December 31, 2007

Support Edwards in Iowa Caucus

A Zogby poll shows John Edward tied with Barack Obama at 26 percent gaining on Hillary Clinton who is at 30 percent. This is confirmed by a CNN poll and a new Strategic Vision poll, released Friday, showing Edwards at 28 percent.

"Edwards had a good day by virtue especially of increasing support among independent voters," Zogby said.

Edwards led narrowly among independents over Clinton and Obama, I believe, because Edwards is NOT from the corporate wing of the Democratic party.

According to a Politico essay, other signs of hope boost Edwards' chances in Iowa:

Edwards also comes into the Jan. 3 caucuses with particular advantages... Edwards’ campaign boasts the most deeply rooted rural operation, allowing it to possibly win small precincts across the state that could prove crucial in the final tally.

Politico continues to point out that this is buttressed in

Polling by The Washington Post [which has] found that Edwards has the most support among those voters who participated in the 2004 Democratic caucuses, no small advantage for an election that measures a high turnout at 120,000 participants statewide.

Another advantage identified by Politico...

When Democrats were asked in the poll what mattered to them in deciding their vote, 32 percent said ideology, 30 percent chose charisma and 21 percent selected experience.

Clinton has campaigned on her experience, and if the election turns on ideology and charisma, it would seem to favor Obama and Edwards.

You Can Help Edwards Peak in Iowa on Jan. 3

1. Boost the Buzz with an e-mail to Iowa Media Outlets:

Contact the Des Moines Register
to ... er, register your support of Edwards. There's nothing like a public outpouring to turn the heads of editors. Here's what I said:

Edwards is gaining ground. I support Edward because he's talking about "deep change," not superficial, corporate-sponsored "change."

Our Nation is faltering. We need a break from the status quo.


2. Pledge Your Support:

Women of Steel Pledge - CLICK
to sign a pledge of support. United Steel Workers pledge page allows you to do as little as state your support, or more.

3. Contact the Edwards Campaign for More Ways to Help:

Iowa Edwards Campaign:

4. Let the Iowa Democratic Party Know you Support Edwards:

They're likely to pass you on to the Edwards Campaign, BUT, calls coming into the Democratic Party will add to buzz that adds to the momentum for Edwards.

Iowa Democratic Party:

Get Engaged via Edwards' Web Page:

Here's the Link
to his Iowa page... the main page, and contribution page, are easy to find. Every $250 dollars is matched with public funds because Edwards has gone the public funding route.


Reuters, "Clinton leads in Iowa but Edwards gains," John Whitesides, December 31, 2007.

December 27, 2007

The Dark World of Bush

The predictable event of Benazir Bhutto's assassination is a foreshadowing of the dark world into which we will continue to descend if we follow the logic of Bush. By the CIA's account, that logic has created more extremists around the globe.

That logic takes the form of "the end justifies the means," "shoot first ask questions later," on an individual scale, and "preemptive war" on an international scale. Bush's logic has brought us the horrific notion that "enhanced interrogation [AKA torture] is acceptable... if the US does it," when those of us who have an understanding of the context know that "interrogation" is a cover for using torture as a psychological weapon... another aspect of Bush's logic.

Bush's logic, and the world it brings, means "more secrecy," "training of thousands of people in the dark para military arts," people who will some day use that training for private ends. The logic includes "narrowing of civil liberties is necessary in a time of war," like privacy, the right to associate without fear of reprisal... the list is too long in this category. Bush's logic envisions perpetual war of which authors like Orwell wrote years ago... and it's not just Bush. He seems to be the current face of a long lineage.

In writing about a time in the 1960s, when the US started down this dark path, author H.E. Livingston wrote:
When one powerful group thinks that the end justifies the means, and flagrantly breaks the law, when we turn our backs on the very democratic institutions and traditions we most value, when violence and murder become political tools, then we enter a nightmare world in which we are all at risk. Once descended into the underworld of darkness, it is impossible to emerge unscathed.

