Sunday, December 10, 2006

Time to leave Iraq

The first four links below sum up, for me, the Iraq Study Report

Are troops dying for oil profits? Floor speech by Dennis Kucinich, December 7, 2006

"Referring to Wednesday's ISG report, Kucinich today asked this question on the floor of the House.

"'On October 25th, President Bush cited oil as a reason for our continued presence in Iraq. The Iraq study group is recommending Iraq law be changed to facilitate privatization of Iraq's oil wealth.

"'The Iraq Study Group report says as much as 500,000 barrels per day -- that is $11.3 billion per year -- in Iraqi oil wealth is now being stolen, which is interesting, since the Ministry of Oil is the first place our troops were sent after the invasion of Iraq and we now have 140,000 troops there.

"'How can we expect the end of the Iraq war and national reconciliation in Iraq, while we advocate that Iraq's oil wealth be handled by private oil companies?

"'It is ironic that this report comes at the exact time the Interior Department's Inspector General says that oil companies are cheating the US out of billions of dollars while the Administration looks the other way.

"'Is it possible that Secretary Baker has a conflict of interest, which should have precluded him from co-chairing a study group whose final report promotes privatization of Iraq oil assets, given his ties to the oil industry?

"'Is it possible that our troops are dying for the profits of private oil companies?'"

I saw this speech on C-Span on Thursday morning. This is a classic example of speaking truth to power, something that few pols do.

Leave Iraq now; don't wait until 2008 election day By Joseph Galloway

"Let's get a few more things straight right now.

"There's no victory waiting for President Bush in Iraq, and nothing that his father's friends say or do can save him from an ignominious end to his presidency in two years and two months, or from the judgment of history.

"There will be no convenient and successful negotiation of a 'decent interval' with our enemies Iran and Syria to cover our withdrawal from a war that we should never have started.

"There can be no successful Vietnamization in Iraq - standing up more and better Iraqi army and police units and handing control over to them - when all we're doing is arming and training more recruits for the civil war that clogs the streets of Baghdad with the corpses of the victims of a Sunni-Shia bloodbath.

"What we need to do is what none of the commissions and their reports dared to suggest: Begin withdrawing American forces from Iraq right now. Not in 2008. Not after the American death toll has crossed 5,000. Not just in time for a presidential election.

"If you worry about the future of Iraq, don't. It will remain what it's always been: a violent, angry land of warring tribes only occasionally beaten and bludgeoned into submission by a homegrown despot like Saddam Hussein.

"If you worry about added turmoil and instability in the Middle East, pull some of those departing American forces back to Kuwait and leave them there on standby. Then redirect thought, energy and effort into salvaging Afghanistan, finding Osama bin Laden, saving Lebanon, negotiating peace between Israel and its enemies, rebuilding the U.S. Army and Marine Corps and, oh yes, ending the uncivil war between Republicans and Democrats.

"There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there's only one way to leave Iraq: Load our people up on their trucks and tank transporters and Bradleys and Humvees and head for the border. Now."

The Baker Boys: Stay half the course - Iraq Study Group or Saudi protection league? by Greg Palast

"James Baker III and the seven dwarfs of the 'Iraq Study Group' have come up with some simply brilliant recommendations. Not.

"Baker’s Two Big Ideas are:

"1. Stay half the course. Keeping 140,000 troops in Iraq is a disaster getting more disastrous. The Baker Boys’ idea: cut the disaster in half — leave 70,000 troops there.

"But here’s where dumb gets dumber: the Bakerites want to 'embed' US forces in Iraqi Army units. Question one, Mr. Baker: What Iraqi Army? This so-called 'army' is a rough confederation of Shia death squads. We can tell our troops to get 'embedded' with them, but the Americans won’t get much sleep.

"2. 'Engage' Iran. This is a good one. How can we get engaged when George Bush hasn’t even asked them out for a date? What will induce the shy mullahs of Iran to accept our engagement proposal? Answer: The Bomb."

Iraq Study Group: a bipartisan coverup of Washington's war crimes

"Instead, the document includes multiple denunciations of the Iraqi government for failing to provide essential services, create a functioning judiciary or foster economic progress. That the country was laid to waste by a US war and remains under military occupation—making Washington fully responsible for all of these failures—is simply passed over in silence.

"As one member of the group, Democratic power broker Vernon Jordan, put it, the bipartisan panel made no effort to determine 'how the house got on fire.'"

