Saturday, January 03, 2009

Busy Week Coming Up In Washington...

  and that is putting it mildly. The 111TH Congress begins on Tuesday in what will probably be one action-packed week.

    President-elect Obama and his family will be arriving  in Washington on Sunday, and Obama will be meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Republican leader John Boehner  on Monday. The topic will be the stimulus package ( $800 Billion ).


On Wednesday, Obama will meet at the White House for lunch with George W. Bush and former Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter.

And what about Vice President-elect Biden? He'll be at the Capitol Building on Tuesday, being sworn in for his seventh term as a U.S. Senator, before handing over the reins to Ted Kaufman.

  But there is more happening this week.

  • 10:00 AM Thursday, January 8, 2009: Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Health and Human Services-Designate, Former Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.)
  • 9:30 AM Friday, January 9, 2009: Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Labor-Designate, Rep. Hilda L. Solis (D-Calif.)

   On Tuesday, 98 Senators will be sworn in.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Ford Motor Company Expects Sharp Sales Drop Industry-Wide...

    and they are putting out numbers like a 35% sales drop in December compared to last year. That is a lot of cars either not being made or still sitting on dealer lots. ford also does not expect a sales turnaround for the first quarter this year.

    Ford , the No. 2 U.S. automaker, expects that full-year sales of light vehicles in the world's largest market will drop to near 13.2 million for 2008, down from near 16.2 million in 2007, Ford's chief sales analyst George Pipas said on Friday.

Major automakers are set to release December and full-year 2008 sales data on Monday. Analysts have said they see December light-vehicle sales slipping below the 10.2 million unit sales rate recorded a month earlier.            News Daily

     Is this not a fucked-up deal, or what? With all of these vehicles sitting on dealers lots, we should be able to get a killer deal on a car purchase, with some very good credit terms. You and I should be able to name our price on a new set of wheels. But noooooo...

   Thanks to an un-regulated Wall Street along with a housing bubble going bust, we can't afford to buy the damned cars. For that matter, many of us can't afford to buy to much of anything else either!

   Those of you so-called conservatives who have pushed the idea of deregulation and less government since the Reagan years, I hope that you are happy. To those Democrats who let this shit come into being by being cowards and holding your mouths shut while the Republicans swindled and robbed the middle class and the poorer among us, I say " fuck you".

   Speaking of tight credit and auto's, just a few days ago, GM and GMAC  launched a new program to get buyers into their showrooms to buy a vehicle.

   GMAC  modified its credit criteria so that it could lend to a wider range of potential customers, two-and-a-half months after significantly curbing lending.

Meanwhile, GM is offering zero-percent financing on several vehicles, and rates no higher than 5.9 percent on more than three dozen 2008 and 2009 models. The offer expires on January 5. Many eligible vehicles also carry cash discounts of $500 to $4,250.

The changes came a day after the U.S. Treasury Department agreed to take a $5 billion stake in GMAC, and lend GM as much as $1 billion to support GMAC, in an effort to help ensure that both survive.

   My job has been cut back on work hours and I'm losing money. Where the fuck is my bailout?

Financial Markets For 2008

   The financial  markets couldn't bid farewell to 2008 fast enough after suffering some of the biggest losses ever in modern time.

  Standard & Poor's 500 suffered its biggest losses since 1937, losing 38.5%.

   The Dow Jones Industrial Average?  It didn't do much better either, suffering a 33.8% drop in 2008. That was the worst drop for the DJIA since 1931.

    The Nasdaq composite index was the worst performing of all 3 indexes, dropping 40.5%.

    It was the S&P's third worst year, the second worst for the Dow and the worst ever for the Nasdaq.   

Broad and biting. A vast majority, 1,316 or nearly 9 out of 10 stocks in the S&P 1500, lost value in 2008, according to data from S&P's Capital IQ. And on average, the losers are off 42.3%. Meanwhile, 469 members of the S&P 500 fell last year.

Jarring volatility. The market posted its best percentage day, on Oct. 13, as well as five of its worst, based on the DJ Wilshire 5000 index, which is one of the broadest measures of the U.S. market. And $6.9 trillion in market value was wiped out.     USAToday

   Investors and most brokers are hoping that 2009 is better for them, obviously. But that ain't going to happen without some added deregulation to Wall Street, for starters.

