Saturday, February 01, 2003

Military base closings are supposed to be non-political, and certainly non-partisan. Closings are based on independent studies that focus whether the base is of military value. Will keeping the base open with the continuing cost of running and maintaining it be justified in terms of military readiness and effiecency. Even after the events of 9-11, Afghanistan, and in consideration of other possible conflicts, even Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield think that the process of base closings that begin in the early 80's should continue.
In general, Congress continues to resist base closings. Why? One reason is that closing bases is perceived by much of the public as a weakening of our military or military readiness. Yet even Senators such as John Kerry, D-MA, John McCain, R-AZ, and Secretary Rumfield believe that the closings are in fact a part of stream lining and improving our military posture. Members of congress risk being accused of being weak on defense and failing to protect a part of the economic infrastructure of the communities affected by the closing. This mentality is at the root of "pork" barrel politics. While politicians create the pork, the electorate are the enablers or supporters of pork. Not having studied the issue, the average voter fails to see that unnecessary military bases are a drain on the military budget, paid for out their tax dollars. Many rank and file Republicans end up looking like the worse kind of hypocrites on this issue, by turning the bases into a kind of government works program that puts money in their left pocket, yet pays for with taxes out of their right pocket. As is well documented Democrats are not philosophically opposed to works programs, so they are free from the hypocrite label. Some works programs over the years have proved to be an investment in creating a base of new tax payers and providing much needed contracts to businesses. In this case Congress plays a game where by many of them know that keeping the base closings is not really in our best interests, yet face an uphill public relations battle with their constituency in continuing the round of base closings for 2003. How can we close military bases in light of Iraq, Korea, etc? The fact is that the public needs to study the issue more closely, and Congress needs to worry less about public perception. In most instances it's been found that closed bases are converted to profitable industrial parks, office parks, or educational facilities. Congress was not successful in stopping the next round of base closings, but did manage to delay the closings until 2005.
When heard Donald Rumsfield heard about the delay he said, "What that means is that the United States will continue to have something like 20% to 25% more bases than we need. We will be spending money that is being wasted to manage and maintain bases we don't need. Given the war on terror, we will be doing something even more egregious, and that is we will be providing force protection on bases that we do not need."
It seems that rank and file Republicans are out of step with the conservative hiearchy and Democrats are on the defensive, afraid to look weak on defense.

Friday, January 31, 2003

Human Rights Watch 2003, lets call it their version of the State of the Union

Thursday, January 30, 2003

U.S. Department of Homeland Security. They really need to do something about that name, just too close to Fatherland re: Reich for me.

Scoobie Davis who does a good and frequently funny job of getting the goods on the wing-nuts, is in need of a little rent money if anyone feels like making a donation. Apparently some business deals fell through.

While I can find plausible evidence for taking military action against Iraq, it's important to remember that conservatives and a few democrats, and some pro-business at any cost American corporations have been enablers of Saddam's rise to power. This is a list if American companies that have done business with Iraq. While most did not supply arms or arms supplies directly over the last 20 years, much of what they sold Iraq was used to build their infastructure during the eighties and rebuild after the Gulf war. As a matter of fact, Dick Cheney while at Haliburton sold $23 million dollars worth of technology to Iraq.Beginning in 1998, his company, Haliburton Oil, sold more technology to Iraq than any other corporation. He lied about it in a July 23, 2000 interview with ABC and only admitted the truth after the facts leaked from his own company.
USA Corporations or Iraq enablers.
The amounts given are for the year 2002 election cycle unless otherwise noted and are given just to show the ties between political parties and at least the possibilities of a conflict between corporate interests and America's security.
1. Honeywell ($172,000, (35% to Democrats, 65% to Republicans)
2. Spectra Physics
3. Semetex
4. TI Coating
5. Unisys ( To Democrats: $0 (0%) ,To Republicans: $142,350 (100%)Total: $142,350
6. Sperry Corp.
7. Tektronix
8. Rockwell (Rockwell International $356,987, 27% to Dems, 72% to Repubs.)
9. Leybold Vacuum Systems
10. Finnigan-MAT-US
11. Hewlett-Packard (45% to Democrats, 55% to Republicans) Total: $121,750
12. Dupont ( soft money donation 2001-2002, To Democrats: $0 (0%), To Republicans: $46,700 (100%).Total: $46,700
13. Eastman Kodak
14. American Type Culture Collection ( You can be like Iraq and order your bio-cultures here )
15. Alcolac International
16. Consarc
17. Carl Zeiss - U.S
18. Cerberus (LTD)
19. Electronic Associates
20. International Computer Systems
21. Bechtel Bechtel Group (Total: $249,550 , 59% to Dems, 41% to Repubs )
22. EZ Logic Data Systems, Inc.
23. Canberra Industries Inc.
24. Axel Electronics Inc.
"In addition to these 24 companies home-based in the USA are 50 subsidiaries of foreign enterprises which conducted their arms business with Iraq from within the US. Also designated as suppliers for Iraq's arms programs are the US Ministries of Defense, Energy, Trade and Agriculture as well as the Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories"

Human Rights
PACs with HumanRights Agendas and their Contributions to Federal Candidates, 1999-2000
Total Amount: $2,022,727
Total to Democrats: $1,705,189 (84%)
Total to Republicans: $312,691 (15%)

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

The Bush administration, under fire for its handling of the economy, has quietly killed off a Labor Department program that tracked mass layoffs by U.S. companies.

During World War II, Roosevelt asked America to make sacrifices. Gas was rationed, people saved tin and aluminum for the war effort. American felt united in contributing toward a common goal: defeating facism and saving democracy. Bush's response? Go shopping America. Spend money, consume, then consume some more. There's no doubt that consumption fuels the economy, but like anything else, it can be carried to an extreme. "Success" has come to be a measure of how much stuff a person can buy, rather then an inner quality, the pursuit of virtue. Not to say that consumption dosen't have a place, in moderation it can create a reasonable wealth. There may not be a way to untangle decadence from wealth, but its certainly within the scope of our political and business leaders to place a moral spotlight on the reponsibilities that come with wealth. That no wealth in America is created without the hard work of the wage earners that are partners in creating that wealth, both as employees and customers. Decadence is at the root of conservative corporatism, not freedom. How free are you, how wealthy are you if you are blindly pursuing wealth at the expense of ethics. Any conservative readers should not read into this some secret language of socialism. Socialism enslaves workers and discourages both innovation and individuality. The political right doesn't encourage innovation, yet is usually more then happy to ride its coat-tails by way of mass marketing. In that way the hard left and the right share an arrogant disregard for the common man (woman), their work...labor, and their ideas are something to be used, in the worse sense of that term.

It's Iraq's turn to chair the U.N. disarmament conference.
"The irony is overwhelming," a U.S. diplomat said.

Declassified documents show that Rumsfeld traveled to Baghdad at a time when Iraq was using chemical weapons on an "almost daily" basis in defiance of international conventions

Perhaps the first thing that Iraq can teach the world about disarmament is not to buy chemical and biological weapons from chickenhawk Republican presidents and their corporate cronies.

Faux Report: The CIA is investigating bruises on our selected President Bush back-side. They appear to match the lips of Brit Hume and Fred Barnes. Investigators claim they think it highly unlikely they were accidental as they appeared immediately after the SOTU speech and Brit and Fred had bruised lips and an aggitated manner. You can e-mail Brit at Special@foxnews.com and demand an explanation of this assault against our pretender commander-in-chief. Demand a "no-spin zone" investigation from Bill O' reilly at Oreilly@foxnews.com.

"He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself
without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine,
receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely
spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and
mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition,
seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by
nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all
space, without lessening their density in any point, and like
the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being,
incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions
then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property. Society may
give an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, as an
encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce
utility, but this may or may not be done, according to the will
and convenience of the society, without claim or complaint from
anybody..." from Thomas Jefferson (letter to Isaac McPherson, 1813 as cited in Kock &
Peden, 1972).



Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Joshua Marshall being a professional journalist ( as compared to my journalism as hobby status ) has put up an excellent post about what seems to be the impending confrontation with Iraq. He'll be interviewing Ken Pollack later this week. As sickening as it might be to appear to be on the side of the wing-nuts, as I said in my previous posts, the Progressive side of the war on terror can make a moral argument for war, where the Bush/Cheney team with their entanglements with big oil and international business interests can't.

Monday, January 27, 2003

A coalition of environmental groups joins together in a revolt against King George II.

Here's a good example of why Bush cannot be trusted to lead America in the fight against terrorism and promoting much needed reform of our foreign policy as regards the Middle East. The right hand not only doesn't know what the left hand is doing, the weekly contradictions make this administration look like the circus of screw-ups they are. Democrats, liberals, Progressives don't need to think up ways to make Bush and company look ridiculous, they do a great job of that themselves.
Why half the American people trust these Bozos with the challenges facing Western Civilization in the 21st Century is a puzzle. According to all the wing-nuts that permeate the media like a bad case of chicken-pox, Conservatives are supposed to be the Great Wonks of foreign policy....yea right, sure...take your medication and get out of the way.

Putting Dubya and his ineptitude aside for a moment in regards to Iraq and war. Saddam Hussein could make it all go away tomorrow just by cooperating fully with U.N. weapons inspectors. At this point we are going to war, there are just too many troops deployed. The CIA has already planned escape routes for any downed U.S. pilots. Hidden field hospitals have been set up for American, Allied, and Kurdish wounded. Hussein is a sociopath, he has no real regard for the lives of his own people, the iranians, the Kuwaits, and certainly not for Americans or British. For Bush the war really is about the manipulation of the American people for power, ego and oil. Yet progressives can have purer motives for military action against Iraq.....the fight for freedom and democratic reform in the Middle East. Iraq would be a good first step in bringing that part of the world into the 21st century. In 2004 the American people can get rid of Dubya and elect a president that will do the right thing for the right reasons.

"Kenneth Pollack: In some ways I am one of the most unlikely people to be making the argument for war with Iraq because for many years I was the poster boy for containment." Pollack is a progressive thats makes a good case for invasion without all the polemic garbage you here from the right.

Bush caught in Saddam's Inspection Game ?.

It's hard for most of us in North America to imagine a modern slave trade, but it does exist and women are its biggest victim.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

Iraq = oil pie, "A model for the carve-up of Iraq's oil industry was presented in September by Ariel Cohen of the right-wing Heritage Foundation, which has close links to the Bush administration."