It's like blaming Poland in 1939 for being blitzed and occupied.

Picks of the Week:

Exxon spends millions to cast doubt on warming

"It has long been known that the oil giant, which in 2005 recorded an all-time record for quarterly income, has spent millions of dollars to fund climate sceptics. Exactly how much is unknown but some estimates suggest $19m (£9.7m) since 1998."

You can be sure ExxonMobil was at The Dick's secret energy meetings. I imagine James Baker was there as well.

Alps warmest in 1,300 years as 'winter' sets in

"From Ottawa to Moscow, temperatures generally have been way above average at the start of winter in the northern hemisphere, with flowers blooming on snow-starved slopes of Alpine ski resorts and bears struggling to hibernate."

More then 50 tribes convene on global warming impacts

"Native Americans are critical eyewitnesses to global warming. Among the first to experience the devastating impacts of a changing climate, Indigenous people are uniquely able to compare what's happening today with experiences spanning generations of understanding natural cycles and resources."

"March of the Penguins" colony has declined by 70 percent

"Of the world's 19 penguin species, 12 are now so threatened they need special protection, according to the Centre for Biological Diversity (CBD), a California environmental group focused on species extinction."

Tropical seas are threatened by famine as warming quickens, satellite survey shows

"The finding, which has long been predicted by computer models, suggests that as warming continues, fish stocks in tropical and sub-tropical regions will drop significantly. The study showed that in some ocean regions microscopic plants in the plankton, known as phytoplankton, respond to rising temperatures by scaling down their productivity by 30% or more. With less production at the bottom of the food chain, fish and other large ocean creatures have less to eat."

Dingell all the way: Dingell and other Democrats plan oversight hearings on environmental issues

"'There has been literally no oversight in the last six years,' Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), incoming chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told Muckraker yesterday. 'It's been nothing more than Kabuki theater.'

"That's why Dingell says he's gearing up to hold oversight hearings investigating the Bush administration's energy and environmental policies, as are his Democratic colleagues Barbara Boxer (Calif.), soon-to-be-chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Henry Waxman (Calif.), incoming chair of the House Government Reform Committee, which conducts oversight of the U.S. EPA."

I hope Randi Rhodes is right when she says we're entering a period of congressional oversight vs. overlook.

Boxer says no more environment rollbacks

"'Any kind of weakening of environmental laws or secrecy or changes in the dead of night — it's over,' Boxer said. 'We're going to for once, finally, make this committee an environment committee, not an anti-environment committee. ... This is a sea change that is coming to this committee.'"

EPA shortens science reviews, angering some

"The changes, some of which closely mirror requests by the American Petroleum Institute and Battery Council International industry groups, include shortening what is now an exhaustive scientific review, and replacing recommendations prepared by career scientists and reviewed by independent advisors with a "policy paper" crafted by senior White House appointees at the agency."

Revolt over new federal mercury law

"Facing a mandate to slash toxic mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, 23 states are thumbing their noses at a federal cleanup plan and are instead developing their own far tougher plans to deal with mercury."

EPA may drop lead air pollution levels

"The Bush administration is considering doing away with health standards that cut lead from gasoline, widely regarded as one of the nation's biggest clean-air accomplishments.

"Battery makers, lead smelters, refiners all have lobbied the administration to do away with the Clean Air Act limits."

Why does the Moron despise creation? His legacy? Leave no healthy Americans behind.

How to stay in Iraq: The Iraq study group rides to the rescue

"Whatever satisfaction it briefly offers, it might as well be sent directly to the Baghdad morgue. At a length of perhaps 100 pages, evidently calling for an 'aggressive' diplomatic engagement with neighboring Iran and Syria -- even unofficial American officials advocating diplomacy just can't seem to avoid some form of 'aggression' -- it will also, Washington Post reporters Wright and Thomas Ricks assure us, call for 'a major withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq' (no timetables, naturally)."

