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Take From the Poor, Give to the Military

Posted on Feb 7, 2006
Budget Terror
Illustration by Karen Spector

Where would the Bush administration be without terrorism? Like the Cold War before it, the “war on terror” is a conveniently sweeping rationale for all manner of irrational governance, such as the outrageous $2.77-trillion budget the president proposed to Congress on Monday.

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Without terrorism, how could Bush justify to fiscal conservatives the whopping budget deficits that he has ballooned via his tax cuts for the wealthy that he now seeks to make permanent? Without terrorism, how could he convince government corruption watchdogs that the huge increases in military and homeland security—7% and 8%, respectively—aren’t simply payback to the defense contractors who so heavily support the Republicans every election cycle? Without terrorism, how could the president get away with blindly dumping $120 billion more into the war in Afghanistan and the bungled occupation of Iraq that the Bush administration had once promised would be financed by Iraqi oil sales?

In order to pay for the money pit that is Iraq, the Bush budget demands draconian cuts in 141 domestic programs, led by a $36-billion cut in Medicare spending for the elderly over the next five years. This from a president reelected after promising to expand rather than curtail healthcare services to seniors.

Many of the other proposed cuts are equally obscene, such as the termination of $1 billion in child-care funds over five years, and the complete elimination of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program that provides food assistance to low-income seniors, needy pregnant women and children.

These attacks on the social safety net for the most vulnerable members of our society are not only patently unfair, in light of Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy, but the simultaneous blank check for the Pentagon cannot be honestly justified by the fight against terrorism. And although the president insists that it is unpatriotic to question his strategies in fighting terrorism, let me risk his opprobrium, and that of the pseudo-conservative bully boys that shill for him in the media, by doing just that.


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To begin with, we must remember that this “war” was launched against an enemy, still mostly at large, who on Sept. 11 accomplished phenomenal destruction and suffering with armaments no fiercer or costlier than some box-cutters. Their key weapon, in fact, was suicidal fanaticism.

Yet, rather than sensibly investing in aggressive global detective work, collaborating with our European allies, engaging meaningfully with an independent and skeptical Arab world, and working to protect vulnerable U.S. sites such as nuclear power plants, our leaders decided to turn logic on its head and make ignorance about the enemy into a virtue, slash civil liberties and recklessly invade a major Muslim country that had no connection to the attacks.

In other words, our response to Sept. 11 has been almost completely military in nature, granting the Defense Department an excuse to increase spending by 48% in just four years. Yet, despite all this spending, and the loss of life that has accompanied it, our standing in the Muslim world has been in free fall since we invaded Iraq, we have never captured or killed Osama bin Laden or his top strongman, we don’t know how to “fix” Iraq or Afghanistan, and we have greatly strengthened the hand of our rivals in Iran.

We don’t even know, as the Sept. 11 commission report revealed, much of anything about the 15 Saudi hijackers and their four leaders from other parts of the Arab world who committed the Sept. 11 attacks. We do know, however, that they weren’t from Iraq, weren’t funded by Iraq and weren’t trained by or in Iraq; nevertheless, the huge elephant in the Bush budget is the war and occupation of Iraq, now approaching its third anniversary, not the effort to dismantle Al Qaeda.

“Since 2001, the administration ... liberated nearly 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan,” boasts the Bush budget document. Ah, but if they have been liberated, then why the need for an additional $50-billion emergency “bridge funding” in 2007, itself coming on the heels of a supplementary $70-billion budget request last week? The answer provided by the report is that Iraq is far from being stabilized and that in Afghanistan “enemy activity has increased over the past year.”

Unfortunately, the Democratic leadership in Congress is still unwilling to challenge the necessity of “winning” the war in Iraq and, as a result, its complaints about cutting needed domestic programs are framed exclusively as an argument against making Bush’s tax cuts permanent. It is a losing argument, because it leaves Bush as both the big spender and the big tax-cutter once again, posturing as the savior of the taxpayer when he is in fact quite the opposite for all but the wealthiest Americans.

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    By Steve Peacock, February 14, 2006 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    And while the Administration seeks to cut foodstamp subsidies and healthcare programs for the poor, the Pentagon is planning to spend $25 million to build a new hospital—exclusively for military dogs.


