Facebook Badge

Toll Free Numbers To The Washington Switchboard

1-866 338-1015
1-866 220-0044

Friday, September 19, 2008

Morales Adherents Gunned Down in Pando

Blood thirsty murderers try to destabilize Morales' Bolivia.  May spend the rest of their lives behind bars.  who could kill these gentle natives?  what kind of monster do you have to be to gun down innocent people?

     Bolivian regional commissioner arrested after peasant supporters of the president are murdered.

    "We scattered, since we had no way to defend ourselves," explains Rodrigo Melina, an escapee from the carnage. "People were throwing themselves in the river and it was unbelievable: they machine-gunned those who tried to cross." Since the beginning of the week, chilling testimonies proliferate and they all tell how a group of peasants faithful to President Evo Morales, armed only with sticks, fell into an ambush laid by armed men last week, about 30 kilometers from Cobija, capital of the Amazonian Pando region (northern Bolivia).

    Communal Grave

    Moved to the capital by the authorities for their protection and brought together Tuesday in the halls of Parliament, some escapees even assert that young children figured among the victims. "We got to the river," Claudia Alpire, an indigenous peasant from the Filadelfia commune, relates, "and that was where they killed the children. One year-old, six-year-old, eight-year-old children, who cried and begged their mothers not to be killed. First they beat them; then they shot them in the back. Those children are there and I believe the fish have eaten them." The government, which reckons the carnage killed at least 15, wounded about 30 and left a hundred disappeared - some sources cite 30, even 100 victims - has still not confirmed the deaths of children while the search for bodies continues.

    An investigatory commission from the Bolivian Human Rights Assembly is already on the ground, pending the arrival of international organizations. According to Rodrigo Melina, the local authorities are involved: "The man in charge is Leopoldo Fernandez [the governor of Pando. We saw local authority vehicles carrying over thirty men armed with rifles, machine guns and pistols." The escapees emphasize that many bodies have been recovered by the authors of the massacre to be buried in a communal grave.

    Accused by the government of responsibility for the massacre and also of having engaged mercenaries, including Brazilians and Peruvians, to do the dirty work, Governor Fernandez was arrested Tuesday in Cobija by the military, officially for "refusal to submit to the state of emergency," before being transferred to La Paz and detained in a secret location.

    The Pando events were the most violent of the week of confrontations that opposed militant autonomists and President Morales's adherents. And on Friday, the head of state declared a state of emergency in this region bordering Brazil and Peru.

    "There will be no impunity in this case," warned Vice Minister for Social Relations Sacha Llorenti on Sunday, even adding: "Leopoldo Fernandez will be eligible for a thirty-year prison term." Targeted in an investigation opened by the attorney general of the Republic for "genocide in the bloody massacre category," the prefect does, in fact, run the risk of a maximum sentence of thirty years with no possibility of early release.

    Regime of Terror

    Fifty-six-year-old Leopoldo Fernandez was an MP and Pando senator from 1979 to 2005, before being elected prefect. Within the Democratic and Social Action Party, he participated in the return to power of former military dictator Hugo Banzer in 1997. Opponents to Fernandez - who is also an entrepreneur in the agro-industrial sector - accuse him of having established a regime of terror on behalf of the great land owners. The Civic Committee ProSanta Cruz, the principal autonomist organization, demanded the Pando governor's immediate release yesterday, without - all the same - raising the possibility of breaking off the fragile dialogue between the government and the opposition.

t r u t h o u t | Morales Adherents Gunned Down in Pando

Tent cities rise across the country - Life- msnbc.com

RENO, Nev. - A few tents cropped up hard by the railroad tracks, pitched by men left with nowhere to go once the emergency winter shelter closed for the summer.

Then others appeared — people who had lost their jobs to the ailing economy, or newcomers who had moved to Reno for work and discovered no one was hiring.

Within weeks, more than 150 people were living in tents big and small, barely a foot apart in a patch of dirt slated to be a parking lot for a campus of shelters Reno is building for its homeless population. Like many other cities, Reno has found itself with a "tent city" — an encampment of people who had nowhere else to go.

Tent cities rise across the country - Life- msnbc.com

Republican voters, No not the corporate ones.

Need a Job? $17,000 an Hour. No Success Required.

Are you capable of taking a perfectly good 158-year-old company and turning it into dust? If so, then you may not be earning up to your full potential.

You should be raking it in like Richard Fuld, the longtime chief of Lehman Brothers. He took home nearly half-a-billion dollars in total compensation between 1993 and 2007.

Last year, Mr. Fuld earned about $45 million, according to the calculations of Equilar, an executive pay research company. That amounts to roughly $17,000 an hour to obliterate a firm. If you’re willing to drive a company into the ground for less, apply by calling Lehman Brothers at (212) 526-7000.

Need a Job? $17,000 an Hour. No Success Required.

Hey U.S., welcome to the Third World!

Dear United States, Welcome to the Third World!

