Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King Jr.

TODAY ON BASHAM AND CORNELL: "Strength through peace" — not peace through strength. Presidential Contender Dennis Kucinich is our guest again today. Kucinich will discuss updates on the MSNBC debate exclusion fiasco. Also: Emmy Award Winning Actress & Edwards supporter Jean Smart.

If you're in Vegas for the Nevada caucus, you can listen live at 8 AM on KLAV 1230 AM or on the web at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk

DAUGHTER DAY: CATE EDWARDS AND CHRISTINE PELOSI on our show today! If you live in Vegas you can tune in Live or go to our website and listen in the audio archives. The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas and simulcast worldwide on the web. All shows are archived and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk

** NBC/GE WON THE RIGHT TO EXCLUDE KUCINICH FROM THE NEVADA DEBATE. The network won an emergency appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court to overturn the judge's decision to allow America to hear from Dennis Kucinich.

How can a network whose purpose is to serve the public interest have such power in destroying the democratic process?

WHY did NBC take such extreme measures to keep Kucinich from the debate? Does the network think it would be bad for the democratic process to have at least one candidate onstage who is against media monopolies, won the Gandhi Peace Award, never voted for the war, and is pro-environment? This is a travesty, an abomination and proves that network conglomerates do not have the public interest at heart.

Dennis Kucinich was elected mayor of Cleveland in 1977 on the promise to save the city’s municipally-owned electric system which offered customers significantly lower rates than the private utility. A year later, Cleveland’s banks demanded that he sell the city’s 70 year-old municipally-owned electric system to its private competitor (in which the banks had a financial interest) as a precondition of extending credit to the city.

The attempted political blackmail failed as did several assassination attempts. He remembered his parents counting out coins on the dresser and refused to sell the people’s power. In an incident unprecedented in modern American politics, the Cleveland banks plunged the city into default for a mere $15 million despite being offered triple collateral to protect the loan.

The principled stand destroyed his political career. He lost his reelection bid. He was demonized as the mayor who threw Cleveland into default. Fifteen years later, the citizens of Cleveland - recognizing he had saved them hundreds of millions of dollars in municipal power bills and also forced the private utility to keep bills low to compete – voted him into the Ohio Senate. His campaign signs featured a light bulb and the expression “Because he was right.” In 1998 the Cleveland City Council honored Dennis for “... having the courage and foresight to refuse to sell the city’s municipal electric system.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Fear is 'false evidence appearing real.' Don't give "evil" any power by holding it in your thought. Do not worry or fear anything, no matter how bad things look.

We are sometimes led to believe that darkness is as real as light; but Science affirms darkness to be only a mortal sense of the absence of light, at the coming of which darkness loses the appearance of reality.

"As vapor melts before the sun, so evil would vanish before the reality of good. One must hide the other. How important, then, to choose good as the reality! God is love, infinity, freedom, harmony... This spiritualization of thought lets in the light, and brings the divine Mind, Life not death, into your consciousness." - Mary Baker Eddy

I'm going to put up inspirational ideas every day from now on. Christine Pelosi is right: we need to inspire each other and stop spiraling down into so much fear about the economy, the war, the world.

We need to lift each other up and be the party of hope and inpsiration. We can be the party of light.


Arab Sitcom Becomes Surprise Hit in Israel

Every week in Israel, thousands of Jewish families open up their homes to an Arab family. The latter are only fictional characters — from the hit Israeli sitcom Arab Work — but still, many say this is a critical marker in (pop culture) history. (read more at: GOOD NEWS

Positive Radio Brings Calm to Tense Kenya Slum

Pamoja FM broadcasts African music, reggae, and hip-hop – as well as mellow encouragements to remain calm and nonviolent during the country's worst political crisis

Celebrating 800 Years of Rumi, Sufi Poet of Peace

"Rumi's poetry, originally written in Persian, has endured through the centuries, especially in the Islamic world. Christians, Muslims, and Jews gathered at a mausoleum to celebrate Rumi's poetry.

How The Bucket List Film May Change Your Life & Make You Happier

A corporate billionaire and a working class mechanic have nothing in common until they're forced to share a hospital room.

I am a big supporter of Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards and think they are the purest Progressives (although I love Obama, and think Hillary would be good too.) But outside of Kucinich, of the "Big Three" that were allowed to debate in Nevada this week, Edwards is David to Goliath. He represents the interests of American citizens with a carefully thought-out plan for restoring economic prosperity and handing it back to the middle class.

Items of Interest:

1. Fox News: We Report -- Even if We Know It's False
From Paul Begala at HuffPo: "After I told Fox yesterday that the story about me wasn't true -- and this is the surreal part -- they kept reporting it anyway. Fox's Garrett told me he'd "take it under advisement." Take it under advisement?"

2. Finally, Lee Iacocca, one of the most successful businessmen in the country, speaks with outrage and says what we have been saying all along. This essay is long overdue. Please scroll down and read it and then decide which candidate should be the next President of the United States and Leader of the Free World. But first these photos...

I was researching the ancient temples of Angkor Wat in southwest Cambodia, built by the vanished Khmer empire. I am obsessed with archaeology and the sacred sites of the world. The strange beauty of these pictures haunts me on several levels.

The roots of the iconic tree wrapped around the Temple of Ta Prohm, seem a fitting metaphor for the Bush Dynasty's parasitic grasp on our fragile democracy. (You know, elitism with its claws in our constitution.) All this came to mind because our guest on Friday's show was Jill Derby, the Chair of the Nevada Democratic Party. She had traveled to Cambodia in the early 70's when these temples were relatively untouched by tourism.

Below are the "Heads of Kings and Buddahs." The ancient Khmer regime mixed religion with politics as if they were one and the same. (Photo credit: Linkinn Angkor Wat)


Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic.
I'll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out! - Lee Iacocca

Where Have All the Leaders Gone?
By Lee Iacocca with Catherine Whitney

Had Enough?

Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course."

Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I'll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!

You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of lies. Congress responds to record deficits by passing a huge tax cut for the wealthy (thanks, but I don't need it). The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving pom-poms instead of asking hard questions. That's not the promise of America my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about you?

I'll go a step further. You can't call yourself a patriot if you're not outraged. This is a fight I'm ready and willing to have.

My friends tell me to calm down. They say, "Lee, you're eighty-two years old. Leave the rage to the young people." I'd love to—as soon as I can pry them away from their iPods for five seconds and get them to pay attention. I'm going to speak up because it's my patriotic duty. I think people will listen to me. They say I have a reputation as a straight shooter. So I'll tell you how I see it, and it's not pretty, but at least it's real. I'm hoping to strike a nerve in those young folks who say they don't vote because they don't trust politicians to represent their interests. Hey, America, wake up. These guys work for us.

Who Are These Guys, Anyway?

Why are we in this mess? How did we end up with this crowd in Washington? Well, we voted for them—or at least some of us did. But I'll tell you what we didn't do. We didn't agree to suspend the Constitution. We didn't agree to stop asking questions or demanding answers. Some of us are sick and tired of people who call free speech treason. Where I come from that's a dictatorship, not a democracy.

And don't tell me it's all the fault of right-wing Republicans or liberal Democrats. That's an intellectually lazy argument, and it's part of the reason we're in this stew. We're not just a nation of factions. We're a people. We share common principles and ideals. And we rise and fall together.

Where are the voices of leaders who can inspire us to action and make us stand taller? What happened to the strong and resolute party of Lincoln? What happened to the courageous, populist party of FDR and Truman? There was a time in this country when the voices of great leaders lifted us up and made us want to do better. Where have all the leaders gone?

The Test of a Leader

I've never been Commander in Chief, but I've been a CEO. I understand a few things about leadership at the top. I've figured out nine points—not ten (I don't want people accusing me of thinking I'm Moses). I call them the "Nine Cs of Leadership." They're not fancy or complicated. Just clear, obvious qualities that every true leader should have. We should look at how the current administration stacks up. Like it or not, this crew is going to be around until January 2009. Maybe we can learn something before we go to the polls in 2008. Then let's be sure we use the leadership test to screen the candidates who say they want to run the country. It's up to us to choose wisely.

So, here's my C list:

A leader has to show CURIOSITY. He has to listen to people outside of the "Yes, sir" crowd in his inner circle. He has to read voraciously, because the world is a big, complicated place. George W. Bush brags about never reading a newspaper. "I just scan the headlines," he says. Am I hearing this right? He's the President of the United States and he never reads a newspaper? Thomas Jefferson once said, "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter." Bush disagrees. As long as he gets his daily hour in the gym, with Fox News piped through the sound system, he's ready to go.

If a leader never steps outside his comfort zone to hear different ideas, he grows stale. If he doesn't put his beliefs to the test, how does he know he's right? The inability to listen is a form of arrogance. It means either you think you already know it all, or you just don't care. Before the 2006 election, George Bush made a big point of saying he didn't listen to the polls. Yeah, that's what they all say when the polls stink. But maybe he should have listened, because 70 percent of the people were saying he was on the wrong track. It took a "thumping" on election day to wake him up, but even then you got the feeling he wasn't listening so much as he was calculating how to do a better job of convincing everyone he was right.

A leader has to be CREATIVE, go out on a limb, be willing to try something different. You know, think outside the box. George Bush prides himself on never changing, even as the world around him is spinning out of control. God forbid someone should accuse him of flip-flopping. There's a disturbingly messianic fervor to his certainty. Senator Joe Biden recalled a conversation he had with Bush a few months after our troops marched into Baghdad. Joe was in the Oval Office outlining his concerns to the President—the explosive mix of Shiite and Sunni, the disbanded Iraqi army, the problems securing the oil fields. "The President was serene," Joe recalled. "He told me he was sure that we were on the right course and that all would be well. 'Mr. President,' I finally said, 'how can you be so sure when you don't yet know all the facts?'" Bush then reached over and put a steadying hand on Joe's shoulder. "My instincts," he said. "My instincts." Joe was flabbergasted. He told Bush, "Mr. President, your instincts aren't good enough." Joe Biden sure didn't think the matter was settled. And, as we all know now, it wasn't.

Leadership is all about managing change—whether you're leading a company or leading a country. Things change, and you get creative. You adapt. Maybe Bush was absent the day they covered that at Harvard Business School.

A leader has to COMMUNICATE. I'm not talking about running off at the mouth or spouting sound bites. I'm talking about facing reality and telling the truth. Nobody in the current administration seems to know how to talk straight anymore. Instead, they spend most of their time trying to convince us that things are not really as bad as they seem. I don't know if it's denial or dishonesty, but it can start to drive you crazy after a while. Communication has to start with telling the truth, even when it's painful. The war in Iraq has been, among other things, a grand failure of communication. Bush is like the boy who didn't cry wolf when the wolf was at the door. After years of being told that all is well, even as the casualties and chaos mount, we've stopped listening to him.

A leader has to be a person of CHARACTER. That means knowing the difference between right and wrong and having the guts to do the right thing. Abraham Lincoln once said, "If you want to test a man's character, give him power." George Bush has a lot of power. What does it say about his character? Bush has shown a willingness to take bold action on the world stage because he has the power, but he shows little regard for the grievous consequences. He has sent our troops (not to mention hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens) to their deaths—for what? To build our oil reserves? To avenge his daddy because Saddam Hussein once tried to have him killed? To show his daddy he's tougher? The motivations behind the war in Iraq are questionable, and the execution of the war has been a disaster. A man of character does not ask a single soldier to die for a failed policy.

A leader must have COURAGE. I'm talking about balls. (That even goes for female leaders.) Swagger isn't courage. Tough talk isn't courage. George Bush comes from a blue-blooded Connecticut family, but he likes to talk like a cowboy. You know, My gun is bigger than your gun. Courage in the twenty-first century doesn't mean posturing and bravado. Courage is a commitment to sit down at the negotiating table and talk.

If you're a politician, courage means taking a position even when you know it will cost you votes. Bush can't even make a public appearance unless the audience has been handpicked and sanitized. He did a series of so-called town hall meetings last year, in auditoriums packed with his most devoted fans. The questions were all softballs.

To be a leader you've got to have CONVICTION—a fire in your belly. You've got to have passion. You've got to really want to get something done. How do you measure fire in the belly? Bush has set the all-time record for number of vacation days taken by a U.S. President—four hundred and counting. He'd rather clear brush on his ranch than immerse himself in the business of governing. He even told an interviewer that the high point of his presidency so far was catching a seven-and-a-half-pound perch in his hand-stocked lake.

There's more in Iacocca's new book.

If you've missed our show, check out the audio archives. We have interviewed John & Elizabeth Edwards, Dennis & Elizabeth Kucinich, John Dean, Pat Buchanan, Valerie Plame, Lou Dobbs, Helen Thomas, Christine Crier, Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, Congressman Charlie Rangel, Senator Byron Dorgan; Christine Pelosi, Dahr Jamail, Senator Mike Gravel; bestselling authors Greg Palast, Paul Krugman, Greg Anrig, Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert and Paul Waldman are regular guests. Upcoming: Obama and Hilary. The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas and simulcast worldwide on the web. All shows are archived and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk


  1. Anonymous5:25 PM

    Lydia, I hope you don't mind but I am going to cross-post a part of this to the BigBrassBlog.

    If you should object, I will never do it again, but this one from the big CEO is too good to pass up.

    Regards from a blackdog.

    I will, of course reference your blog, hope it works for both of us.

  2. Great - I LOVE BigBrassBlog. Will check it out at length over the next few days.

    I'll post a link to your blog on my blog page too.

  3. Hey there Lydia- great post- and wow...Lee is plenty fired is associated with Shakes Sister- good folks, I don't know Black dog ? but anyways...they are well connected you should get lots of readers....

    He asks a really good question...WHY aren't people more fired up, angry?

    ( I don't have an answer...)

  4. Hi Enigma - glad your avatar is back up. Love your posts, and your mind.

    BlackDog over at BigBrassBlog posted a link to our blog.
    BigBrassBlog Black Dog

  5. blackdog7:12 AM

    Glad everything worked out so well, thanks!

    Oh yeah, you really are a fox.

  6. Wow.

    I can't believe Iacocca wrote that.

    Iacocca is famous for his success, and is well known and respected throughout the world as a business leader and innovater.

    And he just said everything us little people (cept for you Lydia, lol) have been saying for years.

    I wonder if the MSM will pick this up?

  7. blackdog said...

    Oh yeah, you really are a fox.

    Well that word sort of dates Blackdog, lol.

    But yea, she is a fox.

  8. No one could call Lee Iacocca a "moonbat".

    He's an icon of capitalism and one of the most successful CEO's of all time. He has a brilliant analytical business mind, and yet listen to him.

    He's saying EXACTLY what we've been saying since day one.


    Could it be we were right?

  9. Notice our trolls gave up.

    For over 2 years neocon bootlickers haunted this site. Trolls like Voltron, Freedom Foe and TallTexan.

    And all have faded into insignificance, along with their words and lies.

    We were right. All along we were right. I still remember that first Thanksgiving here, debating endlessly with ignorant bootlickers, trying in vain to convince them of the crimes of this moron they call a president.

    And now, years later, they've faded into insignificance, and our words are being repeated by the smartest minds of our time.

  10. blackdog11:01 AM

    Better look over your left shoulder (I think) to see if a blackdog, wraith, minstrel, goat, or a host of others are following.

    But no fear, they are there for your protection.

    Keep up the great work!

  11. Thanks Blackdog.

    Bartlebee - where are the trolls? I mean where did they go? do you think they're gearing up for a smear and slander campaign when the election heats up?

    Maybe Freedom Fan realized how wrong he was and joined the Democratic Party.

  12. Quick messege to Lydia and others, I am using two email addresses, so if one posts with my Venus avatar, and the other should post with my little tiny picture of myself....that is why they are different.

    I am having email troubles on both accounts- not getting incoming if anyone thinks I am rude....sorry..

    Almost NO Dem Coverage this weekend on the airwaves....very depressing..

  13. Lydia Cornell said...

    Maybe Freedom Fan realized how wrong he was and joined the Democratic Party.

    LOL, that'll be the day.

  14. Blackdog. America need some Wraiths and Minstrels on its side, to keep Bush from turning America into a Banana Republic.

  15. Maybe Freedom Fan realized how wrong he was and joined the Democratic Party.

    Only if the rectal-lobotomy resection was successful other wise his head is still too far up his posterior for him to realize just how wrong both Milton Freidman and he has been all these years.

    And how much damage they have done to this country.

  16. Not sure which topic to comment on this multiple topic post, so I will wing it.

  17. The unemployment rate leaps to a two-year high, record numbers of people are forced from their homes and Wall Street nose-dives again. Such is the fallout from a housing meltdown that threatens to slingshot the country into a recession.

    The big economic question these days is whether the weakening economy will survive the strains or collapse under them.

    The odds have grown that the economy will slip into a recession. At the beginning of last year, many economists put that chance at less than 1-in-3; now an increasing number says it has climbed to around 50-50. Goldman Sachs, the biggest investment bank on Wall Street even thinks a recession is inevitable this year.

    Hopeful it can be avoided, President Bush and the Democrat-controlled Congress are exploring economic rescue measures, including possible tax rebates. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke pledged to lower interest rates as needed.

    The idea is to induce people to boost spending, especially on big-ticket items such as homes and cars, and revitalize economic activity.

    "The recession gorilla is there. The question is can the Federal Reserve do enough to avert a recession?" asked Brian Bethune, economist at Global Insight. "We think the odds are close to 50 percent that there will be a recession. It is high _ no question about it."

    Much hope rides on the Fed. By dropping rates, it can act quickly _ faster than Congress or the White House could agree on and deliver an economic boost.

    "The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession," Bernanke said last week. "We are forecasting slow growth."

    Bernanke signaled that a rate cut would come this month. Many economists believe a key rate, now at 4.25 percent, could fall by as much as one-half of a percentage point. Such a cut would lower the rates that are charged to millions of consumers and businesses for many different types of loans.

    Analysts predict the Fed will keep doing that in the months ahead as part of a campaign that started in September, when the central bank cut rates for the first time in four years.

    Trying to put the fragile economy back on firm footing is the biggest challenge for Bernanke since taking over the Fed nearly two years ago. His job requires a deft reading of the economy's vital signs and keen insights into what makes people and businesses tick. It is their behavior that shapes the economy. And it is in turbulent times that the Fed chief needs to bolster public and investor confidence.

    Still, Wall Street is on edge. The Dow Jones industrials plunged nearly 250 points on Friday. Also, consumer confidence tumbled in early January.

    Bill Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Financial Services, puts the odds of a recession as high as 40 percent. "There are a lot of headwinds and the economy probably has enough momentum to get through, but when things get rough, there are a lot of ways things could go wrong," Cheney said.

    The fear is that people will clamp down on the spending and businesses will put a lid on hiring and capital investment, sending the economy into a tailspin.

    By one rough rule of thumb, a recession occurs when there are two consecutive quarters _ six straight months _ when the economy shrinks.

  18. The owner of a small German computer company has fired three non-smoking workers because they were threatening to disturb the peace after they requested a smoke-free environment.

    The manager of the 10-person IT company in Buesum, named Thomas J., told the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper he had fired the trio because their non-smoking was causing disruptions.
    Germany introduced non-smoking rules in pubs and restaurants on January 1, but Germans working in small offices are still allowed to smoke.

    "I can't be bothered with trouble-makers," Thomas was quoted saying. "We're on the phone all the time and it's just easier to work while smoking. Everyone picks on smokers these days. It's time for revenge. I'm only going to hire smokers from now on."

  19. Russert draws staunch defense of Clinton's Iraq record.

    Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton defended her record on the Iraq war to Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet The Press" this Sunday and insisted that she will begin to pull out troops within 60 days of taking office.

    "From my perspective, part of the reason that the Iraqis are doing anything is because time is running out," she said. "They see this election happening, and they know that they dont have much time, that the blank check George Bush gave them is about to be torn up."

    Tension escalated between Clinton and Russert when the two discussed Clinton's 2002 vote for the Iraq war. Russert asked Clinton repeatedly whether Barack Obama had made a better decision six years ago; Clinton reasserted throughout the interview that it was "unfair" to say her vote was a vote for war.

  20. Kerry: No Dem will ever be swift-boated again.

    Senator John Kerry told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week" that no Democratic President will ever allow themselves to be attacked in the way that the "Swift-boat veterans" group attacked him in 2004.

    "Unfortunately, when lies are put out on television sufficiently and unanswered sufficiently, they can make a difference. That will never, ever happen again," he said

  21. By one rough rule of thumb, a recession occurs when there are two consecutive quarters _ six straight months _ when the economy shrinks.

    Given the housing bubble bursting, causing contractions in that market, combined with the sub-prime and commercial paper crunch, add the tumble in new auto sales for the last quarter and all the layoffs these economic move entail, a 6 month contraction is the BEST they can hope for.

    More like 16 months.

  22. President Bush followed up a mild lecture about expanding democracy among the Mideast's comfortable dynasties with an opulent picnic at the desert playground of one of the region's wealthy leaders.

    Bush traded his suit for a casual jacket and took a helicopter as close as he could get to this remote encampment where Abu Dhabi's crown prince, Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, raises horses and prize falcons. His motorcade bumped over sand dunes for the last few miles, ending up at a tent pitched high on a wind-swept crest.

    And what a tent.

    A tent with thick carpets, pillows for lounging, blazing lanterns, and food. Lots and lots of it, from bread with honey to grilled meats and sweets, all served by uniformed staff.

    Before the feast with a small group of White House aides and Emirati elite, the crown prince showed the president around. Next to carpets laid on the sand stood small pedestals, each stuck in the sand like a beach umbrella and each holding a magnificent falcon.

    Bush having a feast while U.S troops are being killed.

  23. Angelo Mozilo, the co-founder and public face of troubled mortgage giant Countrywide, is eligible for tens if not hundreds of millions in compensation and perks on the sale of the company to Bank of America.

    A Millionaire FairDuring calendar 2006, the latest period available for review in Securities and Exchange Commission filings, Mozilo took home $48.1 million in compensation. An early analysis of SEC filings by the Los Angeles Times suggests he could get upward of $115 million when he leaves after the sale is complete, despite the fact that the company tanked during the recent subprime mortgage crisis.

    In December, Countrywide reported a record number of foreclosures and delinquencies in its loan portfolio. The value of shares has fallen more than 84 percent since mid-May of last year.

    Bank of America today confirmed that Mozilo will stay on with the company through a "transition period." Countrywide wouldn't comment on Mozilo's pay.

    His long tenure with the firm — he has been there since its beginning in 1969 — and extensive employment agreement gives him the right to a significant payout when he leaves.

    Immediately upon a change in control, Mozilo would get $13.3 million in accelerated vesting of stock grants, according to the terms of his 2004 compensation agreement, included in the company's latest proxy statement.

    Should he leave the company after the firm's buyout, Mozilo would get a one-time cash payment of $88 million.

    These numbers are presented in the proxy in the context of a "hypothetical" change in control on Dec. 31, 2006. The date is necessary since some of the value of the benefits is based on share price. The company entered into a new employment agreement with Mozilo in 2007, which the proxy statement says guarantees substantially the same post-merger benefits.

    Typical Republican.

  24. Barack Obama, his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination bolstered by endorsements, told a cheering union hall on Friday that he would provide relief for homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments and deliver tax cuts to the middle-class.

    "We're going to put money in the pockets of hardworking Americans who deserve it. That's what I'm fighting for," Obama told hotel and restaurant workers packed into the steamy union hall of the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226. The Illinois senator said he identified with their economic hardships.

    "I wasn't living large," he said. "I had an old, beat-up car and had a little, tiny beat-up apartment. I was wearing beat-up clothes. I had holes in the shoes, had holes in my car. You know what I'm talking about."

