Impeach Bush--Index 81

Some right wing nuts on the Supreme Court probably don't know that the entire fiscao at Guantanamo has been a failure. Their latest ruling on the issue was based entirely on politics and not the rule of law. Impeach the bastards.

June 18, 2008

Obama Remarks on Detainees and Afghanistan

First, let me say a few words about Guantanamo. By any measure, our system of trying detainees has been an enormous failure. Over the course of nearly seven years, there has not been a single conviction for a terrorist act at Guantanamo. There has been just one conviction for material support for terrorism. Meanwhile, this legal black hole has substantially set back America's ability to lead the world against the threat of terrorism, and undermined our most basic values. Make no mistake: we are less safe because of the way George Bush has handled this.

My approach is guided by a simple premise: I have confidence that our system of justice is strong enough to deal with terrorists; Senator McCain does not. That is not the same as giving these detainees the same full privileges as Americans citizens. I never said that, the Supreme Court never said that, and I would never do that as President of the United States. So either Senator McCain's campaign doesn't understand what the Court decided, or they are distorting my position.

June 19, 2008

New Crisis Threatens Healthy Banks

Increasing struggles by consumers and businesses to make payments on a variety of loans, not just mortgages, are setting off a new wave of trouble in the financial sector that is battering even institutions that had steered clear of the subprime-home-loan debacle.

Late payments on home-equity loans are at a record high, according to fresh data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The delinquency rates on loans for cars, small businesses and construction are spiking to levels not seen in a decade or more.

The Bush White House has no choice but to spend money we don't have to create the illusion that the economy is growing. After the largest accumulation of debt in US history the economy is still dead in the water. Tax cuts, rebate checks and stimulus packages don't work.

If we want to grow, we have to do it the old fashioned way - work. With any luck the era of conservative welfare is over. Their debt making tax cuts have created trillions of dollars of debt and no long term growth. Conservatism doesn't work, it must go away.

June 24, 2008

Foreclosure Rescue Bill Clears Key Senate Test

WASHINGTON (AP) - A massive foreclosure rescue bill cleared a key Senate test Tuesday by an overwhelming margin, with Democrats and Republicans both eager to claim election-year credit for helping hard-pressed homeowners.

The mortgage aid plan would let the Federal Housing Administration back $300 billion in new, cheaper home loans for an estimated 400,000 distressed borrowers who otherwise would be considered too financially risky to qualify for government-insured, fixed-rate loans.

And while the rest of the world prepares for Global Warming,"we still use too damn much oil."

June 19, 2008

Climate change will impact US national security

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Climate change will have sweeping consequences for US national security by 2030 aggravating global poverty and destabilizing fragile countries, a US intelligence report said Wednesday.

Global warming will exacerbate existing problems such as poverty and social tension, damage the environment and weaken political institutions, while triggering increased economic emigration, the report warns.

Some fifty million more people around the globe could face famine in the next dozen years, it said.

IMO, evangelicals supported Bush's war even after they learned it was based entirely on lies. They aren't worthy of being called Americans, much less Christians.

June 24, 2008

Dr. Dobson Has Just Handed Obama Victory

Senator Obama just took another giant step toward winning the presidency. Actually, someone who considers himself a sworn enemy of Senator Obama took the step for him. Dr. Dobson of the Focus On the Family radio program (and evangelical media empire) has aired a program in which he attacks Senator Obama, the Senator's theology and his credentials as a Christian. With enemies like this Senator Obama doesn't need friends.

No, I'm not talking about Dobson energizing liberal Democrats. I'm talking about Dobson energizing his fellow evangelicals to vote for Senator Obama.

I first met Dobson when I was on his program back in the early eighties. At that time I too was an evangelical right wing agitator. I describe my encounter with Dobson and my journey from the heart of the Republican/evangelical right to sanity in my book CRAZY FOR GOD-How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back.

June 20, 2008

Barack's Bounce

Barack finally has his bounce. For weeks many political experts and pollsters have been wondering why the race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain had stayed so tight, even after the Illinois senator wrested the nomination from Hillary Clinton. With numbers consistently showing rock-bottom approval ratings for President Bush and a large majority of Americans unhappy with the country's direction, the opposing-party candidate should, in the normal course, have attracted more disaffected voters. Now it looks as if Obama is doing just that. A new NEWSWEEK Poll shows that he has a substantial double-digit lead, 51 percent to 36 percent, over McCain among registered voters nationwide.

While we expected Bush and his CIA to violate the Constitution, we never expected the US Supreme Court to sit idly by and let the government torture POWs. Impeach the Court, impeach Bush.

Impeachable Offense
June 22, 2008

Inside a 9/11 Mastermind's Interrogation

WASHINGTON — In a makeshift prison in the north of Poland, Al Qaeda's engineer of mass murder faced off against his Central Intelligence Agency interrogator. It was 18 months after the 9/11 attacks, and the invasion of Iraq was giving Muslim extremists new motives for havoc. If anyone knew about the next plot, it was Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

The interrogator, Deuce Martinez, a soft-spoken analyst who spoke no Arabic, had turned down a C.I.A. offer to be trained in waterboarding. He chose to leave the infliction of pain and panic to others, the gung-ho paramilitary types whom the more cerebral interrogators called "knuckledraggers."

The GOP has spent decades smearing itself into power and after having absolute power, Americans see them for what they are...incompetent.

June 21, 2008

GOP 527 groups nonexistent

In a web video emailed to supporters Thursday, Barack Obama explained that he was opting out of the public financing system because John McCain is "not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations."

Republicans can only wish that were the case.

Obama's alarmist prophecy — a bit of typical campaign rhetoric meant to scare his own donors into reaching for their credit cards — is wildly at odds with the flatlined state of conservative third-party efforts.

The truth is that, less than five months before Election Day, there are no serious anti-Obama 527s in existence nor are there any immediate plans to create such a group.

No one is arguing McClellan is lying, they're arguing he's telling the truth - a truth, the GOP doesn't like. When will these idiots grow up?

