Welcome to the United States of the Banana Republicans, Back-room dealing a Capitol trend GOP flexing its majority power
Dismayed that the technology company Accenture had located its headquarters in Bermuda, thereby avoiding paying hundreds of millions of dollars in US taxes, the House Appropriations Committee voted 35-17 this summer to strip the firm of a $10 billion Homeland Security contract.
It was a rare moment of bipartisan agreement and an important victory for those who decry corporate tax loopholes. But it didn't last long. The Rules Committee, the all-powerful gatekeeper of the Republican leadership, prevented the measure from reaching the House floor. In a further show of its power to pick and choose what the full House can vote on, the Rules Committee allowed the House to vote on a ban on future Homeland Security contracts to overseas companies — but let the $10 billion flow to Accenture, which spent $2 million last year lobbying the government.
The Accenture episode is emblematic of the way business is conducted in the 108th Congress, where a Republican leadership has sidelined legislation unwanted by the Bush administration, even when a majority of the House seemed ready to approve it, according to lawmakers, lobbyists, and an analysis of House activities. With one party controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress, and having little fear of retaliation by the opposing party, the House leadership is changing the way laws are made in America, favoring secrecy and speed over open debate and negotiation. Longstanding rules and practices are ignored. Committees more often meet in secret. Members are less able to make changes to legislation on the House floor. Bills come up for votes so quickly that elected officials frequently don't know what's in them. And there is less time to discuss proposed laws before they come up for a vote.
For those following the Kennedy crash or the vultures that swope down to feed on any news attached to the Kennedy name might find this interesting. Yes Congressmen do have to go out in the middle of the night to vote,
The Rules Committee commonly holds sessions late at night or in the wee hours of the morning, earning the nickname "the Dracula Congress" by critical Democrats and keeping some lawmakers quite literally in the dark about the legislation put before them. On the Patient's Bill of Rights legislation in 2001, for example, the Rules Committee made a one-word change in the middle of the night that drastically limited the liability of HMOs that deny coverage to their patients. The measure was hustled through the House hours later, with few lawmakers aware of the change.
This is part of a long and well researched article by Susan Milligan at The Boston Globe. I get tired of hearing myself say it, but it cannot be repeated enough how deeply corrupt this president and his Congressional handmaidens are. If you asked Bush, a conservative congressman or senator what ethics means, they would probably have to look it up in a dictionary. There is the possibility that the word has been scrubbed from government issued dictionaries all together.
According to Global security, "The cost of a new M1A2 tank is approximately $4.3 million." After all these years, Bush has found something to veto
The Congressional Research Service says that the bill would bring total Iraq war spending to about $430 billion. In addition to $28.9 billion for other hurricane relief,, the bill includes $4 billion for levees and flood control projects in Louisiana. It includes $65.7 billion for war operations. Bush says that the bill is supposed to cover emergency spending, and that the Senate has filled it with "unecessary spending."
Let's try and sought this out. There are about 133,000 zip code locations in the US. 430 Billion equals the total cost of Iraq so far, tanks costs 4.6 million each, which means that 430 billion would buy 100,000 tanks. We could buy 75 percent of the entire US zip code their own tank. More then enough fire power to defend ourselves aginst any Islamic-fundie-jihadists. Or we could buy the city of New Orleans approximately 107.5 levees. Or we could buy New Orleans one doubledecker levee and spend 422 billion on the Great Wall of Mexico to keep out illegal aliens. This would be a bargain, we could probably get Lou Dobbs, Bill O'liely, and that probably insane Malkin, to man the watch towers with their own muskets and three point hats for free, for the good of the country. – I see the far right fringe conservatives use this kind of number juggling all the time. Like the deaths in Iraq are a tiny penitence easily dismissed compared to WWII.
Porter Goss, to his credit, did make a valiant effort to revitalize the human collection side of the Agency. He reopened CIA posts overseas that his predecessor, George Tenet, had closed. On the demerit side of the ledger, however, Goss also politicized the CIA. He brought political operatives into the CIA who made loyalty to the Bush Presidency the primary concern. This helped drive out much needed talent and weakened the CIA's ability to conduct overseas operations while tarnishing the CIA's tradition for offering objective analysis.
There is a lot of key board pounding out there about Goss today and no doubt there will be more, but for now this post by Larry Johnson is the don't miss read. I'd write something about the sex angle to the story, but for now all there is, is that tidbit from Bill Kristol, and since Bill is such a twisted propagandist I'll just leave it alone for now.
In our neighboring town in Illinois a man of a good family and of good standing in the community began to speculate on the Chicago Board of Trade. He was as honest a person, perhaps, as you or I. He thought he was. For years he had been a trusted, Christian worker, and treasurer of the Sunday-school. But he
made just one venture too many. He had lost all; could not even replace the Sunday-school fund that he had simply used, no doubt expecting to replace it with usury; but the loss and disgrace were too much for him to face, so he deserted home and friends and honor and all, and secretly ran away. The speculating gambler became a deserting embezzler. The person who has acquired a passion for betting on races and games is on a fair way to professional gambling and to speculating on the markets. And rarely does one ever escape these, if once he gets a start in them.
from Questionable Amusements and Worthy Substitutes by J. M. Judy