    Click “Steve Peacock” to find out more.

    Report this

    By John, February 14, 2006 at 12:54 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Robert Scheer as always is eloquent at holding the administration accountable fot its countless lies. I am thankful for his voice of reason in a society where so many of the public voices are silent or misleading so as not to alienate any large sources of income( the media and politicians are faithful and true to their corporate benefactors). We only need understand history to see the deeper forces at work. We live in a strongly patriarchal society based on Hamiltonian ‘democracy’ much like ancient Rome, Nazi Germany, the English Empire and many other warlike socities. Its primary precepts are dictatorial elitism, orthodoxy, avaricious greed, and exploitation of others within itself and other socities to support this world view as illustrated by manifest destiny, white man’s burden or liberating Iraq in other words ‘might makes right’-we’ll kill, oppress or marginalize them to get them out of our way. What is so amorally convenient in this approach is the belief that ‘the end justifies the means.’ Since it is all about materialism, it is almost completely devoid of any feeling/relating aspects and spiritual dimensions. This is a lot like reading a George Will piece. This administration over the years has made statements that were verbatim from the Roman Ceasars such as “the only way to peace is through war.” At least the Romans admitted their imperialistic ways. As Patrick Buchannan has observed, the US is about building an economic empire. Opening up dialogues and respecting the differences of other nations as well as getting money out of politics like the ‘clean money efforts’(so other voices can be heard) is a step in the direction to where the bloodshed will cease and our resources will be spent on providing all, not just the chosen few, a safe, meaningful life.

    Report this

    By jurassicpork, February 12, 2006 at 7:47 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    This is essentially everything I’ve been saying over the past week and a half, Robert… only articulated without a lot of the anger in which I couch my sentiments. I myself asked many months ago on my own blog where the Bush administration would be without Iraq. Well, they would’ve been out of office over a year ago, for starters.

    Report this

    By Sylvia Barksdale Morovitz, February 11, 2006 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Robert Scheer’s, Take From the Poor, Give to the Military, is nothing less than brilliant.  He has Bush, Inc. nailed to a tee.

    I suppose I really shouldn’t get started because I do have high blood pressure.  It boils when I think of what this Texas shit-kicker has done to our country.  I ask, who is he, that he can get away with so much criminal activity when our other bodies of government are aware of what he’s doing?  What the hell are they so afraid of; then again, I must ask, are they all in on it?  Do we have a bunch of merciless individuals in Washington who’re stealing every dime we can manage to earn.  It’s quite obvious that they’ve forgotten what they’re there for or maybe they never knew.  They are our SERVANTS, not our masters!  You’d never know it, would you?

    #3472, comment by Ryan Mims:  Bravo!  This is gut truth of the people vs our government!  It’s been on the move for a long time and it’s catching up with us.  I know people who don’t bother to vote but sit back and complain and carp about the sorry job the governmewnt’s doing.  Well, they say, it’s only one vote.  I really feel like socking them one.  But, it isn’t only the vote.  It’s lack of action by the people.  CNN ran a clip about the “skin-heads” wanting to take back their government.  We should all take a lesson from these guys.  Maybe they’re smarter than we are, after all.  The crux is that we’ve sat back in our easy chairs, living the good life since WW2 and almost forgotten about the government entirely.  Bush Inc. is a wake-up call and it’s loud and clear.  We act now or forever hold our peace!  If the House and Senate refuse to rid America of this criminal leadership, who is left to get the job done?

    I feel that every citizen should do as much background research as possible on anyone who aspires to the Oval Office.  What I learned about this one [Bush], was enough to make one go screaming into that good night.  But his pretense of religious rightousness and his lying rhetoric convinced the Supreme Court to seat him, regardless of the fact that Al Gore won the Oval Office by more than 300,000 votes!  This rattler stole the presidency twice.  But still, we, the people, who keep this whole thing operating through our tax dollars, remain mute.