    The union, the largest in Nevada, sided with Obama this week, an endorsement that boosts his chances in the state's Jan. 19 caucus, the first presidential contest since Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton defeated him in New Hampshire. Clinton arrived in Las Vegas a day earlier and went door to door in a working-class neighborhood asking for support.

    Where is your help for the hurting Hillary?

  25. The federal government issued national standards on Friday that states would have to meet in order for driver’s licenses they issue to qualify as identification at airports and federal buildings, setting the stage for a confrontation with states that have voted not to cooperate.

    Under a measure known as Real ID legislation, the states must comply by May 11, the third anniversary of the measure’s enactment, or obtain a waiver from the Department of Homeland Security.

    Meeting the May 11 deadline is impossible because the regulations have been delayed so long, but Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security, said Friday that his department would issue a waiver to states that promised to comply later.

    He laid out a very long schedule, with the final deadline in December 2017, more than 16 years after the events that prompted the law, the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

    Several states have voted not to comply. One is Washington, where the chairwoman of the Senate’s transportation committee, when asked what difference the new federal rules would make, said, “None.”

    The Washington Legislature is to begin a special session on Monday but it will be brief, said Senator Mary Margaret Haugen, the chairwoman.

    “It’s very unrealistic of the federal government to think that states that are not in session or in a short session can resolve this in a short time frame,” she said. “Our state has said we will not spend money on the Real ID unless they fund it, and I don’t see any money coming from the federal government.”

    In Washington and elsewhere, state lawmakers have complained that the requirements add up to a national identification card, that it is too costly, puts privacy at risk and poses severe technical challenges.

    The Legislature in Maine overwhelmingly passed a resolution last January vowing not to comply. The Legislature there is in its “short session” and can take up only legislation that all the leadership decides is an emergency, said Peggy Schaffer, chief of staff to the Senate majority leader.

    Ms. Schaffer predicted that pressure from the airlines might force the federal government to reverse itself.

    The airlines, in fact, are worried, because travelers with driver’s licenses from states that do not have a waiver would have to use a passport or a military ID, or face additional screening, including a pat-down.

    “This has the potential to be hugely problematic,” said David Castelveter, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association, a trade association of the major carriers. “It appears as if the Department of Homeland Security is placing the burden on the traveling public for a state’s inability to comply.”

    Another step toward the New World Order.

  26. I wonder if Miltly boy would have thought it a good idea to pay CEO's of FAILING corps hundreds of millions in golden parachutes, and screwing the lowly employees and workers at the same time.

  27. Sidney Blumenthal plays hardball. A longtime confidante and adviser to the Clintons, he has zealously defended them through any number of scandal investigations. Along the way, Blumenthal has shown an affinity for the sharp counterattack. When a group of Arkansas state troopers in the early 1990s began leveling charges that Bill Clinton had strayed in his marriage, Blumenthal shot back--penning an article in The New Yorker accusing the troopers of a litany of their own transgressions, including attempted fraud, marital infidelity and drunken driving.

    Now, Blumenthal himself faces charges of driving drunk. Blumenthal, an unpaid senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, was arrested in Nashua on the eve of the New Hampshire primary and charged with aggravated DWI, according two members of the Nashua police force.

    Sgt. Mike Masella, one of the arresting officers, said the movements of a Buick caught his eye. “I observed all his erratic driving,” Masella said. “When I first noticed him it was at an intersection. He abruptly stopped. That caught my eye … He was drifting in his lane.” Masella followed the car, a rental, for a mile and a half, and clocked its speed at 70mph in a 30mph zone--more than twice the legal limit. Masella pulled the car over at 12:30 a.m. Monday morning. Blumenthal told the officer he was returning to his hotel from a restaurant in Manchester. After declining to take a Breathalyzer, Masella says, Blumenthal failed a field sobriety test. Blumenthal was handcuffed, booked, had his fingerprints taken and was held for four hours--standard operating procedure in such arrests in New Hampshire--before posting bail and being released. (He will be arraigned later this month.) Because the car was moving at excessive speeds, Blumenthal was given the more serious charge of “aggravated” DWI--which carries a mandatory sentence of at least three days behind bars. “He’s charged with a serious crime,” says Nashua Police Capt. Peter Segal, who will oversee the case as it moves toward a court date.

  28. That's probably how he made his billions.

  29. (Reuters) - Ask corporate lobbyists which presidential contender is most feared by their clients and the answer is almost always the same -- Democrat John Edwards.

    The former North Carolina senator's chosen profession alone raises the hackles of business people. Before entering politics, he made a fortune as a trial lawyer.

    In litigious America, trial lawyers bring lawsuits against companies on behalf of aggrieved individuals and sometimes win multimillion-dollar settlements. Edwards won several.

    But beyond his profession, Edwards' tone and language on the campaign trail have increased business antipathy toward him. His stump speeches are peppered with attacks on "corporate greed" and warnings of "the destruction of the middle class."

    He accuses lobbyists of "corrupting the government" and says Americans lack universal health care because of "drug companies, insurance companies and their lobbyists."

  30. Consumer confidence fell to an all-time low as worries about jobs, energy bills and home foreclosures darkened people's feelings about the country's economic health and their own financial well-being.

    According to the RBC Cash Index, confidence tumbled to a mark of 56.3 in early January. That compares with a reading of 65.9 in December -- and a benchmark of 100 -- and was the worst since the index began in 2002.

    "People are anxious because everything sounds pretty awful these days," said Bill Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Financial Services Group.

    Economists cited several factors for consumers' gloomy outlook:

    --Hiring practically stalled in December, pushing the unemployment rate to 5 percent, a two-year high, the government reported last week.

    --The meltdown in the housing market has dragged down home values and made people feel less wealthy.

    --Harder-to-get credit has made it difficult for some to make big-ticket purchases.

    --High energy prices are squeezing wallets and pocketbooks.

    --There has been much hand-ringing on Wall Street and Main Street as to whether all these problems will plunge the country into recession.

    "Consumers are gloomy. The confidence reading suggests that people believe bad times are upon us," said Richard Yamarone, economist at Argus Research.

    Over the past year, consumer confidence has eroded sharply as housing and credit woes took their toll. Last January, confidence stood at a solid 95.3. The index is based on the results of the international polling firm Ipsos.

    All this because of the policies of George W Bush.

  31. The union representing Hollywood directors has agreed to open formal contract talks with major film and television studios Saturday in a move seen as a potential blow to striking screenwriters.

  32. The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States rose nearly 10 cents due to high crude oil prices, but they are not likely to continue to climb in the immediate future, an industry analyst said on Sunday.

    Another result of the coming Bush Depression.

  33. Walt Disney President and Chief Executive Robert Iger received a 7 percent increase in total compensation in fiscal 2007, to $27.7 million, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Friday.

    Typical of a Republican Elitist.

  34. U.S. chain stores, reeling from the slowest holiday shopping season in five years, got some more bad news Sunday: 2008 will not be any better and could see changes that may shift the retail playing field forever.

    As the National Retail Federation kicked off its annual convention in New York, two retail consultants offered negative outlooks for the U.S. retail industry, which has seen consumers pull back amid higher gasoline and food prices, a credit crunch and a prolonged housing market decline.

    "It's anarchy," said Wendy Liebmann, chief executive of WSL Strategic Retail, frequently repeating the word she used to sum up the latest results of her company's bi-annual shopper study.

    "Americans cannot control the big things such as oil prices, falling home values, mortgage costs and rising property taxes, so they want to control the small things," Liebmann said. "They are watching what they spend on everything."

    Liebmann said most shoppers were making fewer weekly shopping trips and spending significantly less on discretionary items such as home appliances and decor, fashion accessories, electronics, perfume, computers and software.

    Another sign of the coming Bush Depression.

  35. Vacancy rates at U.S. regional malls rose and rents fell during the fourth quarter due to concerns about consumer spending and a potential slowdown in the national economy, real estate research firm Reis said.

    A slowdown in both the growth of consumer spending and the hesitancy of retailers to sign leases in such uncertain times have contributed to a "change in trajectory" for regional malls, Reis chief economist Sam Chandran said.

    "It's only one quarter, so we don't want to go too far, but the numbers are significant enough that we are starting to see that deterioration," Chandran said.

    Vacancy rates at regional malls rose 0.3 percentage point to 5.8 percent and asking rent fell 0.4 percent to $40.37 per square foot in the fourth quarter from the third quarter.

    Regional malls typically have anchor tenants such as department stores and other retail chains that sell largely discretionary items that had seen strong consumer spending growth in recent years during the housing boom.

    Those sources of consumer cash, such as refinancings and home equity loans have dried up in the housing downturn.

    "We clearly see consumers are spooked and that is going to give them some pause when they are at the mall," Chandran said.

    Another sign of the coming Bush Depression.

  36. Wanna see what a real veteran of counter insurgent wars thinks of the surge?

    A person who fought in Vietnam, was special forces, reads and speaks Arabic, and spent quite a bit of time working in or on the middle east region.

    The "Surge" and its results

    With their usual consensus driven sense of what is true and what is not, the media have bought into the idea that the improved combat situation in Iraq is the result of "The Surge." If by that is meant the increased number of troops present in Iraq this last year, I can only say that the judgment of the media on this subject as on so many others is just silly.

    Yes, more troops made possible a more complete application of Petraeus' revival of counter-insurgency methods and that was a plus, but that does not mean that the increased number of troops would have produced a similar result without the basic change in strategy.

    In addition, the Sunni Revolt against the takfiri jihadis lies at the very heart of what has changed in Iraq. That revolt reached the point of "critical mass" at a time in which many people succeeded in convincing the American command in Iraq that predestination might be a feature of religious thought for many Americans but the idea of redemption as a possibility for insurgents would probably be a better operational approach. This serendipity (revolt plus counter-insurgency methods) made the difference this year in Iraq, not more infantry. Once again, the additional infantry were useful, but only that.

    It is reasonably said by some that none of this matters because the underlying social and political causes of the internal problem in Iraq have not been solved. That is true, but I haven't given up on the possibility yet. pl[Pat Lang]

    I guess he isn't as impressed as the gutless chicken hawks which dominate the reichwing and cable cabal of bloviating idiot talking heads who know very little but what the teleprompter tells them to say.

    But then again he was thinking in real world terms, not bought and paid for spin.

  37. An Open Letter to the New Generation of Military Officers Serving and Protecting Our Nation

    By Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF, ret., National Commander, The Patriots


    “The Nuremberg Principles says that we in the military have not only the right, but also the DUTY to refuse an illegal order. It was on this basis that we executed Nazi officers who were ‘only carrying out their orders’… The Constitution which we are sworn to uphold says that treaties entered into by the United States are the ‘highest law of the land,’ equivalent to the Constitution itself. Accordingly, we in the military are sworn to uphold treaty law, including the United Nations charter and the Geneva Convention… Based on the above, I contend that should some civilian order you to initiate a nuclear attack on Iran (for example), you are duty-bound to refuse that order. I might also suggest that you should consider whether the circumstances demand that you arrest whoever gave the order as a war criminal.”

    Dear Comrades in Arms,

    You are facing challenges in 2007 that we of previous generations never dreamed of. I’m just an old fighter pilot (101 combat missions in Vietnam , F-4 Phantom, Phu Cat, 1969-1970) who’s now a disabled veteran with terminal cancer from Agent Orange. Our mailing list (over 22,000) includes veterans from all branches of the service, all political parties, and all parts of the political spectrum. We are Republicans and Democrats, Greens and Libertarians, Constitutionists and Reformers, and a good many Independents. What unites us is our desire for a government that (1) follows the Constitution, (2) honors the truth, and (3) serves the people.

    We see our government going down the wrong path, all too often ignoring military advice, and heading us toward great danger. And we look to you who still serve as the best hope for protecting our nation from disaster.

    We see the current Iraq War as having been unnecessary, entered into under false pretenses, and horribly mismanaged by the civilian authorities. Thousands of our brave troops have been needlessly sacrificed in a futile attempt at occupation of a hostile land. Many more thousands have suffered wounds which will change their lives forever. Tens of thousands have severe psychological problems because of what they have seen and what they have done. Potentially hundreds of thousands could be poisoned by depleted uranium, with symptoms appearing years later, just as happened to us exposed to Agent Orange. The military services are depleted and demoralized. The VA system is under-funded and overwhelmed. The National Guard and Reserves have been subjected to tour after tour, disrupting lives for even the lucky ones who return intact. Jobs have been lost, marriages have been destroyed, homes have been foreclosed, and children have been estranged. And for what? We have lost allies, made new enemies, and created thousands of new terrorists, further endangering the American people.

    But you know all this. I’m sure you also see the enormous danger in a possible attack on Iran , possibly with nuclear weapons. Such an event, seriously contemplated by the Cheney faction of the Bush administration, would make enemies of Russia and China and turn us into the number one rogue nation on earth. The effect on our long-term national security would be devastating.

    Some of us had hoped that the new Democratic Congress would end the occupation of Iraq and take firm steps to prevent an attack on Iran , perhaps by impeaching Bush and Cheney. These hopes have been dashed. The lily-livered Democrats have caved in, turning their backs on those few (like Congressman Jack Murtha) who understand the situation. Many of us have personally walked the halls of Congress, to no avail.

    This is where you come in.

    We know that many of you share our concern and our determination to protect our republic from an arrogant, out-of-control, imperial presidency and a compliant, namby-pamby Congress (both of which are unduly influenced by the oil companies and other big-money interests). We know that you (like us) wouldn’t have pursued a military career unless you were idealistic and devoted to our nation and its people. (None of us do it for the pay and working conditions!) But we also recognize that you may not see how you can influence these events. We in the military have always had a historic subservience to civilian authority.

    Perhaps I can help with whatever wisdom I’ve gathered from age (I retired in 1978, so I am ancient indeed).

    Our oath of office is to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Might I suggest that this includes a rogue president and vice-president? Certainly we are bound to carry out the legal orders of our superiors. But the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) which binds all of us enshrines the Nuremberg Principles which this country established after World War II (which you are too young to remember). One of those Nuremberg Principles says that we in the military have not only the right, but also the DUTY to refuse an illegal order. It was on this basis that we executed Nazi officers who were “only carrying out their orders.”

    The Constitution which we are sworn to uphold says that treaties entered into by the United States are the “highest law of the land,” equivalent to the Constitution itself. Accordingly, we in the military are sworn to uphold treaty law, including the United Nations charter and the Geneva Convention.

    Based on the above, I contend that should some civilian order you to initiate a nuclear attack on Iran (for example), you are duty-bound to refuse that order. I might also suggest that you should consider whether the circumstances demand that you arrest whoever gave the order as a war criminal.

    I know for a fact that in recent history (once under Nixon and once under Reagan), the military nuclear chain of command in the White House discussed these things and were prepared to refuse an order to “nuke Russia .” In effect they took the (non-existent) “button” out of the hands of the President.. We were thus never quite as close to World War III as many feared, no matter how irrational any president might have become. They determined that the proper response to any such order was, “Why, sir?” Unless there was (in their words) a “damn good answer,” nothing was going to happen.

    I suggest that if you in this generation have not had such a discussion, perhaps it is time you do. In hindsight, it’s too bad such a discussion did not take place prior to the preemptive “shock and awe” attack on Baghdad . Many of us at the time spoke out vehemently that such an attack would be an impeachable offense, a war crime against the people of Iraq , and treason against the United States of America . But our voices were drowned out and never reached the ears of the generals in 2003. I now regret that I never sent a letter such as this at that time, but depended on the corporate media to carry my message. I must not make that mistake again.

    Also in hindsight, President Bush could be court-martialed for abuse of power as Commander-in-Chief. Vice President Cheney could probably be court-martialed for his performance as Acting Commander-in-Chief in the White House bunker the morning of September 11, 2001 .

    We in the U.S. military would never consider a military coup, removing an elected president and installing one of our own. But following our oath of office, obeying the Nuremberg Principles, and preventing a rogue president from committing a war crime is not a military coup. If it requires the detention of executive branch officials, we will not impose a military dictatorship. We will let the Constitutional succession take place. This is what we are sworn to. This is protecting the Constitution, our highest obligation. In 2007, this is what is meant by “Duty, Honor, Country.”

    Thank you all for your service to this nation. May God bless America , and sustain us in this difficult time. And thanks for listening to the musings of an old junior officer.


    Robert M. Bowman, PhD, Lt. Col., USAF, ret.

  38. ABout the Real is not what it seems, about "protecting America", it is about Access to America- We as citizens would have trouble flying and travel, entering a federal buiding to discuss taxes or Social Security or Disability problems, filing a FOIA, if you don't have FED ID you can get a Miltary ID or Passport ( although most people I know have had alot of trouble getting passports- that now cost about $100).

    If we were like other countries , there are other measures that could have been taken about safety- the REAL ID is not about safety....

    I mean think about it , it is supposed to apply to people over 50, well, Osama Bin Laden is over 50- he would not even need REAL ID....

    We should all look at it closer...
    I am looking to see which states are opposed...
    ( the states opposed are opposed due to cost....and it is unclear WHO will pay- which of course means we will pay....)

    And is is possible it will also be used to mess with Elections and keep people from getting WORK ? yes...think about HOW useful it would be for a Neoconal Government....

    ( BTW the Homeland Security now runs the Driving License offices now....did anyone else know that ?)

    Am I the only one concerned about this ?

  39. I don't like it either Enigma. It is another way to track Americans at little cost.

  40. Larry: the OPEN Letter that Dr Bowman that was written, where else was it posted or seen ? and how far has it been circulated ? it is amazing....from the Nuremberg rules to Court Martial of Commander in Chief to taking AWAY the control of THE

    What has beem the reaction...???

    And where did you find it ? I have not seen this anywhere before ?

  41. We are having Dennis Kucinich on our show tomorow morning to discuss NBC refusing to let him debate in Nevada and changing their "criteria" after they already invited him.

    This should be interesting. He will be on the first half-hour at 8 AM.

    Please tune in. Thanks

    Larry, That letter to the troops is incredible.

  42. Enigma,

    I got it at Cyrano's right side of column. They have lots of articles.

    Best of Cyrano

  43. 80 Percent of Americans Have Experienced a Falling Share of US Income.

    By Paul Craig Roberts

    New Hampshire voters have chosen warmonger clones of Bush/Cheney for their party's presidential candidates. The only candidates not in Israel's pocket are Kucinich, Paul, and Gravel, who have no chance for their party's nomination.

    Obama, who provided some hope for change, undercut his support on the eve of the New Hampshire primary by declaring that he would invade Pakistan in order to protect America. It is a mystery why Obama thought this message would motivate those inclined to support his candidacy.

    This means change is unlikely. Neocon think tanks, media, evangelical preachers, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and many other members of the government have succeeded in turning a majority of Americans into scared Islamophobes and in denying Americans any reliable information about the cause of the conflict.

    Unfolding economic events during 2008 are likely to increase fear among the US population--the fear that comes from recession and indebtedness.

    As the German National Socialists said, a fearful population welcomes a savior. The Bush Regime has put into place all the necessary pieces for rule by the executive.

    The Greenspan Fed created money and low interest rates to hide the effect on the US economy of job loss from offshoring. The low prices, achieved by substituting low-cost Asian labor for American labor, masked the inflationary impact of the Fed's monetary policy.

    The low interest rates created artificial increases in home prices by reducing the carrying costs of mortgages. Most people buy according to monthly payment, not purchase price of the home.

    Many homeowners refinanced to capture and spend the rise in home equity produced by the low interest rates. This spending and the construction boom misled people about the strength of the economy.

    So did US productivity and GDP statistics. As Susan Houseman has shown, US statistics have not been adjusted for offshoring and include in US productivity and GDP growth both the lower labor costs and the real output of offshored goods that are in fact part of Asian GDP.

    Performance-driven executives at financial institutions were suckered into purchasing subprime derivatives, which have crashed, leaving the financial system with serious problems.

    Bailouts require yet more liquidity, but the exchange value of the US dollar has been reeling from US budget and trade deficits. Creating more dollars makes holding existing dollar assets even less attractive to the foreigners who finance US deficits.

    The dollar has retained its reserve currency role despite its loss of value, because there is no clear alternative. The euro is a currency without a country, and might be adversely affected by differential interest rates arising within the EU membership. The UK economy is comparatively small and faces similar problems to the US. The rising Asian economies are not ready to assume the role.

    As I have documented repeatedly, job growth in the US has been confined to domestic nontradeable services. The US is now far more dependent on imported manufactured goods than it is on imported energy. Offshoring makes it impossible for the US to balance its trade as offshoring turns US GDP into imports.

    Offshoring is now reaching beyond manufacturing into high-end service jobs. Princeton University economist Alan Blinder, a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, estimates that there are as many as 30 million US service jobs filled by college graduates that are susceptible to offshoring.

    As long as China continues its currency peg to the dollar, lower prices from a continuation of offshoring can hide the new round of Fed money creation. But can a new round of money creation create enough new consumer spending by over-indebted consumers to mask the jobs lost to offshoring with more employment for waitresses and bartenders, or will the new liquidity be used up in saving the troubled financial institutions? Access to more credit does not help people who are maxed out and cannot pay their bills, especially when they are losing their jobs.

    Studies by economists with the Economics Policy Institute report that as of 2006, the most recent data, the typical American family's income remained $1,000 below its peak in 2000. Six years of "economic recovery" were unable to put the real median family income back to its previous peak. The combination of massive indebtedness, offshoring job loss, and recession is likely to produce further decline in US living standards.

    Last month (December 2007) the Congressional Budget Office released its report on household incomes. The CBO data show that 80% of Americans have experienced a falling share of US income, and that the top 1% of the income distribution has received almost the entire income gain of the top 20% of Americans. Keep in mind that some of this measured income gain is in reality phantom income according to the research of Susan Houseman.

    An economy that concentrates its income gains at the very top while wiping out high value-added jobs by sending them abroad, thus dismantling the ladders of upward mobility, is an economy headed for serious troubles even without subprime derivative and currency problems.

    All of the presidential candidates currently in the running have authoritarian personalities. America's next president is likely to seize upon rising domestic economic hardship and growing resistance abroad to US hegemony to complete the dismantling of America's constitutional system.

    This is frightening.

  44. Lydia: Denis is on tomorrow, will you be able to ask him about the New Hampshire Recount mess also ? ( I think he also might be interested in the New Hampshire situation as Cuyahoga County is one of the Counties that also has Diebold Scanners- and has had problems with them....Other parts of the State also have them, But I don;t know if they have had as much trouble with them as Cuyhoga).....

    Was he canceled on the Debate after he voiced concerns about New Hampshire- I wonder if the two events are related....I still don't understand WHAT the reason was ...( Fox used the "size of the table " argument when they canceled Ron Paul...)

    BTW that Military letter is amazing....really....

  45. enigma4ever said...
    ABout the Real is not what it seems, about "protecting America", it is about Access to America- We as citizens would have trouble flying and travel, entering a federal buiding to discuss taxes or Social Security or Disability problems, filing a FOIA, if you don't have FED ID you can get a Miltary ID or Passport ( although most people I know have had alot of trouble getting passports- that now cost about $100).

    If we were like other countries , there are other measures that could have been taken about safety- the REAL ID is not about safety....

    I mean think about it , it is supposed to apply to people over 50, well, Osama Bin Laden is over 50- he would not even need REAL ID....

    We should all look at it closer...
    I am looking to see which states are opposed...
    ( the states opposed are opposed due to cost....and it is unclear WHO will pay- which of course means we will pay....)

    And is is possible it will also be used to mess with Elections and keep people from getting WORK ? yes...think about HOW useful it would be for a Neoconal Government....

    ( BTW the Homeland Security now runs the Driving License offices now....did anyone else know that ?)

    Am I the only one concerned about this ?"

