Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Phone companies being given right to spy on you

Fearful Democrats cave on constitutional protections

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- If Al Qaeda is fighting us because they hate our freedoms, as President Bush often says, then they're winning the war.
Pretty soon, we won't have any more freedoms for them to hate.
Scratch the Fourth Amendment off the list of freedoms that we thought we had.

Read the Fourth Amendment.

Pressured by a huge lobbying effort by Big Telecom and by fears of being painted as weak on terrorism, the Democratic-controlled Senate has rolled over on your right to privacy, abandoning legislation that would enforce the constitutional requirements of probable cause and due process of law before the phone companies can help the government spy on you by turning over your phone records, emails and other sensitive information.

Instead, the bill now moving toward passage would give the phone companies broad legal immunity when they collect and turn over any information on you that the government says it needs. No warrant needed. No questions asked.

On Tuesday, the Senate, with the backing of 18 Democrats and every Republican, defeated attempts by Sens. Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold to hold the telecom companies accountable for their past illegal conduct.

Sen. Barack Obama voted for your freedom. Sen. John McCain voted against you. Sen. Hillary Clinton didn't vote but is opposed to immunity, a spokesman said.

Immunity for telecoms
The only hope for your freedom to be secure against "unreasonable searches" now rests in the hands of the House, which passed a wiretapping bill that does not give the telecom companies amnesty.

Bush has promised to veto the wiretapping bill if it does not include the telecom amnesty provision, even though he has said the bill is essential to keep America safe.

You might think the veto threat means the president values the telecom companies' profits more than he values your life, but really he values his own skin. Giving immunity for the telecoms means that Bush and his administration will never be held legally accountable for their crimes because the truth will never come out.
The Bush administration and the Republican leadership have lied consistently about the secret domestic spy program that bypasses the special court that was set up in the 1970s in response to the nation's outrage about the government spying on American citizens without a judicial order. They say it's all about listening in when Al Qaeda calls, but the secret program appears to go far beyond that admirable goal.
During the debate on the wiretapping bill, the Republicans said the government wasn't able to save the lives of some American contractors in Iraq because the legal niceties took too long. But the lives were actually lost because the intelligence agencies and the Justice Department bungled the case, not because Congress had tied their hands.

Domestic spy program still murky
It's perfectly legal (under current U.S. law) for the U.S. government to spy on terrorists in Iraq. What the Constitution forbids is unreasonable searches of American citizens inside the United States, which apparently have gone on unfettered for the past seven years.

The U.S. domestic spy program expanded by the Bush administration remains murky. What few details are known are troubling, because they suggest that the government has the ability and the will to collect massive amounts of information about ordinary citizens in real time, with the enthusiastic support of the major telecommunications companies seeking lucrative government contracts and without any check by the courts.

While the administration says the 9/11 attacks made such spying necessary, the White House began expanding its domestic spying program well before September 2001, according to court documents filed by Joseph Nacchio, the former head of Qwest, who claims his refusal to violate the law and turn over private information to the government led to the denial of a big government contract for his company and to his subsequent conviction on insider trading.
The phone companies, including AT&T that did go along with the spying are being sued by privacy advocates. Current law specifically prohibits the phone companies from turning over private information to the government without due process. One judge has already ruled against the phone companies.

In their defense, the phone companies say they were just being patriotic and that anything they did was requested by the Justice Department. But just in case their legal argument fails, the companies have spent millions lobbying to get the law changed retroactively.

The bill now being rushed through a complacent Senate would kill those lawsuits by giving the phone companies blanket immunity for past and future transgressions. No questions asked.

Because the Congress has refused to investigate the secret spying program (even in a secret session), the private lawsuits are the only way the truth about the spying program will ever be known. Giving amnesty to the telecoms effectively gives amnesty to Bush and other officials who ordered the spying.

If spying on Americans is justified, the administration should be forced by Congress or the courts to prove it. Neither the telecoms nor the administration has proven that.

Those who support ripping up the Constitution often say that if you don't have anything to hide, warrantless spying shouldn't bother you.


The same standard should apply to the phone companies. If they don't have anything to hide, then why do they need immunity? Why shouldn't Congress, the courts and the people know the full extent of the spying and its legal justification?

Chalk up another victory for the terrorists, who hate our freedom. So too, apparently, does the U.S. government.
End of Story
Rex Nutting is Washington bureau chief of MarketWatch.


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  1. I'm sick and tired of these false democrats that always cave in like a buch of cowards and side with the war mongers and fascist who CLAIM to be fighting for liberty, freedom and democracy but REALLY are fighting to tranform our country into some kind of sick Orwellian Fascist Police State which is the antithesis of Freedom and liberty.

    We NEED to purge the Democratic Party of the false Democrats by voting them out of office and supporting REAL Progressives that value freedom and support the Constitution rather than some monkee who thinks he's an emperor.

    People Like Pelosi, Reed, Clinton, Lieberman etc.. need to come out of the closet and actually become repugs if they want to act like repugs instead of Democrats in drag

  2. For Clinton, Ohio, Texas emerge as must-wins
    Obama’s victories have Clinton working to reassure donors, superdelegates

    By Patrick Healy

    updated 7:17 p.m. MT, Mon., Feb. 11, 2008
    Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and her advisers increasingly believe that, after a series of losses, she has been boxed into a must-win position in the Ohio and Texas primaries on March 4, and she has begun reassuring anxious donors and superdelegates that the nomination is not slipping away from her, aides said Monday.

    Mrs. Clinton held a buck-up-the-troops conference call on Monday with donors, superdelegates and other supporters; several of them said afterward that she sounded tired and a little down, but determined about Ohio and Texas. And these donors and superdelegates said that they were not especially soothed, saying they believed she could be on a losing streak that could jeopardize her competitiveness in Ohio and Texas.

    “She has to win both Ohio and Texas comfortably, or she’s out,” said one Democratic superdelegate who has endorsed Mrs. Clinton, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to share a candid assessment. “The campaign is starting to come to terms with that.” Campaign advisers, also speaking privately in order to speak plainly, confirmed this view.

    Several Clinton superdelegates, whose votes could help decide the nomination, also said Monday that they were wavering in the face of Mr. Obama’s momentum after victories in Washington, Nebraska, Louisiana and Maine last weekend. Some of them said that they, like the hundreds of uncommitted superdelegates still at stake, may ultimately “go with the flow,” in the words of one, and support the candidate who appears to show the most strength in the primaries to come.

    Clinton advisers have said that superdelegates should support the candidate who they believe is best qualified to be president, while Obama advisers have argued that superdelegates should reflect the will of voters and the best interests of the party. Superdelegates are Democratic party leaders and elected officials, and their votes could decide the nomination if neither candidate wins enough delegates to clinch a victory after the nominating contests end.