    I sometimes do editing for Paul Thompson’s, Timeline 9/11, [originally: Timeline to Terror.]  What American’s don’t know about the criminal activities of Bush, Inc. would fill many municipal libraries.  It is horrifying, and like Robert Scheer’s essays, it is truth.  It is researched, tracked down and put down in black and white.  I would recommend this work to anyone who cares about 9/11, what led up to it and it’s aftermath.

    So, where do we go from here?  I’ve had an impeachment petition on .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for approximately 3 months and other than my own signature I believe it has 3 others.  Are we ready for civil war?  I am ready for anything that would rid us of this Hitler-like creature who inhabits our White House!

    Report this

    By barrie johnson, February 11, 2006 at 10:30 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I was amazed that someone is silly enough to believe that tax cuts stimulate our economy. before the 1970s that probably was true. since then, business has shipped their factories overseas to Africa, Thailand, Mexico, south american countries and others where labor costs are $.50/hr, no benefits given, no environmental protections are required and the governments kiss business behinds for stimulating their economy. tax cuts for the rich today simply serves to make the rich, richer. any investments they make in this country is in the stock market which does not stimulate our economy in any useful way. The repubs want you to believe their tax cuts stimulate our economy, but only the Gardners’ are dim enough to believe it

    Report this

    By Dr. J. Edward Kendrick, February 10, 2006 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    The foundations of current American policy arise from the ‘inside job’ called 911.  This control drama was masterfully crafted to look like 18 Islamic terrorists hijacked four passenger jets and hit two towers and the Pentagon.  The coverup didn’t cover the evidence that is hidden in plain sight. and other web developers have invested great effort to bring the truth where the mass media have brought dishonor to the journalism profession by turning a blind eye to the crimes of 911—America’s Reichtag.
    Unless and until we reopen 911 investigations, the justifications for fear will continue to move us down a path of fascism and economic ruin.
    At what point will politicians put country before party?  The cancer of the lies of 911 must be cut out with full disclosure.  Our world will not be the same—hopefully.

    Report this

    By Dr. Ed Kendrick, February 10, 2006 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Fortunately, Controlled Demolition wasn’t skilled enough to remove all the evidence that the WTC buildings were rigged with explosives.  Ample proof exists that 911 was an ‘inside job’.  911 is America’s burning of the Reichtag.  My own entry into this discovery was Prisonplanet and  Bush’s power lies in the lies of 911.  Incredible discoveries—just what the monsters expect—that American sheep won’t possibly believe what has been perpetrated in order to 1) implement a fascist government, 2) destroy the middle class and 3) further the One World Order.  Most whom I talk to can’t handle the truth.

    Report this

    By Carol Wright, February 10, 2006 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I could see people blaming Pres. Clinton if the disaster had happened in the early months of 2001, but President Bush was well into control by September 2001. Hearing information today on tv, there was information about Pres. Clinton and his people were trying to deal with the problems and passing on their worries to President Bush and his people-they didn’t believe Pres. Clinton.
    The Government said they had sources of chemicals of mass destruction. I would like to know “who” gave that information? They should be accountable for there wrongs. Even if they are friends of the USA or higher ups in our own Government.
    I still believe when we don’t count the deaths of our “Enemies” we will have the mentality of others to “get even” toward us. Many Americans are innocent too. They don’t believe in murder or killing and yet we have people in our Country who say “God Bless America” and they go and destroy lives. Our Government has sold weapons, bombed other nations, gunned down enemies, and have done collateral damage every where. Our government has even sold drugs to Americans to buy arms. Can we really keep our minds closed to the fact that maybe our tax dollars have gone to darkness instead of light? Shouldn’t we as American’s be able to say where our tax dollars go and how? We should get a receipt where our dollars go-so we can say “Thank God” we didn’t put our money there.
    I believe we should respect all religions as long as those religions don’t hurt others. The ones who do should be accountable for their actions and be punished for loss of life, disabilities, losing one’s homes and jobs, etc.
    It seems to me also that if our borders are not protected we don’t know who to look for. I think, now, most people in the United States have met someone who doesn’t know English in our States, how do we know they came over legally or illegally? I was raised that there are good people everywhere and there are bad everywhere too. It doesn’t matter if they say they were raised with religion. We can’t always tell who is the bad one and who is the good.
    Our crime in the USA is just as bad and there are alot of people that just don’t look like they would do harm but they do. There are also some that look bad and they are nicer then most.
    Well, I could go on and on, but I would just like to know how do we get America to be respectful to this World of ours. This is our only World. We have to save this Earth. I don’t want Earth destroyed from chemicals and misuse or to deliberately destroying it on purpose.

