Falling dominoes: Rumsfeld gone - Bush, Blair and Howard next?

November 10, 2006

For most of us, if you lose your job you're in serious financial trouble. Not so for recently sacked US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

In 2005, Rumsfeld disclosed that he owned shares worth up to US$95.9 million (from which he received an income of up to $13 million), owned land worth up to$17 million and made $1 million from renting it. He also had illiquid investments worth up to$8.1 million and life insurance with a surrender value of up to $5 million. He also received up to $1 million from the DHR Foundation, in which he has assets worth up to $25 million, and $773,743 from the Donald H. Rumsfeld Trust, in which he has assets of up to $50 million.

In sum, Rumsfeld had a declared annual income of $15,773,743 (A$20,528,459) before the remuneration he received as defense secretary. His income in a single day would be close to the $68,000 we still need to meet Green Left Weekly's 2006 Fighting Fund target of $250,000!

US Vice-President Dick Cheney declared a $8.82 million income last year, some 12 times the amount declared by President George Bush. It's government by the rich and for the rich.

According to Bob Woodward, the author of State of Denial, "Cheney confided to an aide that if Rumsfeld goes, next they'll be after Cheney". He could be right, and the next domino after Cheney is Bush.

Meanwhile, British PM Tony Blair is neck-deep in the "cash for peerages" scandal and in Australia, the Howard government is kept alive only with the help of a spineless and corrupt Labor Party.

The Republicans' thrashing in the US congressional elections last week is a symptom of massive public disenchantment with the Bush administration, driven mainly by its bloody occupation of Iraq. Filmmaker Michael Moore said the election result has sent "a note of hope around this troubled world".

Moore campaigned for the Democrats, but also warned: "Now the real work begins. Unless we stay on top of these Democrats to do the right thing, they will do what they've always done: Screw it up. Big Time. They helped Bush start this war, and now they should make amends."

The limits of "lesser evilism" in US politics shows up starkly. The same holds in Australia.

We all want the Howard government to go, but we also know that an ALP federal government is not going to be much better. Until we succeed in building an effective political alternative to the two parties of capitalist rule, we'll be left with this poor choice.

Green Left Weekly is an active player in the struggle to build a real political alternative in this country.

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