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June 10, 2008

War Biz War and Peace

We all know that private contractors and others have been siphoning off billions of dollars in Iraq, but nobody has really tried to put a number on the total. Now the BBC thinks they have the number: $23 billion. With a B. BBC:

A BBC investigation estimates that around $23bn (£11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq.

For the first time, the extent to which some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding has been researched by the BBC's Panorama using US and Iraqi government sources.

A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations.

The order applies to 70 court cases against some of the top US companies.

While George Bush remains in the White House, it is unlikely the gagging orders will be lifted.

To date, no major US contractor faces trial for fraud or mismanagement in Iraq.

The president's Democrat opponents are keeping up the pressure over war profiteering in Iraq.

Henry Waxman who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said: "The money that's gone into waste, fraud and abuse under these contracts is just so outrageous, its egregious.

"It may well turn out to be the largest war profiteering in history."

In the run-up to the invasion one of the most senior officials in charge of procurement in the Pentagon objected to a contract potentially worth seven billion that was given to Halliburton, a Texan company, which used to be run by Dick Cheney before he became vice-president.

Unusually only Halliburton got to bid - and won.

If nobody goes to jail over this, we will well and truly know that we are living in a terminally corrupt, dying empire. A kleptocracy. When war is this profitable, and nobody is held accountable, war will never stop.

Will the Democrats act? I'm guessing they won't have the stomach for it. Prove me wrong.

Posted by Jonathan at 10:17 PM | Comments (3) | Link to this  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb

Tuesday Gumpagraph Gumpagraphs
Today's Gumpagraph. Kent is 'Gumpa' to his grandson Sebastian.
© Kent Tenney 

Happy Birthday, Gwen!

Posted by Jonathan at 10:16 PM | Comments (1) | Link to this  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb

Today's McCain Joke Humor & Fun

John McCain has a new slogan. Have you heard his new slogan? "A Leader We Can Believe In." See, that's a lot better than his old slogan. [Wheezing]: "I'll be okay. Give me a minute!" — Jay Leno

Posted by Jonathan at 10:14 PM | Comments (0) | Link to this  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb

June 08, 2008

Obama Plans 50-State Strategy Politics

People talk about the long, hard-fought Democratic primary season having been good for McCain. On the surface that seems true, but the primary campaign also pushed the Obama team to build organizations (and raise money) all over the country. The NYT reports that those organizations are now gearing up to take it to McCain in a number of Republican strongholds. NYT:

Senator Barack Obama’s general election plan calls for broadening the electoral map by challenging Senator John McCain in typically Republican states — from North Carolina to Missouri to Montana — as Mr. Obama seeks to take advantage of voter turnout operations built in nearly 50 states in the long Democratic nomination battle, aides said.

On Monday, Mr. Obama will travel to North Carolina — a state that has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in 32 years — to start a two-week tour of speeches, town hall forums and other appearances intended to highlight differences with Mr. McCain on the economy. From there, he heads to Missouri, which last voted for a Democrat in 1996. His first campaign swing after securing the Democratic presidential nomination last week was to Virginia, which last voted Democratic in 1964.

With Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton now having formally bowed out of the race and thrown her backing to him, Mr. Obama wants to define the faltering economy as the paramount issue facing the country, a task probably made easier by ever-rising gasoline prices and the sharp rise in unemployment the government reported on Friday. Mr. McCain, by contrast, has been emphasizing national security more than any other issue and has made clear that he would like to fight the election primarily on that ground.

Mr. Obama has moved in recent days to transform his primary organization into a general election machine, hiring staff members, sending organizers into important states and preparing a television advertisement campaign to present his views and his biography to millions of Americans who followed the primaries from a distance. [...]

While the lengthy, contentious Democratic primary fight against Mrs. Clinton exposed vulnerabilities in Mr. Obama that the Republicans will no doubt seek to exploit, it also allowed him to build a nearly nationwide network of volunteers and professional organizers. While early assertions by presidential campaigns that they intend to expand the playing field are often little more than feints intended to force opponents to spend time and money defending states that they should have locked up, Mr. Obama’s fund-raising success gives his campaign more flexibility than most to play in more places.

It's easy to forget what an overwhelming advantage Hillary Clinton had when the campaign began. Obama and his team are enormously effective organizers, as John McCain is about to find out. I love that Obama is going after red states, that he's not content to play for 50% plus one. The bigger the victory, the longer the coattails. This is going to be fun.

Posted by Jonathan at 04:33 PM | Comments (0) | Link to this  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb

State Of The Union Economy

The average price of gas here in the US has reached $4 a gallon for the first time. Crude oil is at $138.54 a barrel, up almost $11 in a single day Friday, with Morgan Stanley predicting $150 a barrel by July 4. Unemployment jumped by half a percentage point in May, the largest monthly jump in a generation. And more than a million US homes are now in foreclosure, the most ever.

Tough year to be running as a Republican.

Posted by Jonathan at 04:14 PM | Comments (0) | Link to this  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb

Today's Joke Humor & Fun

Our vice president, our old friend, Dick Cheney got in some trouble, made a joke. Did you hear about this? Made a joke about West Virginia, but he apologized. He did apologize for the joke he made about West Virginia. Nothing yet on the Iraq war. — David Letterman

Posted by Jonathan at 04:09 PM | Comments (1) | Link to this  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb

Sunday Gumpagraph Gumpagraphs
Today's Gumpagraph. Kent is 'Gumpa' to his grandson Sebastian.
© Kent Tenney 

Posted by Jonathan at 04:01 PM | Comments (0) | Link to this  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb

June 03, 2008

What A Night Politics

Obama. What a night. What a speech.

I know real change will be hard to come by, but tonight I choose to be inspired. Tonight I choose to hope. The man has greatness.

Posted by Jonathan at 09:40 PM | Comments (4) | Link to this  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb