Ten years into the Bush-Cheney Clusterfuck

Year: 2003
Photographer: Jean-Marc Bouju
Nationality: France
Organization / Publication: The Associated Press
Date: 31-03-2003
Country: Iraq

Caption: An Iraqi man comforts his four-year-old son at a holding center for prisoners of war, in the base camp of the US Army 101st Airborne Division near An Najaf. The boy had become terrified when, according to orders, his father was hooded and handcuffed. A soldier later severed the plastic handcuffs so that the man could comfort his child. Hoods were placed over detainees’ heads because they were quicker to apply than blindfolds. The military said the bags were used to disorient prisoners and protect their identities. It is not known what happened to the man or the boy.

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socialismartnatureTo this day, not a single soul among the US political elite has been brought to justice for the crime against humanity that was the invasion, war, and occupation of Iraq. (via: ihatepeacocks)

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Dying vet’s ‘fuck you’ letter to George Bush & Dick Cheney needs to be read by every American

“…I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.

I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences…”

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The war lasted years longer and cost 100 times as much as the Bush administration’s estimates.

JM Ashby: It should be reiterated that President Bush kept the cost of the Iraq war off the books while he was in office, and when Republicans make the claim that President Obama dramatically increased the national debt upon taking office, the only reason they are able to make that claim is because the president decided we should begin taking responsibly for the cost of the war by adding it to routine budgets rather than paying for it with emergency authorization bills.

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A Decade Of Mistakes: Timeline Of The Iraq War (3 selections):

MAY 1, 2003: Mission Accomplished. [M]y fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. [Bush, 5/1/03]

MAY 12, 2007: Billions in oil missing in Iraq. “Between 100,000 and 300,000 barrels a day of Iraq’s declared oil production over the past four years is unaccounted for and could have been siphoned off through corruption or smuggling, according to a draft American government report. Using an average of $50 a barrel, the report said the discrepancy was valued at $5 million to $15 million daily.” [New York Times, 5/12/2007]

JUNE 13, 2011: Department of Defense announces that $6.6 billion dollars earmarked for Iraq has been lost with no explanation. [It was] enough to run the Los Angeles Unified School District or the Chicago Public Schools for a year, among many other things. For the first time, federal auditors are suggesting that some or all of the cash may have been stolen, not just mislaid in an accounting error. [LA Times, 6/13/11]

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Related: 

10 years later: documenting the true history of the Bush Administration

“The true history of my administration will be written 50 years from now, and you and I will not be around to see it.” — George W. Bush

On this day in 2003, a U.S. led coalition invaded Iraq. President Bush said the goal of Operation Iraqi Freedom was to “disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.” The Iraqi invasion was strongly supported by Vice President Cheney. As Defense Secretary during the 1991 Gulf War, he opposed an invasion of Iraq, saying it wasn’t worth the casualties or “getting bogged down.” The U.S. combat role in Iraq ended last year after 4,486 Americans were killed, another 32,223 wounded. Direct spending on the Iraq war is estimated at $757 billion, a figure that does not include interest on money borrowed to finance the war — or taking care of veterans. A Brown University study in 2011 said it may also cost $1 trillion more (through 2050) to care for veterans of the 105-month war. On this day in 2011,  President Obama ordered air strikes on Libya.

MARCH 19: On this day in 2003, a U.S. led coalition invaded Iraq. President Bush said the goal of Operation Iraqi Freedom was to “disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.” The Iraqi invasion was strongly supported by Vice President Cheney. As Defense Secretary during the 1991 Gulf War, he opposed an invasion of Iraq, saying it wasn’t worth the casualties or “getting bogged down.” …A Brown University study in 2011 said it may also cost $1 trillion more (through 2050) to care for veterans of the 105-month war.

OFFICIALS KNEW Iraq Had No Weapons of Mass Destruction

British and U.S. intelligence agencies “were informed by top sources months before the invasion that Iraq had no active WMD programme, and that the information was not passed to subsequent inquiries,” according to the Guardian.

MOTHER JONES: According to the first-ever comprehensive count of the true toll of the combined wars, the estimate the [Bush Administration] used to sell the invasion in 2003 was about 100 times too low. (i.e. $50-60 billion):

So what did that $6 trillion get us, exactly? Since we borrowed to pay for much of the war, we’re facing nearing $4 trillion in cumulative interest between now and 2053, according to the 30 researchers who worked on the Costs of War report for Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies.