Reality check

"On a day when ten more U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq, the Iraq Study Group (ISG) released a report that is 'nothing less than a repudiation of the Bush administration's diplomatic and military approach to Iraq and to the whole region,' and a 'blueprint for a fundamentally different approach' to the war in Iraq. The report details the 'grave' situation there, as well as the many policy failures that have led to this point. Although the report is a 'stunning indictment' of Bush's failures, the recommendations are 'still couched in language vague enough to allow the president to pretend it is the 'new way forward' his aides are now talking up, rather than a timetable for withdrawal, which is on Mr. Bush's no-go list.' The president yesterday called the report a "very tough assessment" with some 'very interesting proposals,' but emphasized he 'probably won't agree with every proposal.' Indeed, even if Bush were to follow all 79 recommendations, there is no guarantee the plan would work. As the report concedes, there is 'no magic formula' for fixing Iraq. Yet the best way forward is to strategically redeploy our troops out of Iraq. Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Lawrence Korb explains, 'Not setting a date for a complete withdrawal of all of our military forces from the country will leave the Iraqi government and military believing they can continue to count on U.S. military power to support them come what may. ... We simply cannot leave our brave soldiers in harm's way if progress is not made pacifying the country over the next 18 months.'"

The Moron still plans to stay the course . . . with other people's relatives and taxpayers' money.

Oil for sale: Iraq study group recommends privatization

"The report calls for the United States to assist in privatizing Iraq's national oil industry, opening Iraq to private foreign oil and energy companies, providing direct technical assistance for the 'drafting' of a new national oil law for Iraq, and assuring that all of Iraq's oil revenues accrue to the central government."

Bidness as usual.

It's still about oil in Iraq: A centerpiece of the Iraq Study Group's report is its advocacy for securing foreign companies' long-term access to Iraqi oil fields.

"The report makes visible to everyone the elephant in the room: that we are fighting, killing and dying in a war for oil. It states in plain language that the U.S. government should use every tool at its disposal to ensure that American oil interests and those of its corporations are met."

It's the GOP elephant in the room trying to steal Iraq's billion barrel plus gorilla. I watched three panel's on Sunday discussing the Baker report. Unless I missed something, Iraq's oil wasn't mentioned once. Which means it's the main piece in this charade.

Gates hearing has new urgency

"Senators, who were inclined to rubber-stamp Gates’s nomination, may have reason to think twice. Indeed, the evidence now suggests that Washington’s conventional wisdom about Gates as 'a realist' clambering onboard to put Bush’s war strategy on a new course was dead wrong. Rather than a sign of a new direction, Bush may have picked Gates as a yes man who will continue the war pretty much as is."

Census counts 100,000 contractors in Iraq

"There are about 100,000 government contractors operating in Iraq, not counting subcontractors, a total that is approaching the size of the U.S. military force there, according to the military's first census of the growing population of civilians operating in the battlefield.

"The survey finding, which includes Americans, Iraqis and third-party nationals hired by companies operating under U.S. government contracts, is significantly higher and wider in scope than the Pentagon's only previous estimate, which said there were 25,000 security contractors in the country."

Secret American talks with insurgents break down

"SECRET talks in which senior American officials came face-to-face with some of their most bitter enemies in the Iraqi insurgency broke down after two months of meetings, rebel commanders have disclosed.

"The meetings, hosted by Iyad Allawi, Iraq’s former prime minister, brought insurgent commanders and Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Iraq, together for the first time."

Death toll continues to rise as Iraq war grinds on

"Over the weekend, a representative of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party, which was illegalised by the US occupation and leads much of the insurgency in western Iraq, declared from Syria there would be no negotiated settlement to end the fighting unless a withdrawal of all American troops were announced. The spokesman, identified as Khudiar al-Murshidi, a leading health official under Hussein’s regime, told Associated Press: 'We have made clear that this is not a picnic. The Americans did not take a simple thing from us... They have stolen our country and killed our people.'”

And that tends to upset people.

Say hello to the goodbye weapon

"The beam produces what experimenters call the 'Goodbye effect,' or 'prompt and highly motivated escape behavior.' In human tests, most subjects reached their pain threshold within 3 seconds, and none of the subjects could endure more than 5 seconds."

Next step . . . the death ray. Actually, Iraq will be a good test for this weapon. It will be a great way to herd protesters into free speech zones in the US, thereby winning hearts and minds in both countries.

There is much more at stake for America than Iraq

"The real importance of both documents is in what they do not say explicitly but implicitly convey: that the war has been a disaster; that the US must find a way to disengage by handing over the mess it created to the Iraqi leaders that the US itself had elevated to power; and that eventually the US may have to leave while blaming those same leaders for the US failure to cope. That notion is implicit even in some of Mr Rumsfeld's options and it is inherent in the 16-months deadline set by the Baker-Hamilton group for eventual US military disengagement."

