FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Where the Money Isn’t Going

by JAMES G. ABOUREZK

Wherever I heard that hackneyed phrase, “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging,” it applies more today than anytime I can remember.  What I don’t understand is, when our government has spent billions on bank bailouts (not a good idea) on bailing out the stupidity of the automobile executives (a better idea because it saves jobs for working people), why are members of Congress and the drug and insurance lobbies feeding this fairy tale that we cannot afford single payer health care.

Virtually every industrialized country in the world has a health care system that is paid for by tax revenues, making sure that it is available to everyone.  Even Syria, which is not a rich country, sends medical students to medical school, then requires them, upon graduation, to serve in a village clinic at a very low salary.  Medical care is provided for every Syrian citizen, although there is a private medical system for those who want to pay.

Neither, we are told, can we afford a national passenger rail system that would do a great deal to decrease pollution, cut down on the use of oil, and that would move people to every part of our country, just like it’s done in Europe and in Japan.

But we can’t afford either of these common sense projects, even though we are digging our financial hole deeper and deeper with other projects that we should bring to a close.

Israel.  We are still shoveling money out of the door of our national treasury giving Israel all the money they need to finance their brutal occupation of  the Palestinians,  plus giving them one of the highest living standards in the world.  The last time I checked with the Library of Congress, Israel had drained our treasury (money from American taxpayers) to well over 100 billion dollars.

And what have we received in return?  Well, I am currently reading Attack on the Liberty, written by James Scott, a journalist whose father was an ensign on board the Liberty when Israel tried to destroy the U.S. Navy ship during the 1967 Middle East War.  Whenever I feel like having my blood boil, I pick up the book and read another chapter describing the deliberate attack on our ship, which killed over 30 American sailors and wounded another 170.   As bad as the attack  was, the continuing cover up both by Israel and the U.S. government is an ongoing outrage.

Add to that, the unknown number of Israeli spies who are burrowing into our government to learn our secrets.  Jonathan Pollard, for example, was paid by Israel to unload what authorities have described as “a truckload of secret documents” to Israel’s agents in this country.  The latest episode of Israeli spying is notable for the speed with which the U.S. Justice Department dismissed the charges against the two pro-Israeli spies, despite the finding of guilty and a 12 year sentence to the U.S. official–Larry Franklin–who handed over the documents to the spies.

Other things we can do without include the manned space program.  The shuttle program, which costs American taxpayers several billion dollars a year,  would look better viewing it from the rear view mirror.  Several Nobel laureate scientists, as well as this writer, have advocated an unmanned program for space exploration instead of the much costlier manned program.  First of all, the manned program cannot go as far into space as an unmanned program can, and secondly, it is vastly cheaper while being more rewarding.  But it’s difficult to stop the bleeding of taxpayers’ money once it starts

We have the same trouble financing our NATO involvement.  Now, NATO was designed during the Cold War to protect Europe from the nasty Soviets.   Now that the Soviets are no longer around, who does NATO protect?  Only the arms manufacturers who benefit from weapons sales both to the U.S. and to NATO members.

I don’t think a lot of explanation is needed for reasons to get the U.S. out of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Yes, I include Afghanistan in my exit strategy, mostly for the reason that we shouldn’t need the second kick of a mule to learn to stay away from the mule.  We all witnessed the Soviets who were almost destroyed by their adventure in Afghanistan, and we should have learned that American  troops are a natural target in places like that country.   The only logical conclusion is to get our troops out of there, leaving it to the Taliban and the warlords and the Pakistanis to deal with that quagmire.

Although the pro-Israeli Zionists do not like to hear it, but a lot of our Middle East woes derive from the brutality of the continuing occupation of Palestine by the Israelis.  What is unfortunate is that the American press spends its time and its talents trying to avoid discussing what Israel is doing in the Middle East.

I saw NBC’s David Gregory interviewing Bibi Netanyahu on Meet the Press.  Discussing Iran, Netanyahu said that true democracies such as Israel would never commit violence against protesters.  Gregory let that one go right past him, going  on to the next puffball question to Bibi, which again he knocked over the fence.   If I recall, it was another bit of hypocrisy meted out by the slick talking Prime Minister.

But that’s the state of our media today.   There is 40 times the coverage of Michael Jackson’s heart attack than there was of the slaughter of 1,200 Gazans during Israel’s invasion last year.  At times I feel sad about the death of  America’s newspapers, but after seeing how they behave, and how they fail in their job of watching the government for the rest of us, maybe it’s for the best to let them all go under.  They contribute little more than crossword puzzles and sports scores (which are for the betting public anyway).

We’ve reached the place in the hole we’re digging which might make us think about stopping.

JAMES G. ABOUREZK is a lawyer practicing in South Dakota. He is a former United States senator and the author of two books, Advise and Dissent, and a co-author of Through Different Eyes. This article also  runs in the current issue of Washington Report For Middle East Affairs.  Abourezk  can be reached at georgepatton45@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Abourezk is a former US senator from South Dakota. He is the author of: Advise and Dissent: Memoirs of an ex-Senator.

More articles by:
May 31, 2016
Vijay Prashad
Stoking the Fires: Trump and His Legions
Uri Avnery
What Happened to Netanyahu?
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
Imperial Blues: On Whitewashing Dictatorship in the 21st Century
Corey Payne
Reentry Through Resistance: Détente with Cuba was Accomplished Through Resistance and Solidarity, Not Imperial Benevolence
Patrick Howlett-Martin
Libya: How to Bring Down a Nation
Bill Quigley
From Tehran to Atlanta: Social Justice Lawyer Azadeh Shahshahani’s Fight Human Rights
Manuel E. Yepe
Trump, Sanders and the Exhaustion of a Political Model
Bruce Lerro
“Network” 40 Years Later: Capitalism in Retrospect and Prospect and Elite Politics Today
Robert Hunziker
Chile’s Robocops
Aidan O'Brien
What’ll It be Folks: Xenophobia or Genocide?
Binoy Kampmark
Emailgate: the Clinton Spin Doctors In Action
Colin Todhunter
The Unique Risks of GM Crops: Science Trumps PR, Fraud and Smear Campaigns
Dave Welsh
Jessica Williams, 29: Another Black Woman Gunned Down By Police
Gary Leupp
Rules for TV News Anchors, on Memorial Day and Every Day
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and the Murder of My Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Raouf Halaby
The Sailors of the USS Liberty: They, Too, Deserve to Be Honored
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What Happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy After All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail