"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!" - Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) -

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Impeach Bush and Cheney | Plus News Clips Before Heading For The Mountains

US Says Talks Didn't Move, Iranian Press Upbeat

Sabah Al-Nasseri: Washington Cannot Dictate Politics In Iraq (1 Of 5)


Major networks spend only 2 minutes per week on Iraq war coverage; Lara Logan of CBS joins critique

Dave Lindorff This Can’t Be Happening Updates

Corporate Media Blackouts Continue as Iran War Looms and Impeachment Moves Ahead

Denver | Minneapolis


Pelosi Watch


Antiwar activists split over Obama's troop plans

"So far the trip has been out of the park. It's an enormous moment," declared Eli Pariser , executive director of MoveOn.org, which supports Obama. He hedged about Obama's troop commitments, however: He said he wasn't fully aware of Obama's call for a residual force in Iraq and was trying to get a sense from MoveOn members on their views about Afghanistan . (What a bunch of Suck Ups)

USA: The Masters of Military Propaganda and Mass Brainwash

John McCain’s Never Ending War


Satire Or The Truth? | | Bernard Weiner |

Dear Diary:

These final months are not fun. The economy is a disaster. My ratings have sunk even deeper into the toilet. Congress, sensing my lame-duck weakness, has started over-riding my vetoes. Republican candidates are staying away from me like I'm toxic waste. The Democrats are licking their lips, already tasting victory in November.

(But, lucky for us, the Democrat leaders are still wimps and aren't really coming after us in the White House. Karl was right: Make the Democrats complicit in the Iraq War and on domestic spying and on tax-cuts, economic bailouts, etc; with the Dems locked into our policies on those issues, they won't dare come at us frontally or they'll go down with us. I love the beltway!)

There's not much for me to do around here, so mostly I'm just officiating at numerous ceremonial events and traveling around the globe saying my goodbyes. Most of the world leaders seem to be tolerating me, but with no great warmth, almost as if they're happy I'm departing the scene. Can that really be true?

The Vice President continues to more or less run the show, with his CoC Addington doing the heavy lifting and providing the ideological underpinnings. In short, Dick's got himself an even-better Libby. Cheney seems to have every neo-con in Washington on his staff or under his control -- what an operation! (The GOP may pay a price in November for my having commuted Libby's sentence, but it was important that he not go to prison so that all our closest advisers, especially Alberto, would get the message: Keep your mouth shut and, if it comes to that we'll take care of you with a full pardon.)

Mukasey is, like his A.G. predecessor, a good little lap dog. He knows what he was appointed to do: Make sure nobody even gets close to putting us in the federal slammer for what we've done, or makes us liable for "war crimes" prosecutions in The Hague.

So the name of the game now is to delay, delay, delay, drag out any possible hope for full congressional investigations of our activities, even if the Dems were to be so inclined. So we make sure our guys don't show up to testify before their committees, or don't submit the subpoenaed documents, or we claim "executive privilege," or file endless briefs in court to postpone decisions, etc. Such delaying tactics, obvious or not, do work.


The Democrat leaders are pissed off that we're thumbing our noses at them and not giving them many openings to attack us, but they're just not willing to take any decisive action against us, even when they hold our folks in "contempt of Congress." I mean, the Dems could, if they wanted to, just order their Sergeants of Arms from the House and Senate to compel appearances before the investigating committees and production of the incriminating documents -- and if we don't comply, face arrest. Instead, we'll just slide on through to January 20, home free. It's all political theater. I love American politics!

And -- thank you, Karl! -- we made sure to have our guy sworn in as U.S. Attorney for the D.C. district, and he simply won't bring any "contempt" charges before a grand jury or permit any effective legal action to be taken against any of us. Is this a great country, or what?

Of course, having gotten rid of less-than-"loyal-Bushie" U.S. Attorneys and replacing them with reliable substitutes takes Karl even deeper into legal jeopardy. Along with his involvement in, how shall we say, some "irregularities" in counting votes. But here, too, I think we can delay and delay to keep any resolution of the legal matters in limbo. And if, despite our best efforts, it looks bad for Karl prior to when I leave office, I'll preemptively blanket-pardon him and whoever else looks vulnerable "for any crimes they may or may not have committed." Don't see why this should present a problem: My dad did it to get Iran-Contra figures off the hook -- most notably Sec. of Defense Cap Weinberger -- before they were indicted, so why not?


