Monday, August 07, 2006

“For where your treasure is,

there your heart will be also.”

This is a quote found in both Luke (12:34) and Matthew (6:21) – chapters of what the Party of God keeps purporting is its most favorite book in the whole, wide world.

So to test this thesis and measure where the Heart of the GOP really lies, Pamela Hess has been kind enough to set out the word-problem for the class to solve.

So let’s us all help out and do the arithmetic.

First the National Guard (all emphasis added by me).

Analysis: Nat Guard faces $23B deficit (updated)
By Pamela Hess Aug 2, 2006, 15:39 GMT

WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- The U.S. National Guard is $23 billion in the hole after five years of war and national disasters, its top general said Tuesday.
It will take $21 billion to reset the Army National Guard force and equip it commensurate with its responsibilities, and $2 billion to re-equip aviation in the Air National Guard, said Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, the chief of the National Guard Bureau.

About a third of the $21 billion is to replace equipment consumed by the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and peacekeeping assignments. The remainder is money that`s needed to close the gap from years of intentional underfunding, Blum said. 'I am not talking about the icing on the cake. That`s the cake,' he said.

The National Security Advisory Group, a Democratic policy organization headed by former Defense Secretary William Perry, said in a report issued Tuesday 'the bottom line is that our Army currently has no ready, strategic reserve. Not since the Vietnam era and its aftermath has the Army`s readiness been so degraded.'

The National Guard was created to be that strategic reserve: in the event of a major war, it would backfill and supplement the active-duty military. Because it was conceived as a force on the backburner, when resources have been scarce, it would often get the short end of the stick.

'It`s a bigger problem in the Guard because it was under resourced deliberately. That was the national strategy. The strategy never changed,' Blum said. 'We both have the same symptoms, but (the Guard) has a higher fever.'

Then the Regular Army.

By Pamela Hess
UPI Pentagon Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- The Senate's addition of $13.1 billion to the 2007 defense budget will be enough for the Army and Marine Corps to fix broken equipment now sitting idle.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace said the welcome infusion of cash will allow maintenance depots to hire back the skilled labor needed to restore and repair the backlog of vehicles and weapon systems run down by three years of war in Iraq.

However, it's only a drop in the bucket: the Army alone needs $17.1 billion to reset its force in 2007 and anticipates an annual yearly bill of $12 billion to $13 billion until two or three years after the Iraq war ends to reconstitute its equipment back to fighting form.

Pace and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld assert that the military is not having a "readiness crisis," despite the fact that there are no Army brigades trained and equipped and ready now in the event of a pop-up conflict, and two-thirds of the Army -- that is, the portion not deployed, reports readiness problems. Readiness ratings tabulate how many personnel are in a unit and how much of their equipment is combat ready.

"It's not wrong to say we have equipment deficiencies," Pace told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday.

But comparatively, the Army and Marine Corps are better equipped now than they were five years ago. Then, the Army had all 2,000 uparmored Humvees required, so had a high readiness rating, Pace said. It now has 6,000 Humvees - three times as many -- but only 50 percent of the 12,000 now required.

And what are the consequences of short-changing the military? (Same source)

Rumsfeld's three routes

As Congress heads into election season, Democrats are eager to score points against Republicans and the White House on the issue of military readiness, and they want to do so by plowing ground then-Candidate George W. Bush richly furrowed in the 2000 presidential campaign.

Bush told the Republican National Convention in 2000: "If called on by the commander-in-chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report ... 'Not ready for duty, sir,'" he said.

"How many divisions will we have to report that way to that question today based on the reporting system, General Pace?" said Rhode Island Democrat Sen. Jack Reed.

Pace confirmed that two-thirds of the brigades in the Army would now report as not ready.

"Sir, all I'm saying is that we are providing for our soldiers and Marines on the ground the finest equipment ever fielded. We are using it up at rates faster than we budgeted for. And therefore, to use the readiness system to identify, as you have, the requirement for more funding is absolutely correct," Pace said.

The Pentagon's defense in 2000, as it is now, was that units that are deployed always return less ready by equipment, training and rest standards. But they also return more experienced and hardened for the fight. In this case, however, there is no end in sight yet for the forces to regroup before the next crisis.

So we know what one problem clearly is: The armed forces are broke and on the verge of being broken.

By Republicans. By the Party of God which is now, in effect, crying poormouth over having to find enough money to fund the military at the level it needs to if it wants to win the war in Iraq (whatever the fuck that means anymore), preserve the military, and be ready for future threats.

