Thursday, November 29, 2007


Life is so magnificent. There is so much beauty everywhere, which to me is evidence of God. Lately I've been starstruck by trees and nature. Here is a photo of an eel my son took while diving in Belize this summer. We all saw it up close. Then we petted nurse sharks. Yesterday, December 1, was the anniversary of my brother Paul's passing. God Bless you Paul, I love you.

I'm not gay, but I think Kristin Kreuk, who plays Clark Kent's star-crossed love Lana Lang on my son's favorite show "Smallville" is among the most beautiful women in television or movies. As far as physical beauty goes, I was also a big fan of Olivia Hussey when she played Juliet in Franco Zefferelli's magnificent production of Romeo and Juliet. Other beauties I love: Audrey Hepburn and Angelina Jolie. I think what is so beautiful about these women is their humility and dignity.

The greatest beauty of all time though, is Mother Theresa. She took a vow of poverty and had absolutely no possessions except the clothes she wore. And yet she was the most generous and famous woman in the world.

See we are open to all views, even conservative! Last Friday - November 30, 2007 - Pat Buchanan, who blasts Bush in his new book, was our guest on the Basham and Cornell Radio Show at 8 am Pacific Time on AM 1230 KLAV in Las Vegas, and simulcast worldwide on the web.

Doug Basham & Lydia Cornell Your daily alternative to “conservative” talk radio. Weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) On AM 1230 KLAV The Talk of LAS VEGAS!

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. All shows are simulcast worldwide on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk If you've missed our show, check out the audio archives. We have interviewed Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards, John Dean, Valerie Plame, Dahr Jamail, Elizabeth Edwards, ELizabeth Kucinich, Mike Gravel; Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, Congressman Charlie Rangel, Senator Byron Dorgan; bestselling authors Greg Palast, Paul Krugman, Greg Anrig, Mikey Weinstein, Paul Krugman; Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert and Paul Waldman are regular guests. Upcoming: Obama and Hilary. If you missed any of these shows, check out the archives on our website.

Pat is considered to be America’s leading traditional conservative. He was a senior adviser to three American presidents, ran twice for the Republican presidential nomination, in 1992 and 1996, and was the Reform Party’s candidate in 2000. The author of eight other books, including the bestsellers Right from the Beginning; A Republic, Not an Empire; The Death of the West; Where the Right Went Wrong; and State of Emergency, he is a syndicated columnist and a founding member of three of America’s foremost public affairs shows, NBC’s The McLaughlin Group and CNN’s The Capitol Gang and Crossfire.

America is coming apart at the seams. Forces foreign and domestic seek an end to U.S. sovereignty and independence. Before us looms the prospect of an America breaking up along the lines of race, ethnicity, class and culture. In Day of Reckoning, Pat reveals the true existential crisis of the nation and shows how President Bush’s post-9/11 conversion to an ideology of “democratism” led us to the precipice of strategic disaster abroad and savage division at home.

Ideology, writes Buchanan, is a Golden Calf, a false god, a secular religion that seeks vainly, like Marxism, to create a paradise on earth. To save America the first imperative is to remove from power the ideologues of both parties who have nearly killed our country. In his final chapter, Buchanan lays out ideas to prevent the end of America. He calls for a bottom-up review of all of America’s Cold War commitments, a ten-point program to secure America’s borders, ideas to halt the erosion of our national sovereignty and restore our manufacturing preeminence and economic independence, and a formula for finding the way to a cold peace in the culture wars.

Buchanan offers a radical but necessary program, for neither party is addressing the real crisis of America -- whether we survive as one nation and people, or disintegrate into what Theodore Roosevelt called a “tangle of squabbling nationalities” and not a nation at all.


The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern). All shows are simulcast on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at

The Basham and Cornell Show
2301 E. Sunset Road #8022 | Las Vegas, NV. 89119
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  1. Well I look forward to that. Pat Buchannan is a smart man, but I think he's out there on some things, like the war in Iraq, but he is a smart man.

    I'll be listening.

  2. Theres little difference between the atheist and the religious zealot, other than the latter’s more likely to lend you money.


  3. Thanks Bartlebee. This should be a great show. He's on for the entire hour.

    Doug has has him on 4 times before.

  4. Nice snare, Lyd. Good luck!

  5. To save America the first imperative is to remove from power the ideologues of both parties who have nearly killed our country.

    Amen! We need to move politics and policy back to the middle.

  6. Here is the Real Pat Buchanan:

    Pat Buchanan is a very interesting character.

    The bad parts:


    Buchanan calls himself an outsider, which is ridiculous. When not running for president, he makes $1 million a year as part of the "liberal media", and he has worked in the White House for 3 presidents.

    Buchanan is a big hypocrite. Though he attacks big corporations like AT&T and General Electric for laying off Americans and investing overseas, he gets a piece of their profits from the stock he owns -- between $15,000 and $50,000 each in AT&T, DuPont, General Motors and General Electric. Pat owns between $50,000 and $100,000 in IBM stock as well. His multi-million portfolio also includes interests in a British bank, YPF Sociedad Anonima (an Argentine oil company), and China Light and Power, a Hong Kong utility that owns part of a Chinese power plant.

    Buchanan attacks immigrants and foreigners, but his housekeeper is South American, and when he eats at his favorite restaurant -- Washington's pricey Jockey Club -- his favorite desert is the Grand Marnier soufflé. His expensive house is just down the road from Ted Kennedy and Colin Powell in McLean Virginia.

    He likes to brag that his biggest campaign contributor -- Roger Milliken, a textile billionaire -- gave him just $60,000. But Milliken also secretly gave $1.7 million to The American Cause, Buchanan's protectionist group, and to an affiliated lobbying arm. And Milliken directly paid for "99 percent" of the anti-GATT ads Buchanan ran in 1994, according to a Buchanan accountant quoted in Newsweek.

    Sheltered Washington Insider:
    Pat has always led a very sheltered upper class life, and has never worked for anyone except the federal government and the media -- while attacking both the whole time. In fact, he lived off the federal payroll even as a kid -- his dad was a government accountant and then managing partner of Councilor, Buchanan & Mitchell, one of the largest accounting firms in the Washington D.C. area. He earned enough to raise several kids in an affluent neighborhood, with enough left over to buy a Cadillac. Even George Bush was less sheltered than Buchanan -- he at least lived in Texas and China, and worked in the private sector.

    Has Buchanan really grown up? Here is a man who apparently has never challenged anything he learned from his father or his school. He has never lived or worked outside of the Washington "beltway" cocoon, except a 3 year stint as an editorial writer for a now-defunct conservative paper in St. Louis. His own big sister runs his campaign, for God's sake. By all accounts she is a bright, hard working woman, but still -- the guy needs to get out a little more.

    Buchanan's sheltered life explains why it took him until 1992 to discover that working men were losing jobs, and their wages were falling. That's why he didn't notice his own hypocrisy of preaching "America First" while driving a Mercedes in the 1992 election. (Worse yet, he tried to blame it on his wife.) As of 1992, he had never ridden the Washington subway in a lifetime living there, and his work for the "liberal media" was earning him close to a million dollars a year.-- Back to the top

    Flirting With Fascism

    Buchanan goes far beyond the divisive demagoguery of Newt Gingrich to really, truly flirt with fascist leadership from time to time. We hate to even say that, because it sounds like something an idiot 19 year old liberal would say, but he keeps flirting, year after year. He makes anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi comments, uses extremist staffers who work with white supremacy groups and militias, and until recently put an anti-Israeli conspiracy rant on his official World Wide Web page.
    He has expressed his admiration for Francisco Franco and Joseph McCarthy (not to mention Hitler), and during the Iran Contra scandal said that reporters should be "Americans first and reporters second" - in other words, suppress free speech to help Reagan cover up a scandal.

    Several prominent Republicans and conservatives have come to this conclusion. "Flirting with fascism" is how William Bennett described Buchanan. Both William F. Buckley, Joshua Muravchik (a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute) and William Safire (Pat's fellow speech writer on the Nixon staff) have all concluded that Buchanan showed consistent (if carefully worded) hostility toward Jews throughout his public statements. Even Alan Keyes "confronted top Buchanan aides and angrily accused them of appealing to racist and anti-Semitic voters" after the WMUR debate in New Hampshire this year.

    During a talk show early in early 1995, Buchanan's liberal co-host mentioned Senator Jesse Helms' support for right-wing tyrants in Latin America.Buchanan shouted, "You just wait, you just wait," but was interrupted by a commercial. As soon as they were off the air, he burst out laughing and said, red faced, that he nearly had said on air, "You just wait until 1996, then you'll see a real right-wing tyrant."

    This is nothing new for Pat. Buchanan has said that as he grew up, his family's heroes were Francisco Franco ("a Catholic savior")and Joseph McCarthy. Note that these are not simply very conservative, authoritarian leaders -- he didn't mention Cuba's Batista, DeGaulle or Chiang Kai Shek. His heroes pursued that wild populism where vicious attacks on your enemies, and fear of becoming the enemy if you don't fight hard enough, fuse into one jagged adrenaline surge. That's dangerous stuff. But Buchanan seems addicted to that surge - and it's hard to know when he would stop as a leader.

    That's why Buchanan's Back to the top

    Anti-Semitic Statements

    Buchanan knows his words, and even his most outrageous statements always fall just short of blatantly going over the line. But one group always seems to bother him -- Jews.
    Anti-Semitism isn't cut or dried: Lots of Americans grew up hearing anti-Jewish slurs, and many keep some of that with them. William Safire (Buchanan's colleague on the Nixon speechwriting team) put it this way: Buchanan is an extremist whose anti-Semitism would rank at level four or five -- on a scale that has Adolf Hitler at 10 and Black Muslim leader Rev. Louis Farrakhan as a seven.

    When he attacks the Supreme Court, he always names "Ruth (pause) Bader (pause) Ginsburg", though she is the newest and least influential member. When he attacks Wall Street investment firms, he always names Goldman Sachs, the only major Jewish-run firm in a WASP dominated industry.

    He described Congress as "Israeli-occupied territory", and opposed the Gulf War by saying only "the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States" wanted to fight Saddam Hussein. (Which was crazy, apart from any Jewish angle. Desert Storm was one of the most popular wars in U.S. history.)

    And Brock Meeks, reporter for Hotwired, broke the story that Buchanan included in his official World Wide Web page an article claiming that Hillary Clinton is a spy for Israel. After ABC News ran the story, the Buchanan campaign pulled the article off their site. You can see the article, exactly as it appeared on Pat's web site, by clicking here.

    Buchanan also seems to relish Catholic vs. Jewish antagonism, one part of pre-Vatican II Catholicism that most Catholics don't miss. During the controversy over a proposed Carmelite convent at Auschwitz, Buchanan wrote some of his most frightening words:

    "If U.S. Jewry takes the clucking appeasement of the Catholic cardinalate as indicative of our submission, it is mistaken. When Cardinal O'Connor of New York seeks to soothe the always irate Elie Wiesel by reassuring him, 'there are many Catholics who are's deep within them,' when he declares this 'is not a fight between Catholics and Jews,' he speaks for himself. Be not afraid, Your Eminence; just step aside, there are bishops and priests ready to assume role of defender of the faith."

    Appeasement means trying to stall an attacker by making concessions -- what attacks were Catholic groups "appeasing"? What did Pat think the faith should be defended against? The only issue was that Jewish groups thought it disrespectful to build a convent right next to a major Holocaust death camp. The man clearly has a king-sized chip on his shoulder.

    Then, of course, there is Buchanan's defense of Nazis, his praise for Hitler,, and his Holocaust revisionism.

    It isn't a statement here or there that reveals Buchanan's fixation with Jews -- it's the consistent theme of it that appears in his statements over the years. Even William F. Buckley reluctantly concluded that Buchanan was an anti-Semite after carefully reviewing dozens of his statements about Jews in a very long National Review article. And John Muravchik, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, concluded a similar review in Commentary Magazine by saying that "Taken cumulatively, Buchanan's rhetoric about Jews pretty clearly betrays an underlying sense of grievance or irritation." -- Back to the top -- Sources

    Defender of Nazis
    Buchanan is the most prominent defender of accused Nazis in America. The most famous case is that of John Demanjuk, who was accused of being an infamous death camp guard named Ivan the Terrible. Buchanan proclaimed his innocence for years, against ample criticism, and felt vindicated when an Israeli court declared there was not enough evidence to convict Demanjuk of being Ivan.

    Buchanan continues to declare that Demanjuk has been proved "innocent". Actually, a key piece of evidence (from German documents) that exonerated him as Ivan showed Demanjuk to be a willing guard at Sobibor, another extermination camp where 250,000 died. Even the National Review, while generally defending Demanjuk and Buchanan's support for him, concedes that "Demanjuk was probably guilty of being a lesser accomplice in the Nazi machinery of genocide. That is a fair summary of the Israeli court's findings."

    More to the point, Demanjuk is only one of several accused Nazis Buchanan has defended in one way or another. These include Karl Linnas (Buchanan personally appealed to Ed Meese, then Attorney General, to block his deportation to the Soviet Union); Klaus Barbie (Buchanan did not oppose his trial, but argued the US should not have apologized to France for sheltering Barbie after WWII); Arthur Rudolph, a rocket scientist involved in slave labor and severe punishments at a German rocket factory (Buchanan argued his confession was a "lie" while acknowledging he was a "nominal member of the Nazi party and of the SA until 1934"); and Frank Walus (of all the accused, the one most likely innocent.)

    One of the most striking examples is Kurt Waldheim, the disgraced former UN leader. Buchanan repeatedly attacked him during his tenure, but once his Nazi past came out, Pat complained that "the ostracism of President Waldheim [has] an aspect of moral bullying and the singular stench of selective indignation." He also rationalized that "like others in Hitler's army, Lt. Waldheim looked the other way."

    In each of these cases, Buchanan found a factual reason to defend the accused, an appeal to justice. But put together, it is striking how often he rushes to the defense of accused Nazis. He has also attacked the US Justice Department's Office of Special Investigation (which pursues war criminals) more generally:
    "You've got a great atrocity that occurred 35, 45 years ago.... Why... put millions of dollars [into] investigating that?"

    Weird Allies:

    Pat Embraces Socialist Anti-Semite Fringe Candidate Fulani
    It's hard to imagine that Pat has much in common with a black socialist woman who described her former party, the National Alliance Party or NAP, as "black-led, women-led, multiracial," and " pro-gay". But in fact Buchanan has allied himself with Lenora Fulani, 2 time fringe party candidate for president, who is now running for the Reform Party's New York Governor slot. Pat even made a special trip to New York city to ask for the support of Fulani, and her even odder strategist, Fred Newman.

    In 1998 and 1992, Fulani's campaign and the NAP was often dismissed as a silly parody of liberalism designed primarily to qualify for and scoop up federal campaign funding. In fact, she got nearly $3 million in public money despite getting less than one percent of the vote. She actually received more federal matching funds than either Jerry Brown or Paul Tsongas, despite receiving just 200,000 votes in 1992. But there were scarier overtones as well, and the NAP was often described as cult-like.

    Fulani describes her former NAP co-leader, Fred Newman -- whose support Buchanan also sought -- as her "theoretician and tactician." Newman first started a radical psychotherapy collective in New York in the late 1960s, then formed the International Workers Party in 1974 after splitting off from an alliance with Lyndon Larouche, the convicted felon who is clearly a political cult leader. The IWP adapted Leninist cadres and Soviet psychiatric treatments to further a "workers' revolution" in part by handing out, in their own words, "the most obscene brochures and pamphlets in the whole city -- filthy -- incredibly offensive."

    In the late 1970s, Newman reformed his group as the National Alliance Party wiht an aim of winning elections, and discovered Fulani. He later boasted "I organized her. She is one of my life's proudest accomplishments." As the NAP broadly appealed to extreme liberals, ex-members say that the IWP continued to exist, using Soviet-style secret cells and hoarding guns. An FBI report from March 1988 says that "members of the New Alliance Party should be considered armed and dangerous as they are known to possess weapons."

    After Fulani's two national campaigns, the NAP disbanded amid an FEC investigation of embezzling federal funds. (The notoriously toothless FEC basically accepted any receipts produced by the group, and dismissed most of the charges.) Since then, the two have worked diligently to build power inside the Reform Party.

    Fulani and her party have long supported Louis Farrakhan, the very controversial racist and anti-Semitic demagogue who has run the National of Islam for many years, and supported anti-Israeli terrorists. Newman publicly described Jews as "dirty", "self-righteous dehumanizers" and the "stormtroopers of decadent capitalism against people of color the world over."

    And therein lies the connection. Though they disagree on just about every single other issue, Fulani and Buchanan share two things; anti-Semitism and a willingness to use any ideology or argument to further their own political goals.

    But Buchanan may have met his match in clever demagogues. The Fulani-Newman group -- now operating through a shrouded, unincorporated group called CUIP (the Committee for a Unified Independent Party) -- is a major force in the Reform Party today. According to the New Republic magazine, the Fulani-Newman faction now control as many Reform Party delegates as Ross Perot or Jesse Ventura, in part through clever use of a little known method of proxy voting in New York state.

    And after the successful meeting between Buchanan, his sister Bay and wife Shelley, Fulani and Fred Newman, Newman bragged that "This was really a culmination of what we had been doing all along." Which appears to be quietly infiltrating and controlling larger and larger political groups. Lenora Fulani is now Pat Buchanan's campaign co-chairman. --

    He doesn't talk about race as much as he does about Jews, but Buchanan's feelings on the subject pop up in quiet ways. Most famously, he said:

    "If we had to take a million immigrants in, say Zulus, next year, or Englishmen, and put them up in Virginia, what group would be easier to assimilate and would cause less problems for the people of Virginia?" ("This Week With David Brinkley," 1/8/91)

    Generally, though, Buchanan hides his feelings behind code words, or hides them altogether. This memo, which Pat sent to Nixon back on August 26, 1971, only recently became public. Buchanan cited an article claiming that heredity determines intelligence (similar to the more recent Bell Curve book) and wrote:

    "If correct, then all our efforts and expenditures not only for 'compensatory education' but to provide an 'equal chance at the starting line' are guaranteeing that we wind up with the intelligent ones coming in first. And every study shows blacks 15 I.Q. points below whites on average. . . . If there is no refutation, then it seems to me that a lot of what we are doing in terms of integration of blacks and whites -- but even more so, poor and well-to-do -- is less likely to result in accomodation than it is in perpetual friction -- as the incapable are played consciously by government side by side with the capable." -- Back to the top -- Sources

    Disgruntled Staff
    We have received unconfirmed rumors that a number of Buchanan staffers from his 1992 and 1996 campaigns are disgusted with him and have quit the fold. So far, the only documented information is that a number of Buchanan staff from 1996 are now working for Steve Forbes. If you have any information on this subject, and particularly if you are one of those staffers, please email us with details.

    Praise For Hitler

    In 1977, Buchanan wrote:

    "Those of us in childhood during the war years were introduced to Hitler only as caricature. ... Though Hitler was indeed racist and anti-Semitic to the core, a man who without compunction could commit murder and genocide, he was also an individual of great courage, a soldier's soldier in the Great War, a political organizer of the first rank, a leader steeped in the history of Europe, who possessed oratorical powers that could awe even those who despised him."

    He went on to say:

    "Hitler's success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone. His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path."

    This column was a review of a biography of Hitler by John Toland, which Buchanan called "brilliant." To read the entire column, click here.

    Holocaust Revisionism
    Perhaps the single most extreme and scary thing Buchanan has done is to question whether the Holocaust was really that bad. In the course of defending Demanjuk, he argued that charges of complicity in mass murder using Treblinka's gas chambers were false -- because the gas chambers didn't really work.

    In his March 17, 1990 column, he wrote that diesel engines, the exhaust from which was used in the Treblinka gas chambers, "do not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody. ... Demanjuk's weapon of mass murder cannot kill."

    His evidence was a 1988 accident where a train stalled in a tunnel, with the engine running for a few minutes. No one died. Of course, the train operator was not trying to kill anyone. Apparently, properly tuned diesels do not produce much carbon monoxide, but they can be (and were) tweaked to produce deadlier exhaust. Many people actually think that in the gas chambers, the exhaust was used to suffocate, not poison. In a crowded, sealed chamber this would happen much more quickly.

    As Muravchik points out in the Commentary article, "diesel exhaust fumes were used not only at Treblinka but also at Chelmno, Sobibor, and Belzec, and were moreover employed extensively by the Nazi killing squads inside the USSR." Denying that diesel exhaust can kill means that much of the generally accepted history of the Holocaust must be false.

    Buchanan has refused to discuss his statements on the record, but told reporter Jacob Weisberg of a "bolder debunking claim (concerning the gas chambers) than he is willing to endorse in print." When Weisberg asked him where he got the anecdote about the stalled train, he would say only "Somebody gave it to me." All evidence points to Buchanan getting this from Holocaust Revisionist groups. Treblinka is often singled out by these extremists, because the gas chamber was destroyed, and most witnesses murdered, before Allied troops arrived at the end of the war.

    A well-researched article by Jamie McCarthy persuasively identifies Buchanan's source as the July 1988 issue of the German American Information and Education Association, a revisionist group.That issue goes on to say "the German people were 'holocausted' after WW II, especially by the Bolsheviks, originally a Jewish/Zionist movement."

    In his Ivan the Terrible column, Buchanan also tried to explain away death camp eyewitnesses by saying "Since the war, 1,600 medical papers have been written on 'The Psychological and Medical Effects of the Concentration Camps on Holocaust Survivors.' This so-called 'Holocaust Survivor syndrome involves 'group fantasies of martyrdom and heroics.' "

    To this day - the last week of February 1996 to be exact - Buchanan still defends his Demanjuk columns as "the best journalism I ever did."

    And he contests several other generally accepted aspects of German history. (He is himself entirely German, on his mother's side, and half Irish on his father's.) Buchanan argued that the British started the terror-bombing in WWII (causing Germans to retaliate). He wrote Reagan's infamous description of the German soldiers buried in Bitburg, Germany (including SS members) as "victims of the war". He wrote a column in 1990 publicizing "Other Losses", a book alleging that one million German POWs died in American camps at the end of WW2, due to General Eisenhower's supposedly fanatical hatred of Germans. He argued Britain started WWI and pulled us into a fight with Germany through "lying British propaganda."

    And during the reunification of Germany in 1989, many neighboring countries pressured Germany to accept its postwar borders and give up claims to land it lost at the end of WW2. Buchanan applauded Helmut Kohl as a "patriot" for his "reluctance to sign away all rights to the lost German territories."

    Extremist Staff Members, With Ties to White Supremacy and Militia Groups
    Another disturbing and consistent pattern of Buchanan's is hiring trusted staff members who work with, or are part of, racist and militia groups. For example,
    -- Larry Pratt, co-chairman of Buchanan's campaign, is a major figure in the militia movement, and has appeared at workshops and on TV shows sponsored by white supremacist "Christian Identity" groups.
    -- Rev. Donald Wildmon, another of the 4 Buchanan co-chairmen, crusades against sexually explicit TV shows and has repeatedly asserted that Jews dominate the entertainment industry and are responsible. He condemned the movie "Last Temptation of Christ" as being funded by "Jewish money."
    -- Michael Farris, the third of the 4 co-chairmen, attended the "White Rose Banquet" honoring those who had gone to jail for acts of violence in the anti-abortion crusade -- including Paul Hill, who shot a doctor and his bodyguard in Pensacola, Florida. The banquet was held in Arlington, VA on January 21, 1996
    -- William Carter, a member of Buchanan's South Carolina steering Committee, ran David Duke's 1992 campaign there. After this came out, Buchanan fired him.
    -- Susan Lamb, Duval County, Florida chairwoman for Buchanan was involved in the "National Association for the Advancement of White People", founded by Duke.
    -- Samuel Francis, a friend and supporter who spoke at a 1993 meeting of Buchanan's group "American Cause", has called for a "white reconquest of the United States" and reportedly was asked to leave the Washington Times' editorial staff because of his racism.
    -- Vincent Bruno, and two of Buchanan's other Louisiana delegates, have ties to ex-KKK wizard David Duke's 1991 campaign for Louisiana governor. Bruno was Duke's liaison to the religious right.

    Larry Pratt, Militia Man
    Pratt, who took a leave of absence from Buchanan's 1996 campaign after his background became known, is a major supporter and promoter of militias, and said of Buchanan, "I'm quite sure he would support exactly what the founders of our country had in mind. They put the militia into federal law, and it is still in federal law in Title X."

    The Southern Poverty Law Center charges that Pratt was the person who introduced the concept of militias to the right-wing underground, in 1992. Historian and author Mark Pitcavage, who runs a very comprehensive web site on right-wing extremists, thinks that overstates Pratt's role, since the militia idea floated around Posse Comitatus before 1992, but he agrees that Pratt was an important figure in popularizing militias, comparable to Bo Gritz.

    Pratt argues that the Bible calls for citizen militias and that it teaches we have a "responsibility" to keep and bear arms. His 1990 book is called "Armed People Victorious. " He advanced this view in print and in numerous personal appearances at "Preparedness Expo" type events.

    Pratt was invited to speak at the widely publicized 1992 rally in Estes Park, CO by Pete Peters, a leader of the Christian Identity Movement. At the same rally, Peters said "Your enemies are pumping all the Talmudic filth they can vomit and defecate into your living room." (The Talmud is a Jewish holy book). Christian Identity religions hold that Jews are a "mud people" and that "Israelites" referred to in the Bible are not Jews, but actual "Aryan" or "Celtic" peoples. Jesus could not have been Jewish, in their view. Usually they claim that He was British. Other speakers at the same rally were Richard Butler, pastor of the Aryan Nations church in Idaho, and Louis Bream, former head of the Texas KKK.

    Pratt admits appearing several times on a television show hosted by Pete Peters after that rally. The Wall Street Journal reported that Pratt has written for "the Jubilee", an openly racist and anti-Semitic publication, and the group that publishes it sells two audiocassette tapes of Pratt's lectures. Pratt spoke at the Jubilation Conference, sponsored by Jubilee's publisher Paul Hall, Sr., in 1993.

    Pratt has appeared at a number of other extremist rallies, including a Christian Identity meeting in Branson, Missouri a few days after the Oklahoma city bombing, the "Dallas Preparedness Expo 95" (along with Mark Koernke of the Michigan Militia and Bo Gritz), and the "U.S. Constitution Restoration Rally" in Lakeland Florida, in 1994 (where Red Beckman argued that the constitutional amendments banning slavery and giving blacks' full citizenship were never ratified). Pratt is a contributing editor to a newsletter published by United Sovereigns of America, a group that sells extremist materials including the forged anti-Jewish "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and the Posse Comitatus handbook.

    In defense, both Pratt and Buchanan deny any racism. (To be fair, even the Jewish Anti-Defamation League admits it does not have evidence of Pratt himself making racist or anti-Semitic statements.) In fact, Pratt is married to a black woman. Pratt also says he is a member of the group "Jews For the Preservation of Firearms Ownership", an extreme pro-gun group that raised controversy a few years ago by linking the Brady Bill (waiting period before gun purchase) to Hitler and the Nazis. That does not mean Pratt himself is Jewish, though. He says the president of that group likens him to "those righteous gentiles that resisted the Nazi murderers."

    In any case, the significance of this is not Pratt's personal views -- it's that one of Buchanan's national campaign chairmen has frequent contacts with, and is happy to ally himself with the most extreme right-wing elements. It's ironic that Buchanan attacks Dole for working together with Democrats but finds no problem in his staff working with neo-Nazis.

    Michael Farris, Anti-Abortion Activist
    Another of Pat's 4 national co-chairman, Michael Farris, attended the "White Rose Banquet", a dinner honoring antiabortion activists who have gone to jail for acts of violence against abortion clinics and physicians. Paul Hill, convicted of murdering a doctor and his bodyguard, received a special award. Farris was the only mainstream politician there; many anti-abortion activists, including even Randall Terry of Operation Rescue, refused to attend.

    Farris claimed that he didn't know the subject of the meeting. "I was absolutely clueless. I thought it was just a pro-life banquet." However, Farris went with a friend who was a key participant, reading aloud a prison letter from a person convicted of arson in firebombing an abortion clinic. He was welcomed from the podium by Michael Bray, who spent 4 years in prison for bombing 10 clinics. And the program announced that "the just sanction for the capital crime of abortion, as with any other murder, is death."

    Farris is no newcomer to the anti-abortion movement, either. He ran for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 1993 despite the victory of Republican governor candidate George Allen, in large part because of his extreme anti- abortion and religious right statements. He is also a home-schooling activist, calling public schools a "godless" system that promotes "evolution, hedonism and one-world government."

    -- Back to the top-- Sources

    Protected by His Media Friends
    Pat Buchanan has moved between the media and the federal government since 1962, and has many friends in the press. They uniformly regard him as a friendly, charming guy, and their affection spills over into their news reports. The night of the New Hampshire primary this year, reporters at liberal NPR radio were laughing as they described Pat's more extreme stump rhetoric -- their attitude was clearly that of someone telling a story about their wild buddy and the outrageous things he said the other night when they were out drinking. In other words, they don't take him seriously, or at face value -- it's all part of the game, and Pat is just a skilled player.

    One reason Buchanan can run such an inexpensive campaign is that he gets tons of free news publicity, and makes hundreds of appearances on talk radio shows -- over 25 on the morning of the Iowa caucuses alone.

    After the most recent set of attacks on Buchanan for anti-Semitism, he called in talk show host Larry King, an old friend from CNN who is Jewish, to deny those charges. -- Back to the top -- Sources

    All Talk and No Action
    Pat Buchanan is a great speaker, political organizer and strategist -- among the more extreme partisans of his party. He can whip a crowd into a frenzy and knows how to hit all of their emotional buttons. All of this makes him a great campaigner -- but not a leader.

    In fact, the mundane business of running something (like the United States) requires working with bureaucracy, cutting deals with opponents, compromise, and hard choices. All of which kills political passion as quickly as housecleaning undercuts romance. That's why Pat has carefully avoided running anything in his lifetime. Unfortunately, this kind of management is 2/3rds of being a successful President.

    Buchanan is the Jesse Jackson of the Republicans -- a favorite among more extreme partisans, a great speaker, no kind of a leader. In fact, even Jesse Jackson has more management experience than Pat Buchanan -- he ran "Operation PUSH" (badly) in Chicago. Like Jackson, Buchanan has always been underestimated as a campaigner (Jesse won a couple of states against Dukakis in 1988), but makes minimal effort to appeal to America as a whole, and actively avoids real leadership. They are fun candidates if you like their policies, and bad choices to actually run anything.

    Involvement in Watergate
    Surprisingly, no one is talking about Pat Buchanan's involvement in the Nixon Administration and its scandals. Pat joined Nixon's staff as a young (25 year old), bright and extreme partisan. He was part of Nixon's absolute inner circle -- the first full-time staffer hired when Nixon began his comeback in 1966, and one of the last half-dozen friends and aides who remained loyal until the end. Buchanan avoided major attack because he declined a chance to lead the break-in at Daniel Ellsberg's office (for strategic reasons), and documented his decision in a memo. But he was involved in a number of disturbing episodes that are innocent only relative to crimes of Colson, Haldeman and Magruder. For example, unethical and even illegal dirty tricks against campaign opponents, his admitted attempts to cover up Watergate by urging Nixon to burn the infamous White House tapes, and worst of all, his role in using the IRS against political enemies.

    Buchanan to have no limits of fairness or even ethics when attacking his enemies. You have to worry what he would do to his many enemies if he controlled the entire Federal government. Toward the end of Watergate he openly advocated demagogy in his bitterness at Nixon's enemies:

    "The Left has an enormous stake in Watergate; they have nothing else, and they fully intend the exploitation of this scandal to cancel the Nixon Counter-Revolution.... If we have to drift into demagoguery, so be it. We owe them a few."

    Nor did he have any regrets over Nixon's tactics. In the book "All The President's Men", Woodward and Bernstein -- the reporters who broke much of the story -- describe running into Pat Buchanan at a party in the April of 1973. He was arguing with the Washington Post's lawyer about the scandal. They quote Buchanan as saying,
    "The Watergate's all you had. Some Cubans going in to look at Larry O'Brien's mail. ... You blew it out of all proportion." After Williams replied that they had won the 1972 election in a "dirty" manner, Buchanan answered "A little spying, Ed. That's politics."

    (The Watergate break-in involved 6 employees of Nixon's re-election campaign, who were caught in the office of Democratic Party national Chairman Lawrence O'Brien with wiretapping equipment, burglar's tools and lots of $100 bills from the Nixon campaign's illegal slush fund.)

    Buchanan even admits to obstruction of justice in the matter. He urged Nixon, in a documented memo, to destroy the White House tapes that eventually proved his crimes and led to his resignation. That, of course, would have been illegal obstruction of justice, as even Fred Buzhardt, the White House lawyer at the end, acknowledged. "If we'd decided to destroy the tapes, that would have been real obstruction of justice, and we couldn't even talk about it." Nonetheless, Buchanan defends his memo to Nixon, even to this day. His only regret? "I should have pressed him harder to burn them."

    Nixon's "Dirty Tricks" against Political Opponents

    Buchanan was not just another aide when it came to dirty tricks -- he was one of the leaders in pushing them. According to John Dean, one of Nixon's top aides, Buchanan relentlessly pushed underhanded methods, talking H.R. Haldeman's assistant Gordon Strachan into it, and even popularized the very phrase "political hardball." His view was that opponents would probably nail you, so you should hit them first, harder.
    According to Anthony Lukas' book "Nightmare", Buchanan took part in Nixon's "Dirty Tricks" another way -- editing a phony pamphlet pretending to be from a liberal Democrats group that attacked Muskie. (His assistant Ken Khachigian wrote it.) Many investigators also think Buchanan or Khachigian wrote the infamous "Canuck letter", a forged letter claiming Muskie has slandered French Canadians as "Cannocks" (sic). The Canuck letter was one of two slams against Muskie that caused the Democratic front runner to break down crying in frustration at a New Hampshire news conference, crippling his candidacy.