    No Enigma..............I have posted about this ORWELLIAN piece of legislation for the last YEAR MOST DEFINATELY is NPOT about keeping ANYONE is a power grab to tranform our society into an ORWELLIAN Police State just as Bush's illegal spying on American citizens is..........Bush and his cronnies wanna spy on people. particularly the politicians and powerful to be able to blackmail and control them just like that Orwellian fascist Hoover did.

    I am very concerned about i said last week i will NEVER get one of those micro chip ID's.........they can arrest me for driving without a licence as many times as they want i will NEVER get one of those or support the police state or the erosions of our freedoms and privacies in any shape or form.

  46. Larry said...
    Angelo Mozilo, the co-founder and public face of troubled mortgage giant Countrywide, is eligible for tens if not hundreds of millions in compensation and perks on the sale of the company to Bank of America."

    So he bankrupts his company and cheats consumers and he walks away with hundreds of millions............typical repug predatory capitalist stealing from the working class and benefiting from hurting society..........those people cant take any personal responsibility, they should be in jail.

  47. Hey Lydia, did you read Iacoca's book, or just happen to come accross that article.........I posted I believe the same article last year, Clif did also..............Iacoca makes his point so powerfully and so perfectly its virtually impossible for the trolls and cronny capitalists to refute same with Warren Buffet!

  48. BARTLEBEE said...
    No one could call Lee Iacocca a "moonbat".

    He's an icon of capitalism and one of the most successful CEO's of all time. He has a brilliant analytical business mind, and yet listen to him.

    He's saying EXACTLY what we've been saying since day one.


    Could it be we were right?"

    You KNOW IT Bartlebe...............we could post that article once a month and i would'nt get tired of reading it.

  49. Lydia Cornell said...
    Thanks Blackdog.

    Bartlebee - where are the trolls? I mean where did they go? do you think they're gearing up for a smear and slander campaign when the election heats up?

    Maybe Freedom Fan realized how wrong he was and joined the Democratic Party."

    They KNEW deep down how wrong they were for the last several years........THATS why they resorted to all the lies and dirty tactics..........but NOW that all their lies are exposed for almost all to see, their heros are discredited, their hackers and name calling trolls trying to bury the truth and drive people off the the site have no more power and those tactics of lies anddeceit are no longer tolertated............they slithered back under their bridges because they KNOW in their hearts they cant compete in a fair playing field based on facts and truth...........when lies, name calling and slander no longer are tolerated they have NOTHING left.

  50. Hey all ....I have thought alot about this past week, and the new kind of swfitboating we are seeing...and so I have posted on and on the Enigma Cafe about Martine Luther King....since the Actual Memory of WHO and WHAT he did may indeed be smeared by some this week....I thought that this is my only way to help fight the swiftboating....

    ( what was said by Hill about MLK and Johnson did indeed upset included)

    please share these posts....

    I also did set up a blog dedicated to Obama this week..if anyone wants to see it...

    I always link the videos to the TITLE....

    I found some really amazing old ones...

    I am still having major email troubles...but please do leave messeges on either or any of the blogs...I will see them eventually...

    Have a good week...


    ( sorry to blogwhore....but it is for a good reason..)

  51. Promote all you want here Enigma.

  52. Enigma, yes I'm sure we'll have time to cover the New Hampshire vote recount tomorrow with Kucinich.

    Thanks for all your great info.

  53. Lydia....Thanks for all that you do...and all of you...I will try to tune in ( we'll see if my computer lets me stream....)

  54. Rep. Dennis Kucinich won't be taking part in MSNBC's debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday. It certainly won't be the first time that Kucinich was excluded from a recent Democratic debate. But the difference is Kucinich was initially invited, and had met the criteria, for the MSNBC debate. Then, MSNBC changed the criteria and told Kucinich he was uninvited.

    Alternet published a Kucinich press release, which said that 44 hours after Kucinich got a congratulatory letter and invite from NBC to the Nevada debate, they notified him of their changed criteria, and his exclusion.

    In the press release, the Kucinich campaign took a shot at the media as a whole: "When 'big media' exert their unbridled control over what Americans can see, hear, and read, then the Constitutional power and right of the citizens to vote is being vetoed by multi-billion corporations that want the votes to go their way."

    According to the Los Angeles Times, the original criteria for the debate called for the inclusion of the top four democratic candidates in national polling. With Bill Richardson dropping out of the race last week, that moved Kucinich to fourth place in polls. NBC decided to change the criteria, featuring the top three Dem. candidates: Sen. Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Sen. Barack Obama.

  55. The unemployment rate leaps to a two-year high, record numbers of people are forced from their homes and Wall Street nose-dives again. Such is the fallout from a housing meltdown that threatens to slingshot the country into a recession.

    The big economic question these days is whether the weakening economy will survive the strains or collapse under them.

    The odds have grown that the economy will slip into a recession. At the beginning of last year, many economists put that chance at less than 1-in-3; now an increasing number says it has climbed to around 50-50. Goldman Sachs, the biggest investment bank on Wall Street even thinks a recession is inevitable this year.

  56. As presidential candidates and government policymakers rush to offer prescriptions for the deteriorating U.S. economy, some are beginning to worry about a disturbing possibility: This may not be your traditional downturn. And the tools that helped restore prosperity in the past may prove less effective this time around.

    Cyclical downturns, including recessions, have long been a feature of the nation's economic landscape after periods of sustained growth. So has one of the most popular antidotes: a fiscal stimulus in the form of tax cuts or higher government spending.

    Today, public figures as diverse as Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Democratic presidential contender, and Martin Feldstein, a Reagan administration advisor and conservative Harvard economist, are proposing just that remedy for the current problem: stimulus packages of $50 billion to more than $100 billion.

    But such proposals are designed for normal downturns, in which the fundamental problem is that the economy has stalled because consumers have run out of steam or because policymakers have made a mistake, stomping too hard on the economic brakes. Under such circumstances, pumping money into the economy gets it moving again.

    In the current downturn, something more unsettling than a traditional swing in the business cycle appears to be at work: The United States has become increasingly prone to financial bubbles -- huge, seemingly irreversible rises in the value of one sort of asset or another, followed by sudden and largely unforeseen plunges.

    What makes bubbles so dangerous is that their consequences, when they burst, are wider, often more damaging, and certainly more unpredictable than those of ordinary downturns.

    "We are more prone to bubbles than we used to be," said John H. Makin, a former senior Treasury official with several Republican administrations and now a scholar with the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

    "The old-fashioned recession, where the consumer ran out of gas or there was an economic policy mistake, doesn't seem to occur much anymore," said Alice M. Rivlin, a former vice chair of the Federal Reserve and Clinton administration budget director. "As we've seen from recent events, bubbles seem to be playing a bigger role."

    Economists such as Rivlin and Makin do not necessarily oppose traditional stimulus proposals.

    "When there's a flood, I'm not against throwing in sandbags," Makin said. "It's not going to solve the problem. It's not going to reverse it. It might mitigate it."

  57. A modest proposal;

    Responding to Recession

    Suddenly, the economic consensus seems to be that the implosion of the housing market will indeed push the U.S. economy into a recession, and that it’s quite possible that we’re already in one. As a result, over the next few weeks we’ll be hearing a lot about plans for economic stimulus.

    Since this is an election year, the debate over how to stimulate the economy is inevitably tied up with politics. And here’s a modest suggestion for political reporters. Instead of trying to divine the candidates’ characters by scrutinizing their tone of voice and facial expressions, why not pay attention to what they say about economic policy?

    In fact, recent statements by the candidates and their surrogates about the economy are quite revealing.

    Take, for example, John McCain’s admission that economics isn’t his thing. “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should,” he says. “I’ve got Greenspan’s book.”

    His self-deprecating humor is attractive, as always. But shouldn’t we worry about a candidate who’s so out of touch that he regards Mr. Bubble, the man who refused to regulate subprime lending and assured us that there was at most some “froth” in the housing market, as a source of sage advice?

    Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani wants us to go for broke, literally: his answer to the economy’s short-run problems is a huge permanent tax cut, which he claims would pay for itself. It wouldn’t.

    About Mike Huckabee — well, what can you say about a candidate who talks populist while proposing to raise taxes on the middle class and cut them for the rich?

    And then there’s the curious case of Mitt Romney. I’m told that he actually does know a fair bit about economics, and he has some big-name Republican economists supporting his campaign. Fears of recession might have offered him a chance to distinguish himself from the G.O.P. field, by offering an economic proposal that actually responded to the gathering economic storm.

    I mean, even the Bush administration seems to be coming around to the view that lobbying for long-term tax cuts isn’t enough, that the economy needs some immediate help. “Time is of the essence,” declared Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary, last week.

    But Mr. Romney, who really needs to take chances at this point, apparently can’t break the habit of telling Republicans only what he thinks they want to hear. He’s still offering nothing but standard-issue G.O.P. pablum about low taxes and a pro-business environment.

    On the Democratic side, John Edwards, although never the front-runner, has been driving his party’s policy agenda. He’s done it again on economic stimulus: last month, before the economic consensus turned as negative as it now has, he proposed a stimulus package including aid to unemployed workers, aid to cash-strapped state and local governments, public investment in alternative energy, and other measures.

    Last week Hillary Clinton offered a broadly similar but somewhat larger proposal. (It also includes aid to families having trouble paying heating bills, which seems like a clever way to put cash in the hands of people likely to spend it.) The Edwards and Clinton proposals both contain provisions for bigger stimulus if the economy worsens.

    And you have to say that Mrs. Clinton seems comfortable with and knowledgeable about economic policy. I’m sure the Hillary-haters will find some reason that’s a bad thing, but there’s something to be said for presidents who know what they’re talking about.

    The Obama campaign’s initial response to the latest wave of bad economic news was, I’m sorry to say, disreputable: Mr. Obama’s top economic adviser claimed that the long-term tax-cut plan the candidate announced months ago is just what we need to keep the slump from “morphing into a drastic decline in consumer spending.” Hmm: claiming that the candidate is all-seeing, and that a tax cut originally proposed for other reasons is also a recession-fighting measure — doesn’t that sound familiar?

    Anyway, on Sunday Mr. Obama came out with a real stimulus plan. As was the case with his health care plan, which fell short of universal coverage, his stimulus proposal is similar to those of the other Democratic candidates, but tilted to the right.

    For example, the Obama plan appears to contain none of the alternative energy initiatives that are in both the Edwards and Clinton proposals, and emphasizes across-the-board tax cuts over both aid to the hardest-hit families and help for state and local governments. I know that Mr. Obama’s supporters hate to hear this, but he really is less progressive than his rivals on matters of domestic policy.

    In short, the stimulus debate offers a pretty good portrait of the men and woman who would be president. And I haven’t said a word about their hairstyles.

    Sometimes trying to appear bi-partisan is just ignorant especially when your opponents on the other side of the isle have been so wrong for so long.

    The economic policies begun under Reagan, touted by the sycophantic followers of the snake oil salesman Milton Freidman, and continued by The stupid Bush ARE the reason we are in such economic dire straights, and going bi-partisan on those terms is less then desirable.

    At this point in time we need a FDR not somebody who is willing to negotiate the recovery terms to be liked by the side which has been so wrong for so long.

    Tax cuts for the rich have gotten all of us in this mess, while ONLY the rich benefited, advocating to do more of that is insane. It is time the rich go back to paying their fair share of a countries costs which they have benefited FAR more then the middle class or poor from.

  58. Lydia:
    great show with Denis Kucinich....and even great clips played of him too...I have lived in Ohio since 2005, so I dont know enough about this state....I did know that there were and are Diebold problems ( as well as many other voting problems) but I had NO idea about the CEO of Diebold living in Ohio- how amzing and awful......But thank you for bringing that to light ....
    as well as giving Denis some airtime for his issues and it is awful the way he has been silenced...

    Economic Issue: I feel in a way that this Economy issues are being "used" even truthfully to divert the discussion away from the Iraq War...and there is an irony in that, because the MAIN Economic Stimulus Package that needs to be pursued is the SET Pullout of Iraq, and Ending the War- it is the ONE thing that ould have automatic results both here and abroad....and it will also stop this financial hemmorhage that is occurring on soooo many fronts...( and there would even be more much needed money to spend domestically)....

    Sadly the Candidates have not started really connecting those dots together when addressing it on the traiil ...especially the Democrats..and they need to....

    BTW Obama and Edwards both updated their Websites all weekend addressing Economic recovery and stimulus ( which in a way is interesting- because when the word recovery is used- it does imply the patient is sick , doesn't it?)

    Thanks again for interviewing Kucinich....

  59. Clif you nailed it with that article..........Hillary jumping on what Edwards was saying all along shows not only that Edwards was right but that hillary is smart and realizes this is an important issue to the public.

    Although I like Obama I have to agree he screwed up BIG TIME with his economic stimulus package his paxckage looks similar to GWB's wasteful so called stimulus.......$250 to every tax payer..........common, i dont think Warren Buffet, Bill gates or Lee Iacoccva really need or want a measly $250.............Edwards and Hillary's plans that support energy efficiency and tax credits are much would giving larger tax credits to the working class........namely those making less than $150,000.

  60. The Democrats NEED to play hard ball with the repugs and ONLY approve a tax break for the working class and not the ultra wealthy...........if the repugs stonewalkl and try to kill tax relief for the majority of Americans because the wealthy elite who dont need it cant steal any more of the pie at the expense of the working class........then you tar and feather them with this vote and make them pay dearly for it during the next election.............if they oppose tax cuts for 80%-90% of Americans then they need to pay dearly for support the interests of the wealthy few instead of the many who they were elected to represent.

  61. Are the repugs delusional or just pathological liars that will say and do anything to get elected....................those hippocritical fools were talking about.....cough cough fiscal responsibility and restriaint and cutting taxes.

    right now the way they have run our country into the ground by destroying our military, neglecting infrastructure, and with the coming social security and health care crisises it will be a feat not to have to raise taxes...........yet with all the hippocritical BS about fiscal responsibility and tax cuts the repugs STILL support borrowing money we dont have, running up record deficits and wasting a trillion dollars to support a senseless war based on lies that has no hope.........does that sound like fiscal responsibility to you??????

    Bush can WASTE a TRILLION dollars but cant spend mere millions or billions to help Children get medical boggles the mind!

  62. Hey Lydia that was a great point you raised about the media trying to marginalize kucinich...........its the media's job to report facts and truth not mislead, shape opinions and marfinalize those they dont just shows they have become far to powerful and need to be broken up to insure truth and fact based news.

  63. Mike :
    I think that you are right that the Media now does try to mold the News...( I still think it changed in 1996 when FOX got in the News Business ......cough cough...)

    About the Kucinich Diebold Concerns- I did find a post over on European Tribune- that if you Mike or Larry or Bartle know how to link to shows what happened in NH.....and it is startling ( Immoral Minority Blog on my Blogroll has the link and synopisis of the post...I suck at links I would post for you, sorry)...

    Mike- I will go back and look at Obama's Economic Stimulus proposals- I might have misread...for me, and my economic level/ tax bracket ( working poor) it is not just that package but also the Healthcare package that have great effects....but I will look again...

  64. enigma4ever said...
    Mike :
    I think that you are right that the Media now does try to mold the News...( I still think it changed in 1996 when FOX got in the News Business ......cough cough...)

    About the Kucinich Diebold Concerns- I did find a post over on European Tribune- that if you Mike or Larry or Bartle know how to link to shows what happened in NH.....and it is startling ( Immoral Minority Blog on my Blogroll has the link and synopisis of the post...I suck at links I would post for you, sorry)...

    Mike- I will go back and look at Obama's Economic Stimulus proposals- I might have misread...for me, and my economic level/ tax bracket ( working poor) it is not just that package but also the Healthcare package that have great effects....but I will look again.."

    Enigma, i think the majority of America are working poor or working lower middle class and THOSE are who she economic stimulous should go to..........i'm not against refunds........i am against refunds the way Bush did them in 2001. Sure $250 is nice but giving it to the wealthy is a waste, Warren Buffet doesnt need $250, and its too small an amount to give to the working class to get bang for your buck.........i dont even remember what i did with mine thats how insignificant it was.

    I think everyone making less than $75,000 should get 1000, those making $75,000- $150,000 should get $250, those making $150,000-$250,000 should get nothing and those making over $250,000 should pay more taxes on a progressive scale to help pay for the tax relief for the working class.

    I may have forget what i spend Bush's $250 on.......but i'm positive i'd remember getting $1000 and remember what i spent it on as well...........youre also right insurance is a very important issue.

  65. I'm beginning to wonder -- now aloud, if we may see an Obama/Ewards ticket for 2008?

    What a wonderful, powerful and inspirational team they would make. And after 8 years of the Bush/Cheney nightmare, don't we deserve two, good, kind, and decent people in the first and second positions running this nation?

    All I know is, Hillary Clinton can't win the nomination. The last thing I can stand is more Clinton drama and sleazy politics.

  66. I've been wonderng the same thing for the last few weeks would certainly make sense combining all the votors who support change and combining their funding for a common cause.

  67. I mean Edwards enjoys strong support.......the only problem is right now it appears not strong enough to win the nomination.........thats why i feel an alliance makes sense.

  68. The US military in Iraq hired firms to conduct focus groups amongst a cross section of the population. A summary report of the findings was obtained by the Post. Here are some of the highlights of the report as disclosed by the newspaper:

    * Until the March 2003 US occupation Sunnis and Shiites coexisted peacefully.

    * Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the US military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them.

    * After the United States leaves Iraq, national reconciliation will happen “naturally.”

    * A sense of “optimistic possibility permeated all focus groups … and far more commonalities than differences are found among these seemingly diverse groups of Iraqis.”

    * Dividing Iraq into three states would hinder national reconciliation. (Only the Kurds did not reject this option.)

    * Most would describe the negative elements of life in Iraq as beginning with the US occupation.

    * Few mentioned Saddam Hussein as a cause of their problems, which the report described as an important finding, implying that “the current strife in Iraq seems to have totally eclipsed any agonies or grievances many Iraqis would have incurred from the past regime, which lasted for nearly four decades — as opposed to the current conflict, which has lasted for five years.”

    Another Bush lie uncovered.

  69. Papers in the Middle East are sharply critical of Bush’s current Middle East visit, saying the United States is obsessed with Iran and that he is backpedaling on the positions he staked out at Annapolis.

    United States President George W. Bush headed for Saudi Arabia on Monday, the next stop on his eight-day trip through the Middle East. So far, it has been a journey of firsts. It was the first time he visited Israel during his presidency and was the first time an American president visited Bahrain. It is likewise the first time Bush has made a trip to Saudi Arabia.

    He came bearing gifts. His adminstration informed Congress on Monday that it intended to sell Saudi Arabia $20 billion worth of arms. His message, though, has focused consistently on the need for piece between Israelis and Palestinians and on the dangers posed to the region by Iran.

    Prelude to another Bush war.

  70. President Bush on Sunday accused Iran of undermining peace in Lebanon, funding terrorist groups, trying to intimidate its neighbors and refusing to be open about its nuclear program and ambitions.

    In a speech described by the White House as the centerpiece of his eight-day trip to the Middle East, Bush urged other countries to help the United States “confront this danger before it is too late.”

    Another war promotion by George W Bush.

  71. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has recommended additional troops be sent to Afghanistan to augment NATO forces, but no final decision has been made on the deployment, defense officials said on Monday.

    Didn't Bush claim he already won that war?

  72. Strong evidence is emerging that consumer spending, a bulwark against recession over the last year even as energy prices surged and the housing market sputtered, has begun to slow sharply at every level of the American economy, from the working class to the wealthy.

    How has the economy changed your spending habits?
    Read All Comments (189) »
    The abrupt pullback raises the possibility that the country may be experiencing a rare decline in personal consumption, not just a slower rate of growth. Such a decline would be the first since 1991, and it would almost certainly push the entire economy into a recession in the middle of an election year.

    There are mounting anecdotal signs that beginning in December Americans cut back significantly on personal consumption, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy.

    A raft of consumer companies — high-end stores like Nordstrom and Tiffany, and middle-of-the-road ones like Target and J. C. Penney — reported a pronounced slowdown in growth last month, and in several cases an outright drop in business.

    American Express said that starting in early December the growth in the rate of spending by its 52 million cardholders, a generally affluent group of consumers, fell 3 percentage points, from 13 percent to 10 percent, the first slowdown since the 2001 recession.

    And consumer confidence, an important barometer of economic health, has plunged. Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, says consumer satisfaction with the economy has reached a 15-year low, according to the firm’s polling.

    Even wealthier consumers, who were seen as invulnerable to rising gasoline prices and falling home values, are feeling the squeeze.

    “People are clearly concerned that we are headed into a recession,” said Stephen I. Sadove, the chief executive of Saks Fifth Avenue, the upscale department store whose runaway growth throughout much of the year slowed markedly in December.

    Another sign of the coming Bush Depression.

  73. Citigroup plans to announce a writedown of as much as $24 billion and layoffs that could total as much as 24,000 due to subprime and credit-related losses, CNBC has learned.

    Oliver Quillia for
    Citigroup plans to announce a $24 billion writedown and layoffs that could total as much as 24,000.

    The plans will be unveiled Tuesday by Citigroup's new CEO, Vikram S. Pandit, after the banking giant reports fourth-quarter earnings. At the same time, Citigroup could also announce that it is cutting its dividend payment by as much as 50 percent.

    Citigroup is likely to cut between 17,000 and 24,000 positions over the course of the year through a combination of layoffs, attrition and selling off businesses as part of Pandit's cost-cutting plan, sources said. Previously, it was estimated that the layoffs could reach 20,000.

    Pandit is looking to avoid taking a charge to earnings that's usually associated with large-scale layoffs, which is one reason he's considering a number of staff-cutting initiatives besides outright firings. It's unclear if he'll announce a specific number of job cuts on Tuesday.

    A Citigroup spokesman had no immediate comment.

    Citigroup also intends to raise as much as $15 billion from various foreign and domestic entities including Government Investment Corp. of Singapore, the Kuwait Investment Authority and, Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Citigroup's largest individual shareholder.

    More proof of the coming Bush Depression.

  74. British newspapers say the state-of-the-company speech EMI's Guy Hands has planned for Tuesday will include jobs cuts, after all. A lot of job cuts: Hands is reportedly looking to axe 2,000 of EMI's 5,500 employees -- a 36% payroll reduction. Some details from the Telegraph:

    More widespread effects of the coming Bush Depression.

  75. National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell is drawing up plans for cyberspace spying that would make the current debate on warrantless wiretaps look like a "walk in the park," according to an interview published in the New Yorker's print edition today.

    Debate on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “will be a walk in the park compared to this,” McConnell said. “this is going to be a goat rope on the Hill. My prediction is that we’re going to screw around with this until something horrendous happens.”

    The article, which profiles the 65-year-old former admiral appointed by President George W. Bush in January 2007 to oversee all of America's intelligence agencies, was not published on the New Yorker's Web site. (It can be read here in pdf).

    McConnell is developing a Cyber-Security Policy, still in the draft stage, which will closely police Internet activity.

    "Ed Giorgio, who is working with McConnell on the plan, said that would mean giving the government the autority to examine the content of any e-mail, file transfer or Web search," author Lawrence Wright pens.

    Another freedom being taken away by Bush.

  76. Federal mortgage fraud convictions have more than doubled in the past year, and the FBI expects a growth in foreclosure scams as the crisis over substandard, high-interest home loans escalates.

    Foreclosure rates for these mortgages, known as subprime loans, are at historic highs, according to surveys by the Mortgage Bankers Association and government records.

    STATES: Lawmakers battle with abusive lending

    The FBI opened 1,210 mortgage fraud cases in fiscal year 2007, nearly triple the number of new cases in 2003. Convictions more than doubled from 123 in the 2006 fiscal year to 260 in 2007.

