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Archive for December 22nd, 2008

The Seven Deadly Deficits: What the Bush Years Really Cost Us

By Joseph Stiglitz, Mother Jones. Posted December 22, 2008.

And how President Obama can get the economy back on track.

When President George W. Bush assumed office, most of those disgruntled about the stolen election contented themselves with this thought: Given our system of checks and balances, given the gridlock in Washington, how much damage could be done? Now we know: far more than the worst pessimists could have imagined. From the war in Iraq to the collapse of the credit markets, the financial losses are difficult to fathom. And behind those losses lie even greater missed opportunities.

Put it all together — the money squandered on the war, the money wasted on a housing pyramid scheme that impoverished the nation and enriched a few, and the money lost because of the recession — and the gap between what we could have produced and what we did produce will easily exceed $1.5 trillion. Think what that kind of money could have done to provide health care for the uninsured, to improve our education system, to build green technology … The list is endless.

And the true cost of our missed opportunities is likely even greater. Consider the war: First there are the funds directly allocated to it by the government (an estimated $12 billion a month even according to the misleading accounting of the Bush administration). Much larger, as the Kennedy School’s Linda Bilmes and I documented in The Three Trillion Dollar War, are the indirect costs: the salaries not earned by those wounded or killed, the economic activity displaced (from, say, spending on American hospitals to spending on Nepalese security contractors). Such social and macroeconomic factors may account for more than $2 trillion of the war’s overall cost.

There is a silver lining in these clouds. If we can pull ourselves out of the malaise, if we can think more carefully and less ideologically about how to make our economy stronger and our society better, perhaps we can make progress in addressing some of our long-festering problems. As a road map for where to begin, consider the seven major shortfalls the Bush administration leaves behind.

MORE HERE

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Johnny Mathis – I’ll Be Home For Christmas

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SECer: Agency “In A State Of Complete Panic” Over Madoff Revelations

The revelation that Bernard Madoff — who himself had in the past served as an adviser to the SEC on electronic trading — was running an alleged “$50 billion ponzi scheme” has rocked the SEC to its core, according to a current long-serving member of the commission’s enforcement division.

“This has put the agency into a state of complete panic,” the SECer told TPMmuckraker in an interview.

The source said that one associate director in the enforcement division had in recent days ordered junior staff to review every case that’s been closed over the last few years, to ensure that violations weren’t missed — as they appear to have been in the 2006 investigation of Madoff. “There’s a real paranoia around here,” the source added.

That paranoia — or at least extreme concern — apparently extends to commission officials in Washington. The source said that since the Madoff allegations came to light last week, SEC brass had sent out numerous emails warning staffers not to destroy documents relating to the case — which is being investigated both by SEC enforcement and by the FBI. There have also been several warnings not to speak with the press, the source added.

Separate from the SEC and FBI investigations, SEC chair Chris Cox announced last week that he has has asked the commission’s inspector general to probe how the SEC failed to uncover catch Madoff after receiving several complaints going back to 1999.

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By VOA News
17 December 2008

A Saudi Arabian man has offered $10 million for the shoes of an Iraqi journalist hurled at U.S. President George Bush in Baghdad Sunday.

Middle Eastern news agencies reported on Mohamed Makhafa’s offer Wednesday. He is quoted telling Cairo’s al-Safwa Television that the footwear hurled at the U.S. president’s head is the “shoe of dignity” with high “moral value.”

Meanwhile, Reuters news agency reports that an Egyptian man is offering his 20-year-old daughter in marriage to the shoe-thrower, Muntazer al-Zaidi.

Reuters reports the young woman Amal Saad Gumaa said she likes the idea of being attached to a man she finds so honorable.

Thousands of Iraqis have taken to the streets in support of Zaidi, who has achieved something of a folk hero status since the incident.

The shoe-tossing has also inspired an online game (www.SockAndAwe.com) that lets players throw brown laced-loafers at Mr. Bush. The site says more than 17 million cyber-shoes have struck the president’s virtual head as of Wednesday.