    In the current campaign, Steve Forbes' strong lead in Iowa and New Hampshire disappeared in part because of a series of anonymous phone calls attacking him on abortion, and from phony "polls" whose questions insinuated attacks against Forbes. Buchanan's campaign and Bob Dole's campaign are the prime suspects (Dole has also pulled similar dirty tricks in tight spots in the past); in fact they may well have worked together, as the campaigns admit to doing in Louisiana, where their combined effort aborted Phil Gramm's campaign.

    Also, in Louisiana (where only Buchanan and Phil Gramm campaigned), a flier was distributed pointing out that Gramm had married an "Asiatic" after leaving his "white wife". (Gramm's 2nd wife is Korean.) Buchanan's campaign workers have been accused of distributing it, and no one else was running. -- Back to the top

    Promoted IRS Abuses

    Like most politicians, Pat enjoys attacking the IRS. But he was personally involved in one of the worst IRS abuses ever -- the Nixon administrations concerted effort to use it as a weapon against political opponents. As a young aide to Richard Nixon, Buchanan wrote a plan to use the I.R.S. to neutralize liberal public-policy institutes. Buchanan's plan, in part, led to the Nixon administration's I.R.S. unit that collected intelligence on thousands of anti-war or anti-Nixon individuals and requested audits in hundreds of cases.

    VD: A Fun Way to Avoid the Draft?
    Despite his harsh pro-Vietnam War rhetoric, Pat Buchanan never served, in war or in peace. The reason why has always been murky - we've read or been emailed that he had flat feet, was wall eyed (the opposite of cross-eyed), or had an arthritic knee.

    Buchanan himself said that in 1960, when he was 21, the draft board rejected him because he had Reiter's syndrome. What's that, you ask? It's a form of arthritis usually caused by chlamydia, a venereal disease (at least in America. In third world countries, a form of dysentery is the most common cause.)

    When pressed, a Buchanan aide said that if, indeed, sexual contact is the only way to get Reiter's, Buchanan would never have admitted it. That's an honest if cynical response, but it assumes that Buchanan knows what causes Reiter's. He also could have had chlamydia for years, even to this day, without knowing it; chlamydia often has no symptoms, especially in men. Notice also that this aide's statement is not a denial. The Buchanan campaign has refused to confirm or deny whether Pat has had chlamydia or any other venereal diseases.

    Now normally we wouldn't bring this up, as an issue of privacy, except for two things.
    1) Pat loves criticizing gays for the "perverse" sex life, and invites criticism of his own possible sluttishness.
    2) He has criticized so many people who opposed the war for cowardice or lack of patriotism, despite his own failure to contribute.

    I guess Pat's a lover, not a fighter. Given the sexual revolution and unpopularity of the war, VD could have become downright fashionable in the 1960s if people knew how Pat got out of fighting.

    Buchanan's hypocrisy on the war is especially galling because he and his supporters make so much of his "fighting", referring to boyhood scraps where his many brothers backed him up, or his taking a poke at a policeman who wrote him a ticket (and broke his wrist). Explain to John McCain, or Rick Tompkins (a Libertarian candidate who fought in Vietnam) how much courage you showed there, Pat

    Assaulted Police Officers

    Pat Buchanan's lack of respect for the law took another form in college. An argument with police officers over a traffic ticket ended up with Buchanan swinging away at them. Buchanan's supporters like to say he "beat up" the cops. Actually, Pat ended up with a broken wrist and a misdemeanor conviction (and only a sharp lawyer kept it at that.) He was suspended from Georgetown University for a year, though he was later readmitted (after his father pleaded with the school) and graduated with honors.

    Pat actually plays this incident up, cultivating the image of a tough guy outsider, "fighting Irish" -- though he is much more German and Scottish than Irish, lives a wealthy Beltway life, and has rarely shown any honor in his fighting. Even in his own autobiography, he often brags about "sucker punching" people -- hitting them when they aren't looking. And of course he avoided military service despite his "tough" pro-war talk.

  7. Ask Buchanan about these points that show just how big of a neocon he really is.


    "You just wait until 1996, then you'll see a real right-wing tyrant." - Pat Buchanan, 1995

    "Promiscuous homosexuals appear literally hell-bent on Satanism and suicide." - Pat Buchanan 10/17/90

    "If I were in the Congress of the United States, I would have a voting record just like Bob Dornan's." - Pat Buchanan

    "Women are simply not endowed with the same measure of single-minded ambition and the will to succeed in the fiercely competitive world of Western capitalism." - Pat Buchanan

    "We are in the process of destroying the one working economy [in lower Africa -- South Africa] -- because it doesn't adopt an idiotic 'One man, one vote' regimen." -- Pat Buchanan

    "Colin Powell disagrees with me on every issue." - Pat Buchanan

    "[Hitler was] an individual of great courage, a soldier's soldier... [and] a political organizer of the first rank." - Pat Buchanan

    Ask Buchanan about these. He is no moderate.

  9. Pat Buchanan In His Own Words

    Here is a sampling of Buchanan's views:

    On African-Americans

    After Sen. Carol Moseley Braun blocked a federal patent for a Confederate flag insignia, Buchanan wrote that she was "putting on an act" by associating the Confederacy with slavery: "The War Between the States was about independence, about self-determination, about the right of a people to break free of a government to which they could no longer give allegiance," Buchanan asserted. "How long is this endless groveling before every cry of 'racism' going to continue before the whole country collectively throws up?" (syndicated column, 7/28/93)

    On race relations in the late 1940s and early 1950s: "There were no politics to polarize us then, to magnify every slight. The 'negroes' of Washington had their public schools, restaurants, bars, movie houses, playgrounds and churches; and we had ours." (Right from the Beginning, Buchanan's 1988 autobiography, p. 131)

    Buchanan, who opposed virtually every civil rights law and court decision of the last 30 years, published FBI smears of Martin Luther King Jr. as his own editorials in the St. Louis Globe Democrat in the mid-1960s. "We were among Hoover's conduits to the American people," he boasted (Right from the Beginning, p. 283).

    White House advisor Buchanan urged President Nixon in an April 1969 memo not to visit "the Widow King" on the first anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination, warning that a visit would "outrage many, many people who believe Dr. King was a fraud and a demagogue and perhaps worse.... Others consider him the Devil incarnate. Dr. King is one of the most divisive men in contemporary history." (New York Daily News, 10/1/90)

    In a memo to President Nixon, Buchanan suggested that "integration of blacks and whites -- but even more so, poor and well-to-do -- is less likely to result in accommodation than it is in perpetual friction, as the incapable are placed consciously by government side by side with the capable." (Washington Post, 1/5/92)

    In another memo from Buchanan to Nixon: "There is a legitimate grievance in my view of white working-class people that every time, on every issue, that the black militants loud-mouth it, we come up with more money.... If we can give 50 Phantoms [jet fighters] to the Jews, and a multi-billion dollar welfare program for the blacks...why not help the Catholics save their collapsing school system." (Boston Globe, 1/4/92)

    Buchanan has repeatedly insisted that President Reagan did so much for African-Americans that civil rights groups have no reason to exist: "George Bush should have told the [NAACP convention] that black America has grown up; that the NAACP should close up shop, that its members should go home and reflect on JFK's admonition: 'Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather ask what you can do for your country.'" (syndicated column, 7/26/88)

    In a column sympathetic to ex-Klansman David Duke, Buchanan chided the Republican Party for overreacting to Duke and his Nazi "costume": "Take a hard look at Duke's portfolio of winning issues and expropriate those not in conflict with GOP principles, [such as] reverse discrimination against white folks." (syndicated column, 2/25/89)

    Trying to justify apartheid in South Africa, he denounced the notion that "white rule of a black majority is inherently wrong. Where did we get that idea? The Founding Fathers did not believe this." (syndicated column, 2/7/90) He referred admiringly to the apartheid regime as the "Boer Republic": "Why are Americans collaborating in a U.N. conspiracy to ruin her with sanctions?" (syndicated column, 9/17/89)

    On Immigrants And People Of Color

    "There is nothing wrong with us sitting down and arguing that issue that we are a European country." (Newsday, 11/15/92)

    Buchanan on affirmative action: "How, then, can the feds justify favoring sons of Hispanics over sons of white Americans who fought in World War II or Vietnam?" (syndicated column, 1/23/95)

    In a September 1993 speech to the Christian Coalition, Buchanan described multiculturalism as "an across-the-board assault on our Anglo-American heritage."

    "If we had to take a million immigrants in, say Zulus, next year, or Englishmen, and put them up in Virginia, what group would be easier to assimilate and would cause less problems for the people of Virginia?" ("This Week With David Brinkley," 1/8/91)

    On Jews

    Buchanan referred to Capitol Hill as "Israeli-occupied territory." (St. Louis Post Dispatch, 10/20/90)

    During the Gulf crisis: "There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in the Middle East -- the Israeli defense ministry and its 'amen corner' in the United States." ("McLaughlin Group," 8/26/90)

    In a 1977 column, Buchanan said that despite Hitler's anti-Semitic and genocidal tendencies, he was "an individual of great courage...Hitler's success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone. His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path." (The Guardian, 1/14/92)

    Writing of "group fantasies of martyrdom," Buchanan challenged the historical record that thousands of Jews were gassed to death by diesel exhaust at Treblinka: "Diesel engines do not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody." (New Republic, 10/22/90) Buchanan's columns have run in the Liberty Lobby's Spotlight, the German-American National PAC newsletter and other publications that claim Nazi death camps are a Zionist concoction.

    Buchanan called for closing the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, which prosecuted Nazi war criminals, because it was "running down 70-year-old camp guards." (New York Times, 4/21/87)

    Buchanan was vehement in pushing President Reagan -- despite protests -- to visit Germany's Bitburg cemetery, where Nazi SS troops were buried. At a White House meeting, Buchanan reportedly reminded Jewish leaders that they were "Americans first" -- and repeatedly scrawled the phrase "Succumbing to the pressure of the Jews" in his notebook. Buchanan was credited with crafting Ronald Reagan's line that the SS troops buried at Bitburg were "victims just as surely as the victims in the concentration camps." (New York Times, 5/16/85; New Republic, 1/22/96)

    After Cardinal O'Connor criticized anti-Semitism during the controversy over construction of a convent near Auschwitz, Buchanan wrote: "If U.S. Jewry takes the clucking appeasement of the Catholic cardinalate as indicative of our submission, it is mistaken. When Cardinal O'Connor of New York seeks to soothe the always irate Elie Wiesel by reassuring him 'there are many Catholics who are anti-Semitic'...he speaks for himself. Be not afraid, Your Eminence; just step aside, there are bishops and priests ready to assume the role of defender of the faith." (New Republic, 10/22/90)

    The Buchanan '96 campaign's World Wide Web site included an article blaming the death of White House aide Vincent Foster on the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad -- and alleging that Foster and Hillary Clinton were Mossad spies. (The campaign removed the article after its existence was reported by a Jewish on-line news service; Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 2/21/96.)

    In his September 1993 speech to the Christian Coalition, Buchanan declared: "Our culture is superior. Our culture is superior because our religion is Christianity and that is the truth that makes men free." (ADL Report, 1994)

    On Gays

    In a 1972 memo to Richard Nixon, Buchanan referred to one of George McGovern's leading financial contributors as a "screaming fairy." (Newsday, 2/8/89) Buchanan has repeatedly used the term "sodomites," and has referred to gays as "the pederast proletariat." (Washington Post, 2/9/92)

    "Homosexuality involves sexual acts most men consider not only immoral, but filthy. The reason public men rarely say aloud what most say privately is they are fearful of being branded 'bigots' by an intolerant liberal orthodoxy that holds, against all evidence and experience, that homosexuality is a normal, healthy lifestyle." (syndicated column, 9/3/89)

    In a 1977 column urging a "thrashing" of gay groups, Buchanan wrote: "Homosexuality is not a civil right. Its rise almost always is accompanied, as in the Weimar Republic, with a decay of society and a collapse of its basic cinder block, the family." (New Republic, 3/30/92)

    "Gay rights activists seek to substitute, for laws rooted in Judeo-Christian morality, laws rooted in the secular humanist belief that all consensual sexual acts are morally equal. That belief is anti-biblical and amoral; to codify it into law is to codify a lie." (Buchanan column in Wall Street Journal, 1/21/93)

    On AIDS, Buchanan wrote in 1983: "The poor homosexuals -- they have declared war upon nature, and now nature is extracting an awful retribution (AIDS)." (Los Angeles Times, 11/28/86) Later that year, he demanded that New York City Ed Koch and New York Gov. Mario Cuomo cancel the Gay Pride Parade or else "be held personally responsible for the spread of the AIDS plague." "With 80,000 dead of AIDS, our promiscuous homosexuals appear literally hell-bent on Satanism and suicide," Buchanan wrote in 1990 (syndicated column, 10/17/90). In the 1992 campaign, he declared: "AIDS is nature's retribution for violating the laws of nature." (Seattle Times, 7/31/93)

    On Women

    "Rail as they will about 'discrimination,' women are simply not endowed by nature with the same measures of single-minded ambition and the will to succeed in the fiercely competitive world of Western capitalism." (syndicated column, 11/22/83)

    "The real liberators of American women were not the feminist noise-makers, they were the automobile, the supermarket, the shopping center, the dishwasher, the washer-dryer, the freezer." (Right from the Beginning, p. 149)

    "If a woman has come to believe that divorce is the answer to every difficult marriage, that career comes before children ... no democratic government can impose another set of values upon her." (Right from the Beginning, p. 341)

    On Democracy

    Attacking what he considers the "democratist temptation, the worship of democracy as a form of governance," Buchanan commented: "Like all idolatries, democratism substitutes a false god for the real, a love of process for a love of country." (Patrick J. Buchanan: From the Right, newsletter, Spring/90)

    In a January, 1991 column, Buchanan suggested that "quasi-dictatorial rule" might be the solution to the problems of big municipalities and the federal fiscal crisis: "If the people are corrupt, the more democracy, the worse the government." (Washington Times, 1/9/91) He has written disparagingly of the "one man, one vote Earl Warren system."

    In Right from the Beginning, Buchanan refers to Spanish dictator Francisco Franco as a "Catholic savior." He called Franco, along with Chile's Gen. Pinochet, "soldier-patriots." (syndicated column 9/17/89) Both men overthrew democracy in their countries.

    Buchanan devotes a chapter of his autobiography -- "As We Remember Joe" -- to defending Senator Joe McCarthy. He advocated that Nixon "burn the tapes" during Watergate, and he criticized Reagan for failing to pardon Oliver North over Iran-contra.

    Don't praise this trojan shill: These are Buchanan's own words. He has little respect for women or blacks.

  10. To save America the first imperative is to remove from power the ideologues of both parties who have nearly killed our country.

    Patrick Buchanan fits that description to a T

    [Pat]Buchanan was influential in the White House, where he coined the phrase silent majority and helped shape the strategy that drew millions of Democrats to Nixon; in a typical 1972 memo he suggested that the White House "should move to re-capture the anti-Establishment tradition or theme in American politics."


    Thus he was a founder of the "gobernment can't do anything right" movement which lead to the fiasco of New Orleans, ... while he was helping Richard Nixon lead the US Government, talk about being a hypocrite.

    He also suggested that his boss label opponent George McGovern as an extremist and ,
    burn the White House tapes.


    Thus he has NO PROBLEM with covering up illegal unconstitutional activities by the reichwing people like Nixon which is UN-AMERICAN if you actually believe in the rule of the constitution over the rule of the President.

    In 1992, Buchanan began the first of his three presidential campaigns, running on a platform of economic nationalism, immigration reduction, and social conservatism, including opposition to multiculturalism, abortion, and gay rights.

    Thus he only wants civil rights for those HE approves of. He attacked Dr King who has done MUCH more FOR this country then this political hack will ever do.

    Buchanan has been a critic of Martin Luther King, Jr. since his days at the Globe-Democrat.


    In 1969, Buchanan urged Nixon not to visit King's widow, Coretta Scott King, because he felt, "It would outrage many, many people who believe Dr. King was a fraud and a demagogue, and perhaps worse. ... It does not seem to be in the interests of national unity for the president to lend his national prestige to the argument that this divisive figure is a modern saint."


    Dr King will be remembered long after this fraud has turned to dust and has been forgotten by the winds of history.

    here are his own views;

    Buchanan discussed his comments in a 2000 public radio interview, saying King was a divisive figure -- and that he had met him and witnessed his civil rights demonstrations.

    [I said that in] a memo in 1969 whether we should recognize the day or go down and see Mrs. King, and I suggested we not see Mrs. King. I said, ‘Martin Luther King was one of the most divisive men. Some see him as the messiah of the nation, others think he’s a dreadful person. He is a divisive figure.’ Look, I knew Martin Luther King. I am the only candidate who was at the march on Washington. I was in the Lincoln Memorial. I was in Mississippi covering the civil rights demonstrations... Like every great movement, the civil rights movement had things that were attractive and things that were not. And for my history, friends, we make no apologies.

    Well he was wrong and history has already provided the verdict.

    He still laments the south's loss in the civil war;

    Pat Buchanan has expressed great pride in his Southern origins and has openly ridiculed those who oppose the display of Confederate flags in State capitals. He has written that the American Civil War was about States' Rights, self-determination, and "the right of a people to break free of a government to which they could no longer give allegiance", as well as irreconcilable cultural differences between the North and the South at the time. In The Death of the West, Buchanan cites this as an example of how culture is more important than political ideologies, because "[t]he South was 'attached to the same principles of government' as the North. But that did not prevent Southerners from fighting four years of bloody war to be free of their Northern brethren."

    .... praised Hitler ....

    Though Hitler was indeed racist and anti-Semitic to the core, a man who without compunction could commit murder and genocide, he was also an individual of great courage, a soldier's soldier in the Great War, a political organizer of the first rank, a leader steeped in the history of Europe, who possessed oratorical powers that could awe even those who despised him...Hitler's success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone. His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path.

    In some ways he was channeling KKKarl Rove before Rove was.

    There is much more to this charlatan of the reichwing, who was there at it's birth, but I think you get the point, he laid the ground work for the major problems of the dirty politics the reichwing has used the last 40 years to undermine the US Constitution and civil rights of ALL AMERICANS.

  11. Larry looks like we were both doing the same research at the same time.

  12. Clif:

    At least we haved it all covered. Buchanan is an ultra neocon in the worst fashion.

    He just makes millions acting like he is moderate.

  13. Reuters) - Home foreclosure filings in October edged up 2 percent from September but at 224,451 were a whopping 94 percent higher than a year earlier, real estate data firm RealtyTrac said on Thursday.

    The figure, a sum of default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions, was down from a 32-month peak in August however, RealtyTrac, an online market of foreclosure of properties, said in its monthly foreclosure market report.

    RealtyTrac said the national foreclosure rate was one filing for every 555 U.S. households in October.

    "Overall foreclosure activity continues to register at a high level compared to last year but it appears to have leveled off over the past two months after hitting a high for the year in August," James Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, said in a statement.

    This is the Bush economy we all know.

  14. A Regent University law student who was suspended for posting an unflattering photo of school founder Pat Robertson on the Internet sued the university and Robertson on Thursday.

    Adam M. Key, 23, claims in the federal suit that Regent officials violated his free speech and due process rights for expressing his "Christian religious and political opinions" when it suspended him in October. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Texas, where Key lives.

    Key posted a picture of Regent's chancellor and president making what appears to be an obscene gesture on his Facebook social-networking page. Key said he copied the photo from an online video in which Robertson scratches his face with his middle finger.

    Regent officials said the posting violated standards of conduct that prohibit the display of obscene material outside an academic context. The school suspended Key pending a mental health evaluation after he refused to publicly apologize for the posting or successfully defend it in a legal brief.

    The lawsuit seeks unspecified financial damages and asks that Regent officials be required to clear Key's disciplinary record and provide a letter of good standing.

    Regent spokeswoman Sherri Stocks told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper that the university would not comment until its attorneys had a chance to review it.

    The lawsuit said that Key removed the picture when he was told to, and that he wrote an academic critique regarding religious freedom of speech that he posted on a university e-mail discussion group.

    "I went there because I wanted an environment conducive to learning that had a respect for religious liberty, but the only liberty they are interested in defending is theirs and people like them," Key said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Thursday.

    Because the private university receives federal funds, it is required under the U.S. Higher Education Act to respect students' freedom of religion and expression.

    The lawsuit also alleges Key was "fraudulently induced" to attend Regent. "Adam relied on Regent's many claims of religious liberty and speech" and the law school's American Bar Association accreditation, the lawsuit states.

    Surely neocon Pat Robertson wouldn't do anything like this!!!

  15. Hollywood studios presented a sweetened contract offer to striking film and TV writers Thursday, and negotiators requested a four-day recess to consider it, the producers' organization said.

    The talks will resume Tuesday, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said in a statement.

    There was no immediate comment from the Writers Guild of America. Talks had been held under a media blackout since Monday.

    The producers said the new offer, dubbed the "New Economic Partnership," included payments for work shown on the Internet, the key sticking points in the talks.

    "The entire value of the New Economic Partnership will deliver more than $130 million in additional compensation above and beyond the more than $1.3 billion writers already receive each year," the statement said.

    The $130 million sum appeared to be an annual figure, but the brief statement did not clarify whether it was per year or over the three-year life of a proposed new contract. No details of the terms were released.

    Meanwhile, protesting writers converged on NBC's studios in suburban Burbank to rally against restarted production of the late-night show "Last Call With Carson Daly."

    Several people said Daly circled the Burbank lot before entering a gate with no pickets.

    Adam Waring, who has written for the sitcom "Two and a Half Men," said he and two other writers dashed around a corner to intercept Daly.

    "We stood in front of his car, and he told his driver to keep going," Waring said, adding that protesters had to move out of the way.

    "Last Call" was the first late-night show to resume production since the strike began on Nov. 5. The walkout has also idled production on many scripted television series.

    Daly has defended the move, saying he still supports the writers but did not want to see all 75 members of his staff and crew lose their jobs because of the work stoppage.

    Protesters at NBC carried signs reading, "Carson Daly Please Don't Cross" and "Carson Daly Please Support Us."

    Among them was Joe Medeiros, 56, head writer on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno." He said union members were disappointed with Daly's break in solidarity.

    "All the other late-night hosts are holding firm," Medeiros said. "That's what they need to do to solve this in a timely manner."

    A key issue in the contract dispute is compensation for work offered on the Web.

  16. As the Writers Guild of America strike drags on, Conan O’Brien is bringing some holiday cheer to his late-night talk show staff, pledging to cover the salaries of his non-writing production workers—nearly 80 people in all.

    NBC, which airs the comedian’s talk show Late Night with Conan O’Brien, agreed to cover the salaries through the end of November, and O’Brien, 44, will personally pick up the tab for the foreseeable future, according to Variety.

    O’Brien is said to be grateful for the loyalty many of those staffers have shown over the years. Many of them are expected to accompany him to the West Coast when he takes over as host of The Tonight Show in 2009.

    Late Night with Conan O’Brien has been in reruns, along with the other late-night talk shows, since the WGA went on strike Nov. 5.

    On Nov. 7, at a benefit in New York for wounded Iraq war veterans, O’Brien said, “I do have some good news about the writers’ strike. If it continues, there will not be a third Deuce Bigalow movie.” —Tim Nudd

    Conan O'Brien: Another Great American.

  17. The curtain was set to go up at more than 20 Broadway theaters for the first time in over two weeks on Thursday, a day after stagehands called off a strike that has cost New York millions of dollars.

    Musicals such as "The Phantom of the Opera" and "The Lion King," which have been closed since stagehands walked out over stalled contract negotiations on November 10, were among the first shows set to reopen to theatergoers.

    Producers and stagehands announced late Wednesday they had reached a deal after more than four days of marathon talks, paving the way for electricians, carpenters and sound and lighting technicians to go back to work.

    "The people of Broadway are looking forward to returning to work, giving the theater-going public the joy of Broadway, the greatest entertainment in the world," said James Claffey, the head of the 2,200-member union for stagehands.

    The full details of Wednesday's deal were not made public, but Charlotte St. Martin, head of the League of American Theatres and Producers, suggested both sides had made concessions to end the dispute.

    "The contract is a good compromise that serves our industry. What is most important is that Broadway's lights will once again shine brightly," she said.

    The strike brought the lights down at some 27 theaters on New York's "Great White Way," and left disappointed ticket holders arriving at theaters to find doors locked and picket lines outside.

    Tracy Letts, writer of the drama "August: Osage County," whose scheduled opening was delayed by the strike, said he was delighted the stoppage was over.

    "I'm ecstatic. I'm greatly relieved. It's been frustrating, it's been depressing. But I suppose years from now I'll look back and say '19 days, that's nothing,'" he said.

    Jeff Perry, a principal actor in the show, agreed. "The thought of being shut down for good, because our producers would have run out of money, was really a depressing notion. But it's over, it's good. We're back."

    Box office workers at "Phantom of the Opera" and "A Chorus Line" said they were doing brisk business Thursday, without revealing any figures.

    Maria Noriega, 31, from Madrid, was one of those buying tickets after hearing that theaters were reopening.

    "I've wanted to see 'Phantom of the Opera' since I was a child. This morning when we saw on TV that the strike was over, we rushed to the box office," she said.

    It was not only the theaters who were glad to see the end of the strike. Ivan Lesica, Maitre D' at Sardi's, an old favorite among Broadway theatergoers, said business had been down 20 to 30 percent during the strike.

    "I'm glad it's over. It did take three weeks, which I think is a long, long time to settle, but I'm glad it's over," he said, adding that he expected business to be back to normal by the weekend.

    The dispute dated back to July, when producers sought to reduce production costs and complained they were forced to hire an unnecessarily large number of stagehands, while unions accused the theaters of trying to make cutbacks.

    It was the third time industrial action shut down Broadway in 30 years. The last stoppage, a strike by musicians in 2003, lasted four days.

    This year's strike was thought to have cost the city at least 38 million dollars and likely more since it closed down some of Broadway's most profitable shows over the lucrative Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend.

    However, for shows not run by league members, such as the hit musical "Mary Poppins," the stoppage helped ensure sell-out performances, while off-Broadway productions also enjoyed a good run at the box office.

  18. Thursday, November 29, 2007
    Press Blackout Lifted -- Companies Offer Rollbacks

    The companies put out a press release today, thus ending the media blackout to which they and the WGA agreed. So this is what we no know:

    That big, amazing proposal that the companies hinted to Nikki Finke was coming? Well, it came.

    Turns out their exciting, groundbreaking proposal is... a residual rollback. And not just any rollback, one of the biggest in the history of the Guild. Then, stunningly, the companies have the balls to say their plan gives us more compensation. Well, I'm sorry, but If you take away a dollar and give me a nickel, the nickel ain't a raise. Somewhere, Nick Counter's first-grade math teacher is embarrassed.

    So we decided to do some math of our own: We broke out the cost of the WGA's current proposal to the conglomerates into yearly figures. We found that the TOTAL payment yearly -- the total that ALL the companies would make under our proposals -- is $50.54 million. And that, we realized, is about one-third the budget of TRANSFORMERS. We are asking IN TOTAL, for the equivalent of the cost overrun on a summer event movie.

    Instead of agreeing that that is a fair and just offer, they've proposed this:

    When an hourlong episode of television is streamed on the Internet, writers would get a flat $250 payment for one year of reuse. That's $250 as opposed to, for example, $20,000 per episode when it's reused on network television. They proposed nothing new on downloads, it's still the DVD formula for those (ie. two-thirds of a penny for an iTunes download). For theatrical movies, they're offering exactly $0.00 on streaming. Oh, and they want to be able to define any content they like as "promotional" -- for which they would pay zero dollars. Even if they stream an entire film or tv episode, and even if they sell ads on it, they can call that promotional and pay us nothing.

    THE AMPTP claims their deal is worth $130 million over three years. But what they don't mention is how much we'd lose under their proposal. As all media distribution transitions to the Internet before our eyes, their proposal takes away far, far more revenue than it provides.

    A bold, new relationship? Sure, an abusive one.

    Patric Verrone sent this letter to membership a few minutes ago:

    To My Fellow Members,

    After four days of bargaining with the AMPTP, I am writing to let you know that, though we are still at the table, the press blackout has been lifted.

    Our inability to communicate with our members has left a vacuum of information that has been filled with rumors, both well intentioned and deceptive.

    Among the rumors was the assertion that the AMPTP had a groundbreaking proposal that would make this negotiation a "done deal." In fact, for the first three days of this week, the companies presented in essence their November 4 package with not an iota of movement on any of the issues that matter to writers.

    Thursday morning, the first new proposal was finally presented to us. It dealt only with streaming and made-for-Internet jurisdiction, and it amounts to a massive rollback.

    From streaming television episodes, the companies proposed a residual structure of a single fixed payment of less than $250 for a year's reuse of an hour-long program (compared to over $20,000 payable for a network rerun). For theatrical product they are offering no residuals whatsoever for streaming.

    For made-for-Internet material, they offered minimums that would allow a studio to produce up to a 15 minute episode of network-derived web content for a script fee of $1300. They continued to refuse to grant jurisdiction over original content for the Internet.

    In their new proposal, they made absolutely no move on the download formula (which they propose to pay at the DVD rate), and continue to assert that they can deem any reuse "promotional," and pay no residual (even if they replay the entire film or TV episode and even if they make money).

    The AMPTP says it will have additional proposals to make but, as of Thursday evening, they have not been presented to us. We are scheduled to meet with them again on Tuesday.

    In the meantime, I felt it was essential to update you accurately on where negotiations stood. On Wednesday we presented a comprehensive economic justification for our proposals. Our entire package would cost this industry $151 million over three years. That's a little over a 3% increase in writer earnings each year, while company revenues are projected to grow at a rate of 10%. We are falling behind.

    For Sony, this entire deal would cost $1.68 million per year. For Disney $6.25 million. Paramount and CBS would each pay about $4.66 million, Warner about $11.2 million, Fox $6.04 million, and NBC/Universal $7.44 million. MGM would pay $320,000 and the entire universe of remaining companies would assume the remainder of about $8.3 million per year. As we've stated repeatedly, our proposals are more than reasonable and the companies have no excuse for denying it.

    The AMPTP's intractability is dispiriting news but it must also be motivating. Any movement on the part of these multinational conglomerates has been the result of the collective action of our membership, with the support of SAG, other unions, supportive politicians, and the general public. We must fight on, returning to the lines on Monday in force to make it clear that we will not back down, that we will not accept a bad deal, and that we are all in this together.

    Patric M. Verrone
    President, WGAW

  19. Nearly everyone but the Bush administration acknowledges America’s middle class has been teetering on the economic edge for some time. Now, a project by the nonpartisan Demos and Brandeis University quantifies the extent to which the nation’s middle class is, as the report’s title puts it, hanging By a Thread.

    Here are its key—and chilling—findings:

    Only 31 percent of families who would be considered middle class by income are financially secure.
    One in four middle-class families are at high risk of slipping out of the middle class.
    Nearly four out of five families earning a middle-class income do not have sufficient assets to survive for just three months should their income source fluctuate or disappear.
    Twenty-one percent of middle-class families have less than $100 per week ($5,000 per year) remaining after meeting essential living expenses.
    In nearly one in four middle-class families, at least one family member lacks health insurance.
    More than half of middle-class families have no net financial assets whatsoever.
    The picture is even bleaker for middle-class households of color, with only 26 percent of black households and 18 percent of Latino households securely in the middle class. (Demos and Brandeis plan additional reports that will examine middle class security by race, age and income demographics.)

    What sets this report apart is the use of a metric to determine the economic strength of the middle class. The report is based on a “Middle Class Security Index” developed by the two organizations that measures the financial security of the middle class by rating household stability across five core economic factors—assets, educational achievement, housing costs, budget and health care. Based on how a family ranked in each of these factors, they were defined as financially “secure,” “borderline” or “at risk.”In a press conference announcing the report today, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros noted that over the past century, America’s strength depended on a thriving middle class. The post-World War II middle-class boom was no accident, Cisneros said, listing such crucial government programs as the G.I. Bill that opened access to higher education for veterans, home loan guarantees by the Federal Housing Administration and affordable housing for war veterans.He also could have added another key factor underlying the mid-century growth of the U.S. middle class: an environment in which workers had far more freedom to form unions than they do now.(Check out an August report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research that highlights how union representation is a big step toward moving from low-income to middle-income. The report found that workers in 15 low-wage industries raised their wages, on average, about $1.75 per hour by joining a union. Union workers earned some 16 percent more than their nonunion counterparts. Union workers in these same industries also were about 25 percentage points more likely to have health insurance or a pension plan.)Cisneros and other participants in the press conference agreed that a vibrant middle class is essential for the nation to maintain a competitive edge in the global economy. But as AFL-CIO Chief Economist Ron Blackwell put it, it’s no longer possible for most of us to achieve economic security by working hard and playing by the rules:

    All that is under threat today as we enter a new Gilded Age.

    Between 1973 and 2005, income for the wealthiest 0.1 percent rose by 353 percent—averaging $1.3 million a year. Meanwhile, wage workers’ productivity grew by 18 percent between 2000 and 2006—but most people’s inflation-adjusted weekly wages rose only 1 percent during that time.