Losing the good war

"The latest grim news is that after years of effort — and more than $1 billion spent — Afghanistan’s American-trained police force is unable to perform even routine law enforcement work. According to an article in yesterday’s Times, investigators for the Pentagon and the State Department found that the training program’s managers did not even know how many police officers were serving, while thousands of trucks and other American-purchased police equipment have simply disappeared."

Afghanistan war nears 'tipping point'

"The conflict in Afghanistan has entered a dangerous phase, and the next three to six months could prove crucial in determining whether the United States and its NATO partners can suppress a revitalized enemy — or will be dragged into another drawn-out and costly fight with an Islamic insurgency, according to senior military and security officials and diplomats."

CIA is undermining British war effort, say military chiefs

"British sources have blamed pressure from the CIA for President Hamid Karzai's decision to dismiss Mohammed Daud as governor of Helmand, the southern province where Britain deployed some 4,000 troops this year. Governor Daud was appointed in mid-year to replace a man the British accused of involvement in opium trafficking, but on Thursday Mr Karzai summoned him to Kabul and sacked him, along with his deputy."

Of course the CIA and Bushco preferred the man involved in drug trafficking.

Gary Webb's death: American tragedy

"The 49-year-old Webb, a divorced father of three who was living alone in a rental house in Sacramento County, California, then raised the gun and shot himself in the head. The first shot was not lethal, so he fired once more." [Right, I've heard of a lot of suicides where the person gets off two shots to his own head!] . . . .

"Webb’s 'Dark Alliance' series, published in August 1996, revived the story of how the Reagan administration in the 1980s had tolerated and protected cocaine smuggling by its client army of Nicaraguan rebels known as the contras."

With the help of the CIA. This an interesting story.

Pentagon resists pleas for help in Afghan opium fight

"The Pentagon, engaged in a difficult fight to defeat a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, has resisted entreaties from U.S. anti-narcotics officials to play an aggressive role in the faltering campaign to curb the country's opium trade."

No surprise; the Bush Crime Family has done well in the drug trade for decades.

Fathers and Sons: How George W. Bush has ruined the family franchise

"The son who was wrongly launched has made such a mess of things that he has ruined the family franchise. Without getting too Oedipal, it’s fair to say that so many mistakes George W. Bush made are the result of his need to distinguish himself from his father and show that he’s smarter and tougher. His need to outdo his father and at the same time vindicate his father’s failure to get re-elected makes for a complicated stew of emotions. The irony is that the senior Bush, dismissed by Junior’s crowd as a country-club patrician, looks like a giant among presidents compared to his son. Junior told author Bob Woodward, for his book “Plan of Attack,” that he didn’t consult his father in planning the invasion of Iraq but consulted a higher authority, pointing, presumably, to the heavens."

Does this mean that Poppy will, you know, have the Moron taken care of?

Mideast allies near a state of panic

"But instead of flaunting stronger ties and steadfast American influence, the president's journey found friends both old and new near a state of panic. Mideast leaders expressed soaring concern over upheavals across the region that the United States helped ignite through its invasion of Iraq and push for democracy — and fear that the Bush administration may make things worse."

Analysts: US at root of effort to topple Lebanese government

"American political leaders watched with alarm during the past week as the Hezbollah militia laid siege to the U.S.-backed Lebanese government, but few would acknowledge publicly what most analysts and politicians here say is obvious: American policy may bear much of the blame.
"Many in Beirut say that U.S. failure to stop Israel's onslaught against Hezbollah last summer crippled the Lebanese government - a U.S. ally - while strengthening Hezbollah - a U.S. enemy. That created an environment in which the Shiite Muslim militia could call for overthrowing Sunni Muslim Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and his Cabinet."

Remember when critics were saying The Moron couldn't run a laundromat? They were right.

US seeks near-total isolation for Gitmo

"The government has proposed limiting contact between defense lawyers and detainees at Guantanamo Bay because it says detainees' communications, such as news of world events, could incite the prisoners to violence."

Fed court to hear 'landmark torture case' against Rumsfeld

"'The hearing will be the first time a federal court will consider whether top U.S. officials can be held legally accountable for the torture scandal in Iraq and Afghanistan,' the release continues, adding that the lawsuit was first filed in 2005 'on behalf of nine Iraqi and Afghan former detainees.'"

Maybe this explains von Rumsfeld's CYA memo.

