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So it's been exactly four weeks to the day since it was reported that Presidential Medal of Freedom winner L. Paul Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority lost $9 billion in taxpayer dollars.

Does anybody care?

Freedom medal winner L. Paul certainly don't:

This reports ``assumes that Western-style budgeting and accounting procedures could be immediately and fully implemented in the midst of a war,'' Bremer said.

What the fuck, L. Paul? We can't expect "western-style budgeting and accounting procedures" now? Are we in fucking Deadwood here?

On second thought, better not answer that.

"No law at all in Deadwood...is that true?"

Why this matters on the flip.

To reiterate the timeline:

On January 30, 2005, exactly four weeks ago today, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq released a report that concluded that the Coalition Provisional Authority, under the direction of United States Presidential of Freedom winner, L. Paul Bremer, lost $9 billion due to "inefficiences and bad management."

One day later, Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), the Ranking Member on the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, demanded a broad investigation of the $9 billion in missing reconstruction funds in Iraq, including a criminal investigation and Congressional hearings.

Exactly one week later, three weeks ago today, President Bush unveiled his $2.5 trillion budget, which proposes to eliminate dozens of domestic programs, including many that directly affect the poor, the weak and the infirmed.

Just as a point of order, kiddies, let's see just what possible programs that the Compassionate Conservative Chimp in Chief proposes to cut that could be fully funded if his Medal of Freedom winner had implemented some of those "Western style" accounting practices:

"I wouldn't trust a man who wouldn't try to steal a little." --Al Swearengen, proprietor of The Gem Saloon, Deadwood.

Some of the potential casualities of the "untidiness" that is the Folly in Iraq:
-- $1.8 billion unfunded monies for community block grants;
-- Cut $4.3 billion in 48 educational programs, including $2.2 billion for high school programs, mostly state grants for vocational education;
-- Cut $440 million in Safe and Drug-Free School grants;
-- Cut $500 million in education technology state grants;
-- Cut $225 million for the Even Start literacy program;
-- Cut $280 million for Upward Bound programs for inner-city youths;
-- Cut $150 million talent research program;
-- Cut $100 million in grants for land and water conservation;
-- Cut $94 million in grants for the Healthy Communities Access Program and phase out rural health grants;
--Cut a $143 million program for the removal of severely distressed housing;

That's a tidy sum of just over $8 billion. Leaving the Chimp a tidy $800 million to play with.

Meanwhile, hot on the trail of grifting in Deadwood, errr, Bagdad:

Exactly two weeks after the inspector general's report, the Democratic Policy Committee (DPC) held An Oversight Hearing on Waste, Fraud and Abuse in U.S. Government Contracting in Iraq (transcript here). Although all were invited, not a single Republican Senator chose to attend.

It's really too bad they didn't because, if they had, they really would have thought they'd been dropped into Deadwood. (I'm telling you, I caught some of this hearing live on CSPAN and they need a motto: "It's not TV, it's CSPAN." Crazy shit. Guys talking about playing indoor football with $100,000 bricks of Ben Franklins. Paying "ghost employees." I'm not making this up.

Here's a telling exchange between whistleblower Franklin Willis, who served in Baghdad as the Senior Aviation Official for the Coalition Provisional Authority under Freedom Medal winner L. Paul, and Senator Byran Dorgan:

Dorgan: But I wanted to start -- Mr. Willis, in your testimony that I had read, you talked about the issue of people being paid cash in bags and a substantial amount of that kind of thing going on. (snip) I think you described it as, kind of, a Wild West approach where somebody is to bring a bag and they get money in the bag, cash in the bag.

Mr. Willis: Yes, that was a rumor. I don't have personal knowledge. There had to be a lot of money there, whatever the sum was, because when we had to pay the second payment to Custer Battles of $2 million, an Air Force captain went down, got the money and brought it up. I've submitted to the committee a picture of that payment, in fact. Let me give you...

Sen. Dorgan: The captain went and got $2 million in cash?

Mr. Willis: Yes. $100 bills in plastic wrap. We played football with the plastic wrapped bricks for a little while. There is picture evidence of that particular transaction.


(Emphasis mine.)

Uh, excuse me? The captain went and got $2 million in cash? And you played football with it? I don't even think Al Swearagen has stones this big. Well maybe:

Swearengen: "Don't count on him to be loyal. And no fucking paperwork."
Nuttall: "I don't even know if he can write."