Meanwhile, the general election campaign is well under way, even months before the conventions ratify the candidates. It doesn't look good for our side: Republicans are simply unpopular, no getting around that fact, and Obama is an attractive, energized candidate with Big Ideas (on the economy, on global warming, on foreign policy, etc.) running against a guy who's flip-flopping on the major issues like a fish out of water. No wonder our fundamentalist base is suspicious of him. Plus, diary, I really wonder about McCain's age; I've met him on numerous occasions and sometimes he reminds me of Ronald Reagan in his later years, when his brain-engine wasn't firing on all cylinders, if you get my drift.

One example: He attacked Social Security the other day -- not just how it's run but the idea for the whole popular program -- as if he was arguing against its passage in 1935. In addition, our candidate doesn't seem to have a clue how to stop the American economy from tumbling over the recessionary cliff -- neither do any of the rest of us, for that matter, so I don't blame him too much. Too many negatives are coming to a head at the same time: the mortgage mess, the credit crunch, the price of gas, the banks failing, too much built-in debt, the humongous costs of the War on Terror, etc.

Right now, it looks like it's Obama's race to lose, but Karl and his followers are hard at work trying to alter the odds: removing hundreds of thousands of likely Democrat voters from the rolls in key states, contacting our friends who control the vote-counting software for a little extra hand up, getting Swiftboat-type PACs set up to question Obama's patriotism, experience, character, even his religious identity -- and, of course, to remind a lot of voters, especially in the Old South, that you just can't trust those people. You know what I mean, diary, and so do a lot of those voters even if we have to speak in code.

We also have to constantly "catapult" the idea (in subtle ways, of course) that all the Islams are a more or less monolithic race, to be suspected of evil intent, and that the U.S. is engaged in a holy "crusade" -- I can say that openly to you, diary! -- to save Western, Judeo-Christian civilization. Muslims are all potential terrorists. Keep the citizenry frightened. And tie Obama (keep pounding the "secret Muslim" idea) into that fear as well.

Karl figures that with our control of the major mass-media outlets, and with all the Swiftboat-type PACs out there, we should be able to paint Obama into a non-electable corner. We control the framing and the mass-media parrots the message, no matter how much we stretch the facts. It's worked virtually every time we try it, so I'm on board for doing it big time for this election.


Despite all the negative aspects accompanying our rule, there are a lot of potential positives. The election is only four-plus months away, and a lot can happen in the interim. There just might be a terrorist attack -- who knows? -- which could drive more voters our way. Or an attack on Iran might have to be launched, and it would be rally-'round-the-flag time. Or we can defang the Iraq War as an issue by withdrawing tens of thousands of U.S. troops before the November election -- you know, make it seem like the beginning of the end -- and then put them back into Iraq, if need be, after the election.

I've been thinking a lot about my legacy. I used to believe that maybe I could finesse a way of looking good on the global warming issue, but, even if I had wanted to do something positive in the past eight years, that train long ago left the station. (Damn, Al Gore!) No, it seems clear to me that the only hope I've got for a positive legacy is if I can pull a rabbit out of the hat in the Greater Middle East: Maybe get something positive out of Iran. Maybe work a deal with Syria. Maybe something we can point to as "peace" between the Israelis and Palestinians or some milestone that we can call a "victory" in Iraq and start (or at least appear to be starting) to pull our forces out of there.

We might even be able to massage Maliki's endorsement of Obama's 16-month timetable so that it redounds to our favor. We could have McCain say something like: "The surge, which I was for and Obama was against, has worked so well that our victory allows us to speed up bringing the boys home" -- that sort of thing. Of course, the goal here is not really to bring the troops home but to arrange for us to stay there in some military strength for decades, using Iraq as our base of operations for changing the geopolitical map of the Greater Middle East. But, as I say, we can rework the arrangement after the November election.