To date, according to the report, medical and disability claims of U.S. war veterans of Iraq have reached $84 billion; ongoing care for wounded Iraq war vets and their families is expected to require nearly $500 billion more over the next several decades. Homeland Security got $245 billion in additional funding thanks to increased threats of terror—real, imagined, and staged—over the last ten years. On-the-ground operations alone ended up being 16 times more expensive than the Bush cabinet’s original estimate for the entire enterprise.

Apparently the Office of Management and Budget was really, really bad at math for a while there in 2003.


PAUL KRUGMAN wonders why there seems to be so little coverage of the 10-year anniversary:

Well, it’s not hard to think of a reason: a lot of people behaved badly in the runup to that war, and many though not all people in the news media behaved especially badly.

It’s hard now to recall the atmosphere of the time, but there was both an overpowering force of conventional wisdom — all the Very Serious People were for war, don’t you know, and if you were against you were by definition flaky — and a strong current of fear. To come out against the war, let alone to suggest that the Bush administration was deliberately misleading the nation into war, looked all too likely to be a career-ending stance. And there were all too few profiles in courage.

The war, then, was a big test — a test of your ability to cut through a fog of propaganda, but also a test of your moral and to some extent personal courage. And a lot of people in the media failed.

42% OF AMERICANS REMAIN COMFORTABLY DELUSIONAL, IGNORANT

53% of Americans believe the United States “made a mistake sending troops to fight in Iraq” while 42% say it was not a mistake. — a new Gallup poll

FACT: 100% of that 42% also believe this woman should lead the country

FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY:

Cheney: On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked.  That’s been a major success.
Martha Raddatz: Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.
Cheney: So?
Martha Raddatz: So?  You don’t care what the American people think?
Cheney: No.

TEN YEARS LATER: “I did what I did. It’s all on the public record, and I feel very good about it. If I had to do it over again, I’d do it in a minute.” — Cheney in a new  documentary which aired last Friday.

10 COMPANIES PROFITING THE MOST FROM WAR: The 10 biggest arms producers accounted for more than half of the 2010 sales. The composition of those sales reflects the state of modern warfare, as battles are now often fought with remote surveillance and air strikes instead of ground combat.

Click here for a closer look at each company.

In this charmed circle of American capitalism, Lockheed Martin-, Boeing-, and Raytheon-manufactured munitions destroy Iraq; George Schultz’s Bechtel Corporation and Dick Cheney’s Halliburton rebuild Iraq; and Iraq oil pays for it all.” — Who Benefits from Global Violence and War: Uncovering a Destructive System

Unfortunately military contractors and the politicians they handle walked away from the Iraq-Oil Party with greatly increased wealth and power, and left generations of American taxpayers to foot the bill.

NEVER FORGET:

“Maybe the American people can be brainwashed into forgetting why we supposedly went to war. Near as I can tell, our national memory span is down to about two weeks, and the media have been spectacularly unskeptical on this issue. But the rest of the world is not going to forget that WMDs were our primary reason for an unprovoked, pre-emptive war.” — the late Molly Ivins’ from April 29, 2003, barely a month after Shock ‘n Awe

Unpunished war criminal / sh*tty former VP criticizes Obama’s “worldview”

TPM: Asked by Charlie Rose on “CBS This Morning” if the Obama administration could make a case that the U.S. was nursing a weak reputation abroad when [Dick] Cheney and former President George W. Bush left office, the former powerful vice president was dismissive.  “I think the President came to power with a worldview that’s fundamentally different than mine,” Cheney said. “The sense that he wanted to reduce U.S. influence in the world. He wanted to take us down a peg.”

  
  
  
via sandandglass

Jon Stewart: Where Does This ‘Shi*ty’ VP ‘Get The Balls’ To Attack Obama? Stewart was amazed that Cheney had the nerve to criticize President Obama over national security when he himself provided false information to the public on national security issues. Stewart called Cheney a “shitty” vice president and couldn’t believe that people are taking the word of a man who Stewart said “sucked” at his job. [...]

Jon Stewart then tore into Cheney over why anyone should care about his opinion anyway. He said that Cheney “sucked” at his job, calling him a “shitty” vice president and arguing why Cheney has no authority from which to attack Obama.

“Even if Obama wanted to take our standing in the world down a peg, he couldn’t, ’cause the Bush-Cheney administration left him with no peg room… the previous administration had left us in a bit of a cash crunch, and by ‘previous administration,’ I mean these motherfuckers.”

Stewart then ran clips of Cheney making comments about American involvement Iraq that turned out to be untrue… (watch video)

“I don’t think we have a visual for that.” – via drunkonstevphen

Republicans are terrible people

In a speech to the Wyoming GOP, DICK Cheney said that the recent national security choices by President Obama (i.e. Chuck Hagel, John Brennan and John Kerry) were “subpar people.”  This from the guy who was part of an administration that chose, among other things, Heckofajob Brownie for FEMA.

