July 24th, 2008


New layoff filings jump as companies cut back workforces

Ford loses $8.7 billion in second quarter on asset write-downs
Existing home sales fall 2.6 percent

New layoff filings jump as companies retrench

By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer1 hour, 35 minutes ago

The number of newly laid off people filing claims for unemployment benefits bolted past 400,000 last week as companies trimmed their work forces to cope with a slowing economy.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of new applications filed for these benefits rose by a seasonally adjusted 34,000 to 406,000 for the week ending July 19.

That matched the level seen in late March. The last time claims were higher was after the devastation of the Gulf Coast hurricanes in mid-September 2005. Then, they spiked to 425,000.


Crybaby top cop sues for bloggers' indentities

Police director sues for critical bloggers' names

Site popular with citizens, officers

By Amos Maki (Contact), Memphis Commercial Appeal

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin and the city of Memphis have filed a lawsuit to learn who operates a blog harshly critical of Godwin and his department.

The lawsuit asks AOL to produce all information related to the identity of an e-mail address linked to MPD Enforcer 2.0, a blog popular with police officers that has been extremely critical of police leadership at 201 Poplar.

"In what could be a landmark case of privacy and the 1st Amendment," the anonymous bloggers write on the site, "Godwin has illegally used his position and the City of Memphis as a ram to ruin the Constitution of the United States.


Army coverup of soldier's murder

Army calls dead soldier with a broken nose, a black eye, burned hands, loose teeth, acid burns on genitals, and a bullet hole in the head "a suicide"

July 23, 2008


Suicide or Murder? Three Years After the Death of Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Iraq, Her Parents Continue Their Call for a Congressional Investigation

Three years ago, on July 19, 2005, Army Private First Class LaVena Johnson was found dead in Balad, Iraq. Her body was found in a tent belonging to the private military contractor KBR. She had abrasions all over her body, a broken nose, a black eye, burned hands, loose teeth, acid burns on her genitals, and a bullet hole in her head. The Army labeled Johnson’s death a suicide. But her parents never believed that story. They think she was raped and murdered and are now demanding a full congressional investigation into their daughter’s death. [includes rush transcript]


Dr. John Johnson, father of Pfc. LaVena Johnson, who was killed in Iraq on July 19, 2005.

Linda Johnson, mother of Pfc. LaVena Johnson, who was killed in Iraq on July 19, 2005.

Ann Wright, spent twenty-six years in the US Army/Army Reserves and was a diplomat in the State Department for sixteen years before resigning in March 2003, protesting the then-impending invasion of Iraq.

Rush Transcript


Is Obama an Israel appeaser?

UN: Poverty worsening in Gaza

By Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's Senior Political Analyst

In part three of his analysis of the Middle East tour of Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, Al Jazeera's Marwan Bishara debates the rationale behind the senator's visit to Israel/Palestine and what it means for his presidential campaign.

Barack Obama's visits to the Israeli town of Sderot, which was struck by Palestinian rocket attacks, and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial are smart moves. They underline that he stands, beyond any doubt, in solidarity with Israel against "terrorism".

You assume that it is smart to exploit the suffering and death of millions of Jews in the Holocaust for Israeli and/or American political goals.


Police Accused of Cover-Up in Taser Death of African American Man Shocked 9 Times While Handcuffed

July 24, 2008


Police Accused of Cover-Up in Taser Death of African American Man Shocked Nine Times While in Handcuffs

Police in the city of Winnfield, Louisiana are being accused of covering up the death of twenty-one-year-old Baron Pikes. He died in police custody on January 21 after being shot nine times with a taser gun while in handcuffs. The city police chief initially claimed that Pikes was high on crack cocaine and PCP at the time of his death. But the coroner recently ruled Pikes’ death to be a homicide, after an autopsy determined there were no drugs in his system. The coroner also determined that the police shot Pikes twice after he lost consciousness. We speak with Chicago Tribune reporter Howard Witt, who broke the story nationally; Kayshon Collins, Baron Pikes’ stepmother; and Winnfield Police Lieutenant Charles Curry.



Obama in Israel: The message that matters


"A ceasefire with Hamas is holding" [Hunh? That should read "a ceasefire which Hamas is holding, and Israel is not]

The Israeli army kidnaps a Palestinian from a village near Jenin city
The Israeli army kidnaps two Palestinians from Husan village nearby Bethlehem
The Israeli army shoots three Palestinians and kidnaps eleven in Hebron City
What Obama missed in the Middle East


The Guardian

* Thursday July 24, 2008

When a presumptive US presidential candidate arrives in Jerusalem, he willingly dons a jacket designed by Israeli tailors. He is compelled to call the country a miracle, to visit the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem and to link the memory of the 6 million Jews who died in Europe to Israeli victims of Palestinian violence today. It was no accident that at Yad Vashem Barack Obama met the policeman who stopped the rampage of a Palestinian bulldozer driver that injured 16 Israelis on Monday.

Holding his only press conference yesterday in the southern town of Sderot, which has taken the brunt of rocket attacks from Gaza, also sent a signal. The current foreign minister and possible future prime minister Tzipi Livni spelled it out, as both stood in front of mounds of spent rocket casings: this is what happens when Israel withdraws from territories.

This is at best a partial account of the election of Hamas, the fall of the national unity government, the international siege of Gaza, the Palestinian civil war which ousted Fatah and the division of the Palestinian people, which Israel has done its best to deepen, not to heal. A ceasefire with Hamas is holding, which is why Mr Obama was able to have a press conference in Sderot without rushing for the bomb shelter. He barely alluded to this. He made no acknowledgement either of the 362 Palestinians killed in Gaza in the first five months of this year, compared to the six civilians and eight soldiers Israel lost in the same period.


US Military Recruiting Children through "America's Army" Video Game, which Violates Int'l Law

by Michael B. Reagan,

t r u t h o u t | Perspective

In May of 2002, the United States Army invaded E3, the annual video game convention held in Los Angeles. At the city's Convention Center, young game enthusiasts mixed with camouflaged soldiers, Humvees and a small tank parked near the entrance. Thundering helicopter sound effects drew the curious to the Army's interactive display, where a giant video screen flashed the words "Empower yourself. Defend America ... You will be a soldier."(1)

The Army was unveiling its latest recruitment tool, the "America's Army" video game, free to download online or pick up at a recruiting station, and now available for purchase on the Xbox, PlayStation, cell phones and Gameboy game consoles. Since its release, the "game" has gone on to attain enormous popularity with over 30,000 players everyday, more than nine million registered users, and version 3.0 set for launch in September. "America's Army" simulates the Army experience, immersing players in basic training before they can go on to play specialized combat roles. Most of the gameplay takes place in cyberspace where virtual Mideast cities, hospitals and oil rigs serve as backdrops for players to obliterate each other. As a "first person shooter," the game allows players to "see what a soldier sees" in real combat situations - peek around corners, take fine aim, chose weapons that replicate those actually used by the US Army.

For the game's commercial developers, realism is one its strongest selling points. Console version programmers were shipped to military training facilities in Wyoming, where they ran boot camp obstacle courses, fired weapons at the shooting range and got whisked around on helicopters. Back at hip, safe San Francisco Bay Area game companies, Army weapons specialists worked with developers to ensure aim, fire, sound and reload functions for all of the game's weapons were as close to the real thing as possible. The Army also ensured that players learn real weapons skills such as breath control and the reload time for a M4 carbine. And in order to edge closer to the Army's goal of "realism" and "authenticity," several of the game's missions are based on actual combat experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even the training simulators and firing ranges are modeled on the real life versions at Ft. Benning, Ft. Lewis and Ft. Polk. In a 2005 press release, Ubisoft, the multimillion-dollar publisher of the console version of the game, wrote that "America's Army" is the "deepest and most realistic military game ever to hit consoles," hoping that it gave players a "realistic, action-packed, military experience."(2)


Prosecute Israel's Abuse in Ni'lin Village

A worthy petition

Norman Finkelstein

Please consider signing this important petition (forwarded by Willow Heske).

Hello all!

As many of you are aware there was a major human rights abuse in Ni'lin Village, Palestine on July 7, 2008. If you have been following my work with the Advocacy Project this summer, than you already know that Ni'lin has a special place in my heart.

The abuse was documented on video and can be viewed through the following link:


On behalf of the village of Ni'lin I ask you to sign the following petition and distribute it widely across any and all networks you have access to:

We are trying to get as many signatures as possible in 1 week and then will hold a media event to deliver the signatures. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE distribute this petition to all the networks you can. --


F**k You Obama! You Sell-Out Piece of Sh*t!

Posted by willyloman on July 23, 2008

by Scott Creighton

Go fuck yourself Barack! You know the game is rigged and it’s your turn to lose, so you play the game and keep your name in good standing for the next go round. And you are a piece of shit.

You are worse than the republicans, because at least they are standing by the positions of their constituent (however selfish and unAmerican they are). Whereas you are side stepping everything this party USED to stand for. Clinton rang in the end of the Democratic Party, and you and your corrupt staff of neo-liberal Clintonistas are turning out the lights, aren’t you?

All for your own personal agenda. You are a bastard.

And I give you the absolute last straw that I will tolerate. Your pandering cowardly speech today at Sderot was it for me. You allowed them to stage it in that fucking miserable yard where they keep the homemade rockets that are fired from Gaza. That fucking little yard where they bring people to prove how oppressed Israel has been by Gaza.



Obama, the prince of bait-and-switch

John Pilger

Published 24 July 2008

I interviewed a woman who had lost eight members of her family, including six children to a US bomb - but mass murder in Afghanistan isn't news

On 12 July, the Times devoted two pages to Afghanistan. It was mostly a complaint about the heat. The reporter, Magnus Linklater, described in detail his discomfort and how he had needed to be sprayed with iced water. He also described the "high drama" and "meticulously practised routine" of evacuating another overheated journalist. For her US Marine rescuers, wrote Linklater, "saving a life took precedence over [their] security". Alongside this was a report whose final paragraph offered the only mention that "47 civilians, most of them women and children, were killed when a US aircraft bombed a wedding party in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday".

Slaughters on this scale are common, and mostly unknown to the British public. I interviewed a woman who had lost eight members of her family, including six children. A 500lb US Mk82 bomb was dropped on her mud, stone and straw house. There was no "enemy" nearby. I interviewed a headmaster whose house disappeared in a fireball caused by another "precision" bomb. Inside were nine people - his wife, his four sons, his brother and his wife, and his sister and her husband. Neither of these mass murders was news. As Harold Pinter wrote of such crimes: "Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest."



Bulldozer fashion

w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m

Last update - 02:56 24/07/2008

Caterpillar fashion

By Gideon Levy

Israel might be able to go on claiming that it will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East, but it cannot do the same regarding another weapon of mass destruction: the bulldozer. The claim that terror has adopted an original new weapon, a "new fashion" as the public security minister put it, once again shows how convenient it is for us to present a one-sided and distorted picture.

The bulldozer as a destructive and even lethal weapon was not invented by the Palestinians. They are merely imitating an Israeli "fashion" that is as old as the state, or at least as old as the occupation. Let us forget for a moment the 416 villages Israel wiped off the face of the earth in 1948 - that was before there were D9 bulldozers - and focus on a more modern fashion. In Israel's hands the bulldozer has become one of the most terrifying weapons in the territories. The only difference between the Palestinians' murderous bulldozer and the Israeli bulldozer is in color and size. As usual, ours is bigger, much bigger. There is no similarity between the small backhoe the Palestinian terrorist was driving and the fearsome D9 driven by Israel Defense Forces soldiers.

From the dawn of the occupation, Caterpillar has been a major arms supplier to Israel, no less than those who provide planes, cannons and tanks. Not for nothing are peace activists trying to call for a boycott of the manufacturer. Israel has sown almost unimaginable destruction using heavy equipment. Go to Rafah, stopping in Khan Yunis on the way, and see the results of the destruction scattered there to this day. Whole neighborhoods razed, the contents of houses - possessions and memories - crushed under the treads. Have you ever seen a street after being "stripped" by a bulldozer? Cars are crushed like tin cans and homes become piles of rubble, along with their contents. Any street in Rafah looks much worse than King David Street in Jerusalem this week.


Obama, Israel and Palestine

Jewish settlers smash village

Israeli gov't announces establishment of new settlement in the Jordan valley
IOF troops kidnap 80 Palestinians in one week
Report: Israel committed more than 51 violations since the truce started
UNRWA: Israeli siege inflicts real catastrophe on Gaza
Hamas: IOF targeting of farmers, fishermen provocative
Aqsa Foundation warns of preparations to build the Jewish temple

[ 23/07/2008 - 11:43 PM ]un,

By Khalid Amayreh in occupied East Jerusalem

Barack Obama has finally made his long-awaited pilgrimage to Israel, a rite of passage that no aspiring American politician, let alone a presidential candidate, can afford to miss or ignore.

There (or rather here), Obama uttered all the politically-correct words that Israeli leaders and especially Israel-firsters back home would want to hear.

He called the creation of Israel in Palestine in 1948 a “miracle,” utterly ignoring the near obliteration of Palestine and expulsion to the four corners of the world of the vast bulk of its indigenous Christian and Muslim inhabitants.


Top-ranking Israeli Military Sadists

By Gilad Atzmon

Jul 23rd, 2008 at 14:36 • Category: Analysis, Gilad Atzmon, Gilad's Choice, Israel, Newswire, Opinions and Letters, Our Authors, Palestine, Religion, Zionism

We learn from the Israeli press that a criminal investigation has been launched against the soldier caught on tape firing towards a bound Palestinian. However, there is a detail the Israeli press in English is reluctant to share with us. The shooting soldier was not just an ordinary low-ranking infantry recruit, he was a First Sergeant. But it goes much further, the soldier who is caught on video holding the bound Palestinian detainee is no less than a regiment commander, an IDF Lieutenant Colonel.

In case someone fails to understand, it is a high-ranking Israeli officer who is caught on video holding a handcuffed man as a still target for the merciless vengeance of another IDF soldier. An unavoidable question pops to air. What are these people made of? Do they share any recognised qualities with the rest of humanity? Clearly, cruelty is deeply rooted in Israeli society. It may take two to tango, but apparently it doesn’t take more than two Israeli soldiers to prove to us all what Israel and the Jewish national revival is all about.

Seemingly, barbarism is deeply engraved within Israeli society and the Hebraic culture. It shouldn’t take us by surprise. It was that very barbarism that led to the uprooting of the Palestinian population in 1948. It is a barbarism that is fuelled by a complete dismissal of Otherness that has been maintaining Israel and Zionism since then.


'The Mother of All Bailouts': Ron Paul

Added: July 23, 2008

Ron Paul on the Housing Bill 7/23/08

"The Mother of All Bailouts"

Ron Paul talks about the bailout out of the housing industry and how it really just destroys the dollar and adds enormously to the debt.

Also, slipped into the bill, was the stipulation that ALL credit card transactions must now be reported to the IRS.

(buried after 1200 diggs!)
digg 2


Prosecutor In Gitmo 9/11 Case: 'If they hadn't shot down the fourth plane it would've hit the dome'

Bin Laden driver knew 9/11 target: prosecutor

By Jim Loney Tue Jul 22, 8:41 PM ET

Osama bin Laden's driver knew the target of the fourth hijacked jetliner in the September 11 attacks, a prosecutor said on Tuesday in an attempt to draw a link between Salim Hamdan and the al Qaeda leadership in the first Guantanamo war crimes trial.


But prosecutor Timothy Stone told the six-member jury of U.S. military officers who will decide Hamdan's guilt or innocence that Hamdan had inside knowledge of the 2001 attacks on the United States because he overheard a conversation between bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

"If they hadn't shot down the fourth plane it would've hit the dome," Stone, a Navy officer, said in his opening remarks.





