Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wall Street's Tempest Tuesday

It was the perfect storm.

U.S. manufactured durable goods orders for January weakened, down 7.8%, fueled in part by the continued slump in the housing market.... with January housing starts down 14.3% while real estate delinquencies swelled.

Former Federal Reserve guru Alan Greenspan predicted a possible recession in 2007.

China's stock markets fell to a 10-year low, partly due to measures taken in Beijing to slow their rampaging economy.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez announced they were taking at least 60% control of foreign-run oil projects in their Orinoco river region by May 1, affecting the operations, and slowing production, at BP, Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and France's Total SA and Norway's Statoil ASA. Development of the tar-soaked river belt promises heavy oil deposits that may outstrip Saudi Arabia's current proven reserves.

So.... Tuesday, as the bad-news waves pounded the market, it floundered and then plunged 416 points by day's end, partly weighed down by a barrage of computer-driven sell orders. The worst market sell-off since the terrorist attack of 9/11 in 2001.

Worldwide it was estimated that a trillion dollars in equities vanished.

This was a warning shot across our bow.

There are forces out there greater than the United States financial might that can strike and inflict a devastating, even mortal, blow to our debt-ridden, trade-deficit-saturated economy.

Yet, a heedless Captain Bush has left a "do not disturb" sign on his cabin door, after setting his relentless course toward the deadly Iraq-war reefs.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

McCain Loses His Way

Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) "Straight Talk Express" seems to have gotten lost by taking a sharp turn to the Right while swerving blindly behind the defecating Bush elephant.

Columnist Maureen Dowd gives you a glimpse of McCain's bumpy presidential campaign journey in "A Cat Without Whiskers."

She relates how after a speech at a recent business luncheon McCain got this cheeky inquiry, "I've seen in the press where in your run for the presidency, you've been sucking up to the religious right.... I was just wondering how soon do you predict a Republican candidate for president will start sucking up to the old Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party."

The old McCain.... well, the old McCain wouldn't have been asked this question because he wouldn't have been anywhere near the Falwell "Winky Dinky is Gay" religious right. So, the new McCain answered in probably the only way he now can.... "I'm probably going to get in trouble, but what's wrong with sucking up to everybody?"

What's wrong?

No. He's not going to get in trouble, he is in trouble, having lost his moral compass.... the sound he hears is an alarmed voting public fleeing his out-of-control express as it hurls its way to political-pandering oblivion.

Dowd sadly sums up this new McCain, "Sometimes I miss John McCain, even when I'm with him"

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sharpton, Jesus and Gore

You can't make this stuff up....

The headline reads "Sharpton's Ancestor Was Owned by Thurmond's." Yes, black civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton's great grandfather, Coleman Sharpton, was a slave owned by relatives of late senator and one-time segregationist Strom Thurmon. Coleman Sharpton was given as a "gift" to Julie Thurmond, whose grandfather was Strom Thurmond's great-great-grandfather.

Another headline screaming for attention..... "I've Found The Coffin Of Jesus." A Hollywood filmmaker today will unveil three coffins he claims were those of Jesus, his mother Mary and his "wife" Mary Magdalene. In 1980 ten coffins were accidentally found during an excavation in Jerusalem, six names were etched into them.... "Jesus son of Joseph, Judah son of Jesus, Maria, Mariamne (thought to be Mary Magdalene's real name), Joseph and Matthew." Lots of gnashing of teeth over this one. Stay tuned.

And, Ex-VP Al "Wooden Man" Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" which he starred.... won an Oscar.

Is this a great country or what!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Biden Hits the Brakes

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) championed a DOA House proposal to make additional funding for the Iraq war dependent on strict troop-readiness standards, which on the surface might seem to be a good idea. But that proposal met stiff resistance.... from both sides of the aisle.... largely because it puts in place risky inflexibilities.

And, the recent "non-binding" resolutions are viewed by the public as a tiptoeingly-tepid approach.... the public wants "binding" action.... want to stop the runaway Bush/Cheney war machine.

So.... here comes the brakeman in the form of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden (D-DE) who is seeking to repeal 2002 war authorization.... "We gave the president that power to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and, if necessary, to depose Saddam Hussein, " Biden said of the 2002 resolution in a speech last week before the Brookings Institution. "The WMD was not there. Saddam Hussein is no longer there. The 2002 authorization is no longer relevant to the situation in Iraq." (WaPo)

Biden and Armed Service Committee Chairman Carl M. Levin (D-MI) are drafting language to present to the Senate when they reconvene Tuesday that will set a goal for withdrawing combat brigades by March 31, 2008 as recommended by the Iraq Study Group.

Once the combat phase ends, troops would be restricted to assisting Iraqis with training, border security and counterterrorism. This resolution will go directly to the Senate floor for action, possibly as an amendment to a homeland security bill scheduled for debate next week.

At the same time, Murtha's ideas will no be dismissed out-of-hand. The Iraq funding bill due for vote in the House the week of March 12 would require the president to publicly reveal that he is deploying unrested, under-trained or under-equipped troops, or extending combat tours of troops already in Iraq.

Maybe it's just me, but doesn't it seem like he should already have been forced to publicly come clean about troop and equipment readiness before deployment.

Of course, that didn't happen because the previous GOP-majority Houses abdicated their oversite roles, allowing the Bush/Cheney administration to lay waste to lives, treasure and our world standing.

As Congress puts the brakes on an arrogant reckless Bush, hopefully they also vow.... "Never again."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

King George's Delusions

Never mind that the "Ally's Timing Is Awkward for Bush,"... he's still a legend in his own mind. He and his enablers are spinning the British pullback as "basically a good-news story."

But Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) said of the notion that it actually signals success.... "I think it's Alice in Wonderland looking through the looking glass."

Congress can, and must, put King George and his feudal whims in checkmate....

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

An Oxymoron: Romney Principles

Richard Cohen in his piece "The Talented Mr. Romney" said it best about the counterfeit man.... "If he were a coin, a vending machine would spit him out."

Why? Well, because once Romney was supportive of gay issues.... until as president-wanna-be he's shoving them into the closet.

Because he wanted abortions to be safe and legal... but is now appeasing the back-alley conservatives and demanding they be made illegal.

Because he used to have a moderate position on gun control.... but has now joined the National Rifle Association and is panting after the Cheney quick-trigger base.

As Cohen so succinctly points out about Romney's "craven crawl toward the White House,"....

"I don't know whether he has any respect for himself, but he sure as hell has none for us."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

"Raider" Romney?

Any way you look at it, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney showed a disturbing lack of moral clarity today on ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos.

When asked about his vote for Paul Tsongas, a Democrat, in the 1992 primaries, he offered this explanation:

"In Massachusetts, if you register as an Independent, you can vote in either Republican or Democratic primary.

"When there was no real contest in the Republican primary, I'd vote in the Democrat primary, vote for the person who I thought would be the weakest opponent for Republican.....

"I go in their primary, just like a lot of other folks, and voted against the person who I thought was the strongest Democrat....

"So, yes, as an Independent, I'll go in and play in their primary, but I'm a Republican and have been through my life."

This "playing in the primary" is called "raiding." The purpose is not to help to select the best candidates possible, but to frustrate the process.....dirty political tricks.

But, Romney gave another explanation for his vote for Democrat Tsongas 12 years ago. The Boston Globe reported on February 3, 1994 that Romney was giving this explanation for his vote for Tsongas... "he did so both because Tsongas was from Massachusetts and because he favored his ideas over those of Bill Clinton."

Well, that wouldn't be raiding, that would be voting for the best opponent (in Romney's opinion) to run against George Bush, Sr.

So which is it Mitt, are you a dirty-tricks raider, or lying to cover your support of Tsongas. Either way, it's a lose-lose.... and exposes your moral blind spots.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Babs: You'll Never Eat Lunch There Again George

Which ex-president's image makers have crafted a genteel, grandfatherly blue blood for public consumption?..... why, George Bush Sr.

Which actress stars in a wildly popular TV show about a bunch of naughty ladies frolicking about town?.... why, Teri Hatcher of Desperate Housewives fame.

Put them together for lunch in Beverly Hills and you get.... "Posterior Patting Papa."

Isn't technology great!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Bedtime for Bozo

While Georgie is being lulled by Uncle Cheney with his nightly bedtime fairy tale, a horrified nation wrestles with the waking nightmare of Iraq and another troop surge.

Outgoing Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker warns "Iraq Troop Boost Erodes Readiness, General Says."

That's right, Iraq has crippled our ability to defend ourselves and others.... "Virtually all of the U.S. based Army combat brigades are rated as unready to deploy..."

Nightie night.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Trust Us

Here we go again.... we're being told there is "proof" that Iran is supplying deadly armor-piercing explosives that are targeting Iraqi and U.S. troops.... "Military Ties Iran To Arms In Iraq."

In a briefing in Iraq on Sunday, nameless explosive experts gave a presentation to the news media without allowing them "to record, photograph or videotape the briefing or the materials on display." (WaPo)

Few doubt that a fate-based Decider would like to build a case against Iran. Can we believe this latest sermon? The Decider's truth-telling on Iraq:

Lied about WMD.
Lied during State of the Union speech re: Niger uranium.
Lied about Saddam/bin Laden connection.
Manipulated intelligence to justify invasion
Falsely claimed finding bio-lab trucks.
Lied about nation-building.
Lied to Americans about the real cost of Iraq war.
Lined Halliburton's pockets in Afghanistan and Iraq with fat no-bid contracts.

