Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Dynamic of a Bush Scandal: How the Spying Story Will Unfold (and Fade)

Dynamic of a Bush Scandal: How the Spying Story Will Unfold (and Fade)

The third button on the Daou Report's navigation bar links to the U.S. Constitution, a Constitution many Americans believe is on life support - if not already dead. The cause of its demise is the corrosive interplay between the Bush administration, a bevy of blind apologists, a politically apathetic public, a well-oiled rightwing message machine, lapdog reporters, and a disorganized opposition. The domestic spying case perfectly illuminates the workings of that system. And the unfolding of this story augurs poorly for those who expect it to yield different results from other administration scandals.

Here's why: the dynamic of a typical Bush scandal follows familiar contours...

1. POTUS circumvents the law - an impeachable offense.

2. The story breaks (in this case after having been concealed by a news organization until well after Election 2004). [A nice added touch, to be sure, but we certainly couldn't have the liberal media attempting to influence public opinion with facts while the Swift Boat ads were circulating, now could we? - ed.]

3. The Bush crew floats a number of pushback strategies, settling on one that becomes the mantra of virtually every Republican surrogate. These Republicans face down poorly prepped Dem surrogates and shred them on cable news shows.

4. Rightwing attack dogs on talk radio, blogs, cable nets, and conservative editorial pages maul Bush's critics as traitors for questioning the CIC.

5. The Republican leadership plays defense for Bush, no matter how flagrant the Bush over-reach, no matter how damaging the administration's actions to America's reputation and to the Constitution. A few 'mavericks' like Hagel or Specter risk the inevitable rightwing backlash and meekly suggest that the president should obey the law. John McCain, always the Bush apologist when it really comes down to it, minimizes the scandal.

6. Left-leaning bloggers and online activists go ballistic, expressing their all-too-familiar combination of outrage at Bush and frustration that nothing ever seems to happen with these scandals. Several newspaper editorials echo these sentiments but quickly move on to other issues.

7. A few reliable Dems, Conyers, Boxer, et al, take a stand on principle, giving momentary hope to the progressive grassroots/netroots community. The rest of the Dem leadership is temporarily outraged (adding to that hope), but is chronically incapable of maintaining the sense of high indignation and focus required to reach critical mass and create a wholesale shift in public opinion. For example, just as this mother of all scandals hits Washington, Democrats are still putting out press releases on Iraq, ANWR and a range of other topics, diluting the story and signaling that they have little intention of following through. This allows Bush to use his three favorite weapons: time, America's political apathy, and make-believe 'journalists' who yuck it up with him and ask fluff questions at his frat-boy pressers.

8. Reporters and media outlets obfuscate and equivocate, pretending to ask tough questions but essentially pushing the same narratives they've developed and perfected over the past five years, namely, some variation of "Bush firm, Dems soft." A range of Bush-protecting tactics are put into play, one being to ask ridiculously misleading questions such as "Should Bush have the right to protect Americans or should he cave in to Democratic political pressure?" All the while, the right assaults the "liberal" media for daring to tell anything resembling the truth.

9. Polls will emerge with 'proof' that half the public agrees that Bush should have the right to "protect Americans against terrorists." Again, the issue will be framed to mask the true nature of the malfeasance. The media will use these polls to create a self-fulfilling loop and convince the public that it isn't that bad after all. The president breaks the law. Life goes on.

10. The story starts blending into a long string of administration scandals, and through skillful use of scandal fatigue, Bush weathers the storm and moves on, further demoralizing his opponents and cementing the press narrative about his 'resolve' and toughness. Congressional hearings might revive the issue momentarily, and bloggers will hammer away at it, but the initial hype is all the Democratic leadership and the media can muster, and anyway, it's never as juicy the second time around...

Rinse and repeat.

It's a battle of attrition that Bush and his team have mastered. Short of a major Dem initiative to alter the cycle, to throw a wrench into the system, to go after the media institutionally, this cycle will continue for the foreseeable future. [And it's too late to make enough of a difference other than to prolong the inevitable anyway. -ed.]


Thursday, December 22, 2005

GOP = Debt

The legacy of GOP administrations is written in the federal deficit history ...

Title: Federal Government Debt: Total Public Debt
Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Management Service
Release: Treasury Bulletin
Seasonal Adjustment: Not Seasonally Adjusted
Frequency: Mar Jun Sep Dec
Units: Billions of Dollars
Date Range: 1966-03-31 to 2005-09-30
Last Updated: 2005-12-06 2:36 PM CT
Notes: Monthly data reported for March, June, September and December.
DATE VALUE % of GDP Change % of GDP GDP
1966-03-31 317 41.2% 771
1966-06-30 316 40.6% 780
1966-09-30 321 40.4% 793
1966-12-31 326 40.4% 807
1967-03-31 328 40.1% 10.6 1.3% 818
1967-06-30 323 39.3% 6.7 0.8% 823
1967-09-30 333 39.8% 12.2 1.5% 837
1967-12-31 342 40.1% 16.3 1.9% 853
1968-03-31 347 39.4% 19.0 2.2% 880
1968-06-30 345 38.2% 22.0 2.4% 904
1968-09-30 353 38.4% 20.0 2.2% 919
1968-12-31 356 38.0% 14.0 1.5% 936
1969-03-31 359 37.4% 12.0 1.2% 961
1969-06-30 353 36.2% 8.0 0.8% 976
1969-09-30 360 36.1% 7.0 0.7% 997
1969-12-31 367 36.5% 11.0 1.1% 1,005
1970-03-31 371 36.5% 12.0 1.2% 1,017
1970-06-30 370 35.8% 17.0 1.6% 1,033
1970-09-30 378 36.0% 18.0 1.7% 1,051
1970-12-31 388 36.9% 21.0 2.0% 1,053
1971-03-31 391 35.6% 20.0 1.8% 1,098
1971-06-30 397 35.5% 27.0 2.4% 1,119
1971-09-30 412 36.2% 34.0 3.0% 1,139
1971-12-31 423 36.7% 35.0 3.0% 1,152
1972-03-31 427 35.9% 36.0 3.0% 1,191
1972-06-30 426 34.7% 29.0 2.4% 1,226
1972-09-30 433 34.6% 21.0 1.7% 1,250
1972-12-31 448 34.8% 25.0 1.9% 1,287
1973-03-31 458 34.3% 31.0 2.3% 1,336
1973-06-30 457 33.3% 31.0 2.3% 1,372
1973-09-30 461 33.1% 28.0 2.0% 1,391
1973-12-31 469 32.7% 21.0 1.5% 1,432
1974-03-31 474 32.8% 16.0 1.1% 1,447
1974-06-30 474 31.9% 17.0 1.1% 1,485
1974-09-30 481 31.8% 20.0 1.3% 1,514
1974-12-31 493 31.7% 24.0 1.5% 1,553
1975-03-31 510 32.5% 36.0 2.3% 1,570
1975-06-30 533 33.2% 59.0 3.7% 1,606
1975-09-30 554 33.3% 73.0 4.4% 1,663
1975-12-31 577 33.7% 84.0 4.9% 1,715
1976-03-31 600 33.8% 90.0 5.1% 1,773
1976-06-30 620 34.4% 87.0 4.8% 1,805
1976-09-30 635 34.5% 81.0 4.4% 1,838
1976-12-31 654 34.7% 76.5 4.1% 1,885
1977-03-31 669 34.5% 69.0 3.6% 1,939
1977-06-30 674 33.6% 54.0 2.7% 2,006
1977-09-30 699 33.8% 64.0 3.1% 2,067
1977-12-31 719 34.0% 65.4 3.1% 2,112
1978-03-31 738 34.3% 69.0 3.2% 2,150
1978-06-30 749 32.9% 75.0 3.3% 2,276
1978-09-30 772 33.0% 73.0 3.1% 2,336
1978-12-31 789 32.7% 70.3 2.9% 2,417
1979-03-31 797 32.3% 59.0 2.4% 2,464
1979-06-30 805 31.8% 56.0 2.2% 2,528
1979-09-30 827 31.8% 55.0 2.1% 2,601
1979-12-31 845 31.8% 55.9 2.1% 2,661
1980-03-31 864 31.7% 66.5 2.4% 2,725
1980-06-30 878 32.2% 72.6 2.7% 2,729
1980-09-30 908 32.6% 80.7 2.9% 2,787
1980-12-31 930 31.9% 85.1 2.9% 2,917
1981-03-31 965 31.6% 101.0 3.3% 3,053
1981-06-30 971 31.5% 93.6 3.0% 3,086
1981-09-30 998 31.4% 90.2 2.8% 3,179
1981-12-31 1,029 32.2% 98.5 3.1% 3,196
1982-03-31 1,061 33.3% 96.8 3.0% 3,187
1982-06-30 1,080 33.3% 108.4 3.3% 3,243
1982-09-30 1,142 34.9% 144.1 4.4% 3,276
1982-12-31 1,197 36.1% 168.4 5.1% 3,314
1983-03-31 1,245 36.8% 183.2 5.4% 3,383
1983-06-30 1,320 37.9% 240.0 6.9% 3,484
1983-09-30 1,377 38.4% 235.2 6.6% 3,589
1983-12-31 1,411 38.2% 213.6 5.8% 3,690
1984-03-31 1,464 38.4% 219.2 5.8% 3,810
1984-06-30 1,513 38.7% 193.1 4.9% 3,909
1984-09-30 1,572 39.5% 195.1 4.9% 3,978
1984-12-31 1,663 41.2% 252.3 6.3% 4,036
1985-03-31 1,711 41.5% 247.0 6.0% 4,120
1985-06-30 1,775 42.5% 261.9 6.3% 4,178
1985-09-30 1,823 42.8% 250.8 5.9% 4,261
1985-12-31 1,946 45.0% 282.9 6.5% 4,322
1986-03-31 1,987 45.3% 276.1 6.3% 4,386
1986-06-30 2,059 46.5% 284.8 6.4% 4,426
1986-09-30 2,125 47.3% 302.2 6.7% 4,494
1986-12-31 2,215 48.7% 268.9 5.9% 4,546
1987-03-31 2,247 48.7% 259.9 5.6% 4,614
1987-06-30 2,309 49.2% 249.9 5.3% 4,690
1987-09-30 2,350 49.3% 225.0 4.7% 4,768
1987-12-31 2,432 49.8% 216.9 4.4% 4,886
1988-03-31 2,488 50.2% 240.9 4.9% 4,952
1988-06-30 2,548 50.3% 238.4 4.7% 5,063
1988-09-30 2,602 50.6% 252.0 4.9% 5,147
1988-12-31 2,684 51.1% 252.7 4.8% 5,254
1989-03-31 2,741 51.1% 253.3 4.7% 5,367
1989-06-30 2,800 51.3% 252.2 4.6% 5,454
1989-09-30 2,857 51.7% 255.1 4.6% 5,532
1989-12-31 2,953 52.9% 268.6 4.8% 5,584
1990-03-31 3,052 53.4% 311.1 5.4% 5,716
1990-06-30 3,144 54.2% 343.9 5.9% 5,798
1990-09-30 3,233 55.3% 375.9 6.4% 5,849
1990-12-31 3,365 57.5% 411.8 7.0% 5,849
1991-03-31 3,465 58.9% 413.2 7.0% 5,888
1991-06-30 3,538 59.3% 394.2 6.6% 5,964
1991-09-30 3,665 60.7% 432.0 7.2% 6,036
1991-12-31 3,802 62.4% 436.9 7.2% 6,096
1992-03-31 3,881 62.6% 416.1 6.7% 6,196
1992-06-30 3,985 63.3% 446.7 7.1% 6,290
1992-09-30 4,065 63.7% 399.3 6.3% 6,381
1992-12-31 4,177 64.4% 375.3 5.8% 6,484
1993-03-31 4,231 64.7% 349.3 5.3% 6,543
1993-06-30 4,352 65.8% 367.3 5.6% 6,612
1993-09-30 4,412 66.1% 346.9 5.2% 6,675
1993-12-31 4,536 66.7% 358.7 5.3% 6,800
1994-03-31 4,576 66.2% 345.3 5.0% 6,911
1994-06-30 4,646 66.1% 293.8 4.2% 7,031
1994-09-30 4,693 66.0% 281.3 4.0% 7,115
1994-12-31 4,800 66.4% 264.5 3.7% 7,232
1995-03-31 4,864 66.6% 288.2 3.9% 7,298
1995-06-30 4,951 67.5% 305.6 4.2% 7,338
1995-09-30 4,974 66.9% 281.2 3.8% 7,432
1995-12-31 4,989 66.3% 188.5 2.5% 7,523
1996-03-31 5,118 67.1% 253.7 3.3% 7,624
1996-06-30 5,161 66.4% 209.7 2.7% 7,777
1996-09-30 5,225 66.4% 250.8 3.2% 7,866
1996-12-31 5,323 66.5% 334.5 4.2% 8,000
1997-03-31 5,381 66.3% 263.1 3.2% 8,114
1997-06-30 5,376 65.2% 215.1 2.6% 8,250
1997-09-30 5,413 64.6% 188.4 2.2% 8,382
1997-12-31 5,502 65.0% 179.2 2.1% 8,471
1998-03-31 5,542 64.5% 161.5 1.9% 8,587
1998-06-30 5,548 64.1% 171.7 2.0% 8,658
1998-09-30 5,526 62.9% 113.0 1.3% 8,790
1998-12-31 5,614 62.7% 111.8 1.2% 8,954
1999-03-31 5,652 62.3% 109.2 1.2% 9,067
1999-06-30 5,639 61.5% 90.9 1.0% 9,174
1999-09-30 5,656 60.7% 130.1 1.4% 9,314
1999-12-31 5,776 60.7% 161.9 1.7% 9,520
2000-03-31 5,773 60.0% 121.8 1.3% 9,629
2000-06-30 5,686 57.9% 47.1 0.5% 9,823
2000-09-30 5,674 57.5% 17.9 0.2% 9,862
2000-12-31 5,662 56.9% -113.9 -1.1% 9,954
2001-03-31 5,774 57.6% 0.3 0.0% 10,022
2001-06-30 5,727 56.5% 40.9 0.4% 10,129
2001-09-30 5,808 57.3% 133.3 1.3% 10,135
2001-12-31 5,943 58.1% 281.2 2.7% 10,226
2002-03-31 6,006 58.1% 232.3 2.2% 10,333
2002-06-30 6,127 58.8% 399.7 3.8% 10,427
2002-09-30 6,228 59.2% 420.7 4.0% 10,527
2002-12-31 6,406 60.5% 462.3 4.4% 10,591
2003-03-31 6,461 60.3% 454.8 4.2% 10,717
2003-06-30 6,670 61.5% 543.6 5.0% 10,845
2003-09-30 6,783 61.2% 555.0 5.0% 11,087
2003-12-31 6,998 62.3% 592.3 5.3% 11,236
2004-03-31 7,131 62.2% 670.3 5.9% 11,457
2004-06-30 7,274 62.4% 604.2 5.2% 11,666
2004-09-30 7,379 62.4% 595.9 5.0% 11,819
2004-12-31 7,596 63.3% 598.1 5.0% 11,995
2005-03-31 7,777 63.8% 645.8 5.3% 12,199
2005-06-30 7,837 63.3% 562.2 4.5% 12,378
2005-09-30 7,933 62.9% 553.6 4.4% 12,606

Friday, December 02, 2005

GOP Hypocrisy, Where to Begin?

How about fiscal restraint?

"Consider the fiscal health of the country (and thus, also, of your wallet). The Republicans bill themselves as the party of fiscal discipline, but when Ronald Reagan came into office he spent so much, and cut taxes on the wealthy so much, that he had to quadruple the national debt to (not) pay for it. Democrats managed to reverse that decline in the 1990s, generating the largest surpluses in American history, but then Bush administration policies made Reagan's recklessness look like kid's stuff. Spending like crazy - much of it on foolish priorities like an unnecessary war in Iraq, a prescription drug plan which primarily benefits drug and insurance companies, and pork-barrel legislation like multi-million dollar bridges to nowhere in Alaska - while also taking a meat-axe to taxes formerly paid by the wealthy, George W. Bush and his Republican allies in Congress have created the biggest pile of debt in American history.

Indeed, Mr. Bush has now borrowed more money from foreign governments to finance his (well, actually, your) fiscal nightmare than have all the 42 presidents who have come before him - combined! Just how much is that, and why should you care? The national debt has now surpassed $8 trillion. That is about two-thirds the size of what the entire American economy produces (GDP) in a given year. All this, and more, has to be paid back. What is the 'more'? Well, we're adding to this mountain of debt to the tune of $350-450 billion every single year, digging ourselves further in. And, of course, we not only have to pay all this back, but the accumulating interest on this debt as well.

All told, each American, including any just born this second, and including each reader of this article, will spend some good portion of their lives paying off their share of this national blow-out, that share at the moment equaling more than $27,000 per American. But since only about half of us work, at least enough to pay taxes, the reality is that any American with a job owes over $54,000 to cover for the Republican Party's party at your expense. Plus the approximately $2,600 being added to the pile each year, every year. Plus interest on all that. How do you feel about coming out of school with $60,000 worth of debt hanging over your head, for something you didn't even benefit from?

Meanwhile, here's the real kicker. We used to have a somewhat fair system of tax distribution prior to the Bush program, but nowadays the rich pay far less in taxes than they used to, and the middle class pays just slightly less (and that's only if you don't count increases in state and local taxes, tuition, fees for government services, and more, all of which have gone up to fill in for the loss of federal revenues). Since these tax 'cuts' have been financed by borrowing, however, what that means is that the middle class will continue to have to pay their own share of the national debt in future years, plus the taxes that the rich won't be paying in the future, plus the taxes that the wealthy also didn't pay in the past (now) when this problem was created. Americans should therefore understand that this was never really a tax cut, but simply a tax transfer, from the rich to the middle class..."


... If Bush were a Dimmocrat, the pubbies would almost certainly have impeached him by now. Instead the Coalition of the Conniving and the Clueless continue to praise him as if he were the Second Coming.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The magic iraqi "6 months" < Tartarin > 12/01 10:25:52

"You only have about the next six months.”
Sen. Joseph Biden Jr. (D-Del.), Nov. 21, 2005

I think that you get them out of there in six months.
U.S. Reprsentative John Murtha (D-PA), Nov 17, 2004

“We've got, I think, six months.”
Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), Nov. 17, 2005

“We are entering a make-or-break six-month period.”
Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), Oct. 26, 2005

“The next six months will really tell the story”
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb), Aug 18, 2005

“The next six to seven months are critical.”
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Dec. 1, 2003

“The next three-to-six months will be critical.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sept. 10, 2003

And before the war…

“It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.”
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Feb. 7 2003

And the best for last:

"We would probably need six months to complete inspections of Iraq's nuclear programs."
Mohamed ElBaradei, Feb 14, 2003

... How's the next 6 months look to you?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


KGO-AM 810 NewsTalk: "
FEBRUARY 23 & 24, 2001 ? COLIN POWELL SAYS IRAQ IS CONTAINED: 'I think we ought to declare [the containment policy] a success. We have kept him contained, kept him in his box.' He added Saddam 'is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors' and that 'he threatens not the United States.' [Source: State Department, 2/23/01 and 2/24/01]
SEPTEMBER 16, 2001 ? CHENEY ACKNOWLEDGES IRAQ IS CONTAINED: Vice President Dick Cheney said that 'Saddam Hussein is bottled up' ? a confirmation of the intelligence he had received. [Source: Meet the Press, 9/16/2001]
SEPTEMBER 2001 ? WHITE HOUSE CREATES OFFICE TO CIRCUMVENT INTEL AGENCIES: The Pentagon creates the Office of Special Plans 'in order to find evidence of what Wolfowitz and his boss, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, believed to be true-that Saddam Hussein had close ties to Al Qaeda, and that Iraq had an enormous arsenal of chemical, biological, and possibly even nuclear weapons that threatened the region and, potentially, the United States?The rising influence of the Office of Special Plans was accompanied by a decline in the influence of the C.I.A. and the D.I.A. bringing about a crucial change of direction in the American intelligence community.' The office, hand-picked by the Administration, specifically 'cherry-picked intelligence that supported its pre-existing position and ignoring all the rest' while officials deliberately 'bypassed the government's customary procedures for vetting intelligence.' [Sources: New Yorker, 5/12/03; Atlantic Monthly, 1/04; New Yorker, 10/20/03]
2002: Intel Agencies Repeatedly Warn White House of Its Weak WMD Case
Throughout 2002, the CIA, DIA, Department of Energy "

Friday, November 11, 2005

In the wake of the week

Forget the CEO testimony, it's the FTC, stupid!

They're the ones who can find and prosecute collusion ...

WASHINGTON, Nov 9 (Reuters) - The Federal Trade Commission has sent subpoenas to Big Oil companies in its investigation of gasoline price manipulation and oil refining capacity constraints, and hopes to complete the probe next spring, the agency's head told a U.S. Senate hearing on Wednesday.

The agency sent out "dozens of subpoenas" to companies, including oil giants Exxon Mobil Corp. , Chevron Corp. , ConocoPhillips , and the U.S. units of BP Plc. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc. , FTC Chairwoman Deborah Majoras said.

She spoke following a hearing on energy profits held by the Senate's energy and commerce committees. "It is a major investigation."

... Remember, markets only do what the Law of Supply and Demand requires. It's restraint of trade that's illegal.


Liberals get no respect, even in Canada

"On Monday, the Liberals are expected to deliver a fiscal update that will detail its pre-election platform. Wiseman said Finance Minister Ralph Goodale will announce a projection of a $10 billion surplus. [... remember what a surplus felt like? I do ]

...The Conservatives, meanwhile, are reacting positively to Layton's proposal [to force early elections] and said all opposition parties are joining forces to bring down the minority Liberals."


Diebold is a voting machine in Egypt?

CAIRO, Egypt Nov 10, 2005 — President Hosni Mubarak's strongest challenger in the presidential race two months ago lost his parliamentary seat in an upset in the first round of Egypt's legislative elections, according to initial returns Thursday.