It's not every day that a superpower makes a bid to transform itself into a Third World nation, and we here at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund want to be among the first to welcome you to the community of states in desperate need of international economic assistance. As you spiral into a catastrophic financial meltdown, we are delighted to respond to your Treasury Department's request that we undertake a joint stability assessment of your financial sector. In these turbulent times, we can provide services ranging from subsidized loans to expert advisors willing to perform an emergency overhaul of your entire government.

As you know, some outside intervention in your economy is overdue. Last week -- even before Wall Street's latest collapse -- 13 former finance ministers convened at the University of Virginia and agreed that you must fix your "broken financial system." Australia's Peter Costello noted that lately you've been "exporting instability" in world markets, and Yashwant Sinha, former finance minister of India, concluded, "The time has come. The U.S. should accept some monitoring by the IMF."

We hope you won't feel embarrassed as we assess the stability of your economy and suggest needed changes. Remember, many other countries have been in your shoes. We've bailed out the economies of Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia and South Korea. But whether our work is in Sudan, Bangladesh or now the United States, our experts are committed to intervening in national economies with care and sensitivity.

We thus want to acknowledge the progress you have made in your evolution from economic superpower to economic basket case. Normally, such a process might take 100 years or more. With your oscillation between free-market extremism and nationalization of private companies, however, you have successfully achieved, in a few short years, many of the key hallmarks of Third World economies.

Your policies of irresponsible government deregulation in critical sectors allowed you to rapidly develop an energy crisis, a housing crisis, a credit crisis and a financial market crisis, all at once, and accompanied (and partly caused) by impressive levels of corruption and speculation. Meanwhile, those of your political leaders charged with oversight were either napping or in bed with corporate lobbyists.

Take John McCain, your Republican presidential nominee, whose senior staff includes half a dozen prominent former lobbyists. As he recently put it, "I was chairman of the [Senate] Commerce Committee that oversights every part of the economy." No question about it: Your leaders' failure to notice the damage done by irresponsible deregulation was indeed an oversight of epic proportions.

Now you are facing the consequences. Income inequality has increased, as the rich have gotten windfalls while the middle class has seen incomes stagnate. Fewer and fewer of your citizens have access to affordable housing, healthcare or security in retirement. Even life expectancy has dropped. And when your economic woes went from chronic to acute, you responded -- like so many Third World states have -- with an extensive program of nationalizing private companies and assets. Your mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now state owned and controlled, and this week your reinsurance giant AIG was effectively nationalized, with the Federal Reserve Board seizing an 80% equity stake in the flailing company.

Some might deride this as socialism. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

Admittedly, your transition to Third World status is far from over, and it won't be painless. At first, for instance, you may find it hard to get used to the shantytowns that will replace the exurban sprawl of McMansions that helped fuel the real estate speculation bubble. But in time, such shantytowns will simply become part of the landscape. Similarly, as unemployment rates continue to rise, you will initially struggle to find a use for the expanding pool of angry, jobless young men. But you will gradually realize that you can recruit them to fight in a ceaseless round of armed conflicts, a solution that has been utilized by many other Third World states before you. Indeed, with your wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, you are off to an excellent start.

Perhaps this letter comes as a surprise to you, and you feel you're not fully ready to join the Third World. Don't let this feeling concern you. Though you may never have realized it, you've been preparing for this moment for years.

Comrades Bush, Paulson and Bernanke Welcome You to the USSRA (United Socialist State Republic of America)

Nouriel Roubini | Sep 9, 2008

The now inevitable nationalization of Fannie and Freddie is the most radical regime change in global economic and financial affairs in decades. For the last twenty years after the collapse of the USSR, the fall of the Iron Curtain and the economic reforms in China and other emerging market economies the world economy has moved away from state ownership of the economy and towards privatization of previously stated owned enterprises. This trend was aggressively supported the United States that preached right and left the benefits of free markets and free private enterprise.

Today instead the US has performed the greatest nationalization in the history of humanity. By nationalizing Fannie and Freddie the US has increased its public assets by almost $6 trillion and has increased its public debt/liabilities by another $6 trillion. The US has also turned itself into the largest government-owned hedge fund in the world: by injecting a likely $200 billion of capital into Fannie and Freddie and taking on almost $6 trillion of liabilities of such GSEs the US has also undertaken the biggest and most levered LBO (“leveraged buy-out”) in human history that has a debt to equity ratio of 30 ($6,000 billion of debt against $200 billion of equity).

So now Comrades Bush, Paulson and Bernanke (as originally nicknamed by Willem Buiter) have now turned the USA into the USSRA (the United Socialist State Republic of America). Socialism is indeed alive and well in America; but this is socialism for the rich, the well connected and Wall Street. A socialism where profits are privatized and losses are socialized with the US tax-payer being charged the bill of $300 billion.