I know all this is a gamble, though. In the short term we're probably not going to get more pro-American, capitalist democracies in the region. But maybe history will prove my policies correct in the long term and, like Truman, I'll look better from a few decades out. At this stage, I'll take whatever I can get.

Besides, there's an upside to all the chaos and catastrophe we're leaving in our wake for the next president, both domestically and abroad: Even if he wants to make radical changes in direction, we will have made sure he's hogtied to current policies and thus might well fail, making it easier for a GOP comeback in 2010 and 2012.

Still, I figure if Dick and I can get out of Washington in January without being impeached, indicted, or further humiliated, I'll count that as a big success, given the current partisan climate, and at least a good start on my legacy.

-- BW


Wachovia Has Record $8.9 Billion Loss, Cuts Dividend (Update4)

By David Mildenberg

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- Wachovia Corp., the U.S. bank that hired Treasury Undersecretary Robert Steel as chief executive officer two weeks ago, reported a record quarterly loss of $8.9 billion, slashed the dividend and announced 6,350 job cuts. The stock slumped as much as 10 percent in New York trading.

The second-quarter loss of $4.20 a share compared with net income of $2.3 billion, or $1.23, a year earlier, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company said today in a statement. The loss included a $6.1 billion charge tied to declining asset values.

The writedown, job cuts and second dividend reduction in three months reflect Steel's response to the worst housing market since the Great Depression, which cost former CEO Kennedy Thompson his job after eight years. Wachovia has dropped more than 75 percent since it spent $24 billion two years ago to buy Golden West Financial Corp. just as home prices were peaking.

``Steel is clearly trying to get his arms around this,'' said Joseph Gordon, president of Gordon Asset Management in Durham, North Carolina, which owns Wachovia shares and manages more than $200 million. Even so, ``We aren't advising any clients to buy until they fess up and go full transparency on Golden West and their commercial lending problems.''

Wachovia shares have declined 65 percent this year, the second-worst performance on the 24-company KBW Bank Index behind National City Corp., Ohio's largest bank. The stock fell $1.18, or 9 percent, to $12 at 9:55 a.m. The cost of protecting the bank's debt rose 10 basis points to 315, according to broker Phoenix Partners Group. Fitch Ratings cut Wachovia one level to A+ from AA-, citing its mortgage business, and Moody's downgraded the bank to A1 from Aa3.

Job Cuts

Wachovia, whose job cuts amount to about 5 percent of the bank's workforce, lowered the dividend to 5 cents a share from 37.5 cents and will leave 4,440 positions open, according to a presentation to analysts today. Steel, 56, also said the company is moving to ``sell selected non-core assets'' and reduce the number of business customers who only use the bank for loans rather than other services. Wachovia expects to cut expenses during the second half of this year by $490 million and then reduce 2009 spending by $1.5 billion.

The second-quarter loss marks the first time Wachovia has posted consecutive losses in at least 20 years, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Wachovia's report follows the release of better- than-estimated quarterly results at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co.

``The entire organization is focused on protecting, preserving and generating capital, reinforcing Wachovia's strong liquidity position and reducing risk,'' Steel said in the statement.

Retail Banking

Wachovia's goodwill impairment charge didn't include its Golden West business ``due to the value of the retail banking franchise,'' the company said. The impairment included $4.5 billion in reduced value of commercial loans, plus $597 million in investment-banking assets.

Wachovia said July 9 that losses in the three months ended June 30 would be at least $2.6 billion, after $3.3 billion of losses on option-adjustable-rate mortgages. The loans let borrowers skip part of their payment and add the balance to principal. The bank said last month that it stopped offering the mortgages.

Declining house prices in California and Florida, which account for about 70 percent of Golden West's $121 billion of loans, have left 14 percent of the bank's option-ARM customers with zero or negative equity in their homes. Merrill Lynch & Co. Merrill Lynch & Co. analyst Edward Najarian estimated on July 9 that losses from the loans would total about $18 billion over four years, double those previously estimated by Wachovia.

Housing Worsens

The outlook for housing worsened in the second quarter, Wachovia said. Twenty-five metropolitan areas account for 90 percent of the option ARM historical losses with 22 of those markets in either California or Florida, the bank said. The exceptions include Washington D.C., Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas.

