December 10, 2008 archive

Four at Four

  1. The Guardian reports a Fifth of the world’s coral reefs are dead.

    A fifth of the world’s coral reefs have died or been destroyed and the remainder are increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, a new study says.

    The Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network says many surviving reefs could be lost over the coming decades as CO2 emissions continue to increase.

    “If nothing is done to substantially cut emissions, we could effectively lose coral reefs as we know them, with major coral extinctions,” said Clive Wilkinson of the GCRMN.

    The report, released today at UN climate talks in Poznan, Poland, said warmer and more acidic seas posed the biggest threat in future. Other threats include overfishing, pollution and invasive species – as well as natural hazards, such as the earthquake that triggered the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, which forced reefs from the water.

  2. The Washington Post reports the Congressional Panel overseeing the $700 billion bailout criticizes the Treasury Department.

    “We’ve been lied to. We’ve been bamboozled. What we have here is one big mess,” said Rep. Davis Scott (D-Ga.), who like several others on the House Financial Services Committee focused on the fact that the hundreds of billions of dollars used to shore up the capital position of banks is not being felt in the form of easier credit for homeowners and businesses…

    The hearing comes as the administration lays plans for spending the second half of the $700 billion fund, half of which has already been committed.

    I’m betting the Bush administration will get the second $350 billion installment.

Four at Four continues with economic gloom and Bush administration fighting being held accountable at the Supreme Court.

the value of nothing. . . pII

It can only be attributable to human error.


cross-posted at daily kos

Et Tu, Joe the Plumber?


Sorry for that terrible outburst of profanity there.  But all this raggin’ on Republicans is makin’ me mad!  Everybody’s blamin’ everybody for our razor-thin election loss, but I thought there was one person I could count on no matter what.  But I was wrong.  I know that’s pretty hard to believe also, havin’ never been wrong about anything before.  

But my dear ex-friend Joe the Plumber now says that John McCain “appalled me” when they were talkin’ about politics and stuff:

I asked him some pretty direct questions,” (Joe the Plumber) continued. “Some of the answers you guys are gonna receive – they appalled me, absolutely. I was angry. In fact, I wanted to get off the bus after I talked to him.

Then he tried to cover his sorry (but very cute) butt by also sayin’:

While Wurzelbacher was critical of McCain during the interview, he had nothing but praise for his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. “Sarah Palin is absolutely the real deal,” he said.

I see what you’re doin’ there!  It’s OK to dump on McCain now that he’s lost, but ya still want to be in the game when my turn to be President rolls around, don’tcha?  Well, Joe (can I call ya “Joe”?), once you get off that bus go ahead and assume the position under it!  If that’s the way you’re gonna treat us, THE ONES WHO MADE YOU FAMOUS, I ain’t gonna cover for you any more.  You want some straight talk, Joe?  Well, get ready . . .    

Citizens Petition for a Special Prosecutor…..Final draft?


Dear Attorney General Holder, we the undersigned citizens hereby petition you to appoint a Special Prosecutor to aggressively investigate and prosecute the many and various crimes that we believe have been committed both by, and under, the Bush Administration.

For eight long years the citizens of the United States have witnessed the President, the Vice President, and Bush administration officials commit crime after crime. In an atmosphere of deliberately politicized corruption that has shocked the conscience of our nation and the world, all attempts at investigation and accountability have been blocked or deflected by the corruption and politicization of the Department of Justice itself; the very Department that you are soon to head.

The corruption of the most basic tool of justice and accountability, the subpoena process, has been particularly alarming. By refusing to enforce the Congressional power of subpoena, and thus their power to hold the Executive Branch of our government accountable, former Attorneys General Gonzalez and Mukasey have subverted the very concept of justice and the Rule of Law upon which our nation was founded.

We as citizens are subject to the Rule of Law, and we demand that our government and its officials be as well, no matter how high an office they may hold. The President is no more above the law than any other citizen. We as citizens have lost faith in the credibility of our justice system due to its abuse, corruption, and subversion by the Bush Administration. Only you Attorney General Holder, can restore that faith. And it it is our belief that it may only be restored by the aggressive and unrelenting prosecution of those who have corrupted it by bringing to the light of day the crimes that have been covered up, tacitly ignored, or rendered “legal” by that corruption.

The most important founding principle of America is that no man is above the law. Our Constitution itself is meant to guarantee that principle. Crimes committed by the President are de facto crimes committed against the Constitution and against every citizen. Perhaps the most egregious crime of all has been to subvert the Department of Justice to place the President and the members of his administration above the law itself. That principle must be restored and we insist Attorney General Holder, that it is your responsibility to do so. As citizens of a democracy meant to be of, by, and for The People, we, your “employers,” demand that you do so.