The Middle East To George Bush: Get The Hell Out Of Here!

  You all know that Resident Bush took his farewell tour to both Iraq and Afghanistan a little while back.  In Iraq, he was greeted as a liberator with a sized ten shoe thrown at his head by a journalist. To bad the shoe missed.

  From Watching America we get a read on the thoughts of someone from Egypt on Bush's tour to the region.

Al Ahram, Egypt
Get the Hell
Out of Here!

By Salwa Habib
How can the departing American president believe that anyone in Iraq would want to see him for the last time? Isn’t he satisfied with the war crimes he committed?
Translated By Asmaa Sharaf El Deen
21 December 2008

edited by Lauren Abuouf

Egypt - Al Ahram - Original Article (Arabic)
From now until his departure on January 20th, President Bush needs to spare himself the trouble of performing “false” tasks and duties.
It is useless and does harm to him and his country.
Last month, and at the APEC summit with Asia’s leaders, Bush looked alone, confused, pale and rejected—exactly like a “lame duck”.
But who suggested that he secretly visit Iraq and Afghanistan to bid the two countries farewell, countries that suffered under the yoke of war, all because of his catastrophic policies.
Did he miss being a newsmaker?
Or did he go there to celebrate a false "victory," a security pact rejected by all Iraqis, or to harp on a tailored democracy, freedom, which only brought about disaster, death and destruction?
How can the departing American president believe that anyone in Iraq would want to see him for the last time?
Isn’t he satisfied with the war crimes he committed?
Obviously, his visit was meant solely to shamelessly defend a war that claimed more than 500,000 victims, and to announce that the war is still going on.
This, undeniably, ignited a volcano of anger, aggravation, and hatred in a way hard to condemn, when Arab public opinion rightly regarded it an astonishing victory for Iraq and all Arabs.
In fact, Bush was lucky that none of his soldiers in Camp Victory, where he went afterwards, was bold enough to stand up and refute his repeated lies and accusations about the late Iraqi President Saddam, and bold enough to remind him that he was responsible for the American invasion of Iraq, claiming that the war was necessary for fighting terror.
Instead, Bush ought to have expressed his sorrow and regret about the blunders of the CIA, and about claims that Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, and for the horrible mistakes, and lies, he and his administration made.
Then, during his last visit to Afghanistan, Bush was not even shot when he talked about the thriving democracy there. I wonder what kind of democracy can develop in an environment of violence and unprecedented chaos!
Please, Mr. Bush, go to the White House, your temporary home, and shut yourself inside it. No one wishes to bid you farewell, not even the Americans themselves, because of the shame you have brought upon them.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Years Day Follies:Blagojevich-Burris

by BarbinMD    Thu Jan 01, 2009

If Rod Blagojevich's motivation for naming Roland Burris as Barack Obama's replacement in the U.S. Senate was to take the glare of media attention off of himself, he's succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. Here's a brief recap of yesterday's events in this soap opera.

  • We had the Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White refuse to accept the letter from Blagojevich, naming Burris to the U.S. Senate. White said he will not certify the appointment, he won't change his mind, and that:

    You can take it to the bank. I will not move.

    And while White insisted that he would hold firm, his spokesman later admitted that White knew he couldn't stop the appointment, but he wanted to "make a statement." And with Harry Reid's office saying that the lack of a signature might be grounds to refuse to seat Burris, it seems that White's statement may have some teeth.

  • Burris reacted by saying he was sorry for the position White was in, expressed admiration for him, and said that "we'll work through this." Then he headed to court to ask the Illinois Supreme Court to force White to certify his appointment.
  • Meanwhile, Senate Democrats:

    ... have a "Plan B" to keep Burris from being sworn in, regardless how the Illinois Supreme Court rules ... if presented with Burris’ appointment, they are likely to give the Rules Committee 90 days to determine the propriety of it ... That should be enough so the senators won’t have to act to prevent Burris from joining the chamber. Blagojevich’s defiance inflamed Illinois legislators, speeding up the impeachment process.

  • But Burris has plans of his own:

    Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's choice to take Barack Obama's Senate seat plans to be in Washington next week when new senators are sworn in, but he won't make a scene if he's turned away by Senate leaders who object to his appointment.

  • And that should be fun, because:

    Should Burris appear in Washington without that certification, armed police officers stand ready to bar him from the Senate floor, said a Democratic official briefed on  Senate leaders' plans.

  • And if that wouldn't be a big enough made-for-TV moment, there's also the possibility that Blagojevich, with floor privileges as a sitting Governor, will escort Burris to the swearing-in ceremony. According to a spokesman for Blagojevich, he hasn't decided if he will accompany Burris to Washington.

Of course, Burris may be too big to be accompanied by a mere governor these days. After all, here's Roland Burris on what is emerging as his favorite subject, Roland Burris:

"I am a visionary," he declared in a 2002 interview with the Sun-Times when he was running for governor, his third unsuccessful try at the job.

In a 1994 interview with the paper, during his first effort at capturing the governor's office, Burris said his past success ... was "divine providence" that began at age 15...

"People said I was either crazy or divinely directed. I accept the latter," he said. "I believe without a doubt that I am predestined to be a role model."

It's probably not too much of a leap to assume that comments like that are why he has been described as:

...a disagreeable mediocrity as a politician.

Voters have rightly rejected him numerous times in his bids for higher office—governor, U.S. senator, mayor of Chicago—because he's at least six parts ego to one part performance...

And with the taint of the Rod Blagojevich scandal, there's one more reason to reject this bid for higher office.          Original Article

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: Thank God It's Over!

   2008 has been one hell of a year, has it not? For some of you, 2008 was a good year as far as family, finances, and health is concerned. For many of you, 2008 sucked as far as family, finances, and health is concerned.

    I fall into the latter group. You and I have had our share of shit in this year, which is only a few more hours away from becoming history, thank God!

   You know what's really cool? Only 19 more days until Republican criminal George Bush leaves office! That makes the new year better already!

   2009 is upon you, and so are the ingredients to make the new year a better one than the one that we leave behind. Many people are expecting our President-elect Obama to fix many of their problems so far as America in general is concerned. That he may be able to do.

   But keep in mind something else that he once said to you and I. I have to paraphrase because I'm not sure of his exact words. You'll remember then though.

  He said something like: We are the change we have been waiting for.

   Only you can make real change in your lives in 2009.

   Be safe tonight people. If you're going out to ring in the New Year and you're drinking, let someone sober drive.    We'll see you next year!



TVA Covering Up...

   or so it would seem when it comes to getting any information on what kind of chemicals and/or other toxic agents are in the coal ash which spilled out into Roane country,Tennessee, damaging homes and possibly polluting water wells.

  The TVA is at this point refusing to disclose test results from water samples taken after the flood of ash, saying that the agency is focusing on the cleanup.

   So what might some of those toxic pollutants be?

"We know they have that data," said SACE Executive Director Stephen Smith. "Yet here we are eight days into this event and we still don't have it."

It's important for local residents, cleanup workers and others who come in contact with the spilled coal ash to have some sense of what's in it so they can adequately protect themselves. It's especially critical for the rural dwellers near the spill who rely on private wells for their drinking water.

In order to get some sense of what's in the ash, the Institute for Southern Studies examined the facility's Toxics Release Inventories filed with the Environmental Protection Agency from 2006, the most recent available on EPA's TRI website, back to 1998, the first year that coal-fired power plants reported their emissions under TRI. We also factored in the 2007 TRI emissions data posted on the TVA's own website. Here is what we found:

For a year-by-year breakdown of the releases, click here.

  Read more here, and here.

  For even more details, go to Southern Studies.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blago's Appointment of Roland Burris: Obama Condemns The Move

Statement from President-Elect Barack Obama, released by his transition team:

Roland Burris is a good man and a fine public servant, but the Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat.  I agree with their decision, and it is extremely disappointing that Governor Blagojevich has chosen to ignore it.  I believe the best resolution would be for the Governor to resign his office and allow a lawful and appropriate process of succession to take place.  While Governor Blagojevich is entitled to his day in court, the people of Illinois are entitled to a functioning government and major decisions free of taint and controversy.

Obama's Duty To Prosecute Bush For War Crimes

by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse  Mon Dec 29, 2008

Obama promised that he would investigate and prosecute Bush team for "genuine crimes"  because no one is above the law, but he would not prosecute "really dumb policies." Obama plans to have his AG review the available information to determine if investigations are needed.   Well, AG nominee Eric Holder knows that many crimes have been committed:

Our government authorized the use of torture, approved of secret electronic surveillance against American citizens, secretly detained American citizens without due process of law, denied the writ of habeas corpus to hundreds of accused enemy combatants and authorized the use of procedures that violate both international law and the United States Constitution.... We owe the American people a reckoning.

Indeed, the rule of law is the "strongbox that keeps all our other values safe." We can write laws that say we have certain freedoms and rights, and we can build courts and elect lawmakers, but if there is no rule of law, then we lose our rights bit by bit until they are no longer recognizable.  This is one reason why budhydharma and Docudharma have drafted a petition asking Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any government official who has participated in War Crimes.

While the goppies will cry "partisan witch hunt," even the Bush State Dept. recognizes that no democratic society can tolerate abuses when people are tortured or kidnapped under rendition in violation of our rule of law or tolerate the failure to prosecute in compliance with our Constitution.

Signing the petition is not in defiance of our President-Elect Obama, but rather a sign of support for the difficult times that he and Holder will face when performing their clear constitutional duties.

As President, Obama will have the constitutional duty to faithfully execute our laws.

The constitutional oath of office requires that our President faithfully execute the office of President and preserve, protect and defend our Constitution. Our constitution also requires that our presidents "shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed."  The principle of the rule of law is partially based on this Faithfully Execute clause which requires our President to comply with laws, our Constitution and treaties because our Constitution established a government of laws, not of men and women.

The Geneva Convention is one of the laws which must be faithfully executed.

Our constitution mandates that treaties are one of the laws that the President must faithfully execute.  Moreover, treaties are recognized as one of our supreme laws of the land alongside our Constitution and federal laws.  For over 200 years, the federal courts have reaffirmed that our President is bound by the laws of war, which include conventions. In fact, both Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004) and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006) addressed the issue of whether the US government was violating the terms of the 1949 Geneva Convention.  Yet, some will whine that it is partisan to not exempt Bush from 200 years of precedent that governed presidents from both parties.

The Geneva Convention imposes a duty to prosecute former presidents who committed war crimes.

The Geneva Convention mandates that the US "search" for persons "alleged" to have committed or ordered the commission of "torture or inhuman treatment" and then prosecute in our courts or extradite to another country for prosecution. The "grave breaches" protected by the Convention also include the rendition or  "unlawful transfer of a non-prisoner of war from occupied territory."

Rounding up the suspects is easy.

There is an overloaded plate of issues awaiting the leadership of President Obama. Fortunately, neither AG Holder nor an independent commission will have to spend a lot of time searching for alleged perps of war crimes.  This diary has pictures of some of the "persons of interest," as Bush likes to say, who either have admitted their complicity in war crimes or may be percipient witnesses with useful information.

Bush and Cheney have already essentially publicly admitted their roles in authorizing and ordering torture. In Spring 2008, Bush admitted in an ABC interview that he approved "enhanced interrogation" techniques, including waterboarding:

"As a matter of fact," Bush added, "I told the country we did that. And I told them it was legal. We had legal opinions that enabled us to do it." The president added, "I didn’t have any problems at all trying to find out what Khalid Sheik Mohammed knew."

In 2006, Cheney stated that dunking terrorism suspects in water was a "no-brainer" method of interrogation.  After a public outcry, Cheney denied that dunking was equivalent to waterboarding, but merely referenced a literal "dunk in the water." Either way, Cheney is screwed because both waterboarding and water dunking is illegal under US and international law.  

In 2008, Cheney went even further by essentially admitting that he personally authorized the use of waterboarding and thus a war crime.  As constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley states, Bush and Cheney are banking that the public will not have the stomach to prosecute them.

We also know that high-level officials participated in approving interrogation methods at National Security Principals Committee meetings in the WH over the span of at least 2 years in which the CIA wanted approvals before conducting interrogation in individual cases.   Thus, we can add Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell, Tenet and Ashcroft to the list of "persons of interest."

Tenet and Bush have both stated that waterboarding was legal based on a memorandum, known as the "Golden Shield," because it was designed to shield CIA officers from liability.   The Golden Shield memo was written by John Yoo and approved by then-chief of the Office of Legal Counsel, Jay Bybee.   In 2004, the Golden Shield legal memo which authorized the interrogation program was withdrawn by Jack Goldsmith, who called the memo "slapdash" and "deeply flawed."