    Report this

    By NETTIE, February 10, 2006 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)


    Report this

    By Ryan Mims, February 10, 2006 at 11:33 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    This is not Bush’s fault, the Republican party’s fault, or the Democratic party’s fault.  It is a direct result of the apathy and laziness of the American people.  Our country is still a Democracy based on the rights of all of us to be free thinkers, and controllers of our own destiny.

    We will continue to march down this path as long as we continue to be sheep led by wolves.

    Make no mistake about it.  Americans do not get engaged in their communities and country to the degree that is neccassary for us to control our government, our corporations, or our lives.

    Our lives, our country, and our communities are molded by our actions, and in our control.  If we would get of the couch, turn of American Idol, and get active we could, can, and will take back our country.

    How bad does it have to get before we decide to make a change?

    Report this

    By R. A. Earl, February 9, 2006 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Thomas Gardiner, in #3408 ended with:

    “This is the real world, folks.  It ain’t Jimmah Carter’s make-believe world where those radical muslims are just folks that we haven’t apologized to sufficiently for being Americans.”

    If you’re looking for the reason the USA finds itself up to its ass in alligators you’ve got it in a nutshell in Gardiner’s attitude. Respect is NEVER EARNED by force. You ALWAYS get further with honey than with vinegar.

    Either the “Gardiners” in the USA go, or the USA will go. I hope I live long enough to see the outcome either way.

    The “Gardiners” have obviously yet to learn that the USA needs the cooperation of the rest of world a heck of a lot more than the rest of the world needs the USA. Believe it now… or believe it later. Your choice.

    Report this

    By Carol Rose, February 9, 2006 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Robert - Thank you so much for giving all of us a place to hear Truth with a capitol “T”.  There are so many people spinning everything in everyway,at every opportunity on every channel -  that even an intelligent, “desperately-trying to be informed” person can become overwhelmed.  Your past columns and integrity speak for themselves - I trust you and TruthDig. To paraphrase our Chump in Chief - when it comes to TRUTH - Bring it on!!!!
    PS - Those of us who DO believe in the power of prayer - PLEASE pray for the people of our divided nation, and for the Constitution which has served us so faithfully thus far - May The Creator preserve them both. We’re gonna need it!

    Report this

    By NETTIE, February 9, 2006 at 7:35 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)


    Report this

    By Mary Patterson, February 9, 2006 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    We have all this corruption going on.  Why can’t anyone stop it?  What’s the matter with our Democratic leaders?  Hmm!

    Report this

    By Rogelio, February 9, 2006 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Robert Scheer hits the mark as he always does. The Bush War Machine persist because what else has he succeeded in domestically? The politics of fear is all that this administration has been able to accomplish. How can the administration even suggest that we need to cut back on military spending when we are failing in Iraq. Dropping bombs is not going to make innocent Iriqui’s more democratic (Hint:Vietnam, Cambodia, Central America).

    Report this

    By Tom Nestor, February 9, 2006 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    The Bush admin. is increasing spending for
    the Defense Dept., and Homeland Security; at a
    rate that defies logic.
        Meanwhile, social programs are being cut,
    including the VA budget.  Given this administra-
    tions lauding of the veteran, and their sacrifices
    , why then sell-them-down-the-river, come budget
        Robt. Scheer is right.  The budget is
    essentially a disgrace; putting big business and
    the wealthiest Americans ahead of the neediest;
    e.g., the poor, disabled, elderly, and veterans.
        As a combat veteran, myself, I find this
    “arrogance-of-power” truly despicable.  The neo-
    cons are seemingly without compassion, when it
    comes to helping those in need.
        Shame on them and their heartless policies!

              Tom Nestor/Long Beach, CA.

    Report this

    By Thomas Gardner, February 9, 2006 at 10:32 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    The whole concept of “tax cuts for the wealthy” is socialist non-speak.

    Listen children:  The purpose of tax cuts is to stimulate the economy.  It works.  Kennedy, Reagan and now Bush II have all proven it.  So lets see…if you gave a tax cut to only those who don’t freaking pay taxes, that wouldn’t have much of an effect, would it?  But if you give the tax cut to EVERYONE WHO PAYS TAXES then the effect on the economy will be meaningful. Even if the percentage is the same across the board, those who pay the lion’s share of the taxes will get the lion’s share of the cuts.  1 + 1 = 2. 

    Be honest, folks, what you really want is tax increases for the rich.  Re-distribution of wealth.  So we can be more like those smart Europeans. 

    And I love the earlier quote “the 9-11 attacks that THIS administration allowed to happen”...even in a climate where no Democratic claim or charge against Bush is considered too outrageous, this claim is so patently stupid that it only gets play in the most short-minded forums…like this one I stumbled into.

    This is the real world, folks.  It ain’t Jimmah Carter’s make-believe world where those radical muslims are just folks that we haven’t apologized to sufficiently for being Americans.

    Report this

    By Barrie Johnson, February 9, 2006 at 8:14 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    the dems are totally ineffective in combating a transparently vicious Bush agenda and the reason is religion. Follow along with me here. Prior to the 1970s, the bible belt was solidly Democrat. Organised religion preached love thy neighbor, be your brothers keeper, help your fellow man and railed against the rich, a camel could get thru the eye of a needle faster than a rich man could enter heaven. but religion was becoming irrelevant to the lives of the communities, and many churches were going broke. then some joker came up with “The Good News”. A new dictum, apparently from God, that stated it doesn’t matter what you do, only that you BELIEVE. This paved the way for the rich to enter heaven, even though they used their political and economic power to repress the working classes. It worked very well. Organised religion became very rich and became big business, which of course necessitated joining the Republican Party. religious issues became the protection and growth of money, rather than the welfare of the common man. The bible belt is now solidly republican. the faithful, who are emotionally invested in their religious beliefs, are incapable of questioning their leadership. the leadership exhorts the faithful to vote republican in order to end abortion and get ‘intelligent design’ into school curriculums. the faithful comply, cutting their own throats in the process. (you don’t believe this? go talk to your local ministers about separation of church and state, the results will horrify you) The democratic party, attempting to rein in Bush extremes,appear, to the faithful, to be in direct opposition to God. No wonder they are spinning their wheels going nowhere. How can you vote against God and still win the next election? The democratic party must make the faithful see that their leadership and the republican party worships the great god money, rather than the christian god. Good luck. if the faithful were capable of reason, we wouldn’t be in this trouble now.

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    By martin weiss, February 9, 2006 at 7:16 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Unfortunately for the rest of us, the Bush family has always made its money from conflict and catastrophe.
    Their fortune is based on profits from the slave trade, furthered by selling arms to both sides in the Civil War, and enhanced by selling munitions to Germany after the outbreak of both WWI and WWII.
    Bush owes allegiance only to his family’s money, he is not a loyal American. He doesn’t believe in the Bill of Rights, he couldn’t care less about “The People” who are supposed to be the basis of government.
    The ONLY apt word for the Bush cabal is “Fascist”.
    Now, scientists at Brigham Young University are asserting that the terrorists of 9/11 were “patsies”, and the towers collapsed as the result of “pre-positioned explosives”.
    They needed a “Pearl Harbor Event”, so they caused one.
    The Bush policies under the “Pariot Act” are the end of the American Republic, unless Congress and the Judiciary act to enforce the Constitution.
    Oh well, Jefferson said we’d probably have a revolution every twenty years, looks like only his timing was off.
    There are a great many people who won’t submit to Bush’s police state.
    Remember “Conflict and Catastrophe” every time you read about another counterproductive Bush policy. His aim is to create profitable problems, not productive policy.

    Report this

    By Jaybo, February 9, 2006 at 5:12 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    The big unasked question—should I say “one of,” since there are so many unasked questions—is what would happen to our economy if we ever got off the “war” footing we’ve been on forthe past 64 years.
        Eisenhower’s fears of a military-industrial complex that sucks in the country’s wealth, while the sufferings of those in need go unattended, has come true in spades.
        We live in a corrupt culture that has noweher to go now but down. This is unimaginable sad for those of us old enough
    to remember a different and far better America.