    Hope for Va. surprise
    With primaries on Tuesday in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, Clinton advisers are pessimistic about the candidate’s chances, though some are holding out hope for a surprise performance in Virginia. And as polls show Mr. Obama gaining strength in Wisconsin and his native state of Hawaii, which vote on Feb. 19, advisers, donors and superdelegates said they were resigned to a possible Obama sweep of the rest of February’s contests.

    Some donors also expressed concern about a widening money imbalance between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton: Mr. Obama’s fund-raisers say he is taking in roughly $1 million a day, while Mrs. Clinton’s fund-raisers say she is taking in about half of that, mostly online. Clinton aides say that the campaign was virtually broke as of the Feb. 5 primaries, but that finances have since stabilized.
    Still, Mr. Obama’s financial edge allowed him to begin running television ads in Ohio and Texas on Monday, while the Clinton campaign plans to begin advertising on Tuesday. Mrs. Clinton advisers say that she will have ads running statewide in both Ohio and Texas, and that she will have ads in English and Spanish in Texas.

    “I think that clearly things have not been going as great as they were with her victories on Super Tuesday, and we can’t wait to get to March 4,” said Alan Patricof, one of Mrs. Clinton’s national finance chairmen.
    More from NYTimes.com
    Click links below:
    The Caucus: The Powell factor
    Long Run: Lives, careers of presidential contenders
    With 3 states to vote, a dash about the Chesapeake

    External links

    Mrs. Clinton will have “a major ad buy” through the next week in Wisconsin, a senior adviser said Monday, and spend a few days campaigning there. But this adviser and others said that the bulk of her time going forward will be devoted to campaigning in Ohio, Texas and a bit in Rhode Island; she plans to fly Tuesday to Texas, underscoring its importance even though Wisconsin votes next week.

    While Mrs. Clinton’s advisers and allies emphasize that she has the time and the financial resources to regroup, they say she will have to take more significant steps to shore up her candidacy beyond the staff shakeup she engineered on Sunday, when she replaced her campaign manager and longtime aide, Patti Solis Doyle, with another longtime adviser, Maggie Williams.

    Campaign advisers said they expect Ms. Williams to bring new energy to both the campaign team and to Mrs. Clinton, after a long year of campaigning, and to encourage Mrs. Clinton to show more spunk and determination on the campaign trail. They say they do not expect the candidate’s political message to change appreciably; she will increasingly focus on the concerns of working-class voters, a key demographic in Ohio, as well as Hispanics, a significant population in Texas.

    As she seeks to erect a fire wall for her candidacy in Ohio and Texas, she will deploy her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to campaign in both states, particularly in Ohio, where her advisers believe his popularity will help her with working-class voters, labor union members and African-American voters.

    At the same time, the Clinton team moved on Monday to shift the public spotlight off of Mrs. Clinton’s short-term challenges and focus instead on “the long run,” in the words of her senior strategist, Mark Penn. In a conference call with reporters, Mr. Penn, who is also Mrs. Clinton’s pollster, played down some polls that show strength for Mr. Obama and highlighted Mrs. Clinton’s abilities to beat the leading Republican candidate, Senator John McCain of Arizona.

    “We believe that Hillary Clinton in the long run is better position to take on John McCain,” Mr. Penn told reporters. “She has consistently shown an electoral resiliency in difficult situations that have made her a winner. Senator Obama has in fact never had a serious Republican challenger.”

    Yet some Clinton donors and superdelegates worry that the focus on Mr. McCain is premature, and that other strategic decisions by the campaign — such as counting on Michigan and Florida delegates to be seated at the Democratic convention in August even though their status is in limbo — show errant thinking that suggests the Clinton campaign does not have a short-term game plan to stem Mr. Obama’s momentum.

    “They are looking way too much at Florida, Michigan and McCain, because all three won’t matter if she doesn’t blow Obama away in Texas and Ohio,” said another Democrat who is both a Clinton superdelegate and major donor, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to offer a candid assessment of campaign strategy. “Obama has momentum that has to be stopped by March 4.”

  3. Lets hope Obama sweeps today then wins at least Texas next month..............that would essentially put a stake through the heart of her "inevitable" presidential bid and hopefully drum Mark (Karl Rove Lite) Penn out of politics and the Democratic party for good!

  4. I just cant believe this Orwellian spying on American Citizens is still going on and the Telecom companies could get immunity for it it just shows how deep the roots of corporate fascism have infected our democracy, it truly makes me sick!

  5. I just sent a Contribution to Obama and i urge everyone else that can to do so.............we NEED to make sure our Nominee is committed to freedom and democracy not war, and spying and furthering the police state to gain more power.

    I CANT bite my topngue on this anymore Clinton is just saying what progressives want to hear to get the nomination and get elected..........if she wins the nomination she will go right back to being a hawk who talks tough and craves war she'll be a McCain lite that finds some reason to keep troops over there, keep the war going and keeps all of Bush's megalo maniac police state programs intact I dont trust her she is the most insincere flip flopping Democrat in drag i've ever seen.

  6. I'm sorry, some of you might not agree with me but i have a sharp memory and i just cant forget all the hawish contradictoy statements that came out of Clinton's mouth a mere few months ago...........she has no credibility or sincereity in my book.

    She's all wrong for us.........we need a Progressive that can unite us and right now thats Obama!

  7. Thanks Mike, love your posts.

    By the way, I'm not sure the author of this article is correct that Hillary didn't vote today in the Senate. I think he got his facts wrong.

  8. Martial Law is going to be here sooner than you think and you better get ready for it.

    Who knows how long before they start arresting us who speak out.

    It looks like there are too many good Germans representing us. That goes for the Democrats who are enablers and Collaborators as well as all the Republican Fascist Nazi's.

    God Bless.

  9. Here's a link on how Hillary did not show up to vote for the Constitution.


    Barack Obama voted against it and John McCain voted for it.

    And I still ask why everyone still believes that there will be elections this year?

    God Bless.

  10. Let me try that again.

    Fisa Vote

    God Bless.

  11. We knew they would cave in. It is Bush's terrorism we must fear not the Islamists. We will have no vctories until we succeed in getting rid of Bush. That is not guaranteed either. Pelosi and the rest of them are complicit in this mess!

  12. The repugs are in trouble if Obama can get MORE votes in Virginia the all the repugs combined.

    Obama 468,825


    McCain 191,808
    Huckabee 164,178
    Paul 17,187
    Romney 13,177

    468,825 Obama votes vs 386,350 repug votes.

    Oh and BTW Hillary is out polling McCain;

    Clinton 268,576 to McCain 191,808

    With 84% of the vote counted.

    Not a good sign for the general election. (If your a kool aid drinking reichwing troll)

  13. Also the repugs are having a similar problem in Maryland like they are in Va.

    Obama 242,623


    McCain 78,600
    Huckabee 43,501
    Romney 8,613
    Paul 7,747

    242,623 Obama votes vs 98,461 repug votes.

    Oh and BTW Hillary is out polling McCain;

    Clinton 137,712 to McCain 78,600

    (hell in Maryland Hillary is out polling the repug slate also 137,712 to 98,461)

    With 47% of the vote counted.

    Not a good sign for the general election. (If your a kool aid drinking reichwing troll)

    BTW don't even look to DC;

    Barack has more votes the Hillary plus all the repugs.

    Obama 85,534


    Clinton 27,326

    and the repugs;

    McCain 3,929
    Huckabee 961
    Paul 471
    Romney 350

    85,534 to 33,037 .......

  14. Obama vs McCain

    The young people of America need to know that the process works: that America of our forefathers still exists, and that our votes count.

    WE have to ensure honest elections because if McCain were to win simply because of some Rovian tricks, America would be in more trouble than ever before.

    The people turning out in droves for Obama at Caucuses -- the students swept up in the tide of change -- are idealists, and we need idealism more than ever now.

    These college students, many who have never voted before -- are so filled with excitement. They are lucky to be able to take off from jobs or no-jobs or classes and go to caucus. THe ony sad thing is that the HIlary supporters are working class people who cannot take off work to caucus, or are senior citizens who can't get out in the snow in their wheelchairs to caucus. I see both sides.

    I just hope Rove doesn't start digging up tons of dirt on Obama like they did to Hillary all these years.

    We can't let them the excitement of this movement disappear -- we can't let all these young people who support Obama down. And for that reason, Obama is probably the candidate.

  15. Obama vs McCain

    The young people of America need to know that the process works: that America of our forefathers still exists, and that our votes count.

    WE have to ensure honest elections because if McCain were to win simply because of some Rovian tricks, America would be in more trouble than ever before.

    The people turning out in droves for Obama at Caucuses -- the students swept up in the tide of change -- are idealists, and we need idealism more than ever now.

    These college students, many who have never voted before -- are so filled with excitement. They are lucky to be able to take off from jobs or no-jobs or classes and go to caucus. THe ony sad thing is that the HIlary supporters are working class people who cannot take off work to caucus, or are senior citizens who can't get out in the snow in their wheelchairs to caucus. I see both sides.

    I just hope Rove doesn't start digging up tons of dirt on Obama like they did to Hillary all these years.

    We can't let them the excitement of this movement disappear -- we can't let all these young people who support Obama down. And for that reason, Obama is probably the candidate.

  16. Hi Lydia and All! :)

    I am excited about Obama and I am wondering who he would select as a VP? Any ideas? At first I thought it might be Edwards (well I was hoping it was) but now I don't think so.

  17. clif said...

    BREAKING NEWS: The Writers Guild of America says its members have voted to end their strike

    6:56 PM

    Yes, thank God! My son can get back to work now (he is a Screenwriter for Warner Bros)but he is having health issues so I don't know if he will be able to go back to work full-time.

  18. Mike said...

    People Like Pelosi, Reed, Clinton, Lieberman etc.. need to come out of the closet and actually become repugs if they want to act like repugs instead of Democrats in drag

    1:25 PM
    OMG Mike! Democrats in drag..

    Well, if I can stop laughing I need to get back to work now... just wanted to drop in and say hi! :)

  19. Lydia, this is an excellent analysis. Thank you. I have the up the lists of DINOs that betrayed America on the two key amendments, the cloture vote, and the passage of the bill itself.

    One small point... In their defense, the phone companies say they were just being patriotic.

    Their patriotism sure went up in smoke when the Bush/GOP Reich failed to pay their bills and they pulled the plug.

  20. Thank God Barak Obama will be president soon, and this shit will go away.

  21. Wanna know something quite stunning;

    Both George H W Bush and George W Bush have made the very same strategic blunder which have resulted in a fiasco;

    They took a questionable tactical military victory in Afghanistan;

    Bush41 in 1989, Bush43 in 2001, and declared Afghanistan was "safe" then turned their backs on that country to set their sights and focus on Iraq, .......

    both to the detriment of Afghanistan and this country.

    Failure in Afghanistan a "Real Possibility"

    by Steven D

    It's pretty amazing that we keep seeing reports the war in Afghanistan is one which the US and NATO forces (the only place we have a coalition fighting the "War on Terror") are in real danger of losing. Afghanistan, where we were told by Bush that the Taliban was defeated once and for all back in 2002. Afghanistan, where we were told by Bush that Al Qaida would never again have a base from which to mount terrorist attacks against us.

    Yet here we are in 2008, Osama Bin Ladin is still alive and kicking, and the Taliban is threatening to turn Afghanistan back into a place where terrorists and Islamic fundamentalists control a failed state, dominated by tribal warlords, and at the mercy of an economy based on opium production. Here's the latest from Reuters where Lord Paddy Ashdown, a senior British diplomat and former High Representative to Bosnia, argues that NATO and the US are losing Afghanistan because of Bush's strategy of using air power to fight the Taliban on the cheap rather than investing the time, money and troops necessary to mount an effective counterinsurgency:

    NATO is in disarray and the West faces defeat in Afghanistan unless it overhauls its counter-insurgency and reconstruction strategy, Britain's Paddy Ashdown wrote in an article published on Wednesday. [...]

    "With fighting in Afghanistan now entering its seventh year, no agreed international strategy, public support on both sides of the Atlantic crumbling, NATO in disarray and widening insecurity in Afghanistan, defeat is now a real possibility..." [...]

    Ashdown called for more cooperation between international military and civilian efforts and a greater focus on governance and the rule of law across in a country where corruption and lawlessness is widespread. [...]

    "Breaking up the Taliban by winning over the moderates is a far better route to success than bombing and body counts."

    I'm sure Lord Ashdown is correct. We do need to change the approach that the US and NATO are taking in Afghanistan if we hope to stave off the return of the Taliban to power, and the re-emergence of a terrorist haven there. The problem, however, is that the Bush administration has never invested the resources necessary to win the war and achieve a lasting peace in Afghanistan. Instead, Bush and his advisors unilaterally declared victory, held an election of no real consequence to install a government favorable to the US, and then abandoned Afghanistan for Bush's tragically misguided and illegal war in Iraq. It is Iraq which continues to suck up the vast majority of the resources we have employed in this so-called War on Terror. Vast sums of money wasted, sucked down into the black hole of Halliburton and other private contractor's profits. A military, and especially the Army and Marine Corps, the ground forces that are the backbone of any military action, which have been fatally overstretched and are now breaking apart because of the many extended tours of duty required of them. A strategy that relies on bombs and planes to defeat the Taliban, in part fueled no doubt by the lack of available troops, equipment and money to support a real effort to secure and stabilize Afghanistan.

    I'm sure Lord Ashdown understand that President Bush will never commit the resources to put this proposed strategy in place, because to do so would require a withdrawal from Iraq, and/or a level of cooperation from our NATO allies they will not extend at this time because they are deeply and rightly suspicious of the Bush administration and its ability to change course and adopt a different approach in Afghanistan. So, I believe that his comments now are really addressed to a different audience: the next US President, whoever that may be, and to the rest of our European allies to give that next President the benefit of the doubt should she or he actually take the steps Lord Ashdown is urging the US to adopt:

    "What we lack above all is a strategy that all (including, crucially, the Afghan government and the international military) can buy into," the former international envoy to Bosnia-Hercegovina wrote.

    He wrote that while increasing resources, in the form of more troops and aid, committed to the country was necessary, it was not the only thing that needed to be done, and listed three priorities: security, governance, and the rule of law.

    "We (the international community) have to concentrate fiercely on the necessary and not to be distracted by the merely desirable," Ashdown wrote.

    On security, he wrote that in addition to convincing ordinary Afghans their government could provide better security than the Taliban, the international community would have to provide "human security" -- electricity, the chance to get a job in a growing economy, effective governance and the rule of law.

    He also advocated viewing security "from a political angle" by attempting to break up the Taliban by winning over moderates.

    Ashdown wrote that international donors "should make improving governance the first, and if we can the only, priority for all future aid programmes" because until the Afghan government's institutions were strengthened, "we cannot ask them to do more".

    The third priority was to link security and governance with a strengthened rule of law, underlining the importance of his point by writing: "Unless and until the rule of law is established there can be no safe democracy, no trusted government, no successful economy and no security for ordinary citizens."

    "We have not lost in Afghanistan," Ashdown wrote.

    "But we will lose if we do not start doing things differently. What we need is a strategy, not a disconnected collection of unco-ordinated tactics."

    Let's face it. I can't see Commander in Chief Bush ever taking Ashdown's advice. It would mean admitting that what he claimed earlier, that Afghanistan had been liberated and an effective democracy established there, were lies. It would mean taking on the "hard work" of nation building, rather than bombing villages and destroying poppy fields with American chemicals sprayed from the skies. And most of all, it would mean drastically reducing our forces in Iraq, and redirecting our efforts to where the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11, and the Islamic extremists who sheltered them while they made their plans, actually live. It would take the ability to admit he had been wrong, and the ability to cut his losses in order to focus on the real danger in the region. In short, it would take a measure of common sense and humility that neither Bush nor his neocon supporters possess.

    Let's hope there is still a chance to for the next President to implement something akin to Ashdown's recommendations after Bush is retired to his "ranch" in Crawford. My fear, however, is that it is already far to late to reverse the damage done by the failed war policies of President Bush. At best, the next US President may simply have no choice but to adopt the "least worst" option to limit the harm which has already been done.

    I wonder who to believe, a British general who dedicated his life to the military arts, or some guy who's daddy got him a plum national guard assignment, got drunk all the time, then snorted cocaine and refused to take a mandatory physical before going AWOL?

    I wonder who knows more?

    The guy who spent his entire life learning about tactics and strategy, or somebody who actually listens to Condi where's the shoe sale Rice for advice about global issues?

    Damn this is hard work.

  22. Nobody has ever defeated afghanistan and we will not be the first. Bush guaranteed a loss there, in Iraq, the middle east, and everywhere when he diverted from Afghanistan to attack Iraq to get us into the middle east so he could go after Iran and get his new order world war going and he will not be denied.

  23. Nobody has ever defeated Afghanistan

    The British defeated by the Afghanis 3 times, 1839–42, 1878–80, and lastly in 1919;

    Soviets once, mid 1970's-1989;

    Too bad the repugs never checked that little detail out any more then the Dulles brothers checked out why the Vietnamese people backed Ho Chi Minh by about 90% in the 1950's.

    (hint he had already beat the Japanese and French)

    We can now join the list of unsuccessful occupants of Afghanistan just like we joined the list of unsuccessful occupants of Vietnam.

  24. Totally Spent

    by Robert Reich

    WE’RE sliding into recession, or worse, and Washington is turning to the normal remedies for economic downturns. But the normal remedies are not likely to work this time, because this isn’t a normal downturn.

    The problem lies deeper. It is the culmination of three decades during which American consumers have spent beyond their means. That era is now coming to an end. Consumers have run out of ways to keep the spending binge going.

    The only lasting remedy, other than for Americans to accept a lower standard of living and for businesses to adjust to a smaller economy, is to give middle- and lower-income Americans more buying power — and not just temporarily.

    Much of the current debate is irrelevant. Even with more tax breaks for business like accelerated depreciation, companies won’t invest in more factories or equipment when demand is dropping for products and services across the board, as it is now. And temporary fixes like a stimulus package that would give households a one-time cash infusion won’t get consumers back to the malls, because consumers know the assistance is temporary. The problems most consumers face are permanent, so they are likely to pocket the extra money instead of spending it.

    Another Fed rate cut might unfreeze credit markets and give consumers access to somewhat cheaper loans, but there’s no going back to the easy money of a few years ago. Lenders and borrowers have been badly burned, and the values of houses and other assets are dropping faster than interest rates can be lowered.

    The underlying problem has been building for decades. America’s median hourly wage is barely higher than it was 35 years ago, adjusted for inflation. The income of a man in his 30s is now 12 percent below that of a man his age three decades ago. Most of what’s been earned in America since then has gone to the richest 5 percent.

    Yet the rich devote a smaller percentage of their earnings to buying things than the rest of us because, after all, they’re rich. They already have most of what they want. Instead of buying, and thus stimulating the American economy, the rich are more likely to invest their earnings wherever around the world they can get the highest return.

    The problem has been masked for years as middle- and lower-income Americans found ways to live beyond their paychecks. But now they have run out of ways.

    The first way was to send more women into paid work. Most women streamed into the work force in the 1970s less because new professional opportunities opened up to them than because they had to prop up family incomes. The percentage of American working mothers with school-age children has almost doubled since 1970 — to more than 70 percent. But there’s a limit to how many mothers can maintain paying jobs.