    "We expect that number to increase again in 2008," says FBI financial crimes section chief Sharon Ormsby.

    Fraud and Corruption: Welcome to the world of George W Bush.

  77. Larry :
    thanks for the $$$ Buscho Corruption Round the time anyone announces the "recession"...we will be in a depression....

    Christopher and Mike:
    I think an Obama /Edwards ticket would be outstanding....and if they could work together, they have alot of support and also their policies and issues might even really blend well...I am going to watch them during the debate this week..and watch how they handle Hill...
    Hell, at this point if they can handle her...they can handle ANY Right Wing Smear machine...
    they both have dignity and grace under fire....

    and know how to stay Focused on the Issues of the People....


    By Gaither Stewart

    “In truth that which you call freedom is the strongest of those chains, though its links glitter in the sun and dazzle your eyes.” [The Prophet, Gibran Kahlil Gibran]

    My Italian Rizzoli-Larousse Encyclopedia dedicates seven long, tight columns to libertá. Italian, French, Spanish, and other languages are limited to the one Latin root, libertas, while English is blessed with both liberty and freedom, the latter from the Anglo-Saxon freodom and Middle English fredom. To my ear, freedom rings stronger, harsher and more deeply rooted than the romantic and heroic “liberty,” probably because of the historic echo of liberté, egalité, fraternité. Rizzoli defines liberty—therefore also freedom—in many diverse connotations and usages, from constitutional freedoms to freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from want and fear.

    Here my intention is not to speak such political or social freedoms. I have in mind interior freedom: the latent personal freedom, inside each individual that can exist under the harshest of dictatorships, and metaphysical freedom, an innate independence that exists even in situations of physical dependence.

    In the sixth column under libertá, my encyclopedia has a sub-entry, “freedom of choice,” which points to the freedom I have in mind: “Freedom itself implies a conscious choice.” That is, the interior freedom that makes me only me and not someone else.

    Thus choice is the first great act of freedom. Choice is human prerogative. Choices are landmarks in all our lives—the choice of a profession, a religion, an ideology, or another person. I think that ultimately we all come to know, if only subconsciously, that it is the concept of choice that grants us freedom.

    Americans profess admiration for the rugged individualist who abandons the security of the mainstream and goes alone out into the world to seek his true self. We love the words “only the brave.” We scorn conformism. Yet the reality of our lives is different. Autonomy might be a live goal but few attain it. Personality is its own end but society still overpowers its individual elements with auras of false consciousness.

    You can ascertain that many people around you apparently refuse to choose. I say apparently because I have realized that I can experience only my own freedom. Since this is a metaphysical matter I can only have risky opinions about another’s freedom … or lack of it. It is impossible to determine metaphysical freedom in another. Nonetheless the brutal reality is that most people do not seem to know they are prisoners. They have no chance of being free unless they become aware of the possibility of choice and then choose. The freedom of choice is the most wonderful capacity of human beings.

    I cannot remember the precise moment I made my choice of freedom but I do remember when I came to know I was a prisoner of collective habits, customs, traditions, prejudices, career, fashions. Since then I have come to understand that my interior freedom is embedded in choice, and thus in myself.

    Kierkegaard believed that the first basic choice that conditions all others is the choice of being oneself, and not someone else. The expression “to choose oneself” belongs to the founder of Existentialism. The expression is the Kierkegaardian-Existentialist version of Socrates’ motto of “know thyself.”

    Kierkegaard writes that “One [that terrible anonymous little pronoun, “one”, Kierkegaard noted] can make other choices, the choice to live only in the present, externally, following blindly each new fad, forever living in imitation of others. One can be talented, gifted, intelligent, and beat his breast in self-satisfaction, and still be a slave of fashion. That is what the Arab writer, Gibran Kahlil, meant by his words to the people of Orphalese [New York], “you shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief, but rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.”

    There is a world of difference between “being free” and “acting or feeling free.” It is the difference between being and seeming. The free person finds pathetic the figure of the apish wannabe artist, dressed like an artist, speaking like an artist, standing in a crowded gallery for the vernissage of his paintings—of nothing. Imitators surround the imitator; the imitators praise the non-art and imitate the non-artist.

    The argument that the concept of freedom can be reduced to awareness of the potential choices and a conscious selection of the most appropriate one in one’s life seems weak in the face of the interior freedom we are speaking of and man’s relationship with the universal. Well, no, we do not stand face to face with infinity each day. But what is such a weak mundane choice of “the most appropriate” for the kind of man Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov speaks of: “kto ya, chelovek ili tvar drozhashchaya?” What am I, a man or a trembling creature? I see such a dialectic as a justification of unfreedom: you accept the Orphalese ease [appropriateness] of slavery and label it freedom.

    Dostoevsky in The Grand Inquisitor illustrated how easy, comfortable and secure it is not to choose oneself and to remain unfree. To be possessed by extraneous things and the temptress security. There is no getting around it, unless I choose myself I am destined to copy the world.

    But what is the self that I must choose? What is the self? we ask again and again. What is it that makes me, me? It is an amazing sensation to know that the same self remains with me all my life. My self as a child is the same as my self today. I stop and think back and though it is vague and blurry I can again project myself into that childhood self. I remember that it existed. Memory is self. It is remembering that I am I. Not someone else. Vaguely, I can feel things I felt then. I feel the expression on my face today is the same as when I was a boy. Though it is like my shadow, we—my former self and my self today—are the same. Yes, but what is it, one still wonders? The self most of us easily forget? For me this self is the metaphysical freedom I spoke of: my freedom as an individual in search of the universal. Otherwise I am just clay. If I do not choose to be “I”, I am unfree.

    Just now I stopped and tried to concentrate on my individuality. I broke into a sweat. The veins in my head pounded over the abstractedness of the concept of my own self. It is like trying to comprehend eternity. The relationship between my particular self and the universal is no less complex. We remain close to each other, the universal and I, like my self and I are close for a lifetime. I believe that is what the mystery of my individual life is. My self makes me different from everyone else.

    There is no question about it. One needs guts to choose freedom—the freedom that leads to oneself. Only the brave can live out there alone, independent of the net of conventions around us. It is precarious and lonesome out on the end of the thin limb of freedom. There is too much solitude out there. Your head spins. You feel giddy. You suffer. You feel like a failure. Unloved. Absurd. The eternal outsider. It takes courage to live like a hermit—again, a metaphysical hermit—for you know that the hermit is easily transformed into a heretic. Or a fanatic. You are surrounded by ghosts. The creator, the free man, walks in solitude along the rim of an abyss. Freedom, emerging also from the creator’s imagination, is not only a spark; it can be a raging fire, and a scream in the dark. To be genuinely yourself, genuinely inwardly different, is a dangerous path, for though it leads to happiness it can also become an obsession.

    Yet, contradictorily, the courageous choice is contagious. The free person arouses envy and jealousy … but also fear and hate. Unfree imitators tease him and treat him as a child … but they imitate him. The choice of self not only disturbs and even hurts others. It is also painful and frightening to the free person as well. At the moment of choosing yourself and freedom, you feel despair and bewilderment. You know you stand to lose the abundance of life. You are afraid of the solitude of the empty spaces.

    But in the long run the reward arrives: the free man is not dependent. Fulfillment is inherent in him. Uneasiness is inherent to the fashionable world of unfree imitators. The free man can somehow get by, as do people who choose freedom even in social unfreedom.

    Existentialist writer Alberto Moravia claimed that despair-desperation is the natural condition of man. For after you choose yourself, you at first fear the solitude. Then gradually you come to realize that the self is not as abstract as you thought. The instinct of freedom brought you here. Your instinct was to flee. To flee from society’s rosy promises of a radiant future. You instead chose to flee back to silence. Back to the silence of freedom. To reticence and abstention. One has said that man by nature is a poet. Gradually the poet in you becomes conscious of your freedom. You do not boast but it is a wonderful sensation to realize that you are you and no one else, that you speak only as you, and that you are independent—perhaps still a bit desperate—and free.

    Your newly discovered self is protective and also jealous. It knows that power is not freedom. No more than evil is freedom. It knows that despite appearances freedom cannot exist in the tangled web of mundane obsessions and oppressions. Even though it often has to compromise, it tolerates a minimum of encroachments or limitations.

    The free person is not ashamed to be considered naïve, odd, a flower child. He is not afraid of ridicule. Even to yourself you might seem to be still the same person you were before your choice, but you are not. Freedom has changed you. And the consequences can be both terrible and wonderful. You do not need to dress outlandishly or become a Buddhist to seem different. You do not have to live a bohemian life or disobey social rules. Without imitating, you are different from everyone else in the universe; yet you know you are striving toward the universal: the more universal-human you become, the more you are extraordinary and free. Not only do you know the difference between right and wrong; awareness of reality never escapes you again. The flag of freedom is planted in your self. Your interior freedom will now grow.

    Kierkegaard warned that you will be surprised when others feel deceived that you have turned out to be “good.” Everybody expected “more” of you. The good man, the free man, is underestimated; he is strange, enigmatic, and perhaps idiotic. He creates embarrassment and unease but also envy.

    The free man is different. He does not know bigotry or piousness. In his apparent simplicity, he holds close to his knowledge that he is nearer and nearer to the universal.

    One rebuts that it is possible to choose oneself for purely selfish reasons, like to emerge in a career. That is true. But choosing oneself is not falling in love with oneself. Moreover, freedom is development. You have to realize freedom again and again.

    Though I cannot remember the exact moment I chose freedom, I can remember when I was not free. That view of my personal history is not in my CV. Each of us has his own interior history. Our interior life has many turns. You feel you are diverse persons throughout your life. You seem to live several lives in one lifetime but at the core you are always the same you.

    I believe that our interior history is the divine in us. The choice of freedom then gives continuity to our personal history. The process is one of revelation of and reconciliation with your self.

    But what a task we take on when we opt for freedom. We have to learn that abundance counts for little. Other things count more: for example, one problem of freedom is the responsibility. The moment I choose myself and freedom, I assume the responsibility for myself. It is enough to look around and find that many people reject the responsibility of freedom.

    Alluringly, a rejection of responsibility is of course a kind of freedom, too. And a great consolation. The collective of abundance offers a false, glossy freedom. It is the great temptation. The collective prefers two things: social abundance and non-responsibility.

    However, the desire for abundance and security also complicates one’s life. For in everyday life the unfree man can never acquire enough to satisfy him. His despair is mortal. He is perhaps happy, but a slave. The free man instead has his liberated self to fall back on.

    Once I chose freedom I came to realize that the universal lies deep inside my individuality, like quiet subterranean water. The striving toward the core, toward the universal, it seems, is the basic concern of human beings once they have chosen freedom.

    It is an interesting experience to look into yourself and ask as candidly as possible if you are free. In this territory you are working without a net. You can compare yourself to others. When you become aware of life’s many prisons and begin to wonder about others, you find it is possible to recognize the unfree. But because man by nature is an actor, it is probably impossible to identify the free man. In his role the actor is fleeting.

    Ephemeral. The actor also becomes his roles and carries them over into his everyday life. He wears many different masks. Freedom can be a deceptive mask.

    I felt and still feel guilt for choosing freedom. Guilty for the pain it costs others. Guilty for my egoism. The result is solitude and melancholy and the guilt for my reckless choice that triggered the sense of responsibility for my self and my freedom. The situation is grim. There I am basking in freedom, smiling and laughing at the world around me, while those I love do not yet realize there is a possible choice. I want to explain. But how? And why guilt? For what? Because I am a human being? Because I chose freedom? I should feel innocent. Nonetheless it is impossible to be completely sad—the joy of freedom is too great. I realize that my self is the absolute, its own end.

    For Albert Camus, God is the fundamental problem of freedom. Also Dostoevsky wrote of his novel, The Brothers Karamazov, that the chief question in his book was the existence of God. Both writers accept that “metaphysical” freedom presupposes the existence of God. Yet, for both a limited God. Camus writes in The Myth of Sisyphus, “either we are not free and God is all-powerful and responsible for evil, or we are free and responsible but God is not all-powerful.” Dostoevsky wrote in his Diary of a Writer that God is necessary and must exist but that he knows he does not exist. That is our absurd human state.

    The point is that we can understand things only in our limited human terms. Everything else is speculation, myth, superstition, or hope. Too bad! For our freedom makes us want what we cannot have. Yet we cannot exist freely without the search. I reject the road of those who believe the only acceptable human path is to surrender freedom, the freedom of choice, and have faith.

    Now, after writing this, I wonder about the situation of interior freedom today. Perhaps because in its popular sense the words freedom and liberty have been used so long in the name of slavery and injustice, the true meaning eludes us. As far as the metaphysical freedom discussed here is concerned, I also wonder if I am genuinely free as I boasted.

    Perhaps it is true that we choose only partly; sometimes circumstances choose for us; sometimes fate chooses for us. The doubt lingers: perhaps choice is just chance at work in our lives. I have to wonder.

    Yes, perhaps it is true that also fate-inspired choices choose for us. It often seems that way—if you are too weak-hearted to make the choice yourself. Sometimes chance is a beautiful woman, sometimes she is a monster.

    As Dostoevsky wrote, “Existence is illusory and it is eternal.”

  79. Larry...
    The Stewart Piece was soooooo amazing...thank you.....
    Lee was wellspoken...

    THAT was just plain lyrical....


    ( sometimes on a cold snowy night you just need Someone to post some Gibran...the Prophet...)

  80. BTW , somehow quoting from Crime and Punishment for the finale of that, just seems well right....under this Orwellain Criminal Regime...

  81. Orwellain does seem to fit the premise of today Enigma.

  82. Orwellian seems to fit Bush and his Neo Con fascist thugs.

  83. Orwellian may be too kind Mike.

  84. Did you hear Larry Krudlow crying and whining how confused he was that the Democrats economic stimulus plans didnt include any corporate welfare for the corporations..........did the little delusional cronny capitalist ever consider that was their intent to help the working class RATHER than the corporate elite and ultra wealthy.+

  85. Kudlow is a pig in the worst way. He spent years praising Reagan who also caused a recession with his givebacks to the rich.

  86. These repugs seem to think that corporate welfare for the wealthy is some kind of entitlement.............Reagans welfare queens are not the poor, but the ultra wealthy and the powerful corporations.

  87. MCaine showed what a fool he is by not focusing on the economy which is the number one issue to votors.................he sounded kinda like Hoover and Mellon before the Great Depression.

  88. Reagan started this mess and Bush has taken it to an entirely new level that will ultimately bring about a Modern Day Depression.

  89. This Recession is gonna get a whole lot worse and the repugs are on the wrong side of it just like they are with the war..........the will of the people will speak loud and clear soon.

  90. Check out Robert Rouse's latest personally created video called "First Amendment Shuffle."

    Left of Centrist

  91. That was pretty good.........its amazing how much of the Constitution and Bill of Rights that criminally insane idiot has shredded............Bush and Cheney should have been impeached years ago.

  92. Mike you should check out allof Robert's videos.

    He does them all himself and has an archive on his blog.

  93. thanks for telling me that there is a new video up by Robert....wonderful...

    Now about the Debate on Countdown Keith revealed that the Judge has ordered NBC to let Denis on - BUT they of course for whatever inane reason have filed an APPEAL....oye...

    And also there is talk that Hill sent out a "truce"?

    What do we know of this ?

  94. Hillary's "truce" is publicly designed to deflate critisims from her remarks that have angered many people.

    If there were no debate tomorrow, would Hillary try a supposed truce?

  95. Well it would certainly be a smart move to stop the smear campaign, for all the sheep that believe it it probably alienates more people who are sick of the slimy Rove tactics..........of course she calls a truce after she slings the mud and right before MLK day.

    I'm sorry i always liked and thought very high;y of Bill Clinton, and in my eyes he diminished himself the last 2 weeks.

  96. Didnt Reagan call a truce like that after he finished slinging mud at his rivals and became president.

  97. I think they all call a truce until the next slimeball launches one then of course Hillary will know nothing about it.

  98. Mike I too used to like the Clintons..okay Bill...but Hill- I just did not know who she was...I used to kind of feel sorry for her....because marriages do fall apart- but hers did publicly....and was exposed as a problem....that is worth my pity....but what I realize now - this is a woman that plays very very manipulative...and frankly bitter...

    She could have run in 2004...but now she tells Obama to get in line- "this is her time", she sounds more and more entitled and all of it has left me chugging Mylanta.....( well, frankly under bush I live on it....but I have NEVER drank so much because of the DEMS using Rovian Tactics....Stupid tactics..yes...but this is something else entirely)...

    But I am proud of Obama,he has remained focused and very calm and composed....and if this is how he handles himself when the shit hits the fan...well, I am very impressed..yes...he is Presidential...

    ( Christopher has the latest post about his interview...yesterday)

    BTW I think she issued the truce today AFTER she got booed- which of course the Media did not the NYC event she invited herself to, and then had to wait 2 hours to speak...

    No one of her stellar warm moments on the trail....

    So sad....We are BETTER than People....we need to embrace OUR own Humanity....and do the right thing...

    ( it is not the 1950's......)

  99. enigma4ever said...
    Mike I too used to like the Clintons..okay Bill...but Hill- I just did not know who she was...I used to kind of feel sorry for her....because marriages do fall apart- but hers did publicly....and was exposed as a problem....that is worth my pity....but what I realize now - this is a woman that plays very very manipulative...and frankly bitter...

    She could have run in 2004...but now she tells Obama to get in line- "this is her time", she sounds more and more entitled and all of it has left me chugging Mylanta.....( well, frankly under bush I live on it....but I have NEVER drank so much because of the DEMS using Rovian Tactics....Stupid tactics..yes...but this is something else entirely).."

    I couldnt agree more with what you just said............i've been talking about n Obama/Edwards alliance for 2 weeks now and i'm wondering if we might allready be seeing that with Obama taking the high road and playing the good cop and Edwards playing more hardball and firing back at the Clinton smear machine...........Hillary's stopping the smear right before MLK kind of her..

  100. NBC News said Monday it will appeal a judge's ruling rather than include Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich in a candidates' debate in Nevada.

    "We disagree with the judge's decision and are filing an appeal," said a statement provided by Jeremy Gaines, a vice president for MSNBC, sponsor of Tuesday night's debate. Gaines said the parent network would seek an immediate hearing before the Nevada Supreme Court.

    Hours earlier, Senior Clark County District Court Judge Charles Thompson ruled that Kucinich, an Ohio congressman, must be allowed to participate. If he is excluded, Thompson said he would issue an injunction to stop the televised debate.

    Kucinich's lawyer had argued that MSNBC at first invited him to participate, then last week reversed course and told him he could not.

    A lawyer for the network said MSNBC decided to go with the top three candidates after the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries.

    Thompson called it a matter of fairness and said Nevada voters will benefit by hearing from more than just top contenders Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.

    Watch the powerful network get this reversed.

  101. MIKE:
    yeah...the night before the debate...after being booed in NYC...and should I send her a thank you note ??? like she is doing us ALL a favor ? the only person this helps is HER....
    ( or so she thinks.....)

    It is too late..she can stand looking at the smoke behind her...where the bridge is still is too Undo What she has done...

    At this point - who will "forgive her" or "forget"?


    About Obama and Edwards - I have had a sign on my lawn since Summer....( people would laugh at me when I was doing yard work...and I always said that I thought they would make a team- at the time I thought it was going to be Edwards /Obama...but I told folks that I did not care...I thought they were both fine men...of Character...
    Integrity.......My son is a Huge Obama he is the one that helped me recognize Something deeper...something solid.....

    Larry: about the Debate? So I just sent you the last update I was sent from Kucinich at 10 pm...
    I hope he gets to be there...

  102. He asks a really good question...WHY aren't people more fired up, angry?

    The Chimpromised MSM (+) "reality" TV=not too aware populace.

    The scumbag Chimpletons that cheer this war on would turn into peace-loving hippies overnight if we attached the cost of Chimpy's Oedipal Crusade on Iraq to the price of a gallon of gas. And I'll say right up front that I amn willing to pay it, even though I hate the war; it is unfair for me to leave my kids with that kind of a burden later on.

    These Chimpletards are a bunch of something-for-nothing bums. They want a big military, and they want great schools, and they want their police and fire protection.... but don't you DARE ask one of them to sign up, or even pay for all the stuff they want. Their selfishness is appalling, and their monkey (undoubtedly the most selfish of all) plays hard on their selfishness.

    I doubt 25 welfare recipients cost this country what one Chimpleton costs it.

  103. at the time I thought it was going to be Edwards /Obama...but I told folks that I did not care...I thought they were both fine men...of Character...

    I hope you're right, but I have serious doubts about one of them.

    Old birds like me remember Gary Hart and his "new ideas" all too well. The new ideas stuff sounded great, but Hart either couldn't or wouldn't elaborate on it. eventually he ran into "Where's the beef?"

    In 2008, I believe an updated version of "new ideas" has emerged in the form of "change." When I look at the voting record of "change," however, I see scant difference between him and Hill. And he, like Hart, isn't doing much elaborating.

    I am now seeing more and more columns asking the modern-day "where's the beef?" question. And they should be asking.

  104. Jolly:

    First off, I have to say, I don't want some kind of battle here, but I think the Gary Hart comparison is pretty unfounded and I am sorry, but I don't get it...there is a world of difference between the Times we live and WHAT we need in a leader right now....

    There are a couple of issues here, OBama and Edwards both have realized that Hillary is using the Rovian playbook, so they are both being very very careful WHAT they say...and she actually does not say much- even when she was on Russert- a golden opportunity- all she did was sit there and attack Obama- she did not explain her VOTE on Iraq- and that is WHAT this whole battle is about....

    She does not explain WHY he has to get in line- but it is HER turn- so he must get in line...

    Politically he is being very wise and dignified- he is doing the only thing you can do when someone is behaving in an undignified manner- he is still speaking with people and walking the neighborhoods- which has has been doing all along and meeting with churches and groups...he has been doing the Footwork...listening...that is the sign of a good leader...

    Have you read his books?
    Or looked at his Voting records and HOW much support he had from Illinois?
    This is a man of Substance, and he has shown great character, during an ugly time in our History.

    We are better than this- Racial Slurs in 2008 against another Senator- the only Black Senator we have....that looks pretty bad...this is not 1958...

    After ALL the HELL we have been through we should be allowed to Dream and Hope and beleive that together FIND the path to is better than the Orweillain Regime that we have endured for the past 7 years... Most people have felt disenfranchised and Invisible...Change only comes with Hope...and Sometime People need to Find a Great Leader to find the Way Out....Mandela, Ghandi, MLK.....

    And to think that she would try to re-write History and disrepsect one of Our Greatest Leaders is beyond reproach.....Shameful.

    Racism comes in many Fashions and shades....Katrina was one side of it...and now THIS is another....

    We as a People...and as Democrats are better than this....we have to be...There is Too Much Damage we need to work on and a Country to save....Our Own....


  105. Jolly and others here...I apologize...I am not trying to be too harsh, or even argumentative...but I worry that it came off that way....the Truth is that ALL the Great Leaders we have was not their Experience that showed WHAT and WHO they were, it was how they handled the Crisis situtations, the Challlenges....with Dignity and Wisdom.....

    The saddest argument is that ALL the DEM candidates have much more valuable Experience than George ever had....

    again my apologies...

  106. Enigma, I dont think you need to apologize..........I think your Right on, and just calling it like you and many of us see it, the Clinton's have diminished themselves with Rove tactics.............that doesnt mean she would be a bad president after the train wreck Bush has been..........but it does mean she craves the power and will say and do ANYTHING to get elected..........and after the slimy megalomaniacs we have had i dont think she would be our best choice.