Zbigniew Brzezinski to be the real power behind an Obama throne

By Eric Walberg

Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jul 24, 2008, 00:27

As the United States election race enters the final stretch, Barack Obama as the candidate promising change is revealing his true colours, much to the despair of anyone actually expecting any change.

His recent call to declare Jerusalem the undivided capital of Israel, his denial of Palestinans’ right of return, and his support for a Bantustan Palestinian “state” which poses no threat to Israel show how completely he has caved in to the Zionist establishment on that issue.

As President George W Bush calls for early reductions in combat troops in Iraq, Obama’s position on Iraq -- a vow to bring troops home within 16 months, excepting a “residual force” -- looks less and less like a defining moment in his foreign policy. Whatever happens to troop levels, there is no explicit talk of overriding the plans for 14 permanent bases.

Obama is toeing the line in Afghanistan, too. As NATO casualties continue to mount, surpassing monthly Iraqi casualities as of June this year, he is proposing -- now seconded by McCain -- that the United States shift up to 15,000 more troops there from Iraq. Just prior to his trip to Afghanistan, he wrote in a New York Times Op Ed, “We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there.” Please, will someone show me the silver lining in an Obama victory in November?



Housing bailout bill is another $800b gift from the taxpayer to Wall Street

July 24, 2008

This bill will probably pass in Senate tomorrow. You, your children and generations to come will pay for this. All taxes will be spent servicing this debt.

Cost of 5 years of Iraq war: $560 billion
Cost of this bill: $800 billion

It will be spent bailing out the same fraudsters who got us into this mess. Call your senator now and demand they vote against this! If you don't, it will probably pass. If you care for your country and your children's future, vote this video up.


A 4.8% Drop in Home Prices For May, 2008

Home Prices Fell 4.8% in May as Banks Cut Lending (Update2)

By Kathleen M. Howley

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. home prices fell at the fastest pace of the year in May, compared with the same month in 2007, suggesting no end to the three-year housing slump.

Prices dropped 4.8 percent, faster than the 4.6 percent year- over-year decline in April, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight said in a report today. The one-month decline, from April, was 0.3 percent, Washington-based Ofheo said.

Eight out of nine regions showed declines as the worst housing slump in more than a quarter of a century deepened with banks cutting lending following $400 billion in mortgage-related losses and writedowns. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson last week asked Congress to approve legislation allowing the government to extend credit to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and buy their stocks if needed to stem further declines in housing.



Red Alert! 4th largest US bank giving out counterfeit bills

Bank Gave Counterfeit Bills, Couple Says

Different Customer Given Refund After Fake Money Claim, Report Says

POSTED: 11:33 pm EDT July 22, 2008
UPDATED: 11:27 pm EDT July 23, 2008

However, the Bank of America teller noticed something funny about 10 of the 36 $100 bills Garcia said he received from Wachovia Bank -- they were counterfeit, Local 6's Tony Pipitone reported.

However, the bank has not given Garcia or his fiancé, Joann Rodriguez, any money.

"We have big plans," Rodriguez said. "We were planning to get married in about two or three months."


The Mother of All Messes

July 23, 2008

Paul Craig Roberts

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Republicans are sending around the Internet a photo of a cute little boy whose T-shirt reads: “The mess in my pants is nothing compared to the mess Democrats will make of this country if they win Nov. 2nd.”

One can only wonder at the insouciance of this message. Are Republicans unaware of the amazing mess the [2] Bush regime has made?

It is impossible to imagine a bigger mess. Republicans have us at war in two countries as a result of Republican lies and deceptions, and we might be in two more wars—[3] Iran and Pakistan—by November. We have alienated the entire Muslim world and most of the rest.


US Foreign Service Workers Instructed Not To Attend Obama Speech

Berlin Rally Is Off-Limits for Embassy Workers

By Karen DeYoung

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 24, 2008; A06

The U.S. Embassy in Berlin has instructed Foreign Service personnel stationed there not to attend Sen. Barack Obama's public rally today, which the State Department this week labeled a "partisan political activity" prohibited under its regulations for those serving overseas.

Government employees serving in the United States are permitted to attend such events under the Hatch Act, which bars other partisan activity, such as contributing money or working in behalf of a candidate.

But "we always maintain that no U.S. government Foreign Service person overseas should be seen to be advocating one side or the other," State Department Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy said, adding that "it has nothing to do with who" the candidate is.


The 25 Most Vicious Iraq War Profiteers

by Ryan on July 22, 2008

The Iraq war is many things to different people. It is called a strategic blunder and a monstrous injustice and sometimes even a patriotic mission, much to the chagrin of rational human beings. For many big companies, however, the war is something far different: a lucrative cash-cow. The years-long, ongoing military effort has resurrected fears of the so-called “military-industrial complex.” Media pundits are outraged at private companies scooping up huge, no-questions-asked contracts to manufacture weapons, rebuild infrastructure, or anything else the government deems necessary to win (or plant its flag in Iraq). No matter what your stance on the war, it pays to know where your tax dollars are being spent.

Following is a detailed rundown of the 25 companies squeezing the most profit from this controversial conflict.