June 20, 2008

Republicans Lambaste McClellan at Judiciary Committee Hearing

McClellan told lawmakers Friday that selling the war to the public became a "marketing campaign," that the grounds were the invasion were overstated, and that contradictions and caveats in intelligence were ignored. The war was much discussed—from its rationale to its cost, from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal to Bush's refusal to attend the funerals of fallen troops—but Democrats honed in on a single, high-profile casualty: Valerie Plame, the undercover CIA operative whose identity was leaked by top White House aides after her husband, a former ambassador, sought to debunk a piece of the intelligence used to justify going to war.

In key testimony, McClellan said that Andy Card, then Bush's chief of staff, told him that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney wanted him to publicly exonerate a top Cheney aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, as a source of the leak. McClellan said he was reluctant but won assurances from Libby that he was not involved. Libby since has been unmasked as one of four administration officials who discussed Plame's identity with reporters. Another was former Bush political guru Karl Rove.

June 19, 2008

ElBaradei threatens to resign over Iran dispute

TEHRAN - The head of the United Nations atomic watchdog has said he would offer his resignation if the major powers make serious threats against Iran over its nuclear program.

"A military invasion against Iran would pose great danger to the Middle East and the world," Mohamed ElBaradei told Dubai-based television station Al Arabiya aired on Tuesday.

Like Reagan and Bush, it's all about the photo op, not policy.

June 20, 2008

McCain ignored request to cancel Iowa visit

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An aide to Gov. Chet Culver said Thursday that Republican presidential candidate John McCain ignored the governor's request to cancel a campaign visit amid a massive flood recovery effort in the state.

McCain toured flood-damaged sites in Iowa on Thursday, including the town of Columbus Junction in the southeast.

Patrick Dillon, Culver's chief of staff, said the governor was concerned that McCain's trip would divert local law enforcement from the flood recovery effort to provide security for McCain.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama canceled a scheduled visit to eastern Iowa last week at the request of state officials.

June 18, 2008

George W. Bush's Monetary Offenses

Despite Bush's objections, this is one of the most expensive elements of his presidency. When the war began, the Bush administration estimated that the cost would not exceed $80 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. In actuality, it has cost the U.S. $529 billion so far, averaging $341.4 million per day, according to the National Priorities Project. If, hypothetically, the U.S. had never gotten into the war in the first place, that $529 billion could have gone elsewhere to be used in ways that would have helped the economy in the long run: Education, health care or infrastructure, to name a few. The war in Iraq will cost us $3 trillion before we are through, according to an estimate by The Washington Post.

It may be debatable whether or not the war is the driving force behind the recession the U.S. faces, and there are experts who argue each side, but the American people largely seem to think it is a factor. In a recent AP Poll, 48 percent of respondents said that pulling out of Iraq would help the economy "a great deal" while 20 percent believed it would help somewhat. The war is fueling—no pun intended—escalating oil prices, which adversely affect the wallets of Americans nationwide. And when Americans pay more for fossil fuels, that money doesn't go back into our domestic economy; it gets exported, according to The Huffington Post, a news website and aggregated weblog.

The Democrats have become so weak-kneed under the centrists that they allow known liars and criminals to stay in office. If liberals controlled the congress, the war would be over, the budget would be balanced and Bush and Cheney would have been impeached and removed from office.

June 20, 2008

McClellan: Cheney should testify about CIA leak

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice President Dick Cheney should testify before Congress about his role in the leaking of a CIA agent's identity, former White House spokesman Scott McClellan told members of the House Judiciary Committee on Friday.

"The vice president has information that has not been shared publicly," McClellan said in response to a question from Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat, about whom Congress should question in connection with the leaking of Valerie Plame Wilson's name to the media.

"You could go down the list: Karl Rove, Ari Fleischer ..." McClellan added, referring to President Bush's former political adviser and first White House spokesman.

Bush isn't talking to the American people, he's talking to his base...the idiots who bankrupted us with tax cuts, the idiots who Iraq had WMD and idiots let him hoodwink them into thinking Iraq had something to do with 911 and the war on terror. In other words, he's talking to morons - republican base.

June 22, 2008

Mr. Bush, Lead or Leave

Two years ago, President Bush declared that America was "addicted to oil," and, by gosh, he was going to do something about it. Well, now he has. Now we have the new Bush energy plan: "Get more addicted to oil."

Actually, it's more sophisticated than that: Get Saudi Arabia, our chief oil pusher, to up our dosage for a little while and bring down the oil price just enough so the renewable energy alternatives can't totally take off. Then try to strong arm Congress into lifting the ban on drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

It is hard for me to find the words to express what a massive, fraudulent, pathetic excuse for an energy policy this is. But it gets better. The president actually had the gall to set a deadline for this drug deal:

The loony right wing still thinks global warming isn't real but they believed Iraq had WMD (there were no facts supporting war). Maybe they should stop believing in things that are untrue and learning how to think.

June 18, 2008

Arctic sea ice melt 'even faster'

Arctic sea ice is melting even faster than last year, despite a cold winter.

Data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) shows that the year began with ice covering a larger area than at the beginning of 2007.

But now it is down to levels seen last June, at the beginning of a summer that broke records for sea ice loss.

June 19, 2008

The Big Pander to Big Oil

It was almost inevitable that a combination of $4-a-gallon gas, public anxiety and politicians eager to win votes or repair legacies would produce political pandering on an epic scale. So it has, the latest instance being President Bush's decision to ask Congress to end the federal ban on offshore oil and gas drilling along much of America's continental shelf.

The whole scheme is based on a series of fictions that range from the egregious to the merely annoying. Democratic majority leader, Senator Harry Reid, noted the worst of these on Wednesday: That a country that consumes one-quarter of the world's oil supply but owns only 3 percent of its reserves can drill its way out of any problem — whether it be high prices at the pump or dependence on oil exported by unstable countries in Persian Gulf. This fiction has been resisted by Barack Obama but foolishly embraced by John McCain, who seemed to be making some sense on energy questions until he jumped aboard the lift-the-ban bandwagon on Tuesday.

Never forget that while these war crimes were being committed the US Supreme Court did nothing. The conservatives on the court must be impeached and removed from office. They've shamed us one too many times.

Impeachable Offense
June 18, 2008

General who probed Abu Ghraib says Bush officials committed war crimes

WASHINGTON — The Army general who led the investigation into prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison accused the Bush administration Wednesday of committing "war crimes" and called for those responsible to be held to account.