    So Americans turned to a second way of spending beyond their hourly wages. They worked more hours. The typical American now works more each year than he or she did three decades ago. Americans became veritable workaholics, putting in 350 more hours a year than the average European, more even than the notoriously industrious Japanese.

    But there’s also a limit to how many hours Americans can put into work, so Americans turned to a third way of spending beyond their wages. They began to borrow. With housing prices rising briskly through the 1990s and even faster from 2002 to 2006, they turned their homes into piggy banks by refinancing home mortgages and taking out home-equity loans. But this third strategy also had a built-in limit. With the bursting of the housing bubble, the piggy banks are closing.

    The binge seems to be over. We’re finally reaping the whirlwind of widening inequality and ever more concentrated wealth.

    The only way to keep the economy going over the long run is to increase the wages of the bottom two-thirds of Americans. The answer is not to protect jobs through trade protection. That would only drive up the prices of everything purchased from abroad. Most routine jobs are being automated anyway.

    A larger earned-income tax credit, financed by a higher marginal income tax on top earners, is required. The tax credit functions like a reverse income tax. Enlarging it would mean giving workers at the bottom a bigger wage supplement, as well as phasing it out at a higher wage. The current supplement for a worker with two children who earns up to $16,000 a year is about $5,000. That amount declines as earnings increase and is eliminated at about $38,000. It should be increased to, say, $8,000 at the low end and phased out at an income of $46,000.

    We also need stronger unions, especially in the local service sector that’s sheltered from global competition. Employees should be able to form a union without the current protracted certification process that gives employers too much opportunity to intimidate or coerce them. Workers should be able to decide whether to form a union with a simple majority vote.

    And employers who fire workers for trying to organize should have to pay substantial fines. Right now, the typical penalty is back pay for the worker, plus interest — a slap on the wrist.

    Over the longer term, inequality can be reversed only through better schools for children in lower- and moderate-income communities. This will require, at the least, good preschools, fewer students per classroom and better pay for teachers in such schools, in order to attract the teaching talent these students need.

    These measures are necessary to give Americans enough buying power to keep the American economy going. They are also needed to overcome widening inequality, and thereby keep America in one piece.

    Shorter Robert Reich,

    The Reagan economic policies of trickle down economics and massive budget deficits are a enormous failure.

    They have undercut the middle class of this country and lead directly to the inflationary bubble economics Alan Greenspan has had to pursue to try in a failed attempt to cover up the flawed policies advocated by Milty Fraudman and followed by the stupid repugs.

    Now 28 years out we face almost exactly what we faced in 1929, an economy based on a few very wealthy people and the rest losing ground and NO real attempt by the powers that be, (repugs both times) to address the real problems with the economy.

    Hint 28 years after FDR began his attempt to right the economic ship of state, we were in the golden age of the US economy .... the 1960's .... set to race the soviets to the moon and leading the worlds economy in ways we can only dream of now a days ....

    28 years after Reagan's fraud was perpetrated on the US, not so much. but to be fair Bush is NO JFK either ....

    We need to admit Reagan screwed up, in economic terms as much as Bush has in military terms, go back to paying people enough to live a middle class lifestyle on so they can hold up the US economy.

    NOTHING else will work.


    Oh and BTW Milty Fraudman was and is a fraud on economics,

    "freedom" is NOT an economic principle,

    but a jingoistic element he introduced to cover up his lack of real understanding of what really works.

    Freedom is an political element, which the Chinese sort of ignore while they kick our collective economic ass all over the place.

    (Thanks to the stupid policies of Reagan, Bush41, Clinton and especially Bush 43, based on the stupid ideas of Milty Fraudman)

  25. bingo clif! Only the chisf idiot would be so stupid. I believe the worm knows he's over his head and that is why he is trying to give the responsibility to NATO!

  26. Opening myself up to the flame wars perhaps but I do need to say something about the telephone company issue.

    I have to admit, part of me is very relieved that the immunity seems to be sticking. Not because I enjoy seeing our rights trampled on because I dont. Not because I enjoy seeing our Constitution shredded because I dont. And not because I dont want to see criminals held accountable for their actions because I do.

    I also want to keep feeding my family.

    Ivan Seidenberg (Verizon CEO) and the other telco bigwigs would end up getting off scottfree with their Presidential pardons and golden parachutes while the companies themselves would be hit with bankrupt-producing lawsuits. Money currently being used to develop Fiber/Fios service and DSL would be reverted to paying legal fees and settlements; operator jobs would be sent overseas as part of a cost cutting measure; massive layoffs would likely come as a result.

    And I would more than likely be out of a job.

    SO I hope you'll forgive me if I stay out of this particular picket line.

  27. MCH--
    How Republican!!! Putting ones personal needs over the good of the country. We live in a tank full of guppys, my friend, the big fish are eating the little ones. So, unless you're a mighty big fish, your day will come.

  28. Clif - this article is great. For a long time I've known this, seen it coming.

    mch - these phone companies have to be held accountable for duping us, breaking the law, all so they could get something, some "promises" from the Feds.

    they violated the constitution and did it months BEFORE 911.

  29. Does anyone get the idea that Rovian forces are just waiting to bring the ammunition out in force if Obama is the nominee?

    It seems like the calm before the storm; as if he's just skating by on too much good will.

    No one has suffered the attacks Hillary has, and it's sad that there is so much misogyny, a much more subtle form of bias against women in our society than for any other group.

  30. Women have been objectified, marginalized, pushed down and "bimbo-fied" and no one seems to care.

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. Lydia said "mch - these phone companies have to be held accountable for duping us, breaking the law, all so they could get something, some "promises" from the Feds.

    they violated the constitution and did it months BEFORE 911."

    I was going to respond to what you just said MCH, but this essentially says it all...............the only thing i would add, is Verizon and AT&T are near monopolies and would never go bankrupt, and being penalized for a crime and or being sued would in no way influence layoofs or employment, they have an army of lawyers as well as lobbyists on retainer just waiting to deal with problems and issues.

  33. TomCat said...
    Lydia, this is an excellent analysis. Thank you. I have the up the lists of DINOs that betrayed America on the two key amendments, the cloture vote, and the passage of the bill itself.

    One small point... In their defense, the phone companies say they were just being patriotic.

    Their patriotism sure went up in smoke when the Bush/GOP Reich failed to pay their bills and they pulled the plug."

    GREAT post Tomcat!

  34. Lydia said, "No one has suffered the attacks Hillary has, and it's sad that there is so much misogyny, a much more subtle form of bias against women in our society than for any other group."

    It's not often I disagree with you, Lydia, but I don't see it as misogyny. It's a character thing. The woman is a mean, vindictive, venal person. She will do or say anything to get what she wants. She has wanted this since Bill dragged her, kicking and screaming, from the White House in January 2001.