Yeah, but can he get a job for the CPA?
Here's another nice exchange. This time between Dorgan, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Willis:
Sen. Dorgan: The photograph that you reference is up here on a chart. It shows -- I believe that's the way money was transferred there.
(Note: The picture showed a pile of money on a table with three smiling Americans behind it, including the author.)
Is that correct? It sounds to me your description of passing money around to three, four different places in order to get it to somebody who that it's owed is kind of like passing an ice cube around. You know, by the time the person at the end of the line gets the ice cube, it's a radically different ice cube. Much smaller, I might suggest.

Well, let me call on my colleague Senator Reid.

Sen. Reid: What is the setting of that picture behind us?

Mr. Willis: That's the office of the advisers' group to the Ministry of Transportation. That's actually my desk right behind me. I'm the person in the middle there.

Sen. Reid: What is the --

Mr. Willis: We're in the palace ...

Sen. Reid: What are you doing with the money?

Mr. Willis: CPA headquarters. There was a payment due to Custer Battles of $2 million on July 31, 2003. And so we brought the money up, called in Mike Battles and said, "Bring a bag."

Sen. Reid: You know, I'm from Nevada and in years past there's been criticism about the cash involved in some of the old Nevada operations. I mean that's baby stuff compared to what we see even in this picture. How much money do you think we see right there in that picture?

Mr. Willis: Well I know exactly how much money that is. That's $2 million in $100,000
plastic-wrapped bricks. My right hand is holding $100,000 in that picture.

Reid had to leave early. But here was his final statement and you could feel the rage burning in his words. You could see it in his eyes:

Mr. Reid: I want to just say, Senator Dorgan, thank you very, very much for holding this hearing. I mean, the sad part about this -- we shouldn't be holding this hearing. This should be done by committees having jurisdiction to do oversight of these government operations. This is a scandal. I don't know -- you know, this is only the tip of the iceberg. This is absolutely unbelievable. I mean, I can't imagine that our government is allowing something like this to happen. We're talking about billions of dollars -- billions of dollars.

So we have a billion dollar scandal on our hands that republicans don't want to investigate, hell, they don't even want to hear about it. Meanwhile, Even Start literacy and Upward Bound, gutted!

"I'm declaring myself conductor of this meeting as I have the bribe sheet." -- Swearengen

If you're with me thus far, here's a final goodie from the DPC meeting. This time it's Rep. Henry Waxman and Willis:

Rep. Waxman: Let me ask you about a specific example. Iraqi Airways had 2,400 employees in late 2003, but hadn't been operational for some time. Isn't that right?

Mr. Willis: That's correct.

Rep. Waxman: And has the airline been fully operational, how many individuals could
reasonably have been employed?

Mr. Willis: Three hundred, 400 maximum.

Rep. Waxman: Yet the provisional authority -- here you have an airline that's not even
operating, the provisional authority wanted to make sure the employees are paid and they
paid the salaries of 2,400 people, regardless of whether these employees were actually
working. Do you know if the 2,400 employees were actually real people?

Mr. Willis: I presume that some of them are ghost employees... (snip)

People, one of the problems we have with chasing these corrupt fuckers is we almost end up with "scandal overload." Every day I think we're finally seeing THE scandal. The outrage. And you know what? Gone in the next news cycle.

I think we need to hammer the point home to voters everywhere that while their school programs and environmental protections and worker protections are being gutted in the interest of balancing the budget, the recent recipient of the Presidental Medal of Freedom and his ex-BOSS could care less where $9 billion of taxpayer dollars went! Damn, if we can't attack the rethugs in their pocketbooks, what chance to we have?

"Here's my counter-offer to your counter-offer: go fuck yourself." --Al Swearengen

Is this Deadwood or the Senate floor on picture day?

Am I living in Bizarro World?

Originally posted to bigskiphazzy on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 04:28 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  One last good Deadwood quote (4.00)
    Al Swearengen: "Sometimes I wish we could just hit 'em over the head, rob 'em, and throw their bodies in the creek."
    Cy Tolliver: "But that would be wrong."

    Ah, but that would be wrong.

    If you aren't outraged, you're not paying attention.

    by bigskiphazzy on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 04:28:38 PM PST

  •  asdf (none)
    If you are in Bizarro World, I think we all are?

    The only second term dubya deserves is 20 to life!

    by Street Kid on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 04:30:29 PM PST

  •  But But But (4.00)
    UN OIl for Food!  UN Oil for Food!  Kofi Annan is a crook! (blah, blah, blah)

    Scandals only matter to our bought and paid for media (the "BPFM") if its a liberal scandal, you should know that by now.