The remarks by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who's now retired, came in a new report that found that U.S. personnel tortured and abused detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, using beatings, electrical shocks, sexual humiliation and other cruel practices.

"After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes," Taguba wrote. "The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

Impeachable Offense
June 18, 2008

Militants found recruits among Guantanamo's wrongly detained

GARDEZ, Afghanistan - Mohammed Naim Farouq was a thug in the lawless Zormat district of eastern Afghanistan . He ran a kidnapping and extortion racket, and he controlled his turf with a band of gunmen who rode around in trucks with AK-47 rifles.

U.S. troops detained him in 2002, although he had no clear ties to the Taliban or al Qaida. By the time Farouq was released from Guantanamo the next year, however - after more than 12 months of what he described as abuse and humiliation at the hands of American soldiers - he'd made connections to high-level militants.

Impeachable Offense
June 17, 2008

Ex-Pentagon Lawyers Face Inquiry on Interrogation Role

WASHINGTON — Senior Pentagon lawyers played a more active role than previously known in developing the aggressive interrogation techniques approved for use in 2002 at the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to officials familiar with a Senate investigation.

Investigators with the Senate Armed Services Committee have found documents from July 2002 showing that Pentagon lawyers working for William J. Haynes II, then the Defense Department general counsel, gathered information about a program used to train American pilots to withstand captivity, according to the officials.

While the Bush White House engaged in war crimes, the US Supreme Court sat idly by and did nothing. The conservatives on the Court need to be impeached and removed from office. A war crimes tribunal and a little torture would also to their humiliation and disgrace.

Impeachable Offense
June 19, 2008

Exams Back Up Reports of Detainee Abuse

The assessments of 11 men formerly held in U.S. detention camps overseas revealed scars and other injuries consistent with their accounts of beatings, electric shocks, shackling and, in at least one case, sodomy, according to the report by Physicians for Human Rights. Most also had symptoms of long-term psychological damage, including post-traumatic stress disorder, the group said.

The physicians' group, which in recent years has been critical of the administration's detention policies, arranged for a battery of exams for 11 former detainees who had spent an average of three years in detention at U.S. facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan or Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Teams of medical specialists conducted physical and psychological tests, including exams intended to assess if the subjects were lying.

To be honest I don't have a clue why anyone cares what McCain says or thinks about anything. He was wrong about Iraq being part of the war on terror and he, along with Bush have squandered our resources on a war based entirely on lies. So who are these idiots who still think McCain or Bush are relevant?

June 19, 2008

McCain's terror errors

Obama's point boiled down to common sense: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Our federal courts have been in business for more than 200 years. They've tried brutal Mafia bosses who controlled entire American cities, violent drug lords, Nazis, spies and the Oklahoma City bombers. U.S. courts have procedures for handling sensitive national security evidence, and they have already successfully tried Al Qaeda terrorists, including "shoe-bomber" Richard Reid and 9/11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui. These men had their day in court, made idiots of themselves, and now they're locked away in a U.S. supermax prison.

Better still, they're now rightly dismissed by the rest of the world as megalomaniacal thugs -- not the kind of guys anyone would want to emulate. In contrast, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his buddies remain untried at Guantanamo, insisting proudly that they're "warriors" against the mighty United States -- and as Obama commented, that has "given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment in countries that say, 'Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims.' "

Some how, some way, we should insure that these lawyers never make another penny. They should be in jail and failing that they must be disbarred.

June 18, 2008

Easing of laws that led to detainee abuse hatched in secret

WASHINGTON - The framework under which detainees were imprisoned for years without charges at Guantanamo and in many cases abused in Afghanistan wasn't the product of American military policy or the fault of a few rogue soldiers.

It was largely the work of five White House, Pentagon and Justice Department lawyers who, following the orders of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, reinterpreted or tossed out the U.S. and international laws that govern the treatment of prisoners in wartime, according to former U.S. defense and Bush administration officials.

The quintet of lawyers, who called themselves the " War Council ," drafted legal opinions that circumvented the military's code of justice, the federal court system and America's international treaties in order to prevent anyone - from soldiers on the ground to the president - from being held accountable for activities that at other times have been considered war crimes.

Saddam kicked big oil out of Iraq, we invaded Iraq and destroyed the entire country and now big oil is back. Sounds about right. No threat to our national security but there's a lot of money to be made but you first have to have a government that picks winners and losers.

June 19, 2008

Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back

BAGHDAD — Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.

Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq's Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq's largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.

June 18, 2008

Army reaches out to help wounded warriors

Wounded troops are already filling up the Faulstich building, which has 20 single rooms to support soldiers based at Eustis, Fort Monroe, Fort Story and Joint Forces Command. Last October the local program included 70 soldiers, but the Army beefed up medical and support staff and now 192 soldiers are working through injuries at the three-building complex. A second building nearby is next up for a full face lift.

About 21 soldiers have finished their rehabilitation and an additional 32 are set to enter the program in the near future. Some of the recovering soldiers live elsewhere on post with their families, while others live in surrounding communities. The building was once an on-base hotel and also served as office space before undergoing a $2.8 million overhaul to make it more hospitable for wounded soldiers, including adding an elevator.

The GOP loses another seat.

June 17, 2008

Maryland elects first black woman to Congress

Once she is sworn in, Democrats will have 236 seats in the House of Representatives to Republicans' 199.

Buoyed by support from powerful interest groups and unions, she capitalized on voter distaste for Wynn's positions and votes on issues like the war in Iraq and the housing crisis.

June 17, 2008

GOP Blocks Unemployment Benefits

WASHINGTON —  Senate Republicans blocked an attempt to put new Democrat-backed unemployment benefits up for a vote on Tuesday, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he'll attach the benefit extension to the upcoming war supplemental spending bill.

Last week the House passed the 13-week extension of unemployment benefits, and replaced a requirement of 20 weeks of work to qualify for unemployment with a two-week work requirement.

June 17, 2008

Families Flee Southern Afghan District as Taliban Takes Over Villages

Hundreds of families are leaving a district near Afghanistan's southern city of Kandahar, as Afghan and NATO troops deploy in the region to fend off Taliban militants.