So now in an unrecorded briefing held in media-remote Iraq by nameless "experts" we are being asked to believe.... does it really matter what we're being asked to believe. The Bush administration doesn't have the big "C" anymore. Credibility.

The flock no longer has blind faith in the Bush/Cheney gospels.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Plane Facts

"Speaker Pursues Military Flights" The Washington Times 2/1/7

"Pelosi is said by military sources to be interested in more, a larger plane capable of carrying more people non-stop to the West Coast." Brit Hume Fox News "Special Report" 2/5/07

"Pelosi Plane Includes Private Bed, Entertainment Center, And Costs $22,000 Per Hour To Operate" The Washington Times 2/8/07

"Air-Ogant Nancy" New York Post 2/8/07


Just where did this non-story story about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) get started.... the Moonie Washington Times, who also circulated the "madrassa" smear about Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).... both stories were based on "unnamed sources."

Of course, with glee FOX News jumped on the get-Pelosi bandwagon and others with similar political hatchets piled on.

But, we were sorely disappointed when CNN's Lou Dobbs joined in the howling..... instead of investigating the report he covered the story every evening for six straight days... February 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.... repeating the inaccuracies and amplifying the attacks. On the February 5 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight he said:

"Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, can now fly in style at your expense. Speaker Pelosi has been granted authorization to make use of military aircraft whenever she sees fit." And after a report by Lisa Sylvester full of inaccuracies and innuendos he shook his head and said, "Well, it's really a fascinating thing: 42. She could take a circus with her, for crying out loud." Media Matters

Lou had one thing right, it was a circus all right, but the circus was the media coverage of this non-story.

Of course, also weighing in... "House GOP Blasts Pelosi for Plane Request." WaPo 2/9/07

Using the excuse of Pelosi's hearings on global warming to vent their minority-status rage, the Republican representatives accused her of wasting taxpayers money on planes that could seat "175-190 passengers." Shoot-from-the-mouth Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) bellowed "By commandeering a huge government plane for her personal transport to California, this is totally contradictory to the alarm bells we heard her ringing in the Science Committee just a few hours ago."


House Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Livingood (one just has to smile at the irony of his name though) who is charged with the speaker's security, issued a statement saying it was actually he, not Pelosi, who had requested that the military provide the larger plane so Pelosi could fly nonstop to San Francisco.

CNN and others reporting on the story provided no support for the claims that Pelosi was asking for Air Force One-like accommodations. Roll Call quoted a Pelosi aide as saying, "All we're asking for is what Hastert [the previous Speaker] had."

Pelosi said Thursday that she's happy to fly commercial. "We never asked for a larger plane. This is a myth that [the Republicans] are talking about on the floor," she said. "They have nothing to say to the American people about the war, the economy, global warming and the rest. So they have this game they're playing."

Finally, The Decider's press secretary, Tony Snow, had to bring the pack to heel, defending Pelosi from the snarling media hype and frothing legislative hyperbole... "White House Backs Pelosi In Tumult Over Plane." WaPo 2/8/07

"This is a silly story," Snow said, ..."it's been unfair to the speaker."

Now we're waiting for the retractions and apologies, especially from Dobbs.

Guess the sensation-bombarded public can forget about that though. The pack won't have time, they're too busy chasing the next big story.... the world-changing demise of ex-"Bunny" Anna Nicole Smith. Sad.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Travesty of Justice

Border agents arresting and detaining drug smugglers and illegal aliens, many of whom end up serving prison time, are no different than other officers of the law. Placing them in prison with the type of criminals they have apprehended is life threatening.

That is just one reason why it is outrageous that two border agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, were each given over a decade prison sentence for trying to apprehend a drug smuggler who was trying to elude them in a van loaded with marijuana. Ramos has already been attacked and beaten in his Mississippi prison.

Yes, the agents lied about shooting at and hitting the smuggler in the buttocks. In the heat of the chase they were trying to guard the border.... doing their job. They tried to avoid the paperwork surrounding such a shooting, so they let it go. And that has cost them dearly. Too dearly. The drug smuggler was given immunity to testify against them, and after a later apprehension for smuggling an even larger amount of drugs across the border, was again given immunity.

Rep. John Culberson (D-TX) said Ramos and Compean "may not have followed proper procedures following the shooting, which at most should have resulted in their suspension from the force, but not criminal procedure." (WaPo)

So, just who is this zealous U.S. prosecutor.... Johnny Sutton. Sutton was then-Texas-governor George W. Bush's Criminal Justice Policy Director from 1995-2000 advising Bush on all criminal justice issues.

Bush has been implored by many in his own party to grant pardons, but has claimed he didn't know enough about the case and has thus far refused pardons. If you believe that, there is a brick from our border fence I want to sell you.

This is Bush's so-called justice, blindfold firmly in place. It was his boy who ran the agents to ground and made sure they are facing stiff prison time.