    By a Thread: The New Experience of America’s Middle Class emphasizes access to affordable education as the key to ensuring sufficient economic security for working families to not just get by, but get ahead. Only 27 percent of the U.S. middle class have more than a high school education, according to the report, putting their future and their children’s future at risk in a rapidly developing global economy where higher education skills have become fundamental to achieving middle-class status.

    Although the middle class is weak, says co-author Jennifer Wheary, there are steps that a government interested in a strong middle class can take to strengthen it (rules out the current administration, of course). The report lists several key recommendations.

    Build assets, reduce debt. The United States currently does not have a comprehensive savings and asset-building policy, but rather a scattershot set of policies that when taken together largely benefit households that need help the least. Policies for middle-class families should include helping households save for emergencies, making homeownership more secure and giving families a fair chance to pay down credit card debt.

    Make higher education more accessible and affordable. In essence, the core of such an effort must address the weakening of the federal financial aid system, which over the past two decades has shifted away from a grant-based system to a debt-based system.

    Address the health care crisis. Prior research by Demos has revealed that even middle-class families with health insurance have problems paying their medical expenses and are using credit cards to meet their health needs. The nation’s health care crisis is so dire, the report asserts that the future security of America’s middle class hinges on whether we can muster the political and public will to markedly overhaul health-related funding and access policy in this nation.

  20. A thousand striking writers and their backers rallied in Washington Square Park here Nov. 27 to kick off the fourth week of a strike by the Writers Guild of America against an array of U.S. media conglomerates.

    The first strike by Hollywood writers on both coasts in 20 years began Nov. 5, disrupting soap operas and talk shows. It is now cutting into the ability of producers to make everything from movies to profits.

    The strike started because producers and networks refused to negotiate satisfactory methods to pay writers for material that ends up on the Internet.

    Writers are part of a volatile industry. Without job security, they depend on residual payments — which is what payment for material used on the Internet would be — to handle financial needs ranging from health care to children’s school expenses.

    The media moguls have claimed that high-tech methods they use to market writers’ work are too new for them to be able to come up with satisfactory compensation structures.

    “That’s exactly what big companies told workers at the beginning of the last century,” Rocco Fazzolari told the World.

    Fazzolari, a former extra on “The Sopranos,” was at the Washington Square rally in another double role — as a member of the Screen Actors Guild and as business manager of Local 122 of the United Industrial and Service Employees Union.

    “All my roles come together as a union man,” he said. “When this country industrialized, the bosses didn’t want to share the wealth that came from the new manufacturing technology. It’s the same thing now. They’re greedy and they don’t want writers, actors, or any workers for that matter, to get a fair share.”

    Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, who has turned down offers to appear on “Ellen” and “The View” because the union is striking those productions, received prolonged applause as he climbed the podium in Washington Square Park.

    “As president,” Edwards declared, “I will fight to make sure the creators of wealth, the workers, get their fair share of the wealth they create. I will sign legislation that makes it illegal for someone to walk through your picket line when you are on strike and take away your job.” He pledged that if CBS workers go on strike before an upcoming presidential debate in Los Angeles, he would withdraw from the debate.

    Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) told the crowd, which was full of New York trade unionists, that “power concedes nothing without a struggle and workers would be nowhere without unions.”

    Unions represented at the rally included the Screen Actors Guild, SEIU, District Council 37 (city employees), United Federation of Teachers, New York State AFL-CIO, New York City Central Labor Council, Carpenters, Unite Here and many others.

    Ed Ott, executive director of the New York City Central Labor Council, drew prolonged applause when he said, “The struggle of an $11.90 per hour restaurant worker is linked to the struggle of the writers. Progress comes when we lift the bottom up. That benefits everyone and it is the united labor movement we see here that understands this.”

    Tim Robbins, the actor, told the crowd that “without writers we would have no programs, bad jokes, crap movies and an endless string of ‘reality TV’ shows.”

    “Without unions and without a labor movement, we would have worse and worse poverty and endless horrible wars,” he said.

    The crowd responded with chants of “What do we want? A fair share.” Perhaps the reverberations reached up the street to Madison Avenue, home for some of New York’s biggest media moguls.

  21. The U.S. dollar's farewell tour

    It's just straws in the wind so far. India's Ministry of Culture announces that foreign tourists can no longer pay in dollars when visiting the Taj Mahal and other heritage sites; they have to pay in good, hard rupees. Iran and Venezuela call for a joint OPEC statement on the weak U.S. dollar, and Saudi Arabian Foreign Affairs Minister Saud Al-Faisal warns that any public reference to the U.S. dollar's problems could cause the troubled currency to "collapse." Rap star Jay-Z's latest video shows our hero flashing a wad of euros, not dollars.

    Only straws in the wind, but all in the past couple of weeks. For the majority of Americans who do not travel abroad, the only visible effect so far of the dollar's steep fall has been higher fuel prices at the pump. The Chinese imports that fill the big-box stores still cost the same, because the Chinese yuan is still pegged to the American dollar. But that may be about to change, along with many other things.

    At the beginning of 2003, one euro bought one U.S. dollar. Eighteen months ago, it bought $1.20. Now it is pushing $1.50, and there is no reason to think that it will stop there. Three of the world's biggest oil exporters, Iran, Venezuela and Russia, are demanding payment in euros rather than U.S. dollars. Last week a Chinese central bank vice-director, Xu Jian, gave voice to the suspicion of many others, saying that the U.S. dollar was "losing its status as the world currency."

    If that happens, then America loses a great deal. Other countries have to maintain large reserves of foreign currencies -- most of which they keep in U.S. dollars -- to cover their foreign debts, but the United States can pay its huge foreign debts in its own money. If necessary, it can just print more dollars. Having their own money as the world's reserve currency confers advantages that Americans would miss if they lost them.

    The main reason for the collapse of the U.S. dollar is President George W. Bush's attempt to fight expensive foreign wars while cutting taxes at home. This involved deficit financing on a very large scale, and inevitably the value of the dollar began to fall -- slowly at first, but with increasing speed as it became clear that the White House did not care. "Ronald Reagan proved that deficits don't matter," as Vice President Dick Cheney told then-Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill.

    But they do matter to foreigners. As the U.S. dollar fell in value, the price of oil (which is usually calculated in dollars) rose to compensate for it, but there was no comparable adjustment for foreign central banks that had huge amounts of U.S. dollars in their reserves. China, which was sitting on about a trillion U.S. dollars, simply lost several hundred billion as the currency's value fell. So various central banks started wondering if they should diversify their reserves, and some acted on it.

    The downward pressure on the dollar will continue, because the United States is currently borrowing 6 percent of its Gross Domestic Product from foreigners each year to cover its trade deficit. Foreign banks were happy to go on lending so long as they had faith in the integrity of U.S. financial institutions, but that has been hit hard by the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Besides, other markets, notably China and India, now offer a better return -- and Congress' resistance to foreign takeover bids, combined with tighter visa restrictions, make the U.S. a less welcoming place for foreign investors.

    Above all, there are now alternatives to the U.S. dollar. The last time it faced a comparable crisis was in 1971, when a different Republican president was trying to run another unpopular war without raising taxes. Richard Nixon devalued the U.S. dollar and demolished the Bretton Woods system that had fixed all other currencies in relation to the dollar, inaugurating the current era of floating exchange rates.

    There was no other candidate then for the role of global reserve currency, so the dollar stayed at the center of the system despite all the turbulence. This time, by contrast, there is the euro, the currency of an economic zone just as big as the United States, with the Chinese currency as a possible long-term rival. But nothing is likely to happen very fast.

    The last time the world went through a change like this, it took more than 40 years to complete. Before the World War I the British pound reigned supreme, accounting for 64 percent of the world's currency reserves and 60 percent of all international trade. Britain then impoverished itself in two world wars, but the U.S. dollar did not fully replace the pound until the 1950s.

    Today the U.S. dollar accounts for 70 percent of both international trade and currency reserves, but it is probably starting down the same road. Many countries are replacing part of their dollar reserves with a basket of other currencies, and those who have pegged their currency to the dollar are starting to cut loose from it: Kuwait has already done so, and the United Arab Emirates is actively considering it. If China unpegs, things will move a lot faster, but in any case the long farewell of the U.S. dollar has begun.

    As the saying goes,

    ‘Those that ignore history are doomed to repeat it.’

    And this insane clown posse running Washington have ignored a hell of a lot of history the last seven years.

  22. Home foreclosures will remain at the rate of 2 million per year well into 2008. Before the crisis is over, 3 million families — homeowners and renters — may have been kicked out of their homes, often losing everything in the process.

    People from every part of the country, of every age, income level, race and ethnicity, are losing their homes. Low-income families, particularly African Americans and Latinos and senior citizens, are most likely to be victims of this crisis.

    Many families facing foreclosure are victims of high-pressure scams in which real estate agents and mortgage lenders collected fat fees while homeowners are stuck with subprime mortgages. The majority of these families do not know that after an initial period their payments will increase, leaving them completely unprepared when they are suddenly faced with higher payments.

    This is a problem first of all for the families that lose their homes. It is also a problem for their blocks and neighborhoods, where vacant houses, often poorly maintained, become a magnet for vandalism and crime. It is a problem for whole communities, which are losing revenue through unpaid taxes and declines in building permit fees.

    Think nationally, act locally

    At the national level, legislation should require the financial institutions that are responsible for this crisis to bear the costs. They should be required to restructure outstanding mortgages so that both the principal and interest are payable. But that doesn’t mean that individuals and communities should wait for a president and Congress who will stand up to Wall Street.

    The AFL-CIO is offering a national hotline (866-490-5361) to “provide information and advice to help union members and their families avoid foreclosure.”

    The national community organization ACORN also offers a hotline (866-67-ACORN). It also does grassroots organizing against predatory lending practices.

    A county in rural West Virginia is considering legislation to allow foreclosed families to stay in their homes in return for a fair rent.

    In Cleveland, where community organizations have picketed the homes of mortgage company executives, an important precedent was set when 14 foreclosures were dismissed because the bank failed to prove they owned the mortgages on the properties they wanted to seize.

    (If readers know of other examples, drop me a line).

    Local governments, working with unions, religious and community organizations, can do a lot more. Here are some places to start.

    Education and outreach

    Success relies on early intervention. There is a much greater chance of success if action is taken before a homeowner falls behind in payments. This makes education and outreach particularly important.

    • Compile a list of all foreclosures in the city in the past two years, and track pending and future foreclosures.

    • Using public records, review residential property purchases and refinancing for the past three years and track new purchases. Follow up with letters, phone calls and personal interviews with the owner to determine: type of mortgage; if and when the mortgage will reset to a higher rate; if the homeowner has trouble or expects to have trouble making payments.

    • Hold neighborhood hearings to get testimony on the extent and seriousness of problems and to inform homeowners and potential home buyers.

    • Form a commission including representation from the local government, and from community, union and activist groups. The commission would investigate actions being taken in other communities around the country and make recommendations for local action.

    Immediate help from A to F

    What you can do to help residents in danger of losing their homes:

    A. Provide help through city or community agencies for homeowners to negotiate with lenders. Negotiations should aim to avoid foreclosure by reducing monthly payments to no more than 25 percent to 30 percent of household income. This should be done by writing down the principal of the loan to a payable level, converting the loan to a fixed rate at prime mortgage interest levels and forgoing any special fees or penalties.

    B. Identify lenders who hold a large number of local mortgages. Open negotiations with them for a streamlined process for dealing with problem mortgages.

    C. Vigorously enforce existing regulations and pass new regulations where needed, requiring owners of repossessed property to maintain current tax and utility payments and to maintain the property in good condition.

    D. If a multifamily property is repossessed, any tenants should be able to remain at existing rents, and the bank or other owner must maintain the property in compliance with all codes.

    E. If a house is repossessed, the former owner should be allowed to remain in the house as a tenant at a fair market rent.

    (Note that points C, D and E all have the effect of making it more expensive for a mortgage holder to repossess a house — this gives them an added incentive to reach an agreement instead of foreclosing.)

    F. Local governments should initiate and support community efforts for grassroots organizing in city neighborhoods. Forums, petitions and demonstrations should all be used to focus attention on lenders whose discriminatory and deceptive practices have created this crisis, and to pressure state and national governments for a comprehensive solution.

    Lessons from the past

    In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, an even bigger wave of foreclosures and evictions swept the country.

    People fought back. In the cities, when a family was evicted, neighbors gathered to help. They put the furniture back in the house, rigged the electric and gas meter, and defied the police if necessary. In rural areas, when the bank foreclosed on a farm that had been in a family for generations, neighbors would pack the auction and prevent anyone from bidding more than a penny for the land. The neighbor who bought the land for a penny would turn it back to the original owner.

    Those tactics might not work today — not in the same way. But we can still learn some lessons from them, especially using the following principles:

    • Solidarity. This is everybody’s problem.

    • Militancy — be bold and imaginative.

    • Organization is a must.

    • Grassroots action creates the climate that passes national legislation.

    Two numbers to call: (866) 490-5361 or (866) 672-2676

    Bush has destroyed al most everything except Condi.

  23. I heard Buchanan on a talk radio show the other morning and just caught a piece of what he was saying and was shocked when I found out it was Pat Buchanan because I was sitting in my car nodding in agreement to what he'd been saying. I'm sure if I read his whole book, however, there would be many things I don't agree with, per Larry's comments. But it should be an interesting show!

  24. Hi Mauigirl,

    I haven't read his book but he is on MSNBC throughout everyday and always spends most of the time bashing the Democrats.

    That gets more coverage than a few thousands neocons reading his book.

  25. Larry, buddy, you need to stop repressing your feelings and opinions about Pat Buchanan. Go ahead and let it out - tell us how you really feel :P

  26. Bernard B. Kerik, who was Mr. Giuliani’s police commissioner when some of the charges were billed, said in an interview yesterday that the security detail’s travel expenses would normally come out of the Police Department’s budget.
    “There would be no need for anyone to conceal his detail’s travel expenses,” said Mr. Kerik, who was indicted earlier this month on unrelated federal tax fraud and corruption charges. “And I think It’s ridiculous for anyone to suggest that the mayor or his staff attempted to do so.”

    What a character witness.

  27. Ok, here's the problem I have with the conspiracy theory regarding the strike. Comedy Central is owned by NBC, if I recall correctly. Leno is, of course, on NBC also.

    Do you honestly believe that the heads of ABC, CBS, FOX, and the movie studios would all go along with the idea of a prolonged shutdown - potentially losing millions upon millions of dollars - because of shows that dont even belong to them?

  28. Retailer Sears has seen quarterly profits tumble 99%, after poor sales at its Sears and Kmart outlets.
    The firm saw profits drop to $2m (£970,000), or 1 cent a share in the three months to 3 November from $196m or $1.27 a share, a year earlier.

    Sears sees more problems ahead, as the credit squeeze dampens consumer spending over the holidays but also said there were other issues at play.

    The firm's shares fell 13% to $16 - nearly half what they were in April.


    "Kmart and Sears have been in a downward spiral for the last two years," said Britt Beemer, founder of America's Research Group, which examines how consumers behave.

    "I think [they are] in a major free-fall.

    Analysts say the latest results raise questions about the direction of the firm, which was the result of a tie-up between Sears, Roebuck and Kmart in 2005.

    In a research note called "Death Spiral?", Gary Balter, an analyst with Credit Suisse, wrote there was "nothing good" to emerge from the results.

    It's the Bush economy.

  29. he biggest plunge in new home prices in 37 years was not enough to revive October sales, according to the government's latest reading on the battered housing and home building markets.

    The estimate for sales pace in October was well short of economists' forecasts. The Census Bureau's latest report also sharply cut back on its earlier estimates for sales in August and September, when a meltdown in mortgage markets kept many potential buyers from getting the financing they needed.

    The Bush Depression is on its way.

  30. Don Imus will be interviewed by Barbara Walters tonight.

  31. How long have I been warning about China's new military build up?

    For 2 years I've been screaming at the top of my lungs about the new Sino\Russo military alliance, and how China is in the middle of a MASSIVE build up of their military strength.

    Looks like the MSM finally caught up to ole Bartlebee.

    US, Japan eye China after ships barred

    By ERIC TALMADGE, Associated Press Writer
    Fri Nov 30, 4:47 AM ET

    But both Tokyo and Washington are deeply concerned about recent Chinese military activities, particularly its rapid improvements in missile technology, the modernization of its huge standing army and the expanding reach of its navy.

  32. Buchanan is a paleocon. Be that as it may, he saw a lot of things coming to pass..... that have come to pass. His voice should be heard.

  33. Bartlebee, we've been screaming about the rising China since we started.

    A lot of people were frightened by China's sub poking its heard into US naval exercises recently. I saw it as a landlord come to check on his property.

  34. MCH said...
    Ok, here's the problem I have with the conspiracy theory regarding the strike. Comedy Central is owned by NBC, if I recall correctly. Leno is, of course, on NBC also.

    Do you honestly believe that the heads of ABC, CBS, FOX, and the movie studios would all go along with the idea of a prolonged shutdown - potentially losing millions upon millions of dollars - because of shows that dont even belong to them?"

    unless Comedy central has recently been acquired by NBC and i am unaware of it, I believe it is still owned by Viacom.......Just FYI, I realize that has absolutely no bearing on your theory just thought i'd add that.

  35. BARTLEBEE said...
    How long have I been warning about China's new military build up?

    For 2 years I've been screaming at the top of my lungs about the new Sino\Russo military alliance, and how China is in the middle of a MASSIVE build up of their military strength.

    Looks like the MSM finally caught up to ole Bartlebee.

    US, Japan eye China after ships barred

    By ERIC TALMADGE, Associated Press Writer
    Fri Nov 30, 4:47 AM ET

    But both Tokyo and Washington are deeply concerned about recent Chinese military activities, particularly its rapid improvements in missile technology, the modernization of its huge standing army and the expanding reach of its navy."

    And this recent military buildup is ALL related to China's HUGE trade surplus and our Huge deficits and debt financed wars.................China has the money to build up their military just as we did 50-100 years ago because of a trade surplus and expanding manufacturing base, while Bush has squandered borrowed money we dont even have on an unwinnanle quagmire in the middle east.

    What happens if China, Japan, England etc.... stop loaning us money to buy oil and finance our wars..............then we can no longer buy oil and the war machine grinds to a halt and we are in serious danger all because of Bush's folly and pompous ignorance.

  36. Mary Ellen has some news you will be interested in. Just click on the link to go there.

  37. Buchanan and no one else seems to get the fact that Bush has created all the division on purpose and to further his plans. I look forward to hearing how it went!

  38. Pat Buchanan is a racist and a religious fanatic, but he's a maverick also. He has an empathy with working people and he's against the global empire ambitions of the neocons.

    Who Hijacked Our Country

  39. Mike said :unless Comedy central has recently been acquired by NBC and i am unaware of it, I believe it is still owned by Viacom.......Just FYI, I realize that has absolutely no bearing on your theory just thought i'd add that.

    It is incredibly possible I got confused between USA and Comedy Central ... I looked it up and you're right. CC is owned by Viacom. In which case it makes my point stronger -- why would the executives for the Big 3 risk millions in revenue simply to shut up Jon Stewart?

  40. Hollywood studios presented a new contract offer to striking film and TV writers Thursday that the studios said would pay writers millions of dollars extra for shows created for the Internet.

    But writers said some of the proposals amounted to rollbacks and said studios should adopt their counteroffer.

    The Writers Guild of America said it asked for a recess in the talks until Tuesday to consider its options, but it called on members to continue picketing Friday and Monday.

    The producers said the new offer, dubbed the "New Economic Partnership," included payments for work shown on the Internet, the key sticking points in the talks.

    "The entire value of the New Economic Partnership will deliver more than $130 million in additional compensation above and beyond the more than $1.3 billion writers already receive each year," the statement from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said.

    The $130 million sum was over the life of the proposed three-year deal, producers said. No further details of the terms were released in the first statement since both sides imposed a media blackout Monday.

    The guild countered with a lengthier response, saying the producers' proposal only dealt with advertising-supported programs streamed for free and jurisdiction over shows created for the Web "and it amounts to a massive rollback."

    The writers said their plan, presented Thursday, would cost producers $151 million over three years.

    "That's a little over a 3 percent increase in writer earnings each year, while company revenues are projected to grow at a rate of 10 percent," the statement said. "We are falling behind."

    The conflicting details and tone of the statements is confusing, said Jonathan Handel, an entertainment lawyer who served in the 1990s as an associate counsel for the writers guild.

    "None of this computes," Handel said. "It's very difficult to analyze this in any rigorous way."

    Handel noted that, on the surface, the two sides seems to be only about $20 million apart.

  41. Sen. Joe Biden, the loquacious long-shot Democratic presidential candidate, warned President Bush Thursday that he would move for impeachment if the president unilaterally authorized a military strike against Iran.

    "The President has no authority to unilaterally attack Iran and ... if he does, as foreign relations committee chairman and former chairman of judiciary, I will move to impeach him," Biden told a crowd of about 100 potential voters at a campaign stop in New Hampshire.

    Biden said he is meeting with constitutional law experts and plans to send Bush a legal memo formally outlining his warning, according to Seacoast Online, which reported his comments.

    The senior Delaware senator told the crowd that calls for Bush's immediate impeachment were valid but may not have enough constitutional support to make them viable. He added that Bush wasn't the only White House figure who deserves to be booted.

    "If you're going to impeach George Bush, you better impeach Cheney first," Biden said, garnering applause from the crowd.

    Why wait?

  42. Spending so far on Iraq would pay for 3.6 million four-year college educations

    President Bush’s request to Congress in October for an additional $45.9 billion for the war in Iraq has brought the total federal outlay since the war began to $196.4 billion. A Democratic report earlier this month estimated that the wars' total costs could be much higher -- as much as $3.5 trillion -- if "hidden" costs like the rising price of oil, veterans' healthcare and interest on borrowed money are included.

    George W Bush: Destroying education for America's youth.

  43. As of Friday, Nov. 30, 2007, at least 3,881 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes eight military civilians. At least 3,161 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

  44. Back before our splendid little war in Iraq erupted, Bob Dole created a major event in the history of political debate by trying to take down Walter Mondale during a vice-presidential candidate discussion in 1976. Mondale attempted to pin the legacy of Watergate on Dole, so Dole shot back a nasty quip about the legacy of "Democratic wars". He could point to his own injury sustained during the second world war, one of those many wars undertaken by Democrats. The comment seemed low to some, but it stuck and was used again. At least it was historically accurate. Simply align the major wars with their presidents: the first world war (Wilson), the second world war (Roosevelt), Korea (Truman) and Vietnam (LBJ). Democrats all.

    Until now of course. The Iraq war is America's first Republican war, wrapped in red state glow. And something about the way we do war has changed drastically. We can't assess the damage by simply focusing on military or strategic miscalculations in Iraq. We need to understand how conservatives have transformed the way that war relates to our country's domestic ideals as well as to the nation's image projected abroad. Now with a good four-year track record, the outlines of a Republican way of war can be delineated.

    Normally, wars prompt an examination of the inherent marriage between rights and responsibilities - a central balancing act in democratic political theory. After all, when you ask a young person to sacrifice life, you usually realise that you owe that young person something in return. And from there, you realise the general principle of social obligation. That's why, as the political scientist Theda Skocpol has shown, America's rather weak welfare state grew out of the civil war, from the benefits and pensions given to veterans and bereft mothers of fallen soldiers. To recognise the human catastrophe of war forced politicians and citizens to recognise and generalise civic bonds.

    The history of Democratic wars holds to this pattern. Woodrow Wilson merged progressive legislation with the war to "save democracy", creating, in the words of one historian, "high wages and improved working conditions" at home. The second world war saw the quintessential marriage of sacrifice and rights. Few will forget FDR's support for the GI bill and his famous call for a "second bill of rights" that would provide "a new basis of security and prosperity for all." Some probably remember Truman's fight for national health insurance (albeit a failure) and civil rights for African-Americans, alongside his commitment to contain communism in Korea. And who could forget LBJ's twinning up Vietnam with his Great Society programmes? No matter what one thinks of the justice of those wars - and there's plenty of room to disagree - they all sought balance between rights and responsibilities to fellow citizens.

    But now this: The Iraq war is the first bereft of public obligation. As many have pointed out before in their critiques of how this war has been waged, it has not gone poorly just because of practical mismanagement but because of the ideological assumptions that led us into it in the first place. It would be a quick and easy war, we were told, because Americans would be greeted as liberators, flowers placed in our guns and all that. There's a domestic analogue to this rosy view of world affairs. For this war has been the first war to be twinned up with an ideology that denies our obligations toward one another, an ideology equally astounding in its naïvete.

    Just step back and consider some of the major events that historians will discuss years from now. The war's major headline could easily read: "Bush trumpets the war while slashing taxes at home." The ideological message behind the Republican way of war is captured above all in rushing ahead to renew tax cuts. Message: sacrifice from the soldiers, yes, but no one else. Or think of the scandals at Walter Reed Army Medical Centre. They cannot be laid directly at Bush's doorstep, but the atmosphere that denigrates obligations to those who have sacrificed certainly can. After all, this is a war fought alongside an attack against social security - both as programme and ideal. Or consider the recent scandal over the private military contractor Blackwater, now found guilty of misconduct by the FBI. This is really a scandal about the conservative principle of privatisation and its resulting lack of accountability, that is, the logical consequence of an ideological principle put into practice. And, finally, as we hear the growing roll call of dying soldiers, we can't help recognise that this war has weighed most heavily on our poorest citizens.

    All of these things add up to one overriding principle: we seem willing to ask for military sacrifice without balancing it with other forms of sacrifice. That's because public obligation isn't a part of the conservative worldview. And it's not just that President Bush was born rich and didn't serve in any war himself. It's that he doesn't believe government has any right to ask anything of citizens besides military service - period. That's his party's political thought in a nutshell. This was the president, after all, who encouraged Americans to go shopping after 9/11 in order to show resolve to the terrorists, as if private acts of self-indulgence nurture civic strength. When I tell my students today about "meatless" and "wheatless" days during previous wars or how my mom used to crush cans in her backyard during the second world war, they look at me nervously. When I ask them what they've done to help out in our present war, they scratch their heads.

    Let's go one step further: The Iraq war's damage is intentionally hidden. The White House made it clear from the get-go that coffins were never to be photographed or filmed coming off the planes. And when Bush talked about the horrors of war during the presidential debates of 2004, he sounded annoyed and flustered, blurting out that he too saw the bad news on television. Bush's brusqueness is more than a character flaw. It possesses its own political and intellectual history. Conservative intellectuals (neo and otherwise) spent a long time arguing against the Vietnam legacy. They concluded that toughness of will - what we lost sometime during the tumultuous decade of the 1960s - is the necessary element for American military victory in the future. Full-throated resolve rather than recognition of war's sacrifice and costs will get us through. This, like privatisation and denial of public obligation, is a central tenet in the new Republican way of war.

    Which gets to the image we project abroad during war, one that flows from the views of our political leaders. American propaganda was at its best when it was forthright about America's strength and weaknesses at the same time. Perhaps the most successful propaganda project was the CIA-funded Congress for Cultural Freedom, a group of intellectuals and artists who tried to trumpet the American way of life abroad during the cold war. The participants admitted that America's popular culture could be coarse and ugly, but they pointed to the country's rich tradition of literature and artistic expression as well as its democratic ideals of individual freedom. They recognised that injustices - especially those toward African-Americans - needed to be corrected if America was to trumpet the cause of democracy abroad. Their vision of national greatness was one of humility as much as pride.

    Now, while words like "liberty" and "freedom" roll off Bush's lips with ease, they sound hollow. That's because they are wrapped in the ideological confusions of the right. If America is great and resolve and will are what can carry us through the war, our self-image sheds any sense of humility or openness. Why bother explaining what you stand for when what you stand for is so incredibly self-evident and obvious? This explains why Karen Hughes's attempts at public diplomacy have fallen flat on their face and why she recently resigned from the state department. When she went on her famous "listening tour" throughout the Middle East and talked up the "important role that faith plays in Americans' lives" and touted the virtues of her boss, there was little surprise her words bounced into an empty echo chamber. Assuredness about virtue is no recipe for public diplomacy.

    In the end, we are witnessing the failure not just of the war's execution abroad but also of how the war has married itself to a conservative philosophy at home. War used to provoke a sense of tragedy and guilt on the part of leaders who were asking young people to sacrifice their lives, no matter how just the cause. That's no longer the case. The Republican way of war prevents us from trying to make war less brutal than it naturally is. It reminds me of Thomas Hobbes's famous analogy between life in the state of war and in the state of nature; both were "nasty and brutish" but also, necessarily, "short".

    This war is nasty and brutish but, unfortunately, not short. It asks too much and gives back too little. It is a war made on the cheap without recognition of its damage. It balances itself on the backs of the poorest members of our community and doesn't pay them back. The Republican way of war makes the natural horror of war that much more horrible.

  45. It's the day after Thanksgiving at Aventura Mall, north of Miami, and David Weinberg is worrying about the economy. "People are underestimating the downturn in the housing market in Florida and are spending based on home equity," says the accountant from nearby Pembroke Pines, Fla. "We have not seen the worst of it yet." In light of these looming troubles, Weinberg, at the mall with his wife and two young kids, says he'd like to rein in spending this holiday season. "But," he adds, "I'm not always in control."

    Meet the American consumer of late 2007. Sure, he's worried. Apart from a brief blip after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the University of Michigan's much watched Index of Consumer Sentiment hasn't been this low since 1992. But buying stuff is what we Americans do. The last outright decline in consumer spending came in 1991, and that was shallow and short-lived. Most indications are that this year's Christmas shopping season will be, if not exactly a blowout, better than the last one.

    Short-term retail optimism brings no cheer, though, to the economy's wise men, who talk mainly of an imminent downturn. "The odds now favor a U.S. recession," writes former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers in a newspaper column. "I'd put the number at about a 75% chance," says investing guru Jack Bogle on TV. "We are becoming more certain that the recession is either here or no more than two quarters away," warns Merrill Lynch economist David Rosenberg in a note to clients.

    Talk is cheap, and economists and laymen alike have a strikingly poor record of predicting recessions. But there are good reasons to be concerned that the economy is weakening. They involve struggling banks, the collapsing housing market, the volatile stock market, oil prices, the weak dollar and lots of nervous investors in far-off lands. All of which relate back to the financial condition of the people swarming the nation's malls.

    Since the early 1980s, with the exception of that brief downturn during the recession of 1990-91, consumer spending in the U.S. has risen every quarter. Over that period, our pocketbooks have come to commandeer an ever greater portion of the economy, from 62% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 1981 to 70% now. Spending by U.S. consumers accounts for 19% of global economic activity.

    This activity has been increasingly fueled by debt. In 1983 household debt equaled 55% of income in the U.S.; now it's above 114% (and above 136% of after-tax disposable income). The middle class--households earning roughly between $20,000 and $100,000 annually--had a debt-to-income ratio of 141% in 2004, according to New York University (NYU) economist Edward Wolff. And he figures it's even higher today. In the third quarter of 2005, the national savings rate (personal income minus spending) went negative for the first time since the Great Depression, and it has bounced back only slightly since.

    It's not necessarily a bad thing to borrow money, and it's hard to say what the right debt ratio or savings rate might be. But Americans can't keep running up bigger and bigger debts forever. At some point we have to pay them back or default.

    Worrywarts have been saying such things since the mid-1980s without much to show for it. But something changed after 2001, when what had been a long and in retrospect moderate rise in indebtedness exploded into a spectacular binge in mortgage and home-equity lending. It started with super-low interest rates that kept consumer spending rising even as the tech boom of the late 1990s collapsed. But before long, the mortgage boom took on a life of its own, with ever bigger and weirder loans handed out to people who would be able to pay them back only if they won the lottery or the price of their house kept rising.

    Hyman Minsky, an academic economist who died in relative obscurity in 1996 but is now the talk of Wall Street, had a colorful phrase to describe such people: "Ponzi borrowers," he called them, after the early 20th century pyramid-scheme perpetrator Charles Ponzi. Minsky argued that once banks got so sloppy that they handed out Ponzi loans, a financial crisis was inevitable.

    Sure enough, house prices stopped rising in 2006, and now banks and brokerages are taking huge write-downs tied to the mortgage-backed instruments that kept the Ponzi-loan machine oiled. Economists are furiously debating whether we're on the brink of a full-fledged "Minsky moment," in which lending shrinks sharply across the board. Nouriel Roubini, an NYU economist and a widely read forecaster, got a lot of attention in November by professing to see risk of "generalized meltdown of the financial system of a severity and magnitude like we have never observed before." That sounds bad. But even if the damage is restricted to U.S. mortgage markets, a $2 trillion reduction in the supply of loans could still result, estimates Goldman Sachs economist Jan Hatzius.

    That's about 14% of GDP, more than enough to bring on a recession--semiofficially defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research as "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months." Will it, though? The equation must factor in global demand for U.S. exports, the path of the dollar, the price of oil and other influences that make it more or less impossible to solve. What seems clear is that the borrow-and-spend era has come to an end, or at the very least a prolonged pause.

    The Bush Recession will be fealt like no recession before it. Get ready.

  46. The number of new people signing up for jobless benefits last week jumped sharply, suggesting that the labor market is softening as national economic activity slows.

    The Labor Department reported Thursday that new applications filed for unemployment insurance rose by a seasonally adjusted 23,000 to 352,000. It was the highest level since Feb. 10.

    It's still the Bush economy!

  47. Ann Coulter is many things — author, pundit, speaker, provocateur — but “diplomatic” is not one of them.

    Yet she told a crowd gathered at the National Press Club for the National Journalism Center’s 30th anniversary that she deserves to have a job in which finesse is essential: White House press secretary. Coulter said that she would take the job for the last six months of the Bush administration. Of course, that’d be perfect timing: The final six months of any president’s second term is lame-duck time, when there’s little pressure to perform.