This biggest bailout and nationalization in human history comes from the most fanatically and ideologically zealot free-market laissez-faire administration in US history. These are the folks who for years spewed the rhetoric of free markets and cutting down government intervention in economic affairs. But they were so fanatically ideological about free markets that they did not realize that financial and other markets without proper rules, supervision and regulation are like a jungle where greed – untempered by fear of loss or of punishment – leads to credit bubbles and asset bubbles and manias and eventual bust and panics.

The ideologue “regulators” who literally held a chain saw at a public event to smash “unnecessary regulations” are now communists nationalizing private firms and socializing their losses: the bailout of the Bear Stearns creditors, the bailout of Fannie and Freddie, the use of the Fed balance sheet (hundreds of billions of safe US Treasuries swapped for junk toxic illiquid private securities), the use of the other GSEs (the Federal Home Loan Bank system) to provide hundreds of billions of dollars of “liquidity” to distressed, illiquid and insolvent mortgage lenders, the use of the SEC to manipulate the stock market (restrictions on short sales), the use of the US Treasury to manipulate the mortgage market (Treasury will now for the first time outright buy agency MBS to manipulate and prop up this market), the creation of a whole host of new bailout facilities (TAF, TSLF, PDCF) to prop and rescue banks and, for the first time since the Great Depression,to bail out non-bank financial institutions, and a whole range of other executive and legislative actions (including the recent bill to provide a public guarantee to mortgage for banks willing to reduce their face value).

This is the biggest and most socialist government intervention in economic affairs since the formation of the Soviet Union and Communist China. So foreign investors are now welcome to the USSRA (the United Socialist State Republic of America) where they can earn fat spreads relative to Treasuries on agency debt and never face any credit risks (not even the subordinated debt holders who made a fortune yesterday as those claims were also made whole).

Like scores of evangelists and hypocrites and moralists who spew and praise family values and pretend to be holier than thou and are then regularly caught cheating or cross dressing or found to be perverts these Bush hypocrites who spewed for years the glory of unfettered wild west laissez faire jungle capitalism (and never believed in any sensible and appropriate regulation and supervision of financial markets) allowed the biggest debt bubble ever to fester without any control, have caused the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression and are now forced to perform the biggest government intervention and nationalizations in the recent history of humanity, all for the benefit of the rich and the well connected. So Comrades Bush and Paulson and Bernanke will rightly pass to the history books as a troika of Bolsheviks who turned the USA into the USSRA. Fanatic zealots of any religion are always pests that cause havoc and destruction with their inflexible fanaticism; but they usually don’t run the biggest economy in the world. But these laissez faire voodoo-economics zealots in charge of the USA have now caused the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression and the nastiest economic crisis in decades. So let them be shamed in public for their hypocrisy and zealotry that has caused so much financial and economic damage.

RGE - Comrades Bush, Paulson and Bernanke Welcome You to the USSRA (United Socialist State Republic of America)

Chalk one up for the good guys! yeay!

Well, we almost have freedom of the press.  You can get arrested for covering protests at a national convention but at least in this one case, the charges were dropped.  hallelujah!

Charges Dropped Against Democracy Now! Journalists – Investigation Needed

The St. Paul City Attorney’s office announced Friday it will not prosecute Democracy Now! journalists Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman also issued a statement Friday that “the city will decline to prosecute misdemeanor charges for presence at an unlawful assembly for journalists arrested during the Republican National Convention.”

Both announcements come two weeks after the conclusion of the Republican National Convention where over 40 journalists were arrested while reporting on protests taking place outside the convention center.

Upon learning of the news, Democracy Now! Host, Amy Goodman said, “It’s good that these false charges have finally been dropped, but we never should have been arrested to begin with. These violent and unlawful arrests disrupted our work and had a chilling effect on the reporting of dissent. Freedom of the press is also about the public’s right to know what is happening on their streets. There needs to be a full investigation of law enforcement activities during the convention.”

Goodman was arrested while asking police to release Kouddous and Salazar who had been violently arrested while reporting on street demonstrations. After being handcuffed and pushed to the ground, Goodman reiterated that she was was a credentialed reporter. Secret Service then ripped the credential from around her neck.

During demonstrations on the first day of the convention police used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and force against protesters and journalists. Several dozen demonstrators were arrested, as was a photographer for the Associated Press.

John Lundquist, attorney for the Democracy Now! journalists, said, “The most notable lapse by law enforcement during the RNC was the record-breaking number of journalists indiscriminately arrested and detained for doing nothing more than performing in the best tradition of reporters who gather the news.”

In the weeks after the journalist arrests, tens of thousands of members of the public contacted St. Paul officials to protest the unlawful arrests of working journalists. Goodman said, “We were deeply moved by the outpouring of support. We thank everyone who called and wrote first to have us freed and then to have the charges dropped. We thank everyone who stood up for press freedom and the First Amendment.”

The YouTube video of Goodman’s arrest was the most watched YouTube video during the convention week. It has now been viewed over 830,000 times. Salazar’s video of her own violent arrest is also available on YouTube.

Democracy Now! | Charges Dropped Against DN! Journalists - Investigation Needed

Palin’s suggested oil export ban ‘not exactly easy to understand.’