  107. Enigma, I have looked at his voting record, which is why I am completely comfortable in my comparison to Gary Hart. He can talk about change all he wants, and he can write anything he wants, but when his voting record is the record of the status quo, then questions must be asked. I'm not buying into the rock-star thing, and I'll go you one better and promise you that if he winds up facing Huck in November, he's in trouble.

    In no way should my suspicions about Obama translate into support for Hill. My beef all along has been I don't see a great deal of substantive difference in the two of them. She writes some pretty stuff too, but her record is what I judge her on.

  108. I guess my main thing is that THIS Election is going to come down to alot more than "voting records", we need someone with real inner strength and courage and the ability to Unify a very very broken nation...

    There are not many people that will be able to Motivarte and inspire and get so many people that are hopeless to work together....

    This will also come to critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, and diplomacy.....

    We have had many great presidents that did not have Voting Records but were great Leaders....Lincoln, FDR, Kennedy, Teddy Roosevelt....

    Greatness is measured in unusual ways in unusual times....

  109. Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, took aim at Hillary Clinton on Monday, saying her criticism of Barack Obama's stance on the Iraq war was "not founded on accuracy." He also ripped into comments made by Clinton surrogates hinting at Obama's past drug use, calling the remarks "negative in the worst, petty way," especially in the light of Bill Clinton's admitted use of marijuana.

  110. The US-initiated programme, "Server in the Sky", would take cooperation between the police forces way beyond the current faxing of fingerprints across the Atlantic. Allies in the "war against terror" - the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand - have formed a working group, the International Information Consortium, to plan their strategy.

    Another step, towards Bush's dream of a New World Order.

  111. There is so much disinformation floating around the blogoshere about Barack Obama.

    Some of it is race-based. People don't like him because he's black, yet they don't want to admit it for fear of being labeled a "racist."

    For others, Obama represents a threat to Hillary or Edwards. So, they pick up on and repeat the radical, rightwing attack points targeting Obama.

    Still others just report vague, unsupported "concerns" about Obama and say things like "I just don't trust him." You can't really argue this point because it's so subjective.

    A few of the untruths I've seen posted about Barack Obama by so-called liberals and progressives:

    1. Obama will privatize Social Security

    2. Obama will keep the troops in Iraq indefinitely

    3. Obama is a closet Muslim

    4. Obama is a drug addict

    5. Obama is a drug dealer

    6. Obama is a womanizer with white mistresses

    7. Obama is a patsy for al Qaeda

    8. Obama hates white people

    9. Obama is gay

    10. Obama is anti-semetic

    It has become almost comical at this point as I see this garbage thrown at Obama's feet. The energy to swiftboat him is enormous and seemingly endless.

    I have been following politics for more than 20 years and I am a veteran of both Bill Clinton's 1992 and 1994 campaigns. I have many contacts on the left in Washington and Los Angeles, so very little suprises me anymore.

  112. Hopefully freedom fan's head doesn't explode, but;

    Bush's Voodoo Stimulus Package: $250 "freebie" for every taxpayer

    By Mike Whitney

    In the next couple of weeks, George Bush will prove that the last 30 years of supply side, free market economics was nothing more than a overripe pile of horse manure. In fact, right now, the B-52s are being loaded with pallets-full of freshly-minted hundred dollar bills which will be air-dropped “from sea to shining sea” as soon as King George gives the nod.

    Think I'm crazy?

    The Bush “Stimulus Package” is the biggest and most obscene hyper-inflationary swindle ever perpetrated on the American people. It's a $100 billion, taxpayer-funded, bailout that is being slapped together at breakneck-speed to forestall a collapse in consumer spending, an exodus of foreign capital, and a painful slide into recession. And, guess what? Both political parties are on board. It is an act of utter desperation designed to address the catastrophe that was created by the Federal Reserve; the housing meltdown. Greenspan's subprime boondoggle is now in full-crisis mode and threatening to deliver a knockout punch to the global economy. That's why the the lights are blinking red at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. And, that's why the whole 435 member army of lacquer-haired political jacklegs who run the Congress are racing around in circles trying to find solutions.

    They ought to forget about it; go home to their friends and families, stockpile canned food and ammunition, and prepare for the Force 5 fiscal hurricane that's looming just off-shore.

    The emergency bailout scheme is spearheaded by Goldman Sach's former head-honcho, Hank Paulson. Paulson warns that the economy is slumping ``rather materially'' and needs massive jolt of capital to keep from sinking altogether.

    ``We are looking at things that could be done quickly,'' Paulson opined. ``Time is of the essence.''

    Paulson sounds more and more like a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He's like the deck-hand on the Lusitania who just felt the great ship shudder from the two torpedoes amidships, but continues swabbing away while the ship pitches lazily starboard.


    Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has recommended a “timely, targeted and temporary” tax rebate “of $250 per tax-filer, and $500 per couple for families with taxable income of less than $100,000.” (WSJ) Some variation of Summer's plan will undoubtedly be implemented in the near future. The “invisible hand” of the market---which Bush praises ad nauseum---will be used to steer the Fed's helicopters as they scatter the nation's wealth like confetti “across the fruited plains”. This multi-billion dollar cash giveaway should put to rest, once and for all, the silly notion that Voodoo economics is anything more than a charlatan's parlor-trick. Supply side theory is a chimera which leads inevitably to disaster. Its only proponents are right-wing bunko artists and think tank crazies who have invoked the doctrine at every opportunity and put the economy in the doldrums.

    At present, the financial system is so clogged with subprime gunk and other mortgage-backed garbage, the banks can't even provide loans to applicants with good credit. The gears have simply frozen in place. That's why the Fed and the Dept of the Treasury cooked up this wacky scheme to hand-out tens of billions of dollars via tax rebates to low and middle income families. It's the only way they can revive the maxed-out US consumer long enough to get him spending again. The Washington brainiacs who conjured up this latest quick-fix don't see that it will only buy us a few more months of fake prosperity while pushing us further into debt. If Paulson gets his way, the IRS will start cutting checks in a matter of weeks, which will get the cash registers at TJ Max and Target ringing shortly thereafter.

    Does anyone in Washington ever worry about the mess that we're leaving for our kids or do they figure that the Chinese will pay for that, too? The National Debt is already $9 trillion, and yet, the politicians are just dying to write another $100,000 billion check on an overdrawn account. It's madness.

    There's an old adage that goes like this: "When it seems like things can't go on forever; they usually don't." We're busted. Its time to stop playing Empire and start mopping up the red ink.


    30 years of Reaganism has destroyed the country. It's eviscerated our industrial base, broken the social contract, crushed our unions, savaged our schools and infrastructure, and shifted the nation's wealth from the middle class to the upper 5%. Now that same multi-headed Hydra is devouring itself. Wages have stagnated, the dollar is nosediving, the banking system is paralyzed, and subprime poison is surging through the global system shuddering banks and businesses around the world. Bush's anemic stimulus package doesn't do anything to reverse this trend. It's like injecting a dying man with a massive dose of meth-amphetamine. It'll only rouse him long enough to know that he is slipping the mortal-coil. What good does that do?

    Of course, some people will argue that the $250 government checks are a welcome respite and a verification of “compassionate conservatism”. But how does that square with our 7-year experience of GW Bush?

    Is this the same “compassionate” Bush who deliberately withheld food, water and medical supplies from Katrina's disaster victims while they huddled in the stinking, feces-infested Superdome or clung to the roofs of their homes while rescue boats were turned away by FEMA goons?

    Yes, it is.

    The government largess is not an expression of magnanimity, but despair. The checks are a last-ditch effort to rev-up the moribund economy and see if the ship o' state can be put aright. There's nothing generous about it. Besides, Bush and colleagues are ideologically opposed to giving working people a break; only, this time, they have no choice. The real estate market is crashing, the stock market is headed into ICU, and the country's financial giants are stretched out on a marble slab waiting for the cathedral music to begin. Bush knows he has to act fast or suffer the consequences. That's why he's abandoned his alleged commitment to “free market fundamentalism” and ordered the Fed to put the printing presses on Full Throttle. To hell with principle; it's crunch-time!

    What Bush is planning is the moral equivalent of exhuming Milton Friedman from his moldy sepulcher and pounding a wooden stake through his heart. But, then again, honor never mattered much to this crowd. Its all about power and greed.


    Albert Einstein summed it all up succinctly 60 years ago in an article titled “Why Socialism?”:

    “Nowhere have we really overcome .... "the predatory phase" of human development....The economic anarchy of capitalist the real source of the evil.

    Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, (creating) an oligarchy with enormous power (that) cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society....The the real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development.”

    We've done a pretty poor job of reigning in our predators. In fact, the only satisfaction we may derive from the impending disaster is knowing that we'll all be linked together, hand in hand, as the economy rumbles off the cliff.

    Looks like the charade is up, the rich have about as much wealth as they can steal using reich wing economics of steal from the poor and middle class, and hand the bill to the children and grandchildren, so the only thing that is left is to try and cobble it all together so it finally falls apart after bush leaves office so he can LIE once again to all of us, but this time claim he wasn't responsible for the economic castastrophre that is to befall all of us.

    Just as in Iraq, bush wants to hand the entire fiasco off to his successor, and them LIE and blame them for George W Bush's total failure as a president if not a human being. That being all Bush thinks about now a days, HOW much we all despise him and what he has done to OUR country.

    Well he can forget that, because Saddam was much more loved in Iraq then Bush will ever be liked in this country after all the damage, pain, suffering, calamity, deaths, loss of freedoms, lies, spin, hate filled politics for personal advantage, political gamesmanship over good for all people, cronyism, incompetence, destruction of the public commons for profit of the few, undermining of the future for all generations to come, he has done to us and our decendants.

  113. I heard Tony Blair speak last night, will do a short report about it .

    I see you posted it too Larry. I also posted a headline and the news about Kucinich winning the right to debate tonight, but NBC will appeal.

    This is bizarre.

  114. Oops, seems like Iraq is in the mess it is in, because of George W Bush and the neo-cons, NOT Saddam ....

    .... well at least according to those that live there;

    The Iraqis Don't Really Want Us

    Did you miss this? It should have been the lead story in every newspaper and radio and TV program in America. In the Washington Post it was on page 14. In virtually all of the rest of the media it was on page zero, channel zero, 0000 AM or 00.0 FM.

    The US military in Iraq hired firms to conduct focus groups amongst a cross section of the population. A summary report of the findings was obtained by the Post. Here are some of the highlights of the report as disclosed by the newspaper:

    Until the March 2003 US occupation Sunnis and Shiites coexisted peacefully.

    Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the US military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them.

    After the United States leaves Iraq, national reconciliation will happen "naturally."

    A sense of "optimistic possibility permeated all focus groups ... and far more commonalities than differences are found among these seemingly diverse groups of Iraqis."

    Dividing Iraq into three states would hinder national reconciliation. (Only the Kurds did not reject this option.)

    Most would describe the negative elements of life in Iraq as beginning with the US occupation.

    Few mentioned Saddam Hussein as a cause of their problems, which the report described as an important finding, implying that "the current strife in Iraq seems to have totally eclipsed any agonies or grievances many Iraqis would have incurred from the past regime, which lasted for nearly four decades -- as opposed to the current conflict, which has lasted for five years."

    The Washington Post added this note: "Outside of the military, some of the most widespread polling in Iraq has been done by D3 Systems, a Virginia-based company that maintains offices in each of Iraq's 18 provinces. Its most recent publicly released surveys, conducted in September for several news media organizations, showed the same widespread Iraqi belief voiced by the military's focus groups: that a U.S. departure will make things better. A State Department poll in September 2006 reported a similar finding."

    This just in: The US has found the perfect way to counteract such foolish attitudes of the Iraqi people. On January 10, the Associated Press reported: "U.S. bombers and jet fighters unleashed 40,000 pounds of explosives on the southern outskirts of Baghdad within 10 minutes Thursday in
    one of the biggest air strikes of the war, flattening what the military called safe havens for al-Qaida in Iraq." There was no mention of whether the planes had also dropped pamphlets saying: "We bomb you because we care about you."

    On December 20, the legislature of Panama declared the date to be a day of "national mourning" in memory of the American invasion on that day in 1989. "This is a recognition of those who fell on Dec. 20 as a result of the cruel and unjust invasion by the most powerful army in the world," said Rep. Cesar Pardo, of the governing Democratic Revolutionary Party, which holds a majority in the legislature. U.S. officials downplayed the issue. "We prefer to look to the future," said a U.S. Embassy spokesman. "We are very satisfied to have a friend and partner like Panama, a nation that has managed to develop a mature democracy." As with their attack on Iraq on March 19, 2003, the United States, with no provocation or international legality (yes, another war of aggression), first bombed Panama, then staged a ground invasion, killing as many as a few thousand, while offering no believable reason for their psychopathic behavior.

    Will we some day see in a free and independent Iraq the setting of March 19 as a day of national mourning?

    Looks like the reichwing propaganda is failing, which is expected, because they have been so wrong on so much for so long, it is incredible that anyone at all still believes them at all.

    But then again the NYT of Judith spew lies for the cheney et all Miller fame just hired William the bloody Kristol to be as wrong there as he has been everywhere else. And all the MSM touted the Navy's latest attempt to update the Gulf of Tonkin incident, while NEVER investigating until the meme was installed. Of course we all can see just how they are "playing" the election.

    No the corporate owned MSM will lie and spin everything for their corporate masters, even when the get caught at it like in New Hampshire.

    That is the depths we as a nation have sunk to because we believed in the lies of Reagan and both Bush's.

    We have lost our position as leader of the world, because we are almost universally disrespected for our behavior the last 7 years and for some of the more egregious behavior in the 1980's.

    Bush and Rumsfeld have almost destroyed the US military just like Tony Blair destroyed the British military.

    The discredited economic policies or Reagan-Bush-Bush have resulted in the looming fiasco which some believe will even be worse then the last time republican based economic policies fell apart.

    The right wing economic policy has gutted the US economy, destroying it's ability to create REAL wealth from producing real items, and good paying jobs, and left it the shuck and jive economic policies the likes of Micheal Milken, Charles Humphrey Keating Jr., Kenneth Lee "Ken" Lay who create paper wealth out of fraud, to sell to the american people until the fraud is exposed. Or The bubble master himself, who has lead the economic policies of the FED as they perpetrated the economic fraud they have on all of the US, in ways the other liars and cheats could only dream of.

    Now a days economic policy is keeping money moving, NOT creating wealth by making something of value. As such the money is moving, but far too much of it is moving out of the USA, so we are left borrowing it back to pay the bills. Thank you Ronald Reagan who started this, and Bush who it seems almost finished it, and the country as the economic engine it used to be. We as an "empire" are finished, and as all empires who have over extended while lacking the economic wealth to pay it's bills, we will have to face the fact we have become an overbloated giant which can not control it's borders let alone the foreign lands we send our military in to control.

    Just as the British empire faced this dilemma post WW2 and the Soviets faced the same right after the first Gulf War, we are now having to deal with our fate because we believed frauds who had no clue let along LONG TERM PLAN.

    Whether economic or political-military they were the ones"bootstrapping" it all along, and they didn't have the ability or good fortune to make it all up as they went along which is why at this moment in time, we face the long term decline in our economic empire and shrinking abilities to use our military to prop it all up for another 4 year term in the white house.

    The fall of the lies of the right are long in coming, but the damage they have done to this country will take longer then the great depression to clean up, if that can be accomplished in the world which resents their illegal immoral policies they forced upon us all.

  115. The Labor Department reported that wholesale inflation was up 6.3 percent for all of 2007, reflecting a huge increase for the year in various types of energy costs ranging from gasoline to home heating oil.

    all the while the economy is losing jobs, which means people pay higher prices if they still have jobs,

    can we all say stagflation;


    I bet ronnie ray-gun is a spinning in his grave thinkin' the reich wing is as incompetent as they are.

    But they always were that incompetent they just had better front men to foole the sheeple.

  116. NASA climatologist James Hansen has come out with his report on temperature analysis for 2007

    The year 2007 tied for second warmest in the period of instrumental data, behind the record warmth of 2005, in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) analysis. 2007 tied 1998, which had leapt a
    remarkable 0.2°C above the prior record with the help of the “El Nino of the century”. The unusual warmth in 2007 is noteworthy because it occurs at a time when solar irradiance is at a minimum and the equatorial Pacific Ocean is in the cool phase of its natural El Nino – La Nina cycle.

    Where OH where is the voltron, to tell us all he knows more then James Hanson?

    Oh right trying to figger' out why his blog seems like a ECHO chamber ......

  117. Not a good sign;

    General Motors CEO: oil has peaked

    THE world's biggest car maker, General Motors, believes the global oil supply has peaked and a switch to electric cars is inevitable.

    In a stunning announcement at the opening of the Detroit Motor Show yesterday, GM's chairman and chief executive officer, Rick Wagoner, said ethanol was an important interim solution to the demand for oil, until battery technology gave electric cars the range of petrol-powered cars.

    GM is working on an electric car, the Volt — due in showrooms in 2010 — but delays in battery technology have slowed its development.

    Mr Wagoner cited US Department of Energy figures that showed the world was using about 1000 barrels of oil every second and demand was likely to increase by 70% in the next 20 years.

    "There is no doubt demand for oil is outpacing supply at a rapid pace, and has been for some time now," Mr Wagoner said. "As a business necessity and an obligation to society we need to develop alternate sources of propulsion.

    Nice to see GM join the moonbat patrol of reality.

    Or is it GM has decided to "hate America"?

    Or is it they just want America to fail?

    Surely they are not surrender monkeys?

    Maybe they refuse to believe that GOD just puts more oil in the earth when we really need it?

    I'm not sure what it was, but IT can never be that we just might be pumping as much oil as we can at the present time, and when demand continues to go up, somebody is gonna have to do with out, with the associated price rises a demand driven price of a limited resource creates.

    Looks like 2008 is gonna be a wild ride, even if it wasn't an election year.

    One question why did an Australian media outlet publish this, but the US MSM and especially the CNBC and Bloomberg corporate shrills kinda just miss it?

    After all he does lead the largest Auto company in the world doesn't he?

    Seems he just might know what he is talking about.

  118. BTW to those who wanna claim he didn't say this, here is the video;

    GM CEO Rick Wagoner talks about hybrid vehicles

  119. But one little probl;em with his change to electric vehicles;

    We currently have around 243,000,000 personally registered vehicles in the US.

    There are only around 600,000 alternate fueled vehicles in all of the US, which include natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and E85, ethanol based fuel.

    So in an economic downturn, and enlarging debt society which can't pay it's bill at the current time, where are all of us gonna get the money to replace the 242,400,000 vehicles that we need to replace.


    Maybe, they are trying to get a $6000 vehicle into the market, too bad it uses gasoline, so it won't help us out, but just might undercut both the Japanese and GM.

    India has a car that sells for $2500, but it also burns gasoline.

    Seems they are gonna make the oil problem much worse with their inexpensive vehicles and undercut any attempts to find solutions before we really feel the crunch of not enough oil to go around.

    Too bad ronnie ray-gun sold us all a bill of crap in 1980 that we didn't have any oil supply problems because if GM and the rest of the auto industry had started back then, we just might have solved the problem by now, instead of fighting a losing war in Iraq for dwindling resources.

  120. clif said...
    The Labor Department reported that wholesale inflation was up 6.3 percent for all of 2007, reflecting a huge increase for the year in various types of energy costs ranging from gasoline to home heating oil.

    all the while the economy is losing jobs, which means people pay higher prices if they still have jobs,

    can we all say stagflation;


    I bet ronnie ray-gun is a spinning in his grave thinkin' the reich wing is as incompetent as they are.

    But they always were that incompetent they just had better front men to foole the sheeple."

    Stagflation is EXACTLY what we are seeing Clif................Bush is the biggest failure our country has EVER seen.

  121. Well we all know the US oil corporations are having a hard time finding countries who are willing to allow then to produce their oil.

    The Saudis produce their own, so does Iran, Kuwait, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, UAE, Qatar, and increasingly Russia.

    That leaves Angola, Nigeria and the Canadian tar sands as the only place where US and European oil corps can look for large fields to "play in".

    Which sort of explains the Bush-Cheney move in Iraq, which is failing.

    Now there is a new dimension to the crumbling US empire;

    The dislodging of another leg from Western primacy

    The news isn't grand for those accustomed to calling the shots for the last century and more. And it all gets back to oil.

    As has been discussed on this blog and elsewhere, Big Oil is being eclipsed by national oil companies. Exxon, Chevron, BP, Shell -- the western companies that have swaggered their way through the halls of power since the beginning of the last century -- are losing out to Aramco, Gazprom, PetroChina, and so on.

    Now another underpinning of Western primacy in the world -- global finance -- is going the same way. Take a look at this piece in the latest Business Week by Emily Thornton and Stanley Reed. It's on the so-called sovereign wealth funds, the diversified investment vehicles for the oil profits siphoned away by the six most important Gulf states: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman.

    Takeaways from this article: These states have amassed a stunning $1.7 trillion in their sovereign wealth funds, as much as all the hedge funds in the world combined. And their $180 billion in 2007 profit on these investments amounted to more than half their total $315 billion in profit from oil and gas. The money quote from Gregory A. White, managing director at Thomas H. Lee Partners: Soon "they will be the industry. We will be working for them."

    When you add on the $156 billion held in Russia's Stabilization Fund and the $20 billion in Kazakhstan's National Oil Fund, these investment vehicles are buying up pieces of Western companies from Texas to Hong Kong and changing the finance world. Merrill Lynch needs a $4 billion infusion to shore itself up after an expected $15 billion in mortgage writedowns, as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported in the last couple of days? Don't be surprised if it's one of these funds coming to the rescue. Both Merrill and Citigroup have already received a combined total of some $13 billion in cash through stock sales to Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund. The Journal reported yesterday that both are back in the Middle East to get more cash. Citigroup needs some $10 billion, according to the piece.

    These are not silent investors, as were the Middle Eastern petro-states in the 1970s and 1980s. I watch Russia most closely in this regard, and Moscow has discovered that, in the 21st century, it's easier to march across Europe doing business than with an Army.

    It's another dimension in the shift of the center of gravity of global influence.

    UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Chinese Development Bank and Saudi billionaire Alwaleed in Talal are part of a group coming to the rescue of Citigroup. Alwaleed already is Citigroup's second-largest individual shareholder.

    Isn't it a shame that all of our oil is under their land?

    With the failure that is the George W Bush administration, we now have to pay such high prices to them for all that oil we need so much?

    Isn't it sort of economic karma that those people are using "our money" to buy Our banks now?

    Especially with the stupid process of the corporate elite were willing to send the factories the US economy used to depend on to china just to make a little more money for a decade or so?

    I guess Lenin was really right after all;

    We will sell them what they need to beat us.

    Hell we are selling them the country a piece at a time.

  122. Larry, thanks for mentioning my new video. I appreciate it.

  123. Lydia, this is a fantastic post, and I love the C list. I think the court was right to rule for Kucinich, although his endorsement of Ron Paul as his choice for VP running mate puts him lower than Clinton on my list.

  124. Speaker Botox Don't Eat No Stinkin' Jello

    The Democratic Congress is back and Speaker Botox, AKA, Nancy Pelosi, has embarked on an ambitious agenda. Her first order of business isn’t the Iraq war, or the recessionary economy, or fixing the subprime mortgage meltdown.

    No, Speaker Botox’s top priority is transforming the U.S. Capitol cafeteria into a 5-star, gourmet eatery serving haute cuisine for all the hardworking members of Congress.

    Gone is the plebian jello, processed cheese and meatloaf. In their place is fresh fruit, brie and mahi mahi. Even the vending machines have gotten the royal Pelosi touch. Coffee machines will now dispense fancy Wolfgang Puck brews such as “Vive la Crème Caramel” and “Tropic of Chocolate.”