    Report this

    By G. Monkowski, February 9, 2006 at 1:26 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    The enemy is residing in Pensylvania Rd. and his name is George Murder Bush. Take your country back Americans. We will take back ours. The allies of America in Europe are also guilty.

    Stop genocide in Iraq and Afghanistan! Don’t support any kind of Nazi troops.

    Report this

    By Fran Simpson, February 8, 2006 at 11:45 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    You and Gore Vidal are really hitting it on the mark.  There is one thing about the Military budget that you may have missed while Bush is handing money to the Military they are trying to take away the safety net for all the retirees and their families by upping the cost of Tricare and by trying to cut the reimbursement to doctors that treat seniors and retirees by 4.1% that was not passed this last session of congress but look for it to come back again as long as there is a GOP Congress. Which means that many doctors will stop seeing these patients and just think of that freeing up all those appointments so those that have the money can get in faster to see the doctor. Yes we must get people to recognize that this administration thinks only of the rich and who cares about any one else.  Especially the military and the veterans.

    Report this

    By GuitarsandMore, February 8, 2006 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I wonder why there isn’t enough money for social security ?

    Report this

    By Kay Brown, February 8, 2006 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Note all: let’s not use the word “war” when it really isn’t a war between two countries. It is shorthand for Republican policy of invasion. Ann Fagin Ginger, noted human rights attorney, made this very clear in discussion this morning - we are using the Bush Admin. framing of the issue if we use the word “war” - this is a media knee-jerk eye-popper - I know I used to prepare the news for television and print.Ya Basta! Ginger said in a “war” there are written goals, once those goals are met, the “war” is over. We are letting Them get away with murder. Stop it. BTW I suspect “Commander in Chief” is sloppy reporting too. Anyone know? Lest we forget?

    Report this

    By KEVIN SCHMIDT, STERLING VA, February 8, 2006 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Remember stagflation???

    It’s back! You can thank the criminal Bush/Cheney Rethugs.

    Report this

    By John Earl, February 8, 2006 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    When the Cold War ended there was talk of a Peace Dividend. Much of the perceived Soviet threat was a mirage created by the politicians, aided and abetted by intelligence agencies, beholden to the military-industrial complex. (

    The War On Terrorism has taken up the slack that the end of the Cold War created. It is more open ended that the war that was anchored in opposition to the Sino-Soviet bloc. It is a war against a stateless entity that can endlessly morph into countless versions.

    It’s a damned shame that instead of a war on stealth enemies abroad and in the “homeland” that our country can not be fighting a War Against Poverty. After Katrina surely we have glimpsed the enemy and seen that it is widespread and residing deep in the heartland of America.

    Report this

    By M. Martin, February 8, 2006 at 11:35 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Perhaps a better question might be to ask where ‘terrorism’ would be without Bush? 

    Whether one sees incompetence or something more sinister in the way this administration permitted the attacks of 9/11/2001 to occur, it is undeniable that the Bush Cabal has prospered both politically and financially from this ginned-up ‘war on terror’.

    As long as members of the democratic party are dependent on the same corporate benefactors as republicans for campaign financing, don’t expect democratic ‘leaders’ in congress to show much willingness to take on this budget, the ongoing obscenity in Iraq, or any of the other lies and distortions this administration has successfully transmuted into accepted fact.

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    By TW, February 8, 2006 at 10:19 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    This is exactly the conversation that Bush & Rove want to be having.  The budget is a political document, meant to reinforce the following storylines:

    - Bush is tough: he’s taking a hard line on spending, and isn’t afraid to gut some sacred cows or .  Of course the reality is that he spends like a drunken sailor; his budgets play so many games with baselines and assumptions that they really tell you nothing at all; and most important, it’s understood that most of his cuts won’t get enacted, and aren’t meant to. They’re a feint to the fiscal conservative wing of his base, and for the rest of us they’re a subtle reinforcement of his image as the “strong father” figure in our dysfunctional political family. 