Profit at the division that includes retail, small business and commercial customers fell 23 percent to $1.12 billion. Growth in new checking accounts slowed from the previous quarter.

Steel has called Wachovia's consumer banking franchise the best in the U.S. because of its coverage of affluent and fast- growing markets stretching from Connecticut to California.

The corporate and investment bank earned $209 million, compared with $779 million a year earlier. Wachovia has announced 500 job cuts at the unit this year as demand wanes for packaging home loans into securities and advice on mergers.

Capital Management

Earnings at the capital management subsidiary fell to $297 million from $312 million. The unit includes the A.G. Edwards Inc. brokerage acquired last October and the Evergreen asset management company.

In addition to Golden West, Thompson, 57, was criticized by shareholders after Wachovia was forced to pay as much as $144 million to settle complaints it failed to police telemarketers and payment processors who looted customer accounts. The bank also reported a $975 million charge because of a tax court ruling involving leasing transactions.

Wachovia's securities division was inspected last week by regulators from more than five states who delivered subpoenas as part of a probe into the company's sales of auction-rate bonds.

Wachovia's Tier 1 capital ratio -- a benchmark regulators use to monitor a lender's ability to withstand loan losses -- rose to 8 percent from 7.42 percent at the end of the first quarter. The minimum for a ``well-capitalized'' rating from U.S. regulators is 6 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Mildenberg in Charlotte, North Carolina, at dmildenberg@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: July 22, 2008 10:01 EDT

Dear Ed.,

Federal agencies under the Bush administration have often subverted their own missions to accommodate the administration's political agenda. We’ve seen egregious politicization at the Department of Justice, and what could be described as a "war on science" with the suppression of key reports and health information by the EPA and HHS. Now, it appears that this disturbing politicization trend has emerged at the Census Bureau as a "war on data."

The Census Bureau says that when it conducts the 2010 census, it will not report as married those same-sex couples who in fact are legally married. Last week, we launched a petition urging the Census Bureau to put its mission of collecting and reporting accurate data above the right-wing, anti-gay politics of the Bush administration. Please don't hesitate to join the 11,000 activists who have already signed the petition here:


For more on the issue, please read our alert from last week below.

-- People For the American Way

Dear Ed.,

The Bush administration's at it again -- denying reality that doesn’t fit its political agenda (as it's done with global warming, the war, the economy and so much more).

The press this week reported on an offensive protocol by the Census Bureau for how it intends to handle married same-sex couples during the 2010 Census. The Bureau will NOT count legally married gay couples as married, and will instead EDIT the data submitted by married gay couples to change their status to "unmarried partners."

Please sign on to our petition to the Census Bureau urging them not to do this.

Sadly, supporters of the Census Bureau's actions may hide behind a federal law, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA"), and argue that the federal government doesn't recognize the marriages of same-sex couples. But a number of states and other countries do, and gay and lesbian couples who are legally married are, in fact, just that -- married.

So the policy -- besides being highly offensive -- would lead to the reporting of inaccurate demographic data, completely contrary to the Bureau's mission and goals!

Please sign on to our petition now telling the Census Bureau to do its job and collect and report ACCURATE data about all Americans, including married same-sex couples.

Officials at the Census Bureau seem to be in denial, but here's an inconvenient truth for them: gay families exist. No matter what the Census says, gay couples who are legally married ARE married.

Please join the petition now and then forward this to your friends and ask them to do the same.

Thank you.

-- Your Allies at People For the American Way

P.S. We wanted to share with you the irony of the Census Bureau's own mission statement*:

"Our Mission -- The Census Bureau serves as the leading source of quality data about the nation's people and economy. We honor privacy, protect confidentiality, share our expertise globally, and conduct our work openly. We are guided on this mission by our strong and capable workforce, our readiness to innovate, and our abiding commitment to our customers."

Quality data? Commitment to their customers? Guess that doesn't apply to gay families...

Take action now by signing on to our petition!


* http://www.census.gov/contacts/www/c-mission.html, 7/17/08


One Soldier's Suicide: James Jenkins

Suicides among veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are reaching epidemic proportions

End Post…..