Ok republicans.. here is your homework for tonight.  Decipher what Mz Palin is saying here and turn it in tomorrow in plain english.. hahahaha!

This afternoon on CNN, host Wolf Blitzer showed video from last night’s townhall with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK), in which Palin — whom McCain said “knows more about energy than…anyone else in the United States” — was asked how she would keep oil from new domestic drilling in the U.S. market. In a serious understatement, Blitzer called her answer “not exactly easy to understand.”

As the law stands now, expanded domestic drilling would have no impact on U.S. gas prices precisely because “oil is a global commodity whose price is set by global supply and demand.” Is Palin calling for a total export ban?


“Oil and coal? Of course, it’s a fungible commodity and they don’t flag, you know, the molecules, where it’s going and where it’s not. But in the sense of the Congress today, they know that there are very, very hungry domestic markets that need that oil first,” Palin said. “So, I believe that what Congress is going to do, also, is not to allow the export bans to such a degree that it’s Americans that get stuck to holding the bag without the energy source that is produced here, pumped here. It’s got to flow into our domestic markets first.”

Think Progress » CNN: Palin’s suggested oil export ban ‘not exactly easy to understand.’

Why can't they all be like Bernie?

An Economy in Crisis

Amid one of the worst financial crises in American history, Senator Bernie Sanders laid out a four-part plan to cope with the collapse of financial institutions and avoid future failures of businesses “too big to fail.” First, Sanders proposed a surtax on the very wealthy to pay for bailouts of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and American International Group.  “The wealthiest 400 families in America saw an increase in their wealth of $670 billion since President Bush has been in office.  They have seen extraordinary benefits under Bush’s reckless economic policies.  The middle class, whose standard of living has declined, should not be paying for these bailouts.  Rather, we need an emergency surtax on those at the very top in order to pay for any losses the federal government suffers as a result of necessary efforts to shore up the economy,” Sanders said.  Second, he called for stronger oversight of financial institutions and an end to President Bush’s deregulation policies. Third, huge businesses like Bank of America, which is swallowing up other large corporations, should be broken up so no company in the future could bring the American economy down with it. Said Sanders, “This country can no longer afford companies that are ‘too big to fail.’ Fourth, he called for an immediate economic stimulus package which would put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, and moving us to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gross National Debt as a Percent of GDP, by President

Just a little chart to compare economic trends through the past 10 presidents.  notice how the percentage of debt as a factor of the GDP was going down until the Regan "piss on down" reaganomics era..  once clinton took over it took a few years to get it turned around again but he did it.  Bush the second has brought it back up to his daddy's levels.

Gross National Debt as a Percent of GDP, by President

Failed republican Free Market Policies

McCain wanted a commission to study why the meltdown began.
Obama said no commission, we know what happened--CEOs got greedy, Washington sat on their hands.
Obama wants tax EQUITY...we can't continue the deficits (we just saw a trillion dollars go out the door)...
Deregulation has not worked well in the past 7 years.  The administration has let the businesses regulate themselves, with no oversight.
Another failed policy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Latest Iran Report. Nothing to go to war over.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has just produced it’s latest report on Iran’s nuclear program. (Full report here in PDF, leaked by US officials as usual.)

All materials and centrifuges are under Agency seal and surveillance and the Agency guarantees no diversion without their knowledge. With that in place, what we have is Iran proceeding with a peaceful program, one sanctioned by the UNSC but explicitly allowed by both the IAEA charter and the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It doesn’t matter that Iran could make enough enriched uranium to redirect into bomb production in two years - no matter how much the media is trying to imply otherwise - because they simply cannot do that without enough IAEA foreknowledge to enable preventative steps to be taken. Sanctions are therefore being applied because Iran is defying a UNSC resolution which is entirely based upon Iran abrogating the voluntary additional protocol it had previously agreed to.

The IAEA is vigorously defending their position that there’s no current smoking gun, too. When the UK’s Daily Telegraph ran a report by noted neoconservative shill Con Coughlin that stated Iran had diverted some Hex from the conversion facility as Isfahan, enough to make 6 bombs the IAEA made a swift rebuttal:

“The article, entitled ‘Iran renews nuclear weapons development’ published in [Friday’s] Daily Telegraph by Con Coughlin and Tim Butcher is fictitious,” IAEA Spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said in a statement.

IAEA inspectors have no indication that any nuclear material is missing from the plant,” reads the statement.

Crooks and Liars » No Cause For War In New Iran Report

Crooks and Liars » CNN Demolishes Every McCain Campaign Lie

This is by far the most thorough debunking I’ve seen to date on the myriad of lies coming from Team McCain.

Obama wants to teach sex to kindergarteners? Lie.

Palin opposed the Bridge to Nowhere? Lie.

Palin hasn’t taken earmarks as Governor? Lie.

Alaska produces 20% of America’s energy? Lie.

Palin visited Iraq and Ireland? Lie.