1. Halliburton


The first name that comes to everyone’s mind here is Halliburton. According to MSN Money, Halliburton’s KBR, Inc. division bilked government agencies to the tune of $17.2 billion in Iraq war-related revenue from 2003-2006 alone. This is estimated to comprise a whopping one-fifth of KBR’s total revenue for the 2006 fiscal year. The massive payoff is said to have financed the construction and maintenance of military bases, oil field repairs, and various infrastructure rebuilding projects across the war-torn nation. This is just the latest in a long string of military/KBR wartime partnerships, thanks in no small part to Dick Cheney’s former role with the parent company.

2. Veritas Capital Fund/DynCorp


At first blush, a private equity fund (and not, say, Exxon-Mobil) being the number 2 profiteer in the Iraq war might sound strange. However, the cleverly run fund has raked in $1.44 billion through its DynCorp subsidiary. The primary service DynCorp has provided to the war efforts is the training of new Iraqi police forces. Often described as a ‘state within a state‘, the sizable company is headed by Dwight M. Williams, former Chief Security Officer of the upstart U.S. Department of Homeland Security. With this and other close ties to defense agencies, Veritas Capital Fund and DynCorp are well-positioned to capitalize on Iraq even more.



U.S. Congressman Warns Major Economic Disaster Imminent

« Texas Rep. Ron Paul continues to warn of the failing U.S. economy.
(Getty Images)

July 24, 2008 | From theTrumpet.com

“Time is short for making a course correction before this grand experiment in liberty goes into deep hibernation,” the U.S. Congress was told earlier this month. On July 9, Texas Rep. Ron Paul warned the House Financial Services Committee that “big events” were about to occur.

“… I have days, growing more frequent all the time, when I’m convinced the time is now upon us that some big events are about to occur,” he said. “These fast-approaching events … will affect all of us. They will not be limited to just some areas of our country. The world economy and political system will share in the chaos about to be unleashed” (emphasis ours throughout). Paul continued:

There are reasons to believe this coming crisis is different and bigger than the world has ever experienced. …

The financial crisis, still in its early stages, is apparent to everyone: gasoline prices over $4 a gallon; skyrocketing education and medical care costs; the collapse of the housing bubble; the bursting of the nasdaq bubble; stock markets plunging; unemployment rising; massive underemployment; excessive government debt; and unmanageable personal debt. Little doubt exists as to whether we’ll get stagflation. The question that will soon be asked is: When will the stagflation become an inflationary depression?



Failure of Central Banking leads to Debt Capitalism Self Destruction

Things can only get worse
United States Unfolding Financial and Economic Nightmare
In FX casino, don't bet against the central banks

By Henry C.K. Liu


This article appeared in AToL on July 21, 2008 as Debt Capitalism Self Dectructs

In a period of less than a year, what had been described by US authorities as a temporary financial problem related to the bursting the housing bubble has turned into a full fledge crisis in the very core of free market capitalism. A handful of analysts have been warning for years that the wholesale deregulation of financial markets and the wrong-headed privatization of the public sector during the last two decades will threaten the viability of free market capitalism. Yet ideological neoliberal fixation remain firmly imbedded in US ruling circles, fertilized by irresistible campaign contributions from profiteers on Wall Street, methodically purging regulatory agencies of all who tried to maintain a sense of financial reality. This ideology of “market knows best” has allowed the nation to slip into an unsustainable joyride on massive debt giddily assumed by all market participants, ranging from supposedly conservative banks, investment banks and other non-bank financial institutions, industrial corporations, government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and individuals. The once dynamic US economy has turned itself into a system in which it is difficult to find any institution, company or individual not over its head with speculative debt. Undercapitalized capitalism, also known as debt capitalism, has been the engine of growth for the US debt bubble in the last two decades. This debt capitalism cancer is caused by a failure of central banking.

In the face of a broad systemic collapse of debt capitalism where capital has become dangerously inadequate and new capital hazardously and prohibitively scarce, having been crowded out by massive debt collateralized by overblown assets of declining value, with a credit crisis that clearly requires systemic restructuring and comprehensive intensive care, those in the US responsible for the financial well-being of the nation seem to have been reacting tactically from crisis to crisis with a script of adamant denial of obvious facts, symptoms and trends, with no signs of any coherent grand strategy or plan to save the cancerous system from structural self-destruction. This band-aid short-term approach to artificially pop up share prices in the collapsing equity market and to keep insolvent financial institutions with technical life-support will lead only to long-term disaster for the whole economy.

Yet this approach is preferred by those in authority trapped in self deception about unregulated market capitalism being still fundamentally sound. They try to calm markets by asserting that the current turmoil is merely a minor liquidity bottleneck that can be handled by the central bank releasing more liquidity against the full face value of collateral of declining worth. The message is that somehow if easy money in the form of debt is made endlessly available, the economy would recover from this credit crunch, notwithstanding that excessive debt has been the cause of the problem. Or bad loans can be made good by Congress give the Treasury authority to buy up bad loans with unlimited amounts of taxpayer money.


A Turkish theater for World War III

Turkey has been sold to the Saudis at a bargain price for Riyadh's assistance to the George W Bush administration in pushing down the price of oil ahead of the United States presidential elections this year. The path chosen is the same as that used to turn Pakistan into a breeding ground for terrorists, with an accelerated timetable in keeping with a preset script. Around the corner, a civilizational war beckons.

