So Why DID We Invade Iraq?

So why DID we invade iraq, anyway?

We know for a fact it had nothing to do with “WMD.” We went through this huge sell-job, the “run-up.” The whole country was whipped into a terrified frenzy. Do you remember being told we would be attacked with smallpox, and all the news stories about what smallpox can do to a person, does Iraq have it, how will they spread it, etc?

For that matter, why did we get into the Vietnam war? No one ever answered that one, either.

If we had self-government maybe people could get our Congress to investigate these things…

Sleight Of Hand On Retirement vs Military

In a Washington Post piece complaining that democracy is “pandering” to voters, Charles Lane writes it is wrong to talk about increasing Social Security because of the country’s “limited resources.” (Note, the country was running a huge budget surplus before Bush’s tax cuts for the rich and doubling the military budget.) He writes,

The issue, however, is how to spend the federal government’s limited resources. After national defense, the next two largest items in the fiscal 2013 federal budget were Social Security and Medicare, programs mostly for retirees.

Lane writes that “the rich can be tapped only so many times” so there is no point trying to increases taxes on the wealthy. Huh? The top tax rate was 90%, and then 70% before Reagan, and the corporate tax rate was 50%. We would at least return to this and see what happens.

But look at what is missing in the discussion. We spend more on military than all other countries combined. But cutting that down to a reasonable size isn’t even part of this discussion. Why not?

Policeman Of The World?

Step 1: Congress decides we are not the policeman of the world. If the world isn’t going to step up to stop Syria, it is not our job to do that. They are literally on the other side of the world.

Step 2: Then why the f*%k are we spending over $1 trillion a year on military? This is approx more than all other countries on the planet combined. And other countries enjoy the benefits of not having this huge outflow of money.

Step 3: We cut back on military spending and have money for schools, health care, infrastructure, childcare, eldercare, JOBS, JOBS and JOBS.

Martin Luther King’s Dream Of Jobs And Freedom

Martin Luther King Jr. outlined his dream 50 years ago this weekend. We made much of it happen. Let’s dream some more. Let’s dream about what we could do in the next 50 years.

Fifty years ago Martin Luther King Jr. led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and famously told the country “I have a dream.” Fifty years later there is progress and there are setbacks. We no longer have segregation — separate schools and bathrooms and the rest. Many states finally allow everyone to marry the person they love, but at the same time many states are returning to apartheid-era restrictions of voting rights.

One huge part of the “Jobs and Freedom” Dream that still evades us is the goal of full employment or an income until a job becomes available.

On August 16, 1967 King delivered a speech titled, “Where Do We Go From Here?” addressing the need for everyone to have a job or an income,

…our emphasis must be twofold: We must create full employment, or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other. Once they are placed in this position, we need to be concerned that the potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available. In 1879 Henry George anticipated this state of affairs when he wrote in Progress and Poverty:

The fact is that the work which improves the condition of mankind, the work which extends knowledge and increases power and enriches literature and elevates thought, is not done to secure a living. It is not the work of slaves driven to their tasks either by the, that of a taskmaster or by animal necessities. It is the work of men who somehow find a form of work that brings a security for its own sake and a state of society where want is abolished.

A Country Based On A Dream

Our country was founded on the dream that We the People can do things for each other instead of depending on the rich and powerful to throw us scraps.

If you look at our Constitution you see that our country is supposed to be for We the People. And I mean just look at it, not read it. The only words you see from any distance are the words “We the People.” The Founders were making a point.

The Constitution told the world about a dream that “We the People” would build a country that protects and empowers us, where together we do things for the common good, to make our lives better. And for a while we did that.

We have lost sight of that dream. We no longer seem to recognize who our country is for. We no longer talk about the common good.

Who is our country for? Who is our economy for? Certainly a We the People economy would at the very least guarantee that We the People have jobs and an income until a job is available.

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Wait, We Outsource Military Supply Contracts To CHINA?

We give away our jobs and factories and industries to China. Some geniuses apparently thought that meant we should also let our military security be contracted out to China as well.

A new report from the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), Remaking American Security, Authored by Brig. Gen. Adams (US Army, Retired) looks at supply chain weaknesses and chokepoints, to see how vulnerable our security is to disruption by China and other “potentially unreliable” foreign suppliers.

Yes, we farm out critical defense supply contracts to that China, the country that has been hacking into our computers.

Take a look at AAM’s landing page for the report, Report Says U.S. Military Dangerously Dependent on Foreign Suppliers to see the Executive Summary and links into the report.

Conclusion: Our “over-reliance on foreign suppliers for critical defense materials” means that the country is dangerously dependent on “potentially unreliable” foreign suppliers for the raw materials, parts, and finished products needed to defend America.

Here is just one example from the report: “The United States is completely dependent on a single Chinese company for the chemical needed to produce the solid rocket fuel used to propel HELLFIRE missiles.”

Solutions: This is so important that I am going to list the entire summary of conclusions, details are available in the report and condensed on a separate PDF.

But first, I want to point out that following these recommendations will also increase our own job base, reduce our massive trade deficit and strengthen our economy.