Ayman Nour, a key mainstream opposition figure, was defeated Wednesday by a candidate of the ruling National Democratic Party for the south Cairo seat he had held for 10 years, the results said.

... Abdul! Every time I try to touch Nour's picture, Mubarak's winks at me!


Dems hopes rise but futures dim

Even in their improved position, Democrats will have limited numbers of targets. Because congressional boundary lines place most lawmakers in districts clearly favoring one party or the other, fewer than 10% of House seats held by Republicans currently are considered at risk. Most Senate Republican incumbents facing re-election next year remain favored to win.


YAUNEL: Yet Another Unelectable Northeastern Liberal

Anyone else looking forward to '08 the way I am? I can hardly wait to see the next YAUNEL the Dimmocrats decide to put up against whatever cretinous proto-facsist the pubbies settle on.


Random Thots:

The State shouldn't be involved in marriages. They should recognize civil unions for legal purposes and let the clergy handle the marrying.

If Dubya were a Democrat he'd have been impeached by now.

ANWR spared? HA! That oil isn't going anywhere --They'll get it next time.

Paris, City of Light (as in lightweight gov't)

Re CA props: Straight "no". No, no, NO, NO, NO, dammit! I hope that message got thru. (Any other year, several props would have passed in CA. There was a larger issue at stake this time)

Prop 13's Dirty Little Secret:
...It applies to businesses, too! That means when there's competition, firstcomers can prices and undercut latecomers' costs. And when the latecomers go bust, well, you know what happens then.

Judith Miller retires from NY Times. Kinda like Eagles losing Owens.

Scott McClellan does a pretty good Ron Ziegler immitation.

If only 25% of Kansans believe in evolution and over 50% in the pentefundegelical version of Creation, why should they be forced to teach evolution in their schools? Willful ignorance is as willful ignorance does.

Ahhhh, Paris in the fall ...

A collection of news reports tell a compelling story...

PARIS (AP) - Authorities imposed curfews in the French Riviera cities of Nice and Cannes on Wednesday to prevent rioting, while the interior minister called for the deportation of foreigners convicted in the wave of unrest that has spread throughout France.

Looters and vandals defied a state of emergency with attacks on superstores, a newspaper warehouse and a subway station. Arson attacks continued after sundown, with a nursery school going up in flames in the southern city of Toulouse, RTL radio reported.

.. Take that, kiddies!

The unrest began Oct. 27 and has grown into a nationwide insurrection by disillusioned suburban youths who complain of discrimination and unemployment. Although many of the French-born children of Arab and black African immigrants are Muslim, police say the violence is not being driven by Islamic groups.

.. OK, if Islamic groups aren't driving it, who is? SANTA?

The extraordinary 12-day state of emergency, which began at midnight Tuesday, covered Paris, its suburbs and more than 30 other French cities from the Mediterranean to the border with Germany and to Rouen in the north - an indication of how widespread arson, riots and other unrest have become.

The measures imposed in Nice also require some bars to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for the next 10 days, the regional government said.

.. no way, man, not the bars too!!

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who previously inflamed passions by referring to troublemakers as "scum," said 120 foreigners have been convicted for roles in the violence, and he called on local authorities to expel them.

"I have asked regional prefects to expel foreigners who were convicted - whether they have proper residency papers or not - without delay," he said during a National Assembly session.

.. If they really want to get serious about restoring order, they'd better invite the Wehrmacht.

"Protestors set fire to 315 cars in the Paris area overnight, half of them in Seine-Saint-Denis, where nine people were injured, officials said.

Simone: Your jacket!
Clouseau: Yes, I kneaw it iz my jacket.
Simone: No... It's on fire!

"The violence has once more trained a spotlight on the poverty and lawlessness of France's rundown big-city suburbs and raises questions about an immigration policy that has, in effect, created sink ghettos for mainly African minorities who suffer from discrimination in housing, education and jobs.

Today, France's government was in crisis mode with Mr de Villepin calling a string of emergency meetings with government officials throughout the day.

One was a working lunch with the interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been accused of inflaming the crisis with his tough talk and police tactics. Mr Sarkozy has called troublemakers "scum" and vowed to "clean out" troubled suburbs, language that some say further alienated their residents [...hmmm... I guess he forgot to call for their total eradication. ]
The unrest was triggered by last Thursday's accidental death in Clichy-sous-Bois, five miles from Aulnay, of two African teenagers who were electrocuted while hiding in a power substation from what they believed, apparently wrongly, was police pursuit. An interior ministry official described the clashes as "more like sporadic harassment, lightweight hit-and-run urban guerrilla fighting, than head-to-head confrontation". Small, highly mobile groups of up to a dozen youths emerge, hurl stones or petrol bombs, and disperse. "It's hard to contain," the official said.

The minister of social cohesion, Jean-Louis Borloo, said the government had to react "firmly" but added that France must also acknowledge its failure to deal with anger simmering in poor suburbs for decades.

"We cannot hide the truth: that for 30 years we have not done enough," he told France-2 television.

Fran?ois: Do you know what kind of a bomb it was?
Clouseau: Yes, the exploding kind


Paris, City of Light

PARIS — The French government declared a state of emergency Tuesday, enabling police to impose curfews and other extraordinary measures to combat the worst riots in recent history.

President Jacques Chirac's Cabinet decided at a special meeting to invoke an emergency powers law first imposed during the Algerian war of independence against France 50 years ago. Starting at midnight, the authorities had the right to declare curfews in targeted areas, restrict the movement of people and vehicles, request police searches and place suspects under house arrest. "

... "Too little, too late" again, Jacques. How's that workin for ya?


Better late than never, France ?

PARIS (AP) - The French government declared a state of emergency Tuesday after nearly two weeks of rioting, and the prime minister said the nation faced a "moment of truth."

The extraordinary security measures, to begin Wednesday and valid for 12 days, clear the way for curfews to try to halt the country's worst civil unrest since the student uprisings of 1968.

... and after only 12 days!


Very slow learners, these French...

PARIS (AP) - France will impose curfews under a state-of-emergency law and call up police reservists to stop rioting that has spread out of Paris' suburbs and into nearly 300 cities and towns across the country, the prime minister said Monday, calling a return to order "our No. 1 responsibility."

The tough new measures or what passes for tough there... came as France's worst civil unrest in decades entered a 12th night, with rioters in the southern city of Toulouse setting fire to a bus after sundown and pelting police with gasoline bombs and rocks.

Outside the capital in Sevran, a junior high school was set ablaze, while in another Paris suburb, Vitry-sur-Seine, youths threw gasoline bombs at a hospital, police said. No one was injured. Earlier, a 61-year-old retired auto worker died of wounds from an attack last week, the first death in the violence.

Asked on TF1 television whether the army should be brought in, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said, "We are not at that point." meaning "my car has not firebombed yet"

But "at each step, we will take the necessary measures to re-establish order very quickly ...or what passes for very quickly there... throughout France," he said. "That is our prime duty: ensuring everyone's protection."

...Oh, please.


French discovering the Awful Truth: Self-inflicted Wounds are Always the Most Painful

What catches many French leaders in a bind is their belief that the alternative to their strong state intervening to ensure color-blind equality is the cut-throat capitalism and ethnic segregation they say prevails in English-speaking countries.

When Sarkozy says the best social system is the one that produces jobs and that the French model is not doing that, his comments are met not with approval but retorts that the French model is fine and needs only to be better applied.

In a scene that spoke volumes, National Assembly Speaker Jean-Louis Debre -- a close Chirac ally and passionate defender of the republican model -- was shocked and almost speechless on Sunday as he surveyed riot damage in Evreux, where he is mayor.

"A hundred people have smashed everything and strewn desolation," he commented. "Well, they don't form part of our universe."

... and denial is not a river in Egypt, pal.

Monday, October 31, 2005

College football

For 52 minutes Saturday, I witnessed the worst football game ever played by a major college undefeated team as UCLA managed to dig themselves deep into a well-deserved 24-3 hole. A deader bunch of losers I couldn't imagine. "Who are these imposters, where are you holding my 7-0 team, and how much do you want for them?" I shouted. I was packed and ready to make a run for the car but my son insisted on seeing the bitter end. For the next 8 minutes, I witnessed something truly extraordinary...

Oct 29, 11:21 PM (ET)

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - Maurice Drew and Marcedes Lewis sat at their lockers and looked at each other in disbelief. UCLA was down and disheveled at halftime, its powerful offense sputtering and its perfect season in big trouble. [nah! They were only down 7-3 at halftime, but let's not quibble...]

Two hours later, Drew and Lewis looked at each other again with even more amazement - because UCLA was still unbeaten, thanks to the cardiac Bruins' most unlikely escape yet.

Brandon Breazell caught a 23-yard TD pass from Drew Olson in overtime after No. 8 UCLA scored 21 points in the final 7:04 of regulation to stun Stanford 30-27 on Saturday.

UCLA (8-0, 4-0 Pac-10) has specialized in fantastic finishes during conference play, rallying from double-digit deficits against Washington, California and Washington State earlier in October - but none was as dramatic or unlikely as the Bruins' escape from Stanford Stadium.

"It doesn't seem real. I still can't believe what we did," said Drew, who ran for two late scores, including a 1-yard tumble across the goal line with 46 seconds left to force OT.

Olson, soundly outplayed in the first 52 minutes by workout buddy Trent Edwards, went 24-of-35 for 293 yards and two TDs while leading his latest jaw-dropping comeback. He led fourth-quarter scoring drives of 65, 72 and 66 yards - and all three took a combined 3:40.

Joe Cowan caught a 31-yard TD pass with 4:43 to play, and Drew shook off a bruised right knee to score on UCLA's final play of regulation. Though Olson celebrated wildly along with his teammates, the quarterback knew his team might not have deserved its outrageous fortune.

"For 3? quarters, we played horrible football," Olson said. "I was surprised we were only down 7-3 at halftime. I've got no explanation for this."

UCLA 30, Stanford 27, OT

Has there ever been a season of finishes like this?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

None dare call it treason

(... but a rose by any other name wouldn't smell this bad)

I suspect the Plame leak was just someone forgetting what was classified when smearing yet another enemy to a friendly reporter. Obstruction of Justice is also naughty but probably not impeachable.

What was really, REALLY bad was what triggered the whole sordid chain of events -- the administration (maybe Michael Ledeen) forged documents purporting to show Saddam got uranium from Niger and fed them to allied intelligence agencies, who dutifully fed it back to the CIA so we could go to war under false pretenses!

This is the most treasonous act in US history since the Rosenbergs, and certainly qualifies as a High Crime and Misdemeanor.

http://caribmon.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/10/19/41429/846 ">Politics - World - s.f. bayarea forums - craigslist: "None dare call it treason < RoughJustice > 10/27 13:54:00

I suspect the Plame leak was just someone forgetting what was classified when smearing yet another enemy to a friendly reporter. Obstruction of Justice is also naughty but probably not impeachable.

What was really, REALLY bad was what triggered the whole sordid chain of events -- the administration (maybe Michael Ledeen) forged documents purporting to show Saddam got uranium from Niger and fed them to allied intelligence agencies, who dutifully fed it back to the CIA so we could go to war under false pretenses!

This is the most treasonous act in US history since the Rosenbergs, and certainly qualifies as a High Crime and Misdemeanor.

http://caribmon.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/10/19/41429/846 "

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

AlterNet: War on Iraq: Who Forged the Niger Documents?

Vincent Cannistaro, the former CIA head of counterterrorism operations and intelligence director at the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan:

... The Italian intelligence service, the military intelligence service, was acquiring information that was really being hand-fed to them by very dubious sources. The Niger documents, for example, which apparently were produced in the United States, yet were funneled through the Italians.

[Do we know who produced those documents? Because there’s some suspicion ... ]

I think I do, but I’d rather not speak about it right now, because I don’t think it’s a proven case ...

[If I said “Michael Ledeen” ...?]

You’d be very close . . .

[do you believe that this process worked out in such a way to exonerate the White House and to lay the blame with the wrong . . .]

I think that’s certainly the objective. To lay it off to the intelligence community. But, it’s very disingenuous. It’s like saying, OK, the intelligence community that we whipped into a frenzy in order to provide information to sustain our policy conclusions that Saddam had a WMD program and that he was an imminent danger — that intelligence community provided information that now turns out not to be correct. And that’s why we were misled into saying what we did say, and doing what we did do. That’s very disingenuous, because that’s not the case at all.

The case was that this was not a fact-based policy that the U.S. government adopted. It was a policy-based decision that drove the intelligence, and not the other way around...You had a lot of people who played along to get along, and they understood that in that kind of administration, you couldn’t say exactly what it is that you really believed.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

cabal hijacked US foreign policy

Cheney cabal hijacked US foreign policy
By Edward Alden in Washington
Published: October 20 2005 00:00 | Last updated: October 20 2005 00:19

Vice-President Dick Cheney and a handful of others had hijacked the government's foreign policy apparatus, deciding in secret to carry out policies that had left the US weaker and more isolated in the world, the top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed on Wednesday.

In a scathing attack on the record of President George W. Bush, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January, said: “What I saw was a cabal between the vice-president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.

“Now it is paying the consequences of making those decisions in secret, but far more telling to me is America is paying the consequences.”

Transcript: Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson

Mr Wilkerson said such secret decision-making was responsible for mistakes such as the long refusal to engage with North Korea or to back European efforts on Iran.

It also resulted in bitter battles in the administration among those excluded from the decisions.

“If you're not prepared to stop the feuding elements in the bureaucracy as they carry out your decisions, you are courting disaster. And I would say that we have courted disaster in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran.”

The comments, made at the New America Foundation, a Washington think-tank, were the harshest attack on the administration by a former senior official since criticisms by Richard Clarke, former White House terrorism czar, and Paul O'Neill, former Treasury secretary, early last year.
Among his other charges:

¦ The detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere was “a concrete example” of the decision-making problem, with the president and other top officials in effect giving the green light to soldiers to abuse detainees. “You don't have this kind of pervasive attitude out there unless you've condoned it.”

¦ Condoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser and now secretary of state, was “part of the problem”. Instead of ensuring that Mr Bush received the best possible advice, “she would side with the president to build her intimacy with the president”.

¦ The military, particularly the army and marine corps, is overstretched and demoralised. Officers, Mr Wilkerson claimed, “start voting with their feet, as they did in Vietnam. . . and all of a sudden your military begins to unravel”.

Mr Wilkerson said former president George H.W. Bush “one of the finest presidents we have ever had” understood how to make foreign policy work. In contrast, he said, his son was “not versed in international relations and not too much interested in them either”.

“There's a vast difference between the way George H.W. Bush dealt with major challenges, some of the greatest challenges at the end of the 20th century, and effected positive results in my view, and the way we conduct diplomacy today.”

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Arctic Ice Disappearing

(AP) New satellite observations show that sea ice in the Arctic is melting faster while air temperatures in the region are rising sharply, scientists say.

Since 2002, satellite data have revealed unusually early springtime melting in areas north of Siberia and Alaska. Now the melting trend has spread throughout the Arctic, according to a national collaboration of scientists.

The latest observations through September show that melting in 2005 began a record 17 days earlier than usual.

The observations showed 2.06 million square miles of sea ice as late as Sept. 19. That's the lowest measurement of Arctic sea ice cover ever recorded, the researchers said. It's also 20 percent less than the average of end-of-summer ice pack cover measurements recorded since 1978.

At the same time, average air temperatures across most of the Arctic region from January to August 2005 were as much as 5.4 degrees warmer than average temperature over the last 50 years, said the team of researchers from two universities and NASA.

'The melting and retreat trends are accelerating,' Ted Scambos, of the University of Colorado at Boulder's National Snow and Ice Data Center, said in a statement released by the university. " ...


... I'm still wrestling with the twin fundamental questions: what evidence would it take to (1) convince enough people there's a problem and (2) we can and should do something to fix it?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Meanwhile, back at the deficit ...

"Q:You hold cash in your fund, not bonds. Can you hold corporate bonds or agencies?

We can hold bonds, but we think long-term bond yields at the 4% level are a bad deal. They do not compensate you for the uncertainties of inflation of the massive deterioration in the fiscal integrity of the United States. And I do mean that. It is a travesty to witness what the federal government is doing to the balance sheet of the U.S. "

-- Robert Rodriguez, head of $2 billion FPA Capital fund


... don't say I didn't warn you.

Monday, September 12, 2005

For the record: KATRINA TIMELINE

A full recounting of the sorry mess thru 9/3/05

Comment on the timeline here.
Friday, August 26
GULF COAST STATES REQUEST TROOP ASSISTANCE FROM PENTAGON: At a 9/1 press conference, Lt. Gen. Russel Honor?, commander, Joint Task Force Katrina, said that the Gulf States began the process of requesting additional forces on Friday, 8/26. [DOD]
Saturday, August 27
GOV. BLANCO ASKS BUSH TO DECLARE FEDERAL STATE OF EMERGENCY IN LOUISIANA: ?I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments, and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a disaster.? [Office of the Governor]
FEDERAL EMERGENCY DECLARED, DHS AND FEMA GIVEN FULL AUTHORITY TO RESPOND TO KATRINA: ?Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.? [White House]
Sunday, August 28
MORNING ? LOUISIANA NEWSPAPER SIGNALS LEVEES MAY GIVE: ?Forecasters Fear Levees Won?t Hold Katrina?: ?Forecasters feared Sunday afternoon that storm driven waters will lap over the New Orleans levees when monster Hurricane Katrina pushes past the Crescent City tomorrow.? [Lafayette Daily Advertiser]

Thursday, September 08, 2005

craigslists posts on Kat 8/30-9/8

Politics - World - s.f. bayarea forums - craigslist: "Krugman on FEMA
2005-09-08 07:43:16
Krugman writes: 'the undermining of FEMA began as soon as President Bush took office. Instead of choosing a professional with expertise in responses to disaster to head the agency, Mr. Bush appointed Joseph Allbaugh, a close political confidant. Mr. Allbaugh quickly began trying to scale back some of FEMA's preparedness programs.

You might have expected the administration to reconsider its hostility to emergency preparedness after 9/11 - after all, emergency management is as important in the aftermath of a terrorist attack as it is following a natural disaster. As many people have noticed, the failed response to Katrina shows that we are less ready to cope with a terrorist attack today than we were four years ago.

But the downgrading of FEMA continued, with the appointment of Michael Brown as Mr. Allbaugh's successor.

Mr. Brown had no obvious qualifications, other than having been Mr. Allbaugh's college roommate. But Mr. Brown was made deputy director of FEMA; The Boston Herald reports that he was forced out of his previous job, overseeing horse shows. And when Mr. Allbaugh left, Mr. Brown became the agency's director. The raw cronyism of that appointment showed the contempt the administration felt for the agency; one can only imagine the effects on staff morale.

That contempt, as I've said, reflects a general hostility to the role of government as a force for good. And Americans living along the Gulf Coast have now reaped the consequences of that hostility.'

... and there's your RJ Moment of 2005

[sfo] Politics - World (context)
You decided to live below sea level
2005-09-07 13:34:27
right on the Gulf. You"

Monday, August 22, 2005

Is W channeling Nixon?

Although I don't hold the mental health community in particularly high regard, this strikes me as more or less credible. That said, I'm not nearly as worried about Bush's temper as I am about his fundamental priorities...

Is Bush Out of Control?
Aug 15, 2005, 05:46
The Rant - From Capitol Hill Blue

Buy beleaguered, overworked White House aides enough drinks and they tell a sordid tale of an administration under siege, beset by bitter staff infighting and led by a man whose mood swings suggest paranoia bordering on schizophrenia.

They describe a President whose public persona masks an angry, obscenity-spouting man who berates staff, unleashes tirades against those who disagree with him and ends meetings in the Oval Office with “get out of here!”

In fact, George W. Bush’s mood swings have become so drastic that White House emails often contain “weather reports” to warn of the President’s demeanor. “Calm seas” means Bush is calm while “tornado alert” is a warning that he is pissed at the world.

Decreasing job approval ratings and increased criticism within his own party drives the President’s paranoia even higher. Bush, in a meeting with senior advisors, called Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist a “god-damned traitor” for opposing him on stem-cell research.

“There’s real concern in the West Wing that the President is losing it,” a high-level aide told me recently.

A year ago, this web site discovered the White House physician prescribed anti-depressants for Bush. The news came after revelations that the President’s wide mood swings led some administration staffers to doubt his sanity.

Although GOP loyalists dismissed the reports an anti-Bush propaganda, the reports were later confirmed by prominent George Washington University psychiatrist Dr. Justin Frank in his book Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President. Dr. Frank diagnosed the President as a “paranoid meglomaniac” and “untreated alcoholic” whose “lifelong streak of sadism, ranging from childhood pranks (using firecrackers to explode frogs) to insulting journalists, gloating over state executions and pumping his hand gleefully before the bombing of Baghdad” showcase Bush’s instabilities.

“I was really very unsettled by him and I started watching everything he did and reading what he wrote and watching him on videotape. I felt he was disturbed,” Dr. Frank said. “He fits the profile of a former drinker whose alcoholism has been arrested but not treated.”

Dr. Frank’s conclusions have been praised by other prominent psychiatrists, including Dr. James Grotstein, Professor at UCLA Medical Center, and Dr. Irvin Yalom, MD, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University Medical School.

As a recovering alcoholic (sober 11 years, two months, nine days), I know all too well the symptoms that Dr. Frank describes and, after watching Bush for the past several years, I have to, unfortunately, agree with him.

Conversations over the last few weeks with longtime friends who work in the Bush White House confirm even more what Dr. Frank says and others have suggested.

The President of the United States is out of control. How long can the ship of state continue to sail with a madman at the helm?

© Copyright 2005 Capitol Hill Blue

The BIG risk in Global Warming isn't what you think

It's not just a gradually rising ocean and changing temperature and precipitation patterns, it's a wholesale unhinging of the climate as we know it...