Officials say some 500 Taliban fighters captured villages in southern Arghandab district Monday, just three days after a Taliban assault on Kandahar's main prison. The prison break freed hundreds of inmates, including many insurgents.

Witnesses say Taliban militants have blown up a number of small bridges in the villages.

The court had to decide between two factions; the neocon view of the world in which their president has absolute power and the faction that believes in following the constitution as it's written. The minority opinion is based entirely on emotion....and fear-mongering. They are unfit.

June 15, 2008

Habeas Ruling Lays Bare the Divide Among Justices

As both sides of the court acknowledged in Thursday's decision, the cases exposed fundamental differences in the court's vision of judicial power. The conservatives favor adherence to strict rules and regulations promulgated by the political branches. The liberals are content to let judges judge, working out the boundaries between constitutional rights and national security.

The tie-breaker was Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the nomadic conservative who in this case espoused a strong role for independent judges.

Another way of looking at it is even similar. Gun nuts say they need their gun to defend America, but after 911, they didn't join the military, they put on their hunting gear and went hunting. Democrats could have destroyed the NRA after 911. I hope gun nuts know how lucky they are.

June 14, 2008

NRA's political clout is waning

The NRA may have become a victim of its own success.

Congress hasn't passed major legislation to restrict gun use in 14 years. Democrats -- scarred by past NRA campaigns -- almost never talk about the issue anymore.

And Americans now show little interest in gun control. Just half want tougher rules for gun sales, compared with nearly two-thirds in 2000.

June 14, 2008

Key Iraqi Leaders Deliver Setbacks to U.S.

BAGHDAD, June 13 -- The Bush administration's Iraq policy suffered two major setbacks Friday when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki publicly rejected key U.S. terms for an ongoing military presence and anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for a new militia offensive against U.S. forces.

During a visit to Jordan, Maliki said negotiations over initial U.S. proposals for bilateral political and military agreements had "reached a dead end." While he said talks would continue, his comments fueled doubts that the pacts could be reached this year, before the Dec. 31 expiration of a United Nations mandate sanctioning the U.S. role in Iraq.

McCain, like Hillary Clinton was wrong about the war. At least the Democrats had the sense not to reward her failure. Republicans embrace failure...they did it with the Reagan debt, Bush's failures on 911 and his lies about WMD. Have they no shame?

June 12, 2008

Olbermann: McCain should know better

And there is the context of what Sen. McCain said. Well, not quite, Senator.

The full context is that the Iraq you see, is a figment of your imagination. This is not a war about "honor and victory," Sir. This is a war you, and the President you support and seek to succeed, conned this nation into.

Yes, sir. You.

Of the prospect of war in Iraq, you said, "I believe that success will be fairly easy –"  John McCain., September 24,  2002.

"I believe that we can win an overwhelming victory in a very short period of time –" John McCain, September 29, 2002.

June 12, 2008

World poll: Obama more likely to 'do the right thing'

A survey of 24 nations taken by the Pew Global Attitudes Project finds high levels of interest in the U.S. presidential election and broad optimism that American foreign policy "will change for the better" after the inauguration of a new president next year.

In most countries, Obama is also more trusted than President Bush. The contrast was particularly sharp in Europe, where Bush has been making a farewell tour this week. In France, where he visits today, 13% say they have "a lot" or some confidence in Bush to do the right thing. Six times as many, 84%, say that of Obama.

For decades the media tried to make this issue political and be "fair and balanced." The facts are not fair or balanced. The anti global warming side is the same as the pro war side. They were 100% wrong. Why does the wrong side get equal time?

June 13, 2008

Major Breakup Threatens Antarctic Ice Shelf

A large chunk of one of Antarctica's ice shelves broke off at the end of May, new satellite images show, marking the second major breakup of the shelf this year and the first documented episode to occur in winter.

The European Space Agency's Envisat satellite captured images of an area of ice about 62 square miles (160 square kilometers) breaking off of the Wilkins Ice Shelf from May 30 to 31.

June 9, 2008

Central bank body warns of Great Depression

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the organisation that fosters cooperation between central banks, has warned that the credit crisis could lead world economies into a crash on a scale not seen since the 1930s.

In its latest quarterly report, the body points out that the Great Depression of the 1930s was not foreseen and that commentators on the financial turmoil, instigated by the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, may not have grasped the level of exposure that lies at its heart.

June 11, 2008

Chrysler Building Sold To Arab Fund For $800M

The latest Big Apple trophy being coveted by oil-rich sovereign wealth funds is the landmark Chrysler Building.

Sources say the super-rich Abu Dhabi Investment Council is negotiating an $800 million deal for a 75 percent stake in the Art Deco treasure that has defined the Midtown skyline since 1930.

The Chrysler assets would be purchased from TMW - the German arm of an Atlanta-based investment fund that's been eager to cash out of its Chrysler stake.

June 5, 2008

Our Gas Dollars At Work - 6 New Dazzling Dubai Developments

dubai_skyline (19K)

dubi_port (9K)

When the Burj al Arab, a dramatic sail-shaped building set on a man-made island, opened in December 1999, it was designed to be one of the world's most luxurious hotels. All 202 of its rooms are two-level suites, complete with butler service. Guests can be chauffeured in by a Rolls-Royce or land on its 28th-floor helipad. And although its rooms go for $1,600 a night during the off-season, it was full on a recent visit.

The next generation of developments in Dubai is even more ambitious. There are dozens and dozens of major residential, business, and leisure projects currently under construction. Here's a sampling of what's being built.

Impeachable Offense
June 5, 2008

Bush Oversimplified Iraq Intelligence, Report Says

June 5 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell exaggerated and oversimplified intelligence about the threat Iraq posed before the U.S. invaded the country in March 2003, according to a Senate report.

In their speeches, Bush and his deputies failed to note disagreements among intelligence agencies and made too much of links between former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and al- Qaeda, said the report, which the Senate Intelligence Committee released on its Web site this morning.

June 11, 2008

Articles of Impeachment

Mr. KUCINICH. Madam Speaker, pursuant to clause 2 of rule IX, I rise to give notice of my intent to raise a question of the privileges of the House.

