September 19, 2008 archive

Let’s Help Don Siegelman!

For the past two days, Don Siegelman been working in DC and meeting with Members of Congress, trying to build support to get the Karl Rove contempt citation up for a vote and trying to count votes for final passage.


the incredible shrinking president . . .

don’t get me wrong. i’m happiest when he’s not around. but i gotta ask: just where the fuck has George W. Bush been?  As the United States of America, under his watch, teeters on the brink of a depression greater than the Great Depression, Bush reveals himself not only as incredibly unqualified to be president, but as a coward.


Four at Four

  1. Words fail me. We the People are getting the short end of the stick here.

    The NY Times reports the U.S. acts to shore up money funds and temporarily limits short selling.

    America’s Gang of Four

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, George Wanker Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox.

    Realizing that its case-by-case approach was not sufficient, the federal government has started to put in place a sweeping plan to restore confidence in the financial markets…

    The actions began to unfold Thursday with discussions between the Treasury, Federal Reserve and Congressional leaders on what could become the biggest bailout in United States history, a plan likely to authorize the government to buy distressed mortgages at deep discounts from banks and other institutions…

    In a move against traders who have sought to profit from the financial crisis by betting against bank shares, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a temporary ban on short sales of 799 financial stocks, following similar action in Britain on Thursday.

    And the Treasury, moving to restore confidence in another financial bedrock, said that it would guarantee, at least temporarily, money market funds up to an amount of $50 billion in order to ensure their solvency, a startling intervention into an area that had been considered among the safest investments.

    Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports Bush Urges Congress to Enact Rescue Package

    President Bush, warning that urgent steps are needed to “to preserve America’s financial system,” asked Congress today to put aside partisan differences and enact a historic rescue package now being finalized by his administration…

    Bush also shot back at growing criticism of the administration’s role in the meltdown from Capitol Hill and both major presidential campaigns.

    “There will be ample time to debate the origins of this problem,” Bush said…

    Bush, who portrays himself as a conservative free-market advocate, also defended steps that have put billions of taxpayer dollars at risk. “Government intervention is not only warranted; it is essential,” he said.

    No accountability for the bankers and politicians responsible for this capitalist meltdown and the workers are left holding a big bag of bad debt.

Four at Four continues with news of food shortages in Afghanistan, the Pentagon’s pollution war, and a Mozart discovery.

The Future

Note: I am not here! This is an autopost, I am currently twenty miles away in the middle of a maple forest. Well…I am actually here in the library (puter is supposed to be fixed on Sat.) writing this, but tomorrow when you read it, which is today for you, I will not be here. Well I will be here, because I am always ‘here,’ but it won’t be the here you think it is…until now, that you have read this. Not that I expect you to care, or anything!

We are on a cusp. We have been on a cusp for a while now, but it is getting cuspier everyday. We are not yet to the brink of the cusp, but as these things go, we will be shortly. The future of the entire human race is being decided as the clock ticks away each second. It is the future of the future that is at stake in this election and the days after it. If John McCain is elected, we get one future. If Obama is elected, we get another.

Not that these futures are dependent explicitly on the actions of one or the other of these men, but it is certain that the shape of the future will be…..IN PART….decided by the outcome of this election. Some say that perhaps we should elect McCain to show people just how dystopian a future we will face if we do not learn our various lessons. I say the cost is too high to even think about fucking around.

That’s Right George, All the Debt

Look at all the happy people on CNBC!  Don’t they look relieved?

Yeah.  So, here’s the thing.  The US Government does not have unlimited ability to backstop the financial markets.  And it just kinda did – essentially, the US Government just guaranteed about one trillion dollars of debt (while also banning shorting, which seems to me to be a decent way of ruining hedge funds to no recognizable purpose, unless the government has decided to ruin hedge funds).

But, as we all know, the US Government already has quite a bit of debt.  And this addition to its debt burden makes it five times the total annual federal revenues, from taxes and other sundries.

What this essentially means is that the AAA credit rating of the US government is now considerably imperiled.  The stock market might go up, and banks may stop failing every week.  But if the credit rating goes, then, well, the shit will really hit the fan.  The dollar will drop like a stone against other currencies.  Worse still, the interest rate of the Federal government’s debt, which already makes up over 9% of annual government expenditures, will skyrocket.

Unscientific poll time: will the US lose its AAA rating?  If so, how long before it is downgraded?

National Socialism: the worst of both worlds

Just when you thought things could not get worse, we face the specter of the rise of National Socialism in the United States. Because moneyed interests now control the US government, they intend to use the US Treasury as an insurance fund for their financial losses. This will be done to “protect” taxpayers, but it is basically the last stage of the looting of the American economy.

We now face the worst of both ugly worlds: the greed of a rapacious plutocracy coupled with the inefficiency and unaccountability of faceless government bureacracy. Politicians and propagandists will be quick to explain why the princes of commerce need to continue to be paid their astronomical salaries, while the taxpayers make good their losses.

