E-mail, Taxes, Contracts, and Old 1200


The Decline and Fall of HRC

The Atlantic has on-line the text of its current article on the Decline and Fall of Hillary Clinton. It’s pathetic, or fascinating, or funny, depending on your attitude toward the candidate herself. A couple quotes from the early section of the article.

The Front-Runner’s Fall

Hillary Clinton’s campaign was undone by a clash of personalities more toxic than anyone imagined. E-mails and memos—published here for the first time—reveal the backstabbing and conflicting strategies that produced an epic meltdown.

…I approached a number of current and former Clinton staffers and outside consultants and asked them to share memos, e-mails, meeting minutes, diaries—anything that would offer a contemporaneous account. The result demonstrates that paranoid dysfunction breeds the impulse to hoard. Everything from major strategic plans to bitchy staff e-mail feuds was handed over. (See for yourself: much of it is posted online at www.theatlantic.com/clinton.)

The account in The Atlantic contradicts the conventional wisdom — the prating of the pundits — about the nature of and the reasons for Clinton’s failure. CW had the outline, but missed the underlying problems which leap out from the memos and e-mails.

My favorite so far: On December 2, Hillary chewed out her staff because they were not on the attack. So her staff dug in, and discovered that Obama, in justifying his campaign finances, told the Chicago Tribune he had not been planning to run for President for as long as some other candidates had. But Clinton’s staff discovered that Obama had long ago written an essay titled “I Want to Become President.”

They launched an attack. Which fizzled, when people found out Obama had written the offending essay in kindergarten.




My God How the Money Rolls Out

By the end of this year, the Pentagon will have spent — since the 2003 invasion — about one hundred billion dollars on private contractors in Iraq. That’s $100,000,000,000. I know, dollars aren’t what they used to be, but still….

That dismal bit of information comes from a Congressional Budget Office Report, which is supposed to be released today.

Use of Iraq Contractors Costs Billions, Report Says

The report… will say that one out of every five dollars spent on the war in Iraq has gone to contractors for the United States military and other government agencies, in a war zone where employees of private contractors now outnumber American troops.

The Pentagon’s reliance on outside contractors in Iraq is proportionately far larger than in any previous conflict, and it has fueled charges that this outsourcing has led to overbilling, fraud and shoddy and unsafe work that has endangered and even killed American troops.

In addition, the dependence on private companies to support the war effort has led to questions about whether political favoritism has played a role in the awarding of multibillion-dollar contracts. When the war began, for example, Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, the company run by Dick Cheney before he was vice president, became the largest Pentagon contractor in Iraq. After years of criticism and scrutiny for its role in Iraq, Halliburton sold the unit, which is still the largest defense contractor in the war, and has 40,000 employees in Iraq.

Wait a minute, wait a minute. Are they suggesting that Dick Cheney, our Vice-President, the man who in 2000 was put in charge of finding a running mate for The Big W and was honest enough to admit that the best choice was Dick Cheney, are they suggesting, are they implying, are they even accidentally leaving room for an inference, that DC pitched all that Pentagon money to his… to his former company? Good grief, have they no decency, no dignity, no sense of honor? (The Times, I mean.)


Who, Me? Pay Taxes? Surely You Jest.

Another government report, this from the Government Accountability Office — which is a part of Congress, so you might suspect they’d be mean to the Administration — says that only one-third of U S corporations paid income tax between 1998 and 2005.

Most companies in US avoid federal income taxes

The study… said about 68 percent of foreign companies doing business in the U.S. avoided corporate taxes over the same period…. Collectively, the companies reported trillions of dollars in sales, according to GAO’s estimate.

The GAO study did not investigate why corporations weren’t paying federal income taxes or corporate taxes and it did not identify any corporations by name. It said companies may escape paying such taxes due to operating losses or because of tax credits.

More than 38,000 foreign corporations had no tax liability in 2005 and 1.2 million U.S. companies paid no income tax, the GAO said. Combined, the companies had $2.5 trillion in sales. About 25 percent of the U.S. corporations not paying corporate taxes were considered large corporations, meaning they had at least $250 million in assets or $50 million in receipts.

Operating losses. Tax credits. Good solid reasons for not paying taxes, and surely no one would have cooked the books. It is worth noting that foreign and domestic firms chisel their way… oops, I meant, avoid taxes at about the same rate.



Just to show I could do it.

There. I put together a thousand-word post without once — until this very moment — mentioning the word “McCain.” However, having finally said the-thing-which-ought-not-to-be-said, I’ll take this opportunity to point out that JMCC — by the way, has anyone other than me been amused by MCC, Roman numerals for 1200, which is about where the man belongs? — Johnny the M will be in Aspen, Colorado later this week, to speak at the Aspen Institute.

I’m not sure what he intends to talk about, but it will be a challenge NOT to talk about Social Security. Ever since his dim-witted comment that SS is “an absolute disgrace, and it’s got to be fixed,” people have been trying to pin him down on the topic.

McCain to draw protest in Aspen
Social Security reform remarks rankle retirees

Sen. John McCain’s appearance Thursday in Aspen happens to coincide with the 73rd anniversary of the Social Security Act, and a group of retirees plans to protest in response to the presumed Republican presidential nominee’s recent remarks about the retirement program.

The [Alliance for Retired Americans] has staged protests elsewhere around the country at McCain campaign stops, but this will be the first in Colorado, according to Bernadette Horchner, field representative for the state group.

“We are there to let him know the system has worked for 73 years,” Horchner said.

“We’re just absolutely flabbergasted that a man who has been collecting close to $24,000 a year in Social Security has called it a disgrace,” she said. “He doesn’t give back the money.”

That’s right. Old 1200 has been raking in nearly twenty-four thousand a year from that SS system he’s so anxious to “fix.” But then, with his wife’s millions — or is it billions? — twenty-four grand is little more than a rounding error on the AmEx bill.


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