Jul 25, 2008

By Chan Akya

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf is on record stating his ambitions to make his country a modern and secular state modeled on the Turkish republic under Kemal Ataturk. Ironically, even as that goal appears mind bogglingly unachievable for Pakistan, recent events will conspire to push Turkey in the direction of Pakistan; into becoming a breeding ground for a new class of Islamic militants. The transition of Turkey into a new front for Saudi interests will follow typical ideological, strategic and political trends.

The age-old rivalry of the House of Saud with Turkey, which saw the overthrown of the Ottoman Empire from the lands of what is now Saudi territory, helps create enough energy and urgency for the latest Saudi enterprise. It is no mere coincidence that the Saudis need a functioning Sunni army to counter the likely expansionism of Iran, a matter that they simply cannot risk leaving to the putative next president of the United States, Democratic Senator Barrack Obama.

The House of Saud, in its bargain with the Wahhabi establishment, needs to use its fabulous oil wealth to further Islamic - and more pointedly Wahhabi - causes. That is why it bankrolled Pakistan's military and intelligence services in fighting their war in Afghanistan against the Russians, and it is precisely why it needs to create a large fighting force to contain Iran.


See Newly Revealed Bush Admin Memos Authorizing CIA Torture

ACLU Obtains Key Memos Authorizing CIA Torture Methods (7/24/2008)

Memo Instructed CIA To Document Both Torture Techniques And Agents Participating In Interrogations

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union today obtained three redacted documents related to the Bush administration's brutal interrogation policies, including a previously withheld Justice Department memo authorizing the CIA's use of torture. The government was ordered to turn over the documents in response to an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought in 2004 by the ACLU and other organizations seeking records on the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas.

"These documents supply further evidence, if any were needed, that the Justice Department authorized the CIA to torture prisoners in its custody," said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project. "The Justice Department twisted the law, and in some cases ignored it altogether, in order to permit interrogators to use barbaric methods that the U.S. once prosecuted as war crimes."


The documents released today are available online at: www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/36104res20080724.html


Republicans Off-Camera Say Siegelman Case Was Fixed

Added: July 23, 2008

In a new installment of Bush League Justice today, guest Julian Epstein, former counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, stated that Republicans will admit, off-camera, that the case against former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman was fixed.

The segment concentrated on Karl Rove finally giving written answers to questions, NOT under oath, about the Siegelman case. The questions, which were posed by Lamar Smith (R-TX), and answers can be read at Talking Points Memo.

While the general consensus is that the softball questions were a "pathetic attempt to save Karl Rove", the effort appears to have failed. In the video above, Epstein states that Rove actually appears to "incriminate" himself by refusing to answer a specific question about whether he contacted non-state officials.

Marcy Wheeler agrees with Epstein over at emptywheel:

"In a classic non-denial denial, Karl Rove makes it clear that he did talk to people about Siegelman's prosecution--even while he denies that he spoke to anyone in DOJ about it."

And Larisa Alexandrovna thinks "This is getting to be rather fun" before proceeding to rip apart Rove's answer with the facts. She also poses six real questions she'd like to see asked of Rove.

Links available at http://www.hotpotatomash.com/2008/07/...

Interactive guide to Bush administration lawbreaking

jurisprudence: The law, lawyers, and the court.

Crimes and Misdemeanors

Slate's interactive guide: Who in the Bush administration broke the law, and who could be prosecuted?

By Emily Bazelon, Kara Hadge, Dahlia Lithwick, and Chris Wilson

Posted Thursday, July 24, 2008, at 6:55 AM ET

The recent release of Jane Mayer's book The Dark Side revealed that a secret report by the International Committee of the Red Cross determined "categorically" that the CIA used torture, as defined by American and international law, in questioning al-Qaida suspect Abu Zubaydah. The question of criminal liability for Bush-administration officials has since been in the news. It's also getting play because retired Gen. Antonio Taguba, lead Army investigator of the prison abuses at Abu Ghraib, wrote in a recent report, "There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes." (Update: And today, the ACLU released three new memos from the Department of Justice and the CIA, which for the first time show DoJ explicitly authorizing "enhanced" interrogation tactics for use on specific detainees. One of the memos states, in this context, that "interrogation techniques, including the waterboard, do not violate the Torture Statute.")

One response to the amassing evidence is Nuremberg-style war-crime prosecutions. The opposite pole is blanket immunity for all lawbreakers in advance. Somewhere in the middle lies a truth-and-reconciliation commission that would try to ferret out the truth.

To enter into the debate, you might ask which Bush administration officials did what and which could actually be prosecuted. Slate has answers.


Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations

Kucinich's "impeachment" hearing

Impeach Bush and Cheney

House Judiciary on Exec. Power

Live Coverage: Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations
KPFA & Pacifica present the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Imperial Presidency and possible legal responses. (photo: Robert Whitlock)

Friday, July 25, 2008; from 9:00AM - 1:00PM EDT (6:00AM - 10:00AM PDT)

Live audio link will be here


Maybe there's something you should know...

Tell Congress: Reject Endless War and a Torture Cover-Up

President Bush and Attorney General Mukasey have a plan to make the entire globe — including the United States itself — a “battlefield” where the president decides who will be locked up forever.

The legislation Mukasey is pushing would also subvert the Constitution, authorize indefinite detention, and permanently conceal the Bush administration's systemic torture and abuse of detainees.

We can’t take for granted that Congress will reject the Bush/Mukasey plan. We must meet this outrageous proposal with an immediate wall of protest that says to Congress: “Don’t you dare.”