More "persons of interest" can be found if Obama’s team reads the Senate Armed Services Committee report which concluded that high-level officials approved torture as an interrogation method.

Holder could also have a chat with Air Force Col. Morris Davis, a former prosecutor, who testified on behalf of a prisoner at Guantánamo that Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann "insisted that prosecutors proceed with evidence they had obtained through waterboarding and other methods of torture."

The other benefit of war crimes prosecutions is that the Geneva Convention seems pretty clear that Bush can not whip out an executive order or pardon to immunize himself or his cronies from liability.  Article 51 of the Convention states that "[n]o High Contracting Party shall be allowed to absolve itself or any other High Contracting Party of any liability incurred by itself or by another High Contracting Party in respect of breaches referred to in the preceding Article," which is a reference to Article 50 that defines grave breaches. 

There may be some in DC who wish to avoid any investigations for fear of putative complicity, but this simply illustrates the bipartisan nature of any investigation. It’s not just the goppies:  For whatever reason, Senator Leahy declared that the Bush team would not face prosecution for war crimes in the US.   And, any investigation could reach some in the new Obama administration, like Robert Gates, for his role in Guantánamo and Iraqi prisons, "which the Washington Post described in a headline as ‘a Prison Full of Innocent Men,’ without even a procedure for determining their guilt or innocence--unquestionably a violation of the Geneva Conventions in and of itself." 

If nothing else, our votes should have sent the message loud and clear to DC that Americans repudiate the past 8 lawless years and want a return to the rule of law.  For some, the way to return to the rule of law is to move forward without investigating crimes committed by Bushie and his sycophants who viewed the rule of law as malleable chunk of clay. However, political expediency as a reason to avoid prosecutions is also a violation of the rule of law that is based upon blind, nonpartisan justice.

Cross posted at Docudharma.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Israel Planned Attack 6 Months Ago...

  which is kind of pathetic seeing as they were in the process of working out a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.

   Haaretz      By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public - all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces "Cast Lead" operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.
The disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.

Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas. According to the sources, Barak maintained that although the lull would allow Hamas to prepare for a showdown with Israel, the Israeli army needed time to prepare, as well.

Barak gave orders to carry out a comprehensive intelligence-gathering drive which sought to map out Hamas' security infrastructure, along with that of other militant organizations operating in the Strip.

The plan of action that was implemented in Operation Cast Lead remained only a blueprint until a month ago, when tensions soared after the IDF carried out an incursion into Gaza during the ceasefire to take out a tunnel which the army said was intended to facilitate an attack by Palestinian militants on IDF troops.     ( My emphasis )

   This attack on the bridge is where Israel broke the ceasefire which was in effect. I know that most of the media ( U.S.) and the White House have twisted this attack around in order to place the blame on Hamas. Israel is the aggressor here!

   And talk about disinformation! Israel really set Hamas and the rest of the citizens up to be slaughtered.

While Barak was working out the final details with the officers responsible for the operation, Livni went to Cairo to inform Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, that Israel had decided to strike at Hamas.
In parallel, Israel continued to send out disinformation in announcing it would open the crossings to the Gaza Strip and that Olmert would decide whether to launch the strike following three more deliberations on Sunday - one day after the actual order to launch the operation was issued.
"Hamas evacuated all its headquarter personnel after the cabinet meeting on Wednesday," one defense official said, "but the organization sent its people back in when they heard that everything was put on hold until Sunday."

   I, for one, do not care to have my tax dollars supporting a terrorist state such as Israel. Israel is one of those countries who brings the majority of their problems upon themselves.

Lehman Wiped Out Billions In Bankruptcy Filing...

     ... according to the Wall Street Journal in a report on Monday, via Biz Journals.

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc's emergency bankruptcy filing wiped out as much as $75 billion of potential value for creditors based on an analysis by the bank's restructuring advisers.

Had Lehman Brothers been able to pursue a more orderly filing – including the sale of assets prior to filing for bankruptcy protection—the bank might have had time to sort out its derivatives portfolio and a maintained some value, the Journal reported from an analysis by Alvarez & Marsal, the bankruptcy advisers.

Losses through derivatives alone could cost creditors up to $50 billion, the Journal reported.