    She is the most neocon in the race. Check her Senate voting record, and then check her list of financial backers. She is owned, lock, stock, and barrel by the Military/Industrial Complex. She has taken more from the Pentagon Defense Contractors than anyone on the other side. Do you think this is a coincidence? Do you think it's an anomoly?

    This goes against my nature to say, but, she is George W Bush in drag.

  35. As he weighs a possible endorsement in the Democratic race, former Sen. John Edwards is as split as the party he once hoped to lead — and is seriously considering supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, despite the sharp criticism he leveled at her on the campaign trail, according to former aides and advisers.

    On The Trail: Edwards Campaign WrapIn deciding between his one-time rivals, Edwards appears deeply divided. Several former advisers likened his thought process to a heart-versus-head split — with his heart favoring Sen. Barack Obama's strong message of change, and his head attracted to Clinton's tested nature and commitment to tough fights.

    Though he sometimes aligned himself with Obama — and against Clinton — as a candidate, several Edwards campaign insiders say the former senator began to sour on Obama toward the end of his own campaign, and ultimately left the race questioning whether Obama had the toughness needed to prevail in a presidential race.

    "He is much more torn than people realize," said one former aide who has stayed in contact with Edwards. "Honestly, he has serious reservations about both of them."

    Several people close to the former North Carolina senator say he may ultimately stay neutral in the race, joining former Vice President Al Gore on the sidelines of the tightest Democratic race in decades.

    That may become a stronger possibility if Obama continues to build momentum toward the nomination: Edwards does not want to back a losing candidate, and neither does he want to join a bandwagon, aides and associates say.

    But former campaign aides who have stayed in contact with Edwards say he is eager to play a major role in the race, and is mindful that his backing would only carry weight if it comes relatively quickly — before the March 4 primaries in Texas and Ohio, which could effectively settle the nomination fight.

    He also appears to realize that endorsing Clinton would likely carry the most weight, since it would be more unexpected and would provide a jolt of energy to a campaign that is suffering a rough patch, particularly in the wake of Tuesday's election results, which saw Obama sweep Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

  36. By Erica Jong

    Ever since I wrote an article in the Washington Post ten days ago, I've been getting love letters from women and super-smart men and brickbats from the Hillary-Haters. Unfortunately the Hillary-Haters are in charge. They monopolize the networks, the newspapers, the talk shows -- both radio and TV. They are crossing their legs for fear of castration. They are wearing the body armor our troops never got. Or got too late to matter. They are determined that a woman will not prove herself competent as Commander in Chief.

    What's their ammunition? Oh, it's simple. They call her Mrs. Clinton, not Ms. or Senator. They pull out those nutcrackers in the shape of her supposed thighs. They complain about her ankles -- too thick. They complain on Fox TV that "White women are the problem" -- (idiot boy Kristol, the brain-damaged scion of Irving who rose through nepotism like our unelected "president"). Then they say she has "baggage" -- which could mean wrinkles, or her husband, or her daughter Chelsea whom they say she is "pimping." Then they say she never divorced Bill -- as if it's anyone's business. Then they moon over Obama's rhetorical style. Then they make it appear that she's a drone or a worker bee and has no royal jelly. Or else she has royal jelly and is queen bee. And that's her problem.

    If Bill defends her, he's a pimp. If he doesn't, he's a creep. If Chelsea campaigns, it's cynical. If Obama trots out those cute little girls Michelle gave birth to, he's a family man. If Michelle attacks Hillary, it's news. If Hillary attacks Michelle -- well she can't because that would be racist. All we need now is a black woman in this race -- Maya or Oprah or Toni or Gayle or Donna -- any of whom would be a far better president than the one we've still got (not to mention his surrogate Dad, Dick Cheney, his co war-criminal). You couldn't attack Oprah or Maya or Toni or Gayle or Donna because of their color. Wow -- what an idea! Oprah for President. I'd definitely vote for that. I adore Maya Angelou as both person and poet. Toni Morrison is a genius and a true progressive. Gayle King is an executive, mother, communicator. Donna B. is a spokeswoman on CNN. Oprah -- well, she's Oprah -- way beyond having a last name.

    Let me tell you about the Hillary-Haters who fill my inbox, they can't spell. They also believe in witchcraft. They believe HRC boils eye of newt with unborn baby's hair and little Jewish children not yet circumcised. They think she had a child with Vince Foster (even though Chelsea looks much like Bill and even his mother), then murdered him. They think she will leave Iraq, not leave Iraq, give us universal health care, not give us universal health care, sanction the killing of fetuses, not sanction the killing of fetuses, defend Israel, not defend Israel, end the Death Tax, not end the Death tax.

    Honey, they are all mixed up. But they know they hate. And not just her -- but lots of people and things and ideas.

    Ho hum. We've seen this all before in the United States of Amnesia (Gore Vidal's brilliant phrase). Remember Geraldine Ferraro -- tarred with the brush of her Italian-American husband, whom they claimed was a mafioso? Remember Bella Abzug, attacked for her hats (which covered too large a brain)? Remember Eleanor Roosevelt, attacked for her teeth? Remember Victoria Woodhull (the first woman to run for president) "hanged" as a whore? Remember Emma Goldman rode out of town on a rail -- for being Jewish, liking to dance and supporting the rights of the working classes?

    Perhaps you know the history. Most likely you don't. They'd rather you didn't know it. Hence trillions for guns and pennies for education. The military industrial complex needs your boys and your girls in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan. But there's no one to guard the "homeland" -- a nice Hitlerian locution. Perhaps they'd rather you didn't know that every great empire -- from Persia to Greece to Rome -- fell when it spent more on war than on its people. This is history, kids. But we don't read history any more. History begins with Britney and ends with Paris.

    I give up. If I have to watch another great American woman thrown in the dustbin of history to please the patriarchy, I'll move to Canada -- where they live four years longer than we because they have universal health care. Or Italy -- where Berlusconi played at being Mussolini but life is sweet anyway and people take vacations in August and at Chanukah (Christmas or Diwali or Kwaanza) and Passover (Easter).

    Ok folks, stick your heads in the sand like Maureen Dowd who thinks we're not against women but just against Clinton "baggage." Or Barbara Walters who seems to have forgotten how viciously she was attacked when she got her first million dollar contract -- worth only half a million in Euros today.

    Or Oprah who forgets she wasn't always Oprah -- I knew her when she had two names. She was always really smart, but she used to identify with women. And now she's joined the Obamarama. I get it. I understand. People want their own color in the White House (pun intended). And nobody said Barack wasn't brilliant.

