Money for Georgia

Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 12, 2008 | Go to article overview

Money for Georgia


WASHINGTON

Thomas Gray is a long-dead English scholar who, just this month, won the Dateline Award for Prophecy. More than 200 years ago, the perceptive Tom wrote lines that now resonate from the White House through the Capitol to executive suites on Wall Street.

But those of us on Main Street must learn the professor's mantra: "Thought would destroy their Paradise. No more; where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.'"

These days the inmates running the huge asylum on the Potomac are busier than ever. They are building higher walls and stronger doors in and around their sanctuaries. Oh, they don't have to be kept inside; the walls are castle-thick to keep reality out. Where idiots are in charge, who would seek to change their breathtaking daydreams?

While a handful of elected officials in both the House and Senate remain capable of coherent thought, the last weeks of September and the first days of October, marked by an economic recession turning into an economic disaster, created among the majority greater delusions of grandeur and power.

On Sept. 3, President George W. Bush announced an aid package to the country of Georgia that could total up to $1 billion over the next two years. Simple mathematics showed that this was some three times what the White House originally proposed to spend on the entire region for the next year.

Some in Congress, which had to approve the package, flinched. Why should Mikheil Saakashvili, president of Georgia, be so richly rewarded for his recklessness in sticking an ice pick into a bear's paw?

And others who should know better ask whether this is a scuffle between a former CIA asset and a former KGB officer. Or just another secret deal with another George -- the sinister financier Soros, whose Open Society Institute (OSI) is widely believed to be Saakashvili's fairy godmother in the "Rose Revolution," which pushed Mikheil into power.

Of course, OSI activities are not illegal. However, its cash- dispensing ability usually remains unknown to voters until long after the election results are announced and any thoughts of manipulating democracy long forgotten.

Back in Washington, aid to Georgia was buried under the Wall Street bailout and "hidden" in the vast $650 billion to keep the government running for the next year. Money for Georgia was dwarfed by the Pentagon's $488 billion. It passed the House and four days later the Senate, with the president signing it into law a few hours before the midnight deadline of Sept. 30.

The bill that our president signed gives Saakashvili's government $365 million this year and our president has reallocated $200 million from the Millennium Challenge Corp. …

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