Key Benazir Bhutto assassination witness shot dead

The bodyguard of Benazir Bhutto, who was to be a key witness in an investigation into her assassination, has been shot dead.

Last Updated: 3:19PM BST 23 Jul 2008

Khalid Shahenshah, who was the former Pakistan prime minister's security chief at the time of her assassination, was killed in a drive-by shooting as he left his house in the southern port city of Karachi on Tuesday, police said.

Mr Shahenshah, 45, was riding in Mrs Bhutto's bullet-proof car when she was killed in a suicide attack in the northern city of Rawalpindi on December 27.

He was expected to be called to give evidence at a United Nations probe into her death.

"He was a key witness in the case and was also interviewed by the Scotland Yard experts who came to Pakistan to investigate her killing," said Waqar Mehdi, the junior information minister of Sindh province.


Poll: Nearly Half of Americans Think Political System Is 'Broken and Cannot Be Fixed'

July 23, 2008

@ 6:55 pm by Andy Barr

Nearly half of Americans believe the political system of the United States is broken beyond repair, so much so that just shy of one-in-five would support their state if it chose to secede, a new Zogby poll finds.

44 percent of respondents agreed with the notion that the American political system is "broken and cannot be fixed by traditional two-party politics and elections." An addition 18 percent said they would support secessionist efforts in their home states and 22 percent of respondents believe in the right of any state to secede from the United States.

Zogby conducted the poll on behalf of the Middlebury Institute, which advertises itself as a think tank "for the study of separatism, secession, and self-determination" based in Cold Spring, New York.

Middlebury Institute Director Kirkpatrick Sale told The Hill that the results of the poll should not come as a surprise.



What part of the law do the cops not understand?

To serve, protect and follow the law


Wednesday, July 23

What part of the Fourth Amendment do the Vermont State Police not understand?

We ask this question after reading an Associated Press story that appeared in Monday's Reformer about a librarian in Randolph who seems to know a little bit more about the law than the state police.

On June 26, five Vermont State Police detectives showed up at the Kimball Public Library. Acting on a tip that 12-year-old Brooke Bennett sometimes used library's public access computers, the detectives wanted to seize them.


McKinney blazes presidential trail with incendiary speech

McKinney blazes N.C. trail with incendiary speech

23 JUL 2008 • by Matt Saldaña

Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney has moved from blue to green, and similarly, she demonstrated her move to the left side of the political spectrum in a speech she gave in Durham: "It's time to move from protest to resistance."

McKinney, a former six-term Democratic congresswoman turned newly minted Green Party candidate for president, spoke at two events Tuesday, laying out her policy stances on more than a half-dozen issues.

Before a receptive audience of 25 at The Know Bookstore & Restaurant on Fayetteville Street, McKinney, who represented Georgia's 4th District but who now lives in California, spoke for nearly two hours about ballot access, voter fraud, a George W. Bush impeachment, wartime spending, college debt, corporate lobbyists, Hurricane Katrina, and the racial gap in home ownership.


FDIC Chairman Shelia Bair Is Out Of Control

FDIC Chairman Shelia Bair Is Out Of Control

In a sad twist of irony Shelia Bair is accusing blogs of being "out of control".


"The FDIC also plans to begin airing public service announcements as part of a public education campaign on the nation's deposit insurance program."


There will be no mention of points 24 and 25 of You Know The Banking System Is Unsound When..... Here are those points:
24. There is roughly $6.84 Trillion in bank deposits. $2.60 Trillion of that is uninsured. There is only $53 billion in FDIC insurance to cover $6.84 Trillion in bank deposits. Indymac will eat up roughly $8 billion of that.

25. Of the $6.84 Trillion in bank deposits, the total cash on hand at banks is a mere $273.7 Billion. Where is the rest of the loot? The answer is in off balance sheet SIVs, imploding commercial real estate deals, Alt-A liar loans, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds, toggle bonds where debt is amazingly paid back with more debt, and all sorts of other silly (and arguably fraudulent) financial wizardry schemes that have bank and brokerage firms leveraged at 30-1 or more. Those loans cannot be paid back.


Ed. Note: Recall America's 2nd largest bank, IndyMac, just went under. It wasn't on the FDIC problem list.

Fmr CIA Torture Chief Appointed Co-Chair Of House Ethics Board

Goss among former members appointed to ethics office

By Susan Crabtree

Posted: 07/24/08 02:26 PM [ET]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday announced joint appointments to a landmark ethics review board that for the first time will allow private citizens to review allegations against members.

Still, four out of six members of the board for the newly created Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) will be former members of Congress, including former CIA Director Porter Goss (R-Fla.), who will serve as co-chairman.

The other board members include Rep. David Skaggs (D-Colo.), who will serve as chairman of the board, former Rep. Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (D-Calif.), former Rep. Karan English (D-Ariz.), former House Chief Administrative Officer Jay Eagen and Allison Hayward, the former chief of staff to Bradley Smith, a Republican-appointed former chairman of the Federal Election Commission.


The Pentagon and Oil

Thursday, July 24, 2008

by Sarah Meyer

Index Research

Nick Turse wrote, on Tom Dispatch (17.07.08): “For years, "oil" and "Iraq" couldn't make it into the same sentence in mainstream coverage of the invasion and occupation of that country. Recently, that's begun to change, but "oil" and "the Pentagon" still seldom make the news together."

