As many of you already know, the unemployment rate jumped to 5.5%. That’s an increase of 861,000 Americans who are now unemployed. Before I took the job with the Merkley Campaign as their netroots director, I was working full time at a job with no benefits. I understand that for small business owners like my former employer, it’s quite expensive to provide health care coverage. I lived below the poverty line and even though I could pay my bills, saving money was not an option. The plight of the working poor has always been near and dear to my heart and it’s no wonder I have been advocating for Jeff Merkley long before I joined the campaign.
June 6, 2008 archive
Jun 06 2008
Jun 06 2008
U.S. Economy Continues Plunge Into the Abyss
The bottomless pit?
First up, the Los Angeles Times reports Monthly growth in unemployment rate is biggest in over 20 years. “The nation’s unemployment rate took a sharp turn for the worse in May, jumping to 5.5% from 5% a month earlier — the largest one-month increase in more than two decades and a further sign that the ailing economy is not yet on the mend.”
“Altogether, the economy lost 49,000 jobs in May and 324,000 jobs since the beginning of the year — five straight months of contraction, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The economy must create about 100,000 jobs a month just to keep pace with population growth.”
The Washington Post adds that Despite interest rate cuts, foreclosures hit a record high. More than 1 million homeowners face foreclosure. Nearly 9 percent of mortgages nationally are in trouble with the bulk of the foreclosures in California and Florida.
What began as a mortgage crisis focused largely on subprime borrowers has spread and is being fed by the slowing economy it helped create. Borrowers once considered the most creditworthy have been hamstrung by declining home prices, making it difficult to refinance their home to dodge a financial crunch.
Americans have been living on home-equity and credit and now, with rising food and gas prices combined with declining property values, many people are heading towards financial ruin.
[UPDATED 4:30 EDT] Things won’t be getting any better for small retirement investors trapped in their IRAs and 401ks on Wall Street. The New York Times reports the Dow plunges more than 400 points, while oil rockets nearly $11. “Wall Street suffered its worst losses in more than two months… At the close, the Dow was off 3.13 percent, at 394.64…”
“Shares opened lower after the government reported that the unemployment rate in May had its highest monthly increase in 22 years. But the decline accelerated as investors confronted a $10.75 jump in the price of crude oil, the biggest one-day climb ever… A report by Morgan Stanley on Friday said that oil prices could reach $150 a barrel by July 4… The dollar declined against other currencies, a move that makes each barrel of oil more expensive. Gold prices rose.”
John McCain continues to embrace George W. Bush’s, um, policies. From The New York Times, Adviser says McCain backs Bush wiretaps. Those would be the illegal, warrantless wiretaps that Bush is demanding telco immunity for.
A top adviser to Senator John McCain says Mr. McCain believes that… Bush’s program of wiretapping without warrants was lawful, a position that appears to bring him into closer alignment with the sweeping theories of executive authority pushed by the Bush administration legal team.
Despite a 1978 federal statute that requires court oversight of surveillance, McCain promises to continue with Bush’s lawlessness. Of course, McCain has altered his “straight talk” on what his position. Once upon a time (last year), McCain said “I don’t think the president has the right to disobey any law”. The more McCain agrees to take on Bush’s positions, the more apparent it becomes that McCain is running for Bush’s third term.
Four at Four continues with Israel threating Iran and the U.S. blackmailing Iraq.
Jun 06 2008
Each and every day we read or hear something new from our favorite News sources about how the economy isn’t doing so great. In fact we are either in a recession or about to go into a recession or something.
I’m here to tell you, people
WE ARE IN A RECESSION AND HAVE BEEN FOR HALF A YEAR NOW!
I hope that was loud enough to hear in the room next to your computer, because it cannot be said loudly enough until EVERYONE gets with the program and really understands what 7 plus years of “Neo-Con-tax-middle-class-into-oblivion-while-sending-jobs-overseas-so-corporations-can-profit” economic genius has produced.
The trickle down theory is working! Only the liquid trickling down your leg is from a Neo-Con 1%’er pissing on you once again. Well, at least it is working for the 1% of the richest Americans, anyway.
Check this out.
Jun 06 2008
The official report is out. Bush and Cheney officially lied to the world, the UN and the American People to invade a sovereign country with no reason or provocation. The ultimate War Crime…
…made even more despicable (if that is even possible) by the willful deception.
To establish an outpost of American Empire in the Middle East. To control and dominate the region by dint of armed might. To kill and subjugate masses of innocent people, thus terrorizing ‘the terrorists’ into submission. And of course being Republicans, to profit personally and politically.
Two oilmen, plucking the low hanging fruit of energy hegemony by brute force and in violation of every International Law and Treaty.