Bhutto's assassination is a chilling harbinger. The political assassinations of the 1960s and 9/11 showed that the USA is not immune to chaos, foreign or domestic. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party leadership is infected with the Bush logic. The courts are steeped in the Bush logic. The corporate media boosts its ratings, and profits, by playing on the macabre and thrills associated with Bush's dark logic.

On top of this, the USA is potentially about to descend into deep economic troubles, which will heighten the sense of desperation and the hunt for scapegoats; it's hard for a debtor nation to pay its debts when the tax base is dissolving due to the permanent outsourcing of jobs, the offshore tax havens of so-called "US corporations," and demographic trends of an aging nation. Aside from external forces, only the people of the US can steer us away from the horrors that will unfold if we keep following the dark logic of violence, secrecy, and other Machiavellian ways.

Hurray! Cluster Bombs are OK

Whew! Thanks to Israel, we now know that the indescriminant use of cluster bombs, at the very end of a military confrontation that is being negotiated to end soon, is perfectly OK! ... and people wonder why some Palestinians are driven to acts of violence.

DemocracyNow! reports:

Israel Rules It Was OK To Use Cluster Bombs in Lebanon:

An Israeli military prosecutor has concluded that Israel’s use of cluster bombs during the 2006 Lebanon war was justified and did not violate any standards of international law. Lebanese officials accused the Israeli army of covering up war crimes. The United Nations and human rights groups say Israel dropped about 4 million cluster bomblets during the 34-day war.

More than 30 people have been killed by cluster bomb and land mine explosions in Lebanon since the 2006 summer war.

Some of us know that it's not OK. The military prosecutor fox has just said it's "OK" to eat the chickens in the hen house. Now ain't that Orwellian.

If that's hard to understand, a quick read of the following links on this subject will help clarify things.

Haaretz Article exposes Israeli Military.

US Prohibitions on Israeli Use of Cluster Bombs.

Lebanon Damage: Israel's Indiscriminant use of cluster munitions.

December 26, 2007

Judge Marilyn L. Huff and Kevin Cooper

LA Times article on appeal ruling in Kevin Cooper's case:

In a Flashpoints radio program, December 21, 2007, judge in Kevin Cooper's trial was challenged as being "reactionary." In response, I did a little google digging and didn't come up with too much about Huff. Below are notes on what I found with associated links.

Huff Takes Time to Testify in Favor of Bush Nominee

Marilyn L. Huff testified in favor of Judge Benitez's nomination by George H. Bush despite strong opposition by Democrats and a "not qualified" finding by the ABA.

Opening Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy
Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee
Judicial Nominations Hearing
February 25, 2004
The ABA reviews nominees in three areas: competence, integrity and judicial temperament. In Judge Benitez’s case, based on interviews with 23 judges and 44 attorneys, more than 10 members of the ABA committee concluded that, based on his temperament, he is not qualified to serve a lifetime appointment on the federal bench.

Chief Judge Marilyn Huff of the Southern District of California who has come today to speak in favor of Judge Benitez’s confirmation. [Benitez was also in the Southern Dist. Court]


Huff receives poor evaluations by attorneys:

According to nine attorney evaluations, provided by The Robing Room, Marilyn Huff's average evaluation score was 3.5 of 10 as of the date of this blog. Here are comments provided with five of the evaluations:

1. Weak on evidence. Tendency to let everything in rather than make hard (and correct) decisions. Has the intellectual capacity to make the right call, but appears too lazy to do so. Appears to decide early which attorneys/parties she likes and exhibits clear bias. Makes up her mind before all the evidence is in. Makes inappropriate comments to jury regarding their verdicts. She is the worst judge in this district by far. 2.8 of 10

2. Would not let me present closing argument on all of my causes of action. I felt like a slave to the courtroom timing device. Evenhanded Judge but not up to speed on the nuances of Civil RICO. 4.3 of 10

3. This Judge lacks even the most basic understanding of the law. What's worse, she is so afraid to reveal her own ineptitude, that she feigns knowledge and almost always gets it wrong. Should be removed from the bench. 1.2 of 10

4. The absolute worst judge on this otherwise good bench! 1.2 of 10

5. As soon as prosecutors began reporting judges for giving downward departures, she became a government hack. The only objection she understands is :"403, 403!" She is snippy, snippy, snippy. 2.9 of 10

Full set of scores: Of nine evaluations, she received an average score of 3.5 of 10.