  •  Deadwood's a great metaphor for FUBAR Iraq, (none)
    except that Swearingen has killed fewer people in two years than the Bushites kill, or cause to be killed, in a day.

    The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

    by devtob on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 04:37:29 PM PST

  •  But... (4.00)
    "This reports assumes that Western-style budgeting and accounting procedures could be immediately and fully implemented in the midst of a war,'' Bremer said.

    I thought the war was over, and this was reparations...you know, "Mission Accomplished"?

    The Cognitive Dissonant... "Bringing Marshmallows to the Firestorms of Freedom!"

    by Dood Abides on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 04:45:33 PM PST

  •  Yep, It is Bizarro World. (4.00)
    Hypothetical WH Press Conference:

    Hypothetical [Shill] Reporter: "Mr. President, are you concerned, even to the slightest degree of minimal concern, about the Coalition Provisional Authority, under the direction of Mr. Bremer, reportedly having lost $9 billion of the American taxpayers' money?"

    President Bush: "No. I mean, I don't know. Ughh, Imean, Sure, I'm concerned. I must be concerned, at least somewhat. We are looking into it. Yeah, that's it. Next question."

    •  Ah, that ain't (4.00)
      nothing.  Military has $1 trillion they can't quite figure out where it went.

      Wake up to find out that you are disguised as a squirrel -- with apologies to R. Hunter

      by Frankenoid on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 05:03:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bush, looking around oval office... (none)
      Where are those 9 billion dollars? {looks out window, smiles, mugs for camera}... Nope, those 9 billion dollars have gotta be here somewhere...{looks under furniture} nope... no billions of dollars over there...maybe under here...

      "So let me get this straight- they believe in Social Darwinism, but not um, actual Darwinism??"

      by bonobo on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 10:19:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Follow the Money (4.00)
    Coalition Provisional Authorities show a few of the Benjamins.

    For a sense of perspective, 9 Billion Benjamins weigh about 70 TONS.

    The present administration is rolling back the Great Society, the New Deal, the Enlightenment, and the Renaissance.

    by JohnInWestland on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 05:10:30 PM PST

  •  So recommended (4.00)
    I cannot hit the recommend button fact enough. How does this shit not stick? Where is the outrage? I guess it's hard when every week this White House commits a high crime against the nation or the world.
    •  That is the truth (4.00)
      Outrage is a sort of peak emotion....we are on a plateau

      support the troops......impeach the president

      by evaguitar on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 05:26:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good Theory, Joe. (none)
      I guess you hit on the correct answer: It is perfectly understandable why absolutely nothing whatsoever sticks, even to the most minimal degree of stickiness. Just too damn many high crimes and other outrages, too constantly. Too many bald-faced lies, too constantly. It is simply impossible to keep up. The outrage meter can only spin so fast, then it blows a gear and is rendered permanently inoperable.
  •  WOW (none)
    I am in a band...if I lost our pooled money I'd have to sleep outside of the van, away from the pissed off motel-less folks inside, and sure as Hell would not be expecting any one to buy me breakfast in the morning, let alone give me a medal!

     

    support the troops......impeach the president

    by evaguitar on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 05:24:56 PM PST

  •  Here's a clue ... (none)
    Paul Bremer, with several duffle bags, outside the Green Zone

    Avoiding Theocracy at Home and Neo Cons Abroad

    by UniC on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 05:33:34 PM PST

  •  Bizarro World (none)
    Yep, we've been living in Bizarro World for some time. I watched this on CSPAN also.  My mouth fell open.  I mentioned it to my repug friend, her response was, "Oh, everyone does that.  Dems and repugs alike."  But, where is the outrage?  How come it's not hitting the front page of every newspaper?  Maybe it's not sexy, I don't know.  Maybe 51% of the country has their heads up their butts?
    •  everyone does what? (4.00)
      Plays football with bricks of money worth $100,000?

      Where is the outrage, indeed.  And we heard about Clinton's BJ woes nonstop for three years.

    •  9 billion dollars (none)
      = 37500 Armstrong Williamses.

      "So let me get this straight- they believe in Social Darwinism, but not um, actual Darwinism??"

      by bonobo on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 10:29:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Standard parrot answer. (none)
      All politicians are crooks, they're all the same. "Personal Responsibility" needs to be changed to Personal Accountability for the Republicans. Ignorant red state idiots are just handing to them. Yeah, take it from the kids, the old people, the poor people and give it to the suits, it's all good.

      I think we'll see some rage of all kinds soon.  

      A society of sheep must beget in time a government of wolves. Bertrand de Jouvenel

      by Little Red Hen on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 05:57:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  No shit (none)
    Even more outrageous, don't forget that this story actually came out almost a year before the RWCM actually gave it any play.

    Speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act. - Orwell

    by TracieLynn on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 05:49:31 PM PST

  •  That's $9,000,000,000.00 (4.00)
    I think we should always spell it out.
    (Somehow "$9 billion" doesn't seem as big.  People are too used to hearing these big numbers being thrown about.)

    In the ~1 minute it took me to write this post, that amount would have accumulated over $1000 of interest.

    Life is like this analogy...

    by shock on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 06:09:11 PM PST

    •  Gee (none)
      do you think that amount might fix SS, and poverty and EVERY FUCKING THING THATS OUT OF WHACK IN THIS COUNTRY?
      Sorry, I am OUTRAGED
    •  i agree with you about spelling it out! (none)
      i have said this on many occassions. I can not talk in those terms.  my simple mind can not imagine that amount of money int he first place.  if it is beyone a hundred or twenty dollar bill I simply can not imagine any of this!  
      •  Wrap your mind around this... (4.00)
        With just the interest from $9 billion dollars, there would be enough to give every single registered member of DailyKos $1000 per hour, for every hour, for the rest of our lives, and still not touch the principle.
        (That's assuming 6% interest compounded continuously.)

        Or better yet, as is implied by the photo below, that money could go to children we've orphaned in Iraq.  (Sadly, I'm guessing there are approximately as many of these as there are members of DailyKos by now.)

        Life is like this analogy...

        by shock on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 07:01:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Math Whizes Requested (none)
          Down thread with the picture of the 2 million, (which seems to be minus one brick), I had calculated 9 Billion as weighing 70 Tons. I now believe that figure to be incorrect. One American bill weighs .7 grams. What do 9 Billion weigh?

          The present administration is rolling back the Great Society, the New Deal, the Enlightenment, and the Renaissance.

          by JohnInWestland on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 07:21:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  eek (none)
          Sorry, this is incredibly pedantic here, but it's good to accurately wrap our head around these numbers.

               8766 hours in a year (averaging in leap years)
          x  40,000  Kossacks
          ------------------
          = 350,640,000 Kossack-hours

          Interest on $9billion at 6% cont. for a year is about $556,000,000.

          So we'd be making about $1.60 an hour on this interest, each, as we sleep.  About $14,000 a year.  Or you could take it as a lump sum of about 2 and 1/4 footballs each.

          Poor me, I dig myself holes! Somebody marry me, I'm getting old! -- Sole

          by MediaRevolution on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 08:22:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Outrage fatigue (none)
    Another four years of my outrage-meter being pegged at maximum.  The fun just never stops with these clowns, does it?

    Just what I needed. I can't even keep track any more.

    "Those who betray the trust...are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors." - George HW Bush

    by DavidW in SF on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 06:15:12 PM PST

  •  Unfunkingbelievable! (none)
    Seriously, it's just unfunkingbelievable...

    ...how entertainingly you wrote this diary!

    Oh yeah, and how obscenely arrogant every person connected to the Bush/Cheney administration behaves.

    It's is mind-bogglingly tiresome reading about scandal after scandal on this site, never hearing a fucking peep about them anywhere in the MSM.

    Thanks again for your brilliantly written diary though, if we're going to be slowly suffocated by this sulpherous cloud of republican scandals, we might as well be entertained by the messengers!

    Recommended.

    "We need to get back to basics and start listening to people from outside Washington." - Howard Dean

    by deafmetal on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 06:17:26 PM PST

  •  Deadwood (4.00)
    Didn't get a cent of that cash...

    In the future people will wonder why most didn't challenge Bush's excesses
    The truth? Complacency was easier

    by lawnorder on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 06:28:47 PM PST

  •  Comparing the Scandals (4.00)
    Losses due to corruption by:
    * UN in Oil For Food (OFF) Program
       6.7 bil
    * Security Council Member States (OFF smuggling)
       13.6 bil
    * Bremer
       9 bil

    Minutes in Congress spent talking about corruption/mismanagement by:
    * UN
       infinite
    * Security Council Member States
       zero
    * Bremer
       zero

    Somebody should ask Norm Coleman this.

