Sunday, December 7, 2008

Headlines - Sunday

The more the economy deteriorates in the next five weeks, the bigger the stimulus will need to be, via ML research:

Stimulus must be at least $1 trillion to be effective

If today's extremely painful jobs report is likely to accomplish anything, it will require that President-elect Obama's economics team work full-time straight through the holidays so that a dramatic fiscal stimulus plan can be included in the President elect's inaugural address on January 20th, and ready to be legislated the very next day. The rapid pace of deterioration in employment strongly suggests that a stimulus package now will have to be at least $1 trillion in size to be truly effective and in one year, not two. Even then, the unemployment rate will likely only manage to stabilize at the current 15-year high of 6.7%. To be sure, we think the prospect of such a large fiscal stimulus package would certainly raise red flags for those who perceive additional Treasury supply as an inflation threat. But we must remind everyone that all of the efforts on the part of the federal government are mere cushions as they bump up against a rapidly deteriorating economic and financial landscape.

New financial disclosures show that the RNC spent "a total of about $180,000 for clothes and various accessories for Sarah Palin and her family. The McCain campaign paid Palin's traveling makeup artist $68,400, and her hair stylist received more than $42,000 for roughly two months of work.
Where do I sign up to be a Republican hair and makeup stylist?

I NEVER EVER want to read a single thing about a Democrat's haircut again.
Maybe it's the Filipino Monkey
Someone wants India and Pakistan to stumble into a nuclear confrontation. And the Pakistani government almost gave it to them, when they accepted at face value a hoax caller claiming to represent India. Here are the details from Reuters:

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Nuclear-armed Pakistan put its forces on high alert after a hoax caller pretending to be India's foreign minister spoke to President Asif Ali Zardari in a threatening manner on November 28, two days after the militant attacks on Mumbai began, the Dawn newspaper reported on Saturday.

"It's true," a diplomat with knowledge of the exchanges told Reuters when asked whether the newspaper report was correct.

The caller ignored Zardari's conciliatory language and directly threatened to take military action if Pakistan failed to act immediately against the supposed perpetrators of the slaughter in Mumbai.

Throughout the next 24 hours Pakistan's air force was put on "highest alert" as the military watched anxiously for any sign of Indian aggression, the report said.

I guess all that "hard work" by Condi hasn't generated very much in terms of relaxing the growing tension between these two nuclear armed "allies" of America in the aftermath of Mumbai. I don't know who made the phone call that triggered the alert, but I'm guessing it wasn't just some idiotic prankster. I'm speculating here, but my guess is that this call was coordinated by the same group who sponsored the Mumbai attacks in the first place.

India's populace, which desperately desires retribution against the terrorist for the victims of the Mumbai attacks (and recall these are the second series of attacks in two years) may be forced to proceed with the military option, if only to appease its own people. As for the report that the Bush administration has already signed off on strikes inside Pakistan by elite forces of India's military, that is an absolutely insane position for an American government to take. Which makes it all the more likely to be true. For when has George Bush ever promoted a diplomatic solution to a crisis, when a military one presented itself?

Let's hope none of these proposed actions occur before January 20, 2009. Bush has already left President-elect Obama and his future Secretary of State Clinton a stinking pile of crap to clean up in Southwest Asia after its gross mismanagement of our foreign relations in that region over the last eight years. Any military confrontation between India and Pakistan which breaks out prior to Obama's inauguration would turn what is already a severe crisis into a catastrophe. And we all know how fond President Bush is of catastrophic successes.


Bush evaluates himself and discovers (surprise) that he's a champ

There's nothing like a liar in denial doing a self-evaluation.

Bush asserts success in combating AIDS in Africa, preventing new terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and snatching a measure of victory in Iraq. And in a speech on the Middle East yesterday, the president sketched out a strikingly optimistic portrait of a region that has embroiled the United States in war and conflict for the past eight years.

"The Middle East in 2008 is a freer, more hopeful and more promising place than it was in 2001," he said at the Saban Forum in Washington.

None of those things are true, of course, and a couple of them are laughable. But let's give our soon-to-be-ex-Emperor credit for finally admitting he may have made just a few teensy, weensy mistakes hardly worth mentioning.

He has admitted to a few previously unacknowledged errors, telling one interviewer that he was "unprepared for war" when he entered office and that his "biggest regret" was the failure of intelligence leading up to the Iraq invasion.

Which are blatant lies so far beyond "disingenuous" that we're in FantasyBushLand again. Gad.

Next stop: History, which will be in catre of Karl Rove at the Bush Library and Propaganda Center.


From the LATimes:

"Israel took its strongest action against Jewish settlers in nearly three years Thursday as riot police stormed a disputed building in Hebron, using tear gas and stun grenades to force out 250 young extremists bent on expanded Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

After losing a swift afternoon battle, settlers struck back into the night with gunfire and arson attacks on Palestinians in this troubled city and other parts of the West Bank, raising tensions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority."