    Or perhaps Coulter is simply tiring of her current occupation — writing books and op-eds — which she said “isn’t really a job.”

    Hmmm. ... Coulter as press secretary. … What does the current occupant of the White House podium think about that? “I’m sure she would find it to be a fascinating experience,” said White House Press Secretary Dana Perino.

    Following her speech, Coulter didn’t stray far from the Press Club, heading to Shelly’s Backroom to unwind — a suitably politically incorrect venue (it’s one of the few bars in the city where smoking is still permitted)

    Don't we see this witch enough now?

  48. The New York Times had a news article about Venezuela in Thursday's edition, but it was about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez saying he would cut diplomatic ties with neighboring Colombia. There wasn't a word about a memo from a CIA operative in Caracas to CIA Director General Michael Hayden, uncovered yesterday, outlining a plan for interfering with a Venezuelan referendum set for Dec. 2, and laying out the steps for instigating and backing a coup.

    The plot, called "Operation Pliers," and laid out in the letter to Hayden by an undercover operative named Michael Steele, who reportedly works in the U.S. Embassy as a "regional affairs officer," was intercepted by Venezuelan intelligence and released publicly on state TV yesterday.

    In the Nov. 20 letter, Steele refers to an $8 million U.S.-funded in-country propaganda campaign against Chavez and the referendum, already being implemented, designed to institutionalize many of Chavez's socialist reforms and to permit him to continue to run for president beyond his current two-term limit.

    Bush must need more oil for Exxon before he flees office.

  49. In 2005 the United States consumed roughly 21 million barrels of oil daily compared to the global daily consumption of about 84 million barrels. Contrast these numbers with the 2002 daily statistics of 19 and 75 million barrels respectively. From 2002 to 2005 the United States oil production dropped from 8.1 to 5.1 million barrels per day, a production decrease of roughly 3 million barrels per day! Although we have approximately 20 billion barrels left under our feet this oil is of a lesser grade and much harder to pump thus driving the cost per barrel higher. Where does the rest of this oil come from and what will happen when that supply is no longer available.

    Oil production peaked in the United States in 1970. This means from that point it cost more and more to pump oil with diminishing returns. The oil that is left in the ground is harder to reach and of a lesser grade. Additionally new reserves are not being found because they do not exist. This has forced the United States to import the majority of its oil.

    In 2002 oil cost roughly twenty five dollars a barrel. Estimates show that the global production of oil peaked somewhere between 2005 and 2007. Current prices around one hundred dollars a barrel certainly bare this out. Not only has production peaked but global consumption is skyrocketing with the emergence of a strong middle class in India and China.

    The invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction. Additionally, Iraq was not invaded to guarantee the American people an uninterrupted supply of high quality oil. The invasion and subsequent occupation were conducted to secure the last stock of cheap oil for corporate interests. Due to unending war and frugality on Saddam Hussein part Iraq’s oil production is not set to peak until 2020 this means they have very cheap oil. Saudi Arabia and Iran’s oil production have both peaked in 2007 and 1998 respectively. Iran is running out of cheap oil this is why they are a threat to stability in Iraq. They are loosing their one resource and are just as desperate as the United States to secure an uninterrupted cheap oil supply. The companies that control the cheap oil will control the world. The United States armed forces will be protecting corporate interests in Iraq until the last drop of cheap oil is removed from the ground. It does not matter which party controls the White House our troops are there to stay.

    The United States lives on oil. Every product you consume every trip you take requires oil. Anything plastic takes oil to make, all food produced in this country requires tractors and transportation that run on gasoline or diesel, both oil derivative. As the cost per barrel continues to climb what will happen to the cost of oil dependent products? Sixty eight percent of the oil consumed in the United States is for transportation. $100 a barrel oil will translate into roughly four to five dollar a gallon gas. It is estimated that $200 a barrel oil will bring eight to ten dollar a gallon gas. That’s $160 to $200 to fill up the twenty gallon tank on your SUV!

    These escalating prices will not come down. It is taking more and more money to pump the oil out of the ground and as long as there is a demand these costs will be pushed onto the end consumer. Very few people in the United States can afford a mortgage payment equivalent in gas every month. The urban sprawl that we have created is not conducive to walking; very few subdivisions even have sidewalks. What is going to happen when the majority of Americans can not afford to drive to work let alone the grocery store? Will they sit quietly while they try to decide between the children getting feed or driving to work? They won’t sit quietly and the government knows it.

    Population Control

    The War on Terror is a front for placing surveillance and police control mechanisms in America. Billions have been funneled into local police departments to beef up intelligence gathering and detainment facilities. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) maintains in-depth records on every American including purchases, travel and web activities. DHS monitors all communications through involvement with telecommunications companies and maintains a national privatized police force through contracts with mercenary groups like Blackwater USA. These private mercenaries can be called upon any time the local officials fail to carry out government orders.

    DHS routinely conducts mass arrests in coordination with local police department. These are conducted under the name Operation Falcon and are dress rehearsal for future crackdowns on potential enemies of the state. The three Operation Falcon exercises conducted in April 2005, April 2006 and October 2006 netted 30,110 fugitives. Why does the DHS need to practice coordinated mass arrests and detentions. Who provides the detainees names? Is this the ultimate goal of the Terror Watch Lists which as of this writing contains 750,000 American names? If this is truly a foreign terrorist threat why so many American citizens.

    It is interesting that the bulk of the money spent on deterring terrorists in the United States is directed towards surveillance and tracking of American citizens. If DHS was truly interested in foreign terrorists then they would secure the boarders and inspect the tons of cargo coming into our ports. A person with a vial of small pox could walk across our northern or southern boards at any time. A large nuclear device could easily be smuggled into an American city in a cargo shipping container from anywhere in the world. Why not invest these billions on a border fence or border surveillance system. Perhaps hire inspectors to investigate the millions of cargo containers coming into the country.

    Clearly there is no foreign terrorist threat. The real threat comes from a displaced and unhappy population of American citizens, forced onto the streets by a lack of jobs, foreclosures and runaway gas prices. Up to this point in American history the government has never needed to track their own citizens. What has changed?

    Controlled Economic Collapse

    The United States is in a controlled economic collapse. For a global economy to work the playing field must be equal. Regions must compete with each other for the small amount of wealth shared by the corporate elite. Profits can only be maximized if this competition takes place. This cannot happen in a country with a strong wealthy middle class. The middle class in the United States is disappearing and the dollar is being devalued and eliminated so a more profitable North American Union can be established on the ruins of this once great empire. The wealth has been reallocated from this county to other nations and global corporations through trade deficits and government contracts. The American way of life must be destroyed for Globalization to work and for the United States to transition to a post oil economy.

    Nice paying jobs in the technology and manufacturing fields are outsourced to countries with slave labor. This has destroyed the middle class in America. The service industry is replacing the higher end jobs at a salary of roughly one quarter. This was temporarily offset by the artificially inflated housing market; a well laid trap many Americans are now caught in. Hundreds of thousands of jobs were created in the real estate, construction and banking markets. These jobs helped slow the economic decline while control mechanism were established.

    It also stuck home owners with mortgages considerably larger than the value of their home essentially tying them to their property. If they loose their jobs in this environment it is game over for the family; they will be on the street or squatting in their repossessed home.

    You will be cold and trapped in your five thousand square foot McMansion trying to convert your decorative natural gas fireplace into something that will burn your $4000 oak dining room table for heat. The children are hungry; apparently that card board soaked in the last of the Wesson oil was not very filling. And you are dreading tomorrows ten mile hike through the snow to stand in the ration line at the local Salvation Army shelter.

    Rather than helping the citizens of the country with direct support the congress will pass a Debt Relief Act. This bill will “protect” your family and home by allowing you to work off your debt as a laborer bound to the lending institution. Rather than starve, most will accept this “compassionate” option. Corporate profits skyrocket and the people become a commodity as the Globalists had envisioned. The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005, for all practical purposes, has already established this. You can only declare bankruptcy if you are below the median income level. If everyone is jobless and broke then no one qualifies for bankruptcy and you are forced to repay under a court order. The banks and corporate elite saw the end coming and have been planning for their continued profitable existence for many years.

    In the very near future our farms and remaining oil infrastructure will be maintained with debt laborers. Your debts will not be erased with the collapse of our society, this is where that immaculate record keeping and tracking systems come in. Debt labor will be traded like oil is traded today. A corporate farm in Kansas needs 6000 workers to bring in the wheat crop. They call the Bank of America debt laborer department and arrange to have the indentured workers brought in on a train. For your work on the farm Bank of America credits your small earnings, less a processing fee of course, against the owed debt. The debt labor program allows your family to stay in the five thousand square foot McMansion you purchased plus a small food stipend redeemable at Wal-Mart. Fuel can be diverted from farming to policing and war efforts.

    Trouble makers, perceived trouble makers, free thinkers and those who refuse to work will be labeled as radicals; rounded up and relocated to detention facilities. These detention camps are already built and ready to receive laborers.

    As far as the cities go marshal law will be established with the flipping of a switch. The government will simply shut down the Visa network and close the gas pumps. They can then round up the radicals at their leisure. Private security personal, desensitized during their training in the carnage of Baghdad, will have no trouble shooting looters or anyone out after curfew. The citizens, after hearing of the roundups and killings, will quietly settle into their new way of life.

  50. MCH said...
    Ok, here's the problem I have with the conspiracy theory regarding the strike. Comedy Central is owned by NBC, if I recall correctly. Leno is, of course, on NBC also.

    Do you honestly believe that the heads of ABC, CBS, FOX, and the movie studios would all go along with the idea of a prolonged shutdown - potentially losing millions upon millions of dollars - because of shows that dont even belong to them

    First they all bash Bush. Conan Obrien, Jay Leno, David Letterman, the Simpsons.... shall I go on?

    Second, you are painting a wide sweeping portrait of a conspiracy that I never painted.

    I suggested a much more subtle series of events, and very few participants. Only a handfull of people were in that meeting with the writers guild reps. And only a hanful of those needed to be comprimised.

  51. Actors, writers, and politicians gathered this afternoon in Washington Square Park to rally in support of the WGA strike — and HuffPo's Patrick Waldo was there to capture every moment on video, and then edit out the boring parts without celebrities just for you. Strike stalwarts such as 30 Rock's Tina Fey and Jack McBrayer, SNL's Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers, plus Sex and the City's Kristin Davis, The Office's Rashida Jones, The Player's Tim Robbins, The Color Purple's Danny Glover and Michael Emerson, aka the Creepy Guy from Lost. rallied in support of the writers, Oh, and special guest star John Edwards! "

    This is all about fairness, it's about opportunity, it's about making sure those who create the work that generates revenue actually gets to share in that revenue," said Edwards. "We have to show that we're gonna have economic fairness and economic justice in America again, and I promise you this: When I'm President of the United States, there will be economic fairness in the United States of America again!" Strike rally, campaign rally, whatever.

    In addition to signs literally proclaiming "solidarity" according to Patrick the event was a study in same, with strikers, celebrities and hangers-on all remaining after the speeches, "chatting it up with the smallest of press members (including me with my Canon Hand Held)." Writers from The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, SNL, and Late Night With Conan O'Brien were all in attendance, plus Jordan Carlos (aka Stephen Colbert's black friend), apparently filing a video report. Comedian Richard Belzer was there with big-fish Sopranos mastermind (and writer's writer) David Chase, near his longtime cast member and now recent 30 Rock guest star Edie Falco. Nearby, ER's Anthony Edwards and Julianna Margulies joined Glover and Robbins, both of whom also spoke, behind SAG NY President Sam Freed.

  52. You may have heard rumors that the strike by the Writers Guild of America might be edging towards resolution because the big media companies had made "ground breaking" proposals. Nonsense. Here's the real story.
    The presidents of Writers Guild of America West and East released a message to its members about the real status of the negotiations. Here is most of it:

    Among the rumors was the assertion that the AMPTP had a groundbreaking proposal that would make this negotiation a "done deal." In fact, for the first three days of this week, the companies presented in essence their November 4 package with not an iota of movement on any of the issues that matter to writers.

    Thursday morning, the first new proposal was finally presented to us. It dealt only with streaming and made-for-Internet jurisdiction, and it amounts to a massive rollback.

    For streaming television episodes, the companies proposed a residual structure of a single fixed payment of less than $250 for a year's reuse of an hour-long program (compared to over $20,000 payable for a network rerun). For theatrical product they are offering no residuals whatsoever for streaming.

    For made-for-Internet material, they offered minimums that would allow a studio to produce up to a 15-minute episode of network-derived web content for a script fee of $1300. They continued to refuse to grant jurisdiction over original content for the Internet.

    In their new proposal, they made absolutely no move on the download formula (which they propose to pay at the DVD rate), and continue to assert that they can deem any reuse "promotional," and pay no residual (even if they replay the entire film or TV episode and even if they make money).

    The AMPTP says it will have additional proposals to make but, as of Thursday evening, they have not been presented to us. We are scheduled to meet with them again on Tuesday.

    In the meantime, we felt it was essential to update you accurately on where negotiations stand. On Wednesday we presented a comprehensive economic justification for our proposals. Our entire package would cost this industry $151 million over three years. That's a little over a 3% increase in writer earnings each year, while company revenues are projected to grow at a rate of 10%. We are falling behind.

    For Sony, this entire deal would cost $1.68 million per year. For Disney $6.25 million. Paramount and CBS would each pay about $4.66 million, Warner about $11.2 million, Fox $6.04 million, and NBC/Universal $7.44 million. MGM would pay $320,000 and the entire universe of remaining companies would assume the remainder of about $8.3 million per year. As we've stated repeatedly, our proposals are more than reasonable and the companies have no excuse for denying it.

    The AMPTP's intractability is dispiriting news but it must also be motivating. Any movement on the part of these multinational conglomerates has been the result of the collective action of our membership, with the support of SAG, other unions, supportive politicians, and the general public. We must fight on, returning to the lines on Monday in force to make it clear that we will not back down, that we will not accept a bad deal, and that we are all in this together.

    In Solidarity,

    Michael Winship
    Writers Guild of America, East

    Patric M. Verrone
    Writers Guild of America, West

  53. Lydia if you want a suggestion for a future guest on your program, you might think about Scott Ritter;

    Bombs away?

    Arms expert Scott Ritter says the U.S. plans to attack Iran. MT asks why he's so sure.

    It seems that with each passing week there are more stories raising the specter of George Bush turning Iraq and Afghanistan into a bloody trifecta by attacking Iran.

    In mainstream daily papers we see pieces like one by Gannett's John Yaukey, who wrote in early November that "confrontation could be near" because "Iran continues to taunt the United States with its aggressive posturing in Iraq and Lebanon while pushing ahead with its nuclear research ..."

    We are also witnessing what appears to be a chilling rerun of the Iraq debacle. Confronted with evidence that calls into question the status of Iran's nuclear program, the Bush administration is shifting its rhetoric.

    "The Bush administration has charged that Iran is funding anti-American fighters in Iraq and sending in sophisticated explosives to bleed the U.S. mission, although some of the administration's charges are disputed by Iraqis as well as the Iranians," the Los Angeles Times reported in October. "Still, ... diplomatic and military officials say they fear that the overreaching of a confident Iran, combined with growing U.S. frustrations, could set off a dangerous collision."

    Look beyond daily papers — from Seymour Hersh's reporting in The New Yorker to articles in The Nation — and the picture emerges of an administration that is determined to attack Iran.

    John H. Richardson's "The Secret History of the Impending War With Iran That the White House Doesn't Want You to Know" in the November issue of Esquire magazine is particularly eye-opening. Richardson, using two former high-ranking Middle East experts who worked for the White House as his primary sources, warns that the Bush administration is "headed straight for war with Iran" and that "it had been set on this course for years."

    "It was just like Iraq, when the White House was so eager for war it couldn't wait for the UN inspectors to leave," writes Richardson, who details the Bush administration's success at scuttling diplomatic efforts — notably involving then-Secretary of State Colin Powell — to reach a peaceful accord with Iran. "The steps have been many and steady and all in the same direction. And now things are getting much worse. We are getting closer and closer to the tripline. ..."

    With all this in mind, we decided to talk with the man who literally wrote the book on Bush's intentions. Nearly a year ago, Scott Ritter's Target Iran was published, and he's been sounding the claxon of impending war ever since.

    A former Marine Corps intelligence officer, Ritter served as chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998 when he left as a pointed critic of the Clinton administration's commitment to weapons inspection and its Iraq policy. Before the United States' 2003 invasion, Ritter loudly disputed the Bush administration's claims regarding weapons of mass destruction under Saddam's control and predicted that, instead of the quick and easy war being promised, Iraq would turn into a quagmire, though not necessarily of the type he envisioned. His analyses have been embraced by both the right and the left at various points. He portrays himself as the straight-shooting analyst unconcerned by who supports him or whom he offends.

    To learn what he thinks the future holds for Iran, and the consequences of a U.S. invasion, we recently sat down for a 90-minute phone interview with Ritter. What follows is a condensed version of that conversation.

    Metro Times: A year ago, when your book Target Iran came out, you were sounding the alarm about war being imminent. Why do you think that attack hasn't occurred?

    Scott Ritter: Let's remember that this is an elective war, not a war of necessity. A war of necessity would be fought at the point and time a conflict is required, if somebody is threatening to invade you, to attack, etc. But an elective war is one where we choose to go to war. It will be conducted on a timescale that's beneficial to those who are planning the conflict.

    As far as why it hasn't happened, there's any number of reasons. One, the Bush administration has not been able to stabilize Iraq to the level they would like to see prior to expanding military operations in the region. Two, the international community has not rallied around the cause of Iran's nuclear program representing a casus belli to the extent that the Bush administration would like. They were hopeful that there would be more action from the [United Nations] Security Council. It took a long time to get the issue shifted from the International Atomic Energy Agency's headquarters to the Security Council. And even when it got shifted to the Security Council, the Council took very timid steps, not decisive steps. The Bush administration sort of tied its hands at that point in time. I think you are seeing increasing frustration today at the slow pace.

    Also, the need to redefine the Iranian threat away from exclusively being focused on nuclear activity, because now you have the difficulty of both the IAEA saying there is no nuclear weapons program and the CIA saying pretty much the same thing. So the Bush administration needs to redefine the Iranian threat, which they have been doing successfully, casting Iran as the largest state sponsor of terror, getting the Senate resolution calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command a terrorist organization, and creating a perception amongst the American people, courtesy of a compliant media, that talks about the reason why things are going bad in Iraq is primarily because of Iranian intervention.

    They have been working very hard to get back on track. I still believe that we are seeing convergence here. The Bush administration is moving very aggressively toward military action with Iran.

    MT: Is your conclusion that an attack is imminent based on the administration's statements and actions, like labeling Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group, or do you also have sources within the intelligence community and the military and the administration telling you what's going on?

    Ritter: I don't have any current sources of the sort you just spoke of. I was plugged in back in 2006 to good quality current information. But I haven't been plugged in recently, so I have to use some sort of analytical methodology as opposed to saying, "Aha, I got it from the horse's mouth." But there's nothing that has occurred that leads me to believe the Bush administration has changed its policy direction. In fact there has been much that's occurred that reinforces the earlier conclusions that were based on good sources of information. We take a look at items in the defense budget, the rapid conversion of heavy bombers to carry bunker-busting bombs on a specific time frame, the massive purchasing of oil to fill up the strategic oil reserve by April 2008. Everything points to April 2008 to being a month of some criticality. It also matches my analysis that the Bush administration will want to carry this out prior to the crazy political season of the summer of 2008.

    MT: Last year you expressed hope that if Democrats took control of Congress it might pass legislation that could block the march toward war. Do you see them stepping up?

    Ritter: No. They just passed a resolution declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command as a terrorist organization. Unless there is a radical reawakening in Congress, I don't see them passing any sort of pre-emptive legislation of that nature.

    MT: But it is now clearer than ever that our invasion of Iraq has been a disaster. How do you explain the lack of opposition?

    Ritter: It's difficult to explain. First of all you have to note, from the public side, that very few Americans actually function as citizens anymore. What I mean by that are people who invest themselves in this country, people who care, who give a damn. Americans are primarily consumers today, and so long as they continue to wrap themselves in the cocoon of comfort, and the system keeps them walking down a road to the perceived path of prosperity, they don't want to rock the boat. If it doesn't have a direct impact on their day-to-day existence, they simply don't care.

    There's a minority of people who do, but the majority of Americans don't. And if the people don't care — and remember, the people are the constituents — if the constituents don't care, then those they elect to higher office won't feel the pressure to change.

    The Democrats, one would hope, would live up to their rhetoric, that is, challenging the Bush administration's imperial aspirations. Once it became clear Iraq was an unmitigated disaster, one would have thought that when the Democrats took control of Congress they would have sought to reimpose a system of checks and balances, as the Constitution mandates. But instead the Democrats have put their focus solely on recapturing the White House, and, in doing so, will not do anything that creates a political window of opportunity for their Republican opponents.

    The Democrats don't want to be explaining to an apathetic constituency, an ignorant constituency whose ignorance is prone to be exploited because it produces fear, fear of the unknown, and the global war on terror is the ultimate fear button. The Democrats, rather than challenging the Bush administration's position on the global war on terror, challenging the notion of these imminent threats, continues to play them up because that is the safest route toward the White House. At least that is their perception.

    The last thing they are gong to do is pass a piece of legislation that opens the door for the Republicans to say, "Look how weak these guys are on terror. They're actually defending the Iranians. They're defending this Ahmadinejad guy. They're defending the Holocaust denier. They're defending the guy who wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth." The Democrats don't want to go up against that. They don't have the courage of conviction to enter into that debate and stare at whoever makes that statement and say they're a bald-faced liar. They're not going to go that route.

    MT: Do you think there is anything that can happen at this point that will stop this attack?

    Ritter: You have to take a look at external influences, not internal ones. I don't think there is anything happening inside the United States that's going to stop that attack. I do believe that, for instance, if Pakistan continues to melt down, that could be something that creates such a significant diversion the Bush administration will not be able to make its move on Iran.

    To attack Iran, they're going to need a nice lull period. That's what they're pushing with this whole surge right now. They're creating the perception that things are quieting. I don't know how many people picked up on it, but one day we're told that 2007's been the bloodiest year for U.S. forces in Iraq, the next day we're told that attacks against American troops are dropping at a dramatic pace. So, what's the media focus on? The concept of attacks dropping at a dramatic pace. No one's talking about the fact, wait a minute, we've just lost more guys than we've ever lost before.

    They are pushing the perception that Iraq is now stable. If you have a situation in Pakistan that explodes out of control, where you suddenly have nuclear weapons at risk of falling into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists, that could stop it. If Turkey attacks Kurdistan and that conflict spins out of control, that could put a halt to it. These are things that could overshadow even Dick Cheney's desire to bomb Iran.

    And there could be some other unforeseen meltdown globally that's not on the radar at this time, that, unfortunately, we have to be hoping for to stop an attack on Iran. And that says a lot, that we have to hope for disaster to prevent unmitigated disaster.

    MT: What's the motivation?

    Ritter: The ideologues who are in there believe the United States in the post-Cold War environment needed to fill the gap created by the demise of the Soviet Union so that no nation or group of nations would ever again confront us as equals. And in order to do this, they basically divided the world into spheres of strategic interest and said we will impose our will. And the Middle East is one such area. There's a whole host of reasons to do this.

    It's not just supporting Israel. It's not just taking down Saddam. It's about geopolitics. It's about looking down the road toward China and India, the world's two largest developing economies, especially the Chinese, and the absolute fear that this resurgent Chinese economy brings in the hearts of American industrialists and the need to dictate the pace of Chinese economic development by controlling their access to energy. And controlling central Asian and Middle East energy areas is key in the strategic thinking of the Bush administration.

    So, there's a lot of complexity at play here. But you say why do they want to do this? It's about as Condoleezza Rice continuously says before the U.S. Congress: It's about regional transformation, inclusive of regime change. It turns the Middle East into a sphere of interest that we have tremendous control over. That's what's behind all this.

    MT: And when Bush talks about being an instrument of God, do you think he really believes that or is that just political posturing, playing to the religious base?

    Ritter: That's a question that can only be asked of George Bush. But I find it disturbing that an American politician who is supposed to be the head of a secular nation where religion is protected but there is no state religion, and who has control over the world's largest nuclear arsenal, not only openly talks about how God is his final adviser, which pretty much negates the role of Congress or any other system of governmental oversight, checks and balances of the executive, but also embraces a kind of evangelicalism that gives legitimacy to the notion of the rapture, Armageddon, the apocalypse as a good thing.

    Here's a man who speaks of World War III and the apocalypse and he has his hand on the button and he talks to God. I don't know, if it's a show, its a dangerous show, if its real, we should all be scared to death.

    MT: Even going back to before the start of the Iraq war, the national mainstream media just seemed to be beating the drum for it. Why do you think that is?

    Ritter: Again, only they can really answer that question, but I think it is clear the mainstream media, while not outright fabricators, are not there to tell the truth, they're there to win over ratings. They will package their programming in ways that sells well to an audience. And we are dealing with a complacent American audience, where in-depth reality stories are trumped by reality TV. I don't see the programming director saying, "Look, we're going to spend an hour explaining to the American people why Ahmadinejad's speech wasn't that big of a deal." Or they can say, "Hell, no; in three minutes we can lead with a story saying he's a Holocaust denier and win everybody's attention."

    MT: Do you think the resolutions in 2001 and 2002 authorizing Bush to use military force against Iraq give Bush the authority to attack Iran without first obtaining congressional approval?

    Ritter: I'd like to believe it didn't, but unfortunately when you take a look at it, and I've had constitutional scholars take a look at it, the feeling is that, yeah, because of the terrorist threat, if you take a look at the fine print on both of those resolutions, it gives the president authorization to use military force to take out groups, organizations, individuals, etc. who are linked to the events of 9/11. And the president has continued to make the case that Iran is linked to the attacks.

    MT: Do you think an attack on Iran would be an illegal war of aggression and a war crime under international law?

    Ritter: It depends on what triggers it. If Iran engages in an action that legitimizes a military response, the answer is no.

    There are two conditions that we are legally allowed to engage in military operations. Militaries are bound by the charter of the United Nations' Article 51, legitimate self-defense, and a Chapter 7 resolution passed by the Security Council authorizing military force to be used. If we attack Iran void of any of these, especially when it can be shown that we have hyped up a threat in defense of pre-emption — I think the Nuremberg Tribunals from 1946 have set a clear precedent with Judge Jackson condemning German generals to death for invading Denmark and Norway in the same premise of pre-emption. It is quite clear this is illegal. Unfortunately the Nuremburg Tribunals don't have any weight when it comes to prosecution of the law.

    The international community has not agreed upon a definition of what pre-emptive aggression is, and what the consequences of such are. Let's keep in mind if we attack Iran we're guilty of no more than what we're already guilty of in attacking Iraq. Hyping up a threat where one doesn't exist, going to war void of any legitimacy, violating everything we claim to stand for. Yet we don't see any war crimes tribunals being convened for the Bush administration over Iraq.

    MT: One of the scenarios that's been raised has Israel launching the first strike, prompting a response from Iran that would then pull us in.

    Ritter: I think Israel is capable of doing a one-time limited shot into Iran. One has to take a look at the distances involved and the complexity of military operations ... the lack of friendly airspace between corridors into and out of Iran. It's nice to talk about an Israeli attack, but the reality is far different. Israel had trouble dominating Hezbollah right on its own border with air power.

    I think Israel could actually go into Iran and get their butts kicked. It may not go off as well as they think it's going to go off. It is too long of a distance, too much warning for the Iranians. The Iranians are too locked-in; they're too well prepared. It doesn't make any sense. Israel doesn't have the ability to sustain a strike. Like I said, they might be able to pull off a limited one-time shot. But I think the fallout from that would be devastating for the United States. As much as we've worked to get an Arab alliance against Iran, that would just fall apart overnight with an Israeli attack. No Muslim state will stand by and defend Israel after it initiated a strike against Iran. It just will not happen. And the United States knows this. I just think it's ludicrous to talk about an Israeli attack.

    I think what we're looking at is an American attack. It's the only viable option both in terms of initiation and sustainment of the strike. Israel might be drawn in after that. There's no doubt in my mind the Iranians will launch missiles against Israeli targets, either directly or through proxies, and that Israel will suffer. This is something I try to warn all my Israeli friends about. If you think Saddam Hussein firing 41 missiles was inconvenient, wait until the Iranians fire a thousand of them. It goes well beyond an inconvenience; it becomes a national tragedy. And then the escalation that can occur from there.

    I think right now what the Bush administration is conceiving is a limited strike against Iran to take out certain Revolutionary Guard sites and perhaps identified nuclear infrastructure. Not a massive, sustained bombardment, but a limited strike. But we were always told in the Marine Corps that the enemy has a vote and no plan survives initial contact with the enemy. So we may seek to have a limited strike, but if the Iranians do a massive response, things could spin out of control quickly.

    MT: What do you foresee as some of the possible consequences? No one is talking about putting troops on the ground in Iran are they?

    Ritter: A while back there was talk about having forces move in on Tehran via Azerbaijan. But I think those plans have gone to the wayside. If Iran is successful in shutting down the Straits of Hormuz, it will force our hand and we'll have to put the Marines in to secure the Straits. If the conflict drags on and air power is not sufficient to break the will of the Iranian resistance, the Army may have to activate its option to put a reinforced corps into Azerbaijan and punch down the Caspian Sea coast. But these are definitely not the leading options at this point in time.

    MT: When you say a "limited strike," what might that look like in more detail?

    Ritter: Iran is a big country. There are a number of target sites we have to look at. To give an example, to take out a number of air defense sites during the Gulf War, a sortie required over 100 aircraft. It's not just one airplane coming in, firing a missile and going out. You have to secure a corridor, you have to put a combat air patrol over it, you have to have air-to-air refueling, you have to have aircraft protecting the refuelers, and then you have to have the strike aircraft themselves. You have to have pre- and post-reconnaissance. When you replicate this, let's say, over 20 targets, we don't have enough airplanes to do it all at once. So, it's something that will occur in phases. What you look at is maybe a three- to five-day bombardment where we take out sites, radar sites and air defense sites the first day, the second we pound the nuclear sites, the third day we take the Revolutionary Guard Command sites, the fourth and fifth days we do follow-up strikes to make sure all targets are destroyed, then we're done. That's probably what we're looking at.

    MT: How much damage could be done to the Iranian nuclear program?

    Ritter: No damage would be done to it. Remember, the problem the Iranians face isn't the manufacture of this equipment. They've already mastered that. And if you think for a second machine tools that are used to manufacture enrichment equipment are going to be stored out in the open where we can bomb them, you're wrong. They've been dispersed. The Iraqis were masters of this. We spent a lot of money blowing up concrete, but we never got the machine tools, because they were always hidden. They were always evacuated the day before — they'd take it to palm groves or warehouses that we didn't know about, or hidden in narrow streets. And we never detected that, and we never got them. The Iranians are even better. They've been mastering the technology of deep-earth tunneling, so they can hide things underground that we can't reach with our conventional weapons. So I just think it is absurd to talk about bombing these sites, because all we'll do is blow up buildings that can be rebuilt.

    A couple of sites are more sensitive; I think the uranium conversion facility at Isfahan, that'll be a major blow. It's a site that can be rebuilt however. It was a facility put in by the Chinese, but the Iranians have the blueprints. It'll take time, but they can rebuild it. At the best we are talking about retarding an Iranian program. But what's worse is if we bomb them, we may retard it, but we might also make it a militant program. Meaning that if their objective is only nuclear energy and suddenly they're being attacked and the world is doing nothing, we may push the Iranians into weaponization even though that is something they don't want to do. That's not in the cards right now. But our attack will have little or no impact on anything. That's for certain.

    MT: So what do you think the United States should be doing to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons?

    Ritter: I think that is the wrong question. That presumes Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. There's no evidence of that whatsoever. So rather than pose a question that legitimizes a certain point, I think the question should be, "What should the United States be doing in regards to Iran?" I think we should be seeking to normalize relations with Iran. We should be seeking stability in the region. This concept that the United States gets to dictate to sovereign people the makeup of their government is absurd. First of all, the theocracy in Iran, while not a model, for instance ... it's an Iranian problem, not an American problem. The day of the exportation of the Islamic revolution is long gone. The Iranians are not seeking to convert by the sword anybody. It's a nation that has serious internal problems. Economic. Huge unemployment. It's a nation that recognizes these problems. And they are in desperate need of not only political stability but also the economic benefits that come with this stability.

    The Iranians want a normalization of relations with the United States that would be inclusive of peaceful coexistence with Israel. They've said this over and over and over again.

    So what the United States should be doing is exploiting the olive branch that is being held out by the Iranians. We should be engaging them diplomatically. We should be terminating economic sanctions and seeking to exploit the leverage that comes with having American businesses working inside Iran to try and change them from within. We should be doing everything to get Iran to be a positive player in the region, especially considering the debacle that's unfolding in Iraq. Having the Iranians working with us to engender stability as opposed to being at cross-purposes.

    The same can be said in Afghanistan and the entire central Asian region. We keep putting our hopes on allies like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Saudi Arabia, which produced 14 of the hijackers who slaughtered Americans on 9/11. Pakistan, which was the political sponsor of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and continues to have ties to radical Islamic terror organizations. These are our allies? And we call Iran the enemy? We've got it backward. The Iranians are actually the ones we should be working with to oppose dictatorships like Pakistan and irresponsible governments like Saudi Arabia's.

    MT: Even under Iran's current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? It seems like before him, just after 2001, there was a window where the Iranians were seeking rapprochement and doing things perhaps quietly and not well-known to Americans to stabilize things.