CIA and Cocaine:

Judge Huff presided over the famous case of Rick Ross, sentenced to life for cocaine sales, which had a CIA connection. Below is a blurb:

Rick Ross, 36, was arrested again on March 2, 1994 and convicted of attempting to buy 100 kilograms of cocaine from Blandon in a federally run sting operation. During the sentencing hearing, Ross' attorney Alan Fenster charged that Blandon was working for the CIA and that Ross was "a victim of the most outrageous government misconduct known to man." Sentencing had been set for September 13, but U.S. District Judge Marilyn L. Huff delayed sentencing so that she could study the allegations raised by the Mercury News series and receive a report from the CIA. On November 19, Huff denied Fenster's motion that his client's conviction should be set aside and sentenced Ross to life in prison. "The conduct of Ross [and two other accomplices] ... is not excused by any tenuous ties to the CIA," Huff said before the sentencing (Amanda Covarrubias, "Dealer Alleging CIA Drug Link Gets Life Term," Washington Post, November 21, 1996, p. A18; "Crack dealer who alleged CIA involvement gets life term," Chicago Tribune, November 21, 1996, s. 1, p. 10).

Finally, Judge Huff might have used Yahoo Edgar to search for SEC information on the following cases before her:

GEN PROBE INC 11/9/2004

December 25, 2007

December 24, 2007

2008 Republican Presidential Candidates

We hear today that the Concord Monitor, in New Hampshire, printed an "anti-endorsement" of Mitt Romney on Sunday, December 23. The paper writes:
When New Hampshire partisans are asked to defend the state's first-in-the-nation primary, we talk about our ability to see the candidates up close, ask tough questions and see through the baloney. If a candidate is a phony, we assure ourselves and the rest of the world, we'll know it... Mitt Romney is such a candidate. New Hampshire Republicans and independents must vote no.

OUCH! This is consistent with the observations of the observations of Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson who spoke openly about Romney's flip-flopping [2]. Anderson said,

Mitt’s a great friend. We worked together very closely on the Olympics. We got to know each other very well.... And I must say that I am very surprised that somebody like Mitt Romney, who I always felt had such great integrity and was so reasonable, would have caved into his handlers and flip-flopped on so many issues that he used to say he felt so strongly about, things like choice. His coming out against stem cell research was just absolutely incredible to me.

Rocky Anderson also mentions Romney's comment about doubling the size of Guantanamo.

... you can see very clearly what’s happening—it’s so transparent—that a year before the presidential race, all of a sudden he’s got these new positions on these issues.

The Concord Monitor apparently sees through Romney too.

So, do Republicans turn to Mike Huckabee, or as I call him, "Yuckabee"? Romney got a lot of attention for his Mormon faith, including questions about it's cultish side (Jesus & Lucifer are brothers, planet Kolob, polygamy, etc.) But, Huckabee has effectively said his religion will dictate his policies:

Mike Huckabee: Faith doesn’t just influence me; it really defines me. I don’t have to wake up every day wondering what do I need to believe.

Let us never sacrifice our principles for anybody’s politics, not now, not ever.

I believe life begins at conception.

We believe in some things. We stand by those things. We live or die by those things.

I’m Mike Huckabee, and I approve this message.

The word "YIKES!" comes to mind, and I haven't even gotten into Huckabee's equating homosexuality with pedophilia and necrophilia in a 1998 entitled Kids Killing Kids [3]. This in addition to saying he doesn't believe in evolution. Apparently Huckabee was a baptist pastor. When investigative reporter David Corn tried to gain access to Huckabee's sermons, his efforts were blocked. Corn writes more about Yuck Yuck Yuckabee in a Mother Jones article [4].

OKaaayee. Maybe, John McCain will make a comeback from the political dead. Perhaps I'll have to eat my words on pronouncing John McCain's candidacy dead.

Ah! But many are proclaiming Adolf Giuliani as the heir apparent to the throne. But you wanna talk about baggage? All Giuliani has in his favor is a false impression of leadership in the immediate wake of 9/11. But facts are inconvenient things, and there are plenty of facts that have led the people of NYC give Giuliani the thumbs down: Faulty first-responder radios that had been known since the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, his insistence that the emergency command center be located in... the World Trade Center (a known target), his advancement of the inexperienced Bernard Kerik to from driver to police commissioner over seasoned veterans, Guiliani's persistent lobbying for his nomination of Kerik to be Secretary of Homeland Security... Kerik has been exposed as a fraud who, among other things, had an apartment in Manhattan paid for by shady characters and had sexual liaisons in an apartment near ground zero that was intended to be a rest center for people working on the pile. Republicans would be ill advised to nominate Adolf Giuliani.

I'm sure I've missed someone, but the Ron Paul crowd must be salivating at the self-destruction of the other contenders. Oh yea, Fred Thompson is still in the game... I saw his cherry-picked Iraq war propaganda photos, exploiting the troops/pawns, to the tinkling sound of Christmas music on YouTube. Thompson's little YouTube piece, designed to pull on people's heart strings, is a sad commentary on the State of the Union.


1. Associated Press, Paper gives 'anti-endorsement' to Romney, Glen Johnson, December 24, 2007.

2. DemocracyNow! Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson Slams His Friend Mitt Romney for “Flip-Flopping” on Abortion, Stem Cell Research, Torture in Attempt to Win GOP Presidential Nomination, June 25, 2007.

3. DemocracyNow!, Mike Huckabee Equates Environmentalism with Pornography, December 20, 2007.

4. Mother Jones, Huckabee Hides His Full Gospel? David Corn and Jonathan Stein, December 10, 2007.

Photo Credit, Romney Warning, Bob McCarthy, Alignment & Design, Inc. specializing in BIG sound systems (like stadiums, symphony halls).

December 22, 2007

Edwards Leads Poll in Iowa

According to MSN,
In an InsiderAdvantage poll in Iowa, Edwards leads among (977) likely voters 30-26-24 over Clinton and Obama. Edwards is also the clear second choice winner, 42-29-28 over Clinton and Obama.


December 21, 2007

Senator Mikulski on Media Ownership Consolidation

Senator Mikulski's response to my letter opposing FCC rules to allow greater consolidation of media ownership:

Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to media consolidation. It's good to hear from you.

I share your concerns about media consolidation and changes to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules that would allow for greater consolidation of media ownership. I want to make sure that competition, localism and diversity of media ownership is preserved. I also want to make sure that the free exchange of ideas, on which our nation is based, continues unabated.

You can be sure that I will be watching this process very closely. I also want you to know that your views on media consolidation will be very helpful to me should the Senate consider any legislation related to media ownership rules in the future.

Again, thank you for taking the time to write. If I can be of any assistance to you in the future, please feel free to let me know.

Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator

P.S. If I can be of further assistance in the future, please visit my website at or call my Washington D.C. office at 202-224-4654.

December 18, 2007

Join the Nerdfighters

Based on the principle of a worker's revolution, though they might not have thought of it in those terms, ... uh, that's what they're promoting. yea....

Well, assuming Bush's Total Information Awareness Blah, Blah, Blah doesn't subvert John and Hank's efforts, the Nerdfighter movement could, ahem, subvert Bush's plans. Call it a counter revolution, or a finger in Bush's eye.

Nerdfighters Project for Awsome

December 16, 2007

Who is General Petraeus?

AMY GOODMAN: Tell us who David Petraeus is. Arun, you’re the first person to mention General Petraeus on our show years ago.

ARUN GUPTA: Yeah. What we were talking about two-and-a-half years ago was Petraeus’s role in helping to set up the Special Police Commandos. In 2004, 2005, he was given the mission to train all Iraq military and police forces. And, in fact, in July 2004, Newsweek had this cover of him, saying that Petraeus was going to train Iraqis to take over the fight. Now, the reality is, is that was, of course, a failure, because three years later he was back with an escalation of US forces.