  •  As one of the few people (none)
    who think Deadwood is the best show on television AND the best way to understand the horror and the beauty of libertarianism...I salute your diary.

    One of my all time favorites.

    Well done.

    Coming attractions...Get ready for the great unveiling of the next great Scoop site: http://www.boomantribune.com

    by BooMan23 on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 06:32:16 PM PST

    •  you know what? (none)
      I'm thinking of posting a diary on how HBO seems to have the Bush Gulag nailed with the combination of Deadwood, Carnivale (for the obvious religious reasons), and the Sopranos for, well, this IS the biggest mafia organization to ever "earn" in the history of the planet.
      As the man says, developing.....

      If you aren't outraged, you're not paying attention.

      by bigskiphazzy on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 06:37:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can't (none)
        watch Carnivale.  It's visceral.  It creeps me out.

        But please tell me what it's about and how it is a socio-political commentary.  I'm all ears.

        Coming attractions...Get ready for the great unveiling of the next great Scoop site: http://www.boomantribune.com

        by BooMan23 on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 06:39:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  well besides... (none)
          The obvious good v evil. You get the whole notion of a "corrupt" Christian movement. This last episode just makes a direct statement to that fact. Here's a graph from the episode summary:

          In Mintern, Justin convinces Templeton that he has more than enough supporters to get him elected to Congress. He tells the man that he is planning a sermon on the mount for a new America, and he would like Templeton to be a keynote speaker at the candlelight sermon. Pointing out to a valley full of his followers, Justin makes his pitch. "Over 17,000 souls. We provide them with food...blankets...medicine...Who do you suppose they'll vote for, come November."

          Ja huh?

          If you aren't outraged, you're not paying attention.

          by bigskiphazzy on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 06:52:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It took me a while (none)
            to get into Carnivale, because I fucking hated every character except Samson.

            Anyway, I've hung in there, and it paid off last night in spades. I don't know how a writer knits all that together over over two seasons like that, but wow.

            I think of it, after watching last night, as not just Good v Evil, but Corruption v Sacrifice.

            Which sums up America today, and corruption is winning.

            ""All things entail rising and falling timing. You must be able to discern this." - Miyamoto Musashi

            by Madman in the marketplace on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 07:44:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  show title "Haliburton, Nebraska" (n/t) (none)
          becoming less subtle with their references to the military industrial complex!
    •  I'm with you, c**ksucker! (none)
      Your comment captured, I think, the show's entire message and vision. I'm probably the world's least likely "Deadwood" fan (35-year-old married mother of two), but I can't get enough of it. I've watched the first season about three times.

      The public wants what the public gets, but I don't get what this society wants -- Paul Weller

      by jamfan on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 06:47:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why the Hell (none)
     this isn't in the Mainstream News is beyond me.

    This is completely insane.

    This is something we should do our damnest to get answers for. No matter how long it takes to bring it to the light of day.

    Write your networks, your papers, make calls. Be polite!

    This is beyond the pale of what should be allowed.

    My theory, they want to garner as much debt as possible in the shortest amount of time, to bankrupt the budget, so they can say, well.......sorry we have to cut all govt funded social programs except the faith based programs.

    Thanks for posting this btw.

    People vote for sunshine, not for gloom and doom!

    by missliberties on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 06:37:19 PM PST

  •  $9 billion here, $9 billion there (none)
    and pretty soon you're talking about real money!
  •  I thought it was Iraqi money (none)
    from oil sales, etc., not US taxpayer dollars.  Of course indirectly it still comes out of our coffers because oil sales were supposed to pay us back for the expenses of this war.  Bwa ha ha ha ha ha!  As if anyone really believed THAT!
  •  David Hackworth had this story last August (none)
  •  Restoring Accountability (4.00)
    Yup.  

    Here're just a few selections from the many informative quotes about how Bush feels about "restoring" accountability...

    From candidate Bush (Public Radio Address, 10/16/2004):

    I will continue to be wise with taxpayers' money...

    From the Eonomy Issue section of the White House website (posted this month):

    The President believes that taxpayers' dollars should be spent wisely, or not at all. ...

    From our government's CEO (July 9, 2002):

    I've also proposed a 10-point Accountability Plan for American Business, designed to provide better information to shareholders, set clear responsibility for corporate officers, and develop a stronger, more independent auditing system. ...

    <snip/>

    Corporate leaders who violate the public trust should never be given that trust again. ...