The subsequent rioting sounds horrific. Here's a report from a Ha'aretz reporter:

"An innocent Palestinian family, numbering close to 20 people. All of them women and children, save for three men. Surrounding them are a few dozen masked Jews seeking to lynch them. A pogrom. This isn't a play on words or a double meaning. It is a pogrom in the worst sense of the word. First the masked men set fire to their laundry in the front yard and then they tried to set fire to one of the rooms in the house. The women cry for help, "Allahu Akhbar." Yet the neighbors are too scared to approach the house, frightened of the security guards from Kiryat Arba who have sealed off the home and who are cursing the journalists who wish to document the events unfolding there.

The cries rain down, much like the hail of stones the masked men hurled at the Abu Sa'afan family in the house. A few seconds tick by before a group of journalists, long accustomed to witnessing these difficult moments, decide not to stand on the sidelines. They break into the home and save the lives of the people inside. The brain requires a minute or two to digest what is taking place. Women and children crying bitterly, their faces giving off an expression of horror, sensing their imminent deaths, begging the journalists to save their lives. Stones land on the roof of the home, the windows and the doors. Flames engulf the southern entrance to the home. The front yard is littered with stones thrown by the masked men. The windows are shattered and the children are frightened. All around, as if they were watching a rock concert, are hundreds of Jewish witnesses, observing the events with great interest, even offering suggestions to the Jewish wayward youth as to the most effective way to harm the family. And the police are not to be seen. Nor is the army. (...)

The home is destroyed and the fear is palpable on the faces of the children. One of the women, Jihad, is sprawled on the floor, half-unconscious. The son, who is gripping a large stick, prepares for the moment he will be forced to face the rioters. Tahana, one of the daughters, refuses to calm down. "Look at what they did to the house, look.""

Daniel Levy notes the implications for Israel and for us:

"On the Israeli side, the state long ago ceased to uphold its own laws when it comes to the coddled settler community. That community now poses a direct threat to Israel's survival as a democracy with a Jewish character, in which the rule of law is upheld. And as this week proved, the hard-line settlers have become a clear and present danger to Israel--only drastic measures will suffice. (...)

The U.S. is on paper opposed to settlement expansion. The U.S. narrative, though, has shifted. Initially settlements were characterized by the U.S. as "illegal"--that description was dropped by the Reagan Administration and never returned to. Settlements became no more than "unhelpful" and later on an "obstacle to peace"--a language which the Bush Administration has occasionally used. What the U.S. has not done is to take a firm, consistent, and unrelenting position that Israel uphold its commitment to a settlement freeze--and without such U.S. action, the Israeli cost-benefit calculation on settlement expansion vs. freeze is always skewed in favor of the former."

We have never seriously asked Israel to stop expanding its settlements. We should have, for the sake of justice, peace, the Palestinians, and Israel. A better friend to Israel, let alone the Palestinians, would have tried to stop this. We should try to stop it now. But we won't, leading to things like this:

This genocide will not be televised

"The Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is having ever more serious consequences on its population. In the past month the supply of humanitarian aid and basic necessities to Gaza has been reduced from a trickle to an intermittent drip.....

"The Israeli authorities might be allowing through enough for the survival of Gaza's population, but this is nowhere near enough for the 1.5 million inhabitants of Gaza to live with dignity," said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International's researcher on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.


Zimbabwe is dying:


According to the the Daily Illini, the White House web site meets the Memory Hole.  

Scott Althaus, professor of political science and communication, and Kalev Leetaru, coordinator of research in the Cline Center for Democracy, recently found that the U.S. White House Web site has modified, and in some cases, deleted key documents in the public record.








Daschle wants your health care stories. You can share your story here.


Yeah, but my God is bigger than your God:


Karl Rove is reportedly one of the key architects overseeing the "Bush legacy project," predicting that the President will be remembered as a "far-sighted leader." In a new interview with Cox News, Rove rails against all the people in America who never "accepted the legitimacy of George W. Bush," saying that he plans to call them out in his new book:

Rove sees a presidency clouded by the way it began.

"There were people who never accepted the legitimacy of George W. Bush and acted accordingly," he said. […]

Also reserved for between the covers of Rove's book is his checklist of the "great many of the political actors in this town (who) never accepted him as a legitimate president."

"I've got behind-the-scenes episodes that are going to show how unreceiving they were of this man as president of the United States," Rove said, adding: "I'm going to name names and show examples."

It's gonna be a huuuuuuge book.


Yesterday, Bush presided over the unveiling of his presidential portrait, at the Union League. "Welcome to my hanging," Bush joked to the crowd. The portrait "shows Bush staring straight ahead, looking comfortable but not quite smiling, against the backdrop of the White House's Treaty Room." 



4,209 soldiers killed in Iraq; 628 in Afghanistan.



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