Charles Johnson: Sen. Lindsey Graham has appointed himself the King of Republican Bad Craziness, pandering to the far right’s bizarre fantasies about the Benghazi attack with a relentless zeal that would be impressive if it were directed at something actually useful to the country.

New wingnut conspiracy! In the wake of news that Sen. Lindsey Graham is threatening to block the nominations of Hagel and Brennan, there’s a whole new conspiracy theory bubbling up on the right. From ground zero of Obama era conspiracy theories comes the conspiracy theory to top them all: that CIA nominee John Brennan is himself a Muslim.


via quickhits

John Cole: Thinkprogress makes the mistake of taking John McCain at his word. Look, how many times will people fall for this. The McCain / Lieberman / Graham / Snowe / Collins caucus will always say they are in favor of looking at compromise and policies advanced by the President. But in the end, they always find a reason not to, usually because someone hurt their feelings or they didn’t like the seat they were sitting in at the negotiating table at the White House or because Nancy Pelosi smirked on CNN.

“Well, Tom, the problem with saying this is the president’s idea is that you voted for the Budget Control Act. I voted against it. We wouldn’t have ever been talking about the Budget Control Act but for your party refused to negotiate on the debt ceiling something that has been routinely increased as the country needed it. You used that occasion in 2011 August to basically say we are going to default on the country’s obligations or you’re going to give us dramatic spending cuts. That’s how we got to the Budget Control Act.”Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) to Tom Cole (R-OK) for his claim that President Obama is responsible for the upcoming sequester.

Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul have both been tapped to rebut President Obama’s SOTU before they’ve even had a chance to hear him speak: They’re serving up both kinds of Republicans! Country and Western! The Tea Party and The Tea Party. The difference is that Tea Party hero, Sen. Marco Rubio, can say, “Pro-growth” in español. With that Steve Stifler-like smile and charm, Marco Rubio is there for outreach, and to coerce the Latino vote into bed. And just in case the Tea Party gets a little nervous if there isn’t someone there to speak the native language of “white people” to the actual base, Tea Party hero, Sen. Rand Paul, is there to reassure them that they haven’t been overrun by the demographic shift, just yet. But this is typical Republican Party behavior. They get two chances to make their case, and you get one.


via letfreedomlulz

Wednesday’s selections from the annals of ‘Republicans are terrible people’

Jezebel – After tons of outrage over her horrendous bill that would make rape victims criminals if they sought an abortion, because they’d be  “tampering with evidence,” New Mexico Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R-Dingbat) clarified: House Bill 206 isn’t meant to target victims of sexual assault but to discourage rapists. She’s revised the language so it’s clear that abortion providers would be penalized, not rape survivors. — You’re probably thinking: how does punishing 1) a woman who was raped and impregnated or 2) a doctor who performs an abortion for her actually “discourage” rapists? You’re right – it doesn’t. Brown is still a idiot (or she thinks we are).

It’s back! The Republican-mandated invasive transvaginal ultrasound has returned in Arkansas (they never stop trying), where Sen. Jason Rapert (yes! Rapert was his name-o!) is hiding the ultrasound requirement in … yet another “fetal heartbeat” anti-abortion bill: Spread ‘Em, Ladies: Rapert Toughens Anti-Abortion Bill. The new Rapert bill would prohibit an abortion if a heartbeat is detected, a limitation that moves the potential prohibition in Arkansas law to the 5th week of pregnancy, far beyond the pre-viability protection period that the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld…Charles Johnson

Tennessee State Sen. Stacey Campfield (R) on Tuesday defended his proposal to tie a family’s welfare benefits to their children’s academic success. [...] Under current law, parents can lose up to 20 percent of their benefits from the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program if a child does not attend school. Campfield’s bill would increase the penalty to 30 percent and require children to make “satisfactory academic progress” in school. – Raw Story

Phillip Walker Sailors was charged on Sunday with the murder of Rodrigo Abad Diaz. A 69-year-old war veteran and former missionary was arrested over the weekend on the suspicion of killing a 22-year-old Cuban immigrant who mistakenly arrived in his driveway because of faulty GPS directions. [...] Diaz tried to turn the car around to leave, but Sailors fired another shot, striking the immigrant on the left side of the head. The group, which included a 15 and an 18 year old, said that Sailors held them at gunpoint until police arrived. – Raw Story