    Of course there’s a counter-narrative i think we should be selling: He’s the irresponsible father who gambles away the family savings & then harrumphs over the kids leaving the lights on - a wastrel who falls back on the “pater familias” role to cover for his own weakness.

    But their storyline is “tough on spending” - and the more we squeal about cuts to Medicare & food programs, the more that message gets out there.  And that story is entirely consistent with the next one…

    - Bush puts our safety and security ahead of everything else. And while some say he goes to far, in an oh-so-dangerous world, don’t you want a president who’ll always err on the side of doing too much to save all of our lives?

    The reality is misplaced priorities (fighting the wrong battles), and using a crisis atmosphere to grab power and escape accountability.  But the more we cry foul over those things, the more that their storyline gets recirculated.  I think the counter-story is: He’s General Custer, a vain martinet who’s all boldness and dash with no judgement or self-control. He grabs headlines, and sometimes even wins battles, but he gets his guys killed & doesn’t know how to win the wars.  Sure, his arrogance and certainty can be bracing at times, but he’s not the guy you want leading you into battle - not if you want to win, and certainly not if you want to get home alive.

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    By James Tugend, February 8, 2006 at 10:16 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Speaking of 9/11, we seem to have ignored the fact that Bush and his pals ignored all the warnings about an impending attack from Al Qaeda. It wasn’t on their top ten list of security concerns…perhaps because Bill Clinton had told Bush that it should be his #1 pruiority.  Nio, he built anti-missile defenses, that would only possibly work against U.S. missiles.

    The only thing you could say Bush possibly did out of concern over the impending attack was to stay away from Washington.

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    By Peter Meldrum, February 8, 2006 at 9:38 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Would Robert Scheer care to explain how the USA can be at “WAR” without a Congressional Declaration Of War??

    Because without that Declaration the USA is NOT in a State Of War!!

    Thus ALL Bush’s “war” statements and actions are fraudulent!!

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    By, February 8, 2006 at 9:20 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Robert, when Isaw you on News hour years ago praising Pres. Clinton, I appreciated your comments. What led to the nonsense Bill O’Reillly is claiming about you?He maligns my ACLU and us secular progressives. Iwish secularism were more prevalent. MORGAN-LYNN LAMBERTH

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    By ann, February 8, 2006 at 9:04 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I am reading a biography of Gorbachev by Doder and Branson.  It states “. . . the very essence of Gorbachev’s economic modernization:  he wanted to build an integrated modern economy to replace Russia’s two economies—military and civilian—-.. . He wanted to escape the disastrous status quo that allowed the military to claim all the resources and talent for its nefarious enterprises while the civilian economy suffered like a retarted stepchild of the government and fell further and further behind the economies of other countries.”
    Brezhnev invaded Afghanistan and the loss of money and soldiers was a large part of the downfall of the Soviet Union.  Will this Middle Eastern invasion, of two Countries by our government lead to the bankruptcy of the United States.  That two nations who lived in competition for so long should disintegrate in a similar fashion is not unthinkable.

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    By Doc Nelson, February 8, 2006 at 12:02 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Paul Krugman told us long ago that this fiscal insanity was a calculated program to “starve the beast”—the beast being all those socialist communist pinko social programs. Unfair? Ayn Rand told us that the Robin Hood myth was robbing from the productive rich to give to the thieving poor. And Danny Quayle once asked, at a fund raiser for the base, “Why should our best people have to pay taxes.” Of course it’s unfair.

    Corporate bankruptcy is no longer stigmatized, but is now a strategic manuver to get rid of pesky retirement agreements. 

    Perhaps a US bankruptcy is a stretegic goal to end all the New Deal horrors these folks perceive.

    The quicker we get to the bottom the more competitive we can be. Fairness is Fair Trade. Freedom is the freedom to choose among 27 brands of toothpaste while shopping at WalMart, the Chinese retail outlet.

    If the Chinese can manufacture goods cheaper using prison and slave labor, we have to go there to remain competitive.

    I think they are just getting started. It’s a good thing they have subverted the election system so they won’t have to worry about the inconvenience of getting voted out of office.

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