    My accountability plan also requires CEOs to personally vouch for their firms' annual financial statements. ...


    Life is like this analogy...

    by shock on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 07:43:44 PM PST

  •  I'd Trust Swearengen (none)
    with money way before I'd trust these fuckers.

    ""All things entail rising and falling timing. You must be able to discern this." - Miyamoto Musashi

    by Madman in the marketplace on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 07:46:56 PM PST

  •  My new political discussion mantra: (none)
    Where's Bremer's Billions?

    Freedom isn't free. So why are you bitching about taxes?

    by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 08:14:21 PM PST

  •  billions have been lost before (none)
    There's the "Gold Train" of Austria, containing everything from diamonds to tricycles taken from Jewish families who were sent to the camps. This train was looted by allied troops. Sen. Hillary is pressing for an apology, opposed by our attorney generals. Yes, this happened in 1946.

    I also just read a book called Nazi Gold which suggests billions of dollars were looted by U.S. troops in Bavaria after WW II. I have no corroboration for the account in Nazi Gold.

    My point is that massive corruption with collusion at the highest levels may well have occurred before in the US Army.

  •  Indeed (none)

    One must think that either this has to blow up in their faces with one of these scandals, OR the US government will be forever broken.

    Let the Democratic Reformation Begin

    by Pounder on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 09:24:43 PM PST

  •  We have to go after corporate media (none)
    Who's REALLY responsible for allowing this to happen?

    Well, the CPA bagmen and the corporations in Iraq and the US that are skimming and throwing money around, buying influence in Washington, Baghdad and who knows where else.

    Obvious, so, why isn't the public told?  Because they would be outraged, like you and Senator Reid, bigskiphazzy, at our government.

    So, in order to keep the heat off the government, the corporate media kill the story -- no CNN, no FOX, no major broadcasting networks.  You only got a GLIMPSE of it on CSPAN.

    It's the same with everything:  Gannon, Social Security, Fallujah, Guantanamo, Medicare, Amtrak, No Child Left Behind,... the list is endless.  It's scandalfatigue.

    The only solution is a sustained, bipartisan, NASTY campaign of grass roots activists against the corporate media.  They have to start doing their fucking job or they have to get roasted.

  •  Look at this please (4.00)
    http://www.defensetech.org/archives/001410.html

    Defense Tech reveals the Pentagon's practice of dipping into money earmarked for soldiers' paychecks and then daring Congress to "Give us more money, or soldiers aren't going to get paid."

    via http://cursor.org/

  •  Scandal overload (none)
    People, one of the problems we have with chasing these corrupt fuckers is we almost end up with "scandal overload." Every day I think we're finally seeing THE scandal. The outrage. And you know what? Gone in the next news cycle.

    This is absolutely the case, woefully even for me.  Scandal overload = citizen burnout = a loss of hope = a loss of interest.

    IMHO, we have spent way too much energy on stories like the Gannon/Guckert fraud. And the frenzy that ensued on this site and others probably caused the story to peak prematurely, before it could get much traction.

    We have many smart, thoughtful people who post regularly on this site.  At the risk of sounding like I'm passing the buck, maybe some of these folks should convene to pick a handful of focus issues that could be thoughtfully researched and framed before the RWCM gets their turn to gloss things over.

    This issue - one that goes to financial fraud - is one that I think the public would embrace.

    Just some rambling thoughts . . . FWIW

  •  What the... (4.00)
    Holy Shit! What the Flying Fuck is wrong with this picture?

    Pardon my French but, How do you lose $9 billion dollars? Is this even possible? I mean, my mouth is like a gaping hole right now...I can't find a way to get my jaw off the floor.

    I can't even PICTURE $9 billion dollars. A money stack like that can't simply be misplaced. I mean, I'm on the verge of tears here because this is so funny and insane, How?

    And they played football with $2 mil in cash? I would love to be the quaterback in that game. And they paid off employees...who didn't do any work? Dude, I want to be on that plan. Give me $2 mil for scratching my ass! I'll be Employee of the Freaking Century Is this stuff even remotely possible? And by the way, where the HELL is the outrage? This is like bizarro world and the Twilight Zone wrapped together in cellophane with a coating of the "reality" of the Bush Administration.

    Are You Shitting Me? How do you lose $9 billion and have the absolute gall to cut education funding back here at home?!