The Journal reported it is too soon to know how much money the company’s creditors will recover through bankruptcy proceedings. Unsecured creditors of the failed brokerage have said in court filings they are owed $200 billion.

The Journal reported that creditors might only recover 10 cents on the dollar – or about $20 billion – given the current bond market.

The disorderly bankruptcy filing also pushed down the value of other Lehman Brothers assets, hurting recovery efforts, the analysts told the paper.

  And yet, the government forces us taxpayers to give Lehman, and others, our tax dollars in a massive Wall Street bailout, but none of the CEO's get punished or prosecuted, or not even a pay cut for fucking up many retiree's 401k plans or other retirement plans in this " ponzi scheme ". It's fucking amazing!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

George Bush: #1 In Disasters...

   and he still has a little time left to add to his record of negligence.

Most Disastrous President

by smokeymonkey   Sat Dec 27, 2008

Crossposted from

George W. Bush is the worst and most disastrous president ever.

I am loathe to publish this article before his term has actually, finally, ended, because there is still time to be attacked by nuclear missiles from Russia or something. 

The Bush administration has presided over the worst disasters in our nation's history, from terrorist attacks to both natural and manmade disasters of epic proportions.  And through it all, this wannabe president showed more than just incompetence; the administration was criminally negligent.

Worst Terrorist Attack

The attacks of September 11th, 2001 were the most destructive attacks on our nation's soil since Pearl Harbor.  In fact, 9/11 is the deadliest terrorist strike ever. The Bush administration ignored warnings that this attack would happen, and as a result thousands were killed, our air traffic was grounded for days, our markets closed, a recession deepened, and an iconic cityscape was forever altered. 

"Frankly, I find it outrageous that the president is running for re-election on the grounds that he's done such great things about terrorism," Richard Clarke told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview ... "He ignored it. He ignored terrorism for months, when maybe we could have done something to stop 9/11. Maybe. We'll never know."

There is no excuse that any can give that it was not the responsibility of the Bush administration to prevent such an attack.  And because it was the worst attack ever, Bush deserves full credit for having not prevented it.  Further, despite protestations to the contrary, our allies have been attacked repeatedly since 9/11, dispelling any notion that the Bush administration has kept us, or anyone else for that matter, safe.

Worst Foreign Policy Blunder

The so-called 'war on terror' is nothing but an ideology wrapped in military action.  Neither the invasion of Afghanistan nor the invasion and occupation of Iraq have achieved any geopolitical success whatsoever.  In fact, both have resulted in declining world opinion of the United States and an increase in the recruitment of radicals to do violence against us.  So far, only one has spawned a civil war, but Afghanistan is far from stable.

The U.S. image abroad is suffering almost everywhere. Particularly in the most economically developed countries, people blame America for the financial crisis. Opposition to key elements of American foreign policy is widespread in Western Europe, and positive views of the U.S. have declined steeply among many of America's longtime European allies. In Muslim nations, the wars in Afghanistan and particularly Iraq have driven negative ratings nearly off the charts. The United States earns positive ratings in several Asian and Latin American nations, but usually by declining margins. And while the most recent Pew Global Attitudes survey finds that favorable views of America edged up in 2008, only in sub-Saharan Africa does America score uniformly favorable marks.

The execution of illegal means of surveillance and interrogation by the Bush administration also makes them guilty of both unconstitutional action and crimes against humanity.

Worst Natural Disaster

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita combined in the summer of 2005 to annihilate a large United States city, New Orleans.  Thousands were killed in the initial storm, and thousands more died of neglect from the inaction of the Bush administration.  The city, and indeed much of the coastal region, have yet to recover to any significant degree.

Rehabilitating the city's devastated neighborhoods is expected to take years. Rebuilding the confidence of many of New Orleans' residents could take even longer.

Yes, the disaster was unprecedented in some ways, but there is no excuse for the whining about unforeseen disasters when FEMA, the very federal agency under the administration's charge responsible for reacting to that kind of disaster, had conducted an exercize simulating a major hurricane strike to New Orleans just a year before.  Again, these warnings were ignored, and a historic city nearly died.  A clear case of criminal negligence.

Worst Economic Disaster

It is yet to be seen if this disastrous economy will impact our way of life in the same dramatic way that the Great Depression did our grandparents, but I think it is indisputable that the collapse of the housing and credit markets represents the worst financial crisis in two generations.  As it is happening at the end of the Bush administration, there is absolutely no debate that they could have done something to prevent it.