"During the last million years or so, glacial periods and interglacials have alternated as a result of variations in the Earth’s orbital parameters. Based on Antarctic ice cores, more detailed information is available now about the four full glacial cycles during the last 500,000 years. In recent years it was discovered that during the last glacial period large and very rapid temperature variations took place over large parts of the globe, in particular in the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. These abrupt events saw temperature changes of many degrees within a human lifetime. In contrast, the last 10,000 years appear to have been relatively more stable... "


The risk of reaching an heretofore unknown tipping point in the climate is quite real and very dangerous. You've been warned.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Karl Rove's America:How the Dream Ends

It ends not with a bang but with a prolonged sigh ...

"John Gibson of Fox News says that Karl Rove should be given a medal. I agree: Mr. Rove should receive a medal from the American Political Science Association for his pioneering discoveries about modern American politics. The medal can, if necessary, be delivered to his prison cell.

What Mr. Rove understood, long before the rest of us, is that we're not living in the America of the past, where even partisans sometimes changed their views when faced with the facts. Instead, we're living in a country in which there is no longer such a thing as nonpolitical truth. In particular, there are now few, if any, limits to what conservative politicians can get away with: the faithful will follow the twists and turns of the party line with a loyalty that would have pleased the Comintern.

I first realized that we were living in Karl Rove's America during the 2000 presidential campaign, when George W. Bush began saying things about Social Security privatization and tax cuts that were simply false. At first, I thought the Bush campaign was making a big mistake - that these blatant falsehoods would be condemned by prominent Republican politicians and Republican economists, especially those who had spent years building reputations as advocates of fiscal responsibility. In fact, with hardly any exceptions they lined up to praise Mr. Bush's proposals.

But the real demonstration that Mr. Rove understands American politics better than any pundit came after 9/11.

Every time I read a lament for the post-9/11 era of national unity, I wonder what people are talking about. On the issues I was watching, the Republicans' exploitation of the atrocity began while ground zero was still smoldering.

Mr. Rove has been much criticized for saying that liberals responded to the attack by wanting to offer the terrorists therapy - but what he said about conservatives, that they "saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war," is equally false. What many of them actually saw was a domestic political opportunity - and none more so than Mr. Rove.

A less insightful political strategist might have hesitated right after 9/11 before using it to cast the Democrats as weak on national security. After all, there were no facts to support that accusation.

But Mr. Rove understood that the facts were irrelevant. For one thing, he knew he could count on the administration's supporters to obediently accept a changing story line. Read the before-and-after columns by pro-administration pundits about Iraq: before the war they castigated the C.I.A. for understating the threat posed by Saddam's W.M.D.; after the war they castigated the C.I.A. for exaggerating the very same threat.

Mr. Rove also understands, better than anyone else in American politics, the power of smear tactics. Attacks on someone who contradicts the official line don't have to be true, or even plausible, to undermine that person's effectiveness. All they have to do is get a lot of media play, and they'll create the sense that there must be something wrong with the guy.

And now we know just how far he was willing to go with these smear tactics: as part of the effort to discredit Joseph Wilson IV, Mr. Rove leaked the fact that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for the C.I.A. I don't know whether Mr. Rove can be convicted of a crime, but there's no question that he damaged national security for partisan advantage. If a Democrat had done that, Republicans would call it treason.

But what we're getting, instead, is yet another impressive demonstration that these days, truth is political. One after another, prominent Republicans and conservative pundits have declared their allegiance to the party line. They haven't just gone along with the diversionary tactics, like the irrelevant questions about whether Mr. Rove used Valerie Wilson's name in identifying her (Robert Novak later identified her by her maiden name, Valerie Plame), or the false, easily refuted claim that Mr. Wilson lied about who sent him to Niger. They're now a chorus, praising Mr. Rove as a patriotic whistle-blower.

Ultimately, this isn't just about Mr. Rove. It's also about Mr. Bush, who has always known that his trusted political adviser - a disciple of the late Lee Atwater, whose smear tactics helped President Bush's father win the 1988 election - is a thug, and obviously made no attempt to find out if he was the leaker.

Most of all, it's about what has happened to America. How did our political system get to this point?"

--P Krugman, The New York Times, 7.15.05

Friday, July 22, 2005

Krugman: real unemployment rate is 1-3 pts higher

The Unofficial Paul Krugman Web Page: "Economists who argue that there's something wrong with the unemployment numbers are buzzing about a new study by Katharine Bradbury, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, which suggests that millions of Americans who should be in the labor force aren't. 'The addition of these hypothetical participants,' she writes, 'would raise the unemployment rate by one to three-plus percentage points.'
Some background: the unemployment rate is only one of several numbers economists use to assess the jobs picture. When the economy is generating an abundance of jobs, economists expect to see strong growth in the payrolls reported by employers and in the number of people who say they have jobs, together with a rise in the length of the average workweek. They also expect to see wage gains well in excess of inflation, as employers compete to attract workers.
In fact, we see none of these things. As Berkeley's J. Bradford DeLong writes on his influential economics blog, 'We have four of five indicators telling us that the state of the job market is not that good and only one - the unemployment rate - reading green.'
In particular, even the most favorable measures show that employment growth has lagged well behind population growth over the past four years. Yet the measured unemployment rate isn't much higher than it was in early 2001. How is that possible?
The answer, according to the survey used to estimate the unemployment rate, is a decline in labor force participation. Nonworking Americans aren't considered unemployed unless they are actively looking for work, and hence counted as part of the labor force. And a large number of people have, for some reason, dropped out of the official labor force.
Those with a downbeat view of the jobs picture argue that the low reported unemployment rate is a statistical illusion, tha"

Krugman: Chinese will stop buying T-bills, then kiss that bubble buh-bye

The Unofficial Paul Krugman Web Page: "By keeping the yuan down, China is feeding a trade surplus that is creating a growing political backlash in America and Europe. And China, which is still a poor country, is devoting a lot of resources to the accumulation of a basically useless pile of dollars instead of to higher living standards.
The question is what happens to us if the Chinese finally decide to stop acting so strangely.
An end to China's dollar-buying spree would lead to a sharp rise in the value of the yuan. It would probably also lead to a sharp fall in the value of the dollar relative to other major currencies, like the yen and the euro, which the Chinese haven't been buying on the same scale. This would help U.S. manufacturers by raising their competitors' costs.
But if the Chinese stopped buying all those U.S. bonds, interest rates would rise. This would be bad news for housing - maybe very bad news, if the interest rate rise burst the bubble.
In the long run, the economic effects of an end to China's dollar buying would even out. America would have more industrial workers and fewer real estate agents, more jobs in Michigan and fewer in Florida, leaving the overall level of employment pretty much unaffected. But as John Maynard Keynes pointed out, in the long run we are all dead.
In the short run, some people would win, but others would lose. And I suspect that the losers would greatly outnumber the winners.
And what about the strategic effects? Right now America is a superpower living on credit - something I don't think has happened since Philip II ruled Spain. What will happen to our stature if and when China takes away our credit card?
This story is still in its early days. On the first day of the new policy, the yuan rose only 2 percent, not enough to make any noticeable difference. But one of these days Chinese dollar purchases will trail of"

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Batting .500 isnt bad if death isn't on the line

The likelihood that the innocent are being executed was enough to compel Illinois Governor George Ryan, a onetime supporter of the death penalty to suspend executions two years ago. Simple arithmetic convinced him the system was broken: of 25 people put on death row in Illinois since 1987, 12 were executed, 13 were falsely accused and eventually freed, including Anthony Porter, a retarded man who came within a few days of execution for a murder he didn't commit.

... What is your state's average?


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

US wakes up, finds itself in bed with WHAT!?

"A record 57 percent also now say the administration intentionally exaggerated its evidence that pre-war Iraq possessed nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.
Fifty-three percent of Americans say the war was not worth fighting...

Fifty-one percent said they want to see a timetable for withdrawing troops. For the first time, a plurality of Americans, by 50%-47%, sees the war in Iraq as a separate action from the war on terrorism.
By 46%-43%, a plurality says the war in Iraq has made the U.S. less safe from terrorism.
By 53%-46%, Americans say the United States made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq. That's the highest level of discontent since the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib prison scandals last summer.

In addition,

By a record 61%-37%, those surveyed say the president doesn't have a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq. Bush's job-approval rating has suffered, too. His approval rating is 45%, equaling the lowest of his presidency. At 53%, his disapproval rating has reached a new high."


... now where's that damn morning after pill!?

Monday, June 13, 2005

The overlooked $2,300 billion deficit upper

And you thought half a trillion was bad...

"... Blessed by historical habits that have no relationship to what our government does today, our legacy of cash accounting now serves to mislead and confuse. The April issue of Economic Indicators, a publication prepared by the Council of Economic Advisers, for instance, projects a unified budget deficit -- the one that lumps the Social Security surplus in with the rest of government -- of $427 billion. (New reports this week that we may be on track for a smaller deficit don't change the fact that the accounting methods are misleading. We'll stick with the $427 billion figure until they make the new estimate official in midsummer.)

The $427 billion deficit, however, is a massive understatement of our true deficit. The real deficit is $2.3 trillion larger. That's more than five times the publicly discussed $427 billion figure -- but it never enters public discussion.

If the executive branch of government were held to the standards of Sarbanes-Oxley, it would be on a fast track to a criminal trial. We would forget about Ken Lay because the crimes at Enron are mere rounding errors compared to what our government does.

A bipartisan problem
Some readers will expect a diatribe against President George W. Bush to follow.

It won't.

This is a bipartisan problem. Both the Democrats and the Republicans, in or out of office, have been using accounting methods that are, at best, quaint and, at worst, criminal. And they have been doing it for decades.

You can understand what's going on by comparing our government to a large corporation like General Motors.

When General Motors (GM, news, msgs) files its annual report, it must report on the condition of its pension fund and other obligations to current and retired workers as well as its profit or loss. If the pension liabilities -- the retirement benefits it has promised workers -- exceed pension-plan assets by more than a certain amount, General Motors must make contributions to the pension fund, reducing its profits. The two, profits and pensions, are deeply linked. General Motors also has substantial health-care obligations to its retired workers.

Sound familiar?

Our government is in a similar position -- but with a lot more zeros on the numbers it uses. It reports its annual profit and loss as a surplus or a deficit. Separately, it reports on its long-term pension, disability and health-care obligations. Unlike General Motors, however, the government doesn't include these figures in the annual statements of surplus or deficit.

The buried details
You can find them only in the trustees' reports for Social Security and Medicare.

The 2005 reports (each over 200 pages) show the programs to be underfunded by a total of $33.7 trillion (in today's dollars) over the next 75 years. That's four times the $8 trillion in formal debt shown in regular government accounting.

You learn still more when you compare the 2005 reports with the reports from 2004. In 2004, the combined unfunded obligations of Social Security and Medicare were $31.4 trillion.

That's an increase of $2.3 trillion in a single year. The trustees' examination of the plans over a longer time period, termed the infinite horizon, shows an even larger change, $7.2 trillion (see table below).

But let's not look so far in the future. Let's stay with the traditional (if inadequate) 75-year measure, that $2.3 trillion. It isn't mentioned in other government documents. It is missing from Economic Indicators. Indeed, it is absent from virtually all discussion of the federal budget -- the one currently estimating a piddling deficit of $427 billion for fiscal 2005.


Friday, June 10, 2005

Onward, Christian Soldier!