It is that simple.

So what are they willing to spend – and spend lavishly – on?

Tax cuts for billionaire. Throwing money at men already wallowing in more cash that any thousand people would know what to do with.

First the numbers (Emphasis added by me.)

August 4, 2006
Wage Bill Dies; Senate Backs Pension Shift

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 — Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked legislation tying the first minimum wage increase in almost a decade to a decrease in the federal estate tax, denying Republicans a legislative victory as lawmakers head into a crucial month of campaigning before the November elections.

Republican backers of the measure, dubbed the trifecta for its three chief elements, fell 4 votes short of the 60 needed to cut off debate. Democrats had argued that it was a bad bargain to exchange a $2.10 wage increase for struggling workers for a costly tax cut for the country’s wealthiest families.

“This trifecta is a high-stakes gamble with America’s future,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat. “This is the worst special-interest bill I have seen in my time in Congress.”

Mr. Frist and his allies in business viewed the wage increase, stretched over three years, as an acceptable trade-off for a permanent reduction in the estate tax and $38 billion in tax breaks and federal aid that constituted the third part of the measure. But they could not overcome intense opposition from Democrats and organized labor.

Democrats said voters would see through the Republican tactic and be turned off by the Republican effort to win a major tax break for some of America’s richest families in exchange for raising the minimum wage to $7.25.

“The public has a pretty good nose for tricks and games,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “And they’re smelling it.”

Under the estate tax proposal, the amount of an individual’s estate that would be exempt from taxes would rise to $5 million by 2015, with $10 million exempt for a couple.

After the vote, Mr. Frist noted that the major provisions of the measure — the wage increase, the estate tax reduction and the package of tax breaks — all enjoyed majority Senate support yet could not clear the procedural hurdles.

Mr. Frist again declared that the minimum wage rise could only be considered in tandem with the others. “As I’ve said before, these issues must be addressed as a package all or nothing,” he said.

Despite Mr. Frist’s vow to let the wage increase die, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, said Democrats would hold the Senate in session this fall if there were not a second vote. “If he is serious about that threat, I hope he knows he has a fight on his hands,” Mr. Reid said.

Four Democrats joined 52 Republicans in the vote, while 38 Democrats, one independent and three Republicans opposed the bill, including Mr. Frist, who voted with the opponents for procedural reasons.

Democrats voting to move ahead with the measure were Senators Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Bill Nelson of Florida. In addition to Mr. Frist, Republicans who joined Democrats were Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and George V. Voinovich of Ohio.

The estate tax change would cost the government an estimated $268 billion in revenue over the next 10 years. Democrats say the future costs are much larger.

And, finally, the loathsome ideology that undergirds it all.

Conservatism on the ropes



Is conservatism finished? What might have seemed an absurd question less than two years ago is now one of the most important issues in American politics. The question is being asked by conservatives themselves as they survey the wreckage of their hopes, and as their champions in the Republican Party use any means necessary to survive this fall's elections.

But I would argue that this is the week in which conservatism, Hamiltonian or not, reached the point of collapse. The most obvious, outrageous and unprincipled spasm occurred Thursday night, when the Senate voted on a bill that would have simultaneously raised the minimum wage and slashed taxes on inherited wealth. Rarely has our system produced a more naked exercise in opportunism.

Most conservatives oppose the minimum wage on principle as a form of government meddling in the marketplace. But moderate Republicans in jeopardy this fall desperately wanted an increase in the minimum wage. So the Republican leadership, which dearly wants deep cuts in the estate tax, proposed offering nickels and dimes to the working class to secure billions for the rich. Fortunately, the bill failed.

The episode was significant because it meant Republicans were acknowledging that they would not hold congressional power without the help of moderates. That is because there is nothing close to a conservative majority in the United States. Yet their way of admitting this was to put on display the central goal of the currently dominant forces of politics: Give away as much as possible to the truly wealthy.

Where is the Republican treasure? Where is its heart?

Deep in the silky pockets of the absurdly wealthy. Lumping away there like three pounds of festering fat while our children are maimed and slaughtered for lack of the money that the Party of God sees fit to throw at its oligarch masters.

Billions lost.

Billions more pissed away.

Billions more looted by the no-bid buddies of this White House.

Hundreds of billions more we never should have spent in the first place on this insane war, lied into reality by despicable men.

And now that the Treasury is scraped bare, and the troops they stranded in murderous deserts to fight their Forever War are clad in rags and tatters, the GOP show us their True Heart:
“Give away as much as possible to the truly wealthy.”