HT Jed, who adds:

As the campaign moves towards a focus on the economy, it’s worth keeping in mind that McCain’s lies are relevant because the demonstrate the fundamental emptiness of his campaign. He is devoid of ideas and solutions; lies are the only thing McCain has left.

Crooks and Liars » CNN Demolishes Every McCain Campaign Lie

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mag Photographer's Grotesque McCain Trick

Jill Greenberg: Mag Photographer's Grotesque McCain Trick

This is Your Nation on White Privilege | Red Room



September 13, 2008, 2:01 pm

By Tim Wise

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay. 

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll “kick their fuckin' ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was “Alaska first,” and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.

White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college--you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a “second look.”

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it a “light” burden.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain…

White privilege is, in short, the problem.

This is Your Nation on White Privilege | Red Room

Did Saakashvili Lie?: The West Begins to Doubt Georgian Leader - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

McSame threatened Russia over this 5 day war.  Can you imagine that?  It was Saakashvili who started the military operations and Russia told the truth when they said they were there to defend the break away provinces from Georgian violence.

The intelligence agencies conclude that the Russian army did not begin firing until 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 8, when it launched an SS-21 short-range ballistic missile on the city of Borzhomi, southwest of Gori. The missile apparently hit military and government bunker positions. Russian warplanes began their first attacks on the Georgian army a short time later. Suddenly the airwaves came to life, as did the Russian army.

Russian troops from North Ossetia did not begin marching through the Roki Tunnel until roughly 11 a.m. This sequence of events is now seen as evidence that Moscow did not act offensively, but merely reacted. Additional SS-21s were later moved to the south. The Russians deployed 5,500 troops to Gori and 7,000 to the border between Georgia and its second separatist region, Abkhazia.

Calls in Europe for International Investigation

Wolfgang Richter, a colonel with Germany's General Staff and a senior military advisor to the German OSCE mission, is another expert on the situation. Richter, who was in Tbilisi at the time, confirms that the Georgians had already amassed troops on the border with South Ossetia in July. In a closed-door session in Berlin last Wednesday, he told German Defense Minister Franz-Josef Jung and the leading members of the foreign and defense committees in the German parliament that the Georgians had, to some extent, "lied" about troop movements. Richter said that he could find no evidence to support Saakashvili's claims that the Russians had marched into the Roki Tunnel before Tbilisi gave its orders to attack, but that he could not rule them out. For some members of parliament, his statements sounded like an endorsement of the Russian interpretation. "He left no room for interpretation," one of the committee members concluded. "It is clear that there was more responsibility on the Georgian than the Russian side," another committee member said.

Did Saakashvili Lie?: The West Begins to Doubt Georgian Leader - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Sarah Palin's Shocking Animal Cruelty | | AlterNet

Sarah Palin's Shocking Animal Cruelty | | AlterNet

GOP conventioneers were officially introduced to their vice presidential candidate who is, as Fred Thompson said, "the only nominee in the history of either party who knows how to properly field dress a moose."

But it's not Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's personal love of hunting or appetite for moose venison that should strike fear in the heart of every animal advocate in the nation--it's her retrograde policies on animal welfare and conservation that have led to an all-out war on the state's wolves and other creatures.

Her record is so extreme that she has perhaps done more harm to animals than any other current governor in the United States -- and that's a difficult distinction to achieve among our 22 Republican and 28 Democratic chief executives. Voters of both political parties who care about the humane treatment of animals must unite to make sure that the nation's worst governor doesn't end up just a heartbeat away from the nation's most important job.

Palin is not only a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, but is also a close ally of Safari Club International. These radical groups don't represent rank-and-file hunters, but instead lobby on behalf of their elitist, wealthy members to defend despicable and unsporting practices such as captive trophy hunts, bear baiting, and steel-jawed legold traps -- practices that real hunters agree are inhumane and unacceptable.

And the Palin Administration, in lock-step with these extreme anti-conservationists, has waged an all-out war on Alaska's predators to artificially boost the populations of moose and caribou for trophy hunters. Palin has tried to pass legislation making it easier for state officials to gun down wolves and bears from the sky, and even offered a $150 bounty for the left foreleg of each dead wolf as an economic incentive for pilots and aerial gunners to kill more of the animals.

Leading up to the recent statewide vote on Measure 2 to stop the aerial shooting of wolves and bears, Palin's Board of Game spent $400,000 of public money on brochures and radio ads to influence the election. She not only took an inhumane and unsporting position at odds with the principles of wildlife management and fair chase, but did it in an undemocratic and underhanded way. Palin may have criticized "the old politics as usual" and "the culture of self-dealing" in her speech last night, but that's a pretty good description of her dealings with the NRA and Safari Club.

Since Alaska is not protecting its wolves from aerial hunting, the U.S. Congress has stepped in and is now considering the Protect America's Wildlife (PAW) Act, which would close a loophole in federal law that allows the shooting of animals from airplanes and helicopters. But Gov. Palin has attacked that effort, too, and used her office to criticize the federal legislation. She wrote in a press release that the bill's author "doesn't understand rural Alaska" and "doesn't comprehend wildlife management in the North."