The form of the resolution is as follows:

Resolved, That President George W. Bush be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:

Articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against President George W. Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors.

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has committed the following abuses of power.

Impeachable Offense
June 12, 2008

Supreme Court ruling cripples Guantanamo trials

detainees (15K)

The future of President Bush's controversial military trial system for terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay has been dealt a potentially terminal blow by the US Supreme Court.

In its third rebuke of the Bush Administration's treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, the court ruled that the 270 foreign terror suspects have the right under the US Constitution to challenge their detention in civilian courts on the American mainland.

Impeachable Offense
June 12, 2008

Supreme Court Says Guantanamo Inmates May Seek Release

June 12 (Bloomberg) -- Guantanamo Bay inmates have constitutional rights and may seek release in federal court, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a rebuke to the Bush administration and Congress on their handling of accused terrorists.

The justices, voting 5-4, said a 2006 law unconstitutionally stripped Guantanamo prisoners of the right to file so-called habeas corpus petitions. The majority rejected arguments that a system of limited judicial review set up by Congress was adequate to protect inmate rights.

June 11, 2008

US: Gas to peak at $4.15 a gallon but stay high

WASHINGTON - Gasoline prices should peak at $4.15 a gallon this summer, the government says — finally an encouraging word for motorists who might be thinking the cost of a fill-up will just keep climbing.

But wait: The predicted relief is pretty modest. Prices at the pump are likely to stay around $4 a gallon much of next year, according to Wednesday's projections by the Energy Department's statistical agency.

Oh, and the government tends to err on the optimistic side.

June 11, 2008

Republicans Gird for Big Losses in Congress

WASHINGTON -- Republicans are bracing for double-digit losses in the House and the prospect of four or five losses in the Senate, as they fight to hold a wide range of districts and states normally seen as safe for them, from Alaska and Colorado to Mississippi and North Carolina.

The feared setback for Republicans, coming two years after their 2006 drubbing, is unusual for several reasons. It is rare for a party to lose two election cycles in a row. And many expect losses even if their presidential candidate, John McCain, captures the White House.

June 10, 2008

McClellan to testify before House in CIA leak case

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush's former spokesman, Scott McClellan, will testify before a House committee next week about whether Vice President Dick Cheney ordered him to make misleading public statements about the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity.

McClellan will testify publicly and under oath before the House Judiciary Committee on June 20 about the White House's role in the leak and its response, his attorneys, Michael and Jane Tigar, said on Monday.

June 9, 2008

Pesticides blamed for plummeting salmon stocks

A weak mix of pesticides in river water dampens a salmon's sense of smell, say researchers. In experiments, Steelhead rainbow trout exposed to low levels of 10 common agricultural pesticides could not perceive changes in levels of a predator's scent.

"You can imagine if a fish is unable to detect just how close it is to a [wading] bear, it's a problem," says Keith Tierney, a toxicologist who led the study while at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Bush said the US would leave when we're asked to leave. Iraq lawmakers want U.S. forces out The Iraqi government asked us to leave and Bush wants bases that will keep us there for the rest of time. Lying to the American people is an impeachable offense.

Impeachable Offense
June 9, 2008

U.S. seeking 58 bases in Iraq, Shiite lawmakers say

BAGHDAD -Iraqi lawmakers say the United States is demanding 58 bases as part of a proposed "status of forces" agreement that will allow U.S. troops to remain in the country indefinitely.

Leading members of the two ruling Shiite parties said in a series of interviews the Iraqi government rejected this proposal along with another U.S. demand that would have effectively handed over to the United States the power to determine if a hostile act from another country is aggression against Iraq. Lawmakers said they fear this power would drag Iraq into a war between the United States and Iran.

Without doubt Pentagon intelligence failed to verify the rants and raves of nuts who supported war. Pentagon intelligence has become an oxymoron.

Impeachable Offense
June 5, 2008

Iranian agents dupe Pentagon officials

WASHINGTON — Defense Department counterintelligence investigators suspected that Iranian exiles who provided dubious intelligence on Iraq and Iran to a small group of Pentagon officials might have "been used as agents of a foreign intelligence service ... to reach into and influence the highest levels of the U.S. government," a Senate Intelligence Committee report said Thursday.

A top aide to then-secretary of defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, however, shut down the 2003 investigation into the Pentagon officials' activities after only a month, and the Defense Department's top brass never followed up on the investigators' recommendation for a more thorough investigation, the Senate report said.

Has credit card borrowing decreased because banks are charging double-digit interest rates on some cards?

June 6, 2008

US Consumer Credit Rises Despite Decline In Card Use

U.S. consumer borrowing rose by $8.95 billion in April, more than expected, as closed-end consumer loan growth overshadowed the smallest rise in credit card borrowing in nearly three years.

Overall April consumer credit rose at a 4.20 percent annual rate, to a total of $2.565 trillion, the Federal Reserve said on Friday.

The difference is the Federal Reserve. In the 70s the Fed moved quickly to stop inflation. Today, it's spent the past seven years doing nothing but cutting interest rates. The government changed the inflation formula also so it's impossible to compare the inflation of the 70s with what we have today. If we were able to do so, inflation would probably be double digit.

A little inflation is ok, but things are already out of control. A # of potatoes which cost about $2.00 for 10# is not over $6.00 and rising. All the rate cuts in the world aren't going to stop the inflation that hitting the economy...the only that will is a recession - a very long and very deep recession.

June 8, 2008

Producer Prices Rising

"The conventional wisdom a couple of years ago was that oil did not have that much leverage over the economy," said Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates. "But now it plainly does. People are suddenly paying much more attention to their energy costs and trying to figure out how to manage them."

Goodyear has kept its head above water in part by passing along some of the higher prices to dealers. The dealers, however, have not been able to pass along all of those increases to consumers and are absorbing the difference in lower profits.

War supporters say they support the war as long as they don't have to pay for it with higher taxes or fight in it. This pseudo patriotism led to the destruction of the US military.