Filthy bastards, every one of them.

And if you voted for them, you’re a filthy bastard too.


US Blues said...

I love when you shove the Bible back up their anal sphincters where it belongs, brother driftglass.

Kid Charlemagne said...

USB--the reactionaries shove the Bible up their arses THEMSELVES, by denying its clear instructions to take care of the less fortunate.

To all--The most stunning thing about these "conservatives" [I use the quotation marks because there is nothing truly conservative about messianic foreign policies and budget deficits the size of Jupiter] is how they shortchange the very armed forces without which they cannot possibly achieve their goal of dominating the Middle East, and then the world. Sometimes I think I could stand our right-wingers being evil. if. they. JUST. WEREN'T. SO! FUCKING!! STUPID!!!

driftglass said...

us blues,
The princes of karma do not like it when the devil cites scripture for his own real estate schemes.

Kid Charlemagne,
It is indeed that combo-platter of perfidy and idiocy that grinds my gears.

Loveandlight said...

They really have become the fucking Ferrengi of real life, haven't they?

Though sometimes I wonder if they're letting the military fall apart so that there will be support for reinstating the draft after the next terrorist attack that they decide to let happen.

Anonymous said...

Free market economists so very rarely assume altruism, why then do they specially designate inheritance as an exception? Selfishness is by far the overriding motivation for humans. If you take the typical economist’s view and look to selfish motivations as the true incentive, one has to come to the conclusion that the estate tax is beneficial.

DaveinLittleRock said...

Pretty much right on, folks. I've been professional military (NOT a professional right-winger) for 25 years. I find this administration's incompetence and self-absorption totally at odds with military values of excellence and service before self.

I look at the Clinton days with hindsight-imposed nostalgia and mark the days until D. Rumsfeld is just another portrait in some DoD museum, somewhere. On that day, those of us who truly give a damn about the nation can get back to the business of defending her good name.

billy pilgrim said...


except the Ferengi had their Rules of Acquisition, which were inviolable.

As far as I can see, anything a Republican claims as God's Immutable Truth one day, is immediately subject to revision, rescinding, and/or complete reversal the next day, as long as it's done by a Republican. IOKIYAR is really their only guiding principle.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to say to DaveinLittleRock that by the time Rummy and the rest are done in Washington, America's good name will be a distant memory. As a Marine Corps sergeant myself, I feel that the Bush Adminstration betrays everything I swore to protect.

Anonymous said...

DG, you got noticed, again.

Lex said...

Kid C. nails it: The administration, having decimated the Army, now appears hell-bent on getting that army into a shooting war with Syria and/or Iran.

[Assad: "Oh, yeah? You and what army?"]

But Congress seems not to care, and at least 40% of the country thinks that's just ducky.

Gentlewoman said...

You are absolutely correct again, driftglass.

They are filth. Filth.

beervolcano said...

he he , did you call them the Party of God on purpose?

Someone should really ask Coulter if the Republicans are the Party of God. She would beat around the Bush and just try to rail on liberals, but you might be able to eventually get it out of her.

Of course, we'd then have to translate it into Arabic and trasmit it across the Middle East. Yes, the GOP is Hizb ullah.

tweez said...

Who did the painting/illustration at the top of this post? Should I be familiar with this picture?

Kid Charlemagne said...

Dear Spammer: Please go "Cheney" yourself with the nearest available cactus at your earliest convenience. Thanx.

Anonymous said...

People keep referring to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, as Republicans, Conservatives, and Neo-Cons.Those terms are inaccurate.This Bush crowd are full blown Fascists--pure and simple!! These people are War Criminals, Thugs and Profiteers!!

Anonymous said...

All I have to say about this post: WELL SAID.

driftglass said...

Otto Dix -- born Germany 1891 died Germany 1969

"Verwundeter (Wounded soldier) - Autumn 1916"


ice weasel said...

Amen brother drifty, amen.

terry of the C.A. said...

These guys don't give a fuck. They are just out to grap all the money/power that they can and live it up. Does anyone really think they care about the future? And I don't mean 5 years from now, I mean next week?
They don't SEEM capable of considering ALL possible outcomes of their actions, but I think they don't CARE about the outcome of their actions.
They have all probably bought islands somewhere warm and tropical, near their off-shore accounts, and will be drinking mai tais on the beach while the US is divided up between China and Saudi Arabia.
God help us!

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