Connecting the Dots 101

The legal battle over the life of Terri Schiavo may have ended, but a thick, fervent crowd remains in the makeshift encampment outside the Woodside Hospice House here . . .
No, we're not going to go home," said Bill Tierney, a young daughter at his side. "Terri is not dead until she's dead" . . .
Mr. Tierney, a former military intelligence officer in Iraq who works as a translator and investigator for private companies, cried as he talked about watching the Schiavo spectacle on television and feeling the utter need to be at the hospice.
New York Times
Protesters With Hearts on Sleeves and Anger on Signs
March 28, 2005

Bill Tierney . . . had just returned from eight months working as an interrogator for US forces in Baghdad, and had come to talk, on the record, about torture.
''The Brits came up with an expression – wog,'' Tierney said. ''That stands for Wily Oriental Gentleman. There's a lot of wiliness in that part of the world.''. . .
After explaining his various psychological tactics to the audience, interrogator Bill Tierney (a private contractor working with the Army) said, ''I tried to be nuanced and culturally aware. But the suspects didn't break.''
Suddenly Tierney's temper rose. ''They did not break!'' he shouted. ''I'm here to win. I'm here so our civilization beats theirs! Now what are you willing to do to win?'' he asked, pointing to a woman in the front row. ''You are the interrogators, you are the ones who have to get the information from the Iraqis. What do you do? That word 'torture'. You immediately think, 'That's not me.' But are we litigating this war or fighting it?'' . . .
Asked about Abu Ghraib, Tierney said that for an interrogator, ''sadism is always right over the hill. You have to admit it. Don't fool yourself – there is a part of you that will say, 'This is fun.' ''
Boston Globe
Spy world
February 13, 2005

... what a piece of work is man. Well, this man anyway.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Where would you like the deck chairs today, sir?

"Let’s just say we were old friends, and you have money and I am broke. I need to borrow from you to just pay my expenses. That’s fine with you so you are lending me money. In the meantime, I’m taking that money and I’m just spending lavishly. I’ve bought a mansion on the beach and I’m having parties every night, traveling first class, buying designer clothes, and just spending like mad...But as time goes on, let’s say a few years later, for every $10,000 your lending me, I’m paying back only $7,000. After a while, you’re going to say, ‘Look, this isn’t working out too well.’

"Unfortunately, this is the situation that the US is in today. We’re definitely not gloom-and-doomers by any means. But if we just look at the facts of what is happening, you have to ask how this is happening. It actually started in the late 1990s. As you know, the stock market bubble burst. The NASDAQ then plunged 78%, at which point deflation forces intensified. To avoid deflation, interest rates were dropped hard and fast to 45-year lows. Monetary stimulation exploded, and to make matters worse, 9-11 added fuel to the fire. As the war on terrorism kicked in, the US budget surplus quickly went from a surplus to the biggest debt and deficits that the world has ever known.

"The end result was the biggest credit explosion in US history. Meanwhile, deficit spending and monetary stimulation also resulted in inflation. And even though inflation is still relatively low, it is the highest it has been in 14 years. This is all very similar to what happened in the 1970s. Like now, money was loose, deficits were huge, inflation soared, and budget deficits were large. ...

"Yes, dollar reserves are still huge. But what’s important to note is that the US is using up 80% of the world’s available savings, and it is borrowing $2 billion a day from overseas to cover its debt. Now this means we are very dependent on foreign money. These huge imbalances simply cannot continue. Economists continually debate this situation and no one knows what will happen. Paul Volcker, for example, recently said, ‘Circumstances seem to be as dangerous as any I can remember--and I can remember a lot. What really concerns me is that there seems to be so little willingness to do anything about it.’


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

US Economy is getting teed up for a long drive

Here's what one major brokerage advisor had to say about housing and the economy last week:

"On a year-over-year basis, median existing home prices jumped 11.4%, with the strongest increases in the highly speculative condo market (15.9%) and in the already red-hot West (18.9%). What started out as a reasonable response to a low interest rate environment has become a bubble in one-third to one-half of the market."


"We expect a long adjustment ahead, with a significant decline in the dollar against a wide range of currencies. The length and magnitude of the adjustment means accidents are likely along the way. Among the warning signs are:

1) protectionist measures in the U.S. and Europe that invite retaliation from Asia;

2) a game of hot potato, whereby investors try to shift out of dollar assets before the dollar falls further, putting more of the buying burden onto the remaining supporters of the dollar;

3) reorientation of currency pegging toward baskets of currencies rather than the dollar;

4) events in Asia that encourage selling foreign exchange assets to deal with local difficulties; and

5) a sharp shift away from export-oriented growth policy toward domestic demand-driven growth policy, reducing the need to buy dollar assets. "

... Fore!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

What is a moderate to do?

The Unofficial Paul Krugman Web Page: "Claims that liberal bias keeps conservatives off college faculties almost always focus on the humanities and social sciences, where judgments about what constitutes good scholarship can seem subjective to an outsider. But studies that find registered Republicans in the minority at elite universities show that Republicans are almost as rare in hard sciences like physics and in engineering departments as in softer fields. Why?
One answer is self-selection - the same sort of self-selection that leads Republicans to outnumber Democrats four to one in the military. The sort of person who prefers an academic career to the private sector is likely to be somewhat more liberal than average, even in engineering.
But there's also, crucially, a values issue. In the 1970's, even Democrats like Daniel Patrick Moynihan conceded that the Republican Party was the 'party of ideas.' Today, even Republicans like Representative Chris Shays concede that it has become the 'party of theocracy.'
Consider the statements of Dennis Baxley, a Florida legislator who has sponsored a bill that - like similar bills introduced in almost a dozen states - would give students who think that their conservative views aren't respected the right to sue their professors. Mr. Baxley says that he is taking on 'leftists' struggling against 'mainstream society,' professors who act as 'dictators' and turn the classroom into a 'totalitarian niche.' His prime example of academic totalitarianism? When professors say that evolution is a fact.
In its April Fools' Day issue, Scientific American published a spoof editorial in which it apologized for endorsing the theory of evolution just because it's 'the unifying concept for all of biology and one of the greatest scientific ideas of all time,' saying that 'as editors, we had no business being persuaded by mountains "

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Caught in a Devil's Bargain

"A 2003 study published in Health Affairs ... comparing a number of measures of health services across the advanced world. What the authors found was that the United States scores high on high-tech services - we have lots of M.R.I.'s - but on more prosaic measures, like the number of doctors' visits and number of days spent in hospitals, America is only average, or even below average. There's also direct evidence that identical procedures cost far more in the U.S. than in other advanced countries.

The authors concluded that Americans spend far more on health care than their counterparts abroad - but they don't actually receive more care. The title of their article? "It's the Prices, Stupid."

Why is the price of U.S. health care so high? One answer is doctors' salaries: although average wages in France and the United States are similar, American doctors are paid much more than their French counterparts. Another answer is that America's health care system drives a poor bargain with the pharmaceutical industry.

Above all, a large part of America's health care spending goes into paperwork. A 2003 study in The New England Journal of Medicine estimated that administrative costs took 31 cents out of every dollar the United States spent on health care, compared with only 17 cents in Canada."

" The United States spends far more on health care than other advanced countries. Yet we don't appear to receive more medical services. And we have lower life-expectancy and higher infant-mortality rates than countries that spend less than half as much per person. How do we do it?

An important part of the answer is that much of our health care spending is devoted to passing the buck: trying to get someone else to pay the bills.

According to the World Health Organization, in the United States administrative expenses eat up about 15 percent of the money paid in premiums to private health insurance companies, but only 4 percent of the budgets of public insurance programs, which consist mainly of Medicare and Medicaid. The numbers for both public and private insurance are similar in other countries - but because we rely much more heavily than anyone else on private insurance, our total administrative costs are much higher.

According to the health organization, the higher costs of private insurers are "mainly due to the extensive bureaucracy required to assess risk, rate premiums, design benefit packages and review, pay or refuse claims." Public insurance plans have far less bureaucracy because they don't try to screen out high-risk clients or charge them higher fees.

And the costs directly incurred by insurers are only half the story. Doctors "must hire office personnel just to deal with the insurance companies," Dr. Atul Gawande, a practicing physician, wrote in The New Yorker. "A well-run office can get the insurer's rejection rate down from 30 percent to, say, 15 percent. That's how a doctor makes money. ... It's a war with insurance, every step of the way."

--Paul Krugman http://www.pkarchive.org/

...Universal health insurance, anyone?

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Unbefu*kinglieveable Dept

This has gotta get the conspiracy nuts spun right thru the ceiling ...

"Bless the Beasts and the Children

Photographer for White House child sex ring arrested after Thompson suicide

Tom Flocco | March 13, 2005

The Justice Department, acting through the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Omaha, emerges from the record of the Franklin investigations not so much as a party to the cover-up, but as its coordinator. Rigging grand juries, harassment of witnesses, incitement to perjury and tampering with evidence--federal personnel were seen to apply all of those techniques in the Franklin case. (John W. DeCamp, Esq., The Franklin Cover-up , Second Edition, January 2005)

WASHINGTON -- Photographer Russell E. "Rusty" Nelson was recently arrested two days after journalist Hunter Thompson reportedly committed suicide four weeks ago on February 10, according to two phone interviews with attorney John DeCamp last week.

Nelson was allegedly employed by a former Republican Party activist to take pictures of current or retired U.S. House-Senate members and other prominent government officials engaging in sexual criminality by receiving or committing sodomy and other sex acts on children during the Reagan-Bush 41 administrations.
Hunter Thompson’s death and the news blackout of Rusty Nelson’s simultaneous arrest raise questions that someone may be attempting to limit Nelson’s freedom or threaten him, since according to testimony, both men had allegedly witnessed homosexual prostitution and pedophile criminal acts in a suppressed but far-reaching child sex-ring probe closely linked to Senate and House members--but also former President George H. W. Bush.

[In U.S. District Court testimony, Rusty Nelson told Judge Warren Urbom he took 20,000 to 30,000 pictures, 2-5-1999, p.52]

Pedophile victim Paul Bonacci--kidnapped and forced into sex slavery between the ages of 6 and 17--told U.S. District Court Judge Warren Urbom in sworn testimony [pp.105, 124-126] on February 5, 1999: "Where were the parties?...down in Washington, DC...and that was for sex...There was sex between adult men and other adult men but most of it had to do with young boys and young girls with the older folks...specifically for sex with minors...Also in Washington, DC, there were parties after a party...there were a lot of parties where there would be senators and congressmen who had nothing to do with the sexual stuff. But there were some senators and congressmen who stayed for the [pedophile sex] parties afterwards...on a lot of the trips he took us on he had us, I mean, I met some people that I don't feel comfortable telling their name because I don't want to --- ...Q: Are you scared?...Yes..."

DeCamp, a former Nebraska state senator and decorated Vietnam War vet, told TomFlocco.com "there are tons of pictures still left; law enforcement is currently looking for them," adding, "you can also assume there are senators and congressmen implicated; otherwise this would not be such a big issue." But no federal official has stepped forward to protect Rusty Nelson's life, as Congress would be reluctant to hold hearings or force a federal prosecutor to probe its own members for sex acts with children--still punishable by law.

