I put this one up under the "Department of Schadenfreud" department because I'm a cyincal, bitter radical and I hope the blogosphere survives long enough so that I can come back to this post and say "I told you so." As an economist recently described it to me, we're "borrowing from our great-grandchildren" now. Given the direction of so many vectors of doom, vectors that people seem intent on ignoring, all I can say is, /Cue obscure Jefferson Starship album/ "we tried to warn you." Read more about Records You Never Hear
Have you heard about the curious incident of the international agreement that did not bark in the nighttime?
Yes, I'm talking about the Softwood Lumber Agreement, whose "meritorious initiatives" were to be determined today--All $450 million smackeroos of meritoriousness. But the dog didn't bark. No announcement.
Yes, it seems that Bush has indeed wangled himself and Unka Karl $450 million smackeroos in a slush fund they can get their paws on right now and do anything they want with. Surprise! The story has a lot of detail, but the bottom line is simple: The terms of the Softwood Lumber Agreement with Canada will give Bush complete control of an escrow account with $450 million in it, controlled by a board that Bush appoints, and which can be used for any purpose whatever, with no Congressional oversight. Read more about $450 million slush fund for Bush from Canadian lumber deal, just in time for the mid-terms
Isn't it wonderful? Problem solved, they say, so cure not needed. From the AP via AJC:
Free credit monitoring for veterans whose personal information was stolen has been withdrawn, the Bush administration said Tuesday, because the laptop containing their data has been recovered.
There's more and more original reporting in the blogosphere. Here's a fine example from the The Agonist. Sean Paul looks at what happened to the money for a health clinics contract. He starts with a WaPo story, which is pretty accurate, except that it gets the contractor, the money, and the number of clinics wrong: Read more about Where did the billions for Iraqi "reconstruction" go?
Vanity Fair details the adventures of The Duke-Stir and his merry band of fellow travelers:
Every time Wilkes was asked by Tom Casey, a California defense contractor who would eventually work with him, how he got to be so friendly with Lowery and other congressmen, the answer was always the same, Casey tells me: "Honduras." Specifically, Casey adds, Wilkes described sexual encounters between congressmen and women from Honduran villages.
I'm not really qualified to speak about weapons and military technology, but I can smell waste when it's a big pile of steaming shit right out there in front of me like anyone else. Thank goddess for people like the find DT crew, who do the dirty work so I don't have to. I'm fairly sure there isn't enough blogspace out there to cover all the examples of this:
Read more about It's Always About the Money
So Congress just passed another $95 billion appropriation for Iraq. What have we spent now, as we pass the (no doubt to be largely ignored) milestone of 2500 dead soldiers? And how little a dab of that $95 billion would have taken to hire a few more folks to mow grass and do maintenance at parks that honor victims of previous wars? Per the NPS Morning Report:
On the evening of Saturday, June 10th, after working in the park all day, Don Turner, a maintenance employee at Manassas National Battlefield Park, died from a massive heart attack. As the maintenance staff in the park dwindled because of tightening budgets, Don worked harder to make sure that the park always put forward its best appearance for its visitors. He was so dedicated that when we had to bring our employees in from the field during heat advisories, we had to go out and find him and get him off his tractor.
Any of you in northern Virginia have any idea how much 5000 acres of open, pristine landscape would go for in that market if it were put on the auction block to developers? Read more about 2500. Plus 1
For her retirement, naturally. (You and I should be so lucky!) WaPo:
A registered lobbyist opened a retirement account in the late 1990s for the wife of then-House Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and contributed thousands of dollars to it while also paying her a salary to work for him from her home in Texas, according to sources, documents and DeLay's attorney, Richard Cullen.
Nice work if you can get it! Read more about Republican Family Values: Lobbyists pays DeLay's wife $490,000
Give me a break. I guess we must have been making a difference, or they wouldn't have bothered to start to hide the cronyism. Not that it will matter; we'll all still know (if only later learn for sure) where the "rebuilding" monies are going. Iraq is one big circular piggy bank, and all the Iraqis have to show for it is the lint off the change:
Read more about "Streamlining" When You Can't Steal in Plain Sight
If you haven't noticed, among the rich variety of stink pots the policies of this administration and its support system, the increasingly unrepentant right-wing Republican party, has landed the rest of us in, the unraveling of an increasingly Global consensus about the dangers of nuclear weapons and what to do about that danger is surely one of the most alarming. Read more about Among Other Messes We're In, What About The "Nuk-You-Lar" Mess