Zaidi threw one shoe, then the other, at President Bush during a joint news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Sunday. Mr. Bush ducked as each shoe narrowly missed hitting his head.

After throwing the first shoe, al-Zaidi yelled that it was a “farewell kiss” for Mr. Bush, whom he called a “dog.”

Security officials took Zaidi out of the room, as other Iraqi journalists apologized. President Bush shrugged off the incident and said he never felt threatened.

You can throw your own shoes at Duhbya right here…(:

Sock and Awe

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Bush Insider Who Planned To Tell All Killed In Plane Crash: Non-Profit Demands Full Federal Investigation

To: STATE EDITORS

Contact: Ilene Proctor PR, +1-310-858-6643

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Michael Connell, the Bush IT expert who has been directly implicated in the rigging of George Bush‘s 2000 and 2004 elections, was killed last night when his single engine plane crashed three miles short of the Akron airport. Velvet Revolution (“VR”), a non-profit that has been investigating Mr. Connell’s activities for the past two years, can now reveal that a person close to Mr. Connell has recently been discussing with a VR investigator how he can tell all about his work for George Bush. Mr. Connell told a close associate that he was afraid that George Bush and Dick Cheney would “throw [him] under the bus.”

A tipster close to the McCain campaign disclosed to VR in July that Mr. Connell’s life was in jeopardy and that Karl Rove had threatened him and his wife, Heather. VR’s attorney, Cliff Arnebeck, notified the United States Attorney General , Ohio law enforcement and the federal court about these threats and insisted that Mr. Connell be placed in protective custody. VR also told a close associate of Mr. Connell’s not to fly his plane because of another tip that the plane could be sabotaged. Mr. Connell, a very experienced pilot, has had to abandon at least two flights in the past two months because of suspicious problems with his plane. On December 18, 2008, Mr. Connell flew to a small airport outside of Washington DC to meet some people. It was on his return flight the next day that he crashed.

On October 31, Mr. Connell appeared before a federal judge in Ohio after being subpoenaed in a federal lawsuit investigating the rigging of the 2004 election under the direction of Karl Rove. The judge ordered Mr. Connell to testify under oath at a deposition on November 3rd, the day before the presidential election. Velvet Revolution received confidential information that the White House was extremely concerned about Mr. Connell talking about his illegal work for the White House and two Bush/Cheney 04 attorneys were dispatched to represent him.

An associate of Mr. Connell’s told VR that Mr. Connell was involved with the destruction of the White House emails and the setting up of the off-grid White House email system.

Mr. Connell handled all of John McCain’s computer work in the recent presidential campaign. VR has received direct evidence that the McCain campaign kept abreast of the legal developments against Mr. Connell by reading the VR dedicated website, www.rovecybergate.com.

VR demands that the Ohio Attorney General and the United States Justice Department conduct a complete investigation into the activities of Mr. Connell and determine whether there was any foul play in his death. VR demands that federal law enforcement officials place the following people under protective custody pending this investigation. Heather Connell who

is the owner of GovTech Solutions, Randy Cole, the former President of GovTech Solutions, and Jeff Averbeck, the CEO of SmartTech in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Both GovTech and SmartTech have been implicated in the rigging of the 2000 and 2004 elections and the White House email scandal. Our prior request to have Mr. Connell protected went unheeded and now he is dead.

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US Embassador to the UN – Zalmay Khalizad

U.S. votes against “right to food” in UN General Assembly

Dec 20, 2008 at 06:47:21 PM PST

UN General Assembly press release:

Draft resolution XX on the right to food, approved on 24 November by a recorded vote of 180 in favour to 1 against (United States), with no abstentions, would have the Assembly reaffirm that hunger constitutes an outrage and a violation of human dignity, requiring the adoption of urgent measures at the national, regional and international level, for its elimination.

(more…)

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