They of course knew they were lying. They of course knew that there were those that saw through the lie and opposed them. They then, of course, had to insure against detection of their lies by controlling the press, and by spying on their own citizens. As part of their campaign to terrorize “the terrorists” they established a network of secret torture prisons. To eliminate opposition and suspicion, they sought to destroy a former ambassador who was pointing the finger of fraud at them…and in the process destroyed an entire CIA counter-terrorism network.
War Crimes, War Profiteering, Torture, Treason.
And yet they walk free. And yet they still have power….and yet their dreams of Empire continue. As they try to blackmail their own puppet government into completely submitting to their schemes of Empire and subjugation. To continue the lie, to continue the occupation, to continue the profits, to continue to commit America to the exact course of tyrannical empiricism it was founded in protest of and was founded to prevent.
War Crimes, War Profiteering, Torture, Treason.
It was NOT “an error” that has led to over 4000 America deaths, up to a million Iraqi deaths, to 4 million refugees, to trillions of dollars spent as our economy falls apart.
It was a deliberate lie.
And yet they walk free. And yet they still have power. And yet still not one of our ‘leaders’ will stand in the Halls of Congress and point the finger of truth at our naked Emperor.
Jun 06 2008
I’m sure Dylan would not call it an endorsement, but the Times of London does:
His 1964 track ‘The Times They are a-Changin’ became the anthem for his generation, symbolising the era-defining social struggle against the establishment.
Now Bob Dylan – who could justifiably claim to be the architect of Barack Obama’s ‘change’ catchphrase – has backed the Illinois senator to do for modern America what the generation before did in the 1960s.
In an exclusive interview with The Times, published today, Dylan gives a ringing endorsement to Mr Obama, the first ever black presidential candidate, claiming he is “redefining the nature of politics from the ground up”.
He does, indeed, have some very positive things to say about Obama, even if it’s not “a ringing endorsement” as the paper claims:
Asked about his views on American politics, he said: “Well, you know right now America is in a state of upheaval. Poverty is demoralising. You can’t expect people to have the virtue of purity when they are poor.
“But we’ve got this guy out there now who is redefining the nature of politics from the ground up…Barack Obama.
“He’s redefining what a politician is, so we’ll have to see how things play out. Am I hopeful? Yes, I’m hopeful that things might change. Some things are going to have to.”
He added: “You should always take the best from the past, leave the worst back there and go forward into the future.”
Pretty amazing stuff from the “Don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters” guy who has always insisted he doesn’t speak for anyone but himself.
Wonder if he votes.
Anyway, endorsement or not, it’s one more piece of evidence that maybe the times really are a-changin’ if even Dylan sees reason for hope.
Jun 06 2008
John McCain To Star In:
The Spies I Love Please Spy On Me
Coming Soon To Your Multi-Plex
The final battle: remembering D-Day’s veterans
Help us make one last journey to the D-Day beaches in honour of the fallen, plead veterans
By John Lichfield in Colleville-Montgomery, Normandy
Friday, 6 June 2008
A small group of old men will gather on the beaches of Normandy today – a handful of the 3,000 survivors of Britain’s own “Band of Brothers”. Many hundreds of other veterans, such as Bert Bowden in Bristol, will spend the 64th anniversary of D-Day at home, unable to join the men, living and dead, who they still regard as their “own family.”
As the Government faced new questions yesterday about how it pays soldiers who are serving in today’s war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, in this corner of France on the D-Day anniversary, questions were being asked about how much Britain as a nation values its veterans of six decades ago.
Bert Bowden, 89, came ashore on Gold Beach on 6 June, 1944 and fought until he reached the German Baltic coast 11 months later. He is still physically and mentally strong. Like many of his surviving comrades, he is no longer able to afford a trip to Normandy. Like many others, he is unwilling to leave an ailing wife without a constant carer.
Adviser Says McCain Backs Bush Wiretaps
By CHARLIE SAVAGE
Published: June 6, 2008
WASHINGTON – A top adviser to Senator John McCain says Mr. McCain believes that President Bush’s program of wiretapping without warrants was lawful, a position that appears to bring him into closer alignment with the sweeping theories of executive authority pushed by the Bush administration legal team.
In a letter posted online by National Review this week, the adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, said Mr. McCain believed that the Constitution gave Mr. Bush the power to authorize the National Security Agency to monitor Americans’ international phone calls and e-mail without warrants, despite a 1978 federal statute that required court oversight of surveillance.
Jun 06 2008
Muse in the Morning
State of the Onion II
Purple with Beading
Please join us on the inside to celebrate, venerate, regenerate and/or motivate our muses. Personally, sometimes mine seems corrugated.