    Ritter: You have to remember that Ahmadinejad doesn't make any policy. He is more than a figurehead, but constitutionally he's hampered by the reality that the power resides with the theocrats. It's the theocrats we need to be engaging, not Ahmadinejad. You engage the people who make the decisions. In the end we should be sending people to talk to the National Security Council, the Guardian Council, the representatives of the supreme leader. That's where the power is, that's where the decisions are made. Ahmadinejad is in reality just a minor inconvenience. The bottom line is, not only doesn't he account for much, his words haven't created a problem at all. Half the things we claim he said, he never said at all. And the other half we put out of context and exaggerate.

    I'm not here to defend what the guy says. But the notion that just because a man dared question a 100 percent interpretation of the history of the Holocaust as put forward by Israel — and again, I'm not saying he's right to do that — I'm just saying that because he dared do that, he's suddenly evil incarnate and we need to go to war against this guy? No. At worst he's a joke. He's a guy whose words mean nothing, have no power, have no relevance. It's the supreme leader that matters. And, yes, today the supreme leader continues to want to seek to normalize relations with the United States.

    MT: You are getting ready to go to Iran at the start of December. What's the purpose of that trip?

    Ritter: I've been trying to get there for some time now to talk with Iranian government officials trying to ascertain firsthand what's going on in Iran. We get a lot of rhetoric here at home, we get the media saying a lot of things that are derived not so much from on-the-ground truth in Iran but rather from talking points put out by the White House. I think it is imperative that if we are going to have a national debate, discussion and dialogue about Iran, that we get all sides of the story.

    Hopefully, I'll have an opportunity to meet with Iranian government officials, and have a chance to speak with some religious officials, and maybe even have a chance to talk about hypotheticals, not only what the current situation is, but how the Iranians would like to see this thing resolved and what mechanisms might need to be employed and maybe come back with some ideas that people in Congress might be interested in.

    MT: You've been to Iran before, haven't you?

    Ritter: Yes. And having been to Iran, I can tell you that it is the last nation in the world we should be saying these are people we have to fight. When you visit Iran and you see the Iranian people and you get the chance to talk to them, you realize that these are peaceful people. These are highly educated people. They are more like us than we can possibly imagine. They are very Western in their approach, although they reject the term Western because they say think those in the West are Neanderthals compared to the Persian culture. But they are very modern in their approach. They are a very modern people.

    I always say the best way to stop a war with Iran would be to issue every American a passport and roundtrip ticket and money for a two-week stay and let them go there and when they came back they'd say there's no way we should bomb this place. Once you've been to Iran you realize just how utterly useless the concept of militaristic confrontation is.

    MT: I think it is fair to say you are perceived as a champion of the left at this point. But 10 years ago, when you were criticizing the Clinton administration for undermining efforts to root out Saddam's weapons, you were being heralded by the right. Saddam accused you of being an American spy. And you were criticized for being too close with the Israelis and sharing information with them. But when you go to Iraq prior to the war there, people on the right are calling you a traitor. The FBI put you under surveillance. What do you make of all that?

    Ritter: What I make of it is my consistency and the inconsistency of those who seek to gain political advantage by manipulating the truth. When the right embraced what I was saying, they didn't embrace the totality of what I was saying. They only embraced that aspect that was convenient for their political purposes. I would say today that the left is guilty of the same thing. I'm only convenient to the left when that which I espouse mirrors what they are pursuing. It will be interesting to see, if Hillary Clinton wins the White House, how popular I will be in certain circles, because I can guarantee I will go after her with all the vengeance I go after the Bush administration.

    It's not about being Republican, it's not about being Democrat, it's about being American. It's about doing the right thing. And in the 1990s the right thing was to implement the [United Nations] Security Council resolutions calling for the disarmament of Iraq. That was the law. That was what I was tasked with doing, and the Clinton administration was not permitting the task to be accomplished.

    By holding them to account, if that suddenly made me popular with the right, then so be it. It's not something that I sought; it wasn't the purpose of what I was doing. But when the complexity of my stance became inconvenient to the right, when they found out it wasn't just about taking down the Clinton administration, but rather criticizing an American political position that put unilateral policy objectives and regime change higher up in the chain of priorities than disarmament, suddenly it wasn't convenient anymore to be saying, "Hey, we like this guy."

    One cannot be held accountable for the words and actions of those who seek to selectively embrace what you say.

    MT: When Bush talks about World War III, how likely is the scenario that an attack by us would escalate into that?

    Ritter: I don't know about likely, but what I say is that I can sit here and spin scenarios that have it going in that direction. And these aren't fantastic scenarios.

    MT: Would that be having Russia or China coming in?

    Ritter: No, no, no. It would be something more like the destabilization of Pakistan to the point where a nuclear device gets in the hands of Islamic fundamentalists who are aligned with al-Qaeda and there's some sort of nuclear activity on the soil of the United States of America. That's more what I'm looking at. I don't think the Russians or the Chinese would become involved. They don't need to. All they have to do is sit back and wait and pick up the pieces — because it is the end of the United States as a global superpower. That's one thing I try to tell everybody. The danger of going after Iran is that it is just not worth it. What we can lose is everything, and what we gain is nothing. So why do it?

  54. A letter from WGA Board Members that was sent this afternoon to members, with even more detail on the corporations' proposal.

    Fellow members:

    There are a lot of rumors and questions floating around, and we’d like to address them.



    On Thursday, the studios and networks gave us some of their proposals, and said they needed more time to fashion the rest. Therefore talks were scheduled to resume on Tuesday.

    The companies have still not explained how they arrived at their $130 million figure, but we can certainly explain how this is a rollback.

    Currently, the writer of a 30-minute prime-time TV show makes almost $21,000. The conglomerates are proposing that if that writer wrote the same show for the Internet, his or her initial compensation would be $2,600. That’s a rollback of 88%.

    Currently, the writer of a half-hour television episode makes about $11,600 when his or her episode is first re-run on TV. The companies are proposing that if that same episode is rerun instead on the Internet, they will pay the whopping total of $139 for unlimited reruns for one year--and nothing at all if it only streams for six weeks. About a third of all TV series are now being rerun only on the Internet. This amounts to an immediate 98.8% rollback. And it gets worse. If they decide to call a show “promotional,” they don’t have to pay us anything. It’s a “freepeat.”

    Are you sitting down? The companies want to be able to stream any and all feature films in their entirety, supported by advertising dollars, and pay the writers nothing. Zip. Nada. Bupkus. A 100% rollback.

    Our question exactly. It’s definitely not a three-year number. As near as we can figure, their proposal might net us that total around the year 2107.

    Neither have they. We are hoping that they will address this essential issue by Tuesday. Stay tuned.

    In solidarity,

    Nick Kazan
    Howard A. Rodman
    Phil Robinson
    Tom Schulman
    (for the Board of Directors)

  55. President Hugo Chavez on Friday wrapped up his campaign to push through broad constitutional changes with a broadside attack against adversaries at home and abroad -- including a threat to cut off oil exports to the United States.

    Supporters of President Hugo Chavez rally Friday in Caracas, Venezuela.

    Chavez told a crowd gathered in the center of Caracas that if the referendum was approved and the result was questioned -- "if the 'yes' vote wins on Sunday and the Venezuelan oligarchy, playing the [U.S.] empire's game, comes with their little stories of fraud" -- then he would order oil shipments to the United States halted Monday.

    Chavez spoke after tens of thousands, brought on buses from throughout the country, marched down the capital's principal boulevard to rally support for Sunday's referendum, which would free Chavez from term-limit restrictions and move the country toward institutionalized socialism.

    Don't be surprised if Bush attacks them soon.

  56. Giuliani refused to take questions here today about allegations that travel expenses were picked up by obscure city offices when he was mayor of New York City.

    “We’ve already explained it,” he said, walking past reporters after a town hall meeting.

    Giuliani, who is normally friendly to reporters, bristled past them, and campaign staffers were unusually physical in keeping the press away. Several campaign aides told campaign reporters to return to the press area, and some of his security detail manhandled reporters. On other occasions, reporters have been free to video Giuliani as he is shaking hands and signing autographs after events, and he often informally takes questions from reporters.

    Rudy "The Mobster" Guiliani is now using physical force to keep from answering his practice of corruption.

  57. The New York Public Library has a photo exhibit on display by artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese called “Line Up.” It’s mug shots of Bush, Cheney, Kindasleezy, Rove, Gonzales and Rumsfeld. Sounds good to me. The dates on each image match the dates that each official spoke about Iraq in ways the artists consider criminal.

    Aren't the Arts wondedrful!

  58. Australia’s new leader, Kevin Rudd, has said he will pull his country’s troops out of Iraq by mid-2008, fulfilling a promise he made during the election campaign.
    Rudd said he would meet Robert McCallum, the US ambassador to Australia, soon to discuss the precise timing of the withdrawal.

    The 50-year-old politician, who will be sworn in as prime minister on Monday, has said he believes the presence of troops in Iraq has made Australia more of a target for terrorism.

    “The combat force in Iraq we would have home by around about the middle of next year,” Rudd said in a radio interview in the southern city of Melbourne.

    Several hundred troops will remain in Iraq in supporting roles, such as providing security to diplomats. Australia also has about 1,000 troops in Afghanistan but there are no plans to reduce their numbers.

    Rudd’s stance is in direct contrast with that of his predecessor, John Howard, who had close ties to the US president, George Bush, and sent 2,000 troops to support the US and British forces during the 2003 invasion. Howard refused to set a timetable for pulling out the troops, saying that withdrawal would be a sign of weakness on the part of the allied forces.

    Bush won't like this independence.

  59. Ann Coulter as press secretary???

    Ok, that would be interesting ... with her as a mouthpiece, the President's approval ratings would actually sink from 20 some-odd percent into negative numbers.

  60. My son and I watch Smallville together and I'm blown away by the beauty of Kristin Kreuk, who plays Lana Lang.

    I just posted a photo of her -- does anyone know who I'm talking about? I'm not gay but...

  61. Lydia Cornell said...
    My son and I watch Smallville together and I'm blown away by the beauty of Kristin Kreuk, who plays Lana Lang.

    I just posted a photo of her -- does anyone know who I'm talking about? I'm not gay but..."

    yeah I know whoi she is...........she's cute, i remember her when she most likely first started out about 15 years ago she was in a prison movie.

  62. Everyone should read the article that Clif just posted by Scott Ritter...........its a very long article but an EXCELLENT read..........Ritter has echoed things I have been saying for years now.

    BTW Lydia, Clif is right, you should try to get Ritter on your radio show.

  63. I dont really KNOW that much about Buchanon........i'll have to listen to the interview tomorrow............BUT for those who DO have an opinion on him, i'm curious do you guys think he is just posing as a moderate because he is SMARTER than the average repug and senses which way the winds of change are blowing and wants to save a portion of the repug party from complete destruction and irrelevance...........Or do you think he has really changed and REALLY opposes the Fringe Fundamentalist Neo Cons?

  64. Former White House aide Karl Rove said yesterday it was Congress, not President Bush, who wanted to rush a vote on the looming war in Iraq in the fall of 2002, a version of events disputed by leading congressional Democrats and even some former Rove colleagues.

    Rove said that the administration did not want lawmakers to vote on a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq that soon because it would "make things move too fast," before Bush could line up international allies, and politicize the issue ahead of midterm elections. But Democrats and some Republicans involved with the issue at the time said yesterday that Bush wanted a quick vote.

    The fresh clash over the five-year-old vote made plain how political leaders on all sides are trying to shape the history of that moment. Former president Bill Clinton this week asserted that he flatly opposed the war from the beginning, a contention challenged by a former White House official who briefed him at the time. Some presidential candidates, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), have portrayed themselves as more skeptical than others recalled.

    Just because the Democrats and Republicans were gutless enough to vote for war, doesn't mean the idiot had to act jupon it.

    Maybe Bush should have called his Momma. She tells her little boy what to do!

  65. Talk show host Montel Williams has apologized for an angry confrontation with reporters who said he threatened them.

    Williams _ in Savannah to promote a program giving free prescriptions to low-income people _ became upset with a reporter's question Friday and terminated an interview.

    When the Savannah Morning-News reporters later returned to the hotel for an unrelated assignment, he approached one of them _ high school student Courtney Scott, an intern at the newspaper.

    "As we were preparing to film, Montel walked up with his bodyguard and got in Courtney Scott's face pointing his finger telling her 'Don't look at me like that. Do you know who I am? I'm a big star, and I can look you up, find where you live and blow you up,'" said Joseph Cosey, a web content producer for the newspaper. "At this time he was randomly pointing at all of us."

    Scott said she wasn't sure how to interpret Williams' comment.

    "I'm not sure if he meant 'blow me up' and ruin my career or really blow us up, but it was threatening," Scott said.

    Obviously Montell's stardom hasn't caught up with his ego.

  66. During the Vietnam War, the stereotype of the drug-addicted veteran was commonplace. Now a similar question is arising about veterans of the Iraq War.

    The Pentagon denies that it has a drug issue in Iraq comparable to what occurred in Vietnam, but veterans groups are charging that the problem is greater than the Pentagon admits and is getting worse.

    ABC News decided to investigate by sending half a dozen journalism graduate students to speak to the soldiers themselves about "what some in the military did not want known."

    Matthew McKane told the students he began using cocaine while serving as a medic in Baghdad, then found it was even easier to get at Fort Carson back in the US. Helicopter gunner Alan Hartmann said that after sustaining a neck injury, along with nightmares from transporting dead bodies, he started using methamphetamines for the physical and mental pain. "I was snorting it, and I was smoking it, and then I was hot railing it, and then I got to the point where I was actually injecting it in my arms," he told ABC.

    The army's chief psychiatrist, Col. Elspeth Ritchie, insists that ABC's account of soldiers becoming hooked on drugs as a result of their service in Iraq "has not been my experience. ... In general, our soldiers are not turning to drugs."

    However, Paul Sullivan of Veterans for Common Sense told ABC, "The military right now can say whatever they want, but the truth on the ground is that the soldiers are in a lot of pain .. and they're turning to drugs in order to alleviate that."

    ABC concluded that not only has the number of soldiers seeking help from the military for drug problems increased, but "the military would rather pretend [it] was not happening."

    Getting soldiers hooked on drugs to keep them at war: How Pathetic.

  67. I dont think a person has to be gay to think Kristin Kreuk is beautiful ... I think she is and I'm certainly not gay ;P

  68. Jobless men pay $500 bribes to join the police. Families build houses illegally on government land, carwashes steal water from public pipes and nearly everything the government buys or sells can now be found on the black market.

    Painkillers for cancer (from the Ministry of Health) cost $80 for a few capsules; electricity meters (from the Ministry of Electricity) go for $200 each and even third-grade textbooks (stolen from the Ministry of Education) must be bought at bookstores for three times what schools once charged.

    “Everyone is stealing from the state,” said Adel Adel al-Subihawi, a prominent Shiite tribal leader in Sadr City, throwing up his hands in disgust. “It’s a very large meal, and everyone wants to eat.”

    Corruption and theft are not new to Iraq, and government officials have promised to address the problem. But as Iraqis and American officials assess the effects of this year’s American troop increase, there is a growing sense that, even as security has improved, Iraq has slipped to new depths of lawlessness.

    One recent independent analysis ranked Iraq the third most corrupt country in the world. Of 180 countries surveyed, only Somalia and Myanmar were worse, according to Transparency International, a Berlin-based group that publishes the index annually.

    And the extent of the theft is staggering. Some American officials estimate that as much as a third of what they spend on Iraqi contracts and grants ends up unaccounted for or stolen, with a portion going to Shiite or Sunni militias. In addition, Iraq’s top anticorruption official estimated this fall — before resigning and fleeing the country after 31 of his agency’s employees were killed over a three-year period — that $18 billion in Iraqi government money had been lost to various stealing schemes since 2004.

    The collective filching undermines Iraq’s ability to provide essential services, a key to sustaining recent security gains, according to American military commanders. It also sows a corrosive distrust of democracy and hinders reconciliation as entrenched groups in the Shiite-led government resist reforms that would cut into reliable cash flows.

    In interviews across Baghdad, though, Iraqis said the widespread thieving affected them at least as powerfully on an emotional and moral level. The Koran is very clear on stealing: “God does not love the corrupters,” one verse says. And for average Iraqis, those ashamed of the looting that took place immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the current era of anything-goes is particularly crushing because almost no one can avoid its taint.

    For many, it is not a question of getting rich. Theft and corruption have become survival tools, creating a spiral of dishonest transactions that leave nearly everyone feeling dirty.

    Abu Ali is a 23-year-old Sunni with a soft middle and a common tale. Identifying himself by only a nickname, which means father of Ali, he said that he, his wife, his elderly mother and six relatives fled their home in eastern Baghdad last year after receiving death threats from Shiite militias. First they rushed to Diyala Province, and when that turned violent, they moved back to a safer area of Baghdad — broke and desperate.

    A major breadwinner for his family, Abu Ali needed a job. And like many Iraqis, he saw only one employer hiring: the government. A neighbor who was a police officer suggested joining the force. Abu Ali asked how, noting that recruits outnumbered positions. The answer was simple: a $500 bribe.

    Abu Ali borrowed the money a few months ago and found his way to a cellphone shop downtown, where, he said, a man in his late 20s welcomed him inside. The man identified himself as a police captain and seemed at ease with the transaction. His wealth sparkled all around.

    “He had a silver Mercedes,” Abu Ali said. “He was wearing a thick gold chain and a gold watch.”

    Abu Ali tried to bargain for a lower fee, but failed, handing over the cash and filling out official forms. In return, he said, he received a blue card stamped “Ministry of the Interior,” which declared him an accepted member of the police force. The man with the gold chain told him to watch for an announcement in the local paper that listed the names of newly accepted recruits, and to bring the card to his first day of training.

    “How do I know I’ll really get the job?” Abu Ali said he asked. “He told me, ‘I’ve put in 70 or 80 people already. Don’t worry about it.’”

    Five months later, Abu Ali’s name appeared in the newspaper. At the police academy in September, he said, he discovered that most of his class was from Sadr City and that everyone paid $400 to $800 to join.

    “There’s not a single person among the 850 people in my class who joined for free,” he said.

    His commanders, he added, also now collect the salaries of recruits who quit, a payout of more than $100,000 a month. “No one can stop it,” Abu Ali said. “Corruption runs from top to bottom.”

    Oh the aroma of George W Bush: Spreading his stain of corruption all over war torn Iraq.

  69. As if this week's controversy over non-WGA member Carson Daly crossing the picket line and going back to work wasn't enough, here's more. Adam Waring, a WGA West member and sitcom scribe who wrote for Two And A Half Men and Still Standing, tells me he had a too-close encounter of the picketer-vehicle kind with the SUV ferrying Daly to NBC's Last Call on Thursday. (And now that he's gone public about it to me in an email with the subject line, "Carson Daly Almost Ran Me Over at NBC," Waring quipped when I called to authenticate it, "Well, I'll never get a job on that show.") The incident at Bob Hope Gate was also witnessed by writer Ron Osborn whose emailed recounting backs up Waring's:

    I'm told that Waring, Osborn and writer Shari Goodhartz were picketing at NBC on Thursday when the WGA organizers instructed them to be on the lookout for a black Cadillac Escalade with a bike rack. because it is Carson Daly's car. The late night host was returning to work for the first time since the strike started, and the WGA "was determined to try and stop him," Waring explained. "At about 2:30 PM, they got word that his car had driven past one of the gates but had not turned in. Then they realized that there was no one picketing at Gate #3." That gate on Alamada requires a swipe card and is used mostly by executives. "They sent three of us from Gate 1 up there at a sprint, and, within 5 minutes of getting there, we saw his car," Waring recounted.

    Daly was being chauffered by a driver and was seated on the passenger side.

    According to Osborn, "Sure 'nuff, his Escalade drives up, sees us, and turns away, going north on Niagara, a side street. He's gone for a few minutes. A guard then walks out from the building and stands by the key entry. A moment later, the Death Star comes back from Niagara and barrels across Alameda. Adam gets in the way at the driveway, and the vehicle slows down to a crawl. Carson's window is down a few inches and we shout at him to 'respect the line.' I try to shove some leaflets into the window."

    Waring said, "We stood in his path. But his window was cracked [open], and we all distinctly heard him tell his driver, 'Keep driving.' And he did!"

    Osborn added: "And sensitive to our situation, he says, 'Keep driving.' The car accelerates. Adam jumps aside. My fliers don't make it in."

    According to Waring, "He slowed down a little, but he kept coming at us. I finally had to move out of the way, but we all were yelling and pleading with him to reconsider going back to work because he was really hurting our cause, etc. But he didn't respond. In the meantime, a security guard had appeared, opened the gate and Carson's car drove on. A big bummer and highly dramatic."

    Carson Daly is a SCAB!

  70. During Friday's White House press conference, veteran reporter Helen Thomas got into a testy exchange with press secretary Dana Perino over the ongoing war in Iraq.

    The Washington Times noted that "Thomas often asks questions attacking the Iraq war during on-camera briefings," and "White House press secretary Dana Perino usually deflects the question and moves on, but today, Mrs. Perino took exception."

    "Does the president want no troops out from Iraq on his watch," Thomas asked. "I'm talking about all troops."

    Perino countered, "Well, 5,700 troops will be home by the end of the year, so that is some troops coming home. The President said that troop levels are going to be made by commanders on the ground, and that we're going to have to talk about --"

    "Why should it be?" Thomas interruped. "Why can't the American people have a say?"

    Perino pointed to the 2004 election: "The American people have had a say. They elected a President who is their Commander-in-Chief and is making decisions based on what his commanders on the ground are telling him."

    "And you think that was the vote of the American people?" Thomas pressed.

    Perino reiterated,"They elected a Commander-in-Chief, and the President is bringing home 5,700 troops, based on the recommendations of his commanders on the ground and based on return on success. Hopefully in the future we can bring home more, but it's going to depend on what General Petraeus reports and remember he will come back in March."

    "Why should we depend on him?" Thomas asked, meaning the commander of the multi-national forces in Iraq, who was slammed as "General Betray Us" by the liberal activist group Move On.

    Perino said, "Because he is the commander on the ground, Helen. He's the one who is making sure that the situation is moving --"

    "You mean how many more people we kill?" Thomas interjected.

    The White House press secretary then blasted the reporter for using her "bestowed" front row position in the press room to make "absurd and very offensive statements."

    "Helen, I find it really unfortunate that you use your front row position, bestowed upon you by your colleagues, to make such statements," Perino said. "This is a -- it is an honor and a privilege to be in the briefing room, and to suggest that we, at the United States, are killing innocent people is just absurd and very offensive."

    Thomas asked Perino about civilian casualties in Iraq: "Do you know how many we have since the start of this war?"

    "How many -- we are going after the enemy, Helen," Perino said, ducking the question. "To the extent that any innocent Iraqis have been killed, we have expressed regret for it."

    The longtime White House correspondent who has gone after presidents from both political parties responded, "Oh, regret. It doesn't bring back a life.

    Helen Thomas: A True American!

  71. The Bush administration is laying out a new secrecy defense in an effort to end a court battle about the White House visits of now-imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

    The administration agreed last year to produce all responsive records about the visits "without redactions or claims of exemption," according to a court order.

    But in a court filing Friday night, administration lawyers said that the Secret Service has identified a category of highly sensitive documents that might contain information sought in a lawsuit about Abramoff's trips to the White House.

    The Justice Department, citing a Cold War-era court ruling, declared that the contents of the "Sensitive Security Records" cannot be publicly revealed even though they could show whether Abramoff made more visits to the White House than those already acknowledged.

    "The simple act of doing so ... would reveal sensitive information about the methods used by the Secret Service to carry out its protective function," the Justice Department argued.

    "This is an extraordinary development and it raises the specter that there were additional contacts with President Bush or other high White House officials that have yet to be disclosed," said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group that filed the suit. "We've alleged that the government has committed misconduct in this litigation and frankly this is more fuel for that fire."

    Coverup snd Corruption: The Bush Presidency!

  72. Evangelical Christians have for years been strongly associated with the Republican Party. According to CBS, white evangelicals make up about 25% of the electorate, and 78% of them voted Republican in 2004. However, now certain evangelicals are showing a willingness to listen to the Democratic Party's message of compassion for the poor and sick.

    Pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life, was recently criticized by some on the religious right when he invited Hillary Clinton to speak at his church about the AIDS epidemic. "The greatest criticism that Jesus got, he got not from political people or from secular people," Warren told CBS. "He got it from religious people. And it's amazing to me that sometimes the people who understand grace are the least gracious people on the planet."

    Warren's most striking and heartfelt comments came when he told CBS about his own awakening to the necessity of an evangelical response to the AIDS epidemic. "I have to admit, the church was late to the table on this AIDS issue," Warren stated. "And we had to repent on it. I just personally had to repent. I didn't get it for years."

    "I was raised in a tradition where we cared about the soul and undervalued the importance of the body," Warren went on. "Jesus cared about the spiritual and the physical. He healed them physically and he healed them spiritually. ... The Bible says that he went into every village preaching, teaching, and healing. ... Christianity is a teaching and healing faith."

    Rick Warren has emerged over the last few years as a leading figure in pulling evangelical Christianity away from the grip of the extreme religious right. The Boston Globe wrote of him two years ago that "what Warren has started is a seismic shakeup of the American evangelical movement. ... Warren, 51, has managed to marry a simple message -- 'It's not about you' -- with an integrated mesh of mass media that is growing his audience exponentially. As American political life has shifted toward the right, Warren has assumed a place in the center of the movement, one of a new generation of leaders who have eclipsed and distanced themselves from controversy-dogged televangelists such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell."

    When Warren sponsored a Global Summit on AIDS and the Church in 2006, he explained that he and his wife see the church as an important part of the solution to the global AIDS epidemic. "Beginning in 2002, a series of circumstances convinced us that God intended for us to use whatever influence we might have to help those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. At first, our hope was simply to add another voice in speaking up for those who are being ignored. But as we studied the pandemic and the related problems such as the lack of a grassroots global distribution network for medicine and nutrition and the need to mobilize millions of volunteers, we realized that the missing part of the solution was right in front of our eyes! The answer is local congregations."

    A refreshing change from the hate and lust for power of Falwell and Robertson.

  73. When Republican Representative Tom Tancredo isn’t railing against the “scourge” of illegal immigration on the presidential campaign trail, he relaxes in the 1053 square foot basement recreation room of his Littleton, Colorado McMansion. There, he and his family can rack up a game of billiards on their tournament size pool table, play pinball, or enjoy their favorite movies in the terraced seating area of a home theater system. Tancredo, who dodged the draft during the Vietnam War by producing evidence that he suffered from mentally illnesses, especially likes entertaining his buddies with classic war movies.

    “We have friends over and I have now shown Pearl Harbor about six times,” Tancredo boasted to the Rocky Mountain News about his 102-inch television. “But I mainly just show the attack scene because the sound is so good.”

    When Tancredo hired a construction crew to transform his drab basement into a high-tech pleasure den in October 2001, however, he did not express concern that only two of its members spoke English. Nor did he bother to check the workers’ documentation to see if they were legal residents of the United States. Had Tancredo done so, he would have learned that most of the crew consisted of undocumented immigrants, or “criminal aliens” as he likes to call them. Instead, Tancredo paid the crew $60,000 for its labor and waited innocently for the completion of his elaborate entertainment complex.

    During the renovation process, two illegal workers hired by Tancredo were alerted to his reputation for immigrant bashing. They went straight to the Denver Post to complain. Tancredo “doesn't want us here, but he'll take advantage of our sweat and our labor,” one of the workers complained to the Post on September 19, 2002. “It's just not right.”

    The Post report momentarily threw Tancredo on the defensive. In a fiery speech soon after the story’s publication, Tancredo blamed his foibles on the INS. “I haven't the foggiest idea how many people I may have hired in the past as taxi drivers, as waiters, waitresses, home improvement people,” he boomed from the House floor. “I haven't the foggiest idea how many of those people may have been here illegally, and it is not my job to ask them.” Then defiance gave way to vitriol as the congressman dubbed undocumented immigrants, “the face of murder.”

    Only days before the Post’s story appeared, Tancredo had personally reported an honor student profiled in the Denver Post to the INS because the 14-year-old was not a legal resident of the United States. The stunt forced the boy’s family to go into hiding. Fortunately for Tancredo, the ensuing revelations of his hiring of illegal labor fell below the radar of the national media, allowing his anti-immigrant crusade to proceed unabated.

    Tancredo proceeded to organize over 90 anti-immigration House members into an informal but powerful caucus that has effectively prevented any non-enforcement related immigration legislation from reaching the President’s desk. His Team America PAC, which is chaired by right-wing pundit Bay Buchanan, has donated tens of thousands of dollars this election cycle to nativist candidates who hope to fill Tancredo’s caucus with new blood when he retires next year. Down on the border, Tancredo announced his support for the Minutemen, providing the anti-immigrant militia with a veneer of respectability while its pistol-packing members hunt for brown-skinned evildoers.

    Tancredo has also played an instrumental role in shaping the way immigration is discussed in the media. Despite his third tier status in the presidential campaign, as of November 19 the congressman has appeared on Fox News more times during 2007 than any other presidential candidate. A former Tancredo staffer speaking on condition of anonymity told me recently that the congressman spends extensive time on the phone with top-rated CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, offering him tips and ideas for his daily “Broken Borders” segments.

    Dobbs, in turn, has produced an unending string of specious “reports” painting undocumented immigrants from Latin America as disease-ridden criminals. In May, for example, Dobbs falsely claimed that illegal migrants from Mexico were responsible for 7000 new cases of leprosy in the United States. A wave of negative publicity forced Dobbs to acknowledge his source for the bogus story as Madeleine Cosman, a deceased white supremacist activist who often appeared at anti-immigrant rallies beside her pal Tancredo.

    The success of Tancredo’s efforts to project his nativist politics onto the national stage were apparent during CNN’s November 26 Republican Youtube debate. In a heated exchange that highlighted press coverage of the debate, presidential frontrunners Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney competed with one another over who could appear the most draconian towards “illegals.” When Romney accused Giuliani of running a “sanctuary city” for undocumented immigrants while serving as mayor of New York, Giuliani shot back that Romney had run a “sanctuary mansion” when he was governor of Massachusetts. Giuliani pointed to a lengthy Boston Globe report revealing that Romney paid a gardening service that employed illegal workers to tend the lawns of his mansion. Suddenly, the candidates with the most tolerant records on immigration issues sounded like Tancredo.

    While the two rivals clashed, Tancredo stood at the far end of the stage smiling contentedly. The cause he championed for years with a band of ornery border vigilantes, white supremacists, and assorted dregs by his side had become a central theme in the race for the White House. Of all the major GOP candidates, only Sen. John McCain has countered Tancredo with big tent appeals to socially conservative Latinos. The other candidates have reliably parroted his talking points, parrying accusations of ideological impurity by accusing one another of being soft on illegal immigration. “All I've heard is people trying to out-Tancredo Tancredo,” Tancredo observed during the debate. “It is great.”

    But there is one way the Republican candidates can never out-Tancredo Tancredo. The congressman lives in a “sanctuary mansion” built by the kind of people he has made a career out of demonizing. Tom Tancredo may have no hope of winning the Republican nomination, but in the cause of hypocrisy, he is the frontrunner.

    Another Republican Phony Exposed!

  74. A country governed by a despot is an inverted cone.
    – Samuel Johnson

    Mr. Bush is not disappointed in them. Quite the contrary. He’s envious. Although sharing their goals, he is far less successful than they. They have shown how democracy works in an ideal world. Mr. Bush, of course, has the misfortune to be the President of the United States that is not an ideal democracy notwithstanding his efforts to make it so.

    On November 21 Mr. Bush gave ABC news an interview during the course of which Perez Musharraf’s name came up. Describing Mr. Musharraf, Mr. Bush said that he “truly is somebody who believes in democracy.” According to reports, the reporter interviewing Mr. Bush asked if there was any line Mr. Musharraf should not cross to which Mr. Bush said: “He hasn’t crossed the line. As a matter of fact, I don’t think that he will cross any lines.” Mr. Bush went on to say that it was a good sign that on the same day he was being interviewed Mr. Musharraf had released thousands of people from jail. (The reporter could have asked Mr. Bush if it was so good for Mr. Musharraf. to release people from jail why Mr. Bush didn’t follow his lead and let some folks out of Guantanamo who have no business being there. He might have gone so far as to point out to Mr. Bush that releasing people from jail who should not be in jail was not half as good for democracy as the act of putting them in jail was bad for democracy.

    Here are some of the things Mr. Musharrraf has done to demonstrate his belief in democracy. On November 3 he declared a state of emergency. He suspended the constitution, shut down 58 independent news stations and replaced all the justices on the Supreme Court. Their replacement was necessary because they were about to rule that his election as president in October was invalid. By removing them and replacing them with justices who would do his bidding he was able to perpetuate democracy in Pakistan. (The shut television stations were told they could reopen if they adhered to a government code of conduct that was imposed because, said Mr. Musharraf: “We want to bring some responsibility to them.” Among other things, a journalist can go to prison for 3 years if coverage “ridicules” the president or other government officials.) In response to criticism from Condoleezza Rice about the imposition of martial law before elections scheduled in January Mr. Musharraf said that martial law was the best way to insure free and fair elections.

    The other of Mr. Bush’s good friends, whom Mr. Bush resembles more than we realized when we elected him, is Russia’s Vladimir Putin. At the conclusion of Mr. Putin’s visit to the Bush compound in July, Mr. Bush, praised Mr. Putin. He said: “Here’s the thing, when you’re dealing with a world leader, you wonder whether or not he’s telling the truth. I’ve never had to worry about that with Vladimir Putin.” Returning the complement Mr. Putin said that common democratic values are important for both countries. He said that Russia and the United States face the same problems that have “to do with the relationship with the media; it has to do with human rights” said he. We know how that’s playing out in Bush’s America. Here’s how it’s played out in Russia.