Impeachable Offense
June 16,, 2008

Soldiers' Self-Harm: Anything Not to Go Back

As an internist at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital, Dr. Stephanie Santos is used to finding odd things in people's stomachs. So last spring when a young man, identifying himself as an Iraq-bound soldier, said he had accidentally swallowed a pen at the bus station, she believed him. That is, until she found a second pen. It read 1-800-GREYHOUND. Last summer, according to published reports, a 20-year-old Bronx soldier paid a hit man $500 to shoot him in the knee on the day he was scheduled to return to Iraq. The year before that, a 24-year-old specialist from Washington state escaped a second tour of duty, according to his sister, by strapping on a backpack full of tools and leaping off the roof of his house, injuring his spine.

Such cases of self-harm are a "rising trend" that military doctors are watching closely, says Col. Kathy Platoni, an Army Reserve psychologist who has worked with veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. "There are some soldiers who will do almost anything not to go back," she says. Col. Elspeth Ritchie, the Army's top psychologist, agrees that we could see an uptick in intentional injuries as more U.S. soldiers serve long, repeated combat tours, "but we just don't have good, hard data on it." Intentional- injury cases are hard to identify, and even harder to prosecute. Fewer than 21 soldiers have been punitively discharged for self-harm since 2003, according to the military. What's worrying, however, is that American troops committed suicide at the highest rate on record in 2007—and the factors behind self-injury are similar: combat stress and strained relationships. "It's often the families that don't want soldiers to return to war," says Ritchie.

June 10, 2008

Some farmers Fear Disaster

At a moment when the country's corn should be flourishing, one plant in 10 has not even emerged from the ground, the Agriculture Department said Monday. Because corn planted late is more sensitive to heat damage in high summer, every day's delay practically guarantees a lower yield at harvest.

"This is pushing my nerves to the limit," Mr. Kron said one recent morning, the sky as dark as the unplanted earth.

Last winter, as the full scope of the global food crisis became clear, commodity prices doubled or tripled, provoking grumbling in America, riots in two dozen countries and the specter of greatly increased malnutrition.

June 16, 2008

The Economy: Why It's Worse Than You Think

The difficulties today start—as they began last year—with housing and housing-related credit. Last Thursday, the Mortgage Bankers Association quarterly report showed that the percentage of mortgage borrowers behind on their payments—6.35 percent—was the highest since the MBA began tracking the number in 1979. It's not just subprime. In the first quarter of 2008, 36 percent of all foreclosures initiated were on prime adjustable-rate mortgages in California. Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's, says the decline in home prices has slashed $2.5 trillion from household wealth, or about $25,000 per homeowner. The fall has also removed an important source of support for consumer spending, as Americans who grew accustomed to borrowing against rising home equity to finance car purchases or vacations now find themselves bereft. Banks are extricating themselves from the home-equity-line-of-credit business in the same way college students get themselves out of relationships gone bad: abruptly. Judi Froning, a second-grade teacher in San Diego, was surprised last week when she received a letter from Chase informing her that it was terminating her untapped HELOC. "In the light of declining home values, they said they are stopping, effective May 31, any draw on my line of credit," she says.

Despite repeated claims that the damage has been contained, the banks that recklessly financed the housing boom—and then traded mortgage debt even more recklessly—are still cleaning up the mess. But it turns out (surprise!) the same sort of clouded judgment led banks to excesses in commercial lending, and in loans to private-equity firms. The battered financial system, which has raised tens of billions of dollars on onerous terms from new investors to shore up balance sheets, is still likely to suffer more pain from the popped credit bubble, said Bruce Wasserstein, the CEO of the investment bank Lazard, speaking at a New York breakfast. "The harm will radiate for another year." The latest victim: Wachovia CEO G. Thompson Kennedy, cashiered after the North Carolina-based bank suffered a string of losses. Next up: write-offs for bad credit-card and commercial real-estate debt. After a serene period between 2004 and '07 in which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. went without a single bank failure, four have gone under so far this year. FDIC chairperson Sheila Bair warned of the "possibility that future failures could include institutions of greater size than we have seen in the recent past." In preparation, the agency has brought staffers out of retirement.

June 9, 2008

New threat to food system: pricey fertilizer

WASHINGTON/WINNIPEG (Reuters) - It powered the Green Revolution and helped save millions from starvation, but now one of the most important tools on the farm is being priced out of reach for many of the world's growers.

With food prices soaring and stocks thinning, the world is in need of bumper harvests but once one of most bountiful of commodities, fertilizer, is becoming scarce and expensive.

June 10, 2008

U.S. slowdown to be long

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Economists have trimmed forecasts for U.S. growth in the second half of this year and in 2009, but more have come to the view that the United States will dodge a recession, a survey released on Tuesday showed.

Blue Chip Economic Indicators, a monthly newsletter, said 53.5 percent of the 48 private economists surveyed for its June issue do not believe the U.S. economy is in or will enter a recession in 2008, up from 40 percent in the May survey.

"The consensus now suggests the downturn in economic growth will be less steep than earlier feared, but the subsequent recovery in growth to its trend rate will take longer than hoped a few months ago," the newsletter said.

June 7, 2008

Job Losses and Oil Surge Spread Economic Gloom

The unemployment rate surged to 5.5 percent in May from 5 percent — the sharpest monthly spike in 22 years — as the economy lost 49,000 jobs, registering a fifth consecutive month of decline, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The weak jobs report, coupled with a staggering rise in the price of oil — up a record $10.75 a barrel to more than $138 — unleashed a feverish sell-off on Wall Street, sending the Dow Jones industrial average down nearly 400 points. The dollar plunged against several major currencies.

June 7, 2008

Iraq Won't Allow US to Use it's Soil to Invade Iran

Dabbagh said Iran's leaders would be assured that Baghdad would not allow its soil to be used for attacks on neighbouring countries, amid mounting international tensions over the Iranian nuclear drive.

He said they would be told of "the Iraqi vision, which is that it will not serve as a base or staging ground to launch attacks against neighbouring countries."

Impeachable Offense
June 4, 2008

Iraq lawmakers want U.S. forces out

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A majority of the Iraqi parliament has written to Congress rejecting a long-term security deal with Washington if it is not linked to a requirement that U.S. forces leave, a U.S. lawmaker said on Wednesday.

Rep. William Delahunt, a Massachusetts Democrat and Iraq war opponent, released excerpts from a letter he was handed by Iraqi parliamentarians laying down conditions for the security pact that the Bush administration seeks with Iraq.