    But the truth is, we have no idea what he stands for. At least I don't. All we have are soundbites and attacks on "the" Clintons. But I guess the great American Amnesiate prefers it that way. And they always get what they deserve in the White House. Last time it was Dubya -- the dumb son of the CIA who showed them by never heeding their warnings. We lost Al Gore to sound bites about his nerdiness. Then we lost him again to hanging chads in Florida. We lost Adlai for being too intellectual. They used to say "egghead" in the olden days. And we lost Kerry to touch screens in Ohio and to election officials later indicted and tried and convicted. I didn't like him anyway. I especially hated his not returning fire at the Swiftboaters, and that stupid salute at the Democratic convention where Barack was born from the head of Athena.

    Flip Flop, Flop Flip. This is the nature of our political dialogue. Might as well vote Repugnican as Democratic -- though I never have in my whole life. They're all just pols who secretly pledge to ignore fifty three percent of the population. And guess what? The fifty three percent is resigned to it. We don't like it. We wish it were otherwise. But we adore our sons and grandsons and husbands and fathers and grandfathers -- not to mention our nephews whom we happily nepotize.

  37. Maverick Fails The Test: McCain Votes Against Waterboarding Ban
    Today, the Senate brought the Intelligence Authorization Bill to the floor, which contained a provision from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) establishing one interrogation standard across the government. The bill requires the intelligence community to abide by the same standards as articulated in the Army Field Manual and bans waterboarding.

    Just hours ago, the Senate voted in favor of the bill, 51-45.

    Earlier today, ThinkProgress noted that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a former prisoner of war, has spoken strongly in favor of implementing the Army Field Manual standard. When confronted today with the decision of whether to stick with his conscience or cave to the right wing, McCain chose to ditch his principles and instead vote to preserve waterboarding:

    Mr. McCain, a former prisoner of war, has consistently voiced opposition to waterboarding and other methods that critics say is a form torture. But the Republicans, confident of a White House veto, did not mount the challenge. Mr. McCain voted “no” on Wednesday afternoon.

    The New York Times Times notes that “the White House has long said Mr. Bush will veto the bill, saying it ‘would prevent the president from taking the lawful actions necessary to protect Americans from attack in wartime.’”

    After Bush vetoes the bill, McCain will again be confronted with a vote to either stand with President Bush or stand against torture. He indicated with his vote today where he will come down on that issue.

    John McCain: He was against waterboarding before he was for it.

    So much for the "straight talk express."

  38. On the stump, Sen. John McCain has touted his work tackling the excesses of the lobbying industry to bolster his reputation as a "maverick" reformer.

    "Ask Jack Abramoff if I'm an insider in Washington," McCain often contends. "You'd probably have to go during visiting hours in the prison, and he'll tell you and his lobbyist cronies of the change I made there."

    But how much change did McCain actually effect? And is he all that removed from Washington's special interests?

    A review of campaign finance filings shows that the Arizona Republican has accepted more than $100,000 in donations from employees of Greenberg Traurig, the very firm where Abramoff once reigned.

    Those donations include several thousand dollars from registered lobbyists who represent, or have represented, businesses such as NewsCorp, Rupert Murdoch's media empire; Spi Spirits, a Cyprus based company that has fought with the Russian government for the rights to the Stolichnaya vodka brand name; El Paso Corp, a major energy company; General Motors; and the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, a group of businesses and trade associations "concerned" about the shortage of lesser skilled and unskilled labor.

    All told, McCain has received more than $400,000 from lobbying firms, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And among his major fundraisers ("bundlers") 59 have been identified as lobbyists by the non-profit organization Public Citizen.

    There is nothing illegal about these contributions. But campaign watchdog groups and McCain's opponents view them as more than just a reflection of political irony. McCain, they argue, has on occasion been far more bark than bite when it comes to taking on lobbying interests.

    Indeed, this past week, the Democratic National Committee put together a memo challenging McCain's assertion that he was a corruption hound while investigating Abramoff. The document and some government watchdog groups note that while McCain put pressure on Jack Abramoff and several prominent Republicans, he also went out of his way during the Indian Affairs Committee hearing to spare his congressional colleagues.

    "Although Sen. McCain has long bragged of his role in the Abramoff investigation, he let Tom DeLay and the other members of Congress who were doing Abramoff's bidding completely off the hook. The sole exception was Rep. Bob Ney, who is now serving time in prison," said Melanie Sloan, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics In Washington. "Sen. McCain knew what his colleagues were up to, he chose to take the easier path and give them a free pass.

    So Much For The "Straight Talk Express."


  40. You're right -- how selfish of me. Thinking of my own needs and the needs of my kids rather than worrying that people who are going to get pardoned anyway get a slap on the wrist while the people working for them get thrown to the gutter.

    Hey buddy, is this bridge taken? I can fit 3 sleeping bags under here.

  41. What's good for Exxon ...

    by Robert Scheer

    Whadda you mean "we," Mr. TV Pundit? When you say "we" are doing better in Iraq or, even more absurd, that "we" were right to invade that country in the first place, are you lumping Joe Blow American in with the top officers of Exxon, which made $40.6 billion in profit last year thanks to the turmoil in the energy markets? That royal "we" is good for the royals who control our government, but its persistent use embodies a pernicious lie that betrays the core ideal of representative democracy.

    Ever since "we" invaded Iraq, most of us have got nothing to show for it, other than an enormously increased national debt that we will be paying off for decades to come and an economy that is sputtering into recession. Oil sold for $22.81 a barrel the year before we launched the war against a country with the world's second largest oil reserves. The average price per barrel last year was almost three times that, at $64.20.

    With oil bouncing up to $100 a barrel in the fourth quarter of 2007, Exxon Mobil Corp. recorded the highest corporate quarterly profit ever. Chevron, the country's second biggest oil company, saw net income rise 29 percent that quarter, contributing to an enviable profit of $18.7 billion for 2007. Clearly, what is good for Big Oil is not good for most Americans, few of whom would look back on 2007 with favor.

    It is easy for the Bush administration big shots to equate the fortunes of Big Oil with that of the nation. After all George W. Bush only got to be president because his failed career in the Texas oil industry nonetheless exposed his charms to the big energy guys who then bankrolled his political career. Vice President Dick Cheney was an out-of-work defense secretary when he was picked to be CEO of Halliburton Energy Services, which has profited mightily from its dealings with Exxon, not to mention running the Iraq franchise.

    And the image we should all recall is of the Chevron tanker named Condoleezza Rice. Only in America would we think it not a conflict of interest that Rice was paid handsomely for being on the board of Chevron Corp. from 1991 until she resigned to go work in the Bush White House, first as national security adviser and then as secretary of state. How worried can she be about the deteriorating position of the United States in the world when her oil company buddies are doing so well?