Now, one of the key things that Petraeus did was they decided—him and his command decided—that they were going to create this paramilitary force, the Special Police Commandos. They armed them. They funded them. They trained them. And they also issued the usual denials: “Oh, we’re not giving them any weapons. This is an Iraqi initiative.” And so, now he’s saying the same thing with the Sunni militias.

So, anyway, the Special Police Commandos quickly morphed into Shiite death squads that were used against the Sunni insurgency and against Sunnis, in general, throughout Iraq. And this played a key role in terms of stoking and fomenting the civil war, because you had these death squads wearing government uniforms, being armed and trained by the US, going around killing Sunnis randomly. It generally alienated the Sunni Arab population from the government and drove them into the arms of the resistance.

Now what Petraeus is doing is he’s funding and arming these Sunni militias. And there are reports that have stated clearly with these militias saying, like, “Yes, we’re getting weapons from the US government.” And part of it is, is that they do want to fight al-Qaeda in Iraq, which is another Sunni-based group. It’s an Iraqi-based group. But their main purpose is they want this money and weapons and aid to fight the Shiite militias.

So here we have them, like in 2004, setting up these Shiite militias, and now he’s setting up these Sunni militias to fight these Shiite militias. And what it portends is just an absolute disaster for Iraq. And, of course, it will also be used as justification: “Well, we can’t leave because a bloodbath will result.” But we’re not looking at the fact that it’s the US that’s creating this bloodbath.


DemocracyNow, A Look At How Petraeus Helped Arm Warring Sunni and Shia Militias in Iraq, September, 12 2007.

December 14, 2007

Wexler Wants Hearings

It may be too late to convict Dick Cheney in the U.S. Senate, but it's not too late for a small group of U.S. House members to start impeachment proceedings. The historical record needs to reflect formal steps taken to hold Dick Cheney accountable.

Add your vote soon to create momentum. CLICK to go to Wexler Wants Hearings.COM.

Below... a revealing 27-second slip-of-the-tongue by Dick Cheney.

Dick Chenye's "US Countries"

December 12, 2007

Write the FCC and Congress on Media Ownership

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman, Kevin Martin, is on the cusp of ramming new regulations through a Bush-majority commission. The rules woudl allow corporate media to consolidate even more than the 1996 Telecommunications Act. By adding newspapers to the cross-ownership mix, Bush's FCC would allow a single corporation in a particular city gain more dominance by owning the main newspaper, broadcast TV, radio and possibly the cable/internet network. That's too much consolidated power.

The vote could occur very soon.

Write the FCC
, it's easy. You can simply send the canned letter, or write an original letter. Here's what I wrote:
In a democracy, the voice of the majority can choose non-economic values over "market efficiency." That voice is saying we want an FCC rule that reverses the trend of media ownership consolidation among a small number of powerful corporations.

This fundamental policy should not be dictated by whoever happens to be in the White House in disregard to the voice of a majority of the people.

While your at it, Write Congress and tell them to pass the Media Ownership Act of 2007.


Stop Big Media

December 10, 2007

The End of the World

Classic funny Flash media animation:

The End of the World

December 8, 2007

Gates says Iran seeks to cause chaos

So does the U.S. government. The Bush M.O. is management by chaos.

The world is being taken over by a segment of the corporate elite by using the The Shock Doctrine.


Associated Press, Gates says Iran seeks to cause chaos, LOLITA C. BALDOR, December 8, 2007.

December 7, 2007

Trust the Government

Associated Press writer PAMELA HESS reports that at least one of the CIA torture tapes showed the interrogations of Abu Zubaydah, a detainee taken by the CIA in 2002. She continues to report that,
Zubaydah, under harsh questioning, told CIA interrogators about alleged 9/11 accomplice Ramzi Binalshibh.

Then she reports that,

The two men's confessions also led to the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, whom the U.S. government said was the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

We're supposed to believe the U.S. government?


Associated Press, Democrats want probe of tape, Pamela Hess, December 7, 2007 (A day that will live in infamy).

December 5, 2007

Who is Responsible for Subprime Mess?

First, I should say that some entities have broken laws. Their blame is beyond question. However, the entities on which I'm focusing are those that didn't technically break any laws. They still bear responsibility.