"The majority of Iraqi representatives strongly reject any military-security, economic, commercial, agricultural, investment or political agreement with the United States that is not linked to clear mechanisms that obligate the occupying American military forces to fully withdraw from Iraq," the letter to the leaders of Congress said.

CBS was the first network or news source to report the massive increase in suicides. At the time of the report, the military denied this truth. Today, it's an accepted truth. What happened between these two events? Who knows, but clearly the Pentagon has(or had) no idea what was really going on. It had become too political.

Iraq lawmakers want U.S. forces out
May 29, 2008

Army suicides reported at 18-year high

Two defense officials said Thursday that 108 troops committed suicide in 2007, six more than the previous year. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the full report on the deaths wasn't being released until later Thursday.

About one-quarter of the deaths occurred in Iraq.

May 29, 2008

Army suicides reported at 18-year high

May 29, 2008

Army suicides reported at 18-year high

June 2, 2008

Americans Favor President Meeting With U.S. Enemies

PRINCETON, NJ -- Large majorities of Democrats and independents, and even about half of Republicans, believe the president of the United States should meet with the leaders of countries that are considered enemies of the United States. Overall, 67% of Americans say this kind of diplomacy is a good idea.

This is according to a Gallup Panel survey of a representative national sample of 1,013 Americans, conducted May 19-21.

June 10, 2008

BBC uncovers lost Iraq billions

A BBC investigation estimates that around $23bn (£11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq.

The BBC's Panorama programme has used US and Iraqi government sources to research how much some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding.

A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations.

June 4, 2008

Opponents of Evolution Adopting a New Strategy

DALLAS — Opponents of teaching evolution, in a natural selection of sorts, have gradually shed those strategies that have not survived the courts. Over the last decade, creationism has given rise to "creation science," which became "intelligent design," which in 2005 was banned from the public school curriculum in Pennsylvania by a federal judge.

Now a battle looms in Texas over science textbooks that teach evolution, and the wrestle for control seizes on three words. None of them are "creationism" or "intelligent design" or even "creator."

June 5, 2008

Foreclosures hit a record high -- and more coming

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The foreclosure hammer is hitting ever harder. People lost their homes at the highest rate on record in the first three months of the year, and late payments soared to a new high, too -- an alarming sign that the housing crisis and its damage to the national economy may only get worse.

Dumping more empty homes on an already glutted market also is likely to put a further drag on home prices -- extending a vicious cycle.

Bush said the US would leave Iraq as soon as the people asked us to leave. That was a lie. Now we learn, the US (under Bush) intends to stay in Iraq forever which sounds a lot like McCain.

Impeachable Offense
June 5, 2008

Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control

A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

When we can't trust NASA, or the Pentagon, or the intelligence agencies or the president, or the Secretary of State or the courts, what's left?

Impeachable Offense
June 2, 2008

NASA Misled On Global Warming

WASHINGTON - NASA's press office "marginalized or mischaracterized" studies on global warming between 2004 and 2006, the agency's own internal watchdog concluded.

In a report released Monday, NASA's inspector general office called it "inappropriate political interference" by political appointees in the press office. It said that the agency's top management wasn't part of the censorship, nor were career officials.

June 5, 2008

Obama Bans Lobbyist Money From DNC

WASHINGTON (AP) — Acting swiftly as his party's presumed presidential nominee, Barack Obama is keeping Howard Dean at the helm of the Democratic National Committee, while bringing in one of his top strategists to oversee the party's operations.

The campaign also announced that the DNC will no longer accept donations from lobbyists and political action committees, to comply with Obama's campaign policy. Party officials say they expect the DNC's staff to quickly expand to run an aggressive general election campaign.

"Today as the Democratic nominee for president, I am announcing that going forward, the Democratic national Committee will uphold the same standard — we will not take a dime from Washington lobbyists," Obama said at a town hall meeting in Bristol, Va.

Why wasn't anyone fired for failing to defend the homeland on 911?

June 5, 2008

Air Force's Top Leadership Resigning

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today announced the resignations of two top Air Force officials because of what he said were serious leadership problems involving the security of U.S. nuclear weapons and components.

Gates told reporters that he has accepted the resignations of Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and the service's chief of staff, Gen. Michael Moseley, following an investigation that criticized the Air Force over two security breaches. He said he would recommend replacements for both officials to President Bush shortly.

Impeachable Offense
June 4, 2008

The Science of Denial on Global Warming

The Bush administration has worked overtime to manipulate or conceal scientific evidence — and muzzled at least one prominent scientist — to justify its failure to address climate change.

Its motives were transparent: the less people understood about the causes and consequences of global warming, the less they were likely to demand action from their leaders. And its strategy has been far too successful. Seven years later, Congress is only beginning to confront the challenge of global warming.

June 1, 2008

Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception

"I still like and admire George W. Bush," writes Scott McClellan, who served Bush for two years and nine months as White House press secretary.

"I consider him a fundamentally decent person, and I do not believe he or his White House deliberately or consciously sought to deceive the American people." Yet the entire brunt of McClellan's book is precisely the opposite: that Bush and "his top advisers," by whom he was "terribly ill-served," systematically deceived the American public about their reasons for going to war in Iraq and about the effort to discredit a critic of the war, Joseph Wilson, by making public his wife's position at the Central Intelligence Agency.

May 28, 2008

Wartime PTSD cases jumped roughly 50 pct. in 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of troops diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder jumped by roughly 50 percent in 2007, the most violent year so far in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pentagon records show.

In the first time the Defense Department has disclosed a number for PTSD cases from the two wars, officials said nearly 40,000 troops have been diagnosed with the illness since 2003, though they believe many more are likely keeping their illness a secret.

"I don't think right now we ... have good numbers," Army Surgeon General Eric Schoomaker said Tuesday.

May 18, 2008

Big GOP losses in Congress likely, even if McCain wins

WASHINGTON — Whoever wins the presidency this November, it's all but a slam dunk they'll be working with a Democratic Congress. And it probably will be a stronger Democratic majority with more votes than it has today.