  • Increasing long-term federal investment in high-technology industries, particularly those involving advanced research and manufacturing capabilities;
  • Properly updating, applying, and enforcing existing laws and regulations to support the U.S. defense industrial base;
  • Developing domestic sources of key natural resources that our armed forces require;
  • Ensuring that defense industrial base concerns are considered at the highest levels when formulating the U.S. National Military Strategy, National Security Strategy and throughout the Quadrennial Defense Review process;
  • Building consensus among government, industry, the defense industrial base workforce, and the military on the best ways to strengthen the defense industrial base;
  • Increasing cooperation between federal agencies and between government and industry to build a healthier defense industrial base;
  • Strengthening collaboration between government, industry, and academic research institutions to educate, train, and retain people with specialized skills to work in key defense industrial base sectors;
  • Crafting legislation to support a broadly representative defense industrial base strategy;
  • Modernizing and securing defense supply chains through networked operations that provide ongoing communications between prime contractors and the supply chains they depend on; and
  • Identifying potential defense supply chain chokepoints and planning to prevent disruptions.

Please visit AAM’s page on this report, and if you can please read the report.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

Benghazi

I’ve been trying to figure out what the Republicans are going on about with Benghazi. They have themselves all in one of their frenzies. But no one can figure out why.
It started out with Romney saying Obama “sympathized with the attackers.” But now they’re going on about how there is a cover-up that is worse than Watergate. (But they always say that…)
So like most of us, I haven’t been able to figure out just what was supposed to have been covered up. But now I think I get it.
Here is what I think is going on: They are trying to say Obama covered up that there was an attack because the election was coming. They believe that all news of attacks helps Republicans and hurts Democrats! So they think if the pubic had known there had been an attack (which everyone of course did know) then they all would have decided to vote for Republicans. And that’s why they say Obama “covered up” that there had been an attack.
That’s why Romney did that weird thing in the debate about how Obama never said there had been an attack, and it turned out he had said it immediately.
Remember, when Bush was President, how they would make it seem like there was a terrorist around every corner? Two dark-skinned guys on a boat with a camera and the whole right-wing media machine would go nuts about “terrorists planning an attack.” They would make up stories about terrorist attacks at convenient times, and raise the alert level from red to dark-red, etc. Remember how they would use terrorism to silence everyone, and get more votes?
Republicans believe that news of an attack helps them, and hurts Democrats. That is what you have to understand, to understand this whole Benghazi thing. When you try to understand just what Obama is supposed to have covered up, that’s it.
They are screaming because Obama didn’t go all “noun verb 9/11.” They believe they own that.
Of course, everyone knew there had been an attack. But never mind that.

So Much For “Politics Stops at the Water’s Edge”

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To understand the damage Mitt Romney did to the country today, please read Why politics stops at the water’s edge by Dave Winer
I’m talking first about Romney undermining decades of US Middle East policy by declaring Israel’s capital to be Jerusalem, and second by encouraging Israel’s right-wingers to attack Iran.
Excerpt:

Overseas, we’re all on the same team. It’s about keeping the country strong, and that’s something Romney believes in, if you take him at his word. If a foreign leader were to get the idea that he or she could choose who they negotiate with, then the US is only one half as strong as it would be if there were only one go-to guy. If 25 people have equal power, then each represents a country with the sway of a third-tier power. Gone is the power and prestige of the United States.
The only way it works in favor of the United States is if we are united. Work out our differences here, and all our power will be represented overseas. But we only have one President at a time. And if you’re playing on our team, you have to respect the wisdom of that rule.

Must-Watch! Who benefits from a war with Iran?

Last night on The Young Turks: Who benefits from a war with Iran?

Cenk breaks down which people would benefit from war with Iran. U.S. military and intelligence officials are against the country getting involved in conflict, but evangelicals, neo-conservatives, oil speculators, and defense contractors all have a lot to gain. Cenk points to the $3 trillion spent on the Iraq war to help explain what. “Somebody made that 3 trillion dollars,” Cenk says. “It didn’t just come out of our pockets and go nowhere. It went into someone else’s pocket.”

Dear Deficit Commission, It’s Not Hard

Dear Deficit Commission,
It’s not hard to figure out why we have a huge deficit. It’s so easy I don’t have to use words. Here are some pictures:

Bill Clinton raised taxes on the rich. Bush cut them.
Now, about that huge national debt…

That second chart kind of explains itself.
The third chart can help you find a place to get some money:

(Note: There is no more Soviet Union.)
In case that isn’t clear enough, try this:

Let me know if you still have any questions.
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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Why I Support Obama’s Afghan Strategy

Here are my reasons for supporting this strategy of a surge with a timeline at the end:
First and foremost, women and the Taliban. This is the main reason I support this – we cannot abandon the women and people of Afghanistan to the Taliban.
This is not an “escalation” in the way that we are used to from Vietnam. This strategy – the one Bush resisted for years – has shown success in Iraq and has reduced the fighting, allowing the society to stabilize.
This is not Vietnam, where we were fighting the people. We are not fighting against a popular insurgency. We are helping the people throw off a bunch of thugs.
Which leads to the government, we are not there to help a corrupt government maintain power against its opposition as we were in Vietnam. Part of this plan imposes accountability on the corrupt government there. That is part of the trap Bush left behind. But we can’t just abandon the people there because of the corruption in the government.
Always keep in mind the impossible position that we are in because of Bush. We wouldn’t be there at all now except for Bush. He used corrupt strategies to win, aligning us with the corrupt elements of the country. After going in they just dropped it, letting the Taliban come back.