The Bush League of Nations Blog
This is the progressive blog of Jim Swanson, author of "The Bush League of Nations." His focus is to set the record straight regarding the crimes and misdeeds of President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and the Republican Party (GOP), and to help provide a way forward for America.
"Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for?"—Gimli, Lord of the Rings
Thursday, July 31, 2008
The GOP’s Bankruptcy of America—Part I
According to financial estimates just released (July 28, 2008) by the Bush administration, next year’s budget deficit will be the worst ever, $482 billion for fiscal year 2009.
Incredibly, the actual deficit will almost certainly be much worse for at least two reasons: (1) The estimate does not include tens of billions in “off-budget” war funding for Iraq and Afghanistan, and (2) the estimate is based on rosy assumptions, including an estimate of economic growth that is higher than the average of estimates from business economists.
Bush’s Olympic performance was noted by fiscal hawk Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND): “If we gave Olympic medals for fiscal irresponsibility, President Bush would take the gold, the silver and the bronze, because he’s got the three highest record deficits ever. … 2009 would be the gold; 2004 the silver; 2008 the bronze.”
In a later blog we’ll acknowledge the Olympic performance of Ronald Reagan, who in the 1980s made fiscal irresponsibility a key plank of the Republican Party—the Cons—and put America on the road to bankruptcy and financial Armageddon.
In this current blog, we’ll review just the last 15 years:
1993-2000: BILL CLINTON (Democrat)—8 Years
- Finally, after 12 years in the Land of the Cons, America had a president who told the fiscal truth, and walked it. Yes, a Democrat. Of course.
- Turned the largest deficit in history into the largest surplus in history.
- Greatly decreased the deficit (or increased the surplus he created) every year he was in office ... 8 years of improvement in a row.
- GRADE: A+
2001-08: GEORGE W. BUSH (Republican)—7 Years and Counting
- In just three years, turned the largest federal surplus in history (Clinton’s surplus) into the largest deficit in history.
- His first seven years were the seven worst years in history in the worsening of the federal budget.
- Joined his father and Reagan in the Holy Triumvirate of Voodoo Economics.
- Achieved record federal spending each year while never vetoing a single spending bill during his first six years.
- Inflicted great pain on the middle- and lower-income workers of America.
- Gave humongous tax breaks to the Super Rich.
- Presided over the largest expansion of government pork and corruption in history.
- Protected America’s fiscal position the same way he protected America on 9/11.
- GRADE: F
- GRADE DESERVED: W
In summary, the only period of financial responsibility since 1981 was when a Democrat was in charge.
Bill Clinton’s eight years of Grade A financial responsibility—a noble patriotic effort—stemmed temporarily the catastrophic tidal wave of 19 years of GOP Grade F mismanagement and looting (under Reagan, Bush the Father, and Bush the Son).
Giving credit where credit is due, here are some additional facts about Clinton’s Grade A management:
- Over eight years, with financial improvement each and every year, Clinton turned an annual budget deficit of $290 billion into an annual budget surplus of $127 billion, the largest ever.
- The turnaround to financial responsibility did not occur without straight talk and unpopular painful medicine. In his 1993 budget Clinton increased taxes and slashed expenses. He knew this medicine was necessary to reverse years of financial irresponsibility under the Republican Party.
- Every Republican member of Congress opposed Clinton’s 1993 budget and the 1993 Debt Reduction Act. They claimed that Clinton’s tough medicine would cause greater deficits and a recession, but they were wrong—again.
- Clinton’s financial stewardship had numerous other benefits, including: a big reduction in interest rates; the largest budget surplus ever; huge growth in excellent jobs; tremendous strength in the stock markets; strength and respect in the world; an America that believed in itself again; and an America that believed in helping its unborn, wanting to leave them—countless future generations of children—a valuable financial legacy, not an immoral IOU in the form of a cold GOP Banana.
After Clinton left office, Bush and the GOP Congress ransacked America like thieves and drunken sailors. They eliminated checks and balances while they wrote unlimited checks and IOUs. The GOP Congress abdicated its constitutional duties by refusing to oversee and investigate financial malfeasance in the executive branch, and it changed and gutted congressional ethics rules to protect its own GOP “crooks and creeps” in Congress.
Until the 1980s both parties believed in fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets. They understood the unfairness of stealing from grandchildren and the unborn to fund current financial addictions. They knew America needed to be fiscally strong in order to be morally and militarily strong.
But then the deficits-don’t-matter neo-GOP rode into town. The party of “conservatives” became the party of “cons. “GOP” soon stood for “Gang of Plunderers.”
