Thursday, October 14, 2004

No Plan
Equipment which could be used in an illicit nuclear bomb programme has disappeared from previously monitored sites in Iraq, and radioactively contaminated items from there have been found abroad, the International Atomic Energy Agency has told the UN.

Installations in Saddam Hussein's former nuclear bomb programme were being systematically dismantled, its director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, has told the security council, warning of the implications for trafficking.
Baker's Plan
Until now, there has been no concrete evidence that Baker's loyalties are split, or that his power as Special Presidential Envoy--an unpaid position--has been used to benefit any of his corporate clients or employers. But according to documents obtained by The Nation, that is precisely what has happened. Carlyle has sought to secure an extraordinary $1 billion investment from the Kuwaiti government, with Baker's influence as debt envoy being used as a crucial lever.

...The goal of maximizing Iraq's debt payments directly contradicts the US foreign policy aim of drastically reducing Iraq's debt burden. According to Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University and a leading expert on government ethics and regulations, this means that Baker is in a "classic conflict of interest. Baker is on two sides of this transaction: He is supposed to be representing the interests of the United States, but he is also a senior counselor at Carlyle, and Carlyle wants to get paid to help Kuwait recover its debts from Iraq." After examining the documents, Clark called them "extraordinary." She said, "Carlyle and the other companies are exploiting Baker's current position to try to land a deal with Kuwait that would undermine the interests of the US government."
And if anyone gives you the Bush line on increases in non-defense spending, send them to Max, who covered this bullshit the last time:
During the debate the President claimed that non-defense spending only increased by one percent. It wasn't clear whether he meant per year, over four years, or over any particular year, whether he meant entitlements, discretionary spending, or discretionary spending net of homeland security. Before or after adjusting for inflation. But it doesn't much matter. No matter which combination of these you choose, he is wrong by a long shot.

Here's a chart exclusive to MaxSpeak showing annual increases in Federal spending.

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