A top Hispanic Republican advocacy group co-chaired by Jeb Bush has list of “messaging dos and don’ts for immigration reform,” they say: Don’t use phrases like “send them all back” – Daily Kos

In light of Paul Ryan‘s newfound rediscovered appreciation for the spending sequester’s automatic defense and domestic cuts, let’s take a trip back in time to four months ago when Ryan was making the case during the 2012 vice presidential debate that the sequester’s potential spending cuts emboldened the terrorists who attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Responding to a question about Mitt Romney’s rash response to the attack, Ryan said: “[...] And we should not be imposing these devastating defense cuts, because what that does when we equivocate on our values, when we show that we’re cutting down on defense, it makes us more weak. It projects weakness. And when we look weak, our adversaries are much more willing to test us. They’re more brazen in their attacks, and are allies are less willing to…” And with those ellipses Vice President Joe Biden could not take any more of Ryan’s nonsense. He interrupted Ryan, and said that Ryan’s statement was—you guessed it—”a bunch of malarkey.” – DailyKos

Huffington Post - Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has upped his already harsh rhetoric against outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, claiming that she “got away with murder”… “I haven’t forgotten about Benghazi. Hillary Clinton got away with murder, in my view,” Graham said on Fox News Monday evening, speaking to Greta Van Susteren. “She said they had a clear-eyed view of the threats. How could you have a clear-eyed view of the threats in Benghazi when you didn’t know about the ambassador’s cable coming back from Libya?” — And I’m quite certain Ms Graham must have been equally upset about the revelation of the Bin Laden determined to strike in US” memo that George W. Bush shrugged off in August of 2001 at his ranch in Crawford. Or when, 10 years ago this week, George W. told us all in his SOTU that Saddam Hussein had WMD in the form of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent!, mobile biological weapons labs!, nuclear capability! – and worse, Hussein was seeking uranium from Africa! We invaded Iraq 51 days later and now, 10 years and counting, and after hundreds of thousands of deaths and an enormous cost to our nation’s treasury, we all know it was a manufactured lie. 

Dick Cheney may have accidentally shot a man in the face while he was vice president, but that didn’t stop Fox News from flying to Nevada to get his advice on recently-proposed gun control laws. Fox News correspondent Griff Jenkins caught up with Cheney over the weekend at the Safari Club International convention for gun owners and manufacturers, where the former vice president and his daughter, Liz, participated in a discussion about gun rights and the realism of torture in the film “Zero Dark Thirty.” – Raw Story

There’s no point in pursuing universal background checks for firearms purchases, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre plans to tell the Senate today, because bad guys will get guns anway. LaPierre is among those scheduled to tesify at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s gun violence hearing Wednesday. The NRA sent out his testimony Tuesday. LaPierre once again plans to tout the NRA’s call for armed guards in every school as well as the group’s call for loosen privacy laws the group says keep mental health records from being included in the extisting background check system. But when it comes to expanding background checks to cover all firearms transactions, LaPierre will tell the Senate there’s little point. – TPM

Neil Heslin, of Shelton, holds a portrait of himself and his son, Jesse Lewis, one of the children killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting, during testimony before the Gun Violence Prevention Working Group at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Monday, January 28, 2012. Photo: Brian A. Pounds / Connecticut PostConnecticut Post – Neil Heslin, holding a photo of his slain 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, asked why Bushmaster assault-style weapons are allowed to be sold in the state. “There are a lot of things that should be changed to prevent what happened,” said Heslin… “That wasn’t just a killing, it was a massacre,” said Heslin, who recalled dropping off his son at Sandy Hook Elementary school shortly before Lanza opened fire. “I just hope some good can come out of this.” He asked the crowd why assault weapons should not be banned. …The Connecticut Post put the number of hecklers at “as many as a dozen.” — Watch the video below where he asks his question and the pro-gun crowd is silent at first… then, like brain-wiped, well-programmed drones, they’re simply impelled to screech and howl their meaningless NRA propaganda like,”The Second Amendment!” and “The Second Amendment shall not be infringed!” These soulless bastards just can’t let it go, not even once, not even for a man whose precious 6-year-old son was mowed down in a kindergarten classroom with 19 other children in a hail of bullets. The video starts at his question / their response at 13:29:

Think Progress – When the Senate passed the long-delayed $50.5 billion Hurricane Sandy relief package Monday, 36 Republicans voted against the bill. But of the 32 no-votes from Senators who are not brand-new members, at least 31 came from Republicans who had previously supported emergency aid efforts following disasters in their own states. [...] The “hypocritical” list includes:

1. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH): Requested disaster aid after Hurricane Sandy.
2. John Barrasso (R-WY), Republican Policy Committee Chair: Requested disaster aid after flooding.
3. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Republican Conference Vice Chair: Demanded the Senate be called back from recess to pass disaster aid during a drought and boasts: “When a disaster surpasses the ability of states and communities to rebuild, Senator Blunt believes the federal government should prioritize spending to help the people whose lives and livelihoods are impacted. During his time in the Senate, he has fought tirelessly to ensure that Missouri gets its fair share of those federal resources specifically dedicated to disaster recovery.”
4. John Boozman (R-AR): Requested disaster aid after snow storms in January 2013.
5. Richard Burr (R-NC): Requested disaster aid after severe storms.
6. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA): Requested disaster aid after flooding.
7. – 31. Read more…

Screenshot of names of senators who voted no on Sandy relief bill.

 

Mitt’s approach to foreign policy: international disaster

Mitt Romney’s easy five-step approach to foreign policy:

Step 1: Get the facts wrong.
Step 2: Undermine long-standing relationships with your allies.
Step 3: Frequently highlight your lack of experience.
Step 4: Assemble a team of ideologues committed to endless war.
Step 5: Mistake your enemies.


Dick Cheney still pissed Bin Laden killed on Obama’s watch

Kevin Drum wins best headline of the year. And he’s right:

Drum scoffs at the sheer hypocrisy and selective memory inherent in Cheney’s complaints. He says, “This came on the same day that Kurt Eichenwald told us what he’d learned after seeing a series of daily briefings from the months prior to 9/11. Presumably Dick Cheney saw them all too.”

  • By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation.
  • Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible. But some in the administration [i.e., Cheney's clique of neocon nitwits -ed.] considered the warning to be just bluster….In response, the C.I.A. prepared an analysis that all but pleaded with the White House to accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real.
  • “The U.S. is not the target of a disinformation campaign by Usama Bin Laden,” the daily brief of June 29 read, using the government’s transliteration of Bin Laden’s first name
  • On July 1, the brief stated that the operation had been delayed, but “will occur soon.”
  • On July 9, at a meeting of the counterterrorism group, one official suggested that the staff put in for a transfer so that somebody else would be responsible when the attack took place, two people who were there told me in interviews.
  • On July 24, Mr. Bush was notified that the attack was still being readied, but that it had been postponed, perhaps by a few months. But the president did not feel the briefings on potential attacks were sufficient, one intelligence official told me, and instead asked for a broader analysis on Al Qaeda, its aspirations and its history. In response, the C.I.A. set to work on the Aug. 6 brief.
  • August 6, of course, was the infamous daily brief titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” — the one that prompted George Bush to tell his briefer, “All right. You’ve covered your ass.”

NEVERFORGET™ how much good it did us for Bush to attend his daily briefings in the summer of 2001.

Drum reminds everyone, “Obama reads the daily brief and sometimes he attends briefing sessions. Either way, though, he certainly seems to pay more attention to them than either George Bush or Dick Cheney ever did.”

“The President is among the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence on the planet.” — National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, in response to this criticism

Kurt Eichenwald | NY TimesKevin Drum | Mother Jones — Jamie Weinstein | TDC

The only people who think President Obama is a failure…

via: reagan-was-a-horrible-president

Bush’s Final Approval Rating: 22 Percent

Mitt Romney’s Republican Party: the witness protection program


via: occupy-my-blog

Guessing what a Mitt Romney presidency would look like: foreign policy

Out of Romney’s 24 special advisors on foreign policy, 17 served in the Bush-Cheney administration. If Romney were to win, it’s likely that many of these people would serve in his administration in some capacity — a frightening prospect given the legacy of this particular group. The last time they were in government, it was disastrous. — The Romney-Cheney Doctrine

F*%K Judy Miller

 
 
 
 

via: sandandglass

Never forget!

You’re about four years too late, Dick Cheney. Here’s why we can’t have nice things.

Dick Cheney: Sarah Palin pick “a mistake” — “Former Vice President Dick Cheney criticized Sen. John McCain’s 2008 decision to choose Sarah Palin as his running mate, saying Palin was not prepared to take over the presidency. “That one I don’t think was well handled,” Cheney said. “The test to get on that small list has to be, ‘Is this person capable of being president of the United States?’””

Well DUH, Dick, tell us something we didn’t already know. Such courage! It’s great Cheney spoke up about Palin — about FOUR YEARS TOO LATE. Another Republican “patriot” putting politics before the good of the country. Maybe Cheney could use a spine transplant too.