The case, in a nutshell, is that corporations are amoral profit-seeking machines, so it is expected that they will push the legal and ethical limits. As a consequence, you can't blame a dog for acting like a dog, and the same goes with Wall Street and loan originating corporations. Yet, if someone is bitten by a dog, the dog still shares in the blame, even if provoked.

Wall Street's blame is greater than the loan originators. By Wall Street I mean hedge funds, major banks, investment firms, bond raters and other enablers that kept moving bad investment bubble expanding. They helped create the bubble market, in part
by financing the local mortgage lenders. Wall Street should have known better. They were making wind fall profits, many knowing that investors in mortgage backed bonds were going to be left holding the bag. Some were stupid, but when you have your hands on major investments that can rock the nation's economy, being dumb isn't an excuse.

The loan originators were just operating day to day responding to the market created by Wall Street. Their reasoning, "The balloon is still expanding, I'll go originate another loan until I can't do so any more." Although many loan originators used unethical practices, so do car sales men.

The buyers share some of the blame, yet they are clearly price takers, many being forced to operate in a failing market. That is, if your job moved, and you had to move and buy a house, you were forced to do so, while Wall Street operators were profiting handsomely at your expense. When buyers wondered how they could afford the loans, the loan brokers reassured them. They were telling buyers, "this is just the way the market works now. It's been like this in California for decades. The rest of the Nation is just catching up. It's true that some buyers were speculating and flipping real estate, and they deserve more blame than typical buyers. Buyers were duped and forced to deal with a failing market.

And who let the market failure occur and perpetuate? The regulators. They are experts and should have known better than to let profit-seeking machines run amok with so much at stake. Even part-time hobbyists like me could see the disaster coming. Unfortunately, they profess knowledge, but were themselves duped by their own belief that the market is self-correcting. They're partly right. But they failed to consider that the self-correction could be like a plane self-correcting into the ground.

Now the bailouts come, and guess who will pay for it? Not the Wall Street insiders who were spending their bonuses last year on upgrading their Manhattan real estate from a $3 million dollar flat to a bigger flat with a better view. Not the regulators, one of whom named Greenspan has just written his memoirs and re-written history. Not the loan originators. The industry pawns have already paid once by being laid off, and are likely to be paying again, with the rest of us, in direct bail outs of "too big to fail" firms, like Citigroup, and paying in the form of not having government programs that widely benefit the common people (expansion and maintenance of national parks and museums, financial aid for college, improved health care, etc.)

That's the gist of it. But for those who are interested, there's more.

Robert Kuttner points out a contradiction about "free markets" in explaining why regulators should not have allowed this unfolding disaster to happen:
There were regulations on the books that the federal reserve refused to enforce because the Fed claims to believe in free markets, except when they go nuts, then the Fed bails them out.

In other words, the markets are free when the inside crowd is vacuuming in profits from the commoners, but when the self-correction comes, the market is no longer free, and the inside-crowd gets bailed out... by the commoners.

Economist Paul Krugman, who specializes in global financial stability and crises, recently wrote a column for the New York Times entitled, "Innovating Our Way to Financial Crisis."

First, Krugman gives us a sense of the magnitude of the crisis:

How bad is it? Well, I’ve never seen financial insiders this spooked — not even during the Asian crisis of 1997-98, when economic dominoes seemed to be falling all around the world.

This time, market players seem truly horrified — because they’ve suddenly realized that they don’t understand the complex financial system they created.

Others, whom I could quote if I was more diligent, have said this crisis is ten times worse than the Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980s. We tax payers are still paying for that bailout.

Krugman explains the regulator's blunder:

... the problem was ideological: policy makers, committed to the view that the market is always right, simply ignored the warning signs. We know, in particular, that Alan Greenspan brushed aside warnings from Edward Gramlich, who was a member of the Federal Reserve Board, about a potential subprime crisis.

Krugman continues, indicating that the regulators have still not learned their lesson:

Just a few weeks ago Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary, admitted to Fortune magazine that financial innovation got ahead of regulation — but added, “I don’t think we’d want it the other way around.” Is that your final answer, Mr. Secretary?