This new video from our friends at the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund reveals shocking images from the brutal practice of aerial hunting, and shows the world just what Gov. Palin has championed at the state and federal levels.


But that's only one part of the story. It's not just wolves, of course, who have been the targets of Palin's outdated policies, but also the Arctic region's iconic polar bears, the 21st Century's canaries in the mineshaft who are teetering on the brink of extinction.

Despite the effects of climate change on the bear's vanishing habitat and shrinking ice floes, Gov. Palin penned an op-ed in The New York Times earlier this year arguing that it was the "wrong move" to list the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act. Later, when the Bush Administration announced its listing of the polar bear as a threatened species, she filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse the decision. Environmentalists fired back over Palin's lawsuit and said "her head-in-the-sand approach to global warming only helps oil companies, certainly not Alaska or the polar bear."

For those who don't believe that the number two spot on the ticket matters much at all, consider this: fourteen vice presidents in American history eventually climbed to the top job, eight of them because their predecessors died in office. If Sarah Palin were to be propelled into the presidency and given the opportunity to run the United States like she has run Alaska--controlling the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, and Commerce, with wide-ranging authority over issues affecting pets, wildlife, farm animals, marine mammals, animals in research, and public lands--it would indeed be a terrible day for animals and for the country.

Crooks and Liars » McCain’s Family Doesn’t Even Recognize Him

Even his own family is coming out and remarking on the 180° turn from the Straight Talkin’ Maverick to the craven, say anything, do anything, pander to all politician desperately taking his last covetous bid at the White House.  Ouch.

John and I are related through our grandmothers. Katherine Vaulx McCain and Huetta Vaulx Boles, both of Fayetteville, Ark., were sisters. My side of the Vaulx family represents a long line of Democrats, but it is with no small amount of pride that we’ve followed the life and career of now-Sen. John McCain.[..]

Although neither my father nor I have ever voted for a Republican, when John threw his hat in the ring in 2000, we were both very proud and encouraged, and not just because he’s our relative. This was the first Republican who, on a national stage, was saying things like, “If we repeal Roe vs. Wade tomorrow, thousands of young American women will be performing illegal and dangerous operations,” and, “Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer-reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance.” Wow!

Here was a man who was not abiding by partisan lines, who was, instead, living up to his promise of “straight talk” and commonsense thinking. The right-wing Republican base may not have agreed with everything he said, but the rest of America certainly respected him for speaking his mind honestly.

Jump ahead to the campaign Sen. McCain is currently running. Clearly, a lot can change in eight years. Our nation has gone from a time of unparalleled prosperity and peace to one marked by debt in the trillions of dollars, record foreclosures, and a global reputation for warmongering and neo-imperialism.

So, where is the straight-talking, commonsense John McCain of 2000? I’m afraid he is long gone, replaced by a desperate version of himself who seems to contradict nearly everything he once stood for.

What becomes apparent in his ideological about-face is just how out of touch McCain really is with America’s working families. [..]

But, as he continually demonstrates in this campaign, my cousin John is long gone. “Straight talk” has been replaced with “flip-flop.” Saddest all, this is the same man who, when campaigning in 2000, told a crowd of supporters, “I don’t think Bill Gates needs a tax cut. I think your parents do.”

My parents, John, need some help after the economic destruction Bush has wrought in the last eight years, but it’s clear you’re not the one who’ll give it to us. America’s working families no longer recognize you, nor does your own.

Crooks and Liars » McCain’s Family Doesn’t Even Recognize Him

Our closest allies are revolting. gee, i wonder why?

Iraq's Nouri Maliki breaking free of U.S. - Los Angeles Times

Once dependent on American support to keep his job, Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has consolidated power and is asserting his independence, sharply reducing Washington's influence over the future of Iraq. Iraq's police and army now operate virtually on their own, and with Washington's mandate from the United Nations to provide security here expiring in less than four months, Maliki is insisting on imposing severe limits on the long-term U.S. military role, including the withdrawal of American forces from all cities by June. America's eroded leverage has left Iran, with its burgeoning trade and political ties, in a better position to affect Iraqi government policies. It also means that whichever U.S. presidential candidate is elected -- Republican John McCain, who insists on what some see as a vaguely defined American victory in Iraq, or Democrat Barack Obama, who has long called for a timeline for withdrawing U.S. combat troops -- will have less ability to sway Baghdad than did the Bush administration.