This ridiculous denoument to our decaying society will end when foreign lenders effectively take control of our economy and restore rationality to our business affairs. What a sad end to a once great nation.

Vincent Bugliosi, “A Fish Out of the Water”

Like leftover Thanksgiving turkey, I got to interview bestselling author Vincent Buglosi during the DNC. Hope you enjoy! – ctrenta

Vincent Bugliosi is a renowned prosecutor and respected lawyer. How good is he? Bugliosi successfully prosecuted 105 out of 106 felony jury trials, including 21 murder convictions without a single loss. His most famous trial, the Charles Manson case, became the basis of his classic, Helter Skelter. Many consider Helter Skelter to be the best true-crime story ever written. Bugliosi also wrote two others New York Times best sellers: And the Sea Will Tell and Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away With Murder.  Other books include No Island of Sanity: Paula Jones v. Bill Clinton: The Supreme Court on Trial, Till Death Do Us Part, The Betrayal of America: How The Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President, and Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Bugliosi’s latest, The Prosecution of George W. Bush For Murder, is an explosive look at the un-reported (or under-reported) crimes committed by the Bush Administration. In The Prosecution of George W. Bush For Murder, Bugliosi skillfully and meticulously sets forth a legal architecture for the case against Bush and unequivocal evidence of his guilt. He also establishes the jurisdiction, on a federal and state level, for close to 1,000 prosecutors throughout the U.S. to prosecute Bush for the crimes of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. ??

Bugliosi spoke in Denver during the Democratic National Convention. He didn’t address Party stalwarts, delegates, super-delegates, or the party faithful. Bugliosi took it to the people at the Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Denver. Here is what Vincent Bugliosi had to say.

Obama a Freaking GENIUS-New Study of Lib/Cons Voter’s Genetics

I saw this this morning on CNN and found it very interesting. I have been trying to put my finger on just what it is about Obama that has such broad appeal and why we need to stop telling him how to run his campaign. Follow me below the fold for the study proving Obama is a freaking genius.

Capitalism on trial

Original article, an editorial subheaded The neoliberal dogmas that have dominated for more than 25 years are discredited, but they need to be replaced by more than proposals for re-regulating the banks, via

THE WORLD financial system is in the grip of the most severe crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s–and there’s worse to come, not only for the banks and speculators of Wall Street, but far beyond, in every part of the U.S., and around the globe.

Today’s the day. Do something

Today’s the day.  You know what to do.

The Iraq Moratorium marks its first anniversary.

The Moratorium is a simple idea.  It asks people to interrupt their daily routines once a month, on the Third Friday of every month, and do something to call for an end to the war and occupation of Iraq.

It can be something simple, like wearing a button or armband to work or school.  Or it can be dramatic, like taking part in some kind of major rally, march, occupation, die-in or other action.  Some choose to challenge authority and get arrested.  Others send an email to their Congress member.  There is room for all of that and everything in between.  There are no rules, and only one requirement to be part of Iraq Moratorium day:  Do something!

You’ll find lots of ideas for individual action and a listing of events at the Moratorium website.  You’ll also find reports, photos and videos from previous actions.

Operating on a shoestring and relying on volunteers, the Moratorium sparked at least 1,322 events in 42 states and 256 communities during its first year of operation. (Those were listed; many others just happen and are never added to the list or the count.)

Imagine what it could accomplish with a little money and even a tiny bit of media attention?

Help make it happen.   Donate something if you can, knowing that every badly-needed dollar will be put to immediate and effective use in the cause of peace.

But, more importantly, do something.

You may not end the war.  But acting can be its own reward.  Give it a try.


De-Paving Our Way Back to Workable Cities

In June 2008, a derelict parking lot at the corner of N. Williams and Fargo here in Portland was de-paved to make way for what will soon be a public park of fruit trees and native plants.  This project especially stands out to me not only because I pass it every day on my bus ride into work, and the fact that it’s also only 3 blocks from our building…but also because of the neighborhood the site is located in.  One block up from a very recent makeshift memorial to a slain neighborhood resident, and two blocks down the other way from an abandoned industrial building with multiple bullet holes in the street-facing windows.  

This is one of the few neighborhoods in Portland I’d say qualifies as a food desert, and probably the only one in our inner city core that would qualify as same.  The only food stores within walking distance are two corner markets which sell almost exclusively snacks, soda and beer…and a gas station c-store 6 blocks over on MLK which sells the same.  The largest food retailer in the area?  The “Hostess / Wonder Bread Factory Warehouse Store” on N. Vancouver, one block up and over from the Fargo Garden site.  And of course, the sole reason for that place’s existence is to sell nutritionally bankrupt ‘food’ items like white bread and Twinkies.  Would it surprise you to also find out that this neighborhood has historically been one of Portland’s very few majority African-American neighborhoods?

Below the fold, more words and a look at other successful examples of reworking cities to the advantage of people over machines…

Open Thread


Eats yer thread ye scurvy dogs.  Arrrr!  

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