Jun 06 2008
Robert Freeman: (to Huey) How many times have I told you, you better not even dream about tellin’ white folk the truth! You understand me? (walks away) Shoot! Makin’ White people riot! You better learn how to lie like me! I’m gonna find me a white man and lie to him right now! The Garden Party
The truth is everything this administration tells you is a lie.
Another important story that is getting ignored in favor of arguing about teeth are the lies regarding our status of forces arrangement with the Iraq. Are we blackmailing Maliki? This is clearly a fundamentally bad deal for Iraq, we demand over 50 bases, control of the airspace under 29,000 feet, ability to arrest anyone and take any military action without consulting any Iraqi and with no consequences under Iraqi law.
It’s hardly a secret to the Iraqis, a majority of parliament has already sent "a letter to members of Congress that rejected the idea of a US-Iraq agreement unless the United States agrees to a specific timetable to get out of Iraq". Former Iraqi President Rafsanjani says- US trying to "enslave" Iraq with security agreement.
What about Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the most influential man in Iraq? From Juan Cole–
Al-Hayat writing in Arabic reports that Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (the leading bloc in parliament and keystone of the government of Nuri al-Maliki) is saying he spoke to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani about the security agreement with Washington. He says that Sistani laid out four points to which any such agreement must adhere:
- National sovereignty
- National consensus
- Parliamentary approval of it
Al-Hakim met with Sistani Wednesday evening, along with some journalists. The journalists reported that the grand ayatollah stressed national Iraqi unity in the face of challenges, expressed his concern about the lack of services for citizens, including electicity and water, and said the water shortage was especially harming farmers. He also urged haste in the rebuilding of the Askariya Shrine in Samarra.
Al-Hakim said that his own party felt the current American draft detracts too much from Iraq’s sovereignty and fails to protect Iraqi wealth. He said that Sistani did not go into details but stressed general principles. He maintained that in general Sistani shared the concerns of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.
Frankly, if it’s unratified by the Senate it’s not an agreement the United States is obligated to honor. I can only imagine what a patriotic Iraqi thinks of it.
Jun 06 2008
Almost cut my hair
It happened just the other day
It’s gettin kinda long
I coulda said it wasn’t in my way
But I didn’t and I wonder why
I feel like letting my freak flag fly
Cause I feel like I owe it to someone
Yeah (sing the song brother…)
Now if uh, six uh, huh, turned out to be nine
Oh I dont mind, I dont mind uh ( well all right… )
If all the hippies cut off all their hair
Oh I dont care, oh I dont care.
cause Ive got my own world to live through and uh, huh
And I aint gonna copy you.
White collar conservative flashin down the street
Pointin their plastic finger at me, ha !
Theyre hopin soon my kind will drop and die but uh
Im gonna wave my freak flag high, high !
Jun 06 2008
Seventy-five years ago March 4, as I wrote here on the anniversary three months ago, Franklin Delano Roosevelt initiated a period of intense activity that would afterwards set the standard – never again attained – for the successful beginning of a President’s term of office. It was subsequently called the “100 Days.”
Of late, when discussion is not focused on who should or should not chosen for Vice President or the new Cabinet, some people have been talking about Senator – or, rather, President – Obama’s first hundred days, offering prescriptions for what he should try to accomplish and what tone he should try to establish during that brief window of opportunity. In the case of former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson and Libertarian talk-show host Neil Boortz, the talk is about the potential for early missteps that could plague him for the rest of his Presidency.
If he wins in November, should President Obama try to discard the whole concept of the 100 Days, which originally was a mere accident? Is it now an obstacle to good governance? And if so, is it even possible to circumvent the inevitable media frenzy surrounding something so deeply entrenched in our political psyche?
Jun 06 2008
Blood on the Tracks.
Someone’s got it in for me, they’re planting stories in the press.
Bill Clinton knows what that feels like, so does Al Gore, so does John Kerry, so does Barack Obama, so does every Democrat who won’t kneel down and kiss the bloody ring of corporate power.
An idiot wind has been blowing across this country for a generation. It never stops. It gusts every time the lips of a Republican start flapping, it blows harder every time the lips of corporate media hacks flap in praise of Republican lip flapping.
Brace yourself, Obama. They’ll say you shot a man named Gray, and took his wife to Italy. Drudge will say it, then Limbaugh will say it, then O’Reilly and Hume and Hannity will say it, then the networks will examine this new ELECTABILITY problem you seem to have, very seriously and responsibly, as they always do, then a million idiots will vote for McCain because they feel very strongly that someone who shot a man and ran off with his wife to Italy isn’t fit to be President.
The Idiot Wind howlers will be howling at full force between now and November . . .
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth,
Blowing down the backroads headin’ south.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
You’re idiots, babe.
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.