California governor finally starts acting like a president
Harkavy (State of California)
Arnold Schwarzenegger has a long ways to go if he wants to become U.S. president.
Sure, he presided over the execution early today of Stanley “Tookie” Williams, kicking off the fourth day of Human Rights Week, but George W. Bush was the hangingest governor in U.S. history when his handlers ran Texas, as I pointed out January 6.
And, yeah, Williams was a Crip, but see my December 1 item for a look at just one of the many crips Bush has created over in Iraq. And unlike Williams, they have remained crips.
True, Schwarzenegger has had his share of scandals, including frequent bouts of being careless with public money. But he doesn’t come close to having the kind of money-making, death-dealing cabal headed by Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld.
Speaking of death, only yesterday the POTUS’s handlers decided to let their spokesman start bringing up the subject. From the White House’s transcript of Bush’s speech to the Philadelphia branch of the bidness/socialite networking conglomeration known as the World Affairs Council:
THE PRESIDENT: Thought I might answer some questions. (Laughter.) Yes, ma’am.
Q: Since the inception of the Iraqi war, I’d like to know the approximate total of Iraqis who have been killed. And by Iraqis I include civilians, military, police, insurgents, translators.
THE PRESIDENT: How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis. We’ve lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq.
Finally, Bush is stepping on the turf long claimed by such NGOs as Iraq Body Count. Who’s counting? Suddenly, the Bush regime has decided to reveal that it has been all along, of course.
No surprise that it happened, because Iraq is such a debacle that it’s better for the Bush regime to finally start bringing up the deaths. And it’s no surprise that it happened at this venue. The national board of the umbrella World Affairs Councils of America includes former Defense Department comptroller Dov Zakheim, one of the Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal’s crucial hires early on to oversee deals with defense contractors.
Zakheim was a “senior foreign policy adviser to then-Governor Bush,” according to his World Affairs Council bio. (Why Bush needed a “senior foreign policy adviser” as Texas governor is beyond me.)
A fanatically pro-Israel hawk, Zakheim was tapped in early 2002 to become president of Yeshiva University, but campus opposition forced him to withdraw his name.
He stayed at DOD until last year, a constant target not only of war critics but especially of anti-Semites, who point to his being a rabbi as proof of an international Zionist conspiracy.
Not that there aren’t enough real conspiracies to investigate — Wampumgate, Tom DeLay‘s congressional redistricting chicanery (now heading to the Supreme Court), the Downing Street Memo, Kazakhgate, Plamegate, and so on.
And then there’s one scandalous act that’s faded from memory but stands as the most glaring example in U.S. history (so far) of how the military-industrial complex is running the U.S. government. The Center for Public Integrity’s Elizabeth Brown wrote in July 2004 about this astounding case of outsourcing:
Private defense contractors have been given the authority to help prepare the president’s national defense budget — another job the Department of Defense has outsourced.
The Center for Public Integrity has found that at least three private-sector contracting firms have advertised employment positions for analysts to work in the development of America’s defense budget.
According to a job listing posted on the Web site of McLean, Va., defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, the company is looking for a senior budget analyst to work in a Department of Defense or military services budget division to “prepare the agency’s President’s Budget, Budget Estimate Submission and Program Objective Memorandum.” …
Despite the wording of the advertisement, [company spokesman George] Farrar said his company does not write America’s defense budget, for which Congress last year  authorized $400.5 billion, but has been paid by the government in the past to “assist with analysis to support budget requests.”
Shortly after being contacted by the Center for Public Integrity for this story, Booz Allen changed the language of the job description to: “provide budget analysis and supporting documentation to government client staff …”
Brown’s story noted that Booz Allen Hamilton had received more than $3 billion in DOD contracts during the previous six years, “increasing by an average of almost $100 million per year.”
Oh, you may be wondering about where Dov Zakheim landed after leaving DOD. Where do you think? He’s vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sticking close to the World Affairs Council’s branch in Philly. I’ve already marked January 23, 2006, on my calendar. That’s when preposterous pasha Jerry Bremer is scheduled to speak to the group.
Questions. So many questions.
As the Washington Post‘s Ellen Knickmeyer noted last month:
Bremer’s order on May 23, 2003, to disband [Saddam] Hussein’s nearly 400,000-strong army is seen by many critics today as one of the gravest miscalculations by the United States in Iraq.
Removing all vestige of Iraq’s army when there were not enough U.S. troops to fully secure the country left borders open, allowed the insurgency to flourish and encouraged the growth of private militias, the critics say. Jobless and embittered, some troops turned to the insurgency.
That probably won’t come up. But maybe someone will ask the Medal of Freedom winner what happened to those billions of dollars in Iraq reconstruction funds.
See, by any measure, Schwarzenegger has a lot of ground to make up if he wants to become the first foreign-born president. Changing the law so he can run — that’s no big deal, despite the opposition. To reach the White House, Schwarzenegger has got to start killing a lot more people (for real) and assembling a more powerful cabal.
No matter the race, he lags behind Bush. Killing one black man is nothing compared with Bush’s performance as a hanging governor. Since then? Forget it. And we haven’t even mentioned the Bush regime’s whitening strikes on New Orleans.