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Archive for February 4th, 2009

by Geezer Power

Muckity.com

Retired Gen. Jack Keane also contributed to surge strategy in Iraq
By A. James Memmott
September 22, 2008 at 10:15am

In the military, as in politics and in business, connections count.

And, by most accounts, one connection that impacted the war in Iraq for the better was the friendship between two soldiers, Gen. David H. Petraeus and retired Gen. John M. “Jack” Keane.

Petraeus, who stepped down last week as commanding general of coalition troops in Iraq, is widely praised for his leadership following the so-called “surge” of 21,500 additional U.S. troops in Iraq that began in early 2007.

But Keane also deserves credit, analysts say, for his early advocacy of the surge.

The former Army vice chief of staff, Keane retired in 2003 after a 37-year career. But even though he was retired, he remained actively involved in the debate over the conduct of the Iraq war.

He visited Iraq often. And as he saw conditions there deteriorate, he became a strong advocate for sending in additional troops.

In December 2006, Keane and Francis W. Kagan, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, published a pro-surge report entitled, Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq.

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It would take many moons to follow the trails of chicken $h*t to the defense industries, news analysts, and military contractors, where ex military brass are sitting on the boards to insure the “more of the same” agenda in the Middle East.

The troop carriers, armored cars, and even the tanks are obsolete in a real war where the so called enemy has real weapons and money to replenish them. Yet we are cranking them out like there is no tomorrow where we can continue to bully and maim unarmed countries. If Iraq or Gaza had stinger missiles with depleted uranium warheads, you can bet that there would be no boots on the ground.

Just my opinion, but I think that there is a lot of difference between collective punishment of a civilian population and an all out war, with a formidable enemy, where there really is a winner.

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U.S. Attorney Scandal: Feds Probe Domenici for Obstruction of Justice In Iglesias Firing

A federal grand jury probe of the firings of nine U.S. attorneys during the Bush administration is focusing on the role played by recently retired Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) and former senior Bush White House aides in the 2006 dismissal of David Iglesias as U.S. attorney for New Mexico, according to legal sources familiar with the inquiry.

The federal grand jury is investigating whether Domenici and other political figures attempted to improperly press Iglesias to bring a criminal prosecution against New Mexico Democrats just prior to the 2006 congressional midterm elections, according to legal sources close to the investigation and private attorneys representing officials who prosecutors want to question.  Investigators appear to be scrutinizing Iglesias’ firing in the context of whether he was fired in retaliation because Domenici and others believed that he would not manipulate the timing of prosecutions to help Republicans.

Previously, Domenici was severely criticized by two internal Justice Department watchdog offices, the Department’s Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), for refusing to cooperate with their earlier probe of the firings of the U.S. attorneys. In part because of their frustration that Domenici and his chief of staff, Steve Bell, as well as several senior White House officials, would not cooperate with them, the Inspector General and OPR sought that a criminal prosecutor take over their probe. It is unclear whether Domenici will now cooperate with the criminal probe. Domenici’s attorney, Lee Blalack, in an interview, declined to say what Domenici will do when he is contacted by investigators.

The focus of the grand jury probe was described by a federal law enforcement official, two witnesses who have been recently been asked to answer questions from investigators, and an attorney representing a former Justice Department official who has been told that investigators want to question his client.  People who had been contacted by investigators spoke on the condition that they not be named because they did not want to upset federal law enforcement officials who would question and investigate them and also because they believe that simply being questioned might unfairly tarnish their reputations.

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McCain Opposes Recovery Package Because It Has ‘Corporate Giveaways’ He Once Campaigned For

Posted by Ben Armbruster, Think Progress at 3:12 PM on February 3, 2009.

The return of the double-talk express.

Over recent weeks, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has emerged as a vocal critic of President Obama’s recovery package, claiming it is too big and filled with “pork.” McCain now says he will not vote for the bill in its current form in part because the legislation, in his view, does not sufficiently reduce business taxes:

McCAIN: We should have cuts for business and business taxes and small business taxes should be cut. [CBS, 2/2]

McCAIN: We need to make tax cuts permanent, and we need to make a commitment that there’ll be no new taxes. We need to cut payroll taxes. We need to cut business taxes. [FNS, 1/25]

And of course, McCain campaigned for president promising $45 billion in tax breaks for the 200 largest corporations. Yet it seems McCain has had a quick change of heart. This morning, McCain sent out an e-mail blast to his campaign mailing list complaining that “the proposal on the table is big on the giveaways for the special interests and corporate high rollers, yet short on help for ordinary working Americans”:

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Republicans Clearly Are Willing to Let This Country Collapse if They Think it Will Win Them Elections

By Doug Kreeger, AlterNet. Posted February 4, 2009.

It is abundantly clear that the Republican leaders are going to do everything to prevent Obama and the Dems from doing anything constructive.

Last week, we witnessed how the Republicans will help serve this country in the worst crisis since the Great Depression.

By standing together in opposition to the stimulus package, they showed the world that they haven’t at all joined the momentum of the new administration, rather they are still playing politics and are focused on the 2010 elections. Their objections to the stimulus have nothing to do with trying to solve this crisis.

I was always struck during the Bush Error (otherwise known as Era), that the axis of evil title was slapped onto any entity not aligned with their inane response to any issue they faced. Whether it was Iraq or Hurricane Katrina, time and time again we were expected to take their word through blind faith and or outright deceit.

Now the remaining cronies have sunk to an unthinkable new low. It is abundantly clear that the Republican leaders are going to do everything to prevent anything constructive from happening. They will be sure our damaged nation does not get fixed on Barack Obama’s watch, the public be damned.

Last week, Obama’s plans were debated in Congress. His goal of creating 2 million to 3 million jobs in the next two years through a massive rebuilding program of our crumbling infrastructure, was countered by the Republicans’ revised stimulus plan. Their plan was not detailed beyond more tax cuts.

Here’s the catch: The Republicans said their plan would create 6 million jobs. Really. Remember “Mission Accomplished”? Just saying something doesn’t make it true.

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Obama to introduce executive pay limits for bailed out companies.»

Think Progress- By Faiz Shakir on Feb 3rd, 2009 at 10:25 pm

The Obama administration plans to mandate new executive pay limits for financial companies that are receiving any help from the $700 billion bailout fund. “If the taxpayers are helping you, then you’ve got certain responsibilities to not be living high on the hog,” President Obama said in an interview. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has proposed that no employee of a bailed-out company can receive more than $400,000 in total compensation until it pays the money back.

UpdateObama will announce today that he’s imposing a cap of $500,000 on the compensation of top executives at companies that receive significant federal assistance in the future.

Update Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was the first to propose the idea of capping salaries last October. Watch his appearance last night on The Rachel Maddow Show.

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Obama to detail compensation limits on executives

JIM KUHNHENN | February 4, 2009 10:05 AM EST | AP

WASHINGTON — Call it the maximum wage. President Barack Obama wants to impose a $500,000 pay cap on executives whose firms receive government financial rescue funds, a dramatic intervention into corporate governance in the midst of financial crisis.

The new restrictions, described by an administration official familiar with the new rules, are to be announced Wednesday morning at the White House. The steps set the stage for the administration’s unveiling next week of a new framework for spending the money that remains in the $700 billion financial rescue fund.

“If the taxpayers are helping you, then you’ve got certain responsibilities to not be living high on the hog,” President Barack Obama said Tuesday.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the plan had not yet been made public, said the most restrictive limits would apply only to struggling large firms that receive “exceptional assistance” in the future. Healthy banks that receive government infusions of capital would have more leeway.

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