Suits by Iraqis and Afghans claims Rumsfeld ordered torture

"The case is important because it represents an attempt to hold US officials accountable for alleged illegal abuse of Iraqi and Afghan civilians who were never detained as enemy combatants or charged with any crime. But some legal analysts say the suit may be aimed more at shaping public opinion than winning in court because such cases are difficult to pursue."

Having this suit move forward would go a long way toward showing the world that the US is changing course from fascism to freedom. Torqemada's department should recuse itself from meddling in the case.

Judge weighs torture claim vs. Rumsfeld

"A federal judge on Friday appeared reluctant to give Donald H. Rumsfeld immunity from torture allegations, yet said it would be unprecedented to let the departing defense secretary face a civil trial.

"'What you're asking for has never been done before,' U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan told lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union."

It's pasr time to break new ground for war criminals in the US.

Impunity and immunity: The Bush administration enters the confessional (Scroll down)

"Though confidently proposing ways that any future prosecution for war crimes could be avoided, these memo-style declarations of immunity proved insufficiently comforting to an administration that had, by its own implicit admission, chosen to take a giant step into realms outside anyone's previous definition of the law.

"They soon grasped a simple point: Declaring themselves immune was one thing; ensuring immunity, quite another. To fully protect their clients -- the President of the United States as well as high Pentagon and CIA officials -- administration lawyers confronted the potential problem of domestic legal constraints on the mistreatment of detainees."

Becoming what we despise

"In that time, Padilla, who has been judged by professionals as mentally ill as a consequence of his brutal treatment, has been denied his Constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial and was permitted no legal representation for 21 months. The Bush administration’s excuse for this betrayal of our legal system was that Padilla was a dangerous al Qaeda agent, a big fish caught in the administration’s successful pursuit of its much ballyhooed war on terror. In the words of then-U.S. Attorney Gen. John Ashcroft, Padilla was 'a known terrorist who was exploring a plan to build and explode a radiological dispersion device, or ‘dirty bomb,’ in the United States.' Those lurid claims were abandoned when the government, faced with a belated U.S. Supreme Court censure, finally charged Padilla with vague and lesser crimes carrying a maximum 15-year sentence."

If somebody doesn't swing for this, there is no justisssss, as The Moron would say.

Congress must insist Bush isn't above the law

"Should President Bush be impeached? The very idea seems extreme, if not loony. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has explicitly ruled impeachment off the Democratic majority's agenda. But activists and legal scholars are organizing to pressure Democrats to begin impeachment hearings. And the incoming chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers, has issued two remarkable studies on abuses of presidential authority, raising the question of impeachable offenses."

Impeachment isn't enough.

Time for Bush to go!

"In Bush’s view, the only resolution is for troublesome Muslims to submit to his terms. But that is a possibility receding with the speed of water being pulled out to sea before the surge of a fast-approaching tsunami. In this case, there is a tidal wave of anti-Americanism about to crash across the Middle East."

Dem judiciary leader seeks torture documents

"In a letter addressed to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, chairman-to-be of the Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has requested the release of documents that outline the Bush Administration's interrogation policies.

"If the request is not met, the Democratically-controlled Judiciary Committee will have the option to subpoena when the new Congress begins in January."

Smuggling, theft, bribery at agency: Homeland Security staff misconduct is outlined in a report, along with fraud by the public.

"But the report, released this week, also highlights a litany of staff misconduct: immigration officials demanding sex in exchange for visas, airport screeners stealing money from tourists' luggage, federal air marshals smuggling drugs, and employees from various DHS agencies committing sex crimes — including indecent exposure and distributing child pornography."

As night follows day, criminality follows the Bush Crime Family.

Katherine Harris contributor indicted for sending white powder, threats to liberals, while our famously free press yawns

"A federal grand jury indicted a Woodland Hills man Friday on charges of sending threatening letters with white powder to half a dozen politicians and celebrities, including incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and television personalities Jon Stewart and Keith Olbermann.

"The 14-count indictment accuses Chad Conrad Castagana, 39, of sending the letters from Sept. 7 through Nov. 9 to those three as well as Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, comedian and late-night talk show host David Letterman and Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone."

Cases retread Brown vs. Board of Education steps

"For the first time in a decade, the Supreme Court will revisit the legacy of a landmark: the Brown vs. Board of Education decision of 1954 that declared unconstitutional the racial segregation of public schools."

Seeking to keep the Darkies down.

Breyer says justices must protect minorities' rights

"'We're the boundary patrol,' Breyer said, reiterating themes in his 2005 book that argue in favor of affirmative action in university admissions, because they would lead to diverse workplaces and leadership.

