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03/29/2003 Archived Entry: "The Star Spangled Banner"

On the Political/Economic Front:

I highly recommend Geov Parrish's article "Beyond the funhouse walls", subtitled, "Prospective sources of information -- sans cheerleading -- regarding the U.S.invasion of Iraq and world response." It includes an *excellent* list of web news sources.

Reflection of the day: When Bush addressed the troops at McDill Air Force Base in Florida last week, the Star Spangled Banner introduced him with a flourish. Did anyone reflect on the irony of this? The anthem was written by Francis Scott Key who watched his city survive the intensive bombardment of a foreign aggression. My heart goes out to the people of Baghdad, some of whom died in last night's US bombardment. Mark Fiore's latest cartoon, "Congratulations on Your Liberation," has real sting.

US defense secretary Rumsfeld -- "Rummy" to his critics -- just raised the stakes and the possibility of expanding "the enemy" by issuing a stern and public warning 1) to Syria for allowing"pro-Saddam" equipment to cross into Iraq and 2) to Iran for allowing anti-Saddam militants to do the same. The common denominator: the US wants to control all movement in Iraq, whether it is pro or anti-Saddam. BTW, Syria dismissed the U.S. accusations as an attempt to divert attention from "war crimes" committed against Iraqi civilians.

But even as Rummy rattles his tax-paid sabre at fresh opponents, Congress is trying to pin him down on the cost of war. He went before the House and Senate on Thursday to defend Bush's demand for an emergency $75 billion to cover the war, which is now generally projected to be a matter of months rather than weeks. In fact, when an aggressive reporter pushed Bush on the time frame of the war, he was adamantly clear: "as long as it takes." A scarier statement was never uttered. This is especially true as the plan Bush has put before Congress gives him unprecedented and virtually sole authority to allocate funds without any role for Congress. Bush's answer to what is the cost of war would undoubtedly be, "however much it takes."

The US is bankrupting itself over the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism -- and no one is safer as a result. The dollar amounts, the sweeping regulations are more than ordinary people can comprehend. Can you picture a billion $? It must be understood in the microcosm. Every city, every state is grabbing at every loose buck it can from any source available. Examples: a city in Indiana is asking people to prepay taxes and trust them on amount -- "To avoid cash-flow problems later, the Boone County treasurer wants homeowners and their mortgage lenders to pay property taxes this year before they're told exactly what they owe." Hawaiians face an unprecedented number of tax increases. "The Democrats in the state Legislature and Honolulu Mayor...are proposing to raise taxes on a variety of fronts. This when Hawaii taxpayers already pay the fourth highest taxes in the nation, and the economy and businesses continue to suffer under the state's and city's repressive tax and spend policies." California, the nation's most populous state, this week took a step closer to collecting tax on sales of consumer goods over the Internet--a move rejected by its governor in better budgetary times. Colorado wants the feds to pay for snow removal. And, then, a contender for the Chutzpah-A-Go-Go Award Minnesota's governor wants war protestors to pay for own arrests. Way to go Gov. Pawlenty!

And as the US sinks beneath the Herculean financial burden of WAR, WAR, WAR -- as long as it takes, as much as it takes! -- Canada is doing well.

More in a bit but I am posting this for the purposes of expediency.


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