More stories in National/Foreign Policy

Pakistan orders troops to open fire if US launches air or ground raid - chicagotribune.com

Pakistan's military has ordered its forces to open fire if U.S. troops launch another air or ground raid across the Afghan border, an army spokesman said Tuesday. The orders, which come in response to a highly unusual Sept. 3 ground attack by U.S. commandos, are certain to heighten tensions between Washington and a key ally against terrorism. Although the ground attack was rare, there have been repeated reports of U.S. drone aircraft striking militant targets, most recently on Sept. 12. Pakistani officials warn that stepped-up cross-border raids will accomplish little while fueling violent religious extremism in nuclear-armed Pakistan. Some complain that the country is a scapegoat for the failure to stabilize Afghanistan. Pakistan's civilian leaders, who have taken a hard line against Islamic militants since forcing Pervez Musharraf to resign as president last month, have insisted that Pakistan must resolve the dispute with Washington through diplomatic channels.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Shock waves hit Wall St. as 2 big firms fall - Yahoo! News

This is what 8 years of Republican economic policy of Cutting taxes on the richest and moving the burden to workers.  This is the result of immoral deregulation of the banking industry, first written up by one of McCain's financial advisor's, Phil Gramm.  This is what happens when you open the gates and let the pigs eat as much from the American trough as they can stuff themselves with without any conscience for who that money actually belongs to.  Millions of homes have been foreclosed and instead of keeping those people in their homes, which would have given our tax dollars to them and they would have given it to the financial institutions to keep everything stable, Bush decided we can only help the banks that defrauded these home owners.  Today i heard on the news that the feds have told the banks, no more bail outs.  you have to fix this yourselves.  The American people can't carry the (up to) a quadrillion they are talking about leaving us with.  And McCain is Bush on steroids when talking about cutting taxes on these richest among us.  We have to bail them out with our tax dollars while they get their taxes cut to the bone.  Bull crap!  ENOUGH!  We haven't seen this kind of disaster since the 20's before the great depression.  Obama will have his hands full taking care of the mess this past 8 years has gotten us into.  But you can believe the Republican's will try to blame him for all of it. 
It's like a "my bankers went to the pig trough and all i got what this lousy hundreds of billions and possibly trillions in debt", T shirt.  Make sure your bank is FDIC.  they are expecting at least another 200 banks to shut down.  If it is not fdic insured and your money is in it, you are up shit creek.

NEW YORK - In a stunning reshaping of America's financial landscape, two venerable Wall Street firms fell from the shock waves of a credit crisis that has plunged the financial system into turmoil, as stocks tumbled across the globe Monday in response.

Lehman Brothers, a 158-year-old bank burdened by $60 billion in soured real-estate holdings, filed for federal bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court after attempts to rescue firm failed. Bank of America Corp. said it is snapping up Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. in a $50 billion all-stock transaction.

Stock markets fell precipitously and Treasury bond prices soared as investors reacted to some of the most dramatic economic news in modern U.S. history. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 300 points, though the market's initial losses were not as steep as some investors had feared.

The developments took place as U.S. voters, who rank the economy as their top concern, prepare to elect a new president in seven weeks. Presidential candidates John McCain, a Republican, and Democrat Barack Obama, immediately called for stricter financial regulation.

Obama called the news "the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression" of the 1930s.

President George W. Bush meanwhile signaled that the government would not continued to bail out Wall Street, saying only that "we are working to reduce disruptions and minimize the impact of these financial market developments on the broader economy."

"The policymakers will focus on the health of the financial system as a whole," Bush said during the White House appearance with visiting Ghanian President John Kufuor.

The demise of the independent Wall Street institutions comes six months after the collapse of Bear Stearns and 14 months after the beginning of the credit crisis, sparked by bad mortgage finance and real estate investments.

Ominously, American International Group Inc., the world's largest insurance company, was asking the Federal Reserve for emergency funding and planned to announce a major restructuring Monday

A global consortium of banks, working with government officials in New York, announced a $70 billion pool of funds to lend to troubled financial companies. The aim of the bank consortium, according to participants who spoke to The Associated Press, was to prevent a worldwide panic on stock and other financial exchanges.

Ten banks — Bank of America, Barclays, Citibank, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS — each agreed to provide $7 billion "to help enhance liquidity and mitigate the unprecedented volatility and other challenges affecting global equity and debt markets."

The Federal Reserve also chipped in with more largesse in its emergency lending program for investment banks. The central bank announced late Sunday that it was broadening the types of collateral that financial institutions can use to obtain loans from the Fed.

Shock waves hit Wall St. as 2 big firms fall - Yahoo! News

Sunday, September 14, 2008

t r u t h o u t | US Should Disclose Funding for Opposition Groups in Bolivia

We need to leave the Bolivians to their own choices.  They voted for Morales and we need to respect that since we are supposedly defending "democracy" around the world.  But we don't like democracy when the people choose populists presidents who won't play ball with american corporations.  We use american tax dollars and american military to get them overthrown.  We did it in Iran, Iraq, Colombia, Nicaragua and we tried to do it in Venezuela.  Now we're trying to overthrow the most beloved president of all time in Bolivia.  We need to stop the corporations from asking and getting from our government our tax dollars to forward their agendas of greed.  They get welfare from us and we get nothing in return but higher and higher prices and lower and lower wages.  They're pigs who can't get enough.  They literally want to rule the world.  they have the money but we have the numbers that, together, represent overwhelming power against their corrupt agendas.  But the trick is, we have to use our voices.  We have to make those calls and write those letters.  We have to forward mails that call us to action.  We must take this country back from the oligarchy that holds it now to the detriment of the world.