Friday, July 18, 2008
Corporate Media Play Pattycake with Yellowcake in Iraq
“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for … He can go about his business … Move along … There’s no story here.”
The Associated Press recently reported (July 5, 2008) the good news that 550 metric tons of low-grade uranium known as yellowcake had been secretly and safely transported from Iraq to Montreal, to Cameco Corp., the Canadian uranium producer that purchased it from Iraq.
America’s corporate media covered the news in minimalist style, without providing context or the bigger picture, thus allowing the gullible to conclude that nuclear materials had been “found” in Iraq and that therefore Bush must have been right after all about Saddam’s WMDs. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Some rightwing commentators—allergic to facts and critical analysis—immediately jumped to the conclusion that the 550 tons of yellowcake proved that Saddam had an active nuclear weapons program. The conclusion was 100% wrong.
In fact, the recently removed yellowcake uranium dates back to the presidency of Ronald Reagan, who in the 1980s supported Saddam’s WMD programs, including providing Saddam with know-how, equipment and materials for biological and chemical weapons. Other nations also contributed to this effort. Saddam extensively used chemical weapons including mustard gas against Iranian troops and civilians during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) and later against his own people.
Yes, Reagan and Saddam were in bed together, as Iraq waged war on Iran. Knowing that Saddam used chemical weapons on an almost daily basis, the Reagan administration provided intelligence and targeting information to Iraq and reestablished diplomatic relations with that nation. Estimates of the number of Iraqis and Iranians killed in the Iran-Iraq War range up to 1.5 million.
An excellent account of this sad chapter in American history is: “Reagan’s WMD Connection to Saddam Hussein,” by Jacob Hornberger, June 18, 2004.
Some of the yellowcake recently removed from Iraq to Canada was already in Iraq when Reagan became president in 1980, and substantially more was acquired by Iraq during his watch.
The existence, quantity and location of this Reagan-era yellowcake was known to the UN, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United States for many years prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Gulf War I in 1991—also known as Desert Storm—and the subsequent IAEA inspection efforts completely ended whatever yellowcake production and processing efforts Saddam may have started during the Reagan era.
In addition, at the time of the 2003 invasion, the Reagan-era yellowcake:
(2) was under IAEA control and seal (until the seals were broken in 2003 by U.S. marines);
(3) was inspected frequently by the IAEA over the years; and
(4) was not weapons grade.
In short, the Reagan-era yellowcake was obviously not a casus belli to justify war against Iraq, not even to creative liars in the Bush administration. Therefore, in the run-up to the 2003 invasion, they relentlessly repeated the lie that Saddam had recently sought new uranium from Africa.
The lie was highlighted in the sixteen infamous words in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address: “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
Although the Bush administration during the 2003 invasion knew the exact location of the Reagan-era yellowcake—the Tuwaitha complex 15 miles south of Baghdad—they were so unconcerned about it that they left the site unguarded for 30 days following the invasion.
American marines who stumbled upon the facility in 2003 thought they had found an illegal WMD site and unwittingly broke the IAEA seals on the facility. America’s corporate media then quickly spread misinformation and unfounded speculation regarding the site. Following the “discovery,” an indecisive Pentagon took a month to send a qualified inspection team to the site, and by then the site had been looted.
The yellowcake facility at Tuwaitha was not looted by insurgents or terrorists seeking WMD material, but by local Iraqis who saw a market for barrels and sold them for $2 each after dumping at the site the toxic materials they contained. Many of the empty barrels were then used to store water and food.
The Bush administration later ordered Iraqis to sell back the barrels for $3 each, and some of the roughly 3,000 missing barrels were thus recovered.
Off the radar is any concern about possible health risks to Iraqis who bought the drums or to Iraqis who live near the toxic materials.
Yellowcake—a word previously unfamiliar to most Americans—became part of the public lexicon as the Bush administration’s cover-up regarding its crimes and impeachable offenses began to unravel. These include the attacks on Ambassador Joseph Wilson who had refuted the bogus claims regarding uranium from the African nation of Niger; the treasonous outing of Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative; and, of course, the underlying Niger scandal itself, which history is likely to regard as one of the most evil of the many Bush regime campaigns of lies, propaganda and impeachable offenses.
Ironically, it was not real yellowcake—say that from the Reagan era, which Bush understandably did not want to talk about—but rather imaginary yellowcake—which the Bush warmongers marketed relentlessly—that caused the Bush administration so much trouble.
A detailed account of the Bush regime’s relentless campaign of propaganda and lies regarding uranium from Niger during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 is found at pages 351-8 in this blogger’s recent book, “The Bush League of Nations: The Coalition of the Unwilling, the Bullied and the Bribed—The GOP’s War on Iraq and America” (2008).
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