    As I wind this down, I'd just like to say that I envy those guys who got away with a lot of that money due to "Western accounting" standards and principles. Principle doesn't deserve the humiliation of being mentioned in the same sentence with reference these jokers.

    Lastly, I promise, who else would just LOVE to be receiving the bulk of these misallocated funds? At least 1,500 dead, $300 billion of our booty spent on misadventures, $9 billion pulling a Houdini...there's sufficient potential for a problem of epic fucking proportions. I'm simply aghast.

    Worst. President. Ever.

    by R Dub on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 10:11:12 PM PST

  •  Paying the enemy (4.00)
    I wonder how much of that money went into bribes and payoffs that eventually ended funding Al Qaeda.
  •  Having large amounts of cash (none)
    around in the context of the Middle East is NOT unusual. Most financial transactions, even very large ones, are commonly executed in cash. (That's how I paid for a new car a couple of months ago, in fact.) Walk into any bank in the Middle East and you'll see people approach a teller's window, open an attache case, and pull out stacks of bills. No one bats an eye. Unlike the US or Europe, large amounts of foldable money are not suspect because few people have checking accounts and even fewer have, use, or even trust, credit cards. Indeed, in much of the region, salaries -- even large salaries -- are routinely paid once a month and in cash. I grant you, seeing pictures of such truly enormous amounts of cash in one place is a trifle jarring; it is NOT, however, <prima facia<i> evidence of criminal activity.

    "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." -- Edmund Burke

    by GulfExpat on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 10:52:40 PM PST

  •  don't forget (none)
    that some of the $9 bil is probably being diverted to finance Further Fun in Iran and Syria.

    Renewal, not mere Reform.

    by killjoy on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 11:05:32 PM PST

  •  Lapdog Media Largely to Blame (none)
    You are correct that its an outrage that the Bush Administration hasn't been held accountable for this glaring failure (actually, failure at best, rampant corruption at worst).

    This administration feels it can get away with nearly anything now because the media has laid down for them so consistently.

    This is why I feel the payola (Armstrong Williams and other media whores) scandal and the propagannon story are worth pursuing. If the roles were reversed, would the Republicans pursue it. Here's a hint, hell yes.  

    There is still plenty of time on the game clock

    by Cali Dem on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 12:07:18 AM PST

  •  Now I understand.... (none)
    ....these are the "little green footballs" I keep hearing about.  That explains a lot.....

    If you're not pissed off, you're not paying attention!

    by roxtar on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 02:31:32 AM PST

  •  Republicans . . . (none)
    . . . will bitch and moan ad nauseam about "tax & spend" Democrats, but do you think they'll get their knickers in a knot about the thieve and squander Bush administration? Hell, that would break their sacred tradition of hypocrisy!

    My sincerest wishes for the future of the Bush administration.

    •  Thanks for this. (none)
      even though it makes me sick I am going to do a painting of this with Bush and Henchmen substituted. I will make prints and post them everywhere. I am a realist painter with the desire to DO something and I think this is it, please encourage me with more ideas.  

      A society of sheep must beget in time a government of wolves. Bertrand de Jouvenel

      by Little Red Hen on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 06:21:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Awesome idea (none)
        That would be a gratifying image. I think it would be good to make an explicit parallel with the original images -- keep it in context.

        Also, WWI images are very powerful, as is the history of that era. So many of the images I've seen online of dead Iraqis, injured children, etc., etc. remind me of WWI images. Google WWI or The Great War. Again, I think many parallels can be drawn, literally and figuratively.

    •  Whitewater was about $100,000 (none)
      $9,000,000,000?  Get over it, move on.

      Actually Whitewater was about stopping the investigation of the S&L looting. (Reagan deregulated the S&L's so they could be looted by Rethug fat cats.)

      Clintons government couldn't investigate a banking scandal if he was being investigated for one.  Nice blocking maneuver.

  •  This is a crime (none)
    ...especially when you think about our guardsmen and soldiers who are going without armor for their humvees and having to get their families back home to send them kevlad vests.

    Nine billion would buy a lot of kevlar, no?

    And what about those who are coming home and aren't insured?

    THEY need to know about this.  THESE SOLDIERS need to know that Bush's Buddies Paul Bremer and Bernie Kerik are living high while they are scraping together armor from junk piles.

    "Our particular principles of religion are a subject of accountability to God alone."--Thomas Jefferson

    by hopesprings on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 05:58:31 AM PST

  •  And How Do We Expect (none)
    our allies to chip in with resources of their own for the Iraq cause when they see us utterly unconcerned about the pilfered $9 billion?
  •  With all due respect to the diary author (none)
    It is a mistake to say "we could have spent the $9 billion on X programs."