Washington, DC - The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) called on the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other agencies to release information detailing whom it is funding in Bolivia - where violent right-wing opposition groups have wreaked havoc this week in a series of shootings, beatings, ransacking of offices, and sabotage of a natural gas pipeline - as well as in other Latin American countries including Venezuela. Recent events suggest there may be evidence for Bolivian president Evo Morales' assertions that the U.S. Embassy is supporting groups promoting violence and seeking "autonomy" from Bolivia, and the Center called on USAID and other U.S. agencies to "come clean" in order to demonstrate the U.S. government's good faith.

    "Washington has decided to keep its ties to Bolivia's opposition shrouded in secrecy, and that's not conducive to trust between the U.S. and Bolivian governments," said Mark Weisbrot, CEPR co-director. "If Washington has nothing to hide in terms of whom it is funding and working with in Bolivia, then it should reveal which groups those are."

    In the midst of the violence and property destruction, Bolivian president Evo Morales declared U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg "persona non grata" and asked him to be expelled, suggesting he is aiding organizations behind the violence and sabotage. Despite numerous requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act, the U.S. has not turned over all the names of recipient organizations of USAID funds. Bolivia is a major recipient of USAID money, with millions of dollars sent to groups there. The U.S. also funds groups in Bolivia through the National Endowment for Democracy and related organizations.

    "USAID is not supposed to be a clandestine organization, but nevertheless the U.S. government refuses to divulge which groups in Bolivia are supported with U.S. tax dollars," Weisbrot said. "By providing clandestine aid to groups that are almost certainly in the opposition, it gives the impression that the U.S. is contributing to efforts to destabilize the Bolivian government."

    The U.S. Embassy in Bolivia has been implicated in a number of events that suggest it may be seeking to undermine Morales' government. In February of this year it was revealed that the Embassy had repeatedly asked Peace Corps volunteers and a Fulbright Scholar to spy on people inside Bolivia. USAID has an "Office of Transition Initiatives" operating in Bolivia, funneling millions of dollars of training and support to right-wing opposition regional governments and movements.

    At least eight people were killed and dozens injured in violence Thursday, the latest in over a week of protests carried out by organized youth groups in conjunction with departmental governors and other opposition leaders that also saw them sabotage a natural gas pipeline, vandalize government offices, ransack the offices of a human rights organization, and threaten to cut off natural gas exports to neighboring Brazil and Argentina.

t r u t h o u t | US Should Disclose Funding for Opposition Groups in Bolivia

McCain’s Economist: We Need Tax Increases

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former Director of the Congressional Budget Office and current chief McCain economic advisor tells Fortune columnist Matt Miller in a forthcoming book, The Tyranny of Dead Ideas, that the next President is simply going to have to raise taxes.

Joe Klein has an advance copy of the book and the details:

“If you do nothing on the spending side, you’re going to have to raise taxes whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat or a Martian,” he tells Miller…and then he immediately makes it clear that the “spending side” part of the argument is nothing more than a political fig-leaf.

“It’s arithmetic.” Federal revenue today is 18.8 percent of GDP and federal spending is 20 percent. Holtz-Eakin observes that “the pressure are there” to lift spending [on entitlement programs, mostly] and taxes to 23 or 24 percent of GDP by around 2020, and to as much as 27 percent if health costs remain out of control.

Miller does the arithmetic: that’s an annual tax hike of $550 to $700 billion, well beyond the range of any spending cuts that McCain has or might propose. (Those vaunted earmarks cost about $20 billion per year.)

So how come, with this guy on board, the McCain campaign is still pushing tax cuts and more tax cuts even if they are fiscal suicide?

“It’s the brand,” he said, “and you don’t dilute the brand.”

How’s that for cynical? Of course, the book isn’t out until after the elections.

Klein may well think Holz-Eakin is ‘an honest man”, but to me he looks like just another Republican hack willing to deceive about McCain’s economic policies and their impact. He has been doing the rounds of the likes of Forbes magazine pushing McCain’s tax-cut budget and while admitting that it’s “not exactly revenue-neutral,” saying that it’s a pro-business plan.  However, he also told the wonks at the Center for American Progress that McCain’s plan would “make deficits expand up front, no question”. Expert economists at the the Center for American Progress Action Fund seriously questioned McCain’s deficit-funded corporate-welfare budget because in the short-run such tax cuts are the least cost-effective stimulus among 13 options, andin the medium or longer-run, the effect on growth of deficit-financed tax cuts “tends to be small”.

Obama, of course, says that his greater tax breaks for the less well off would be paid for by tax increases on those in upper tax brackets, especially those earning over $600,000 a year. Anderson Cooper recently explained the differences in tax proposals very simply on CNN:

Crooks and Liars » McCain’s Economist: We Need Tax Increases