McCain’s response: “‘Well, I’m always glad to get comments four years later. Look, I respect the vice president. He and I had strong disagreements on whether we should torture people or not. I didn’t think we should have. But the fact is that I’m proud of Sarah Palin, I’m proud of the job she did, I’m proud of the job she continues to do. So, everybody has their own views and I respect those views. But I’m proud of what we did.'”

And that should sum up John McCain’s entire political career as well: just enough morality to hook you before “campaign before country” floats to the surface.


via: christopherstreet

Sarah being Sarah:

 
images: sarahpalish

Worst. President. Ever. (Let’s do it again with Mitt Romney)

Political Wire: “An excerpt of Where They Stand:The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians by Robert W. Merry in Salon suggests George W. Bush will be ranked near the bottom of all presidents: “Based on the contemporaneous voter assessments, the objective record, and what we know of history, it’s difficult to see him even in middle-ground territory. History likely will view Bush largely as the voters did after eight years of his stewardship. And so it’s probably just as well that he doesn’t care much about the verdict of history.

Consider that Mitt Romney, in actions if not in words, is creating a campaign that seems to be an exact duplicate of the Bush Years, from extending tax cuts for the one percent — who’ve already surpassed all other earners in the country with net income advantages, and who’ve hoarded their wealth gains to the detriment of our entire economy — to a neocon foreign policy platform that’s becoming more “Cheneyfied” by the day. What could go wrong?

Ari Berman: “Of Romney’s forty identified foreign policy advisers, more than 70 percent worked for Bush. Many hail from the neoconservative wing of the party, were enthusiastic backers of the Iraq War and are proponents of a US or Israeli attack on Iran. [...]  Romney’s malleability is an advantage for his neocon advisers, giving them an opportunity to shape his worldview, as they did with Bush after 9/11. Four years after Bush left office in disgrace, Romney is their best shot to get back in power. If that happens, they’re likely to pursue the same aggressive policies they advocated under Bush. “I don’t think there’s been a deep rethink,” says Clemons. “I don’t think the neoconservatives feel chastened at all. As a movement, the true neoconservatives never, ever give up. They will be back.””

Andrew Sullivan: “When you check reality, rather than the alternate universe constantly created by Fox News and an amnesiac press, you find that Bush had a chance to pay off all our national debt before we hit the financial crisis – giving the US enormous flexibility in intervening to ameliorate the recession. Instead, we had to find money for a stimulus in a cupboard stripped bare – its contents largely given away, by an act of choice. I’m tired of being told we cannot blame Bush for our current predicament. We can and should blame him for most of it – and remind people that Romney’s policies: more tax cuts, more defense spending are identical. With one difference: Bush pledged never “to balance the budget on the backs of the poor.””

The Republican dream of “Forever War” will live on with a Romney presidency

Andrew Sullivan remarks on Romney’s “view that a war against Iran need have no Congressional authorization:”

I can assure you if I’m President, the Iranians will have no question but that I would be willing to take military action, if necessary, to prevent them from becoming a nuclear threat to the world. I– I don’t believe at this stage, therefore, if I’m President, that we need to have war powers approval or a special authorization for military force. The President has that capacity now.

Remember that this was Cheney’s position vis-a-vis Iraq. Bush over-ruled him. Romney is to the neocon right of George W. Bush in foreign affairs. Then this:

We cannot survive a course of action [that] would include a nuclear Iran.

Survive? So how did we survive a contained nuclear Soviet Union and a contained nuclear Communist China? And yet this comparatively puny, creaking, theo-fascist regime threatens America’s very survival? 

It sounds like Mitt would like to keep Russia warming on the back burner as well, according to Raw Story: “Of course we’re not enemies. We’re not fighting each other, there’s no Cold War,” Romney told Fox Radio in an interview aired on the final day of his bus tour through six swing states. “But Russia is a geopolitical opponent, and in that regard I think we’ve seen very clearly that they continue to pursue a course which is antithetical to the interests of our nation.” He described Russia, where Vladimir Putin recently assumed the presidency for a third term, as “the nation which consistently opposes our actions at the United Nations.” [...] The Republican flagbearer caused a diplomatic spat in March when he accused Moscow of being America’s “number one geopolitical foe” — raising eyebrows from critics who say that honor belongs to Al Qaeda, North Korea or Iran. Russia’s then-president Dmitry Medvedev shot back that presidents should “use their head” when formulating their positions, adding that “it is now 2012, not the mid-1970s.”

Additionally, John McCain wants to go to war with Syria immediately.  Forever War! 

