is getting seriously unwieldy; please post in the new thread here: http://www.dead.net/forum/long-strange-and-trippy-still-more-current-events
> The cost of the war to America was roughly one trillion dollars.
Where this gets really interesting is that the US borrowed that trillion dollars from the People's Republic of China. Add to this the fact that most of the oil coming out of Iraq these days is headed, not for the US, but to Asia, and you've got yourself a real head-scratcher of a conclusion: the US borrowed a trillion dollars from the Chinese to secure their supply of oil?
There are few people out there who believe this wasn't a war of personal animosity between Dubya and Hussein. All the evidence was forged or made up as far as weapons of mass destruction are concerned. In a place where there was no AQ one came to be established in the chaos of war. The US was ill-prepared, thinking it would be a shorter term conflict and not committing enough resources to it. Not only that, the generals didn't conceive of the IEDs that would be used to blow up convoys. Thus, American soldiers didn't have the body armor they needed or the armored vehicles they needed. Soldiers didn't have the psychological preparation needed to fight an enemy without uniforms, melting into an innocent population, thus causing unbelievable psychological damage to the troops - suicides and PTSD were rampant in the front line troops. Some of them come home to become ticking time-bombs.
The whole argument of "So what if there weren't weapons of mass destruction there, Hussein was a bad man who needed to be removed." doesn't hold water. There are a lot of bad dictators out there whom we don't regard as bad enough to go to war over. This war is the result of the neo-cons who were thoroughly disgraced -- people like Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld & Bush. These former leaders of the US don't even dare to travel to Britain as they may be arrested, to this day, as war criminals.
Due to this war being the first one where contractors took a large percentage of low-level jobs there were relatively few casualties among US soldiers, about 4000. This should be compared to the most precise count of Iraqis killed, based partly on Wikki Leaks information, that shows that roughly 120,000 Iraqis were killed from all sources of violence, not just American or American hired, during the years of war 2003-2011. The cost of the war to America was roughly one trillion dollars.
It was this indiscriminate killing by Americans and their civilian contractors that turned the Iraqi population against the US as the war progressed. The neo-cons are now widely regarded as short-sighted fools and part of an administration that allowed carnage and widespread economic suffering around the world to this day because of lax oversight of investment banks.
The recent spate of gun violence in upstate NY, about 200 miles to the West of me, is quite frightening. The Governor of that State passed the most strict gun controls in the nation and it seems to be of no avail. And that is because the genie is out of the bottle with no way to put the genie back. 250,000,000 guns on our streets will never be turned in again to any significant degree.
This latest episode had an otherwise normal 64 year-old man shoot 4 people in a barbershop in Herkimer and then head across the river and shoot two more at a quick lube in Mohawk before returning to Herkimer and barricading himself in an abandoned building in the middle of downtown. He was fatally shot when he killed a police dog that was sent in by SWAT teams after a 24 hour stand-off.
These things happening in small towns are very frightening to those of us who live in semi-rural America. I attribute a lot of these shootings not to people who are mentally unbalanced but to otherwise middle-class people who are slipping into poverty and feel that their lives are embarrassing and useless, on top of which they are continuously bombarded by news stories about Congress about to pull the social safety net out from under them. No subsidized housing, no food stamps, no medical care, no medicine, no social security check. This angst is felt by Millennial also who generally feel cheated that the good things 80% of the population experienced during their lives will not be there for them in a brave new world filled with crushing debt, global warming and helplessness in old age.
On TV this morning I saw a commercial for Sig-Sauer Academy. It was cutting- edge gun-nut stuff. It showed people responding to being touched on the arm by quickly whipping out a pistol and emptying a clip into them. Being touched on the arm does not constitute a mortal threat and in more than 75% of the states in this country the person who kills such a person with a legally concealed handgun will go to jail for involuntary manslaughter at the very least.
I guess the Pranksters pulled a fast one on the Smithsonian or maybe a replica was part of the deal, but they drove a bus across the country to be placed in the Smithsonian in or around 1997. I welcome this project by the Kesey family to restore the original bus and certainly hope funds can be raised.
Please keep us informed as I will certainly make a small donation to this part of history that could be preserved to at least 2065, the one hundred year anniversary of the Grateful Dead. It could be an attraction at a major festival of jam bands still belting it out and commemorating the scene and one of America's favorite bands. The venue should be UC Santa Cruz, where the archives are enshrined.
At least one member of the Republican Party seems to have suffered a moment of clarity recently. Speaking at CPAC, Newt Gingrich observed that the Republican establishment is "mired in stupidity."
...here's something else to flag down to this summer (well, this summer for the twinkies, next summer for the bus) the furthur bus!
The Republicans have their guns squarely set on entitlement programs and they are going to get their way. The Koch brothers have set the agenda with their billions and the media has served up this steaming pile of offal like lap dogs. The social contract is about to be broken and for the baby boomers it looks as if those 55 older will be able to keep their Medicare and SS benefits while those under that age will have their benefits cut and delivered two years later. This is not ridiculous, it is a crime.
Something needs to be pointed out here before this happens. The stinking mess created by lax regulation of investment banks by a Republican president resulted in massive bailouts that boosted the Federal deficit 1.45 trillion dollars in 2009. As of 2012, the Obama Administration has reduced that debt to 845 billion. The sky is not about to fall. We don't need to declare war on the poor by slashing entitlements and stabbing the middle class baby boomers in the back.
This whole dance by Obama seems very well orchestrated. First the big deal of increasing taxes on the rich and then the Republicans refusing to budge an inch on the tax code, closing massive loopholes for special interests you could sail a ship through. Then Obama goes on a "charm offensive" which is nothing but a euphemism for caving on entitlements. Centrist Democrats suck.
This rant is far from over. To be continued.
The Catholic Church's apology last year was for it's role during WWII, not for Cardinal Bergolio's conduct in Argentina. The Catholic church maintains still to this day that it's responsibility was to save Catholics during this time period.
Upon reflection, Bergolio has been very outspoken about the responsibility of the rich to the poor. Indeed this is the central to the problems experienced during the time of the disappeared in South America. Bergolio had to know what was going on but he couldn't call a spade a spade or he could have ended up like the Archbishop of El Salvador: Assassinated.
It was pointed out yesterday on MSNBC that this retirement of a pope and the election of the first pope outside of Europe in a strongly Catholic emerging continent is not an accident. The bottom line is more envelopes in the collection plate while a European oversees the "colored" pope so he doesn't run amok.
At least the last pope gave up the trappings of power such as his red Prada shoes. Jon Stewart pointed out that he could always use those shoes to click his heels three times together and incant:
"There is no place like Rome
There is no place like Rome"
Anti-gay marriage, anti-homosexual, anti, anti, anti. Turn on the lights in the cave, please. How sad. It's 2013 and the song remains the same. First Argentine pope or not, no new ground was broken here at all.
St. Bernard, man's best friend with brandy to boot, would've been a much better choice, imho.