SOHBET KARBUZ has been following “Oil” and “the Pentagon” since 1999. Karbuz’ most complete article, US Military Energy Consumption- Facts and Figures, with extensive footnotes, was published in May 2007 on Energy Bulletin.

From this article, we learn that:

* The U.S. military is the single largest consumer of energy in the world. The American GI is the most energy-consuming soldier ever seen on the field of war. In 2005, The U.S. Navy was the largest diesel fuel user in the world.


Life In the Post Political Age

by Joe Bageant / July 23rd, 2008

Every now and then I am fortunate enough to communicate with someone who has near complete insight into our political process, why things happen and where it seems likely to be headed. Recently I received this brilliant analysis from a high powered political consultant whose name is withheld for obvious reasons. He/she has to live and work in the political world and for either party. In any case, I found it breathtaking in its fundamental analysis and its clarity — clarity being no easy thing to accomplish is the swamp of media-consumerism-politics.
– Joe Bageant

Much has been written by political pundits in their attempt to explain the unexpected victory of Senator Barack Obama over Senator Hillary Clinton in this year’s Democratic Presidential Primary.

Barack Obama is in short order a far more reassuring prospect for the continued dominance of the financial elite than another four years of neo-conservative rule which in an almost historically unique combination of greed, ill will, incompetence and stupidity have brought the country to the edge of disaster.

Audacity yes, change hardly.



The Democrats are a party of blood just like the Republicans, they’re just more discreet about it

Reality Check: The Democrats are the Real Problem

by Mike Whitney / July 23rd, 2008

Obama’s candidacy is over; kaput. He’s already stated that he has no intention of stopping the war, so he has disqualified himself. That’s his prerogative; no one put a gun to his head. His op-ed in Monday’s New York Times just removes any lingering doubt about the matter. What Obama proposes is moving the central theater of operation from Iraq to Afghanistan. Big deal. Why is it more acceptable to kill a man who is fighting for his country in Afghanistan than in Iraq?

It’s not; which is why Obama must be defeated and the equivocating Democratic Party must be jettisoned altogether. The Democrats are a party of blood just like the Republicans, they’re just more discreet about it. That’s why people who are serious about ending the war have to support candidates outside the two-party charade. The Democrat/Republican duopoly will not deliver the goods; it’s as simple as that. The point is to stop the killing, not to provide blind support for smooth-talking politicos who try to mask their real intentions. Obama made his choice, now he can suffer the consequences.

Nancy Pelosi is a perfect example of what the Democrats are all about. Just look at the way she brushed aside the people who got her elected. They mean nothing to her. In a matter of months, the “San Francisco liberal” has achieved what former-Speaker of the House Hastert could only dream of; she’s driven the Congress’ public approval ratings into single digits for the first time in history making her the worst speaker of all time. She rubber-stamped the FISA bill, concealed what she knew about the CIA’s global torture programs, and vowed to stop any public effort to hold the administration accountable for its war crimes. (No impeachment) She has betrayed her most ardent supporters and single-handedly transformed an already-emasculated congress into a purely ceremonial body incapable of doing the people’s work.


McCain and Obama’s Foreign Policy Choices: Different Bottles, Same Wine

Madhavi Bhasin writes in an IC Guest Editorial:

The race to elect the successor to President George W. Bush is attracting more attention from across the globe than any previous Presidential contest in the United States. The next occupant of the White House is expected to manage the consequences of the infamous Bush Doctrine of Pre-emption. Hence the foreign policy choices of the Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates are being widely scrutinized. Detailed analysis reveals that the foreign policy principles of John McCain and Barak Obama cut across party lines to represent the American dream to be a world leader. Political realism rather than party ideology appears to be guiding the foreign policy campaigns of the two presidential candidates.


In his speeches Obama has discreetly support the idea of a Concert of Democracies by calling for need to strengthen institutions and invigorate alliances and partnerships for meeting the global threats. He seeks to build an America that fights immediate evil, promotes an ultimate good and leads the world. Does this sound any different from the promises made by President Bush and reasserted by Senator McCain?

The global implications of this analysis are obvious: No matter who becomes the next President, the U.S. will continue its policies of political, economic and strategic intervention in countries that appear threatening, while courting greater support from its allies. With either a Democratic or Republican President at the helm of affairs, the U.S. may be expected to continue a policy of ‘aggressive internationalism’.


Why Are Neocons Attacking Turkey?

FPIF Commentary

Avni Dogru | July 24, 2008

Editor: John Feffer

Foreign Policy In Focus

Some neoconservatives in Washington are obsessed with attacking Iran before President Bush leaves office at the end of this year. Hence, they have been pushing the Bush administration for increased economic and political isolation of Iran in order to weaken its current regime. Crucial to this plan is the support of Turkey, a traditional U.S. ally and an increasingly critical player in the region.

But to the enormous frustration of the neoconservatives, such an attack does not align with Turkey's interests given its newly enhanced regional ties, maturing democracy, and new foreign policy. Instead, Turkey plays the negotiator role and favors diplomacy and direct talks to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.

With neoconservatives pressing for an attack on Iran and Turkey maneuvering to play a mediating role, which way will U.S. policy swing?
Turkey’s Transformation

Much has changed in Turkey’s approach to foreign policy in recent years. When the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, it quickly broke the old patterns of Turkish foreign policy. Turkey’s role evolved from an introverted peripheral country to a significant country with a regional and global influence.



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