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Baghdad, March 19, 2003

On March 19, 2003 – a mere seven years ago – the United States commenced a blitz-krieg war against Iraq, following a year-long propaganda campaign conducted by the Bush administration both in the US and globally, asserting that Iraq had some hand in the 9/11 attacks on America, and that Saddam Hussein’s regime harbored “weapons of mass destruction” and was a direct and immediate threat to the United States.  In the following Constitutionally undeclared “war” some 200,000 to 1 million Iraqi’s were killed or injured, several million were forced into exile; 5,000 US troops were killed.  In this state of alleged extreme national threat the Bush administration cut taxes (primarily for the very wealthy) and did not institute a draft.  Rather it encouraged the populace to “keep shopping.”  In consequence the Bush administration, ostensibly a “conservative” one concerned about government spending, expanded America’s deficit, cut social services, abandoned the maintenance of national infrastructures, did not monitor Wall Street, and produced, belatedly, in consequence true shock and awe on a domestic level:  the economy collapsed.

In March 2010, the stock market climbed back to the 10,800 courtesy of trillions of dollars thrown at the very banking parties which played a major role in engineering those things which caused the collapse.  Officially American unemployment nationally stands at about 10%, though the real figures are more than double that.  Foreclosure rates on housing remains high, and second wave is about due owing to a cycle of “junk bonds” coming up for payment by already stressed banks.  Meantime the Republicans spent the last months in an hysteric but failed attempt to block any kind of health-care reform.  The bill was passed on March 21 and signed into law by the President on March 23.  Owing to Republican intransigence, the bill is a much modified mess, but still provides wide protections to most Americans, and brings 40 million health-care which was previously absent.

Republicans promptly indicated that they will contest this new bill, with legal suits and other tactics intended to slow down its implementation, likely to end before the Supreme Court, the rulings of which at late indicate a sharp Right-wing tilt.   Senator McCain announced that for the rest of the year Obama could expect “no cooperation” – as if there had been any previously.

Thus,  7 years after George Bush’s war of choice, the USA, rather than striding over the world as its singular Superpower,  as planned by his Neo-con cabal, instead limps along on a cylinder or two, struggling to stay a step ahead of a larger overall collapse.   Much of this situation is directly traceable to Republican policies of cutting taxes for the richest, allowing the deficit to balloon, declining to regulate obvious market abuses, and a general tendency of engaging in and encouraging corruption on a massive scale.  Not to mention dragging the nation into an utterly unnecessary and very costly war.   But, they assert they are the national security party.  In their 8 years at the helm these things happened:

At the conclusion of George Walker Bush’s term in office the United States was mired in two wars, for which no tax hike had been called for, the national surplus which he had entered office with had been converted to a large deficit, and the economy as he left office was in a free-fall collapse owing to the policies which his administration had promoted and practiced.   America’s reputation abroad was in tatters owing to Bush’s use of  “extreme rendition,” the officially sanctioned use of torture, the “unitary executive” policy of denying habeas corpus and the establishment of extra-legal prison camps in Guantanamo, Bagram and other sites.  Domestically police-state practices were emplaced and used to silence critics.    This is but a limited listing of the practices and policies which produced the situation with which the nation is confronted today.

White phosphorous over Fallujah

SHOCK AND AWE

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8 Comments

  1. I recently read an interesting article about the small bit of good contained in the health-care bill:

    “The claims made by the proponents of the bill are the usual deceptive corporate advertising. The bill will not expand coverage to 30 million uninsured, especially since government subsidies will not take effect until 2014. Families who cannot pay the high premiums, deductibles and co-payments, estimated to be between 15 and 18 percent of most family incomes, will have to default, increasing the number of uninsured. Insurance companies can unilaterally raise prices without ceilings or caps and monopolize local markets to shut out competitors. The $1.055 trillion spent over the next decade will add new layers of bureaucratic red tape to what is an unmanageable and ultimately unsustainable system. [...] This bill is not about fiscal responsibility or the common good. The bill is about increasing corporate profit at taxpayer expense. It is the health care industry’s version of the Wall Street bailout.”