"'It's a Constitution that protects a democratic system, basic liberties, a rule of law, a degree of equality, a division of powers, state, federal, so that no one gets too powerful,' said Breyer, who often votes with a four-member liberal bloc of justices."

Bolton bolts

"BUSH HAS NO ONE TO BLAME BUT HIMSELF: 'I am deeply disappointed that a handful of United States Senators prevented Ambassador Bolton from receiving the up or down vote he deserves in the Senate,' Bush said yesterday. By picking a nominee who could not muster sufficient bipartisan support, Bush has only himself to blame. It became immediately clear as soon as Bolton was nominated in March 2005 that he was destined to be a divisive nominee. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) said at the time, 'In these dangerous times, we cannot afford to put at risk our nation’s ability to successfully wage and win the war on terror with a controversial and ineffective Ambassador to the United Nations.' And yet, Bush attempted to thwart the will of the Senate over the past two years, first by recess-appointing Bolton, then by re-nominating him, and finally by suggesting he might be appointed to a position that did not require Senate confirmation, making him 'acting ambassador.' Despite Bush's efforts to blame partisan obstruction for the defeat, Bolton's 'fate was sealed when Chafee decided to block his nomination in the Foreign Relations Committee.'"

I will ask Liberals to unite Canada by offering us something to believe in, says, Stephane Dion

"As Liberals, we must match prosperity with fairness. For $4 billion - less than the cost of cutting the GST [General Sales Tax] by a further 1 per cent - we can provide a National Child Benefit Supplement of $5,000 per child to every family earning $25,000 or less, picking the lock that holds 1.2 million Canadian children in poverty."

I had an email exchange with a Canadian reader last week in which I cited a Canadian internet source regarding the Liberal party's move to the right. My friend responded:

"Empathetic as I am to this Web site....the victory of Stephane Dion today as leader of the Liberal party is a win for the Remulac party [Remulac - the true source of universal justice and truth and the place of origin of the Coneheads . . . they weren't really from France]. Huge surprise. I like him and see that he will take Harper on in a very different manner than any of the other candidates. He has that geeky Gore quality that you instinctively trust. He is not a capitalist pawn."

The referenced article comes from Dion's website. I like what I see. Certainly Dion's desire to put money in not leaving Canadian children behind is opposite to BushCo, which includes Harper. I am much like the Hunchback of Notre Dame; instead of looking wistfully at the cathedral, I used to look north to Canada with "Sanctuary!" on my lips.

Harper keeps carving away at Canada's soul

"So, Stephen Harper's finance minister is promising $22 billion in tax cuts. Great. Another nail in the coffin for democracy in Canada.

"Some historian in the future will look at this period of Canadian democratic governance and in sombre tones describe how Canadian society, somehow, inexplicably, began to deliberately diminish itself."

End of the boom

"Dark economic clouds are gathering ahead. After six years of booming home prices, the great American housing bubble has finally popped, and the market is now on the verge of collapse. Tens of millions of families who bought homes at bubble-inflated prices 'now face the prospect of seeing their life savings disappear.' This development will have wide-ranging effects on the American economy. 'Over the last few years,' writes Princeton economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, 'most good U.S. economic news has been the result of soaring home prices.' With this engine of economic growth now broken down, America faces a potential future of 'rapidly falling house prices, rising default and bankruptcy rates,' lost jobs, fewer consumption, even a possible recession. The dark clouds ahead may be a perfect storm hitting the U.S. economy. (Read 'The End of the Great American Housing Boom,' a new report by American Progress Senior Economist Christian Weller.)"

Denver housing market in free-fall as foreclosures eclipse record

"With one month left in the year, foreclosures have already eclipsed the record set during the 1988 oil industry collapse which sent Colorado's economy into a tail-spin.

"Experts are saying Denver's spiraling market should serve as a warning to the rest of the country."

Georgia foreclosures jump 99%; rate is nation's 3rd highest

"Foreclosures are rising.

"More than 115,000 properties across the country were in the foreclosure process in October — up 42 percent from the same month a year earlier, according to RealtyTrac, a California company that tracks foreclosures.

"Foreclosures in Georgia are up a stunning 99 percent in the past year.

"The state now has the nation's third-highest rate of foreclosures: One in every 449 households. In October, that meant 6,895 properties were in the foreclosure process."

Is England a dead loss?

"Homeowners in Britain are now living in fear. The only possible result of such incredible assaults on life style and the will to get ahead will be for neighborhoods to begin to decay as people refuse to make repairs or upgrades. This is the core of wealth redistribution schemes and their obvious result --poverty for all."

Iraq is broke -- maybe we will be, too

"Unless American leadership is even crazier than it has been these last few years, we will be out or well on our way out of the grotesquely expensive disaster in the desert. But many Americans who consider themselves middle-class may be on hard or harder times two years from now. We are living in a house of cards."

A weaker dollar and a receding US influence

"Central banks worldwide began discarding the dollar in favor of the euro in an attempt to minimize their losses following the decline in the value of the US currency.

"An opinion poll conducted by the Management Trend research firm showed that more than two thirds of the world's central banks have reduced their exposure to the US dollar.

"According to the poll conducted in 2005, 65% of central banks, managing more than two trillion US dollars, have begun to realize that the US currency cannot be relied on for these banks' reserves."

Bush, Cheney, at minimum, need to go to prison, because the US is broke and broken due to their efforts.

Top-level insiders sell their stock

"America's corporate chiefs are unloading their own stocks at one of the boldest paces in 20 years.

"In cases of the very rich, such as Microsoft's Bill Gates and Google's top brass, the executives are selling a whopping $63 for each $1 of stock they bought, says a report by Bloomberg."

US criminal probe rattles $2.1 trillion municipal bond market

"U.S. Justice Department prosecutors subpoenaed more than a dozen banks and insurers three weeks ago, seizing documents from three brokers in a search for evidence of bid rigging. Lawyers say it's the biggest criminal investigation of the almost 200- year-old market, where municipalities have more than $2 trillion of debt outstanding."

GAO: The status quo is unsustainable

"…And even if we're able to constrain discretionary spending for the next ten years to the rate of inflation, which we haven't for a long time, we still face large and growing structural deficits in the years ahead. Bottom line? The status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable. We're on an imprudent and unsustainable fiscal path. Tough choices are required. We will not be able to grow our way out of this problem. Anybody who says that suffers from two problems. Number one, they have not studied economic history adequately; and number two; they probably wouldn't do real well at math. Because the numbers just don't add up."

Richest 2% own 'half the wealth'

"The richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of all household wealth, according to a new study by a United Nations research institute."

US construction activity plummets

"Construction activity in October plunged by the largest amount since the recession in 2001 as home building fell for a record seventh consecutive month."

Productivity slows as factory orders drop

"Growth in worker productivity slowed sharply in the summer while wages and benefits rose at a rate that was far below a previous estimate, a development likely to ease inflation worries at the Federal Reserve."

Quotes from and others:

"I would urge Bush to try recognize that it is not about him. It's about our country." -- Al Gore, talking to a brick wall, Link

"It's bad in Iraq. That help?" -- the snot-nosed little boy, barking at a reporter who asked if he was still in denial, Link I'm old, and I've never seen anything like the mess this nutty bastard has created and it's only going to get worse because he's got nowhere to go.

"Some reports are issued and just gather dust. And truth of the matter is, a lot of reports in Washington are never read by anybody. To show you how important this one is, I read it." -- Dubya, lying about Baker's Iraq report, Link

"We did not find one single person, and we interviewed over 200 people, who thought we should stay the course. We are going to pull out our combat troops out of Iraq over a period of time and they have to begin to accept the new mission and we have to begin to accept the primary mission of training and embedding troops." -- Lee Hamilton, (BFEE- Whitewash)
- Link Things are so bad, Lee Hamilton can't whitewash this mess away.

"I think the situation on the ground is going to improve. I do think that progress is being made in a lot of Iraq. I think a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course. If I thought we weren't making progress, I'd be despondent." -- John McCain (R-Approves of torturing prisoners) Dec 8, 2005, Link

"There's only one thing worse than an overstressed Army and Marine Corps, and that's a defeated Army and Marine Corps. We saw that in 1973. And this is a recipe that will lead to, sooner or later, our defeat in Iraq." -- Flip-flopping John McCain (R-Loves Torture) who was Mr. Stay the Course until Nov 7, Link

"You cannot be a party that sees gay love, marriage and parenthood as the work of Satan while Cheney's family is busy building a lesbian family as an integral part of it." -- Andrew Sullivan, sloooooowly learning the difference between us and them, Link