Sex with minors?

In his testimony before Judge Urbom, Bonacci specifically named Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) as having participated in the parties--also telling the judge he had "relationships with him" in Washington, DC and was flown to Massachusetts for sex in the basement of Frank's Boston home. [2-5-1999, p. 126]

However, Urbom did not subpoena all the photos and did not ask Bonacci to identify photos of specific senators and congressmen, or reveal their names in court transcripts and depositions we examined; nor did Judge Urbom explain why investigations have never commenced regarding which members of congress had sex with children.

The evidence DeCamp presented was so credible and substantial that Urbom awarded Paul Bonacci $1 million for child abuse on February 19, 1999 regarding his lawsuit involving Larry King. This, despite a Nebraska jury having already indicted Bonacci for perjury in 1990, ultimately sending an intentionally damaged, spiritually and physically abused young man to prison for five years--and despite his treatment by King, described in court testimony:

"They put guns up to my head. Had guns put in my mouth...Larry King sent out boys, men, to jump me...he had them pretty well beat the tar out of me from the waist down so nobody would see the marks...I had my fingers broken...I can remember them burning me with hot instruments...placing stuff inside me...almost what I call a cattle prod...But it would be put inside then they'd shock me inside my -- ...Judge Urbom: Anus?...Yes... And they would -- ...Judge: You mean electrically heated?...They would put it in and then push a button and it would shock me...Judge Urbom:..done by Larry King at his direction?...At his direction..."

"I threatened to go to the police in California, thought maybe they would listen whereas in Omaha they were in his pocketbook...he had me hung out of an airplane with a rope by my ankles... If they wanted to get something passed through the legislature, he would put some people that were against it in a compromising position. By using us boys and girls ...Judge Urbom: Was this by your being the sexual partner of that person?...Yes...Judge Urbom: ...Any estimates of how often you participated as the sexual partner of one of these persons that he wanted to get some kind of control over?...There were times when it would be four or five in a night...on probably a couple thousand times...sometimes dozens of times with the same person..." [U.S. District Court testimony, 2-5-1999, pp. 146-151]

Curiously, Paul Bonacci told investigators that the sex ring was based out of Offutt U.S. Air Force Base near Omaha, having been taken there to be abused since he was three years old in 1970. At Offutt, Paul said he was "trained" by tortures, heavy drugging and sexual degradation. [Offutt AFB played a major role immediately following the 9/11 attacks as George W. Bush made the base his post-attack headquarters for a short period.]

So intent upon his physical harm, the government "moved Bonacci to different facilities--despite agreements worked out by DeCamp, purposefully given food to which he was allergic while his weight dropped, and denied a blanket for months...beaten several times in jail and placed with potentially violent people associated with Larry King," according to Decamp.

John DeCamp told us last week that "Larry King was released from prison on April 11, 2001 after serving about five years," adding "he's back in Washington, DC and now involved in this story again." [DeCamp's book also said "King went to prison for embezzlement, conspiracy and making false financial record entries...there was no trial on any other charges, and the evidence of child prostitution and abuse perpetrated by King was never presented in any court." Franklin Cover-up , p. 224]

John DeCamp just released an updated 2005 edition of his original book about the secret White House-linked national child sex-ring entitled The Franklin Cover-up [$12.95 + $4.00 shipping: contact decamplegal@inebraska.com for 2005 edition]. The carefully researched and graphic expose involves convicted [and recently released from prison] GOP operative Lawrence E. "Larry" King Jr. who allegedly hired photographers to capture legislators and high officials in compromising sexual positions with children while he managed the Franklin Federal Credit Union--according to court testimony on 2-5-1999. [Franklin was raided by federal agencies and shut down two days before George H. W. Bush was elected president in 1988.]

Past mysterious deaths, clandestine arrests, court testimony, and credible evidence of FBI and CIA participation in their cover-up also raise questions as to why elderly pedophile priests are removed from their pulpits, prosecuted and imprisoned for sex acts committed 40 years ago and why famous music entertainers are prosecuted for pedophilia; yet elderly pedophile federal legislators may still remain in the U.S. House and Senate--drawing a free pass for past criminal child-sex acts.

Regarding his role in taking blackmail photos of government officials, Rusty Nelson confirmed Bonacci’s testimony to Judge Urbom: "Q: Children on the airplane?...yes. Q: How young?...There was one situation went back to Washington, DC...he had probably 10, 12 years old...Q: Boys, girls?...Both...Q: Who attended the parties?...Prominent business people, very prominent high-ranking officials, politicians. The younger people. What would transpire was they would have a party and then a party after the party...after the party was more of a sex-type deal...That’s what Larry [King] would -- -- Q: These old politicians were having sex with each other?...Or people Larry would bring...some younger people...Did you take pictures of the parties?...I took pictures at some of the parties, yes..." [U.S. District Court testimony, 2-5-1999, pp. 89-91]

After the Secret Service allowed Paul Bonacci to have access to the White House on July 3, 1988, one of DeCamp’s investigators said the young pedophile victim was able to draw a floor-plan of the presidential inside living quarters of the White House--an area not available to the public--lending stong credence to a June 29, 1989 Washington Times front page story, "Homosexual prostitution inquiry ensnares VIPs with Reagan, Bush," when reporters Paul Rodriguez and George Archibald said "Call-boys took midnight tour of White House."

Presidential indiscretions--or criminal acts?

According to a Nebraska state police report, Nebraska Foster Care Review Board letter to the Attorney General, Nebraska Senate’s Franklin committee investigative report, and a 50-page report by Omaha’s Boys Town welfare case officer Mrs. Julie Walters, pedophile victims Nelly and Kimberly Webb detailed a massive child sex, homosexual and pornography operation run out of Nebraska by Larry King--but with close ties directly to the White House.

Mrs. Walter’s Nebraska Dept. of Social Services report (3-25-86) revealed: "[14 year-old] Nelly said at these trip parties hosted by Larry King, she sat naked ‘looking pretty and innocent’ and guests could engage in any sexual activity they wanted, but penetration was not allowed...Nellysaid she first met V. P. George Bush at the Republican Convention where King sang the national anthem, and saw Bush again at a Washington, DC party Larry hosted...Last year [1985] she met V.P. Bush and saw him at one of the parties Larry gave while on a Washington, DC trip. At some of the parties there are just men (as was the case at the party George Bush attended)...Nelly said she has seen sodomy committed at those parties."

The Walters report continued: "On December 19, 1988, Nelly was contacted and voluntarily came to the FBI offices on December 30, 1988. She was interviewed by [FBI agents] Brady, Tucker and Phillips...in September or October, 1984 when Lisa was 14 she went to Chicago with Larry King and 15-20 boys from Omaha...She indicates she attended a party in Chicago with King and the male youths. She indicated George Bush was present...she sat at a table at the party wearing nothing but a negligee. She stated George Bush saw her on the table. She stated she saw George Bush pay King money and Bush left the party with a nineteen year old black boy named Brent. Lisa said the party Bush attended was in Chicago in September or October 1984. The Chicago Tribune of October 31, 1984 said Bush was in Illinois campaigning for congressional candidates at the end of October."

Bush 41 surfaced again in Lowe's May, 1989 review of reports by Thomas Vlahoulis from the state attorney general's office: "Sorenson told Vlahoulis that both Kimberly and Nelly [Webb] brought up the name of George Bush and indicated that they had both met him..."

In spite of four polygraph tests administered by a Nebraska state trooper who said he was convinced Nelly was telling the truth, a Washington country, Nebraska judge in December, 1990 ignored Julie Walter’s 50-page report, numerous debriefings of the girls by foster care officials and youth workers stating the sisters told the truth--specifically about George Bush Sr., and dismissed all charges against their foster parents Jarrett and Barbara Webb, who Nelly and Kimberly said had allowed them to be abused.

Regarding his role in taking blackmail photos of government officials, recently re-arrested Rusty Nelson confirmed Bonacci’s testimony to Judge Urbom: "Q: Children on the airplane?...yes. Q: How young?...There was one situation went back to Washington, DC he had probably 10, 12 years old...Q: Boys, girls?...Both...Q: Who attended the parties?...Prominent business people, very prominent high-ranking officials, politicians. The younger people. What would transpire was they would have a party and then a party after the party...after the party was more of a sex-type deal...That’s what Larry [King] would -- -- Q: These old politicians were having sex with each other?...Or people Larry would bring...some younger people...Did you take pictures of the parties?...I took pictures at some of the parties, yes..." [U.S. District Court testimony, 2-5-1999, pp. 89-91]

Gosch to Guckert to Gannon?

Cable television news reports have recently linked an alleged male prostitute to the present White House since George W. Bush permitted James Guckert to use an unprecedented Secret Service-approved alias (Jeff Gannon) while having access to the White House for two years as a pool reporter serving the younger Bush--before which Gannon had advertised himself on internet pornography sites as a male "escort" charging $200 an hour. [Gannon is the subject of independent news reports which have referred to him as the former kidnapped Des Moines, Iowa paperboy Johnny Gosch--forced into child sex-slavery.] John DeCamp told this writer "I believe Johnny Gosch and Jeff Gannon are one and the same person--but I am not in a position to know positively."
During a recent phone interview, Noreen Gosch told TomFlocco.com that she is still not sure whether her missing son Johnny is in fact James Gannon, because she has "not seen enough evidence." But having been abducted in 1982, Johnny Gosch would now be about 35-36 years old. Gannon claims to be 47 but his "male4male" website escorts profile lists him as 31 in 2000, which would also make him 35-36 years old today.

George W. Bush has not explained how Guckert/Gannon--who had advertised himself as a male escort--could apparently operate in the White House as a reporter for two years using a Secret Service-approved alias and regularly be called upon by George W. Bush and press secretary Scott McClellan during nationally televised presidential press conferences.

Questions can be raised as to whether Gannon also had access to the White House living quarters as Paul Bonacci and other call-boys did during his father’s administration--as the Washington Times reported. Photos of George W. Bush and Jeff Gannon together indicate that they have a cordial personal relationship.

Noreen Gosch said her son Johnny is living under an assumed name after being abducted on September 5, 1982 while serving his Sunday morning paper route. During a clandestine visit from her son when he was 27 or 28, Mrs. Gosch said Johnny told her he was taken by a highly organized, very corporate global pedophile/pornography ring--linked to the Washington, DC congressional call-boy scandal during the 1980's.

Hunter Thompson directed child murder-sex film?

A controversial author, Hunter Thompson was allegedly linked to Larry King as implicated in Paul Bonacci's testimony in which the pedophile victim revealed that Thompson directed a graphic ‘snuff’ film [Franklin Cover-up, pp.102-105 & 327] made near Sacramento, California at a location called " Bohemian Grove ."

Bonacci--flown numerous times across state lines for sexual exploitation to Washington, DC and other cities--testified on videotape [5-14-1990] for Nebraska State Police investigator Gary Caradori. Bonacci said that while on a trip to Sacramento, he was forced at gun-point to commit homosexual acts on another boy before he watched other men do the same--after which the boy was shot in the head.