    Putin’s term as president is drawing to a close. Parliamentary elections are to take place in Russia in December. Mr. Bush was disappointed in his hopes that Republicans would have a majority in Congress following the 2006 elections. Mr. Putin is not taking any chances that his party, United Russia, will suffer the fate of the Republicans. At a recent campaign rally he stirred up his supporters saying: “Regrettably, there are those inside the country who feed off foreign embassies like jackals and count on support of foreign funds and governments, and not their own people.” Not content with railing against his opponents, on November 24 a rally was held against Mr. Putin, and the riot police beat and then arrested those who attended, including Garry Kasparov, the former chess champion and leader of Other Russia, one of the opposition parties. Mr. Kasparov was charged with organizing an unsanctioned protest and resisting arrest and sentenced to 5 days in jail. In the southern Republic of Ingushetia three Moscow television journalists and a human rights activist were reported attacked by armed, masked men as they went to cover an opposition rally.

    If this column leads the reader to believe that Mr. Bush likes all despots, it has erred. Mr. Bush has no use for Hugo Chávez of Venezuela who has likened Mr. Bush to the devil. But for that comparison, Mr. Bush would probably find it in his heart to say good things about him as well.

    Birds of a feather do flock together!

  75. Political language has to consist largely of euphemisms . . . and sheer cloudy vagueness.”
    - George Orwell -

    H.R 1955: the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 recently passed by the House-a companion bill is in the Senate-is barely one sentence old before its Orwellian moment:

    It begins, “AN ACT - To prevent homegrown terrorism, and for other purposes.”

    Those whose pulse did not quicken at “other purposes” have probably not read George Orwell’s essay, “Politics and the English Language,” or they voted for the other George both times.

    Orwell’s jeremiad on the corruption of the English language and its corrosive effect on a democracy was written two years before his novel 1984 spelled out in chilling detail the danger of Newspeak, which renders citizens incapable of independent thought by depriving them of the words necessary to form ideas other than those promulgated by the state.

    After its opening “tribute” to Orwell, H.R 1955 is strategically peppered with Newspeak regarding the establishment of a National Commission and university-based Centers of Excellence to “examine and report upon the fact and causes of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States” and to make legislative recommendations for combating it.

    The “sheer cloudy vagueness” of H.R 1955, as well as its terror factor, may account for its bipartisan 404-6 House vote but how, in an era informed by the Bush-Cheney administration’s egregious assault on the Bill of Rights, can the phrase “other purposes” fail to raise the “National Terror Alert” from its current threat level of “elevated” to “severe.”

    Future “other purposes” will undoubtedly be justified by the Act’s use of the term “violent radicalization,” which it defines as “the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence . . .” or by the folksy, Lake Wobegonesque “homegrown terrorism,” defined as “the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born [or] raised . . . within the United States . . . to intimidate or coerce the United States, the civilian population . . . or any segment thereof . . . [italics added].”

    In the service of some self-serving “other purposes,” will “extremist beliefs” become any belief the temporary occupants of the White House consider antithetical and threatening to their political agenda?

    Will “ideologically based violence” or the use of “force” become little more than the mayhem resulting after a peaceful protest, daring to move beyond the barbed wire of the free speech zone, is attacked by a truncheon-wielding riot squad armed with tear gas, German Shepard dogs and water cannons?

    Will the unarmed, constitutionally protected dissenters who are fending off blows or dog bites, or who are striking back in self-defense become “homegrown terrorists” and suffer draconian sentences for their attempt to “intimidate or coerce” the state with free thought and free speech?

    A clue to future “other purposes” may lie in the Act’s parentage. The proud House “mother” of the Patriot Act’s evil twin is Rep. Jane Harmon (D-CA), chair of the Homeland Security Intelligence Subcommittee. Rep. Harmon has admitted to a long and productive relationship with the RAND Corporation, a California based think-tank with close ties to the military-industrial-intelligence complex. RAND’s 2005 study, “Trends in Terrorism,” contains a chapter titled, “Homegrown Terrorist Threats to the United States.” Is this Act a bastard child?

    Keep in mind that the RAND Corporation was set up in 1946 by Army Air Force General Henry “Hap” Arnold as “Project RAND” sponsored by the Douglas Aircraft Company. Keep in mind also that Donald Rumsfeld was its chairman from 1981 to 1986 and Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Dick Cheney’s felonious former chief of staff, and Condoleezza Rice were trustees. Enough said!

    RAND maintains that “homegrown terrorism” will not be the result of jihadist sleeper cells. Rather, it will result from anti-globalists and radical environmentalists who “challenge the intrinsic qualities of capitalism, charging that in the insatiable quest for growth and profit, the philosophy is serving to destroy the world’s ecology, indigenous cultures, and individual welfare.”

    Further, RAND claims that anti-globalists and radical environmentalists “exist in much the same operational environment as al Qaida” and pose “a clear threat to private-sector corporate interests, especially large multinational business.” Therein lies the real “other purposes.”

    Predictably then, H.R. 1955 is not about protecting homegrown Americans. That protection is only incidental to its “other purposes” of protecting homegrown corporate interest and its unconscionable manipulation of the American political process to fill its coffers. Any thought or speech or action- however protected it might be by the Bill of Rights-that threatens corporate hegemony and profit will no doubt suffer the “other purposes” clause of the Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act.

    Anyone doubting the Orwellian nature of a “bastard child” that equates anti-globalists and environmentalists with al Qaida terrorists will do well to read Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” and to acquaint themselves with the fate of Winston Smith in 1984.

    Oh the tarnished world of George W Bush!

  76. Larry if you wanna get to the bottom of the bigotry and racism of Lou Dobbs, Tancredo and other racist reichwingers check out

    John Tanton

    and all the anti immigration supposed "grassroots organizations" HE founded.

    like Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)

    or, Center for Immigration Studies



    Here is a list of organizations Tanton started since 1979;

    NumbersUSA: Founder, 1996

    ProEnglish: Founder, Former Chairman, and Board, 1993-present

    Social Contract Press: Founder, Former Editor, and Publisher, 1990-present

    E Pluribus Unum: Co-organizer, 1992

    Emergency Committee on Puerto Rican Statehood and the Status of English in the United States: Co-organizer, 1990

    American Alliance for Rights and Responsibilities: Co-founder, 1989

    Center for Immigration Studies: Founder, 1985

    U.S. English: Co-founder and Chairman, 1982-1988

    U.S. Inc.: Founder and Chairman, 1982-present

    Federation for American Immigration Reform: Co-founder, Former Chairman and board member, 1979-present

    One reichwing foole PRETENDING to be so many grassroots organizations;

    Typical reichwing, make up some grassroots movement with nothing but a desk, phone, and mail box to rake in the dollars from the dumb trailer park psheeple who are fooled by this type of fraud.

    Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed, Gover Norquist, among others all have done this to fleece the sheeple and make the stupid reichwing political criminals in Washington think thye have a lot of support for their stupid ideas, they follow other reichwingers like Linda Chavez who make a substantial portion of their income from fraudulent organizations like this.

  77. Clif:

    I just checked out this guys site and his list of ultra right wing racist organizations he is involved with, much less all the Zero Growth crap, he is dangerous.

  78. Larry, he(Tanton) is involved with ton Tancredo and Marylin Musgrave, who lead the reichwing anti-immigration wing of congress.

    The repubies are channeling his hate in their press releases and floor speeches, like Lou Dobbs does on his CNN program.

  79. It was in Musgraves ares (Greely Colorado) that a major raid took place at Swift Meat Packing where some 2000 illegals were arrested, and Swift shuit down for several weeks.

  80. The world’s largest retailer set a record this month but not one its managers are likely to be proud of.

    Wal-Mart has the ignominious distinction of having the biggest drop ever from one year to the next on Human Rights Campaign’s annual “Buying for Equality” guide, which ranks companies and identifies their most popular brands. The companies are rated on a scale of zero to 100 with 100 being perfect.

    Wal-Mart saw its 2006 rating of 65 plummet to 40 this year. That’s low enough to land in HRC’s red zone (companies that rank zero to 45), which means gays and their supporters are encouraged to “strongly consider other options,” according to Daryl Herrschaft, HRC’s director of the Workplace Project, which each year oversees the shopping guide, the Corporate Equality Index and the Best Places to Work guide. HRC doesn’t encourage boycotts.
    And, second, it also looks like the Beast's failed attempt to get into banking, is going to face even more hurdle if the company ever decided to try again:

    U.S. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., Thursday circulated a draft of legislation that would narrowly limit the types of commercial companies that could own federally insured banks....
    Commercial firms have been allowed to own banks for decades, but recent applications from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Home Depot Inc. (HD) caused so much controversy that the FDIC asked Congress to clarify exactly what types of companies should be allowed to engage in banking.

    Wal-Mart withdrew its application earlier this year, but Home Depot's is still pending. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said Wednesday that she wouldn't extend the moratorium beyond January and would start reviewing the pending applications once the moratorium expires.

    Is there anything more Un-American that Walmart!

  81. One interesting note here,

    Given the sub prime meltdown which is causing a major catastrophe in Florida right now, given the reichwingers of that state under Jeb Bush invested the funds of it's public entities like school boards in the CDO's and SIV's which ain't worth the paper their are printed on,

    IE'The Jefferson County school district was forced to take out a short-term loan to cover payroll for the 220 teachers and other employees in the system after $2.7 million it held in the pool was frozen yesterday. At least five other districts also obtained last-minute loans, said Wayne Blanton, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association.'...snip...

    '``I should have seen the handwriting on the wall,'' Wilson said. ``But I didn't want to start a run on the pool.''...snip...

    'Wilson at Jefferson County said he plans to withdraw the school district's money from the pool as soon as he can, and won't consider investing there again.

    ``They won't have to worry about little Jefferson County any more,'' Wilson said.'...snip...

    'Rejected Option

    The newly formed advisory panel rejected a State Board Administration proposal for a survey of affected agencies to learn whether they would accept as little as 90 cents on the dollar.

    ``The very fact that you're out here talking to us about taking less than 100 percent is in my mind unacceptable,'' said MaryEllen Elia, superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools. The county has $573 million frozen in the pool, more than any other school district. ``You need to figure out how to make the taxpayers in Florida whole.''

    The Florida board's trustees, Governor Charlie Crist, state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum, will meet Dec. 4 to consider the crisis.'...snip...

    the continuing saga of Floridas State Fund freeze

    Norway pensions are suffering the same fate as the CDO-SIV wall street scam unwinds.

    Citibank ain't the only one who bought into this particular version of economic snake oil.

    I wonder why some reichwing presidential candidate ain't acatawallin' fur the sheeple to invest their social security in these funds also instead of getting ripped off by the US insurance which is very safe and stable.

    Where-O-where is the id-jet freedom fart or crusty the clown when we need such comedy relief now a days?

    They used to shovel that crap from time to time here. It would be interesting to see them try and fail to defend themselves about now.

  82. NOW the Florida republican lead goberment wants to return $.90 on each and every $1 invested.

    Other republicans want to force all Americans into the very same shell game with their social security insurance for their retirements, when corporate America is finding ways to get out of the obligations they promised to the workers who really did the work which made both the companies and this country such a great place to live.

    So not only does corporate America get to keep the funds they promised to pay each worker when they retired, but find ways to steal part of the Social Security funds which they workers would then be forced to live off of. The workers would be lucky in the end to get as good a deal the republican's who run that state are offering it's schools ETC.

    No wonder the republicans are finding themselves becoming living caricatures of their lies and spin of the last three decades.
    the scam started by Reagan et al propagated by the likes of Bush, cheney, limpballs, falaful guy, and the rest of fox noise and the MSM is comin' apart at the seams, and they haven't a clue what to do now but continue the same tired discredited ole' tactics which got all of us in the mess we are in about now.

    And they wonder why only 24% support them now, I wonder why 24% of the American people are that stupid?

  83. About a quarter of us never abandoned Nixon either. These are the self-loathers, who also loathe the opportunities America offers for people to get ahead. They'd like to see those opportunities ended, because keeping "them" down somehow makes these morons feel superior.

  84. Lol, thats a funny headline Lydia.

    I'm Not Gay but..., lol.

    Hey, if anyones interested I've been having a 3 day 1000 comment debate in a TP thread about religion and atheism.

  85. On Dec. 2, 1954, the Senate voted to condemn Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R Wis., for "conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute."
    Too bad the senate or house in this century can't find the testicular fortitude to at least censure the people who have done so much damage to this country.

    I guess positioning themselves for the next election cycle is more important.

  86. art - can't wait to check out your atheism debate. will do so later.

    Hey, i just posted an add-on to the beautiful Kristin pic on lead in to blog.

  87. More gay men describe sexual encounters with U.S. Sen. Craig
    Allegations made since news of the Minneapolis case broke lend weight to rumors about Craig.

    Note from Executive Editor Vicki Gowler
    Men's stories of relations with Sen. Larry Craig
    Craig's power shrinks, but his vote still counts
    1982 Page scandal: Craig was named as sex partner, says lawyer of primary accuser
    Men's room arrest reopens questions about Sen. Larry Craig
    Audio interviews: Sen. Craig responds to allegations, rumors, his future, the 1982 page scandal and more. Also, listen to a man talk about a sexual encounter with Larry Craig.

    Some of these interview excerpts contain explicit descriptions of sex not appropriate for children and listeners who find such content offensive. The Statesman provides the excerpts so Idahoans can hear these accounts and decide for themselves about accusations against Sen. Craig.


    Conservative columnist Robert Novak has raised doubts about Sen. Larry Craig's truthfulness. In his syndicated column Sept. 3, Novak wrote that "several Republican senators and staffers were not a bit surprised" by Craig's guilty plea in connection with a sex sting.

    On Oct. 5, the day after Craig reversed his pledge to resign, Novak elaborated on Bloomberg Television, saying he'd spoken to several Senate sources about Craig.

    "They knew about it," Novak reported. "They knew he had this problem, and it was in the closet and it was not just a homosexual relationship, it was this weird, weird conduct."

    Audio clip disclaimer: Some of the audio interview excerpts contain explicit descriptions of sex not appropriate for children and listeners who find such content offensive. The Statesman provides the excerpts so Idahoans can hear these accounts and decide for themselves about accusations against Sen. Craig.

    David Phillips. Mike Jones. Greg Ruth. Tom Russell.

    Four gay men, willing to put their names in print and whose allegations can't be disproved, have come forward since news of U.S. Sen. Larry Craig's guilty plea. They say they had sex with Craig or that he made a sexual advance or that he paid them unusual attention.

    They are telling their stories now because they are offended by Craig's denials, including his famous statement, "I am not gay, I never have been gay." Those words, spoken on live national TV on Aug. 28, are now memorialized on a just-released-for-Christmas Talking Senator Larry Craig Action Figure.

    David Phillips is a 42-year-old information technology consultant in Washington, D.C., who says Craig picked him up at a gay club in 1986 and that they subsequently had sex.

    Mike Jones is a former prostitute who told the world he had sex with the Rev. Ted Haggard last year. The former Colorado Springs evangelist at first denied it but eventually confessed. Jones says Craig paid him for sex in late 2004 or early 2005.

    Greg Ruth was a 24-year-old college Republican in 1981 when he says he was hit on by Craig at a Republican meeting in Coeur d'Alene.

    Tom Russell, now 48, is a former Nampa resident who lives in Utah. Russell said his encounter with Craig occurred at Bogus Basin in the early 1980s.

    A fifth gay man, who is from Boise but who declined to be named for fear of retaliation, offered a recent and telling account: He was in a men's restroom at Denver International Airport in September 2006 when the man in the next stall moved his hand slowly, palm up, under the divider. Alarmed, the man said he waited outside the restroom and then identified the man in the adjoining stall as Craig, whom he had met in Idaho.

    Craig, 62, says he was a victim of "profiling" when he was arrested June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for soliciting sex from an undercover police officer in an adjoining stall in a men's restroom. Craig pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in August. He is appealing his conviction, financed by his 2008 re-election fund. Because of the scandal, Craig no longer needs the money to run for office; after 33 years in state and national office, he says he will not seek re-election next year. Craig also faces a Senate Ethics Committee inquiry, which was requested by Senate GOP leadership.

    "I know what people feel like when they're profiled, when innocent people get caught up in what I was caught in as an innocent person," Craig told NBC's Matt Lauer in a prime-time interview that aired Oct. 16.

    The appearance on NBC was the latest denial by Craig that he has engaged in gay sex.

    The denials began June 30, 1982, when CBS broke news of a scandal alleging gay sex between congressmen and underage pages. The following day, before any public allegation that he was involved, then-Rep. Craig issued a denial. Craig married a year later and adopted the three children of his wife, Suzanne. In 1990, the Idaho Statesman asked Craig about an allegation that he was gay made by an opponent in his first Senate race. "Why don't you ask my wife?" Craig replied.

    In October 2006, Craig directly denied the claims of a blogger who reported he'd spoken with three anonymous sources who said they had sex with Craig. In May 2007, after hearing a tape of an accuser who said he and Craig had sex in two men's restrooms at Washington's Union Station rail depot, Craig said, "I am not gay."

    And when he emphatically told Matt Lauer he was neither gay nor bisexual, Craig persuaded 28 percent of viewers to believe he had been wrongly charged in Minnesota, according to a survey of 606 viewers by HCD Research and Muhlenberg College.

    Craig declined comment on this story. He stopped replying to questions from the Statesman after the paper's Aug. 28 report that included the accounts of three unnamed men, one who said he had sex with Craig and two who said he solicited them for sex. But Craig's staff told other media that the allegations made by Phillips and Jones were false.

    As with the Statesman's August report, the new evidence is not definitive. There are no videos, no love letters, no voice messages. Like last August, they are he-said, he-said allegations about a man seeking discreet sex from partners whom he counted on to never tell.

    But the Statesman's investigation, which included reviews of travel and property records and background checks on all five men, found nothing to disprove the five new accounts. The men offer telling and sometimes similar details about what happened, or the senator's travel records place him in the city where sex is alleged to have occurred, or his accusers told credible witnesses at the time of the incident.

    Craig has said he hoped to keep his guilty plea secret. Only after news of the guilty plea broke Aug. 27 did he tell his wife, staff, colleagues and constituents. His admission of guilt, taken together with the three accounts published Aug. 28 and the five new statements, add weight to the evidence that Craig has been living a double life.



    Phillips' account was first published this Oct. 25 at, a liberal Web site. Shortly after the Spokane Spokesman-Review linked to the story on Oct. 26, Craig spokesman Sid Smith replied on a blog that "there is not a shred of truth to this."

    In a tape-recorded interview with the Statesman, the 1985 graduate of Rice University said he met Craig on a weekday afternoon between May and August 1986 at a gay strip club called The Follies in Washington, D.C. The club was a place where gay men met for sex, often on the premises. Phillips said he mistakenly told Wonkette the incident happened in 1987.

    Phillips, then 21, said he and Craig talked and then hugged. Craig said he didn't feel comfortable at the club and suggested they leave. Phillips had his car, but Craig hailed a cab, with Phillips following him to Capitol Hill. The cab stopped and Craig got out, telling Phillips to park and wait for him to return. In a few minutes, Craig came back on foot and escorted Phillips to the rear door of a house reached by an alley.

    On the way to an upstairs bedroom, Phillips said Craig told him, "You've never been here. You don't know me."

    Phillips said Craig removed his suit coat, but otherwise remained dressed. He said Craig first performed oral sex on him, and then unzipped his pants so Phillips could reciprocate. Craig then left the room, returning with condoms and lubricant. The two men then had anal sex. Afterward, Craig became agitated and pressed Phillips to leave.

    "After the sex, he just wanted me out of there," Phillips said. He said Craig stuck $20 in his pocket and said, "'I can buy and sell your ass a thousand times over. You were never here.' "

    Phillips said he saw a note card addressed to Suzanne Craig as he left the house. But he said he never recognized Craig as his sex partner until the recent story broke and he heard Craig's distinctive and formal voice on TV.

    "I didn't hear that voice again until August," Phillips said. "Then that 'I can buy and sell your ass a thousand times' came back to me. It just all rolled back so vividly."

    Smith, the Craig spokesman, said in his blog posting after the Wonkette report that Phillips should not be believed because Craig did not live on Capitol Hill in 1987, but on his boat at the Capitol Yacht Club. "Everything in that story, from beginning to end, is pure lies and fiction," Smith wrote.

    It's not clear whether Craig lived on a boat between May and August 1986, when Phillips said the encounter actually occurred. But Craig told the Statesman in May 2007 that he "went through four boats," remodeled them, "made a little money on each one," and sometimes lived on land between boats. It's also not clear whether Craig may have had access to a house on Capitol Hill.


    Jones, 50, told the Statesman that Craig paid him $200 to have sex with him on a night between November 2004 and March 2005. Jones said he recognized Craig only after he became a big story in August.

    "Once I saw Larry Craig do his news conference, that's when I go, 'My God! That guy came to see me.' "

    Jones contacted the Statesman in September after Craig signaled he might back away from his vow to resign Sept. 30. After Craig said on Oct. 4 that he would complete his term in 2009 and appeared on NBC on Oct. 16, Jones went on the record with the Statesman, describing a sexual encounter with Craig. (In October, broadcast and Web reports quoted Jones saying Craig had visited him, but did not say the two had sex). Here is what Jones told the Statesman in a tape-recorded interview:

    Jones said a man phoned to make an appointment, not giving his name. The man, whom Jones later recognized as Craig, then arrived at a studio apartment on Sherman Street in downtown Denver. Craig asked whether Jones followed politics but then quickly changed the subject. "When I said, 'Yes,' he said, 'Oh, gee, it's cold outside.'" Jones said he immediately deduced from his client's odd response that he was servicing a politician.

    Craig removed his coat and dress shirt, leaving his T-shirt, slacks and shoes on when he climbed onto Jones's massage table. Craig asked that Jones be naked. Craig undid his own zipper and masturbated while performing oral sex on Jones. When Craig finished, he paid Jones $200 in cash and left.

    The encounter lasted less than an hour, said Jones, who said he kept no records on his escort clients. Jones said he advertised his "massage" services exclusively in gay publications, including the bi-weekly newspaper Out Front Colorado and

    Craig was in Denver on Feb. 11, 2005, and in nearby Keystone, Colo., on Feb. 12. On the 12th, he attended a meeting at the Keystone Center, a policy think tank. Craig's Senate travel records also show six other trips where Craig may have had layovers in Denver between November 2004 and March 2005.

    Craig and his staff won't respond to questions from the Statesman. But Dan Whiting, a Craig spokesman, told KIVI-Today's 6, "Mike Jones is lying in order to sell his book - plain and simple. Larry has never met Mike Jones."

    Jones has written a book about his experience with Haggard. Haggard resigned in November 2006 as president of the National Evangelical Association and was forced out as pastor of New Life Church after Jones came forward with voice mails implicating Haggard.

    Jones acknowledged his allegation about Craig may help sell books, but said he is motivated by the desire to expose hypocritical conduct by men like Haggard and Craig, who has a consistently anti-gay voting record.

    "Here they are putting down the gay community in a sense, treating us like second-class citizens, and they want to have their cake and eat it, too," he said.


    Ruth attended the Republican Western Roundup in Coeur d'Alene in October 1981, where he said Craig made a sexual advance. At the time, Craig was a 36-year-old bachelor and first-year congressman and Ruth was a 24-year-old college Republican from the University of Puget Sound.

    Ruth, who was openly gay in 1981, told the Statesman in a tape-recorded interview that Craig paid him unusual attention at the political gathering. Ruth said he excused himself to use the restroom, but Craig soon entered and stood next to Ruth at the urinal, looking at Ruth's penis.

    "He looked over and said, 'Hi,'" Ruth said. "But he didn't touch me or anything like that. And then after we finished urinating, we washed hands. He gave me his phone number and he said, 'If you ever get to D.C., call me. You can stay with me.'"

    Ruth, now a professional photographer, said he never followed up and lost the slip of paper with Craig's number. But Ruth said he has no doubt Craig was making a sexual advance. "I'm gay, and I knew he was hitting on me," Ruth said. "There's no question about that."

    Returning to Tacoma, Wash., Ruth immediately told his uncle about the incident. The uncle, Gerald King, is a retired major who served 25 years in the Army. Ruth, 50, is a former Army captain who served seven years on active duty in the infantry and 12 years in the Army Reserve.

    "Mind you," said King, "Greg was strikingly handsome. (Craig) was extremely friendly and overt with Greg in trying to get him to socialize with him."

    King said his nephew told him in 1981 that Craig made a sexual advance. "No question about it," said King. "I don't think they were going to make Jell-O."


    Another gay man, a 46-year-old professional from Boise, told the Statesman that Craig reached his hand into his restroom stall in September 2006 during a layover at the Denver airport. The man, who travels in political circles, had met Craig before. He asked that he not be named by the Statesman.

    The man said he was flying from Boise to Washington, D.C., on the same flights as Craig and Craig's wife, Suzanne. Denver, like Minneapolis, is a key connecting hub for flights between Boise and Washington.

    During the layover in Denver, the man said he was in a men's restroom stall when a hand came under the divider and reached toward him. The hand was palm up, as the officer in Minnesota also described, and slid toward him for two or three seconds. The man said he noticed unpolished, dark, lace-up shoes worn by the man in the next stall. He did not respond to the gesture.

    "I freaked out," said the man, who was traveling with his long-time partner. "I finished my business and left."

    The man said he then waited outside the men's restroom on a bench. Shortly after, a man wearing the shoes he saw in the adjacent stall exited. The man was Larry Craig.

    "Those shoes came out, and I looked up, and it was like, 'Oh, my God.'"

    After boarding the second flight, the man told his partner about the incident. The partner confirmed having heard the details of Craig's advance that day.

    The man said one reason he requires anonymity is he fears Craig will use his power to retaliate. He is afraid Craig may have recognized him and, perhaps knowing he is gay, followed him into the men's restroom thinking he would be amenable to sex.


    Russell, 48, a Nampa native who lives in Utah, was among three men who contacted the Statesman about what they described as unusually attentive behavior on Craig's part. Russell was willing to be named for this story and spoke in a tape-recorded interview.

    Russell worked as a food service manager at Bogus Basin ski resort and said his encounter probably occurred in the 1983-84 ski season, soon after Craig had married following the 1982 page scandal. Russell had taken a food class from Suzanne Craig and had heard the rumors that Craig was gay.

    Russell, openly gay at the time, said he set out to engage Craig "and attempted to show a personal interest - not in a suggestive way - but a personal interest to see if he would respond."

    "I recall that he was very delighted to talk to me - smiling, happy, very delighted - and that he had suggested that we could get together sometime," he said. "Why would he have a personal interest in meeting me elsewhere?"

    Russell said he became convinced Craig was gay because he used subtle signals consistent with communication between gay men in public places.

    "You've heard the term, 'gaydar'? OK, it's there. You know it. You know when somebody is raising an eyebrow at you because it's their gesture when they say 'hello' or when they are subtly trying to send you a message that they recognize you as being a gay person."

    Nothing came of the meeting, Russell said. But he came forward now because he is offended by Craig's denials.

    "I'm disgusted because it's hypocritical, and he's lying. He's lying through his teeth. Heterosexual men do not behave like that."

    The Bathroom Romeo has been BUSTED!

  88. Will Don Imus be defiant or contrite? Will he mock his skeptics while making his triumphant return to radio Monday. Or will he muzzle his mouth?

    "That question is part of the drama of his reemergence," said Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine, an industry trade journal. "Imus faces some choices."

    Imus isn't talking, yet, but it's safe to say radio's best-known curmudgeon will have lots to say when his show kicks off at 6 a.m. EST Monday on WABC-AM and other Citadel Broadcasting Corp. stations around the country, ending his nearly eight-month banishment from the air.

    The morning show will be simulcast on cable's RFD-TV, owned by the Rural Media Group Inc., and rebroadcast on radio in the evenings.

    Monday's four-hour premiere will be broadcast from Town Hall in Times Square, where $100 tickets were sold to benefit the Imus Ranch for Kids With Cancer. After its debut, the Imus spectacle will be on 6-9 a.m. weekdays, from a studio across the street from Madison Square Garden.

    Not much is known about the show's format, other than at least one black person will participate regularly, along with longtime newsreader Charles McCord. Imus, through a spokesman, declined to comment.

    Whether this will temper his staunchest critics, like as Rev. Al Sharpton, is unclear. Sharpton's spokeswoman said the civil rights leader wasn't commenting. In Boston on Friday, a group of black community leaders protested a local station's plan to air the Imus program.

    MSNBC and then CBS Radio jettisoned Imus in April after he called the Rutgers University women's basketball players "nappy-headed hos."

    Imus' nemesis, Howard Stern, told The Associated Press in a recent interview that his acerbic competitor's career had peaked.

    "At this point, I don't think he's very relevant," Stern said. "People will tune out within a week. I defy you to listen. It's like a rodeo _ you know, see how long you can ride a bull? See how long you can keep listening to Imus."

    The people who helped orchestrate the Imus comeback believe he'll succeed and say he's learned his lesson since the Rutgers debacle.

    "I don't have any doubt on his future," said Phil Boyce, WABC-AM program director. "He'll obviously be wiser, smarter and a bit more careful. He's learned from this. I'm not concerned that he'll have a repeat."

    "Obviously we are doing this because we think we can make more money," Boyce said. "There's an opportunity to charge more for our advertising rates. I am not ashamed of saying it is about the money. We are running a business."

    RFD reaches nearly 30 million homes, but with Imus on board the 24-hour cable network hopes to boost that number to 50 million over the next two years.

    Rural Media Group Inc., which caters to a rural audience, hopes to crack urban markets with the mass appeal of Imus. Love him or hate him, people will tune into Imus, said Patrick Gottsch, founder and president.

    "There is a real void in the morning with Don Imus not on the air," Gottsch said. "He's apologized heavily for the comments. He knew he made a mistake. You learn, you move on and I think most folks already have forgiven him."

    Neither Boyce nor Gottsch would reveal how much money Imus is getting.

    "It's the biggest deal by far we've ever done," Gottsch said. Imus signed a five-year agreement with RFD.

    Boyce said he's paying to get the real Imus, and expects that to be the personality that emerges Monday.

    "I'm not too worried that we're not gonna get the real deal," Boyce said.

    But listeners might experience a different Imus, the same one who has morphed over the years, according to Harrison.

    "Imus is just an interesting character," Harrison said. "I don't think that he is premeditated. I think he is a creature of the moment. He's a spontaneous human being. This is what he is. He has evolved over the years. Imus has been never stagnant. The tenets of his performances changed over there years by reinventing himself as the times demanded."

    "If they're expecting him to stumble, they're going to have to wait for a long time," Harrison said.

  89. Business lobbyists, nervously anticipating Democratic gains in next year’s elections, are racing to secure final approval for a wide range of health, safety, labor and economic rules, in the belief that they can get better deals from the Bush administration than from its successor.

    Hoping to lock in policies backed by a pro-business administration, poultry farmers are seeking an exemption for the smelly fumes produced by tons of chicken manure. Businesses are lobbying the Bush administration to roll back rules that let employees take time off for family needs and medical problems. And electric power companies are pushing the government to relax pollution-control requirements.

    “There’s a growing sense, a growing probability, that the next administration could be Democratic,” said Craig L. Fuller, executive vice president of Apco Worldwide, a lobbying and public relations firm, who was a White House official in the Reagan administration. “Corporate executives, trade associations and lobbying firms have begun to recalibrate their strategies.”

    The Federal Register typically grows fat with regulations churned out in the final weeks of any administration. But the push for such rules has become unusually intense because of the possibility that Democrats in 2009 may consolidate control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives for the first time in 14 years.

    Even as they try to shape pending regulations, business lobbies are also looking beyond President Bush. Corporations and trade associations are recruiting Democratic lobbyists. And lobbyists, expecting battles over taxes and health care in 2009, are pouring money into the campaigns of Democratic candidates for Congress and the White House.

    Randel K. Johnson, a vice president of the United States Chamber of Commerce, said, “I am beefing up my staff, putting more money aside for economic analysis of regulations that I foresee coming out of a possible new Democratic administration.”

    At the Transportation Department, trucking companies are trying to get final approval for a rule increasing the maximum number of hours commercial truck drivers can work. And automakers are trying to persuade officials to set new standards for the strength of car roofs — standards far less stringent than what consumer advocates say is needed to protect riders in a rollover.

    Business groups generally argue that federal regulations are onerous and needlessly add costs that are passed on to consumers, while their opponents accuse them of trying to whittle down regulations that are vital to safety and quality of life. Documents on file at several agencies show that business groups have stepped up lobbying in recent months, as they try to help the Bush administration finish work on rules that have been hotly debated and, in some cases, litigated for years.

    At the Interior Department, coal companies are lobbying for a regulation that would allow them to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys. It would be prohibitively expensive to haul away the material, they say, and there are no waste sites in the area. Luke Popovich, a vice president of the National Mining Association, said that a Democratic president was more likely to side with “the greens.”

    A coalition of environmental groups has condemned the proposed rule, saying it would accelerate “the destruction of mountains, forests and streams throughout Appalachia.”

    A priority for many employers in 2008 is to secure changes in the rules for family and medical leave. Under a 1993 law, people who work for a company with 50 or more employees are generally entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for newborn children or sick relatives or to tend to medical problems of their own. The Labor Department has signaled its interest in changes by soliciting public comments.