The list of offenses is long, ranging from minor violations of the Hatch Act, to conspiring to wage aggressive, preemptive war. The most egregious, and we believe, most prosecutable items:

The intentional manufacturing and exaggeration of evidence to justify the unnecessary, illegal, and immoral invasion of a sovereign nation. Resulting in the deaths of over 4000 American soldiers, countless innocent Iraqi citizens, the torture at Abu Ghraib prison, and costing American taxpayers upwards of a trillion dollars, as well as causing an irreparable stain on the reputation of the United States of America.

“Before taking the country to war, this Administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced. Unfortunately, our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence,”  Senator Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

See: Senate Intelligence Report: Phase 2 (pdf)

The widespread and approved use of torture by the Bush Administration.

Highly placed sources said a handful of top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects — whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding.

“Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly.” Attorney General Ashcroft.

“Well, we started to connect the dots in order to protect the American people.” Bush told ABC News White House correspondent Martha Raddatz. “And yes, I’m aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved.”

Illegal Wiretapping of American Citizens, prior to “legalization” under FISA “reform.”

…the President openly acknowledged that he has ordered the government to spy on Americans, on American soil, without the warrants required by law.

…The President was blunt, so I will be blunt: This program is breaking the law, and this President is breaking the law. Not only that, he is misleading the American people in his efforts to justify this program. Senator Russ Feingold

Obstruction of Justice in the Plame Case.
In which Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald (who we strongly urge you to consider for this position) was thwarted in his pursuit of justice by, as he put it, the Bush Administration “throwing sand in the face of the umpire.”

In light of the likelihood of the upcoming pardon of Scooter Libby, we petition you to re-open this case, Attorney General Holder.

We also refer you to Representative Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment. and former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega’s Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment: A Three-Part Guide. As well as Vincent Bugliosi’s charges in The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. A more comprehensive listing of the Bush Administration crimes and scandals can be found here, but as you no doubt well know Attorney general Holder, there are copious amounts of evidence just waiting to be developed. Developed by you.

These investigations and prosecutions that we so strongly urge you to undertake and pursue will have many consequences. Some of them could prove to be politically inexpedient for our new President and the Democratic Congress. To this end, we remind you that you work not on behalf of or for the President or the Congress, but for the People of the United States of America and for Justice itself. We urge you to, unlike your predecessors Attorneys General Mukasey and Gonzales, ignore these political considerations and consequences in the pursuit of justice, no matter what, or to whom, the cost.

To that end, we petition you to appoint and fully empower an Independent or Special Prosecutor and to fully fund and support their investigation and prosecution of all the parties implicated therein.

Our justice system has been corrupted and compromised. Our standing as an nation that hews to the Rule of Law above all else has been gravely and perilously threatened.  Only one man, standing independent from all other considerations, can restore both the Rule of Law in our great nation and the integrity of the Department of Justice itself, Attorney General Holder. And that man is you.

Want To Keep Your Money? Get Rid Of It.

Gold, now at about $775 per ounce, could be worth more than $2000 by the end of 2009.

As the economic crisis continues to deepen, many are wondering if this recession will turn into a depression. Unemployment is up, the dollar is down, and US markets have lost nearly half their share values over the past year. The Real News spoke to economist Peter Schiff.

Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital is an American Austrian School economist. Schiff frequently appears as a guest on CNBC, Fox News, and Bloomberg Television and is quoted in major financial publications. He was an economic adviser for the Ron Paul campaign in the 2008 Republican Party primaries. Schiff is the author of Crash Proof and The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets.

Real News: December 10, 2008

The Next Depression?

With markets in free fall, economist Peter Schiff opposes stimulus and printing money to fund it

I wonder what a loaf of bread will be worth?

Rapper Drops Some Science about the Meltdown

Scarface is a rapper. He made his bones with Houston’s legendary Geto Boys in the late 1980s and into the ’90s, along with Willie D. and Bushwick Bill.

No superstar, he still makes a living from hiphop. And Scarface has a few things to say about the economic meltdown:

This game ain’t about flossing no more, man. Ain’t nobody got no money…

When Merrill Lynch merged with Bank of America, it was just the beginning of some frightening shit. I remember when Bank of America was Nation’s Bank and Merrill Lynch had all the money. Now it’s definitely real in the field. Dope money is even funny right now. Niggas better hold on for dear life, man. Really.