I noted that this essay focuses on legal operatives. A potentially valid criticism of this essay is to assume that the whole damn affair wasn't fraught with illegal activity. Some have surely crossed the legal line, particularly in the mortgage lending sector. One is particularly noteworthy.

On the same day that the White House announced that President Bush is nominating California billionaire Roland E. Arnall to be ambassador to the Netherlands, the company he controls said it would set aside $325 million for a possible settlement of allegations of predatory lending tactics.

Arnall's company, Ameriquest Mortgage Co., is being investigated by regulators in 30 states. A $325 million settlement would be one of the largest ever in a predatory lending case.

You can read more in the July 29, 2007 Washington Post.

Another case was the lender "Countrywide." I had a loan with them once. They might have been the one who, upon buying my loan, or maybe it was selling it to another lender, failed to pass along the home owners insurance information. I received a notice from the insurance company that my premium hadn't been paid, and was no longer covered (had the house burned down at that point, I'd have been one seriously fucked individual). It seemed like a scam, because when I went to buy insurance, I had to pay a lot more than before... everything has changed since 9/11, and I think the commoners are paying for it... again.

Everyone interested in this subject should read Inside the Countrywide Lending Spree.

Barowers are being scapegoated. This essay is an attempt to mitigate that misplaced blame. A lot of the innovated lending products were complicated and misrepresented by brokers who bore no risk because they either never owned the mortgage, or they sold it to be bundled with other loans as a mortgage-backed security (bond). This time around, we need to learn the lesson of the S&L scanals. That is, it was three scandals. The first was the Congressional deregulation scandal. The second was the corporate run amok scandal. The third was the Congressional bail out scandal. Lets bail out the duped home buyers, but not the profit reaping inside crowd this time around.


This essay was inspired by an interview of Robert Kuttner by Robert McChesney,on the December 2, 2007 episode of the radio show Media Matters. Dr. Kuttner is a founder of the American Prospect Magazine and author of the recent book, "The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity" (Knopf, November 2007), which goes further into these issues.

December 4, 2007

US Army Admits to Shooting Iraqi Civilians

The Headline:
U.S. soldiers shoot 4 Iraqi civilians, one killed

The punchy opening hook:

U.S. soldiers mistakenly shot four Iraqi civilians, killing one, during operations against al Qaeda militants, the U.S. military said on Tuesday.

The Story:

U.S. soldiers had detained a suspected al Qaeda fighter in Tarmiya, 30 km (20 miles) north of Baghdad, on Monday when they were approached by a car that did not obey an order to stop.

The readers eyes roll:

As if this is a rare news story. Doh!

The Google Results: approached car stop fired Iraq

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Security guards fire on Iraqi car

Security guards open fire on car, kill two Iraqis Oakland Tribune ...

U.S. soldiers attempted to warn the occupants of a car carrying a freed Italian journalist before troops opened fire, ...

ABC News: Pregnant Iraqi Woman Shot Near Security Checkpoint

Worldandnation: U.S. troops fire on car, killing 2 civilians (Jan. 2005)

A shooting after nightfall --
The car rolled to a stop. It was not the first time soldiers in Iraq have fired on vehicles driven by people who were either uncomprehending of the danger ...

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: AP - Middle East
In western Baghdad, an Iraqi police officer said an American patrol fired at a group of civilian cars as they approached a bridge, killing two people. ...

What Iraq's checkpoints are like |

I could go on, but there are over a million links.


The Head Shakes:



Reuters, U.S. soldiers shoot 4 Iraqi civilians, one killed, December 4, 2007.

December 3, 2007

Remember this News Story

According to a reporter with Reuters, The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report says Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and it remains on hold.
Tehran's decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005.

Will this news story be forgotten by the Corporate media if Bush presses to attack Iran sometime in the future? Not if we hold them accountable.

CLICK to Contact The Media and tell them you'll be watching them in the future if Bush tries to play the mushroom cloud card to justify attacking Iran.


Reuters, Report contradicts Bush on Iran nuclear program, Matt Spetalnick, December 3, 2007.