    Not everyone in the Congress is thrilled with Speaker Botox’s makeover. One House aide said in an email, “I really don’t like Nanny Nancy telling me what I can and cannot eat for lunch. If I want to eat unhealthy, I should have that choice!”

  125. What a relief to know Christopher, that Pelosi will soon have the lavish diet that her "wealth of extremes" have afforded her all these years, as she sells out America.

  126. Well at least Alan Greenspan is profiting from the sub-prime mess;

    Greenspan Goes Over the Hedge

    On a day when Citigroup announces an $18 billion write-down on subprime, news of Alan Greenspan's latest consulting gig brings to the forefront a painful reminder that not everyone was hurt by the mortgage-market meltdown.

    The former Federal Reserve chairman—the very man whom many blame for ushering in the housing collapse with his bargain-basement interest-rate policy—will be joining on as an adviser to one of the mortgage market's profiteers, Paulson & Company.

    The Wall Street Journal today fronts an account of how Paulson did it. John Paulson (no relation to the Treasury secretary) earned some $3 billion to $4 billion by seeing rot in the mortgage market when conventional wisdom still insisted that lending was fundamentally sound.

    In hindsight, it sounds so simple. As early as 2005, Paulson was convinced that the troubles in the mortgage market were deeper than the experts were predicting. So he developed a strategy of scooping up cheap credit-default swaps, shorting C.D.O.'s, and taking a hefty short position in the A.B.X. index when it made its debut in 2006.

    Paulson kept a steady hand with his short positions, essentially disbelieving in the mortgage market long enough for the risky bets to pay out.

    So while the Citis and Merrills of the world may see Greenspan as the architect of their misery, Paulson will be more than happy to put the former Fed chairman's formidable mortgage and housing-market experience to good use.

    "Few people, if any, in the world have the breadth of experience with, and depth of understanding of, global financial markets as Dr. Greenspan," Paulson said in a statement. "Anticipating the direction of the economy, and assessing the potential for and severity of a U.S. recession, are fundamental in formulating current investment strategy."

    So where does Paulson go from here? The fund manager is notoriously cagey about investing practices, but tells the Journal that he is betting against credit cards and auto loans—and feels recovery for the housing market is still a long way off.

    Well good for him, make a mess then profit from it; how republican of him.

  127. President Bush sat down with "Nightline" co-anchor Terry Moran at one of the vast royal palaces, and it became clear who holds the cards right now in the oil markets, with the price up near $100 a barrel...

    ..."I have talked to these leaders face to face," he said. "I have asked them point blank, 'Do you understand how difficult these issues are?' Yes. 'Are you prepared to make the painful political compromises?' They say they are."

    Despite that optimism, the president also said that he does feel misunderstood in the Middle East.

    "My image [is] 'Bush wants to fight Muslims.' And, yes, I'm concerned about it. Not because of me, personally. I'm concerned because I want most people to understand the great generosity and compassion of Americans," he said.

    "I'm sure people view me as a war monger and I view myself as peacemaker," the president said. "They view me as so pro-Israeli I can't be open-minded about Palestinian peace, and yet I'm the only president ever to have articulated a two-state solution. And you just have to fight through stereotypes by actions."

    Yes Bush, People of all countries view you as a War Monger! Because You Are!

  128. Oh BTW old Alan thinks we are in deep doo doo;

    Greenspan Sees U.S. as Likely In Recession, or Soon to Be

    The U.S. is probably in or about to enter a recession, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said.

    The odds are "not overwhelming but they are marginally in that direction" of recession, Mr. Greenspan said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

    "The symptoms are clearly there. Recessions don't happen smoothly. They are usually signaled by a discontinuity in the market place, and the data of recent weeks could very well be characterized in that manner," he said.

    Specifically, he cited a drop in the Institute for Supply Management's purchasing managers index to 47.7 in December after several months just above 50, the dividing line between expanding and contracting manufacturing activity. While "by no means conclusive, ... [that] is the type of thing, if we were going into recession, we'd observe."

    Another sign, he said, was the jump in the unemployment rate to 5% in December from 4.7% in November.

    Mr. Greenspan first publicly raised the possibility of recession in February of last year, and put the odds at about 33%. He said in mid-December the odds had risen to about 50%.

    Yesterday, he said the odds were still close to 50% but "more likely higher than lower."

    Mr. Greenspan saw a glimmer of hope in the housing market, saying new-home sales may have bottomed because the number of purchases financed by subprime and Alt-A mortgages -- a category between subprime and prime -- has fallen to zero. But bloated inventories mean housing construction and prices are still bound to fall, he said.

    But he don't have to worry about any old nasty recession, he just got a great gig because of his screw ups.

    Must be nice to screw the entire economy up,

    then land a great gig,

  129. If a Huckabee presidency doesn’t scare the bejeebus out of you, then you obviously don’t know of him all that well. And what better way to get to know someone than through the company they keep?

    Jay Cole: A Baptist minister based in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with a right-wing radio talk show:

    - when Huckabee was the governor of Arkansas, it was Cole who persuaded him to arrange the release from prison of a convicted rapist, Wayne Dumond, who had become a born-again evangelical in prison.
    - Cole: “To date there’s well over 139 prophecies that have come to pass exactly as the Lord says. Mike believes those things. Anyone with any Bible knowledge would have to say that this looks like the time. We’re so close to the Lord’s return.”
    - Cole compared the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to the Ku Klux Klan. “As you know from history, their original intent–[Mormon founding fathers Joseph] Smith and Brigham Young–was to take over the United States of America,” he said. “They weren’t just far behind the KKK in their efforts.”
    - Cole: “If you think communism’s bad, just think what the Islamics are doing,” Cole warned. “Those people have no–they’re just not human. They’re just not human.”
    John Hagee: Head of a Pentecostal congregation in San Antonio, Texas, with 18,000 members and the executive director of Christians United for Israel, a national lobbying group that organizes against a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine crisis and in favor of a military strike on Iran.

    - Hagee’s zealous support for Israel is kindled by his belief that Jesus will one day return to “biblical Israel” to usher in a kingdom of Heaven on Earth. “As soon as Jesus sits on his throne he’s gonna rule the world with a rod of iron.”
    - Hagee: “[H]e’s gonna make the ACLU do what he wants them to. That means you’re not gonna have to ask if you can pray in public school…. We will live by the law of God and no other law.”
    Tim LaHaye: Co-author of the bestselling Left Behind pulp fiction series, which tells of the coming apocalyptic battle between followers of Jesus and forces of Satan.

    Paige Patterson: President of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, an outspoken believer in End Times theology as well. Patterson is one of the chief organizers of the right-wing takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    Enough reason to reject this moralist neocon.

  130. BTW to all the Ron Paul backers who want him to end the FED;

    read this and think about it;

    The one attempt in the 20th century to break the power of this defacto-private bank, for this is precisely what the Federal Reserve is - when founded its board comprised 80% private bankers 20% government representatives – failed spectacularly. 44 years ago John F Kennedy attempted to end the Federal Reserve System to eliminate the national debt this ‘so called’ central bank creates by printing money and lending it to government.

    On June 4, 1963, presidential order EO 11110 authorised the president to issue currency. Kennedy ordered the US Treasury to print $4 billion worth of "United States Notes" backed incidentally by US bullion reserves, to replace Federal Reserve Notes, which were backed by nothing, so he could end the Federal Reserve System and the control it gave international bankers over the US government and its citizens. Kennedy’s strategy to bring US troops home from Vietnam by the end of 1965, combined with the removal of the Fed’s control of the US money supply would have killed the profits of this private bank. Literally as Kennedy’s dollars went into circulation he was assassinated in Dallas.

    So John Kennedy did TRY to end the fed,

    I wonder if the Fed took that personally?

  131. Paul sounds as whacky at Steve Forbes.

  132. This story is very interesting;

    Karma Kosher Conscripts in New-Age Diaspora Seek Refuge in Goa

    I guess soldiers of all wars want to get away from the battle field and find relief from the memories which haunt them from their time in the fire.

  133. Looks like the Arab street in Riyadh don't like Bush anymore then we do;

    Cowboy Bush: The 'Arab Street' perspective

    President Bush has received a royal welcome here – dining on artichokes and more at the Saudi palace last night and dining again tonight at the royal ranch where King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud keeps 150 stallions.

    But their confidential conversations are not without strain – with Bush allowing today that he will be tackling the question of high oil prices, and the impact they have on the American economy – in his private talks with the monarch tonight.

    And the Saudi Gazette – a leading English language newspaper in Riyadh, and an independent publication which nevertheless has Saudi princes for investors and must submit its appointment of an editor for government approval – welcomed the visiting American today with a Page 2 cartoon of a cowboy-hatted Bush, his boot pressing hard against a lassoed, rocky globe, with the Persian Gulf region foremost in his noose.

    “The following are Arab street perceptions, right or wrong, about U.S. President George W. Bush,’’ the newspaper announces in its Five “thinks’ about George W. Bush today, played in a prominent place that the paper reserves for five-things comments each day.

    “Bush, a born-again Christian, is the strongest and staunchest supporter of the Israeli state and Zionists in particular,’’ the paper reports. “During his rule, the Israeli Zionist cabal in Washington, or ‘neo-cons,’ as they are also known, managed to influence and command U.S. foreign policy.’’ That’s “think’’ No. 1.

    Think No. 2: “Bush is the one U.S. president under whose term Arab-American relations fell to an abysmal low, so also Arab-Muslim relations. His infamous reference to a ‘crusade’ against terrorism rang alarm bells across the world. The singular gaffe – among several now legendary ones that mark his presidency – raised fears that the 9/11 terrorist attacks could spark a ‘clash of civilizations’ between Christians and Muslims, sowing fresh winds of hatred and mistrust.’’

    Think No. 3: “Bush’s presidency gave cause for the majority in the Arab Street to believe, rightly or wrongly and for once, that the United States is anti-Arab and anti-Muslim.’’

    Think No. 4: “Worse, Bush’s presidency raked up issues for the Arab Street to widely believe that the Arab World’s real enemy is the U.S. government and not Israel.’’

    Think No. 5: “Bush’s foreign policy of invasions and threats consumed so much of the world’s energy that oil prices managed to hit $100 a barrel and create for the first time since the first oil spike in 1973 a problem of plenty in the coffers of producing nations.’’

    It wasn’t readily known what Bush might think of this, or even if he had read the glossy morning paper at the royal guest palace where he and his entourage spent the night. But this morning, the president was introducing himself at a breakfast of businessmen, and offering a preview of what he plans to take up with the king today, during his second day of talks here.

    He held his meeting with 11 entrepreneurs, including a stockbroker and lawyer, at the American embassy in Riyadh.

    “I'm George W. Bush, president of the United States,’’ Bush said to laughter in the room – (the White House’s annotation).

    “It's important for the president to hear thoughts, hopes, dreams, aspirations, concerns from folks that are out making a living,’’ Bush said here. “And I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to come and visit with me.’’

    “One thing that's for certain: The United States benefits when people come to my country,’’ Bush told his hosts. “And one of my concerns was after September the 11th that our visa policy, particularly for Saudis, was tightened to the point where we missed opportunity to show young and old alike what our country is really about. I love the fact that some of you were educated in America.

    “We share the same God,’’ Bush told them, “and we share the same aspirations for children and for our futures.’’

    [Oh the wing nuts ain't gonna like that one at all]

    The president, who dined with the king last night and then entered both group and private meetings that lasted until 11 pm local time – pretty late for what the White House spokesman calls “our early-to-bed president’’ – reported on those talks today.

    “I've got very close relations with His Majesty,’’ Bush said. “We had a good visit last night on a variety of subjects.

    “We talked about Palestinian peace; we talked about the security issues of the region,’’ he said. “I talked to the ambassador and will again talk to His Majesty tonight about the fact that oil prices are very high, which is tough on our economy, and that I would hope, as OPEC considers different production levels, that they understand that if their -- one of their biggest consumers' economy suffers, it will mean less purchases, less oil and gas sold.

    “So we've got a lot of things to talk about, but I want to assure you it's from the spirit of friendship,’’ Bush told his hosts. “And the hospitality last night was warm, and the conversation was excellent -- just like this one is going to be. ‘’

    And the Saudis ain't gonna do what the shrub cutter wants it seems;

    Saudi oil minister rebuffs White House

    Saudi Arabia will raise oil production only when the market justifies it, the kingdom's oil minister said Tuesday, in response to President Bush's request that OPEC nations increase output to reduce world oil prices.

    "Our interest is to keep oil supplies matching demand with minimum volatility in the oil market," Oil Minister Ali Naimi Naimi told reporters. "We will raise production when the market justifies it. This is our policy."

    I guess the Saudis ain't gonna help the worst president ever with his legacy any more then the Israelis or Palestinians are.

    Must suck to be such a loser.

  134. The Bush administration, in its last so-called Iraq "benchmark" report, used questionable financial data to assert that the Baghdad government was making progress in managing its budget, a new study says.

    The study released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office focused specifically on whether Iraqis were spending their capital budget, that is money for infrastructure needed to boost the country's lagging economic growth and improve poor public services.

    The administration reported in its September Iraqi benchmark assessment that Iraq's central government ministries had spent 24 percent of their 2007 capital projects budget as of July 15, 2007. "This report is not consistent with Iraq's official expenditure reports," which show that the central ministries had spent only 4.4 percent of their investment budget as of August, the GAO said. It said capital projects are 90 percent of Iraq's investment budget.

    The benchmark report was ordered by Congress to measure Baghdad's progress in 18 areas including political and economic activities. It was aimed at judging whether Iraqis were working hard enough at reconciliation and other issues to warrant continued American support.

    The new GAO report said the administration number in the September assessment greatly exaggerated capital project spending partly because it had included money from 2006 as well as money that the Iraqis had committed themselves to spending but had not yet spent.

    "We do not believe these data should be used to draw firm conclusions about whether the Iraqi government is making progress in executing its capital projects budget," the GAO said of the administration's figures.

    Iraqis have been slow to execute their capital budgets partly because violence and sectarian strife has reduced the number of contractors willing to bid on projects. Also, their procurement and accounting systems are weak and many professionals and skilled workers have fled the country, the report noted.

    Shown a draft of the study, U.S. Treasury Department and State Department officials said the GAO's much lower figure had not counted capital spending put in other parts of the Iraqi budget. But they could not provide any documentation to verify that, GAO said.

    More Bush lies revealed.

  135. The falling value of the U.S. dollar is contributing to a rise in food prices, particularly with imported foods such as fruit from Spain. A gallon of whole milk that sold for $2.78 in January 2000 costs around $3.95 today.

    Eggs were 97 cents at the dawn of the new millennium. Now they're $2.49 a dozen.

    Fresh whole chicken prices jumped from $1.05 to $1.49 a pound in the same time frame.

    "A lot of that is attributed to the declining dollar," said P.J. DiNuzzo, president of DiNuzzo Investment Advisors Inc. in Beaver, Pa. "The weaker currency is having an effect all across the board, all the way to food prices."

    The falling U.S. dollar isn't the only culprit. The rush for biofuels and record-setting oil prices also appear to be having a ripple effect on food prices.

    According to the Consumer Price Index, the price of food on average has gone up 5.4 percent between November 2006 and November 2007, the latest figures available. The cost of dairy and related products has soared 14 percent, while the cost of meat and fish has gone up 4.1 percent, and the cost of bread has risen 8.1 percent.

    "In general, food prices will continue to go higher as the dollar weakens," said Greg Womack, a financial planner with Womack Investment Advisers in Edmond, Okla.

    Another sign of the coming Buah Depression.

  136. The mainstream Italian media are reporting both the rigging of the New Hampshire primary for Senator Hillary Clinton and the official demands for a swift, accurate and impartial recount. In an article written by Marcello Foa, one of Europe’s most respected journalists, it appears that vote tallies for all Democratic candidates as well as Republicans were reduced by Diebold vote-counting machines.

    In an analysis of the hand-counted ballots, the influential Milanese newspaper - Il Giornale, reports that all Democratic candidates except Senator Hillary Clinton made gains when the New Hampshire ballots were manually tabulated, while Senator Clinton made inexplicably large gains where ballots were tabulated by computerized scanners.

    According to the report, Ron Paul should have finished third in the Republican primary rather than fifth. Thus, it would appear that both Barack Obama and Ron Paul were the primary targets of vote-rigging operations in New Hampshire. Keep reading →

    Another Voting Scandal: Hillary Style!

  137. Check put the Pelosi Photo on Christopher's blog, along with his Pelosi post: Classic Photo!

    From the Left

  138. And now for something completely different;

    Some spoken truths about Iran;

    Scott Ritter’s Iran 101 Primer

    Confused about all the conflicting messages about Iran’s actual threat to the U.S., and on a broader scale, to global security? It’s no wonder, given all the sturm und drang coming from the Bush administration, but thankfully, former weapons inspector and Truthdig contributor Scott Ritter is able to make some sense of the situation in this video of a still-timely talk he gave in July.

    Lydia he would make a very goos guest.

  139. Observers here that screamed about Ohio are skeptical of New Hampshire hanky-panky. There's going to have to be some proof before I'm ready to buy off on it.

    The "Bradley effect" is a very real phenomenon.

  140. NRO's Jim Geraghty posts what are supposed to be the first exit polls out of Michigan. Romney 35%, McCain 29%, Huck 15%, Paul 10%, Giuliani 4%.

    Looks like the KOS just might have gotten his wish;

    Let's have some fun in Michigan

    And we want Romney in, because the more Republican candidates we have fighting it out, trashing each other with negative ads and spending tons of money, the better it is for us. We want Mitt to stay in the race, and to do that, we need him to win in Michigan.


    If we can help push Mitt over the line, not only do we help keep their field fragmented, but we also pollute Romney's victory. How "legitimate" will the Mittster's victory look if liberals provide the margin of victory? Think of the hilarity that will ensue. We'll simply be adding fuel to their civil war, never a bad thing from our vantage point.


    Michigan is Romney’s last stand. He has pulled all advertising from other states for a last-ditch effort there. It’s sink or swim time for Romney, and we’re going to throw him a lifesaver.

    So why are we doing this? Because we can. Because it'll be fun. And because we've suffered Republican meddling, stealing, and disenfranchisement in our elections for far too long.

    I don't know if enough KOS kids have held their noses and voted for the flip flopper of the reichwing, but it looks like Kos call didn't hurt.

    KUDOS to them.

  141. So Kucinich was in court today....and has anyone heard for certain that he is in or not in the debate-
    Supreme Court was suposed to rule ( and he was filing an Injunction against NBC...)

    ANY word yet ?

  142. Supreme court of Nevada ruled against Kucinich.

  143. Thank you
    By Nahida Izzat

    So, let me get this straight:
    You tear my veil to free me
    You jail me to rid me of my terror
    You kill my beloved to liberate me
    You shoot my baby to erase my misery
    You starve me to show me how to vote
    You threaten me to bring me to my senses
    You wage war on me to help me find peace
    You slay my people to teach me compassion
    You humiliate me to aid me live with dignity
    You insult me to illustrate freedom of speech
    You crush my bones to save me from my evil
    You demolish my home to elevate my morality
    You uproot my tree to raise my ethical standard
    You steal my resources to bring me social justice
    You assassinate my leaders to bring me security
    You bomb my town to train me into democracy
    You destroy my history to educate me about progress
    You dehumanise me to coach me into humanity
    You wipe me out to push me to civilisation
    You scorn my faith to bring me salvation
    Thank you sir
    How can I -ever- pay you back?

    H/T to jurassicpork

  144. When Washington Governor Chris Gregoire was explaining on Monday her rationale behind her new security checkpoint program, she pointed out that we already have security stops and checks at courthouses and airports. In many of those places, we do; and the proposed expansion of governmental stops and checks of citizens who are minding their own business and violating no law is one of the exact reasons we disapprove of them so much. Where will the quest for “safety” and “security” lead us next? How much more thoroughly will the Fourth Amendment be eviscerated in the name of keeping people safe?

    Not that intoxicated driving, the intended target here, is a small thing; it is a substantial killer. But the heightened penalties and law enforcement watches for drunken drivers, and improved public awareness, have had positive effect: There’s been a general decline in DUI over the last couple of decades. Much of what’s been done has worked, and a variety of non-intrusive options not much use so far should be. Technology, from ignition locks to portable breathalyzers and beyond, not to mention improved efforts against alcoholism, can help further. When she said that “The fact of the matter is it’s a different day than it was 20 years ago,” she’s right: The problem is less extreme than it was then, and we have much better options now than we did then.

    The freedom to travel from place to place without being stopped by government authorities - absent some specific reason why you should be - is core and central to freedom in America. Every one of these generalized stops and checkpoints of people undermines that, a point courts generally have upheld over the years, including courts in Washington when this kind of idea was proposed in the last decade.

    We think this is a lousy idea even if it works as intended, but we doubt that it will. Cops spending their time stopping and checking every driver (or every random fourth, or whatever it is) who are doing nothing wrong, are cops not checking on particularized violations (of DUI or whatever) somewhere else.

    Beyond that, the procedure will make these stops pretty easy for drunks to avoid. From Gregoire’s office: “The proposed legislation would require law enforcement to apply for a warrant to conduct an administrative sobriety checkpoint in their county. The application would have stringent guidelines including information like geographic locations and checkpoint specifics.” This would be public: The proposed legislation says specifically that the public will be notified prior to the checkpoints being set up. You can imagine that among the drinking crowd, word will spread. The rest of us, less motivated to track these things, may be stopped disproportionately.

    And for DUI exclusively? You can see this coming: Agencies will want to piggyback other agendas on top of this one, just as the Patriot Act, supposedly solely an anti-terrorist measure, has been used much more for other purposes. Have no doubt, if this approach takes affect, it will happen. Where it will end, where its practical limits will be, remain unclear.

    What this most specifically would accomplish would get Americans ever more accustomed another stop and search routine of them by their government. And that is how the fourth amendment, and the sense of what it is to live in a free country, gets gradually whittled away.

    Get Ready America: Bush's Forthcoming Military Rule Is Just Getting Started.

  145. NBC won. They got rid of Kucinich. Why?


    Please read my post.

  146. It's an election year. We're bound to hear the usual run of lies told by Republicans in the coming months. You know the kind-- Democrats will turn the keys to the White House over to Bin Laden, Democrats suck at foreign policy, Democrats hate religious people, Democrats eat fetuses and drown puppies. One of the things that you are liable to hear as an interminable drone in the background is the canard that "Democrats wanted to surrender, and were totally wrong about the surge!" In fact, it's already begun. Of course, blindingly absent from such "analyses" is any indication that even conservatives were doubtful about the course of the war. For instance, no mention is made of Frederick Kagan, prominent member of the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, opining that

    The American people have become very frustrated with the course of this war. They should be frustrated. We're losing.

    Those sorts of quotes are neatly swept under the rug, as is much of any criticism of the handling of Iraq. Still, there has been an apparent lessening of violence over the course of the last several months. But before anyone breaks an arm patting George Bush on the back for his perspicacity and tenaciousness, some questions really need to be asked.

    Despite all the hooplah about Democrats surrendering, what was the real reason for resistance to a surge in troops? As General Abizaid noted in testimony to Congress

    "We can put in 20,000 more Americans tomorrow and achieve a temporary effect ... [but] when you look at the overall American force pool that's available out there, the ability to sustain that commitment is simply not something that we have right now with the size of the army and the Marine Corps...

    ...There's always been this tension between what we could do and what the Iraqis do. If we want to do everything in Iraq we could do that, but that's not the way that Iraq is going to stabilize."