Two limited federal housing policy interventions could avoid hundreds of thousands of foreclosures, help to stabilize home prices at a post-bubble lower level, and preclude more drastic intervention in the future, including direct government ownership of troubled assets.

We've seen a continuation of this disaster precisely because the Bush administration is still in charge and still neglecting the country's needs.  By taking affirmative steps to make the situation worse, or at the least, to ignore it, the Bush administration is, again, guilty of willful and negligent behavior.

Worst Environmental Disaster

Most recently, the legacy of the Bush administration's deregulation of the coal mining industry has resulted in the worst environmental disaster this nation has ever experienced.  In eastern Tennessee, a coal-ash pond spilled 5.4 million tons of toxic coal soup into the neighboring area, not only destroying homes but polluting the entire region for decades to come.  Their response to this disaster has been as effectively incompetent as any of the disasters I've described above.

Neither the [Tennessee Valley A]uthority nor the E.P.A. has released the results of tests of soil or the ash itself. Authority officials have said that the ash is not harmful, and the authority has not warned residents of potential dangers, though federal studies show that coal ash can contain dangerous levels of heavy metals and carcinogens.

While this is clearly the worst of his environmental disasters, the Bush administration has presided over several, including the worst oil spill on the north slope of Alaska ever.  These are not accidents, they are a direct result of the negligent policies of the Bush administration.


I will update this list if something comes up in the next few weeks, but I don't think anything even needs to be added to conclude this was not only the worst president ever, he has set the bar so high for that title that none may ever surpass him.

Heckuva job, Bushie!                   Original

It seems that the Republican Party in general just has a massive case of stupidity and ignorance. I say this because it seems that Bush's brother, Jeb, is getting set to run for a Senate seat in Florida, and the GOP is having a party about that one! If another Bush, in any form, is the best that the GOP has to offer, I look forward to the party being in the minority for a very long time.


Obama Advisor David Axelrod Says That Middle Class Tax Cut Will Still Happen

   Obama advisor David Axelrod appeared on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, and as expected, the economy and Obama's plans to fix it came up.

   On middle-class tax cuts:

   MR. GREGORY:  As the economy quickly deteriorates and continues to move in the wrong direction almost on a daily basis, has the president-elect changed his view about taxes?  And by that I mean has he made a decision to put off any tax increases or even a middle-class tax cut, as he talked about for the, for the short term?

MR. AXELROD:  No.  Look, we feel it's important that, that middle-class people get some relief now.  He's promised a middle-class tax cut.  This package will include a, a portion of that tax cut that will become part of the permanent tax cut he'll have in his, his upcoming budget.  It's, it's, it's vital people are, are--need money in their pockets to, to spend.  That'll help get our economy going again.

  People, we are in for some interesting times the next few years. I'm waiting to see how the Republicans manage to bog those tax-cuts down and out of existence.

   A deal will be made so that Obama will get some of his tax package for the middle class and the Republicans will get to keep some of the Bush tax-cuts for the wealthy instead of letting them expire as they should.

" Grandpa " Fred Thompson Gets Radio Show...

   and that will be something to listen to.

      You remember Thompson, don't you? He had a very tiring run for the Republican presidential nomination, which went no-where fast.

   Westwood One has said that Thompson's radio show will be the replacement for the departing  "The Radio Factor With Bill O'Reilly," ending on February 27th. Good bye and good riddance Billy-boy.

   So, what will Thompson's show be about? It won't be anything about Law & Order!

   According to News Daily:

In his show, Thompson will share his conservative views on politics, topical issues and pop culture stories as well as conduct guest interviews and take listener calls. The two-hour show, broadcast from the Westwood One studios in Washington, will air live from noon-2 p.m. weekdays.

  So this show will basically be O'Reilly with a toned-down host. Same old GOP/Conservative bullshit. I am wondering who they have picked to make sure that Thompson's Geritol feed does not run dry.

Sarah Palin: 2009 Hockey-Mom Calendar

   I kid you not! Sarah Palin has an 2009 calendar featuring photo's of her and the rest of the family. I wonder if there is a photo of her field-dressing a moose or shooting wolves from out of helicopters?