Republicans and Democrats are arguing over spending once again, this time about what to do with the mess on the East Coast in the wake of Hurricane Irene. You see, FEMA is just about out of money and the Republicans don’t want to give them any more unless it can be offset by cutting spending elsewhere—this after already making “draconian” cuts to the deficit in August and even more cuts sure to come in November. When all is said and done, the specifics of this story are unimportant and there aren’t even any real villains—the sad fact of the matter is that this country is in such dire financial straits that we can’t even afford to clean up after natural disasters. Read more here.
In other news, Dick Cheney’s new book, In My Time, is making waves and garnering a lot of attention, as I’m sure was the author’s intention. Colin Powell wasted no time in calling it a stinking crock of shit full of “cheap shots” and now Powell’s chief of staff during his time as secretary of state, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, has denounced Cheney as being “vindictive” and a “war criminal”—charges that Mr. Cheney seems reluctant to refute; in fact, he has come right out and said that torturing prisoners of war is a fine thing and he’d do it again if he could. Even now, Cheney still refuses to admit that Iraq was a colossal failure, electing instead to herald it as a triumph. And why not? Col. Wilkerson said that Cheney was “president for all practical purposes” during George W. Bush’s first term in office, which makes sense, since Bush never struck me as a particularly evil man—just a very stupid one.
According to MSNBC: “Wilkerson claimed that Powell was misled by Cheney and the CIA’s director of central intelligence, George Tenet, before giving his key address on Iraq to the United Nations, during the run-up to the war.
“‘[Cheney] had been out there [to the CIA] a dozen times to put his personal imprint on George Tenet, John McLaughlin and others so that they would know positively what he wanted, and what he wanted was war with Iraq,’ Wilkerson said.”
“Waterboarding is a war crime, unwarranted surveillance … all of which are crimes. I don’t care whether the president authorized him to do it or not, they are crimes,” Col. Wilkerson told ABC.
But so what? Everyone already knows that George W. Bush is an idiot and his administration was rife with liars and criminals; it’s just somewhat unsettling to see a crooked old buzzard like Dick Cheney write a goddamned book about it.
Meanwhile, President Obama urged Congress today to extend bills funding highways and air travel, which according to him will protect something like a million jobs. “For construction workers and their families across the country, it represents the difference between making ends meet or not making ends meet,” Obama said. “All of them will be out of a job just because of politics in Washington. That’s just not acceptable. It’s inexcusable.”
Of course it’s inexcusable. But John Boehner’s spokesman, Brendan Buck, said this: “Aside from the president today, no one has suggested the highway bill will be allowed to expire. Republicans support an extension of the highway bill and appreciate the need for a long-term solution for infrastructure projects.”
Well, given the Republicans’ recent track record, no one can blame Obama if he anticipates yet another manufactured crisis/hostage situation at the hands of the GOP. John Boehner and his ilk routinely dismiss anything the president comes up with out of sheer spite and on general principle—even if it’s something that they agree with. This is a story worth following as the September 30 deadline draws closer.
In other news, Barack Obama is still dangling his jobs proposal out there like a carrot on a stick, only now he has decided that he’d like to unveil it next Wednesday while addressing Congress—the catch is that it’s smack in the middle of the Republican presidential debate in California. John Boehner has asked Obama to postpone his address until the following day, which just happens to be the opening NFL game, which kicks off football season. So far, both sides have accused the other of orneriness and being spectacularly pigheaded, but they’re said to be working on a “compromise” that is expected to yield no results. This is what it has come down to: Democrats and Republicans arguing about when to get together and argue. The White House has called the scheduling snafu “coincidental,” but it’s hard to accept that this isn’t a poke in the Republicans’ eyes—even though Obama apparently didn’t take into consideration the fact that many people own DVRs, VCRs, and even two television sets.
Other than that, it’s business as usual in the news. Perry is leading the Republican pack, Romney is trying to figure out what happened and how he can fix it, and Rick Santorum just stayed home. I’m not sure what kind of crazy shit Michele Bachmann is cooking up in her cauldron, but whatever it is, it will be screwy enough to make headlines and too batty for anyone to take seriously, which on the evidence is not the best way to run a presidential campaign. As for Romney, he has taken to criticizing Obama’s foreign policy in a desperate attempt to win back his front-runner status. As a Republican, he abhors big government almost as much as he loves spending cuts … except when it comes to the defense budget. Romney is proposing that we increase spending on our military—better planes, bigger bombs, and more troops—all so we can more efficiently eradicate nuisances like China, Russia, Pakistan, and Korea if they continue to annoy us and make American businessmen uncomfortable. Our country is reeling from one catastrophe after another, FEMA is bankrupt, we’re $14.6 trillion in debt … and Romney’s solution is to bolster our military and make some more enemies—or at least piss off the ones we already have.
But what do I know? War is good business, they say; I’ve even heard it uttered that war is money … to wit:
It took World War II to get us out of the Depression, so maybe it’s time for another big one.
And so much for that. Here’s your wisdom: