August 1, 2001 the Treasury Dept. began borrowing billions to pay for Bush tax cuts…

Nearly ten years ago the Bush administration had the genius idea of giving out massive tax cuts that were geared toward the wealthiest Americans. They were supposed to bring us unparalleled levels of prosperity but when you start out by borrowing 51 billion to pay for tax rebate checks it might be a sign that your plan just might not be sound fiscal policy.

On Aug 1, 01 the Associated Press ran this article.

You can check out the entire article out here. According to Citizens for Tax Justice the last decade of Bush tax cuts cost the American people 2.5 trillion dollars.


Billions of dollars originally believed to have been lost, may have been stolen in Iraq

After the U.S overthrow of Dictator Saddam Hussein in March 2003, the Bush administration flooded the country with cash for reconstruction projects in the first year. Pentagon officials figured that one C-130 Hercules cargo plane could carry $2.4 billion in shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills. They sent 21 flights to Iraq by May 2004.

This month, the Pentagon and the Iraqi government are wrapping up the program responsible for all that money, but despite years of audits and investigations U.S. Defense officials still cannot account for a missing $6.6 billion in cash. Federal auditors are now saying that some or all of the funds may have been stolen. Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, an office created by Congress, said the missing $6.6 billion may be “the largest theft of funds in national history.”

Iraqi officials are threatening to go to court to reclaim the money, which came from Iraqi oil sales, seized Iraqi assets and surplus funds from the United Nation’s oil-for-food program. Congress has already given out $61 billion of U.S. taxpayer money for similar reconstruction and development projects in Iraq.

“Congress is not looking forward to having to spend billions of our money to make up for billions of their money that we can’t account for, and can’t seem to find,” said Rep. Henry Waxman(D-Beverly Hills), who presided over hearings on waste, fraud and abuse in Iraq six years ago when he headed the House Government Reform Committee.

Theft of such a staggering sum might seem unlikely, but U.S. officials aren’t ruling it out. Some U.S. contractors were accused of siphoning off tens of millions in kickbacks and graft during the post-invasion period, but Iraqi officials were viewed as prime offenders.

House Government Reform Committee investigators charged in 2005 that U.S. officials “used virtually no financial controls to account for these enormous cash withdrawals once they arrived in Iraq, and there is evidence of substantial waste, fraud and abuse in the actual spending and disbursement of the Iraqi funds.”

Pentagon officials have contended for the last six years that they could account for the money if given enough time to track down the records. But repeated attempts to find the documentation, or better yet the cash, have turned up empty.

Saudis warned U.S. that oil speculators are driving up gas prices…

When the price of a barrel of oil hit a record $147, back in July 2008, the Bush administration asked Saudi Arabia to produce more crude in hopes that it would drive down the price. The Saudis agreed, but did warn the administration that it was Wall Street speculation and not a shortage of oil that was pushing up prices. Saudi Oil Minister Ali al Naimi told U.S. Ambassador Ford Fraker that the Saudis would have trouble finding customers for the additional oil, according to a confidential State Department cable dated Sept. 28, 2008,

“Saudi Arabia can’t just put crude out on the market,” Naimi said, and that”speculators bore significant responsibility for the sharp increase in oil prices in the last few years,”.

Despite a weak demand, the price of a barrel of oil has gone up more than 25 percent over the past year. Just like the Bush administration before it, the Obama administration has been slow to regulate oil speculators, but the Commodity Futures Trading Commission recently charged a group of financial firms with manipulating the price of oil in 2008. Despite these charges the commission hasn’t enacted a proposal to limit the percentage of oil contracts a financial company can hold, while Congress remains focused primarily on big oil companies, debating whether to eliminate tax breaks for an industry in which the top six U.S. companies earned $38 billion in first-quarter profits.

The Saudis have apparently been saying  for years that something should be done to curb the influence of banks and hedge funds that are speculating on the price of oil, according to diplomatic cables made available by the WikiLeaks website. The cables show that the subject of speculation has been raised in working group meetings between U.S. and Saudi officials, in one-on-one meetings with American diplomats and at least once with President George W. Bush himself. Saudi officials explained that they have two primary concerns about artificially high prices: that they’ll dampen the long-term demand for oil and that the wide price swings typical of commodity speculation make it difficult for them to plan future oil field development. After that $147 a barrel peak in 2008 prices plunged to $33 a barrel as we entered into a global financial crisis.

Dr. Majid al Moneef, Saudi Arabia’s OPEC governor, explained his understanding of the full impact of speculation to U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., back in July 2009. Moneef said Saudi Arabia suspected that “speculation represented approximately $40 of the overall oil price when it was at its height.” He also suggested that we need  “improved transparency”, a reference to the fact that most oil trading is conducted outside regulated markets, and better communication among the world’s commodity markets so that oil speculators can’t hide the full extent of their trading positions.

Moneef also suggested that the U.S. consider “position limits”, restrictions on how much of the oil market a company can control, something the CFTC is considering. But the proposal to prevent any single trader from accumulating more than 10 percent of the oil contracts being traded hasn’t received final approval, and the CFTC also has yet to define what it considers excessive speculation.

Today, speculators who’ll never take possession of a barrel of oil account for 70 percent of oil futures trading, and the volume of speculative trading has grown fivefold.

Senator McCain says torture did not lead to the location of Bin Laden

According to Senator John McCain waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques did not lead to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

In a speech on the Senate floor, the Arizona Republican said former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and other Bush Administration supporters of harsh interrogation techniques were wrong to claim that waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, provided information that led to bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. Sen. McCain, spent 5½ years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, and also said that torture is not an acceptable tool for the U.S. to use in the fight against terrorism.

Senator McCain said that according to the facts provided to him by CIA Director Leon Panetta, the hunt for bin Laden did not begin with fresh information from Mohammed, and that the name of bin Laden’s courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, came from a detainee held in another country.

“Not only did the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed not provide us with key leads on bin Laden’s courier, Abu Ahmed, it actually produced false and misleading information,” McCain said. He called on Mukasey and others to correct their misstatements.

McCain also said “Ultimately, this is about morality. What is at stake here is the very idea of America — the America whose values have inspired the world and instilled in the hearts of its citizens the certainty that, no matter how hard we fight, no matter how dangerous our adversary, in the course of vanquishing our enemies we do not compromise our deepest values,”..”We are America, and we hold ourselves to a higher standard. That is what is really at stake.”

Tax cuts do not create jobs, in the U.S. anyway…

If you turn on your television during any economic debate you will hear a talking head at some point say that tax breaks for the wealthy aka “the job creators” will in fact create jobs. This is absolutely true, unfortunately the jobs being created are not in the U.S. Ex-President George “dubya” Bush enacted significant tax cuts pretty much from the beginning of his first term in office, yet they had no effect in slowing down the massive spike in job outsourcing that started in the early 2000s. As a matter fact, the Bush Administration actually defended outsourcing of American jobs as a good thing. According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. multinational corporations cut their work forces, since the start of the 2000s, in the U.S. by 2.9 million while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million. Huge tax cuts and outsourcing of jobs do wonders for a corporations profit margin but very little for the average American looking for work.

Corporations response to the economic downturn? More outsourcing of course. In 2009 many top executives attended the “2009 Strategic Outsourcing Conference“. More than 70 of these executives answered a poll about how their companies responded to the countries economic problems. Below is a pie chart based on their answers.

While so called pundits and some so called leaders in Washington claim that we must lower the tax burden on the “job creators” to turn the economy around, corporations continue to move jobs overseas, avoid paying the already historically low tax rates as they are and rake in record levels of cash.