Bush seems determined to keep our borders open even if it leads to aiding and abetting drug smugglers and terrorists.... part of his perverted vision for a North American Union. Justice be damned.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Trial Unlocking Iraqgate

What we have here is nothing less than Iraqgate. The breadth and consequences of the manipulation of facts to justify the invasion of Iraq makes Watergate pale into jay-walking-ticket insignificance.

The perjury trial of Scooter Libby, VP Cheney's right-hand man, is ferreting out this slimy trail of deception that leads directly to the White House.

"CIA former associate deputy director Robert Grenier averted his glance from the defense table where Libby sat as he joined the ranks of witnesses helping the prosecution paint Libby as a liar who tried to conceal his bosses' efforts to silence a war critic. Grenier's agency had repeatedly taken a beating from Cheney and Libby in the run-up to the Iraq war, with Cheney deriding the spooks as incompetent in finding evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction." (WaPo)

As Frank Rich points out in Sunday's New York Times, "Why Dick Cheney Cracked Up":

".... Dick Cheney lost it on CNN.... and barked 'hogwash' at the congenitally mild Wolf Blitzer" in an interview conducted "the day after the start of the perjury trial of Mr. Cheney's former top aide, Scooter Libby. The vice president's on-camera crackup reflected his understandable fear that a White House cover-up was crumbling. He knew that sworn testimony in a Washington courtroom would reveal still more sordid details about how the administration lied to take the country into war in Iraq....

"The White House [is] terrified about being found guilty of a far greater crime than outing a CIA officer, lying to the nation to hype its case for war. When Mr. Wilson, an obscure retired diplomat, touched that raw nerve, all the president's men panicked because they knew Mr. Wilson's modest finding in Africa was the tip of a far larger iceberg..... thanks to the commotion caused by the leak case, that damning evidence has slowly dribbled out....

"What we are learning from Mr. Libby's trial is just what a herculean effort it took to execute this two-pronged cover-up after Mr. Wilson's article appeared. Mr. Cheney was the hands-on manager of the 24/7 campaign of press manipulation and high-stakes character assassination, with Mr. Libby as his chief hatchet man."

Like a horror movie's monster octopus tentacles, the same falsifying of facts and propaganda are pulling the country into the bottomless depths of an expanded and extended war in Iraq.

Watergate brought down a president.

Iraqgate will hopefully rid us of the war's evil architect, Cheney, and his apocalyptic influence over future events.

Justice and over 3,000 U. S. heroes' now stilled voices demand it.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Missing Molly

It's often said, but seldom more aptly.... we'll not see her like again. Molly Ivins.

It was "Molly Ivin's Joyful Outrage" that helped us laugh at the puffed-up anti-populist powerful. "And joy was the key...fighting the good fight was a kick" for Molly.

Yet, while she did irreverently trim the shrub, let's not forget her political acumen that could send a Texas-sized Tabasco-tipped dart into the heart of the matter. Like Molly's bulls eye Hillary-hit on January 20, 2006:

"I'd like to make it clear to the people who run the Democratic Party that I will not support Hillary Clinton for president.

"Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation. Enough clever straddling, enough not offending anyone. This is not a Dick Morris election. Sen. Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq, and that alone is enough to disqualify her. Her failure to speak out on Terri Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just contemptible little dodges."

Then Molly went on to remind us that we need "political courage and heroes.... when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times."

Amen Molly.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

DC Sopranos Sing

..."sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder."

Is this a mob boss fingering his pigeon on the Sopranos?

In a way, yes....the political equivalent.

This message was given by "Tony" Cheney to "The Ba-Da-Boom Crew" instructing them that the fall guy for the leak that Valerie Plame was a covert CIA agent would be "Scooter" Libby, and not "Turd Blossom" Rove.... "Big Boss" Bush's front man.

Oh yes, Cheney is the capo trying to shield Bush from any connection to the crime.... the falsifying of intelligence that took us to war in Iraq and the perjury committed by Libby in trying to cover for his bosses. But the cops, in the form of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, are slowly closing in.

You have to look no further than the response to a query posed by Wolf Blitzer (CNN) to Cheney about Cheney's pregnant gay daughter to see the real "Tony".... the stone wall and threatening-glare shot at a genuflecting Blitzer says it all. Archconservative Cheney's intimidation and refusal to discuss an obvious political paradox is exactly how he and his back room boys operate.

But, these political mobsters, despite all their strong-arm tactics, are being sucked into the legal vortex of Libby's perjury trial, exposing the corruption swirling through the Bush administration.

Matthew Cooper, Time magazine's White House reporter in the summer of 2003, told jurors yesterday that President Bush's top political aide, Karl Rove, was the first administration official to privately tell him that former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson was married to a CIA officer. (WaPo)

Looks like Turd Blossom is fingered after all.... now we want to hear all of the Sopranos sing!