Morning Bunker Report: Thursday 5.24.2012

WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY—————————–—

Mitt Romney told Mark Halperin that if he’s elected president “we’d get the unemployment rate down to 6%, and perhaps a little lower.” However, just a few weeks ago, as NBC News reported, Romney said that anything “over 4% is not cause for celebration.” ThinkProgress: “Though 6 percent unemployment is significantly lower than the current 8.1 percent rate, the feat isn’t all that remarkable. In fact, it is exactly where multiple government agencies project unemployment will be at the end of that time frame. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that unemployment will average 6.3 percent in 2016; the Office of Management and Budget, meanwhile, projects unemployment will hit 6.1 percent and ultimately fall below 6 percent the same year.” — Political Wire

  • Bloomberg News reported this week, “The unemployment rates in a majority of the 2012 battleground states are lower than the national average as those economies improve.” In Ohio, the jobless rate is down to 7.4%. In Virginia, it’s improved to 5.6%. Even in Nevada, where the unemployment rate is still a crushing 11.7%, the figure has dropped two points in one year, which represents rather extraordinary progress. — Maddow Blog

On Fox and Friends, Romney makes a courageous and bold stand, agreeing with Rush Limbaugh and stating “there’s no question that [Obama] is attacking capitalism.” — If he can’t even stand up to Rush, imagine Mitt standing up to N. Korea, Russia, or Iran…


Mitt Romney clings to Rush Limbaugh, says President Obama ‘is attacking capitalism’ — First of all, on the Bain Capital controversy, the issue isn’t how often Bain was successful making money. Even if Romney thinks making money on 80 percent of his investments is impressive, so what? Nobody is saying he wasn’t good at what he did. What people are saying is that there’s nothing about what he did at Bain Capital that demonstrates he’s ready for the presidency. Moreover, the fact that he was able to make money even when the companies he invested in failed suggests that if anything, his experience at Bain bought him the wrong lessons. A president’s job isn’t to record a quarterly profit: it’s to defend America and move forward with an agenda that helps all Americans. Second, the notion that President Obama is an anti-capitalist president is really, really nuts. Since Obama took office, the stock market has soared—the Dow is nearly double what it was on January 21, 2009. Compare that with President Bush, under whose economic leadership the market fell. Or take a look at private sector job growth: despite inheriting Bush’s economic collapse, private sector jobs have actually grown since Obama took office, including four million over the last two years. Under Bush, we lost more than six hundred thousand private sector jobs. — Jed Lewison

The military’s new fighter jet project only costs $1.45 trillion — While [Gov. Rick] Scott famously refused $2 billion in federal funds for high-speed rail in Florida, deriding it as an expensive boondoggle, his team shows no such hesitations about the $1.45 trillion F-35 project. The most expensive weapons system in Pentagon history, it has suffered technical setbacks, nearly a decade of production delays, and substantial cost overruns; the Pentagon currently estimates each plane will cost $135 million to build and maintain. So it’s no surprise that the Simpson-Bowles commission pointed to halving the Navy and Air Forces’ orders and eliminating the Marines’ version as a deficit-reduction step; in 2009, the Congressional Budget Office floated a similar cut. Any such reductions would lower the $1.59 billion in economic impact that, Lockheed boasts, Florida will get from F-35 contracts held by 95 in-state suppliers. [...] During the Republican rebuttal to Obama’s 2012 State of the Union, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels ripped the president for trying to “build a middle class out of government jobs paid for with borrowed dollars.” Yet just three months earlier, his deputy, Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, blessed a report highlighting the stimulus brought to her state’s economy by nearly 40,000 deficit-exploding federal defense jobs. — Mother Jones

Maddow: Romney on board with the legacy of Dick Cheney — “It is not surprising that the Republican Party would not be all that enthused with about the legacy of George W. Bush, but what do you make of the fact that they all are on board with the legacy of Dick Cheney?” Maddow wondered. “Seventeen of Mitt Romney’s twenty-four foreign policy advisers are Bush-Cheney guys,” she added. “Even as Romney is shunning the endorsement and any joint appearances with the former President of the United States, George W. Bush, he is proudly publicizing and doing fundraisers with Dick Cheney.” — Raw Story