    The point isn't that the money could have been spent better elsewhere.  Of course it could have!  The money was STOLEN!  Spending it on ANY government program would be better than having it STOLEN.

    Democrats need to go off on this.  Do not let a Republican open their goddamn mouth to utter the words "UN oil-for-food scandal" without snapping back, "well, what about the $9 billion  that George Bush can't find?  Did Saddam siphon off money in the program?  Probably.  He was a terrible dictator.  But so what? He's gone.  Where's the $9 billion that George Bush lost?"

    •  Ah.... another possibility. (none)
      I hadn't even considered that one.  Maybe it was simply stolen as you suggest.  But I do know the missing money has absolutely nothing to do with Iraqi accounting practices.  Side note, I have lots of Arab friends and I have yet to meet one that isn't good at counting money.

      The ...Bushies... don't make policies to deal with problems. ...It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do. Krugman

      by mikepridmore on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 08:31:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They are claiming that (none)
        the CPA had to pay CASH to American contractors.  That doesn't even pass the laugh test.  Now, if they were claiming that they had to dole out cash to Iraqi companies, it would start to be believable.

        But of course, you could probably employ the entire Iraqi population for $9 billion.  Rest assured, if the U.S. had been handing out $9 billion in sacks of cash to Iraqis over the past 2 years we would not be facing an insurgency of any magnitude.

      •  That was my thought exactly- (none)
        about middle-east accounting methods.  It's not like Arabs don't know how much money they have.  Accountancy is something fairly universal, not split into Eastern and Western schools of thought.

        What I suspect he really means is 'Western style (ie. non-corrupt) business practices couldn't be instituted overnight'.  With full irony intended.

        Freedom isn't free. So why are you bitching about taxes?

        by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 09:12:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  We likely spent the money to buy favors (none)
    and/or line some politicians' pockets.  Or to pay for CIA black ops.  Or all the above.  The reason the money is supposedly lost is not because we don't know who we gave it to (Which, if one pays attention, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Iraqi accounting practices because our "accountants" keep detailed "favors owed" lists and keep track of exactly who "our" money is disbursed to and for what purpose.  And it is hard to believe the straight face with which Bremer and others told that ridiculous lie.) but because the Bush writers couldn't come up with any other believable lie to explain where so much money was spent.  Someone has a very detailed record of who was given money and how much was given to them.  Porter Goss and Bremer and Negroponte and Cheney all know who the money was given to and why, but they don't want us to know.  Plain and simple.

    The ...Bushies... don't make policies to deal with problems. ...It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do. Krugman

    by mikepridmore on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 08:27:29 AM PST

  •  What Would $9 Billion Buy? (none)
    This might put it in perspective ...

    $9 billion would almost certainly buy two brand new, right-off-the-showroom-floor Space Shuttles with all the bells and whistles.

    Hell, for that much, you could probably get 'em with eight-tracks in the dash ...

  •  Where's the outrage? (none)
    Where is the the goddamn, fucking outrage, people?

    Nine. Billion. Dollars.  Missing?  WTF????

    Here's a question.  If sold two space shuttles for cash and "lost" the money would the Democrats or the media make a peep?  I truly wonder.

  •  Embezzlement of public funds is a felony, (none)
    not a too bad chumps sorta situation.

    If the public lets it slide so will the crooks--funny how that works.

    This just may be the key to impeaching this corrupt regime.

    Here's the frame:  Where's OUR money and who's accountable for this crime?

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 10:24:33 AM PST

  •  Halliburton (n/t) (none)

    "You beat on this prick enough, he'll tell ya he started the Chicago fire - that don't necessarily make it so!" -Nice Guy Eddie, Reservoir Dogs

    by Subterranean on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 01:19:34 PM PST

  •  Reminds me of "Soldiers Pay" doc (none)
    But it's way worse, with our government condoning, fucking condoning, paying literally millions of dollars in cash, bags full of cash, to contractors. Un-fucking-believable.

    At least in "Soldiers Pay" someone took a fall (the story is here http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6349030/) but I doubt anybody will on this. Or if someone does, it will be some little guy, like in the movie.

    Can I lock myself in my soundproof room and start screaming "WTF, WTF and you all re-elected the fucking monkey responsible for all this, WTF, WTF, WTF..." now?

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