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09.07.11

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Telling the Big Lie

A new report by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan to be released to Congress concludes that over the past decade there has been $30 billion wasted. Taxpayers have spent a total of $206 billion on contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than $40 billion of this was awarded to Kellogg Brown & Root, who, along with 21 other companies, accounted for more than half of the total. An additional $38.5 billion went to "miscellaneous foreign contractors."

An aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell has hit out at Dick Cheney, saying the former vice president fears being tried as a war criminal. The deceit of Dick Cheney is indeed of Shakespearean proportions, as evidenced in his new memoir. For the former vice president, lying comes so easily that one must assume he takes the pursuit of truth to be nothing more than a reckless indulgence. The bigger the lie is, the more people are apt to believe it, because they can't possibly believe you would dare to tell such a big lie unless it was the truth!

Ted Rudow III

Palo Alto


Tempest in a Teapot

Karl Rove was a big supporter of the new wave of conservatives taking over the current House and Senate, and he raised a considerable amount of money to help get them voted in. Unfortunately, what he mostly ended up with is the Tea Party, whose members immediately cited Karl Rove as an example of corrupt GOP establishment cronies that are ruining Washington. More recently, he has been complaining that the Tea Party is going too far right, thus creating government dysfunction, and that their candidate Rick Perry is not presidential. So it seems Karl Rove created an unintended problem for himself and the country, namely a gridlocked government and a candidate that is not centrist enough to be credible, even for Rove.

This is not a new problem for Rove. He was one of the architects of the Bush presidency and its Iraq War, which is now creating a highly dysfunctional condition for the people of Iraq. Some refugees from Iraq now complain that it is uninhabitable. Yet when Bush launched these dubious wars, those who were brave enough to question the fiscal policy of spending hundreds of billions and maybe trillions of dollars on these wars were often branded as socialists or weak on terror or perhaps Taliban sympathizers. As a result, even most Democrats caved into pressure and ended up being supporters of these nation-building extravaganzas.

Only some lonely Democrats and only a few independents like Ron Paul and Donald Trump have been vocal critics of this war effort, which seems to have built expensive roads, bridges and schools in Iraq while the United States suffers serious infrastructure problems. Similarly, not many fiscal conservatives worried about the potential devastating economic result of their two unfunded Bush wars, an unfunded additional Bush Medicare plan, unfunded Bush tax cuts and deregulation of U.S. banks. For example, mainly fiscal conservatives voted for the earlier incarnation of the Tea Party—namely the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which repealed 1930s legislation that had separated commercial and investment banks. This legislation was masterminded by the then deregulation-crazy Republicans. As a result of these policies, coupled with continued massive off-shoring of jobs to places like China, the entire economy was on the brink of disaster in 2008.

Apparently, Rick Perry would now have all of these folks tried for treason.

The fiscal policies of the U.S.A. therefore seem to be very shortsighted. Ronald Reagan used to say that "deficits do not matter," and Dick Cheney used to say "Ronald Reagan is correct, deficits do not matter." "Do not matter," indeed—until the bill is due. Handily, the bill suddenly became due when fiscal conservatives could sneak in and place the country's overloaded credit card on the desk of President Obama, and run off leaving him holding the bag.

Tim Lee

Santa Rosa


Dept. of Flubber

An item in last week's issue about Healdsburg's Taste of Sonoma stated that MacMurray Ranch was still owned by the family of actor Fred MacMurray. In fact, the property was purchased by E&J Gallo in 1996.

The Ed.


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