did so on his own by acting over zealously in carrying out a broader mandate from Cheney to discredit Wilson and his allegations about manipulation of intelligence information, will almost certainly remain an unresolved one.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bernard Madoff:
By James Petras
In a few days, one individual, Bernard Madoff, has struck a bigger blow against global financial capital, Wall Street and the US Zionist Lobby/Israel-First Agenda than the entire US and European left combined over the past half century! Continue
Source: NY Times, via TPM

Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, a founder of the hedge fund Access International Advisors, was found dead early Tuesday in his office in Manhattan, the French business daily La Tribune reported on its Web site, after losing as much as $1.4 billion that had been invested with Bernard L. Madoff, the money manager accused of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme. Mr. de la Villehuchet, 65, committed suicide, La Tribune said, citing a someone close to Mr. de la Villehuchet.

Mr. de la Villehuchet had been trying to recover the money that Access International raised in Europe and invested through Mr. Madoff’s business, La Tribune reported.

Paramedics responded to a call at a Manhattan address matching that of Access International, people briefed on the situation told DealBook. They found a victim, whom they pronounced dead, but have not yet identified the man.

Luxalpha, a $1.4 billion Luxembourg-based fund sold across Europe, invested in Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. Access International last week called Mr. Madoff’s arrest “a shocking development” in a note to investors. Investors in the fund included a unit of Rothschild and several clients of the Swiss bank UBS. LinkHere
Michael Ratner Cheney's admission of guilt is a plea for a presidential pardon

The governor of the Bank of Spain on Sunday issued a bleak assessment of the economic crisis, warning that the world faced a "total" financial meltdown unseen since the Great Depression. Continue
Rebecca Abrahams, 12.22.2008
Freelance Film and Television Producer
With the untimely death of Bush IT guru Mike Connell, Ohio attorneys lost a key witness to substantiate their racketeering case against Karl Rove for alleged criminal wrongdoing in the 2004 election.

Monday, December 22, 2008

GOP consultant killed in plane crash was warned of sabotage: report

The Republican consultant accused of involvement in alleged vote-rigging in Ohio in 2004 was warned that his plane might be sabotaged before his death in a crash Friday night, according to a Cleveland CBS affiliate.
45-year-old Republican operative Michael Connell was killed when his single-passenger plane crashed Friday into a home in a suburb of Akron, Ohio (PREVIOUS REPORT). The consultant was called to testify in federal court regarding a lawsuit alleging that he took part in tampering with Ohio's voting results in the 2004 election.
Without getting into specific details, 19 Action News reporter Blake Renault reported Sunday evening that 45-year-old Republican operative and experienced pilot had been warned not to fly his plane in the days before the crash.
"Connell...was apparently told by a close friend not to fly his plane because his plane might be sabotaged," Renault said. "And twice in the last two months Connell, who is an experienced pilot, cancelled two flights because of suspicious problems with his plane.
"Renault called Connell's death "untimely."
Elections atty. responds
This video is from 19 Action News, broadcast Dec. 21, 2008.
RUSH TRANSCRIPT: "The fatal plane crash of Michael Connell was certainly untimely. The 45-year-old local man was accused of rigging the 2004 election for President Bush, a claim that Connell denied under oath. But under closer examination from civil attorney Clifford Arnebeck, wanted Connell placed under federal protection. Arnebeck was worried that if Connell told all that he knew about President Bush and the 2004 campaign, Connell's life would be in jeopardy. Arnebeck said that he received confidential information that Republican operative Karl Rove threatened Connell and his wife if Connell told all that he knew.
"So who exactly is Michael Connell? Well he worked here as a Republican computer specialist and consultant. Basically he is accused of taking votes in 2004 from then-candidate John Kerry and diverting them to president bush throughout the state of Ohio.
And last month under oath in a federal court, Connell denied having any knowledge of manipulating votes. Records show that the Bush campaign paid Connell's business $800,000 in 2004, but it's unclear for what. Connell though was apparently told by a close friend not to fly his plane because his plane might be sabotaged. And twice in the last two months Connell, who is an experienced pilot, canceled two flights because of suspicious problems with his plane. "And now yet another problem was ... but this one took his life. It's too early to tell if the federal investigation into Connell's death has any kind of ties from the work he provided from this office to the president.

Unforgivable Moral Affront.

It took Sen. Jim Webb a year and a half to pass the 21st Century GI Bill, and it was done over the objections of Sen. John McCain and the White House.

Nearly two years after massive controversy erupted over the treatment of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed, George W. Bush will be visiting the medical center on Monday for, likely, his last time as president.
Accompanied by the first lady, Bush will officially be honoring the One Warm Coat Holiday Service Project, according to the Associated Press. There is, however, a thick thread of political symbolism to the affair.
For many Americans, the failure of the government to anticipate and then remedy the conditions at Walter Reed was an unforgivable moral affront. The moldy ceilings, leaky plumage, rodent infestations and bureaucratic bundling were disturbing in and of themselves. That these indignities were inflicted on soldiers that the administration had sent to fight a controversial war was maddening.

'Gross Negligence'

The Bush White House and the New York Times have a long and contentious relationship - even before he was first elected when, in a comment to then-running mate Cheney, Bush referred to the paper's Adam Clymer as a "major-league asshole" in September 2000.
In the latest chapter, the White House went on the offensive today, accusing the paper of "gross negligence," issuing a 500-word response to Sunday's 5,000-word front-page article about how Bush's belief in unregulated markets directly led to the mortgage meltdown, reports Politico.com.
Here is the full statement from the White House:

"Thank you, guys. Appreciate your service."

"economic hell" -- and that things will never go back to how they were.

Krugman recently warned of a power vacuum during President Bush's lame duck period making the economic crisis even worse. Politico reports that Krugman is "in communications" with the Obama administration regarding the economy.
Paul Krugman writes Monday that, no matter what President-elect Obama does, we're in for up to a year of "economic hell" -- and that things will never go back to how they were.
Whatever the new administration does, we're in for months, perhaps even a year, of economic hell. After that, things should get better, as President Obama's stimulus plan -- O.K., I'm told that the politically correct term is now "economic recovery plan" -- begins to gain traction. Late next year the economy should begin to stabilize, and I'm fairly optimistic about 2010.
But what comes after that? Right now everyone is talking about, say, two years of economic stimulus -- which makes sense as a planning horizon. Too much of the economic commentary I've been reading seems to assume, however, that that's really all we'll need -- that once a burst of deficit spending turns the economy around we can quickly go back to business as usual.
In fact, however, things can't just go back to the way they were before the current crisis. And I hope the Obama people understand that.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Claims Anything Legal In War

On Fox News Sunday, Dick Cheney finally admitted that he cursed out Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on the Senate floor in 2004 -- and said he had no regrets about doing it.
"Did you really tell Senator Leahy, 'bleep' yourself?" Wallace asked Cheney. "I did," the vice president replied. "Any qualms, or second thoughts, or embarrassment?" Wallace asked. "No, I thought he merited it at the time," Cheney responded. "And we've since, I think, patched over that wound and we're civil to one another now."
free hit counter