    The National Association of Manufacturers said the law had been widely abused and had caused “a staggering loss of work hours” as employees took unscheduled, intermittent time off for health conditions that could not be verified. The use of such leave time tends to rise sharply before holiday weekends, on the day after Super Bowl Sunday and on the first day of the local hunting season, employers said.

    Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, an advocacy group, said she was “very concerned that the Bush administration will issue new rules that cut back on family and medical leave for those who need it.”

    That could be done, for example, by narrowing the definition of a “serious health condition” or by establishing stricter requirements for taking intermittent leave for chronic conditions that flare up unexpectedly.

    The Chamber of Commerce is seeking such changes. “We want to get this done before the election,” Mr. Johnson said. “The next White House may be less hospitable to our position.”

    Indeed, most of the Democratic candidates for president have offered proposals to expand the 1993 law, to provide paid leave and to cover millions of additional workers. Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut was a principal author of the law. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York says it has been “enormously successful.” And Senator Barack Obama of Illinois says that more generous family leave is an essential part of his plan to “reclaim the American dream.”

    Susan E. Dudley, administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, said, “Research suggests that regulatory activity increases in the final year of an administration, regardless of party.”

    Whoever becomes the next president, Democrat or Republican, will find that it is not so easy to make immediate and sweeping changes. The Supreme Court has held that a new president cannot arbitrarily revoke final regulations that already have the force of law. To undo such rules, a new administration must provide a compelling justification and go through a formal rule-making process, which can take months or years.

    Within hours of taking office in 2001, Mr. Bush slammed the brakes on scores of regulations issued just before he took office, so his administration could review them. A study in the Wake Forest Law Review found that one-fifth of those “midnight regulations” were amended or repealed by the Bush administration, while four-fifths survived.

    Some of the biggest battles now involve rules affecting the quality of air, water and soil.

    The National Chicken Council and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association have petitioned for an exemption from laws and rules that require them to report emissions of ammonia exceeding 100 pounds a day. They argue that “emissions from poultry houses pose little or no risk to public health” because the ammonia disperses quickly in the air.

    Perdue Farms, one of the nation’s largest poultry producers, said that it was “essentially impossible to provide an accurate estimate of any ammonia releases,” and that a reporting requirement would place “an undue and useless burden” on farmers.

    But environmental groups told the Bush administration that “ammonia emissions from poultry operations pose great risk to public health.” And, they noted, a federal judge in Kentucky has found that farmers discharge ammonia from their barns, into the environment, so it will not sicken or kill the chickens.

    On another issue, the Environmental Protection Agency is drafting final rules that would allow utility companies to modify coal-fired power plants and increase their emissions without installing new pollution-control equipment.

    The Edison Electric Institute, the lobby for power companies, said the companies needed regulatory relief to meet the growing demand for “safe, reliable and affordable electricity.”

    But John D. Walke, director of the clean air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the rules would be “the Bush administration’s parting gift to the utility industry.”

    If Democrats gain seats in Congress or win the White House, that could pose problems for all-Republican lobbying firms like Barbour, Griffith & Rogers, whose founders include Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

    Loren Monroe, chief operating officer of the Barbour firm, said: “If the right person came along, we might hire a Democrat. And it’s quite possible we could team up in an alliance with a Democratic firm.”

    Two executive recruiters, Ivan H. Adler of the McCormick Group and Nels B. Olson of Korn/Ferry International, said they had seen a growing demand for Democratic lobbyists. “It’s a bull market for Democrats, especially those who have worked for the Congressional leadership” or a powerful committee, Mr. Adler said.

    Few industries have more cause for concern than drug companies, which have been a favorite target of Democrats. Republicans run the Washington offices of most major drug companies, and a former Republican House member, Billy Tauzin, is president of their trade association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

    The association has hired three Democrats this year, so its lobbying team is split evenly between Republicans and Democrats.

    Loren B. Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute, a policy research organization, said: “Defense contractors have not only begun to prepare for the next administration. They have begun to shape it. They’ve met with Hillary Clinton and other candidates.”

    The tainted stench of the corruption of George W Bush.

  90. John Nirenberg has waterproof sneakers, a bright yellow poncho and a plan. He also has outrage in his heart and much of his retirement savings tied up in his cause.

    The 60-year-old author and academic plans to walk from Boston to Washington, D.C., to confront House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in hopes of persuading Congress to take up the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

    Nirenberg says he's no activist. He hates snow, cold and darkness. He's not even sure he'll make a difference, but he's going to try.

    He plans to hit the road Sunday, leaving from Faneuil Hall and walking 15 miles a day until he gets to Capitol Hill, stopping at the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall and other symbolic locations as he makes his way to the U.S. Capitol.

    Wearing a "Save the Constitution, Impeach Bush and Cheney," sandwich-board style sign, Nirenberg hopes to rally support for an issue Pelosi has said is no longer on the table.

    "This is about satisfying my conscience. I just don't want to be the guy who says in five years that I regret not having stood up and said something.

    "With a name like Nirenberg, you're very sensitive to that kind of environment," he said, referring to the post-World War II Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals.

    Nirenberg, a New York native who was a member of the Civil Air Patrol as youth and later served in the U.S. Air Force, was a social studies teacher, college professor and organizational consultant.

    A former dean at the School for International Training, in Brattleboro, he has also written three books.

    In October, frustrated by what he sees as constitutional abuses by the Bush administration, Nirenberg decided to "activate my citizenship" and do something about it.

    He settled on marching, set up a Web site and made cards, pencils and literature in support of his plan.

    He has accepted donations and plans to wear the names of his supporters on yellow 6-by-24-inch panels hanging off his body as traverses U.S. 1 through eight states and into the District of Columbia, walking six hours a day.

    With one supporter riding along in a car and another occasionally walking with him, Nirenberg plans to stop for events with anti-war and impeachment advocates along the way.

    Among them is Stuart Hutchison, 49, an actor and producer from Wayne, N.J., who is trying to organize a Statue of Liberty event with Nirenberg while he treks south.

    "People like him are the real heroes," said Hutchison, an impeachment activist. "These are the people who are going to save this country."

    Nirenberg, who is unaffiliated with any impeachment organization, says people who have heard about his march have been supportive.

    "I can't believe what's already happened, and I haven't even started walking," he said Friday. "People are calling me, and they're having a send-off and a bunch of people want to organize a turnout at Faneuil Hall for me. I didn't even pursue this."

    Nirenberg said his idealism, which he concedes sounds "almost Jimmy Stewart-ish," just might persuade Pelosi that America supports impeachment.

    He planned to send her a letter before he leaves to let her know he's coming.

    Pelosi, through a spokesman, didn't directly comment on Nirenberg's venture.

    "The New Direction Congress will continue building a record of progress for the American people — holding the Bush administration accountable, restoring fiscal discipline to Washington and investing in our national priorities," spokesman Nadeam Elshami said.

    "If they can rise above strategy and spin and focus on the principles of what America's all about, they will get the overwhelming support of the public in `08, which is what they're really concerned about," Nirenberg said.

    Bush will never be impeached until Pelosi and Reid are removed.

  91. US war veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have announced they’re planning to descend on Washington, DC this March to testify about war crimes they committed or personally witnessed in Iraq.

    “The war in Iraq is not covered to its potential because of how dangerous it is for reporters to cover it,” said Liam Madden, a former Marine and member of the group Iraq Veterans Against the War. “That’s left a lot of misconceptions in the minds of the American public about what the true nature of military occupation looks like.”

    Iraq Veterans Against the War argues that well-publicized incidents of American brutality like the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the massacre of an entire family of Iraqis in the town of Haditha are not the isolated incidents perpetrated by “a few bad apples,” as many politicians and military leaders have claimed. They are part of a pattern, the group says, of “an increasingly bloody occupation.”

    “This is our generation getting to tell history,” Madden told OneWorld, “to ensure that the actual history gets told – that it’s not a sugar-coated, diluted version of what actually happened.”

    Iraq Veterans Against the War is calling the gathering a “Winter Soldier,” named after a similar event organized by Vietnam veterans in 1971.

  92. Student leaders at Pomona College are no longer considering a speaking invitation to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who until September served as the country’s Attorney General according to the leader of the committee that was initially considering booking him.

    Kelly Schwartz ’10, the ASPC Communications Commissioner and chairperson of the Speakers Committee, said that the committee ultimately made its decision based on a consideration of price and student interest level.

    “In the case of Gonzales, it was a combination of not having the funding and the impression that students would not attend this event,” she said, although the committee stopped short of an initial plan to have the ASPC Senate poll students on their interest on the subject. Gonzales’s speaking agency had asked the school to pay him $35,000 in addition to first-class accommodations.

    The decision came several weeks after the Pomona Student Union and college officials came under fire for the Nov. 8 debate between libertarian Jacob Hornberger and illegal-immigration opponent Marvin Stewart. Some students and faculty objected to the debate as promoting hateful rhetoric. After opponents unsuccessfully attempted to cancel the event entirely, more than 50 members of the 5–C community protested by turning their backs to the dais.

    Pomona Professor of Politics Heather Williams, for one, reacted positively to the news. Williams, who last week wrote an opinions article in The Student Life against bringing Gonzales to campus, said that it was never the right decision for the school.

    “Even if the point was to invite Gonzales to campus to answer for his actions as Attorney General, let’s face it, he’s not on the lecture circuit to disclose hitherto unknown information and apologize to the public for his conduct,” she wrote in an email. “Honesty was not his m.o. when he assumed office and he stumbled and dodged through one Senate hearing after another, and it’s certainly not going to be his meal ticket now. Call me old fashioned, but I think there’s something really gross about a celebrity lecture circuit that rewards people for misconduct, scandal, and even felony crimes.”

    America's youth don't want to hear from a Bush criminal.

  93. lydia I am a life long day one nature freak, absolutely every living thing and everything about it. There is beauty in every scintilla of it. If more people appreciated it the planet would not be in the dire situation it is but I'll leave that alone for now.
    I know you did the show on Buchanan. as I said before, he is right but doesn't have a clue that the division and the vast majority of our problems were created by Bush for Political gain. Divide and conquer has always worked for him in the past.
    I was hoping you would discuss the interview on your blog. Do you usually do that? Will you eventually in this case?

  94. Like I told y'all before, my ultimate aim in life is to head northward across the Mackinac Bridge, and venture south of it no more. The rats can have the rat race; a place where my cellphone won't work is the place I want to be.

  95. That's probably a wise move Jolly.

  96. Freedom fired, and forgotten

    By Henry Lamb

    There was a mechanic who was so successful he had to hire someone to answer the phone and schedule appointments. His business prospered and his accountant recommended that he incorporate his business, which he did. Then came hard times. The board of directors, eager to cut costs, fired the mechanic who built the business. The business died.

    America may have done the same thing. Freedom - individual freedom - built this great nation. America prospered as no other nation in history had, because individuals were free to invest their time, energy, and creativity into any venture they chose. Individuals were free to accumulate property and wealth - without government oversight or limitation. Individuals were free to pursue happiness any way they chose, and those who chose to infringe upon another's freedom were subject to pay damages as determined by a jury of their peers.

    America has fired freedom - the mechanic who built the prosperity in the first place.

    For nearly two hundred years, America flourished. Freedom moved civilization from horse-and-buggy to rocket ships to the moon. Of course, free individuals made mistakes. Injustices occurred. People were hurt, and pollution poured from smokestacks where millions of laborers earned their wages. When people are free, these mistakes tend to be self-correcting. When management abused workers, free people created labor unions to balance the power. When landlords abused tenants, bankers offered mortgages so tenants could become homeowners.

    A free society allows ideas and creativity to solve problems and make opportunities.

    But America has fired freedom. Now the board of directors - the government - is trying to solve problems and create opportunities by forcing individuals to perform as government dictates. The concept behind the "School to Work" initiative of the 90s was to guide individuals into the labor markets that government defined. The concept behind "No Child Left Behind" is to transform the attitudes, values, and ultimately, the behavior of individuals to what the government defines as desirable.

    That granite cornerstone of individual freedom - private property - has been jack-hammered into pebbles by a government hell-bent on controlling virtually every aspect of human life.

    Government decides how much money may be retained by the individual who earns it. Government decides how land may be used by the individual who owns it. Government now has the power to decide what crops may be grown, and is trying to gain the power to decide which, and how many animals an individual may have. Government decides the minimum wage a job-giver must pay. Government decides who employers may and may not hire and fire through laws that seek to "equalize opportunity."

    Tragically, most Americans see nothing wrong in this government power. They never knew the original mechanic - freedom - who provided the prosperity they now enjoy.

    The opposite of a free society is a managed society. The "land of the free..." is roaring toward a government-managed society. For more than a generation, America has accepted the proposition that the "collective good" is more important than individual freedom. The fallacy in this belief is the fact that government decides what is the "collective good." In a free society, the result of individuals pursuing their own prosperity results in a "collective good," that far outstrips anything any government can dare to dream.

    Evidence: the first two-hundred years of freedom in the United States, compared with two-thousand years of societies managed by some form of ultimate government power. In a free society, individuals compete to produce the best product or service. In a managed society, competition is bad; equity is the goal. Schools have been encouraged to not allow children to keep score in playground ball games. They contend that losing causes emotional damage, and winning creates the idea of superiority.

    In a free society, competition keeps prices as low as possible and promotes innovation. In a government managed society, prices are set, directly or indirectly, by government. Innovation follows government grants - which must first be taken from the individuals who earn the money.

    In a free society, businesses go bankrupt when they do not provide goods or services for which people are willing to pay. In a government-managed society, businesses that find favor with the ruling party, stay in business; those who fall from favor with the ruling party, are closed. In a free society, farmers may raise animals they choose to raise; in a government-managed society, such as England, farmers who fail to register their animals with the government are subject to lose their animals to government slaughter - without compensation.

    Who, in America, can champion Vladimir Putin's iron-fisted control over the press? Who, in America, can champion Myanmar's, China's, or Pakistan's absolute refusal to allow political opposition? Who, in America, can see the slow slide toward this very form of intolerant government by those who seek laws to silence Rush Limbaugh, and other outspoken critics?

    The society that trades its individual freedom for management by the government is, indeed, like the corporation that fires its founder, and chief producer. Without freedom, America cannot prosper, and may not survive.

  97. Lydia,

    You're right about the beauty of nature -- my mother lives in the foothills of the Rockies and when we go to visit her, I just spend hours looking at the mountains.

    So very sorry to hear that you have a brother who has since passed on. My wife has lost two of hers ... but we know that they are with their dad and have already met up with my dad and are patiently waiting for us to join them. My view of heaven is a backyard bbq -- my dad, Kelly's dad and brothers, my cousin and grandparents are all there and while I dont necessarily want to hurry up and join them, I certainly am looking forward to it.

  98. In his first term as mayor, Rudy Giuliani appointed Brendan Sexton to head NYC's Procurement Policy Board, one of the little-known offices that, we now know, Giuliani used to hide the costs associated with his romantic, adulterous getaways.

    And what does Sexton think now that he knows his office's budget was misused by his former boss? I'm glad you asked.

    A former Giuliani administration official says he's "sick" over reports that his little-known agency was used to hide taxpayer money that funded police escorts during the ex-mayor's romantic rendezvous in the Hamptons.

    "The cover-up of this and the explanations for it have been so disingenuous," said Brendan Sexton, who chaired the Procurement Policy Board in 2000. The panel was charged $29,757 for travel bills racked up by then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani's security detail as he hung out with then-girlfriend Judith Nathan on Long Island.

    "He didn't want anybody to know what he was doing. That's the truth. I don't care about his personal life - it's not shocking to me that he wanted to visit his girlfriend," added Sexton, a Democrat who served as sanitation commissioner under Ed Koch.

    "The part that's disturbing to me is that my organization or any government organization could be used to conceal from the public how their money was being spent."

    Sexton added, "At first, I thought it was humorous. I just couldn't believe anybody would do this. After that, I was sort of sick about it."

    Poor Pathetic Pimpmaster Rudy!

  99. Lydia,

    I'm sorry to hear of the passing of your brother.


  100. John Edwards is set to collect a key Iowa endorsement tomorrow from one of the state's Democratic members of Congress, a coveted prize that each of Mr. Edwards' rivals have been aggressively courting.

    Representative Bruce Braley, who represents Iowa's First Congressional District in the eastern portion of the state, is scheduled to announce that he is supporting the presidential candidacy of Mr. Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina.

    Poor Hillary she can't get any endorsements of value.

  101. A Canadian company wants to open a new plant in Claremont, N.H., to bottle fresh water from a source in Stockbridge, Vt.

    more stories like thisBut if Vermont wants to limit how much water the company takes, it may run afoul of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

    States around the country are growing increasingly worried about the threats posed to their laws and regulations by the secret tribunals that resolve disputes in international trade. Experts say everything from environmental rules to the licensing of nurses and other professionals could be affected.

    "Free trade agreements are to state sovereignty and economic development what global climate change is to the environment and natural resources," said state Sen. Virginia Lyons, D-Chittenden. "I think it's a really significant issue for our state, and for every state in the country."

    Vermont is one of seven states to establish committees to study the possible impacts of international trade on their laws.

    Assistant Vermont Attorney General Elliot Burg said NAFTA and other trade agreements have opened up a path for international companies that want to circumvent state laws they don't like.

    "The issue is not really fair treatment or equal treatment" of domestic versus foreign companies, Burg said. "It's really, `We don't like the laws you're passing.'"

    States are beginning to take notice.

    Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and New Jersey trade officials recently huddled in Portsmouth, N.H., to discuss the issue.

    The National Conference of State Legislatures, which represents all 50 state assemblies, issued a policy paper in August saying it was concerned about lack of state input on international trade agreements.

    In one famous case, California sought to ban the gasoline additive MTBE in 1999 after the chemical was found to have contaminated groundwater. A Canadian firm called Methanex filed a $970 million claim with a NAFTA tribunal, saying the figure represented the money it stood to lose from lost sales in the state.

    Methanex lost on that one; in fact, Peter Riggs, director of the nonpartisan Forum on Democracy and Trade, based in New York and Washington, said no trade tribunal has ruled against a U.S. state law to date. But Riggs said some states have pulled back from passing aggressive environmental and consumer protection laws for fear of such challenges.

    One trade dispute in which a private company won targeted the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi and the town of Guadalcazar, which wanted to shut down a toxic waste dump that had been bought by a U.S. company, Metalclad. Metalclad argued it had won permission from the Mexican federal government to reopen the dump and resume using it.

    The trade agreements have the potential to affect a wide range of state laws, experts said:

    -- Product protection: Vermont, America's top maple producer, has strict laws governing the purity and grading of maple syrup. They could be construed as interfering with a Canadian firm's desire to sell its own syrup in the state.

    -- Professional licensing: Licensing requirements for registered nurses, for example, are not the same everywhere. If a state sought to block a traveling nurse company from bringing in foreign-trained nurses on the grounds their training didn't meet state requirements, that, too, could be ruled out of bounds by a trade tribunal.

    -- Government purchasing: Some states have laws that call on their agencies to shop in-state for food for state cafeterias, paper or other products. Such laws could be ruled discriminatory by an international trade tribunal. Even state Medicaid "preferred drug lists," aimed at securing lower prices for the pharmaceuticals bought by public health programs, could be a target.

    Riggs said that when different jurisdictions disagree about trade's impact on local decision-making, it makes it harder to adopt laws as tough as the local jurisdictions might want.

    In the case of the Canadian firm's plans to take Vermont water, neither officials with Ontario-based Ice River Springs nor the owner of Stockbridge-based Pristine Mountain Springs -- the company that would sell the water to it -- returned calls seeking comment.

    Concern has been growing in Vermont in recent years about taking of groundwater by bottled water companies. The Legislature passed an interim law in 2006, and is expected to consider further tightening regulations during the session that begins in January.

    Now NAFTA is preventing new companies from being built in the U.S.

  102. Byn Steven Weber:

    There's a reason why CNN (The Most Trusted News Network) is now a high profile pariah alongside its bullying brother-in-low FOX, its over the hill uncles CBS, NBC and the shiftless, perpetually late ABC. It's because the CEOs who run the corporations that own those networks have too much power, too little talent and too little love for their customers. Instead of getting to the bottom of things, they choose to focus solely on the bottom line. By cutting costs, content and credibility, by circumventing the actual stuff that enriches people's life experience (far more than even Cialis or Lipitor), meaningful matter and verifiable information becomes so compromised as to be virtually invisible. People consume out of habit rather than out of need, without realizing that any real nutrition has been leached out of their diet. America's shelves are empty because its soul has literally been bought out. The virtual breadline is lengthening and every move you make, every step you take, every egg you break is a tiny section in a long chain of events that intertwine and interrelate in a Moebius loop with no end and no beginning.

    That's why, I'm not proud to say at the start of another Christmas season, things suck the way they do because reality has to be approximated, because "Wii" is the rage instead of actually doing whatever the simulation is based on. We've become ever more used to the bland, the general, the mediocre. Our senses are dulled and so is our judgment. CNN and FOX are retarded brutes compared to, say, the BBC World News, which has a far more catholic response to the expectations of its audience. But back in America™, mass mediocrity has become the adhesive that binds its citizenry who are no longer incentivized to want better education, to be more vigilant about food and product safety, to expect responsible civil service and to dare hope for accountable leaders. That stuff is so Greatest Generation. What is sexy is the low hanging fruit of low expectations and lower standards. No longer is this nation the agrarian Jeffersonian society whose survival depends on the wisdom of its inhabitants but rather the shambling pleasure-seeking Brotherhood of the Uninspired Consuming Knucklehead (or BUCKS for short. I know, I know...).

    Change? Things are about as alterable as a tectonic plate creeping uphill with the wind against it. The right-wing conservative Republican stranglehold began with a subtle grass roots strategy, the sprinkling of very low level judges and activists here and there, its power multiplying through sheer doggedness and the base charisma of its message, appealing to the frustrated and the betrayed: bogeymen are causing you pain, here is a solution. Simple, easy to digest and brilliant. Ahh, but the strict patriarchal disciplinarian that is the neo-conservative behemoth is the very thing that nudged America to the point where its credibility in virtually every area as a responsible member of the global community has been utterly and perilously compromised.

    Change now needs to come about through individual awareness. Forget obtaining reliable information from the slick usual suspects. As cancer begins with the corruption of just one cell, so does its cure. And the aforementioned grassroots approach is the only thing that can nudge the nation back into its imperfect but crucial equilibrium. Nature cries out for balance. Extremism is a perversion of reality and the ideologues who run the media (and its related religious, military and political industries) and live by the corporate paradigm of extremism and mediocrity, use the public's hunger to drive profits skyward. Never has it been more clear that the key to change lay in the will of the One, the common sense of the informed individual to govern the nation that beats within.

  103. By Harold Myerson:

    George W. Bush is focusing now on his legacy. Duck. Run. Hide.
    Some of his legacy-building, I'll allow, is commendable, if overdue -- most particularly, his efforts to resurrect the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which he ignored for seven long years. But the linchpin of Bush's legacy, it appears, is to make his Iraq policy a permanent fixture of American statecraft.

    On Monday, Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki signed a declaration pledging that their governments would put in place a long-term political and security pact sometime next year. "The shape and size of any long-term, or longer than 2008, U.S. presence in Iraq will be a key matter for negotiation between the two parties, Iraq and the United States," Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, the White House official in charge of Iraq war matters, said at the briefing unveiling the agreement.

    What Bush will almost surely be pushing for is permanent U.S. bases in Iraq, enshrined in a pact he can sign a few months before he leaves office. And here, as they used to say, is the beauty part: As far as Bush is concerned, he doesn't have to seek congressional ratification for such an enduring commitment of American force, treasure and lives.

    "We don't anticipate now that these negotiations will lead to the status of a formal treaty which would then bring us to formal negotiations or formal inputs from the Congress," Lute said. The administration is looking to sign a status-of-forces agreement, which requires Senate ratification if it's classified as a treaty but not if it's classified as an executive agreement. One need not be able to solve the riddle of the Sphinx to guess which of those classifications the Bush White House will go for.

    But if Bush tries to lock the next president into permanent U.S. bases in Iraq, he may also be locking in a Democrat as the next president. Ironically, just when events on the ground in Iraq aren't looking as disastrous as they did six months ago, Bush's efforts to make the U.S. presence permanent would drape the necks of the Republican presidential and congressional candidates with one large, squawking albatross.

    Having to defend permanent U.S. bases in Iraq would be difficult enough for Republicans on the 2008 ballot. There are a few major differences, after all, between Iraq and states such as Germany, Japan and South Korea, where we've stationed forces for more than half a century. For starters, those countries are internally peaceable, and their governments are recognized as legitimate by their citizens. Nobody is setting roadside bombs or shooting at our troops or contesting the authority of their government to govern.

    But imagine the political dilemma for Republican candidates if Bush argues that he can put such an agreement into effect without getting Congress's approval. A lame-duck president with a 30 percent approval rating would be claiming that he alone has the authority to keep our Iraqi occupation going for years to come, preempting the power of both Congress and the next president to chart a different course. What would nominee Romney or Giuliani or McCain have to say about that? What would the Republicans in Congress do? Thus far, they've all proven themselves utterly incapable of breaking with Bush on the war.

    By negotiating such an accord, Bush would in fact ensure that the 2008 election becomes the last thing the Republicans can afford: a referendum on Bush and his war. If the dividing line between the two parties is that one backs Bush on Iraq and the other does not, the Republicans might as well give up the ghost and nominate Dick Cheney as their presidential standard-bearer. Bush's policy legacy, in short, poses a serious threat to what one presumes he wishes his political legacy to be -- a thriving Republican Party.

    I am presupposing here that the Democrats have both the gumption and the sense to oppose a pact with the Maliki government that commits our forces to an open-ended presence in a nation of unreconciled sects. The party's leading presidential candidates have managed to be both reticent and confusing when it comes to their ultimate vision of the U.S. role in Iraq. The Bush-Maliki negotiations should concentrate the Democratic mind on the inadvisability of keeping U.S. forces indefinitely in a land where instability and civil strife will go on indefinitely as well.

    The president who waged a preemptive war now wants to lock in place a preemptive occupation. Only this time, instead of preempting a foreign nation, he is seeking to preempt Congress and his successor. It's the logical conclusion for his misshapen and miserable presidency, and I doubt the American people -- if they have any say in the matter -- will stand for it.

    George W Bush: Duck, Run, Hide - His entire miserable life.

  104. NEW YORK (AP) -- Don Imus returned to the airwaves Monday eight months after he was fired for a racially charged remark about the Rutgers women's basketball team, introducing a new cast that included two black comedians.

    As he did several times in the days after his comments, Imus condemned his remarks and said he had learned his lesson.

    "I didn't see any point in going on some sort of `Larry King' tour to offer a bunch of lame excuses for making an essentially reprehensible remark about innocent people who did not deserve to be made fun of," he said Monday during the debut on WABC-AM.

    He said that every time he would get upset about how he was treated - he was fired from CBS Radio and MSNBC - "I would remind myself that if I hadn't said what I said, then we wouldn't be having this discussion."

    Imus also apologized again to the players.

    "I will never say anything in my lifetime that will make any of these young women at Rutgers regret or feel foolish that they accepted my apology and forgave me," he said. "And no one else will say anything else on my program that will make anyone think that I didn't deserve a second chance."

    While saying he had learned his lesson, he added - to applause from the live audience at Manhattan's Town Hall - "The program is not going to change."

    His debut Monday completed a comeback that seemed improbable at the height of the uproar last spring over his calling the players "nappy-headed hos." CBS Radio fired him on April 12, pulling the plug on his "Imus In the Morning" program that had aired on more than 70 stations and the MSNBC cable network.

    His guests on Monday's show included historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Sens. John McCain and Chris Dodd, and political analysts James Carville and Mary Matalin.

    Shortly after the program started at 6 a.m., Imus introduced his new cast, including two black comedians, Karith Foster and Tony Powell.

    While Imus pledged to use his new show to talk about race relations, he added: "Other than that, not much has changed. Dick Cheney is still a war criminal, Hillary Clinton is still Satan and I'm back on the radio."

  105. Average Patriot: that's a good idea, to discuss Pat Buchanan's interview on the blog. When I have time I could transcribe it -- or anyone can -- from the archives of our show at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk

    Is that what you meant? Do you want me to post the entire interview, or parts of it?

    Buchanan started a magazine for the sole purpose of stopping Bush from invading Iraq -- and he came this close to calling Cheney evil. He thoroughly excoriated Bush.

  106. Only in Bush's America can a serving US soldier FIGHTING in Afghanistan,

    FACE DEPORTION when he returns from combat.

    Arab-American paratrooper faces deportation after Afghan service

    Highly decorated sergeant ordered to stand trial

    Anti-discrimination committee protests

    A highly decorated Arab-American sergeant in the US army, who is currently serving as a paratrooper in Afghanistan, faces deportation on his return to the United States because of an irregularity in his immigration papers.

    Sgt Hicham Benkabbou has been served with an order to stand trial for deportation as soon as he arrives home, despite the fact that he has been on active service in Afghanistan for almost two years with the 508th parachute infantry regiment, known as the Red Devils.

    They wanted money back from wounded vets ;

    They want to deport dependents of soldiers who are serving in combat;

    Now they want to deport people AFTER those people put their lives on the line for the country that wants to throw them out.

    The reichwing claims they support the troops;


  107. We all know the reichwing is far too gutless to ever serve themselves and face combat,

    George W Bush, Richard Cheney, Dan Quayle, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill o Rielly, Tom Delay, Rudy Guiliani, Willard M Romney, William Frist, Newt Gingrich, Pat Buchanan, Clarence Thomas, Karl Rove, Trent Lott, Spencer Abraham, Elliott Abrams Ken Adelman, Roger Ailes, Samuel Alito, Dick Armey, John Ashcroft, Fred Barnes, Bob Barr, Roscoe Bartlett, Gary Bauer, Evan Bayh, William Bennett, Roy Blunt, John Boehner, John R. Bolton, Neal Boortz, Sam Brownback, Pat Buchanan, Jeb Bush, Marvin Bush, Neil Mallon Bush, Andrew Card, axby Chambliss, Ann Coulter, Chris Cox, David Dreier, Matt Drudge, John Engler, Don Evans, Jerry Falwell, Douglas Feith, Ari Fleischer, Steve Forbes, Frank Gaffney, Phil Gingrey, Newt Gingrich, Phil Gramm, Judd Gregg, Dennis Hastert, John H. Hinderaker, David Horowitz, Asa Hutchinson, Tim Hutchinson, Brit Hume, Clay Johnson III, Walter Jones, Frederick Kagan, Robert Kagan, Jack Kemp, Alan Keyes, Jack Kingston, Bill Kristol, Jon Kyl, Wayne LaPierre, Michael Ledeen, Irving Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Joe Lieberman, David Limbaugh, Rich Lowry, Michelle Malkin, Chris Matthews, Michael Medved, Mitch McConnell, John M. McHugh, Bob Ney, Don Nickles, Ted Nugent, Ted Olson, P.J. O'Rourke, George Pataki, Richard Perle, Marc F. Racicot, Michael Reagan, Ralph Reed, Condoleezza Rice, Geraldo Rivera, Pat Robertson, John G. Roberts, Jr., Dana Rohrabacher, Donald Rumsfeld, Rick Santorum, Michael Savage, Antonin Scalia, Joe Scarborough, Richard Shelby, Tony Snow, Mark Souder, Kenneth Starr, Raymond Tanter, Clarence Thomas, Fred Thompson, Michael R. Turner, J.C. Watts, Vin Weber, and George Will.

    Don't forget the former trolls here Freedom Fan, Voltron talll texan all hid from combat also.

    But why should they attack those who were willing to suit up and serve when the current collection of gutless college republican chicken hawks refuse to do so?

    It boggles the mind.

  108. Might that be why when veterans of Bush's illegal War in Iraq, came home and decided to run for office well over 90% of them decided to register and run as democrats?

  109. Might that be why the republican candidate for the presidency who gets the most money from vets and soldiers is the anti-war candidate Ron Paul?

  110. Heck of a job all you gutless chicken hawks.......................

  111. Larry,

    Hill, is going shrill, as she reverses her pledge to not go negative as she attacks Barack Obama's character!

    Oh, the irony. From a woman who refuses to take responsibility for her 2002 Iraq war authorization.

  112. For enterprising young people hoping to pay down their mortgages or start up a business, they can talk to their banks -- or they can try their local Army recruiter.

    Starting in January, five US cities will serve as test markets for the Army Advantage Program, a new recruitment incentive package which will dole out $40,000 to enlistees willing to fulfill a five-year commitment in the service, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Patrick O'Donnell. The money must be applied to mortgages or used to benefit a registered business. Lower-dollar amounts will be offered for shorter stints.

    "The old patriotic reasons aren't quite pulling in recruits for the Army as well as they used to. So the Army is adding a new financial incentive to the college tuition benefits and bonuses it already offers," writes O'Donnell. Cleveland joins Albany, NY; Montgomery, Ala; Seattle and San Antonio as the first to offer the incentive.

    "The money is available to soldiers after they finish their enlistment and they show proof to the Army that they are trying to buy a house or have registered a business with their state," O'Donnell reports. "If the house purchase or business start-up does not go through, they may keep the money."

    The Bush Military Model: Corporate Patriotism For A Price.

  113. Christopher:

    The Shrill of Hill must be panic over those tumbling poll numbers.

  114. Oh goody, ole' Ben can fly his heilocopter to Iraq and drop all that money on the battle field so those who survive they can pick it up and come home;

    snark off.

  115. With Bush everything has a price, including the soldiers lives.

  116. Clif said "Might that be why when veterans of Bush's illegal War in Iraq, came home and decided to run for office well over 90% of them decided to register and run as democrats?"