Even normally optimistic Republicans conceded in recent days that the landscape is stacked against them after losing their third special House of Representatives election in a row, all in what had been safe Republican districts.

May 30, 2008

Consumers' mood hits at 28-year low

NEW YORK - Consumer confidence fell to a 28-year low in May as inflation expectations soared, according to a survey released on Friday that presents a dilemma for the Federal Reserve.

The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers said the final reading in May for its index of confidence fell to 59.8 from April's 62.6, slightly above the median expectation of 59.5 in a Reuters survey of economists.

May 27, 2008

Ex-spokesman's book blasts Bush administration

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan writes in a surprisingly scathing memoir to be published next week that President Bush "veered terribly off course," was not "open and forthright on Iraq," and took a "permanent campaign approach" to governing at the expense of candor and competence.

Among the most explosive revelations in the 341-page book, titled What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception (Public Affairs, $27.95):

May 27, 2008

Former anti-terror czar Clarke: Staying in Iraq 'helps Al-Qaeda'

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Maintaining US combat troops in Iraq "helps Al-Qaeda" and Washington should pull them from the ravaged country if it wants to see progress in the war on terror, former US anti-terror czar Richard Clarke said Tuesday.

"I think the best thing that we could do to hit Al-Qaeda's attractiveness to the Muslim world was in fact to get out of Iraq in an orderly way over the course of the next two or three years," Clarke said on CNN.

May 31, 2008

How the oil crisis has hit the world

British pensioners who cannot afford to heat their homes. European hauliers and fishermen whose livelihoods are under threat. Palestinians forced to fill up their cars with olive oil. Americans asked to go down to a four-day week.

All around the world, in a multitude of ways, the soaring price of oil is hurting rich and poor alike. For the lucky ones, it is simply a matter of changing their lifestyle. But those most vulnerable to the price of oil have been driven on to the streets in angry protests, which raise a fundamental question: what can we do to survive in a world where a barrel of oil costs $127 (£64)?

May 28, 2008

Republican Senatorial Committee: "Democrats Win Landslide Victory

I have a real fear of waking up to this headline after the elections this fall. Make no mistake about it: If our grassroots teams fail to come together and work as hard as they did in 2000, 2002 and 2004, that headline could very likely be the result!

In key states, news accounts indicate Democrats are outpacing Republicans registering voters. We also know Barack Obama's campaign is utilizing the Internet to raise record amounts of money to support his campaign and Democrats nationally … all in the hope that new voters and record resources will produce a Democrat landslide victory this fall.

May 28, 2008

McCain fundraiser sued by partner in lucrative contract with U.S. military

A little-noticed civil lawsuit in Florida is shining a light on an unusual but hugely profitable Pentagon contract to ship millions of gallons of aviation fuel to U.S. bases in Iraq through the kingdom of Jordan.

The deal involves a cast of influential characters, including the king of Jordan's brother-in-law, who is suing Harry Sargeant III, a top Florida-based fundraiser for Sen. John McCain's presidential bid.

May 28, 2008

McCain's Attack on the Last Vietnam POW Underscores a History of Poor Discretion

John McCain, who isn't known for surrounding himself with winners, used a CIA confirmed enemy agent to discredit the last POW to leave Vietnam.

(SALEM, Ore.) - Two of John McCain's former campaign aids have recently been exposed for having ties to the oppressive military junta in Myanmar. That revelation joined several other problems within the McCain camp making news in recent months, and the repeated departures of his staff leave many questions about the Senator's ability to know good from bad when selecting his friends and sources.

May 30, 2008

Murdoch: US economy will be dismal

CARLSBAD, California (Bloomberg) - Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp., predicted the US economy will be dismal in the coming months.

"In the next 18 months, this country is in for a very hard time," Mr. Murdoch said on Wednesday night at the D: All Things Digital conference in Carlsbad, California. "For the most part, people are suffering terribly."

May 18, 2008

The Old Titans All Collapsed. Is the U.S. Next?

Back in August, during the panic over mortgages, Alan Greenspan offered reassurance to an anxious public. The current turmoil, the former Federal Reserve Board chairman said, strongly resembled brief financial scares such as the Russian debt crisis of 1998 or the U.S. stock market crash of 1987. Not to worry.

But in the background, one could hear the groans and feel the tremors as larger political and economic tectonic plates collided. Nine months later, Greenspan's soothing analogies no longer wash. The U.S. economy faces unprecedented debt levels, soaring commodity prices and sliding home prices, to say nothing of a weak dollar. Despite the recent stabilization of the economy, some economists fear that the world will soon face the greatest financial crisis since the 1930s.

May 23, 2008

Bank failures to surge in coming years

bank_failures (14K)Only three banks have failed so far in 2008. But that number is set to surge as the credit crunch slows economic growth and hammers some lenders that grew too fast during the recent real-estate boom, experts say.

The roots of today's banking crisis grew out of the boom and bust in the real estate market. Lenders originated more and more mortgages, while other banks, particularly smaller and medium-sized institutions, ploughed money into construction and development loans.

While loan growth soared in 2004 and 2005, most regulators failed to scrutinize many banks or restrain this heady expansion of credit. Now that the loans have been made and delinquencies are climbing, some banks may already be doomed.

May 23, 2008

Democrats seek Iraq embezzlement probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Democratic senators have asked the Treasury Department to investigate allegations that Iraqi leaders have embezzled or misspent billions of U.S. tax dollars intended for the country's relief and reconstruction.

In a May 20 letter to Stuart Levey, the department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Sens. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island called the scope of corruption within the Iraqi government staggering.

GOP voters have come to expect simple answers to very large problems, problems their idiocy only makes worse. We must ignore the GOP until it stops lying.

May 12, 2008

McCain's Fantasy War on Earmarks

Pouff! $100 billion in taxpayer money! Saved! Just like that! With a flick of the presidential veto pen!

There are a number of problems with this magical budgetary balancing act. First of all, the suspiciously round $100 billion figure is largely a figment of the McCain campaign's imagination. I have not been able to find a single independent budget expert to vouch for it. McCain's economics adviser, Doug Holtz-Eakin, will not say how the campaign arrived at the figure, other than that it is an extrapolation from various studies, including a 2006 study by the Congressional Research Service available here.