As the bombs explode in the Middle East and the Bush administration fans the flames of war and fear the country he is supposed to be leading falls further into oblivion. With the mid-term elections approaching and the GOP having nothing to run on, their hopes reside in conflagrations around the world to distract the American people from their abysmal rubber-stamp record. It is time to take a second out from the distractions to remind ourselves what is actually going on in this country by touring the recent stories the corporate media refuses to address just in the past week.
Moving on from the deficit, we find that yet again, Bush simply does not care what you think. Awhile back he toured the country pimping his plan to dismantle the Social Security system. No matter how much he lied about the alleged insolvency of the system, the American people simply did not buy it. His proposal was met with virulent opposition in even the strongest of GOP backyards. The American people had spoken, "don't mess with our Social Security." Bush backed off, pretended to listen, and then immediately went about implementing the beginnings of his system anyway. Recently, in the budget review there was a proposal to spend 721 billion to turn the Social Security system into a system of private accounts with lower guaranteed benefits to Americans. Democratic senator Max Baucus summed it up by saying, "The President's proposal to privatize Social Security includes significant cuts in guaranteed benefits for the vast majority of Social Security recipients through the indexing of initial benefits to prices, rather than wages." What does all of this mean? While the president is trumping up losing over 550 billion dollars overall, he is also ignoring the will of the people to force his privatization scheme which will lead to the destruction of the system. So much for the will of the people.
Even the real stories coming out Iraq are not getting any attention from the media. It was also recently revealed that Halliburton, Dick Cheney's company, has overcharged the American government 1.4 billion dollars to provide substandard services to our soldiers. The charges included charging $45 for a case of soda and then re-charging for the soda when it was served by the glass to our troops. Instead of paying 80 cents for a pound of bacon, they charged $6. Instead of paying $450,000 for ice, Halliburton charged 3.4 million because they transported it from Alaska. A bag of laundry was charged for a mere $100. Tailoring services cost us 1.5 million dollars. A towel that should have cost $1.60 was jacked up to $7.50 just because of the embroidering. The abuses never seemed to end. If the overcharging was not enough to make you sick, how the troops were actually treated will. Faced with impure water conditions in Iraq, Halliburton chose to not purify the water and instead, allowed our soldiers to bathe and brush their teeth in water with E. coli bacteria floating in it. Halliburton also abandoned soldiers along mined roads because they preferred torching poorly maintained trucks and simply billing us for new ones. Not embarrassed by these abuses they also served food which had passed its expiration date along with food spoiled due to insufficient refrigeration. Where did the money go then if not our troops? It went to the executives of Halliburton who stayed at the luxurious Kempinski Hotel located on the "unpolluted azure coastline" for a meager $10,000 per month. Where is this story in our press? This company, with clear cronyism ties to the administration gets awarded these billion dollar, cost-plus contracts with no competition and then proceeds to bilk the American people of billions of dollars while nearly poisoning our troops and what is their reward? More contracts and less accountability from the rubber-stamp GOP Congress. In fact back in March, Democratic Representative Henry Waxman attempted to amend the defense appropriations bill to deny contracts to any firm that the Pentagon had found to have billed more than 100 million dollars in unreasonable costs. The Republican Party blocked it. This is YOUR money America. Remember what your representatives supported with this vote. They supported their big corporate friends over our troops and voted against responsible spending of your money. This all from the party that just last week called showing flag draped coffins of our fallen soldiers disgusting and an insult to military families. Hypocrisy and corruption; the running mates of the Republican Party this November.
It was reported this past week by Representative John Murtha that we are spending eight billion dollars per month in Iraq. Two billion per week. Eleven million dollars per hour. Can you really fathom those numbers America? Remember when you vote this November who continues to short change this country so that we can pay 11 million dollars per hour to continue a war that over 65% of this country says we should get out of. Remember when you look at the state of our education where so many kids are left behind daily because of lack of funding, that they choose to spend 11 million dollars per day in Iraq. Remember that they want to continue to the current wars and have designs on Iran and Syria, while ignoring North Korea. Remember Katrina and the lack of help for our own citizens. Remember the trashing of the constitution while we pretend to spread democracy around the world, well, the oil-rich portions of the world. Remember that every week there are stories just like this being ignored by the corporate press as they sell you the next war.