    We are conned since early childhood to look with dark suspicion upon anyone who points a finger of accountability at the robber barons of the corporate world. It is for that reason that Exxon's outrageous profits, derived from exploiting an energy crisis that has hurt so many ordinary Americans, barely elicits media outrage of any sort. Nor does such profiteering get much play in the presidential race. To her credit, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton took umbrage over Exxon's record-setting annual profit of $39.5 billion for 2006, stating last year: "I want to take those profits and put them into an alternative energy fund ... that will actually begin to move us toward the direction of independence."

    From the hysterically negative response of the media, you would have thought she had hailed the second coming of Karl Marx. No wonder this year, with even higher profits reported, there was no similar outcry from any of the leading presidential candidates. They should be outraged because the taxpayers they are supposed to represent are forking over a lot of money for the military in order to make the world safe for Exxon.

    The lifeline of Exxon is not its oil-drilling skills but rather the power of the U.S. government, particularly the military, which can be marshaled to intimidate those other nations who would dare challenge Exxon's right to profit exorbitantly. Whether it is about pushing for a pipeline across Afghanistan or tying up Venezuela's foreign assets in international courts, as Exxon managed to do last week, the U.S.-based oil giants strut with the full confidence that Uncle Sam will back them up.

    But who will back up Uncle Sam except ordinary American soldiers and taxpayers who sacrificed to fight and fund battles that have nothing to do with their national interest? What a sorry record U.S. oil companies have compiled in places like Venezuela, Nigeria and the Persian Gulf down through the decades. But throughout those imperial adventures backed by U.S. gunboat diplomacy, there was the illusion that the plundered loot would be shared with the folks back home. Remember the $40.6 billion Exxon got the next time you fork it over at the gas pump, and you will get the point that "they" and "we" are hardly in the same boat.

    .... what he said .....

  42. Brother Tim said"She is the most neocon in the race. Check her Senate voting record, and then check her list of financial backers. She is owned, lock, stock, and barrel by the Military/Industrial Complex. She has taken more from the Pentagon Defense Contractors than anyone on the other side. Do you think this is a coincidence? Do you think it's an anomoly?

    This goes against my nature to say, but, she is George W Bush in drag."

    LOL.Brother Tim...........I've said the SAME things.........I definately see what your seeing and Hillary is all wrong for us she is a Neo Con war hawk lite and she definately does remind me of Bush in certain ways.

  43. Mike said, GREAT post Tomcat!

    Thanks Mike. Don't you lobe the way progressives turned the tables in the house, by coting with the GOP and Bush Dogs to kill the extension and force Pelosi to either stand up for the people or supper another politically devastating defeat?

    If PAA expires tomorrow night, as it appears it will, we go back to the old FISA!

  44. To honor Valentines day, I had to stop by to pay homage to Lydia, one of the left's loveliest!

    Happy Valentines day to Lydia and all!

  45. Belated Happy Valentines Day Lydia.

    God Bless.

  46. I am sorry I missed Valentine's Day, but I will probably miss every one to come from now on. The day of love has a whole new connotation for me now.

    As far as the telecoms..... Chimpy is simply trying to strong-arm us right to Mussolini's definition of Fascism. The moronic monkey is, first and foremost, a Fascist, and so are his worshipers. Never forget this for a minute.

    Oh, and of course any dem that goes along with him also fits this description, lest I forget to mention THEM. A DINO is a Fascist, this is for sure.

  47. Mike did you catch this one yet?

    Due to budgetary constraints, the Economic Indicators service will be discontinued effective March 1, 2008.

    Numbers That Do Not Add Up
    The Latest Data Scheduled to Disappear Behind the Iron Curtain:

    Advance Monthly Sales for Retail and Food Services

    Advance Report on Durable Goods

    Construction Put in Place

    Gross Domestic Product

    Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories, and Orders

    Manufacturing and Trade: Inventories and Sales

    Monthly Wholesale Trade

    New Residential Construction

    New Residential Sales

    Personal Income and Outlays

    Quarterly Financial Report

    Quarterly Services

    Retail E-Commerce Sales

    U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services

    U.S. International Transactions

    More information like the M3 money supply down the rabbit hole so the powers that be can manipulate the reality to fleece the sheeple a little longer.

    One little part of the report shows the derivatives have risen from around 40.5 trillion when Bush came to power last quarter of 2000 to to 172.2 trillion in the last quarter of 2007, with no slow down in sight.

    BTW five banks hold 167.4 trillion of those derivatives.

    JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, Wachovia, HSBC

    Here is the break down of their derivatives vs assets;

    JP Morgan Chase has 91.7 trillion in derivatives vs 1.2 trillion in assets;

    Citibank has 34 trillion in derivatives vs 1.2 trillion in assets

    Bank of America has 32 trillion in derivatives vs 1.3 trillion in assets

    Wachovia has 5 trillion in derivatives vs .5 trillion in assets

    HSBC has 4 trillion in derivatives vs .2 trillion in assets

    Now you can see why Citibank and JP Morgan Chase are in such dire straights, and why Citibank was willing to pay 11% interest rates to Dubai for a 7.3 billion dollar drop in the bucket to cover their derivatives position.

    Hell very few people have 11% mortgages at this point which should tell us all just how bad this really is.

    This is far from over and JP Morgan as far as I know haven't bellied up to pay for their outstanding derivative plays yet ......

    MBIA-Ambac underfunded insurance problems have to be worked out with out collapsing the whole house of cards.

    The credit crunch will have to be worked out, because with out credit Americans can't hold up the economy much longer. But more credit just makes the whole mess that much bigger.

    Rock meet hard place.

  48. Clif said "The credit crunch will have to be worked out, because with out credit Americans can't hold up the economy much longer. But more credit just makes the whole mess that much bigger.

    Rock meet hard place."

    Thats it in a nutshell............and it doesnt surprise me a bit that the Orwellian "Ministry of Truth" is abolishing any reported numbers and fugures they find "INCONVIENIENT"............if you remember I made a real big deal about M3 not being reported and the hedonics sham the Bush cronnies are using to VASTLY underreport inflation and cheat the working class and Fascist Fan and Crusty the clown screeched and mocked me...........now that everything we have said has proven true not a peep out of them.

  49. The right-wing smear campaign is starting.
    New thread is up.

    Overheard on Hannity: Now that we have to back McCain the only strategy is to smear Obama. We can't win by praising McCain! We have to take down the other side.

    So what else is new

    Please leave comments on new thread