Wars Could Cost $2.4 Trillion Over Decade, Analysis Says
by Anne Flaherty
The Associated Press
October 25, 2007
WASHINGTON - The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could cost as much as $2.4 trillion through the next decade, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said yesterday. The White House brushed off the analysis as “speculation.”
The estimate was the most comprehensive and far-reaching one to date. It factored in costs previously not counted and assumed that large number of forces would remain in the regions.
According to the analysis, the United States has spent about $604 billion on the wars, including $39 billion in diplomatic operations and foreign aid.
If the United States were to reduce the number of troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan to 75,000 six years from now, it would cost the United States $1 trillion more for military and diplomatic operations and $705 billion in interest payments to pay for the wars through 2017. Continue reading
By a 404 to 9 vote, the House today passed H.R. 1955: The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. This is America's first thought crime legislation in nearly a century and as noted below its overwhelming bipartisan support is tripping alarms on both the left and right. You will note that the language is so vague that it makes any serious dissent, including this summit, vulnerable to this law. - Ed.
HOUSE PASSES THOUGHT CRIME PREVENTION BILL
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed HR 1955 titled the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. This bill is one of the most blatant attacks against the Constitution yet and actually defines thought crimes as homegrown terrorism. If passed into law, it will also establish a commission and a Center of Excellence to study and defeat so called thought criminals. Unlike previous anti-terror legislation, this bill specifically targets the civilian population of the United States and uses vague language to define homegrown terrorism. Amazingly, 404 of our elected representatives from both the Democrat and Republican parties voted in favor of this bill. There is little doubt that this bill is specifically targeting the growing patriot community that is demanding the restoration of the Constitution. (Continued in Read more...)
JANE HARMAN'S WAR ON THE FIRST AMENDMENT
- The Politics of Paranoia
By Col. DAN SMITH
October 25, 2007
Congresswoman Jane Harman has introduced legislation--H.R. 1955: "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism"--that is expected to be referred to the House Rules Committee for assignment of floor time for debate by the House. This is a bill that is unneeded, unwise, and unfortunately will pass and be signed into law as it purports to be part of the response to 9/11 and the global war on terror. (Continued in Read more...) Continue reading
It’s the Oil
by Jim Holt
London Review of Books
18 October 2007
Iraq is ‘unwinnable’, a ‘quagmire’, a ‘fiasco’: so goes the received opinion. But there is good reason to think that, from the Bush-Cheney perspective, it is none of these things. Indeed, the US may be ‘stuck’ precisely where Bush et al want it to be, which is why there is no ‘exit strategy’.
Iraq has 115 billion barrels of known oil reserves. That is more than five times the total in the United States. And, because of its long isolation, it is the least explored of the world’s oil-rich nations. A mere two thousand wells have been drilled across the entire country; in Texas alone there are a million. It has been estimated, by the Council on Foreign Relations, that Iraq may have a further 220 billion barrels of undiscovered oil; another study puts the figure at 300 billion. If these estimates are anywhere close to the mark, US forces are now sitting on one quarter of the world’s oil resources. The value of Iraqi oil, largely light crude with low production costs, would be of the order of $30 trillion at today’s prices. For purposes of comparison, the projected total cost of the US invasion/occupation is around $1 trillion. Continue reading
Just as this White House publicly abhors our enemies' inhumanity but embraces rendition, waterboarding and "enhanced interrogation techniques," we see them fighting the fires of "Islamofascism" with the Constitution cremating fire of the unitary executive. On October 16 FBS' Frontline presented Cheney's Law, a kid glove treatment of this corporatist usurpation that nevertheless may help awaken the nation to the coup well underway. The troubling question remains why Cheney and his backers would work so hard for absolutist authority when they theoretically face an imminent election that could take it all away. Click on the graphic below to watch the entire show. - Ed.
From Frontline Intro: For three decades Vice President Dick Cheney conducted a secretive, behind-closed-doors campaign to give the president virtually unlimited wartime power. Finally, in the aftermath of 9/11, the Justice Department and the White House made a number of controversial legal decisions. Orchestrated by Cheney and his lawyer David Addington, the department interpreted executive power in an expansive and extraordinary way, granting President George W. Bush the power to detain, interrogate, torture, wiretap and spy -- without congressional approval or judicial review. Continue reading
Historical Perspectives on Corporatist War
Prof. Emanuel Pastreich of George Washington University offers his insights on war profiteering, the military-industrial complex, and the Iraq War-- in particular its parallels, not to Vietnam, but Imperial Japan's occupation of Manchuria during the 1930's. See "Read more..." for related reference links.
Lockheed Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Continue reading
by Richard Cummings
U.S. Medical Schools, Drug Makers Share Strong Ties
By Amanda Gardner
October 16, 2007
TUESDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of department chairs at U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals have financial ties with the drug industry, a new study finds.
These institutional relationships seemed to be just as widespread as those of individual physicians or scientists with industry.
"There is not a single aspect of medicine in which the drug companies do not have substantial and deep relationships, affecting not only doctors-in-training, resident physicians, researchers, physicians-in-practice, the people who review drugs for the federal government and the people who review studies," said lead researcher Eric Campbell, associate professor at the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. Continue reading
Former CEO Says U.S. Punished Phone Firm
Qwest Feared NSA Plan Was Illegal, Filing Says
By Ellen Nakashima and Dan Eggen
October 13, 2007
A former Qwest Communications International executive, appealing a conviction for insider trading, has alleged that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency program that the company thought might be illegal.
Former chief executive Joseph P. Nacchio, convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading, said the NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to court documents unsealed in Denver this week.
Details about the alleged NSA program have been redacted from the documents, but Nacchio's lawyer said last year that the NSA had approached the company about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans' phone records. Continue reading
by Naomi Wolf
The Huffington Post
October 12, 2007
I wish people would stop breaking into tears when they talk to me these days.
Naomi's new bestseller on the ten steps to fascism / corporatism at home.
I am traveling across the country at the moment — Colorado to California — speaking to groups of Americans from all walks of life about the assault on liberty and the 10 steps now underway in America to a violently closed society...
More times than I can count, courageous and confident men who are telling me about speaking up, but who are risking what they see as the possible loss of job, home or the ability to pay for grown kids’ schooling, start to choke up. Yesterday a woman in one gathering started to cry simply while talking about the degradation of her beloved country.
And always the questions: what do we do?
It is clear from this inundation of personal stories of abuse and retribution against ordinary Americans that a network of criminal behavior and intention is catching up more and more mainstream citizens in its grasp. It is clear that this is not democracy as usual — or even the corruption of democracy as usual... It is clear yet that violent retribution, torture or maybe worse, seems to go right up this chain of command? Is it clear yet that these people are capable of anything? Is it obvious yet that criminals are at the helm of the nation and need to be not only ousted but held accountable for their crimes? Continue reading
'A Coup Has Occurred'
by Daniel Ellsberg
September 26, 2007
(Edited text of a speech delivered Sept 20, '07 at American University)
I think nothing has higher priority than averting an attack on Iran, which I think will be accompanied by a further change in our way of governing here that in effect will convert us into what I would call a police state.
If there’s another 9/11 under this regime … it means that they switch on full extent all the apparatus of a police state that has been patiently constructed, largely secretly at first but eventually leaked out and known and accepted by the Democratic people in Congress, by the Republicans and so forth. Continue reading
Memory Lane constitutional commentary from May, 2006 that remains even more grimly relevant today.
Keith Olbermann interviews George Washington University constitutional law prof Jonathan Turley on the rising power and numbers of literal criminals in the Executive branch and the parallel attacks on Constitutional governance. Continue reading