"America needs, and I need, for the Republican Party to get back up." -- Senator Joe Biden (D-Rubberstamp), Joe Biden is creepy

"Bush is an extraordinarily unpopular president. I understand this viewpoi is underrepresented in the mainstream media, but it is not underrepresented in the public at large." --Atrios, "Brief Reminder to Democrats",

"This report gives a very tough assessment of the situation in Iraq. It is a report that brings some really very interesting proposals, and we will take every proposal seriously and we will act in a timely fashion." -- Dubya, telling Unka Jimmy to shove his fancy commission up his ass, Link

"They're all basically saying the same thing: This Iraq war is an utter disaster. This is the worst strategy mistake in the history of the United States. This is a situation where there are no good outcomes." -- Al Gore, on the Today show, Link

"In all my time in Washington I've never seen such smugness, arrogance, or such insufferable moral superiority. Self-congratulatory. Full of itself. Horrible." -- Bill Bennett, (R-Hooded), attacking James Baker's Iraq report, Link

"We are not winning in Iraq." -- Robert Gates, calling Bush a liar

"No, he shouldn't be worried. He should be terrified." --Senator Patrick Leahy, when asked if Bush should be "worried" that he was to be Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Link

"Not only did Bush know about it, he was specifically briefed on the incident before meeting with Webb, and was cautioned to be extra sensitive in speaking with Webb about his son." -- Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va 8th district), Link

"How do you ask a man to be the last to die for a bully's ego?" -- Paul Krugman on Der Monkey's quagmire, Link

"We grieve the fact that John Bolton was not rewarded for his success and honored for it." -- Tony Snow, on John Bolton's forced resignation, Link

"Democrats blocked Bolton's nomination, preventing an up or down vote. They have deprived America of the right man at the right time at the UN." -- John McCain, (R-Pro-Torture, Link

"The press, I think, was guilty of cheerleading. We were waving the flags and it was almost unpatriotic to question the war with Iraq." --David Gergen, telling the truth? Link

"No one wants to end the war in Iraq more than I do." --Joe Kissyface, in October, Link

"Asking Iran and Syria to help us succeed in Iraq is like your local fire department asking a couple of arsonists to help put out the fire." --Joe Kissyface, flip-flopper, rejecting the Baker-Whitewash plan, Link

Bumper sticker ideas:

1/20/09: End of an Error

That's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Liberties Anyway

Let's Fix Democracy in This Country First

If You Want a Nation Ruled By Religion, Move to Iran

Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.

If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President

Of Course It Hurts: You're Getting Screwed by an Elephant

Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?

George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight

Impeachment: It's Not Just for Blowjobs Anymore

America: One Nation, Under Surveillance

They Call Him "W" So He Can Spell It

Who's God Do You Kill For?

Cheney/Satan '08Jail to the Chief

No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade Iraq?

Bush: God's Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap

Bad President! No Banana.

We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language

We're Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them

Is It Vietnam Yet?

Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either

Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Hand-basket?

You Elected Him. You Deserve Him.

Impeach Cheney First

Dubya, Your Dad Shoulda Pulled Out, Too

When Bush Took Office, Gas Was $1.46

Pray For Impeachment

The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century

What Part of "Bush Lied" Don't You Understand?

One Nation Under Clod

2004: Embarrassed
2005: Horrified
2006: Terrified

Bush Never Exhaled

At Least Nixon Resigned


Blogger Causal said...

Impeach for Peace has created holiday impeachment cards that allow your friends and family to initiate the impeachment process. Deck the halls of congress with colorful impeachment petitions! Now that Representative McKinney has introduced Articles of Impeachment to Congress, it's time for us to show the other Members of Congress our support. So, Impeach for Peace created the Holiday Impeachment image, and researched a company that will allow you to send jumbo sized postcards along with a personalized message using your web browser. To learn more about this method of inititiating impeachment, go to:

Soon, Santa will be delivering sacks and sacks of mail to Nancy Pelosi initiating impeachment via the House of Representative's own rules. This legal document is as binding as if a State or if the House itself passed the impeachment resolution (H.R. 635). What better gift to give this holiday season than the restoration of our democracy? Truly the gift that keeps on giving. Over this past year, Bush has become an even greater threat to our Constitution. Lucky for us, the rules of the US House of Representatives allow for individual citizens like you and I to initiate the impeachment process directly! This process was successfully used to impeach in the past.

Be a part of history and have a merry impeachment this season!

12:29 AM  

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