It boils down to class. It’s the rich, and then there’s the poor. If someone gets rich, just know that somewhere, somehow, somebody is suffering from [that person] getting rich. Y’all can sit in your big houses on however many acres you got and however many billions are in the bank, but looking down at the have-nots–no bank account, no meal, living government check to check–is an insult and needs to be corrected.

Everybody’s suffering. Some mu’fuckas got money, but they got cats standing next to ’em that ain’t got no money at all. [But] if America got enough money to go to war, then America should have enough to keep the economy going.”

Crossposted from Fire on the Mountain.

Joseph Stiglitz on Capitalist Fools: How We Crashed the Economy

Joseph Stiglitz won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2001.  He was Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors from 1995 to 1997 for Bill Clinton.  He is also the former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank.  He opposed financial industry deregulation under Clinton, fought with Larry Summers, who is now Obama’s chielf economic advisor, over regulating derivatives (Stiglitz wanted to, but Summers won and that wrong decision contributed to the mess we are in.)  Stiglitz, while favoring trade, has questioned some of the faith-based beliefs of the free trade fundamentalists.    

Stiglitz has an excellent article in Vanity Fair on how we got to the worst economic times since the 1930s.  He points to five key mistakes-under Reagan, Clinton, and Bush II-and one national delusion.

The truth is most of the individual mistakes boil down to just one: a belief that markets are self-adjusting and that the role of government should be minimal.

Joesph Stiglitz, Capitalist Fools, in Vanity Fair

Free market fundamentalism is the God that failed.  More, after the fold.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

State of the Onion XXIV

America the Ugly

I do not set aside

the grace of God,

for if righteousness

could be gained

through the law,

Christ died for nothing!”

–Gal 2:21

Shedding Grace

God’s Eye

God sheds grace on us?

The shedding of grace

has a human face

We are graced with hunger

to measure our sense of charity

We are graced with poverty

to challenge us

to solve economic

inequity and despair

We are graced with pestilence

but also graced

with the scientific curiosity

necessary for us

to defeat disease

We are not graced with war

That is our doing

it is our responsibility to end it

We are not graced with greed

which is rather a byproduct

of the rotting

of human souls

We are not graced

with the false profiteers

who use religion

to tear us apart

when its purpose

is to bring us together

to give us common bonds

under our separate roofs

God sheds tears for us

tears of frustration

of shame and contempt

of anger and outrage

of pain and disgust

at what people have done

in God’s name

God sheds no grace now

America Amerika

We have spurned

the grace of God

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–March 30, 2006

60 years of UDHR

On December 10, 1948, five days prior to my birth:

The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.”

Since 1950 the anniversary of the declaration has been known as Human Rights Day.

The Morning News

The Morning News is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Workers win a big round in Chicago factory sit-in

By MICHAEL TARM, Associated Press Writer

36 mins ago

CHICAGO – The creditor of a Chicago plant where laid-off employees are conducting a sit-in to demand severance pay said Tuesday it would extend limited loans to the factory so it could resolve the dispute, but the workers declared their protest unfinished.

The Republic Windows and Doors factory closed last week after Bank of America canceled its financing. About 200 laid-off workers responded by staging a sit-in at the plant, vowing to stay until getting assurances they would receive severance and accrued vacation pay.

Their action garnered national attention, seen by some as a symbol of defiance for workers laid off nationwide.

Late Night Karaoke

Yakety Yak Please Talk Back

Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode live


So, an insider source tells me that hours before being picked up by the FBI, Illinois Governor Blagojevich met with Idaho Senator Larry Craig in a bathroom stall on former California Congressman Duke Cunningham’s former yacht the “Duke-Stir” (current Louisiana Congressman David Vitter standing nearby with extra Huggies in case anything got out of hand) to discuss how much of the cash found next to the Chunkey Monkey in soon-to-be-former Congressman William Jefferson’s freezer it would take to pay off former Governor of New York Elliot Spitzer’s hooker to keep quiet about lame-duck, but very fertile Congressman Vito Fossella’s secret family, which Fosella met while teaching former Florida Congressman Mark Foley how to “LOL” and “BRB” and “How big is your cock?” instant messages into the future to the soon-to-be secret girlfriend of the already-disgraced and soon-to-be former Florida Congressman Tim Mahoney, who was in discussion with Indicted Senator Ted Stevens about adding a free “lap pool” to Stevens soon-to-be jail cell, which he will share with former-former Illinois Governor George Ryan as well as the actor who used to play Willis on “Different Strokes”.

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