In separate testimony, Decamp said Bonacci told him "Larry King was smiling and laughing the whole time the film was being shown...as the men watched, they passed Nicholas [another victim] and me around as if we were toys, and sexually abused us." [U.S. District Court, 2-5-1999, pp.115-129]

Bonacci’s testimony has been evaluated as credible and well-informed by leading child abuse experts, psychiatrists, psychologists and polygraph tests; and he has also testified that he was forced to lure Johnny Gosch into being kidnapped--considered by many to be the most notorious U.S. child sex-slavery case.

Protecting legislators at the expense of children

John Decamp told TomFlocco.com that Franklin child-abuse witness "Alisha Owen was convicted of lying that as a minor, she had sex with Omaha Chief of Police Robert Wadman. She was placed in solitary confinement for years--the most brutal treatment of a female inmate in Nebraska history for a first-time offense," to which Decamp added, "it was done to keep her silent and away from other inmates, but also as a warning to the other children."

21 year-old Alisha Jahn Owen was sentenced on August 8, 1991 to serve nine to twenty-seven years in prison for telling a grand jury that she was sexually abused as a juvenile by a Nebraska District Court judge, by Omaha's Chief of Police, by the manager of the Franklin Credit Union, and others.

DeCamp said "Alisha witnessed abuse of other children and functioned as an illegal drug courier traveling nationwide for some of Nebraska's wealthiest, most powerful and prominent businessmen." But a local and a federal grand jury indicted the victim-witnesses for perjury--throwing the key young people in prison to cover up child-sex and illegal drugs.

The Nebraska State Senate’s primary Franklin Committee investigator Gary Caradori's March 14, 1990 notes revealed that on the day of the federal agents' raid on Franklin Credit Union, "a large amount of pornographic material was taken out of the credit union, including videos and photographs depicting sexual acts. I was told that if Friedrichs or any of the other people working for the CPA firm contacted by the government [audit] would say anything, they would automatically lose their jobs."

That evidence was never made available to the Nebraska Senate's Franklin Committee, nor was its existence publicly acknowledged by the FBI; and all raid warrants were sealed by United States Magistrate Richard Kopf--the same court official who ordered to have Larry King taken by federal agents to a federal psychiatric facility for "tests," on February 7, 1990 as President George H. W. Bush was coming to Omaha for a fundraising event.

Alisha Owen testified to the Franklin Committee on June 11, 1990 that the FBI attempted to influence federal witness testimony--that her former lawyer Pam Vuchetich had come to see her in the spring: "giving a proposal from the FBI that if I recanted my story then nothing would happen to me; I could get out of prison and no charges would ever be brought against me...they would write letters to the judge asking for my sentence reduction..."

Her parents, Donna and Alvin Owen told the committee about the incident on June 21, 1990: "Q: You testified that your husband was there?...sitting in the living room, I remember...Q: Did she tell you who in the FBI made that deal, made that offer to her?...Mickey Mott...He works closely with Rick Culver and John Pankonon...

Curiously, state policeman Gary Caradori, died July 11, 1990 in a small-plane explosion, one month after FBI officials attempted to coerce a key child witness to recant her testimony--and even though a deputy sheriff first at the crash site said there was child pornography scattered all over the farmer’s field and the farmer said he witnessed the plane exploding in mid-air before crashing to the ground
Johnny Gosch’s mother, Noreen, said "undisclosed sources told her the FBI immediately arrived with three flatbed trucks [modus operandi of FBI and Gov. Jeb Bush confiscating 9/11 hijacker documents at Venice, Florida’s Huffman flight school?], grabbed the evidence from the sheriff’s hands, cordoned off the field, walked the field, picked up every piece of evidence, took the plane and all its parts and put it on the flatbed trucks, and told the peace officer, ‘This is confidential information and don’t ever speak of it again.’ The evidence has never surfaced again in Nebraska’s Franklin investigation or any other investigation." [ Ted Gunderson Report , June 28, 2000]

DeCamp's book reveals more clear evidence of witness tampering and possible accessory to murder: On the evening of July 11, 1990, the day her husband crashed to his death, Sandie Caradori received several phone calls from [key Franklin child-abuse witness] Troy Boner. She wrote in her notes: "I am familiar with his voice and can be 100% assured that I did in fact receive telephone calls from him...Troy: Gary wasn't lying. He didn't tell me what to say. What I told him was the truth. (He spoke rapidly, fighting back tears) They made me take it back. They threatened me...You don't understand, they threatened me. They made me take it back. I was so scared..." [pp. 186-187]

In 1990, according to DeCamp, "Troy Boner was going to provide the information in open court, under oath, that would blow the lid off the Franklin case and force a new trial for Alisha Owen...As Troy came into the courthouse, he was immediately ushered into a private room by county judicial authorities...the hearing was delayed for one hour...Troy was in the room with a "Special Attorney" and with other officials from the prosecutor's office-- the very same prosecutorial team Troy was about to testify against."

"... Troy leaned over and whispered to me, "Oh God, forgive me. They guaranteed if I talk here today, they will put me away for twenty years...told me I would be charged with perjury for my original testimony if I opened my mouth today in court...Look what they did to Alisha...Look what they did to my brother." [found dead after playing "Russian Roulette"]

DeCamp's 2005 edition incredibly reveals, " In late 2003 [just before the 2004 election campaign started to heat up], Troy Boner [key abused child witness to national sex-ring] walked into a hospital in New Mexico screaming "they're after me, they're after me because of this book." The book Boner was waving was The Franklin Cover-up . Boner was '... mildly sedated and calmed down...and put in a private room for observation .' "

"When nurses came back to check on him early next morning, Boner was sitting in a chair, bleeding from the mouth and quite dead. Former FBI Los Angeles Bureau Chief Ted Gunderson tried to get autopsy and other information and details that were promised him on Boner's death, but Gunderson and apparently every other entity, were totally shut out of all information. No news stories were published on Boner's death despite his "notoriety" in the Franklin case." (John DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-up ) Another witness was gone.

DeCamp added that the FBI had also confiscated Larry King’s flight manifests from various airline charter companies, thus helping to cover up proof of sexual exploitation of children and interstate transportation of minors across state lines for sexual purposes.

Washington, DC: child sodomy hotbed?

Rusty Nelson’s quick arrest following on the heels of Hunter Thompson’s ‘suicide’ and alleged assertions that Jeff Gannon could be Johnny Gosch may all have serious criminal implications, as Thompson and Nelson were said to be closely linked to child sexual criminality at the highest levels of government--acts still punishable by law and easily meriting cover-up attempts by powerful forces.

Paul Bonacci, forced to help kidnap Johnny Gosch into sex-slavery, also told Franklin Committee investigators he toured the White House at midnight on July 3, 1988 with Craig Spence--a lobbyist and political operative who arranged male prostitute visits to the White House but who turned up dead himself just three months after the 6-29-89 Washington Times call-boy headline. The police were quick to call a suicide.

Spence had "hinted the tours were arranged by ‘top-level’ persons, including Donald Gregg, national security advisor to Vice-President Bush," according to the Washington Times [8-9-89], adding, "Spence, according to friends, was also carrying out homosexual blackmail operations for the CIA."

Spence and Gregg were reportedly close friends, as Spence had sponsored a dinner in Gregg’s honor in the spring of 1989 at Washington posh Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown just before the White House prostitution scandal broke at the beginning of the Bush 41 tenure. [ George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography , Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin, Chapter 21--Omaha]

A June 30, 1989 Washington Times report said "Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat and a self-proclaimed homosexual who several weeks ago threatened to reveal a list of Republican homosexuals in Congress, said he was ‘not surprised’ by the revelations."

The Times also said [8-25-1989], "A male prostitute convicted of drug trafficking and sex offenses against a minor used the Chevy Chase Elementary School in late 1987 to run his prostitution operation after the school's principal began buying sex from him."

"The call-boy was allowed to sleep and use phones in the school even after the principal left at 5 p.m., while teachers and the children were still involved in after-school activities such as chorus," said the principal, Gabriel A. Massaro, who also revealed "he had a four-year relationship with the prostitute and provided him with a guidance counselor's office and telephone at the model ‘magnet school’ even while children were in classes elsewhere in the building."

Also according to the Times, "Massaro acknowledged that he attended a meeting between Davis and his Alexandria probation officer at the Capitol Hill home of Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, another client whose home the call-boy used to perform sexual services." The paper did not reveal the age or name of the call-boy or whether he serviced Congressman Frank.

A clearly unethical and likely illegal presidential appointment was also linked to the White House child sex-ring: "In August, 1990, Bush appointed Ronald Roskens of Nebraska to head the Agency for International Development (AID). Roskens had been fired the previous year as chancellor of the University of Nebraska, where Larry King was a member of his advisory committee.

[State Police "Franklin" investigator] Gary Caradori’s daily notes for February 19, 1989 record: ‘I was informed that Roskens was terminated by the state because of sexual activities reported to the Regents and verified by them. Mr. Roskens was reported to have had young men at his residence for sexual encounters." [ Franklin Cover-up , p.177]

DeCamp added that AID assignments have been used as a "cover" by CIA agents; and in spite of Roskens’ sexual background and termination by Nebraska educators and his clear potential for being blackmailed, President Bush appointed him anyway.

Karl: ‘Rove’ing DC, approving 'special' WH press passes?

The extent to which White House Senior Domestic Policy Advisor Karl Rove played a part in approving the Gucket/Gannon White House press passes is not known.

However, CBS News spoke of a Rove-Gannon connection , saying "Gannon's aggressively partisan work and the ease with which he got day passes for the White House press room the past two years make it hard to believe that he wasn't at least implicitly sanctioned by the "boy genius."

Following on the heels of Guckert-Gannon, Walter Storch, editor of the Barnes Review News reported a three weeks ago that "Karl Rove was seen by one of my people entering a private homosexual orgy at a five-star Washington hotel over the Mid-Atlantic Leather (MAL) weekend last year." [2004]

A Barnes reporter told Storch that "Karl greatly enjoyed the supervision of a certain hairy 350-lb. Leather Dominator who had won the Miss Virginia Daddy Bear title at the MAL festivities."

Storch wrote, "Karl used to hang out a JR’s, which is on 17th between P & S streets, before he became so well-known. This is a respectable gay bar for discreet people...," adding, "there is an expensive apartment...over near Dupont Circle that certain powerful senators take turns visiting with their pickups."

"Bush, via Karl Rove, was projected as a moral man who would return a hedonistic America to the simpler virtues of a bygone era. A large part of the American public, unhappy with what they saw as debilitating liberalism, abortion on demand, gay marriage and other forms of moral decay, put Bush back in office," said the Barnes editor.

"Now they have to deal with rampant male whores prancing around the White House in consort with a small army of closet queens, all of whom very obviously have the ear, and the confidence, (and hopefully, that’s all they have) of their ‘moral’ choice for President," said Storch.

Interestingly, TBRNews.org also counts "one Supreme Court Justice, several governors (all Republican) and at least one very prominent televangelist" among those high officials who are saying one thing and doing another with respect to Storch's closet queen issue.

While American citizens watch, unanswered questions remain as Democrats and Republicans ignore young witnesses with clear and credible evidence--refusing to hold each other's legislators criminally accountable for their unspeakable crimes against children.