  • How does one position himself next to the guy who ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden? That’s part of Mitt Romney’s struggle to distinguish himself from President Obama, a Democrat who seems strong on foreign policy and national defense, New York’s Frank Rich told Rachel Maddow Wednesday night. Describing what seems to be the Romney foreign policy, Rich said, “It’s kind of an undifferentiated, generalized truculence. Russia is still the biggest enemy we have. He wants to have a trade war with China, apparently.” Rich added, “He wants to have war with Iran, it seems, even though the Obama policy is proving to be quite successful in terms of tough sanctions. It’s almost like he’s embracing the truculence Cheney represents without any real intellectual framework.” — Daily Intel
  • Colin Powell: “Come on Mitt, think — Powell expressed concerns about the Republican’s far-right advisors, especially on foreign policy, whose judgment Powell considers suspect. At one point, he urged Romney, “Come on Mitt, think” — as if to say Romney is not already thinking. Powell added that he and others in the Republican mainstream have been “taken aback” by some of the hardline positions adopted by the presumptive GOP nominee. (For context, it’s worth noting that Romney has surrounded himself with many of the worst members of the Bush/Cheney team, all of whom were wrong about nearly everything, and many of whom had no use for Powell’s vision of U.S. foreign policy.) Powell also emphasized his support for investments in education and infrastructure — “what we need to be doing,” he said — which clearly aligns him with Obama and against Romney, though he did not explicitly say so. — Steve Benen

Republican rep: Church tax exempt restrictions is like communism — Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) on Wednesday suggested that banning tax-exempt churches from participating in political campaigns or endorsing candidates was something that communist countries would do. — Raw Story

Kansas Gov. approves massive tax cut for the rich that even some Republicans opposed — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) in January proposed a tax cut he said would give the state a “fairer, flatter, simpler” tax code, even though it raised taxes on the poor to help pay for a massive tax cut for the top one percent of state residents. Tuesday, Brownback signed an even bigger package into law, even as the state Senate’s top Republican and a host of other conservative lawmakers urged him not to. — Think Progress

WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————

Arizona Secretary of State Decides President Obama Was Born in Hawaii After All — “I consider the matter closed,” Ken Bennett said in a statement today. Now onto verifying that Mitt Romney was born in Michigan, right? — Daily Intel

President Obama barely eked out Democratic primary wins in Kentucky and Arkansas — The president didn’t even have an opponent in Kentucky, but took just 57.9% of the vote, with the remaining more than 42 percent of ballots cast for “uncommitted.” In Arkansas, his unknown opponent, John Wolfe (D), won 41% of the vote. — Politico

  • So hillbillies in the Cracker Belt aren’t fond of Obama, you say? …Alec MacGillis points us to a map that shows the regions where Obama received a smaller percentage of the vote in 2008 than John Kerry did in 2004. “It is a virtually contiguous band of territory stretching from southwestern Pennsylvania through Appalachia and across the Upland South, finally petering out in north-central Texas. It is, almost to a T, what Colin Woodard… defined as the territory of the ‘Borderlanders’… And look more closely at the map — where was Obama’s 2008 dropoff particularly heavy? In eastern Kentucky and most of Arkansas.” — Political Wire
  • Did Some Appalachian Whites Oppose Obama Because of His Race? Yes. Of Course — Long before they knew anything about how Obama would govern, or whether he’d make War on Coal, a sizable number of Appalachian whites grabbed anonymous exit poll forms and confirmed that they would vote against the guy because they didn’t like his skin color. Hard to calculate, but not impossible. — Dave Weigel 

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell tells CNN he’s in favor of same-sex marriage, “either at the state or federal level”: “I respect the fact that many denominations have different points of view with respect to gay marriage and they can hold that in the sanctity in the place of their religion and not bless them or solemnize them,” he said. He said he has “a lot of friends who are individually gay but are in partnerships with loved ones, and they are as stable a family as my family is and they raise children. And so I don’t see any reason not to say that they should be able to get married under the laws of their state or the laws of the country.” — Mother Jones

DSCC warns Super PAC donors to ‘Wake (the F*%k) Up’ — Guy Cecil, the executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, figures the odds of preventing Mitch McConnell from taking Harry Reid’s gavel have improved over the last six months, to the point where he now says Democrats have a 50/50 shot at retaining the majority. But in a recent interview from his Capitol Hill office, Cecil offered his most explicit warning to date that the moneymen in the Democratic tent need to start writing checks. “The money,” Cecil told The Huffington Post, when asked what kept him up at night. “Our allies need to wake up. Our allies need to understand that the majority in the Senate is in danger and that everything from jobs and the economy and women’s health and Supreme Court justices, Wall Street reform — all the things that they have worked so hard for — will be for naught if we lose the Senate.” — HuffPo

“I am not going to back off the sequestration,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told Politico, warning that Senate Democrats will allow the automatic defense cuts agreed upon in last summer’s debt deal to go into effect unless Republicans are willing to compromise on revenues. — Think Progress

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will begin the steps today to break a Senate Republican filibuster of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which provides additional protections to ensure that women receive the same pay for the same work as their male colleagues. — Think Progress