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_health_care_hindenburg_has_landed_20100322

    • Not having read the bill (ha ha) I can only go by second hand accounts and to me it sounds like at first a deal for the insurance companies, but as usual they will squelch on it when it comes time to pay out – they will jack up the premiums on the argument that all those people they were forced to insure are costing lots, and the whole has to pay for it. Up go the premiums. Well, they had already jacked them up in anticipation. One hopes they will kill the goose laying their golden eggs, and make the premiums so high the government is forced to go single-payer public option. If Obama were as clever as some suggest, perhaps all this was just a stalking horse to lay the ground work for the public to demand “socialist” medical care. Or maybe he’s in the pockets of Wall Street and the insurance companies. Time will tell?

  2. “If Obama were as clever as some suggest, perhaps all this was just a stalking horse to lay the ground work for the public to demand “socialist” medical care.”

    The thing is, I don’t think that’s very smart either. If this bill is as junky as some are making it sound, many people in the United States will see that as validation of the GOP’s warnings. Obama can’t hope to win the next election if that’s the case, and with a Republican in the White House, it seems very unlikely that a public option will ever come to pass no matter what the public outcry is.

    As for being in the pockets of Wall Street, I think he already answered that when he appointed Summers and Geithner. The only other option is that he is woefully naive. Besides, it’s probably almost impossible to become President in the US — let alone stay President — without the pre-approval of Wall Street & Company.

  3. Hmm… I think many people, which would sort of include me, put up with the passing of this bill as a hold-your-nose for-the-moment possible solution which will lead to improvements. If the insurance companies behave as they did in the last 6-12 months, I suspect a public option will be the next step. Or maybe Obama is really in their pockets. Wait and see.
    Re Wall Street, the problem (and I dislike intensely that Geithner et al are Obama’s advisors and executors) is that Wall Street really does have the country by the balls (and clearly has some kind of veto powers over who gets POTUS status): while it would be very costly to them (but they have escape places on lovely islands far away) they really could take down the country to a very base level. It would provoke a revolution and those usually are aren’t so romantic as youth likes to think (I did once). Though it may be that some kind of disintegration a la the USSR is in order for the US, sooner than we think.

  4. Have you seen this? The article is about two weeks old but I just ran across it. “NY Times Reporter Confirms Obama Made Deal to Kill Public Option.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/miles-mogulescu/ny-times-reporter-confirm_b_500999.html

    • I’d seen a bit on that earlier, and just read the item you pointed to. Certainly the post-election behavior of Obama and co. indicated they didn’t really want the public option on the messy bill. Whether this was for calculated political reasons – the estimation they’d get nothing if they stuck with it – or that in fact they’re in bed with the corporate interests is open to question. It may be in following a certain Leninist (OMG) idea which happens to nevertheless contain a truth, they are simply giving the old capitalist insurance guys enough rope to strangle themselves with? The insurance companies are already putting up a fight about aspects of the bill, and only today was a note they’d (grudgingly) follow the rule of insuring kids with pre-existing conditions. Certainly it makes a kind of sense to give the insurance and drug and hospital groups room to demonstrate their real nature, exposing it in public, and then in socialist-phobic America, moving towards some non-profit restructuring of the whole medical biz. Whether this is Obama’s intention, your guess is as bad as mine for the moment. If he is playing really deep Go, maybe… Just like maybe his visit to Afghanistan was to make the mandatory Commander in Chief genuflection before pulling the plug? We’ll have to wait and see.

  5. I hope your benefit-of-the-doubt, wait-and-see approach turns out to prove my much more cynical approach wrong. Personally I just think that ample evidence has already been given.

    Obama just reversed his stance on off-shore drilling. I suppose this could be an astute political move on his part to see if the Republicans oppose the idea simply because he’s the one proposing it, damaging their party irrevocably in the process (if they’re stupid enough to fall for it). A huge gamble. Or it’s an April Fools joke. Or he’s easily duped. Or he’s completely bought. Or he’s just an empty shell of a human being. Or, well, who knows?

  6. Ah, for some reason I didn’t realize that the off-shore drilling was going to be part of a larger energy bill. Non-support by Republicans won’t damage their party one bit, of course.


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