    Up to and including the surge, the history of the current administration shows a complete ineptitude in addressing the very real and complex problem that it has created in Iraq. Indeed, it has hardly been possible to conclude that the administration has any idea as to what the end state of our adventure in Iraq should look like.

    We're told by well-meaning shills for the administration (yet, shills nonetheless) that Iraq is "a completely different country" from four years ago. Further, that this difference is entirely due to the surge. The question is, is it true? A year ago, a National Intelligence Estimate [warning, pdf] claimed

    The Intelligence Community judges that the term “civil war” does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict in Iraq, which includes extensive Shia-on-Shia violence, al-Qa’ida and Sunni insurgent attacks on Coalition forces, and widespread criminally motivated violence. Nonetheless, the term “civil war” accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict, including the hardening of ethno-sectarian identities, a sea change in the character of the violence, ethno-sectarian mobilization, and population displacements.

    Has the surge really changed that situation?

    Don't bet on it.

    As noted by Bill Harrison in this excellent overview, significant problems still remain. There has been little progress on the political front, provincial elections are overdue, unemployment is still crushingly high, and corruption and graft are still rampant in the government. The Iraqi security forces are far from ready to take over the responsibility of maintaining stability in this complicated mix of armed religious and civil factions. But surely the reduction in violence is directly attributable to the surge?

    Unfortunately, there's no such luck.

    Much of the lessening of violence can be attributed to the six-month cease fire instituted by Moqtada al-Sadr, which let US forces concentrate on Sunni-led insurgents. Additionally, insurgent violence has been masked by money, rather than suppressed by the surge. Six months into the surge, faced with violence spiraling out of control, and having suffered the largest single month of casualties in Iraq, General Petraeus realized that the US would have to cut deals with Sunni insurgents. The US military has "received help" from locals by arming "citizens groups" to aid in the fight against Al Qaeda in Iraq. Those groups are called the Concerned Local Citizens, and they're paid to fight.

    It's a somewhat abstract euphemism. The CLC program turns groups of former insurgents, including fighters for al-Qaida in Iraq, into paid, temporary allies of the U.S. military... Some 70,000 former insurgents are now being paid $10 a day by the U.S. military. It costs about a quarter billion dollars a year. It's a controversial strategy, and [Retired Army Col. Douglas] Macgregor warns that it's creating a parallel military force in Iraq that is made up almost entirely of Sunni Muslims.

    The largest Shiite militia group has temporarily sworn-off attacking both the U.S. military and Sunni Muslims. Sunni groups are, for the time being, allying themselves with the United States for a fee. And in the north, Kurdish militants are focused on Turkey rather than Iraq. It is a waiting game.

    This is an example of robbing Peter to pay Paul. These "concerned citizens" groups largely intend to return to sectarian fighting for control of Iraq's future, once Al Qaeda has been eliminated. Although the government of Nouri Al Maliki plans to disarm these groups at some future date, the ability of the Iraqi government to do so currently seems to be mostly vaporware. As a short-term strategy to gain maneuvering room, buying off the enemy may be working, but as a long-term solution to the violence, this seems to be a disaster in the making.

    And of course, there are other forces involved in the current lessening of violence, forces that those who praise the surge are careful to turn a blind eye to. Internal migration of the Iraqi populace has lessened violence considerably. But it has also created de facto cantons splitting the country into three distinct sections. This does not bode well for the oft touted secular democracy that George Bush promised to build in the Middle East.

    In the end, careful analysis of the situation cannot possibly reach the conclusion that the surge alone has accomplished our goals, and if anyone tells you that it has, you should be looking at their ulterior motives. In some respects, the insistence on sticking mainly to military force in addressing our problems in Iraq has made the situation potentially worse, even as it has given the appearance of lessening violence. It's entirely possible that we have made the situation much worse than it would have been had we pursued other avenues a year ago. There's a good chance that the lid, if it comes off at all, will come off during the next presidential term. And while it might be fitting that a Republican created mess should wind up having to be fixed by a Republican, given the incompetence with which they've handled the situation so far and their duplicity in painting the current precarious position as an "improvement", taking the "success" of the surge as a reason to avoid supporting a Democrat for president is misguided, at best.

    Those silly Republicans just can't stop lying.

  147. Here is why MSNBC doesn't want Kucinich in the debates:

    Hillary Clinton's name on MSNBC's Meet the Press homepage (she spoke with Tim Russert yesterday) is currently hyperlinked directly to Clinton's campaign website, where visitors are prominently encouraged to "Drive Hillary's campaign to victory by donating today."

    Looking back at appearances of other 2008 presidential candidates, I've found no evidence that any of them has received the same treatment from Meet the Press on MSNBC's website...

  148. Against the Security State (and for Reviving FDR's WPA)

    Posted by Karen DeCoster

    I stopped on the way home from work tonight at a local community center where Dennis Kucinich was giving a speech. Immediately, I noticed that about 60% of the people in the very crowded hall were about 65 & up. Maybe half of those people were in their 70s and 80s. "We're seniors and we vote" was sure out in force tonight.

    Listening to people talking, and what they were talking about, was predictable. An old lady behind me proudly and loudly voiced, "Oh, and who would vote for that Ron Paul. I mean his foreign policy is okay, but on domestic issues (what can you give us?) he is just awful. He's for nothing, no programs." The rest of the chatter was the usual: free prescriptions, free glasses, no medicare co-pays. The old people never cheered for Kucinich's education promises, which included free daycare prior to the age of 5, a new Head Start program launch, and free college. The old people mostly sat quiet for that. But the younger Moms and Dads shouted and whooped. "Free" stuff!

    I sat on the aisle in the second row, where Kucinich stood most of the hour. Odd, but he was so close I can still smell his cologne on my clothes. He's a terrific personality and speaker, which is one of the reasons why I like him. He's of blue-collar, Midwest origination (Cleveland), so he's fairly down-to-earth and lacking the Romney or Giuliani version of Yankee slick. Domestically, he's bad, but less so than his challengers. Except that he did praise FDR and his New Deal, and in fact he promised to re-create the WPA (Works Progress Administration) on a grand scale. He is going to fix all buildings, bridges, roads, sewers, libraries, schools, etc., and he's going to do it by using the government purse to provide high-paying jobs.

    Yet, as we know, he really shines on foreign policy. He spoke only briefly on war, but much more about the Security State. He's hardcore when it comes to abolishing the terror state and its antics, wiretaps, torture, and thought crimes.

    He filed articles of impeachment against Dick Cheney, but he also said that Bush was next in line for the same treatment.

    I like Kucinich alot; he is not a guy who, in spite of his welfare state agenda, you can hate too easily in the personal sense. He's extremely intelligent, passionate, and can mesmerize an audience quite quickly. He and Ron Paul - if Ron can teach him a bit on market economics and the real New Deal - would make a fascinating presidential ticket.

  149. Flint Journal

    Posted by Beata Mostafavi

    Riegle accused U.S. Sen Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y of taking advantage of Michigan's early primary that broke convention rules by staying on the ballot after what he says was an agreement that all Democratic candidates withdraw names.

    "It reminds me of the old Soviet Union. This is a tactic that should not happen in a democracy," said Riegle, who also spoke in Detroit and Lansing the same day on what he said was "a scam ballot."

    This is the real Hillary.

  150. The Truth About the Wars Will Guarantee The Votes

    By Richard W. Behan

    When people who honestly believe a lie
    learn the truth, they will either cease believing,
    or they will cease being honest.

    Speaker Pelosi, President Bush could have achieved his goal of “regime change” in Iraq quickly and without the violence of war. Saddam Hussein offered, weeks before his country was invaded, to leave Iraq and go into exile. President Bush withheld this offer from public view—and refused it. Nor did the President need to invade Afghanistan to apprehend Osama bin Laden. On five different occasions, George Bush refused a standing offer from the Taliban to surrender Osama bin Laden—three times before 9/11 and twice thereafter, again without public disclosure.

    No, the military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan are not directed against terrorism. They are territorial in nature. Mr. Bush intended from his first days in office to invade the two countries: as early as late January, 2001, his Administration was developing the decisions and beginning the preparations for both military incursions. 9/11 was in the distant future, so the conflicts cannot be exercises in counter-terrorism, as the Bush Administration frequently and dishonestly insists. They are premeditated wars of unprovoked conquest and occupation.

    Madam Speaker, if you know this, and if you continue refusing impeachment, then you are a criminal accomplice in violating the trust of the American people—and in violating both U.S. and international law.

    If you do not know this truth about the wars, Madam Speaker, you must learn its details and embrace it, and then you must seek with dispatch and justice to impeach George Bush and Richard Cheney.

    You claim you don’t have the votes. But to say that is to canvass the jury before the trial begins, before the evidence is presented and scrutinized. When the hideous truth of these wars is finally exposed—as it will be in the impeachment process—you will have the vote of every honest and patriotic member of the House of Representatives, Democrat and Republican alike.

    Why isn’t the truth already widely known? There are two reasons. The Bush Administration is infamous for its pathological lying and secrecy: they have done everything in their power to distort or suppress the truth. And the mainstream press has become an engine of entertaining, not informing the American people: it is indifferent to the truth.

    But the truth is always there, and it can be discovered in foreign news outlets, in the domestic alternate press, in book-length treatises, and in the passion for truth and unconstrained inquiry displayed by people posting to the Internet. These are the sources for the exposition to follow.

    Madam Speaker, if you will not impeach, then you must refute this history, if you can.


    The Bush Administration’s Curious Behavior

    Hours after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President Bush told the world the United States would take the fight directly to the terrorists and the states that harbored them. Thus the Bush Administration’s “War on Terror” was born.

    Less than a month later, on October 7, Mr. Bush launched a savage aerial bombardment of Afghanistan. He had the support of a shocked American citizenry and a sympathetic world, all of whom expected justice to be delivered soon to the terrorist Osama bin Laden and the harboring state embodied in the Taliban.

    The incursion into Afghanistan was sold as the first action in the “War on Terror.” It was a brilliantly executed charade.

    Flashback to October 12, 2000, a year earlier. The USS Cole, an American Navy destroyer in the Yemeni port of Aden, has suffered heavy damage from a terrorist attack, perpetrated by Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda.

    Three weeks later officials of the Clinton Administration met with theTaliban in the Sheraton Hotel in Hamburg, Germany. To avoid a violent retaliation of furious bombing, the Taliban offered the unconditional surrender of Osama bin Laden.

    Before the details of the transfer were completed, however, a Supreme Court ruling gave George W. Bush the White House, and the message was passed: the actual handover of bin Laden will be deferred until the Bush Administration is sworn in.

    Once in office, the new Administration asked the Taliban to delay the handover of Osama bin Laden at least until February. As winter faded into spring, and spring into summer, the Administration demurred twice more.

    Then Osama bin Laden struck again, on September 11, 2001.

    On September 15, Taliban officials were flown in U.S. Air Force C-130 aircraft to the Pakistani city of Quetta, where the deal was sweetened. The standing offer of surrendering Osama bin Laden was renewed, but now the Taliban would also oversee the closure of bin Laden’s bases and training camps.

    This time the White House simply rejected the offer out of hand. It did so again when the offer was repeated several weeks later, and days after that President Bush ordered the violence to begin.

    The invasion of Afghanistan was something vastly different than a quest to apprehend a terrorist..

    Sources for this section:

    1. “Bush Rejects Taliban Offer to Hand bin Laden Over,” Guardian Unlimited (UK), October 14, 2001.

    2. “Bush Rejects Taliban Offer to Surrender bin Laden,” Andrew Buncombe, The Independent (UK), October 15, 2001.

    3. “Dreamers and Idiots: Britain and the US did everything to avoid a peaceful solution in Iraq and Afghanistan,” George Monbiot, The Guardian (UK), November 11, 2003.

    4. “How Bush Was Offered bin Laden and Blew It,” Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, CounterPunch, November 1, 2004.

    5. “Did Bush try to stop bin Laden in his first eight months in office?” MSNBC Countdown, September 28, 2006.

    The War in Afghanistan

    The commitment to invade Afghanistan was made long before 9/11.

    The Bush Administration wanted to secure for American energy companies—notably the Enron and Unocal Corporations—the strategic pipeline route across Afghanistan to the Caspian Basin. But the Taliban had signed a contract in 1996 with the Bridas Corporation of Argentina, preempting the route.

    Scarcely settled in Washington in early 2001, the Bush Administration immediately pressed the Taliban to rescind the Bridas contract, and undertook planning for military intervention should negotiations fail. Administration officials and the Taliban met for talks three times throughout the spring and summer, in Washington D.C., Berlin, and Islamabad—but to no avail.

    At the last session, in August, 2001 the Administration threatened a “carpet of bombs” if the Taliban did not comply. The Taliban would not. Soon thereafter—still weeks before September 11—President Bush notified Pakistan and India he would attack Afghanistan “before the end of October.”

    Then 9/11. Then two more refusals of Osama bin Laden’s head. Then, on October 7, the Bush Administration looses the carpet of bombs.

    Since then Afghanistan has been supplied with a puppet government, the Bridas contract is history, and the country is dotted today with permanent U.S. military bases in close proximity to the pipeline route. It was a war of conquest and occupation.

    Counter-terrorism is scarcely visible. Osama bin Laden remains at large, the yield of “terrorists” to date consists of several hundred iconic and badly treated wretches in Guantanamo Bay, and terrorism in the Middle East has intensified, not diminished.

    Sources for this section:

    1. “Players on a rigged grand chessboard: Bridas, Unocal, and the Afghanistan pipeline,” Larry Chin, Online Journal, March, 2002.

    2. Crude Politics: How Bush's Oil Cronies Hijacked the War on Terrorism, Paul Sperry, WND Books, 2003.

    3. Alexander’s Gas and Oil Connections, February 23, 2003.

    4. “A Timeline of Oil and Violence: Afghanistan”, see the website,

    5. “Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat,” New York Times, September 24, 2006.

    6. “From Afghanistan to Iraq: Connecting the Dots with Oil,” Richard W. Behan, AlterNet, February 5, 2007.



    The War in Iraq

    The template for the invasion of Iraq was crafted in 1992, in Richard Cheney’s Defense Department during the first Bush Administration. It was a document advocating a U.S. posture of singular global dominance in economic, diplomatic, and military power. The authors were Paul Wolfowitz, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Their document spoke explicitly about the need to secure “...access to vital raw materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil,” and Iraq was in the crosshairs.

    In 1996, the Project for the New American Century was created, touting the term “global hegemony,” and seeking to maintain America’s status as the world’s only superpower, using preemptive war if necessary. Among the founders of the PNAC were the earlier advocates of world dominion: Richard Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Donald Rumsfeld, and Jeb Bush were founding members as well.

    In a 1998 letter to President Clinton the PNAC people once again sought the invasion of Iraq. Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Zalmay Khalilzad, and 15 others signed the letter.

    In September of 2000 the Project for the New American Century once more advocated the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Then four months later, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Zalmay Khalilzad, Lewis “Scooter” Libby—and 24 others from the PNAC—moved into top positions in the Bush Administration.

    The commitment to invade Iraq was made at the first meeting of President Bush’s National Security Council in January of 2001.

    The rationale was ideological, apparently: by means of a preemptive war, to take an initial step toward global hegemony. A more tangible objective would soon emerge.

    Sources for this section:

    1. “Empire Builders: Neoconservatives and their blueprint for U.S. Power,” Christian Science Monitor , a series appearing June, 2005.

    2. The website of the Project for the New American Century. See

    3. The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill, by Ron Suskind, Simon and Schuster, 2004.

    4. “From Afghanistan to Iraq: Connecting the Dots with Oil,” Richard W. Behan, AlterNet, February 5, 2007.

    Regime Change

    In December of 2002, 3 months before his country was invaded, Saddam Hussein invited the Bush Administration to send U.S. troops into Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction, and he said he could prove Iraq was not involved in 9/11. His entreaty was turned aside by President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Two months later Hussein promised unlimited access to the FBI to search for WMD’s, support for the US position on Israel and Palestine, and even some limited rights to Iraq’s oil. All this was rejected. Finally, in desperation Saddam Hussein offered personally to depart Iraq for exile in Egypt or Saudi Arabia. Once again he was refused by the White House, and soon thereafter cruise missiles pounded Baghdad and U.S. tanks rolled across the border from Kuwait.

    Regime change was not the objective: that could have been achieved bloodlessly with Saddam Hussein’s exile. Combating terrorism couldn’t possibly have been the objective, either: when President Bush invaded Iraq, there was no sign of al Qaeda in the country at all. There had to be some other purpose.

  151. Brian Williams and Tim Russert are obviously Republican shills pushing the neocon dream candidate: Hillary Clinton.

  152. Like i said before, we need to take back our country and break up the Media Empires.

  153. Cool, The Fearless Hunter Won Michigan!

  154. At least the delusional old neocon lost to another sleazeball.

  155. Mike it is funny the 9-11 candidate is sinking lower and lower and the three that win are gonna split the vote and hopefully field a totally uncontrollable convention, where they fight like delusional rabid reichwingers at each other until the reichwingers heads implode from the lack of order and control.

    It could be the dark sides version of Chicago 1968.

    here's hoping.

  156. So Romney won....The repugs really are struggling for an the way anyone know the final turnout- I heard it was less than 12 %, maybe up to 16%.....that is not many folks- that is definently a messege about Bush- don't you think ???

    Now about Romney ?
    How do you think he did it ? was it KOS ?

    ( and McCain is always shown with Lindsay Graham and Lieberamann...don't these folks have to be back at work???)

  157. Question 2: Has anyone heard if Kucinich issued a statement yet ?

  158. McCaine is imploding as well..........he could still stagger into the nomination but he's still a damn joke.

  159. E 4 E, I want a different reichwinner in every primary so NONE of them have the required number of delegates and all of then think they could win, that would be the convention of all time, because they would stop at almost nothing to win, and they would hopefully fatally hurt each other chances in the general election.

    Plus the entertainment value of reichwing attacks on each other is never to be underestimated.

    They play dirty like nobody else.

  160. I heard 7% of votes for the repugs were by Democrats.

  161. Its bullshit what NBC did.

  162. NBC only wants the candidates who can buy the most advertising time on their shitty network.

    Kucinich's tiny nestegg can't match the huge bank accounts of Obama and the Borg Queen.

    Democracy? Bullshit. It's all about the ca$h, baby.

  163. If I were the next Democratic president, i'd appoint Kucinich head of the FCC and have him breal up the media empires and scatter their power of sorcery and deception to the wind just like Roosevelt did to the Oil Trusts and other monopolies of the Gilded Age!

  164. MIke: I love that plan for Kucinich...hmmm 7% of votes were repug ?

    Christopher...the sad thing is that Kucinich would not have hurt the ratings or the viewers...( after all they were competing with Idol...oye).....

    I can't watch NBC anymore tonight- Pat Buchanon and Matthews are there calling Hillary the "Queen" and corronating her as the next Nomination..I don't get it... I thought Edwards and Obama did a great job....really brought up important issues..

  165. MSNBC was better then CNN, CNN had Glenn Beck on talk about stupid.

  166. Glen Beck ?????WHY? oh WHY ?

    ( don't they usually have AC and John King wolf?)

    ( Next they will have Nancy Grace....)

  167. This is funny, the repubies prefer the dead guy over any living candidate;

    23/6: GOPers to Candidates: "Just Not That Into You."

    Not good for the insane clown posse, the repubies have running now.

  168. Hey Clif, Didnt Alan Greenspan boast how much he would love to fight a deflationary depression...........the sad thing is he talks out of the side of his mouth like a typical cowardly repug boasting how much they love war and disaster yet when the going gets tough and he finally gets the war he "CLAIMED" to crave he runs away and leaves some other shmuck to hold the bag and actually fight the war he boasted about like a typical repug coward.

    I think the FEd is scared and we are going to get an inflationary spiral.

  169. Great blog. I'm boycotting Leno until NBC gets it together. Who else is in?

  170. Mortgage lender IndyMac Bancorp Inc. said Tuesday it will slash its work force by 24 percent, laying off 2,403 employees in a bid to cut costs as it tries to weather the worsening housing slump and problems selling home loans to investors.

    The job cuts include a significant reduction in temporary vendor staffs, mainly in India, the Pasadena-based company said.

    Around 1,000 of the employees targeted by the company were being cut immediately with one to three months of severance pay.

    Another sign of the coming Bush Depression.


    Recession, like menopause, is a retrospective diagnosis. You don't know you're in one until you've been in it for at least two quarters (referring to a recession) or a year (for menopause). The question for me is not: Are we hitting a recession in 2008? It is: What has made the economy so buoyant that we didn't submerge into a recession several years ago?

    Wall Street giant and billion-dollar bank Merrill Lynch announced last week that the United States had entered a recession for the first time in 16 years. It was a controversial call denied by a chorus of economists who do not think we're there yet. But the announcement comes from the bank's chief American economist, David Rosenberg -- widely respected on Wall Street.

    The largest factor driving this country's economy into recession has been the Bush administration's profligate spending. Please read the following quote from the conservative/libertarian think tank Cato Institute's Web site:

    "George Bush is mired in a fiscal policy crisis worse than anyone could have envisioned when he entered the Oval Office ... This crisis is the resurgence of record federal deficits ... The deterioration of America's fiscal health cannot be blamed on ... pro-spending coalitions in the Democrat-controlled Congress -- although certainly some of the blame lies there. It is almost exclusively the creation of the Bush administration itself."

    Sound familiar? The article, which I edited heavily (taking out references that would have dated it immediately, such as the use of the term "Reaganomics"), is about George H.W. Bush, not George W. But it might as well have been about the son.

    Forget about the $127 billion surplus that President Clinton left the nation after he moved out of the White House or the fact that Clinton paid down hundreds of billions of dollars in federal debt. President George W. Bush has produced nothing but deficits since he's been in office. Last year's, at $163 billion, was the lowest in five years. But it probably would not have been if his trillion-dollar war in Iraq hadn't been paid for "off budget." That little budgetary trick by the administration means that cost isn't tallied in the deficit and debt figures.

    Then, of course, there's Bush's multitrillion-dollar tax cut.

    Here's a lesson Bush never learned and one that probably could have kept this country out of recession: You can't fight an expensive war AND cut taxes simultaneously without sending the U.S. economy into the tank.

    That is just what Bush has done.

    There are other contributing factors, of course. The housing bust has hurt this consumer-driven economy mightily. Americans felt richer and borrowed heavily against home equity at the height of the boom. These factors kept corporate profits and the economy growing.

    But the bust that has now followed was highly predictable. Real estate always runs in cycles. The last real-estate boom lasted an incredibly long five years. The president should not have been piling up irresponsible debt, knowing the crash would come at some point.

    Then there is oil. Prices have been high since Hurricane Katrina, more than two years ago. When you consider that early in Bush's first term oil was selling for about $25 per barrel, and we're now paying about four times that much, it's incredible that fact alone didn't drive us into recession territory much sooner.

    What has kept our economy growing these past few years? My theory is: immigration. When millions of people flood into this country with few possessions, buy homes and fill them with consumer goods, of course our consumer economy is pumped. But that artificial pump-up won't last forever. Unfortunately, the overdevelopment they prompt and the environmental degradation they create will.

    What's the solution? It won't be resolved with this guy in the White House. Cut defense spending. Use a pay-go system for all future domestic spending programs and tax cuts. Get the deficit down and bring the surplus back. And while we're at it, pay down the national debt.


    Well, now we know. Scientists have documented that the Bush/Cheney Administration has been a greater threat to Americans' health and safety than Osama Bin Laden and his terror band.

    Specifically, The New York Times, in its science section today, reports that a new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry has found that while the risk to Americans of dying at the hands of a terrorist was roughly equal to the chance of "drowning in a toilet," the risk of cardiovascular disease among people who are frightened about the threat of terrorism is 300%-500% higher than for people who are not worried.

    What this means is that the Bush/Cheney Administration, by constantly hyping the nation's fears of terror through the use of everything from daily color-coded terror alerts, to absurd inspection procedures at airline terminals and parcel post restrictions, is actually scaring some of us to death. And for what?

    From the moment those planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon back in September 2001, Bush, Cheney, and their allies -- Republican and Democrat -- in Congress and the media have been peppering us with warnings that the "bad guys" are out to kill us, to destroy our way of life, and to defeat America.

    It has been a ludicrous idea from the start. The idea that a small gang of guys from the Middle East could bring the mightiest nation that the world has ever known to its knees, or even significantly threaten the safety and security of the people of the United States is simply absurd and laughable. Why, even the detonation of a small smuggled nuclear device in or near an American city, should such a thing ever come to pass, would be less of a threat to the nation as a whole than the eruption of one of our many active volcanoes -- say Mt. Rainier or Mt. Hood, or the Yellowstone caldera -- or an 8 or 9-point earthquake in San Francisco or Los Angeles. And those natural disasters are probably more likely than the explosion of a terrorist nuke.

    Yet Bush, Cheney, and other charlatans such as Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and the former senator and now Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Rick Santorum continue to do the scare routine, warning that we are in grave danger -- from Al Qaeda or Iran getting The Bomb, to Venezuela buying military aircraft from Brazil, to Cuba manufacturing dangerous biological weapons.

    I have been stunned at the response of my fellow Americans to this blatant nonsense. Shortly after the Twin Towers went down, my local school district announced the cancellation for the entire year of all school trips! There was a fear among parents and members of the local school authorities that the buses carrying them to museums or the zoo might pose tempting targets for terrorists! Our kids were also treated to scary "intruder lockdowns" where they'd be locked with their teachers in their classrooms while local cops dressed in black SWAT gear and armed with assault rifles played army in the hallways looking for imaginary terrorists.

    I've gone on plane flights where I've had to wait in line for an hour while Transportation Security Administration guards check the tiny shoes of six-month-old infants to make sure they weren't shoe bombs, and have had to surrender countless bottles of mouthwash and drinking water and tubes of toothpaste, all suspected of being smuggled explosives. (I was also honored with an "S" mark on my boarding pass a couple of times, which meant I was pulled aside for special inspection for fear I might be a terrorist myself.)

    All of this nonsense, however, is coming with a price. I can laugh because I know it's nonsense. But some people aren't laughing. They're living in fear. And that fear is causing them to suffer cardiovascular disease, according to this new study.

    Of course, that's only the tip of the iceberg, really, when it comes to the cost of the Washington terror scam.

    American businesses have spent literally tens of billions of dollars -- maybe hundreds of billions of dollars -- on security measures, fearing terror attacks on their installations, or on their communications, or on Wall Street. Thousands of foreign science students and scientists have been banned from the US -- or even deported -- for fear they might be terrorists in training. Municipalities and states have spent billions in taxpayer dollars on security that they simply don't need. My little town of Upper Dublin, just north of Philadelphia, with just some 26,000 people, has its own police SWAT team, for Pete's sake, complete with a large gray SWAT vehicle -- a panel truck loaded with heavy combat firepower capable of repelling a small third-world army. I wonder how many teachers that money could have hired? Maybe they wouldn't have had to let the elementary music program go down the tubes.

    I haven't mentioned the whole $1-2 trillion War in Iraq, which was all the result of presidential and vice presidential scare mongering.

    And of course, that's just the financial cost of scare mongering. We've also given up most of our Bill or Rights, and even some more ancient rights, such as the right of Habeas Corpus. And we're about to give up our entire right to privacy if the government gets its way and introduces a national identity card. How far away are we from having to get injected with identity chips?

    All this panic and fear, and yet we still sing this national anthem that calls America "the home of the brave"?

    I don't think so. "Home of the scared shitless" might be more appropriate.

    The good news is that maybe this new report on the health threat posed by government scare mongering will cause people to do something about it. If there's one thing Americans get worked up about, it's threats to their health. Look how anxious people get about Bird Flu, West Nile Virus, Anthrax, Bubonic Plague, AIDS, etc. Maybe now that we're learning that worrying about terror can kill us, we'll demand that officials and politicians in Washington just shut the hell up about it.

    I don't know about you, but I really don't think about terrorists. The chances that I'm going to be the victim of a bombing, plane hijacking, or mall attack is so minimal it can't be measured.

    I'm much more worried that the country that I grew up in has been hijacked by a bunch of power-mad war-mongers bent on destroying the Constitution and bringing to an end the free and free-wheeling society we've been building for over 200 years.

    I hope that worrying doesn't end up giving me a heart attack...

  173. They're Back;

    This time they wanna slime John McCain's war record;

    Vietnam veterans against John McCain

    However this time people will hit back, not everybody is a John Kerry;

    Charges of dirty campaign tricks fly in South Carolina

    Reichwing slime merchants will never learn will they?

  174. DAUGHTER DAY! We are having Cate Edwards, John & Elizabeth's daughter, and ChrIstine Pelosi on today. 8 AM or in the archives.

  175. 8 AM?

    I don't even think I'm breathing yet at 8 AM.

  176. BARTLEBEE said...
    8 AM?

    I don't even think I'm breathing yet at 8 AM."

    I know i'm sure not!

  177. Hey Lydia I like the little News blurbs you started putting up.

  178. Btw, i virtually guarenteed the economy would be imploding and we would likely be in recession by March at the latest and the economy would be a HUGE election issue, most likely bigger than Iraq............and Rusty the Clown and Troll Tex insulted and mocked me when they where essentially Dead Wrong about EVERYTHING............where are Crusty and Trol;l Tex and their ignorant pathetic lies now that they have been proven to be laughingstocks and traitors just like their masters.

    We have been proven right on essentially EVERYTHING we said and they have been caught in lie after lie and been proven wrong about i said two years ago Conservatism is a dinosaur its a flawed delusional outdated way of thinking and the repug party is likely to go into extinction much as the failedc Whig party did.......btw which repug from the Land of Misfit Toys will win the next primary?

  179. Yeah, I have to get up everyday at 6 AM to get the kids ready, make lunches and then be on the air live at 7:45 AM!

    You guys get to sleep in.

    Check out the "Thought for the Day" I put up today. I'm going to put up inspirational ideas every day from now on. Christine Pelosi is right: we need to inspire each other and stop spiraling down into so much fear about the economy, the war, the world.

    WE need to lift each other up and be the party of hope and inpsiration. All this negative talk turns younger voters off. And the campaign in-fighting makes people feel anxious and defeated.

    We can be the party of light.

  180. Lydia:
    Thanks for putting up some are right we have to remember that we are the party of Light....great idea...

    Thanks for Hopemongering ;-)



    For people who are having trouble with depression: your thoughts create your reality; you literally become what you think about all day long. The more you you focus on a dire, depressing version of reality, the more this actually becomes your reality.

    Keep your mind uplifted; keep your thoughts on the beautiful, the good and the true.

    The bad guys are always, always, always defeated either in the short run or the long run. But in the meantime, the only thing you have control over is your attitude which creates your stress level.

    Our thoughts can actually become our real enemies, if we are not careful to keep them on God (beauty, love, harmony, goodness.)

    Or as Shakespeare said, "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

    There will be tons of new jobs in the green industry for young college grads - and the purpose of all this archaic, primitive warmongering and dependence on "old oil" is just to get us to wake up and create a NEW REALITY. Without valleys you can't have peaks.

    (Namaste Enigma!)

  182. Great post, Lydia. I loved the Iacocca quote. I was so amazed that he had come up with this great essay that I actually searched Snopes to make sure it was really him saying it - and found it was from his book; someone else mentioned the book too. If anyone wants to buy the book, it's on Amazon. I may order it.

  183. Lydia, your notes on fear hit home today. In a new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, although the chance of being killed by a terrorist is less than the chance of drowning in your own toilet, people who are frightened about terrorism are 3 - 5 times more likely to suffer a fatal heart attack than those who are not.

  184. Thanks Lydia:
    You always have wonderful things up here, the piece by Iaococa and the Depression Info you just put up....and that you put up about the Green Jobs- that even was mentioned in the debate last night...

    I put your blog in my post this people will be coming over....

    ( Maui has a great blog too....)

  185. Lydia said "There will be tons of new jobs in the green industry for young college grads - and the purpose of all this archaic, primitive warmongering and dependence on "old oil" is just to get us to wake up and create a NEW REALITY. Without valleys you can't have peaks."

    I have stated this numerous times as well Lydia..............I feel strongly that no ANY Democrat would push us to strongly develop alternative and renewable energy and to diversify away from our dependence on imported oil...................and this would be a strong catalyst for creating new jobs which we desperately need.

  186. Remember when the reichwing trolls kept claiming we were traitors or aided the enemy;

    Well as expected a former repubie member of congress was really aiding the enemy;

    Ex-lawmaker charged as terrorist conspirator

    Former congressman accused of supporting fundraising ring

    A former U.S. congressman and delegate to the United Nations was indicted Wednesday, accused of being part of a terrorist fundraising ring that allegedly sent more than $130,000 to an al-Qaida and Taliban supporter who has threatened U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan.

    The former Republican congressman from Michigan, Mark Deli Siljander, was charged with money laundering, conspiracy and obstructing justice for allegedly lying about lobbying senators on behalf of an Islamic charity that authorities said was secretly sending funds to terrorists.

    A 42-count indictment accuses the Islamic American Relief Agency of paying Siljander $50,000 for the lobbying — money that turned out to be stolen from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

    Why am I not surprised it is another repubie selling the country out for money?

  187. Secret Plan to Win the Presidency

    New South Carolina GOP primary poll out from Clemson University. McCain (29%), Huck (22%), Romney (13%) ... Rudy suckin' wind at 3%.

    --Josh Marshall

    I think Mr 9-11 might have screwed up with his plan to ignore a whole bunch of primaries, or else he is making too much money like he did when he never showed up to the ISG meetings like he told them he would.

    In any case I hope the GOPers keep playing musical chairs in their primary wins,

    That will make the convention'

    SOOooooooooooo much more fun

    to watch.

  188. Ayatollah Huckabee Condemns US Constitution with new Fatwa

    Mike Huckabee says he wants to amend the US constitution to bring it into line with the divinely revealed law of the living God:

    ' "I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view."

    Ayatollah Huckabee is behind the times. Ayatollah Khomeini has already rectified this unfortunate secular humanist lapse in the Iranian constitution, way back in the early 1980s:

    "Article 2

    The Islamic Republic is a system based on belief in:

    1.the One God (as stated in the phrase "There is no god except Allah"), His exclusive sovereignty and the right to legislate, and the necessity of submission to His commands;
    2.Divine revelation and its fundamental role in setting forth the laws;
    3.the return to God in the Hereafter, and the constructive role of this belief in the course of man's ascent towards God;
    4.the justice of God in creation and legislation . . .

    Even Michigan's evangelicals appear to have been put off by Huckabee's theocratic tendencies. Mitt Romney beat him in Michigan among evangelicals by a small margin, in contrast to what happened in Iowa before the dark (and sometimes bumbling) side of Huckabee became apparent.


    Ayatollah Huckabee, Juan Cole does have a way of correctly naming certain people.

  189. Thanks MAUI, TOMCAT and ENIGMA!

    Keep up the good work.

    Other physical ways to combat depression:

    Go outside and look UP at the trees, the flowers and nature. Play with your pets, cook a good stew, smell some fresh Rosemary - which actually stimulates the brain... and BE THANKFUL that you are not blind, like my girlfriend is. She got hit by a car while walking with her cane. She lives alone and is a remarkable example of the power of transformation .

  190. A former congressman and delegate to the United Nations was indicted Wednesday on charges of working for an alleged terrorist fundraising ring that sent more than $130,000 to an al-Qaida supporter who has threatened U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan.

    Mark Deli Siljander, a Michigan Republican when he was in the House, was charged with money laundering, conspiracy and obstructing justice for allegedly lying about being hired to lobby senators on behalf of an Islamic charity that authorities said was secretly sending funds to terrorists.

    The 42-count indictment, unsealed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., accuses the Islamic American Relief Agency of paying Siljander $50,000 for the lobbying _ money that turned out to be stolen from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

    The charges paint "a troubling picture of an American charity organization that engaged in transactions for the benefit of terrorists and conspired with a former United States congressman to convert stolen federal funds into payments for his advocacy," Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Wainstein said.

    Siljander, who served in the House from 1981-1987, was appointed by President Reagan to serve as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations for one year in 1987.

    The Republican Party: America's Wing Of Al Qaida.

  191. As Congress opens the 2008 session, it’s hard to find Iraq anywhere on the official agenda.

    The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has no Iraq hearings scheduled, while the House Foreign Affairs Committee is focusing on Pakistan.

    The Senate Armed Services Committee also has yet to schedule any Iraq-related hearings, although Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is tentatively scheduled to appear on Feb. 6.

    Pelosi and Reid: The Biggest Enablers Of The Bush Forever War.

  192. (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of new cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among combat-exposed U.S. soldiers has risen threefold since 2001, a new study finds.

    PTSD is an anxiety disorder involving nightmares, flashbacks and panic attacks linked to event "triggers" that develop after exposure to combat or other extremely disturbing events.

    Researchers at the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego analyzed data on more than 50,000 participants in the Millennium Cohort Study, which is tracking the health of U.S. military personnel over 22 years. The researchers compared data collected in July 2001 and June 2003 against data collected from June 2004 to February 2006.

    The data included details about combat exposure, new onset PTSD symptoms, cigarette smoking and problem drinking.

    Between 2001 and 2006, 40 percent of study participants were deployed, and 24 percent were deployed for the first time in support of the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

    New-onset PTSD symptoms or diagnosis were reported by up to 87 per every 1,000 combat-deployed personnel and up to 21 per 1,000 non-combat deployed personnel, the study authors found.

    Rates of new-onset PTSD symptoms were higher among female, divorced, and enlisted personnel, and among those who reported being current smokers or problem drinkers at baseline.

    Reporting Tuesday in the online edition of the British Medical Journal, the team also found persistent PTSD symptoms in 40 percent to 50 percent of participants who had PTSD at baseline, which suggested resolution of PTSD may take several years.

    Overall, the findings suggested that cases of self-reported or diagnosed PTSD have risen threefold among recently deployed troops exposed to combat, the study found.

    The overall prevalence of PTSD in the U.S. military was not high, but a substantial number of new cases could be expected based on the number of personnel deployed in Iraq and in Afghanistan, the study authors said.

    All this trauma because of George W Bush.

  193. Fear of terrorism?

    When? Where? Jim and I knew it was all a joke, a ruse, when the Feds lauunched their ridiculous color-coded terror alert scale.

    Who can forget Tommy Thompson advising Americans to load up on duck tape.

    Duck tape? What the hell is duck tape?

  194. the government "CLAIMS" wholesale inflation is up 6.3% the most in 26 if we used real honest statistics instead of the Hedonics cooked sham they try to deceive us with it would likely be more than double that number.................worst in 26 years and thats with the govs bogus cooked numbers..........gee is that alot Crust or TT? is the economy great, is it the the best in the world?

  195. GWB has set alot of recirds too bad they are all bd ones.

  196. mericans Pay for Housing Boom's Excess

    Posted: 2008-01-16 16:41:14
    NEW YORK (AP) - The bill for America's excessive borrowing during the housing boom has arrived, and more people are having trouble paying it.

    JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., two of the nation's biggest banks, on Wednesday joined a growing chorus warning that the subprime mortgage mess is just the start of a sweeping lending crisis. And some fear that consumers falling behind on all kinds of loan payments could tip the economy's scale toward recession.

    Strapped consumers are having a tough time making payments on credit cards, home-equity loans, and even for their cars. This has caused three of the top five U.S. commercial banks that have already reported damaging fourth-quarter results to set aside some $12.5 billion to cover future loan losses - and that number will likely grow as the year wears on.

    Problems in the subprime mortgage t in 17 years.

    There was no sign of a turnaround in the last few months of the year. The Federal Reserve reported that the economy grew at a slower pace in late November and December as credit problems intensified and consumers tightened their spending.

    To some, it appears that the Fed came to its rate-cutting decision in August a bit too late. Others point to the falling dollar and surging oil prices, factors that usually prevent the central bank from easing its monetary policy.

    While debate persists about the Fed's timing and the extent of the slowdown, bank executives - who have scrambled to prepare for another tumble in home prices and higher unemployment in 2008, feel academic definitions are beside the point.

    "We're not predicting a recession - it's not our job - but we're prepared," JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told analysts after the nation's third-largest bank wrote down $1.3 billion and said profit dropped 34 percent.

    His financial institution didn't do all that bad. Rival Citigroup Inc. fared the worst during the fourth quarter, losing $9.83 billion after writing down the value of its portfolio of mortgage and mortgage-backed products by $18.1 billion.

    Wells Fargo, a more traditional bank that avoided last year's trading woes, saw its profit fall 38 percent due to troubles with home equity loan and mortgage defaults.

    JPMorgan is girding for home prices to decline further in 2008 by 5 percent to 10 percent; Citigroup's estimate of 7 percent falls within that range, too.

    "The banks are the infrastructure for everything, the heartbeat of the market," said Chris Johnson, president of Johnson Research Group. "They need to be fixed before the market, and economy, can move forward with confidence. They need to get all their dirty laundry out there."

    Banks and card companies like American Express Co. - which warned last week that it would add $440 million to loan loss provisions - said in the regions where home prices are declining, card default rates are rising faster. The same goes for auto loans, subprime mortgages and home equity loans in these areas, which include Florida, Michigan and California.

    A big reason for the rise in credit card default rates is that they are returning to more usual levels following a change in bankruptcy law that sent rates lower for a time. But the fact that more losses are being seen in the weaker parts of the country shows the increase is economically driven as well.

    Analysts believe this means one thing: Consumers will be the ones paying for years of lax lending standards by U.S. financial institutions. Many will become more restrictive about who gets credit in a bid to stem future losses - and that could curb consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the economy.

    "We've pushed the envelope," Johnson said. "Along with the joy of a market that goes as high as ours is the agony of when it starts to correct itself."

  197. Very, very late last night, just before midnight, the Bush administration submitted a filing in CREW v. Executive Office of the President, our lawsuit challenging the failure of the White House to preserve and restore millions of missing emails. We first documented the massive loss of White House e-mails in our April 2007 report, WITHOUT A TRACE: The Missing White House Emails and the Violations of the Presidential Records Act.

    The latest filing from the Bush administration raises some very troubling questions that the White House clearly does not want to answer. (The filing from the White House and related documents can be found here.) This is how CREW’s chief counsel, Anne Weismann, described the situation:

    With this new filing, the White House has admitted that although it has long known about the missing emails, it did nothing to recover them, or discover how and why they went missing in the first place. The missing emails are important historical records that belong not to the Bush administration, but to the American people. As a result, the public deserves a full accounting and hopefully, now that the matter is before a federal court, we will get one.

    The White House has now admitted that it does not have an effective system for storing and preserving emails. This is no mere technicality; it is this failure that led to the likely destruction of over 10 million email. What the White House has not explained is why it abandoned the electronic record-keeping system used by the prior administration — a system that properly preserved White House email — but did not replace it with another effective and appropriate system.

    The White House has also admitted that the only safeguard it has to its patently inadequate method for preserving email (dumping them in files that are put on EOP servers) is back-up tape media. These back-up copies, however, are only a “snapshot” of what was on the server at the time of the back-up. In other words they are not comprehensive, as the White House concedes.

    Even more troubling, the White House has now admitted that until October 2003, the White House recycled its back-up tapes, which contained the only copies of emails deleted prior to that date. What the White House has not explained is why it changed its policy of preserving all back-up tapes — instituted in March of 2000 when the Clinton administration discovered that its system did not fully preserve all email from the Office of the Vice President — at the same time it decided to dismantle the existing electronic record-keeping system, with no replacement at hand.

    Will the Democratically controlled congress see that the Bush Administration faces justice: NO.

  198. An article in the Abu Dhabi newspaper, 7Days by columnist ALI KHALED:

    Now that the dust has settled on George W Bush’s trip to the Middle East, it’s worth reassessing exactly what this visit has actually achieved. Not surprisingly, Bush’s empty, embarrassing, rhetoric amounted to little more than a desperate man’s attempt at saving what will surely be viewed as a disastrous legacy in the Middle East.

    Having resided over the least accountable, and quite possibly least competent, US regime in living memory, it was hugely insulting to our intelligence having to listen to Bush’s insincere words about Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq.

    For eight long years, this man has stood by and watched, with utter detachment, the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories deteriorate to catastrophic levels.
    And now, as he prepares to exit the White House with his reputation in tatters, he is suddenly concerned about the well-being and future of the oppressed people of the Middle East. And his grand plan? Both sides should talk to each other! “To the Palestinian people, the dignity and sovereignty that is your right is within reach,” he said in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

    Where was this heartwarming concern in 2002 when, as Robert Fisk relayed in ‘The Great War For Civilisation’, Bush demanded, yes, that’s ‘demanded’, of Israel to withdraw from Jenin, while in reality he sent Colin Powell to the Middle East on a ‘peace mission’ that lasted an astonishing eight days. This was a convenient distraction that essentially allowed Ariel Sharon all the time he needed to complete his “latest bloody adventure in the West Bank”. (“When I say, withdraw, I mean it,” Bush had said, for all you comedy fans out there).

  199. A woman wearing a vest lined with explosives blew herself up near a popular market and Shiite mosque in turbulent Diyala province north of the capital Wednesday, killing nine civilians -- the latest in a growing number of female suicide attacks.

    Seven people were wounded in the bombing in Khan Bani Saad, a town 9 miles south of Baqouba, Diyala's provincial capital, police said.

    The "surge" of death thanks to George W Bush.

  200. O'Reilly Downplays Number of Homeless Veterans

    by, Paul Rieckhoff

    Last night on The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly repeated his ridiculous assertion that there are few, if any, homeless veterans in America:

    O'Reilly raised an important topic: the plight of homeless veterans. Too bad he got the facts wrong.

    There are almost 200,000 homeless veterans in America. Let me introduce you to one:

    Less than a year after serving with the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq, twenty-five year old Herold Noel found himself unemployed, homeless, and unable to provide for his wife and four children.

    As a homeless Iraq veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and living out of his car in Brooklyn, Herold was not greeted by a support system for veterans. Instead, he met resistance from the Housing Authority, the VA, and New York's city shelter for families, filling out form after form and added to waiting list after waiting list.

    According to Herold, "I thought New York was going to look out for me, I just got back from war. I felt like I'd been stabbed in the back."

    Herald is not alone. Already, an estimated 1,500 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are homeless or at risk for homelessness. They are joining the increasing ranks of veterans who are homeless.

    Bill, here are the facts. Veterans represent one-third of the adult homeless population in this country, and that number is rising. While almost 200,000 homeless veterans line the nation's streets every night, almost twice as many experience homelessness at some point throughout the course of a year. Essentially, we have the population of Des Moines, Iowa or Montgomery, Alabama "sleeping under bridges."

    This is a national disgrace. As Americans we should be ashamed and outraged that the brave men and women of our Armed Forces are being abandoned under bridges, not denying their existence. As one of the most watched cable news hosts on television, Bill O'Reilly has a great opportunity to help homeless veterans by bringing more attention to the issue. Join IAVA in urging him to be part of the solution (

    Click here to sign an open letter to Bill O'Reilly, telling him to set the record straight about the very real problem of homeless veterans in America. We also have a resource center where people can learn more, and find ways they can help.

    Bill-O is still spouting off at the mouth and wrong to boot, why am I not surprised.

    Support stem cell research, help somebody grow Georgie his own Brain