    Clif the repug party is finished for decades thanks to Bush and the repug rubberstamping congress.............Why do you think Trent Lott and all the other repugs are bolting from congress...........they can smel the winds of change and they dont want to be tarred with being in power when the Depression sets in........that and they want to make a quick buck as a lobbiest BEFORE the Peak Oil induced Depression kills the opportunity to make a quick buck at the expense of the people.

  117. Hey Clif, remember how i've been talking about bogus cooked government statistics for the last few years?

    Remember how on at least 10 occasions I CLEARLY outlined how the government used hedonics to vastly understate inflation while greatly overstating GDP, and the trolls just laughed and riddiculed us...................well if this quarters assinely riddiculous fraud of a GDP isnt the PERFECT illustration of what i've ben saying i dont know what is.

    They "CLAIM" GDP is BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! 4.9% one of the highest numbers we've seen in decades yet the FED has cut rates several times and from the looks of things has several more cuts to go.............Now HERE"S the million dollar question WHY would the FED be CUTTING rates if Bush and all the talking heads on CNBC keep crowing how "robust" the economy is and how "STTRONG" the fundamentas are......................Like I said before a fed rate cut is a sign of economic weakness not strength, much as a doctor putting a patient on steroids and antibiotics is a sign of a sick and not a healthy patient.

    So How can GDP be 4.9% and inflation around 2% when my food, energy, medical expenses and housing which comprise 90-95%% of my expenses have gone up almost 20%.............the fed must have dropped a zero or screwed up a decimal point somewhere along the way.

    Like I said before the repugs are going to be voted out of power just as they were when the Great Depression showed their disdain for the working class and the common man.

    The repugs are in a catch 22 right now they are clinging to their dishonest rhetoric and talking points just like Hoover and and Mellon did at the start of the Depression because to do otherwise and support the working class and equitable tax, economic and work policies would derail their self serving greedy agenda of robbing from the working class and giving corporate welfare to the ultra wealthy and the corporate elite at the expense of the working class which comprise over 80% of America..............Just like the 1930's when the hard economic times set in people will STOP voting against their own as well as the interests of the overwhelming majority of this country and vote the greedy robber barons out of office..............then the repugs lies, rhetoric and dishonest talking points will be laid bare and exposed as lies and no one will dare parot those talking points for a long long time...........when that happens we will witness the demise of the republican party and the rise of a populist progressive agenda and a NEW New Deal that will help the working class............and THATS why you are seeing repugs like Trent Lott et al who can smell the winds of change bolt and try to make a quick buck while they still can.

  118. Bartlebe, I still say that for me to buy into your conspiracy theory , i need the preponderance of evidence to tell me your theory is MORE reasonable and plausible that the more easily explained alternative.....while your theory is certainly plausible I dont see the EVIDENCE I need to tilt me to your theory.

    That said one thing I have noticed that DOES lend evidence and support for your theory at least in my mind is that The History Channel drastically changed its content around August/September right after Bush's Executive Order................Prior to August the History Channel was predominantly running shows that focused on: The Rise to Power of Hitler and the Nazi's, The Fall of The Roman Empire. The mistakes and incompetence that occured in the war in Iraq, The mistakes and incompetence of Hurricaine Katrina, the assult on our liberties, the incompetence of the Bush Administration etc..............Now instead of focusing on things detrimental to the Bush Administration the History Channel runs shows like MonsterQuest, Ice Road Truckers, Gangland, Drugwars.

    Do Ya think Bush and Cheney would approve of the NEW format change.

  119. BTW I DID watch the drug war last might and they Still managed to take a shot a the repugs...............Hoover sent a secret memo to Nixon saying they could initiate and use a war on drugs as a way to get at and attack the left, since most drug users and peace protestors are liberals...........good way to justify violence towards liberal peace protestors or get an arrest on their record to limit or disqualify them from prominent and influential positions.

    Those silly repugs.............always starting unneccessary and unwinnable wars of choice to make them FEEL like tough guys instead of gutless authoritarian chickenhawk cowards.

  120. Record forclosure filings, an inverted and still inverting further yield curve, increasing unemployment, decreasing Consumer confidence, a FED that cant cut rates fast enough to keep the 10 tear yield from plummeting further, and the President and the talking morons on CNBC STILL say the economy is great...............see the repugs are backed into a corner they can either cling to their dishonest talking points that things are great and tax cuts for the rich are great for everyone and get voted right out of office or they can abandon their greedy agenda and their wars..........both the imperialistic ones and the ones against the working class............but EITHER Way their greedy agenda is destroyed.

    So which will it be, will they choose to cling to their greed and lies and become irrelevant or do the right thing and try to salvage what they can of their party and keep a modicum of its ability to keep a say in how the the country is run and its fingers on the reigns of power.

    My bet is they will cling to their lies and greedy schemes and get voted out of powrt just as their counterparts did in 1929.............they are too stupid, greedy and ignorant to learn from history.

  121. Hey Lydia, have you ever seen Karen Cliche from Flash Gordon.............she's really hot, but is hillarious she plays an alien bad ass who is clueless about our customs and has a real dry delivery when she says something funny.............I really like Flash Gordon but i'd like to see her in big budget movie or prime time show.

    What happened to all the male action heros they all got old and disapeared,,,,,,,,,,I used to like Stalone, Arnold, Lorenzo Lamas, Van Dam, Adrian Paul etc...........and not one of them is making action movies anymore and other than the Rock I dont see any younger action stars to take their place.

    Theres more women action stars than men now...........NOT that theres anything wrong with that.

    BTW, I agree Kristin Kreuk is attractive............but I dont think you picked the best picture to illustrate that point............sorry i'm just not a fan of that picture.

    But since I DONT photograph well all i'll shut up!

  122. Like a ticking time bomb, the national debt is an explosion waiting to happen. It's expanding by about $1.4 billion a day — or nearly $1 million a minute.

    What's that mean to you?

    It means almost $30,000 in debt for each man, woman, child and infant in the United States.

    Even if you've escaped the recent housing and credit crunches and are coping with rising fuel prices, you may still be headed for economic misery, along with the rest of the country. That's because the government is fast straining resources needed to meet interest payments on the national debt, which stands at a mind-numbing $9.13 trillion.

    And like homeowners who took out adjustable-rate mortgages, the government faces the prospect of seeing this debt — now at relatively low interest rates — rolling over to higher rates, multiplying the financial pain.

    So long as somebody is willing to keep loaning the U.S. government money, the debt is largely out of sight, out of mind.

    But the interest payments keep compounding, and could in time squeeze out most other government spending — leading to sharply higher taxes or a cut in basic services like Social Security and other government benefit programs. Or all of the above.

    A major economic slowdown, as some economists suggest may be looming, could hasten the day of reckoning.

    The national debt — the total accumulation of annual budget deficits — is up from $5.7 trillion when President Bush took office in January 2001 and it will top $10 trillion sometime right before or right after he leaves in January 2009.

    That's $10,000,000,000,000.00, or one digit more than an odometer-style "national debt clock" near New York's Times Square can handle. When the privately owned automated clock was activated in 1989, the national debt was $2.7 trillion.

    It only gets worse.

    Over the next 25 years, the number of Americans aged 65 and up is expected to almost double. The work population will shrink and more and more baby boomers will be drawing Social Security and Medicare benefits, putting new demands on the government's resources.

    These guaranteed retirement and health benefit programs now make up the largest component of federal spending. Defense is next. And moving up fast in third place is interest on the national debt, which totaled $430 billion last year.

    Aggravating the debt picture: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates could cost $2.4 trillion over the next decade

    Despite vows in both parties to restrain federal spending, the national debt as a percentage of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product has grown from about 35 percent in 1975 to around 65 percent today. By historical standards, it's not proportionately as high as during World War II — when it briefly rose to 120 percent of GDP, but it's a big chunk of liability.

    "The problem is going forward," said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard and Poors, a major credit-rating agency.

    "Our estimate is that the national debt will hit 350 percent of the GDP by 2050 under unchanged policy. Something has to change, because if you look at what's going to happen to expenditures for entitlement programs after us baby boomers start to retire, at the current tax rates, it doesn't work," Wyss said.

    With national elections approaching, candidates of both parties are talking about fiscal discipline and reducing the deficit and accusing the other of irresponsible spending. But the national debt itself — a legacy of overspending dating back to the American Revolution — receives only occasional mention.

    Who is loaning Washington all this money?

    Ordinary investors who buy Treasury bills, notes and U.S. savings bonds, for one. Also it is banks, pension funds, mutual fund companies and state, local and increasingly foreign governments. This accounts for about $5.1 trillion of the total and is called the "publicly held" debt. The remaining $4 trillion is owed to Social Security and other government accounts, according to the Treasury Department, which keeps figures on the national debt down to the penny on its Web site.

    Some economists liken the government's plight to consumers who spent like there was no tomorrow — only to find themselves maxed out on credit cards and having a hard time keeping up with rising interest payments.

    "The government is in the same predicament as the average homeowner who took out an adjustable mortgage," said Stanley Collender, a former congressional budget analyst and now managing director at Qorvis Communications, a business consulting firm.

    Much of the recent borrowing has been accomplished through the selling of shorter-term Treasury bills. If these loans roll over to higher rates, interest payments on the national debt could soar. Furthermore, the decline of the dollar against other major currencies is making Treasury securities less attractive to foreigners — even if they remain one of the world's safest investments.

    For now, large U.S. trade deficits with much of the rest of the world work in favor of continued foreign investment in Treasuries and dollar-denominated securities. After all, the vast sums Americans pay — in dollars — for imported goods has to go somewhere. But that dynamic could change.

    "The first day the Chinese or the Japanese or the Saudis say, `we've bought enough of your paper,' then the debt — whatever level it is at that point — becomes unmanageable," said Collender.

    A recent comment by a Chinese lawmaker suggesting the country should buy more euros instead of dollars helped send the Dow Jones plunging more than 300 points.

    The dollar is down about 35 percent since the end of 2001 against a basket of major currencies.

    Foreign governments and investors now hold some $2.23 trillion — or about 44 percent — of all publicly held U.S. debt. That's up 9.5 percent from a year earlier.

    Japan is first with $586 billion, followed by China ($400 billion) and Britain ($244 billion). Saudi Arabia and other oil-exporting countries account for $123 billion, according to the Treasury.

    "Borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars from China and OPEC puts not only our future economy, but also our national security, at risk. It is critical that we ensure that countries that control our debt do not control our future," said Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio, a Republican budget hawk.

    Of all federal budget categories, interest on the national debt is the one the president and Congress have the least control over. Cutting payments would amount to default, something Washington has never done.

    Congress must from time to time raise the debt limit — sort of like a credit card maximum — or the government would be unable to borrow any further to keep it operating and to pay additional debt obligations.

    The Democratic-led Congress recently did just that, raising the ceiling to $9.82 trillion as the former $8.97 trillion maximum was about to be exceeded. It was the fifth debt-ceiling increase since Bush became president in 2001.

    Democrats are blaming the runup in deficit spending on Bush and his Republican allies who controlled Congress for the first six years of his presidency. They criticize him for resisting improvements in health care, education and other vital areas while seeking nearly $200 billion in new Iraq and Afghanistan war spending.

    "We pay in interest four times more than we spend on education and four times what it will cost to cover 10 million children with health insurance for five years," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "That's fiscal irresponsibility."

    Republicans insist congressional Democrats are the irresponsible ones. Bush has reinforced his call for deficit reduction with vetoes and veto threats and cites a looming "train wreck" if entitlement programs are not reined in.

    Yet his efforts two years ago to overhaul Social Security had little support, even among fellow Republicans.

    The deficit only reflects the gap between government spending and tax revenues for one year. Not exactly how a family or a business keeps its books.

    Even during the four most recent years when there was a budget surplus, 1998-2001, the national debt ranged between $5.5 trillion and $5.8 trillion.

    As in trying to pay off a large credit-card balance by only making minimum payments, the overall debt might be next to impossible to chisel down appreciably, regardless of who is in the White House or which party controls Congress, without major spending cuts, tax increases or both.

    "The basic facts are a matter of arithmetic, not ideology," said Robert L. Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan group that advocates eliminating federal deficits.

    There's little dispute that current fiscal policies are unsustainable, he said. "Yet too few of our elected leaders in Washington are willing to acknowledge the seriousness of the long-term fiscal problem and even fewer are willing to put it on the political agenda."

    Polls show people don't like the idea of saddling future generations with debt, but proposing to pay down the national debt itself doesn't move the needle much.

    "People have a tendency to put some of these longer term problems out of their minds because they're so pressed with more imminent worries, such as wages and jobs and income inequality," said pollster Andrew Kohut of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

    Texas billionaire Ross Perot made paying down the national debt a central element of his quixotic third-party presidential bid in 1992. The national debt then stood at $4 trillion and Perot displayed charts showing it would soar to $8 trillion by 2007 if left unchecked. He was about a trillion low.

    Not long ago, it actually looked like the national debt could be paid off — in full. In the late 1990s, the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office projected a surplus of a $5.6 trillion over ten years — and calculated the debt would be paid off as early as 2006.

    Former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan recently wrote that he was "stunned" and even troubled by such a prospect. Among other things, he worried about where the government would park its surplus if Treasury bonds went out of existence because they were no longer needed.

    Not to worry. That surplus quickly evaporated.

    Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's, said he's more concerned that interest on the national debt will become unsustainable than he is that foreign countries will dump their dollar holdings — something that would undermine the value of their own vast holdings. "We're going to have to shell out a lot of resources to make those interest payments. There's a very strong argument as to why it's vital that we address our budget issues before they get measurably worse," Zandi said.

    "Of course, that's not going to happen until after the next president is in the White House," he added.

    The Bush Legacy: Bankruptcy and War!

  123. The CEO of the country's biggest mortgage lender says greater government intervention is needed to rescue the U.S. housing market as his peers warn the worst is yet to come.

    The gloomy assessments of the housing market were made Monday at a conference sponsored by the Office of Thrift Supervision, where Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said an agreement is imminent to temporarily freeze interest rates on thousands of mortgages at risk of default.

    Most mortgage industry executives praised the Treasury-led plan.

    Daniel Mudd, chief executive of government-backed mortgage finance company Fannie Mae, called it a "positive step," saying that many borrowers will be able to avoid foreclosure if they are given more time. "Largely, the industry is beginning to reconstruct itself," Mudd said.

    Yet the outlook of executives attending the conference was bleak.

    Kerry Killinger, chief executive of major lender Washington Mutual Inc. said problems are starting to show up in loans made to homebuyers with strong credit records because real estate prices continue to slide. He said he supports the central bank cutting interest rate cuts again as well as temporary expansions of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's funding capacity.

    "I'd be supportive of whatever it took for the industry to be on stronger footing," Killinger said.

    Angelo Mozilo, CEO of Countrywide Financial Corp., said he also supports Fannie and Freddie being allowed to buy bigger home loans and keep more of them on their books as a way to improve liquidity for the battered industry. The Bush administration has opposed such efforts backed by congressional Democrats.

    "This is the time for (Fannie and Freddie) to step up to the plate and take action and try to bring liquidity back to the market," Mozilo said.

    However, Democrats and Republicans continue to debate the issue even as Fannie and Freddie's profits plunge and their stock prices crash.

    An effective compromise anytime soon is unlikely, said Brian Gardner, a Washington policy analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc.

    "There are too many conflicting interests," Gardner said in an interview.

    Echoing the complaints of consumer advocates who have long pushed for mortgage lending reform, Robert Toll, chief executive of luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers Inc., said stronger restraints are needed to prevent a recurrence of today's problems.

    "We had mortgages available to the alive and standing and that was the only criteria," he said. "There's no reason why we can't set limits."

    Toll also said home prices "may not have stopped falling yet," adding that it may not "be the best time to buy a home."

    Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's, predicted that, if the economy slips into recession or if efforts to modify loans don't pick up substantially, the housing market downturn could last through the end of the decade.

    "This is the most serious housing downturn since the Great Depression," Zandi said.

    Many analysts say next year is likely to be worse.

    With $361 billion in subprime loans made to borrowers with weak credit resetting at higher interest rates next year, foreclosures will peak in the third quarter of next year and won't drop back to more normal levels until 2011, said a Banc of America Securities report out last month. The report also estimated the median U.S. home price would fall 15 percent over the next four years and not rebound until 2012.

    Meanwhile, a widely circulated Goldman Sachs report last month said more than $100 billion in additional bank write-offs and losses are on the horizon due to bad mortgage investments. And it warned that credit card debt and auto loans could be the next sectors to suffer.

    The Bush Legacy: Destroying American Families!

  124. Larry the National debt is much higher than that from what i've seen.................I've heard the war and many other things are poff book and not included in the stated national debt.

    GDP as i have stated earliers is also WAY overstated due to the bogus inflation statistics............from stuff i've seen we hit 350% of GDP years ago and that may even be using the bogus GDP numbers the gov puts out.

  125. Mike notice the amount taken from Social Security. If they stopped taking from that fund, it alone would be in good shape.

  126. Jolly Roger - that sounds incredible. Just disappear across the beautiful bridge...

    mch - thank you for your nice comment.

  127. For all those who don't like BARTLEBEE's writers strike theory, ask yourselves this.

    Why STILL nothing?

    Why aren't we hearing about it?



  128. Bartlebe, I never said I didnt like or or ir wasnt possible...........I just said i would need more actual evidence before i buy into it............did you see what i just said about the History Channel...........I would need MORE evidence like that before I leran towards your theory.

  129. Go figure GWB and intelligence being polar opposites.........whoda thunk it!

  130. U.S. Report Contradicts Bush on Iran
    By Matt Spetalnick,

    Posted: 2007-12-03 18:44:42
    Filed Under: Nation News
    WASHINGTON (Dec. 3) - A new U.S. intelligence report says Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and it remains on hold, contradicting the Bush administration's earlier assertion that Tehran was intent on developing a bomb.

    Photo Gallery: The Nuclear Question
    Ron Edmonds, AP
    A new intelligence report released Monday runs counter to President Bush's warnings about Iran's nuclear ambitions. In October, he said Tehran must be stopped "if you're interested in avoiding World War III."
    1 of 6

    The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released on Monday could undermine U.S. efforts to convince other world powers to agree on a third package of U.N. sanctions against Iran for defying demands to halt uranium enrichment activities.

    Tensions have escalated in recent months as Washington has ratcheted up the rhetoric against Tehran, with U.S. President George W. Bush insisting in October that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to World War Three.

    But in a finding likely to surprise U.S. friends and foes alike, the latest NIE concluded: "We do not know whether (Iran) currently intends to develop nuclear weapons."

    That marked a sharp contrast to an intelligence report two years ago that stated Iran was "determined to develop nuclear weapons."

    But the new assessment found Iran was continuing to develop technical means that could be used to build a bomb and it would likely be capable of producing enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon "sometime during the 2010-2015 time-frame."

    The shift in the intelligence community's thinking on Iran comes five years after a flawed NIE concluded neighboring Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction -- a report that helped pave the way for the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

    No nuclear, chemical or biological weapons were ever found in Iraq and intelligence agencies since have been more cautious about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

    Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, who have repeatedly accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, were briefed on the new NIE last Wednesday.

    Washington, which insists it wants to solve the Iran problem diplomatically while leaving military options "on the table," is pushing for tougher U.N. sanctions against Tehran but faces resistance from China and Russia.

    Iran insists it wants nuclear technology only for civilian purposes, such as electricity generation.

    The nuclear standoff has become a major issue in the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, with candidates weighing in on the prospects for military action against Iran.

    U.S. Still Sees Iranian 'Risk'

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, among senior Democrats who had requested the updated report on Iran, said the assessment challenged some of the administration's "alarming rhetoric about the threat posed by Iran."

    He and other critics had accused Bush trying to rush the country into war again based on faulty intelligence.

    Bush's national security adviser said that on balance the report was "good news," insisting it showed Tehran was susceptible to international pressure but that the risk of it acquiring nuclear weapons "remains a very serious problem."

    But he added: "The international community has to understand that if we want to avoid a situation where we either have to accept Iran on a road to a nuclear weapon ... or the possibility of having to use force to stop it with all the connotations of World War III, then we need to step up the diplomacy, step up the pressure."

    Administration officials denied the new NIE had exposed a serious intelligence lapse but could not explain how agencies failed to detect for four years that Iran's nuclear weapons program had been halted.

    Intelligence officials said the suspension involved design and engineering for a bomb and covert uranium-conversion work.

    A key NIE finding was that: "Tehran's decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005."

    Still, the report said: "We also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons."

  131. Wonder if Bush and Cheney will have a MORE difficult time Chery picking this intelligence to try and sell another disasterous war of choice!

  132. Bush has a press conference tomorrow where this will no doubt be where he claims they are still dangerous, and on with war.

    This is nothing new, similar with Iraq and look how that mattered.

  133. Pelosi and Reid will make sure Bush's "Forever War" isn't derailed.

  134. Larry said...
    Pelosi and Reid will make sure Bush's "Forever War" isn't derailed."

    Well if thats the case it might derail them...........sooner or later some strong independent candidates will challenge at beat these faux democrats and sweep them from power.

  135. Remember Iraq and the weapons inspectors kept saying there was no weapons.

    Bush doesn't care about facts, only war.

  136. Mike, for the last time I wasn't addressing you.

    I thought I made that clear the last 2 dozen times I said Mike I'm not addressing you.

    Also, if you give the idea credence then the comment wouldn't have been addressing you anyway, right?

    After all, it started off;

    BARTLEBEE said...

    For all those who don't like BARTLEBEE's writers strike theory

    If you respected the theory then it wouldn't apply to you.

  137. But if you doubt the theory completely, then it would apply to you.

    And as for "more proof", I just gave you some.

    2 peices of really good albeit circumstancial evidence.

    1.Look at whats going on with the strike now.

    2.Look at what the media is saying about the strike now.

    The answer to BOTH questions, is NOTHING.

  138. ok i understand .........I assumed you were responding to my post about the History Channel........and were a little ticked off that i brought up the strike again and/or couldnt completely buy into the theory without more evidence.

    just curious did you happen to notice what i said about the History channel as well?

  139. The Rev. Pat Robertson said Monday that his son, Gordon, has succeeded him as chief executive of the Christian Broadcasting Network, the most recent shift to a younger generation of leaders within major conservative Christian groups.

    Robertson, 77, announced the transition on "The 700 Club," the Virginia-based network's flagship show, with Gordon, 49, on air with him.

    "I thought that some of this day-to-day operation was important to pass down the line, especially to somebody a little more adept at figuring out the new technologies coming at such a bewildering speed to all of us," the elder Robertson said.

    The network's board of directors voted over the weekend to name Gordon Robertson the CEO immediately. Pat Robertson will still be chairman of CBN and will continue to appear with his son on "The 700 Club." He will also remain president of Regent University, which he founded.

    Wacky deranged corrupt dad passing the torch to wacky deranged corrupt imcompetent son.

  140. Bloomberg) -- U.S. corporate profits are in a recession, and the entire economy may not be far behind.

    Slower sales and higher energy and labor costs are forcing companies from Bear Stearns Cos. to Pitney Bowes Inc. to reduce spending and hiring. Their efforts to keep earnings from eroding even further raise the risk that the economy, already weakened by the steepest housing slide since 1991, may shrink sometime next year.

    ``The earnings recession has already arrived,'' says David Rosenberg, North America economist for Merrill Lynch & Co. in New York. ``We are going to see an economic recession in '08.''

    Corporate profits, as measured by the Commerce Department, fell at an annual rate of $19.3 billion in the third quarter from the second, as domestic earnings dropped by $41.2 billion. The drag from sagging U.S. sales and huge writedowns offset robust earnings abroad, fueled by the weak U.S dollar. The fourth quarter may be an even bigger bust.

    ``In the third quarter, the tide shifted, and for the worse,'' says Joseph Quinlan, chief market strategist for Bank of America Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina. ``The domestic-profits squeeze is in its early stages and will be severe enough to overwhelm strong foreign earnings.''

    Caterpillar Inc. of Peoria, Illinois, the world's largest maker of bulldozers and excavators, shocked investors in October when it said it expected the economy to be ``near to, or even in recession'' in 2008. At the time, Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford Motor Co., the second-largest U.S. automaker, was still ``optimistic,'' Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally said Oct. 15. ``There's a lot to be positive about,'' he told reporters.

    `Dicey Territory'

    Little more than a month later, in a Nov. 19 interview, Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, Ford's chief economist, said the economy was ``in some dicey territory,'' though would likely ``edge by'' without a recession.

    Profits for the Standard & Poor's 500 companies fell almost 25 percent on a per-share basis in the third quarter, the biggest year-over-year decline in almost five years. David Wyss, S&P's chief economist, expects their earnings to fall as much as 30 percent in the fourth quarter as companies take more writedowns for bad investments. Excluding such extraordinary items, operating profits may fall as well, he says.

    Consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg indicate S&P 500 operating profits may rise just 1.1 percent in the current quarter.

    Bush's buddies are feeling the pinch of the Bush economy.

  141. At Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 1st Lt. Elizabeth Whiteside listened last week as an Army prosecutor outlined the criminal case against her. The charges: attempting suicide and endangering the life of another soldier while serving in Iraq.

    Her hands trembled as Maj. Stefan Wolfe, the prosecutor, argued that Whiteside, now a psychiatric outpatient at Walter Reed, should be court-martialed. After seven years of exemplary service, the 25- year-old Army reservist faces the possibility of life in prison if she is tried and convicted.

    Military psychiatrists at Walter Reed who examined Whiteside after she recovered from a self-inflicted gun wound in the stomach diagnosed her with a severe mental disorder, possibly triggered by the stresses of a war zone. But Whiteside’s superiors considered her mental illness “an excuse” for criminal conduct, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.

    This is how Bush takes care of the war ridden troops.

  142. The White House is refusing to let special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald turn over to congressional investigators key documents from his investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity as a covert CIA operative, including reports of interviews with President Bush, Vice President Cheney and five top White House aides.

    House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman disclosed this morning that [tag]Fitzgerald is cooperating with the congressional investigation[/tag] and had agreed to turn over the documents — until the White House intervened.

    Describing a renewed sense of urgency in the wake of former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s recent assertion that “five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved” in the public disclosure of false information about the leak, Waxman today appealed to newly installed Attorney General Michael Mukasey to overrule his White House masters and release the documents.

    “I hope you will not accede to the White House objections,” Waxman wrote in his letter to Mukasey. “During the Clinton Administration, your predecessor, Janet Reno, made an independent judgment and provided numerous FBI interview reports to the Committee, including reports of interviews with President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and three White House Chiefs of Staff. I have been informed that Attorney General Reno neither sought nor obtained White House consent before providing these interview records to the Committee. I believe the Justice Department should exercise the same independence in this case.”

    The Bush Legacy: Coverup of Corruption.

  143. In another sign of the collapse of the market for new homes, builder Lennar Corp. has dumped a portfolio of 11,000 properties for 40 percent of their previously-stated book value.

    Lennar (Charts, Fortune 500), the nation’s largest builder in terms of revenue, is selling the properties to a joint venture it has established with the real estate arm of Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley (Charts, Fortune 500). Morgan Stanley will own 80 percent of the joint venture, while Lennar will own 20 percent.

    Lennar announced the deal late Friday as its fiscal fourth quarter came to a close. It is selling the properties for $525 million, even though it said their book value as of Sept. 30 stood at $1.3 billion. Lennar also will receive fees for continuing to manage the properties, which include mix of raw land as well as partially and fully developed homesites.

    Another example of the Bush economy!

  144. (Reuters) - More than 40 million people in the United States say they cannot afford adequate heath care and go without drugs, eyeglasses or dental treatment, according to a federal report released on Monday.

    The latest look at the state of U.S. health care also shows that while death rates from cancer and heart disease have dropped in recent years, just as many Americans are dying in car crashes.

    "There has been important progress made in many areas of health such as increased life expectancy and decreases in deaths from leading killers such as heart disease and cancer," Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement.

    "But this report shows that access to health care is still an issue where we need improvement."

    The report, available on the Internet at, has a special section on access to health care.

    Health care has jumped to the forefront of the 2008 campaign for the White House with virtually every presidential candidate offering some plan to provide more Americans with health insurance.

    "In 2005, more than 40 million adults did not receive 'needed services' because they could not afford them," the report said.

    "Nearly 15 million adults did not obtain eyeglasses, 25 million did not get dental care, 19 million did not get needed prescribed medicine, and 15 million did not get needed medical care due to cost."

    The report found about one third of all children living below the poverty level had not visited a dentist in 2005, compared with fewer than one-fifth of children from wealthier families. Continued.

    The Bush Presidency: Leaving millions sick and alone.

  145. (AP) -- In statements circulated by producers and striking writers, a relatively scant $20 million appears to separate their contract proposals.

    But the difference that matters is the one between the $20,000-plus that writers now earn for a single rerun of a TV episode and the $250 the union says they'd make for a year's online use of an hourlong show under the studios' offer.

    It represents the chasm between the old business order and burgeoning new media that confronts the two sides as they attempt to resolve the strike, now in its fifth week. Talks were to resume Tuesday.

    On Thursday, before negotiations recessed, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said it was willing to offer $130 million in extra pay over the life of its proposed three-year deal, on top of the $1.3 billion paid annually to writers.

    The Writers Guild of America countered by saying the proposal only addressed advertising-supported programs streamed for free and jurisdiction over shows made for the Internet. It said the offer constituted a ''massive rollback.''

    The writers said their plan, also presented Thursday, would cost producers $151 million over three years.

    The scant disparity between the proposals is not the issue, said David W. Rips, director of Deloitte Consulting's media and entertainment practice. It's how to assess compensation for nascent digital platforms, he said.

    ''I'm surprised producers offered a flat fee at all. ... I think they're just paying to end the strike,'' Rips said. ''I don't think they would even be tacitly acknowledging that there's any relationship between that payment and real revenue.''

    At this point, there isn't enough information about digital distribution's value to ''have a legitimate negotiation'' on compensation, he said. Rips suggested the studios' offer was an attempt to shift the decision a few years to a better-informed future.

    The guild sees the alliance's moves in a far different light, said Patric Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America, West.

    ''I don't really feel like they're negotiating, and part of how they operate is the AMPTP allows bottom-line hard-liners to rule the day,'' Verrone said Monday, while visiting picketing writers outside NBC's Burbank studio.

    ''If any of these companies want to come forward and bargain with us individually, we think we can make a deal,'' he said, calling on studios to break ranks with the industry group.

    The alliance declined comment Monday. But it struck a conciliatory tone in an ''Open Letter to the Entertainment Industry'' that was to run in trade newspapers Tuesday.

    Saying it hadn't given the guild a ''take it or leave it'' offer, the alliance said it offered a proposal aimed at allowing give-and-take discussion that ''can lead to common ground.'' It also warned that writers, producers and other workers and businesses would suffer in a long strike.

    ''We choose to remain hopeful, because the alternative is simply too bleak to contemplate,'' the ad said.

    A Wall Street analyst said that if the strike continues into next year, it would begin to affect the first- and second-quarter outlooks for the TV divisions of media conglomerates.

    The strike could cost CBS, ABC and Fox a combined $300 million, according to a report from Alan Gould, senior analyst with New York-based Natixis Bleichroeder. The report did not include General Electric Co.-owned NBC.

    ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co., while Fox is a unit of News Corp. and CBS is a division of CBS Corp.


    As the WGA strike moves into a second month, we, a group of writers, want to recognize the members of our community who are out of work or otherwise impacted. While we support our union’s actions, we feel badly that the strike is taking a toll on so many people who are not writers. We know that many in the industry have been going through a tough time…and at this point we probably could all use a dose of levity.

    To that end, if you are not a writer and are out of work because of the strike, we invite you and your kids to a free afternoon of mini-golf and arcade games at the Sherman Oaks Castle Park. We will provide pizza, ice cream and lots of fun.

    The Details:
    WGA writers thank our community
    December 11, 2007
    Sherman Oaks Castle Park
    4989 Sepulveda Blvd.
    Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

  147. Politico:

    EVERYONE has to worry when Dick Cheney has a rifle in his hands - but Kurt Andersen should be extra careful after what he said about the veep's wife. In his latest New York magazine column, Andersen makes a curious reference to Lynne Cheney's "extravagant flirtations with a friend of mine over the years." But when we called the co-founder of Spy for more details, he clammed up. "That's as far as I'm going to go with it," Andersen said yesterday. "It didn't fall into the category of canoodling, but it was extraordinary, given that it was Lynne Cheney." Her office had no comment.

    Lynne Cheney - moralists, outstanding member of the "moral majority" has been "canoodling" with another man.

    Typical Republican Phony!

  148. I'm a bit surprised. Given the novels Lynne writes, I'd have expected her to do a little canoodling in a different direction.

  149. Just stopped by to apologies for my absence. This month, I've been busier than a long-tail TomCat in a rocking chair factory full of manics. After next week things should slow down a bit.

  150. I just posted a blog about Bush's comments today on Iran. Please check it out. The photo of Bush is my favorite.

    Leave comments on new thread, thanks!

    HI Tomcat, glad to hear from you. We missed you. Sorry I haven't been on your blog lately. I have kids all over this house (each kid brings home 3 friends each day so I'm a cookie factory and cleaning lady.

    Hi Jolly Roger and Mch -- thanks for your comments.

  151. Lydia said HI Tomcat, glad to hear from you. We missed you. Sorry I haven't been on your blog lately. I have kids all over this house (each kid brings home 3 friends each day so I'm a cookie factory and cleaning lady.

    Thanks, Lydia. We've missed you too. After the end of next week, thinks should level out. Say, when you get done there, would you like to come over here, clean, and make cookies? ;-)

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