Friday, January 06, 2006


Reality vs. the Bush League: Heck of an Economy!

Sounds like China has decided to pull the plug on W and his Bush League minions:
China signals reserves switch away from dollar
By Geoff Dyer in Shanghai and Andrew Balls in Washington
(Financial Times)
Published: January 5 2006 20:13 | Last updated: January 6 2006 02:43
China indicated on Thursday it could begin to diversify its rapidly growing foreign exchange reserves away from the US dollar and government bonds – a potential shift with significant implications for global financial and commodity markets.

Economists estimate that more that 70 per cent of the reserves are invested in US dollar assets, which has helped to sustain the recent large US deficits. If China were to stop acquiring such a large proportion of dollars with its reserves – currently accumulating at about $15bn (€12.4bn) a month – it could put heavy downward pressure on the greenback.
It sounds as though W's wonderful job managing the economy will soon rank right up there with Brownie's performance at FEMA. About the only thing propping up the Bush Economy has been foreign financing. If the Chinese stop buying, so will everyone else.

Meanwhile, Iran is about to take their own massive strike against the US dollar. They're going to open an oil market (a "bourse") using euros - meaning all those US "petro-dollars" currently tied up by folks buying and selling oil in US dollars will be converting them to euros. This will cause another massive run on the dollar:
Petrodollar Warfare: Dollars, Euros and the Upcoming Iranian Oil Bourse

by William Clark
(media monitors network)
"A successful Iranian bourse will solidify the petroeuro as an alternative oil transaction currency, and thereby end the petrodollar's hegemonic status as the monopoly oil currency. Therefore, a graduated approach is needed to avoid precipitous U.S. economic dislocations."
(Emphasis in original)
Yep, smart money says the dollar is headed straight down the toilet. This will in turn cause the price of all exports, including oil, to skyrocket. Suddenly that Prius is looking like a good investment:
Will the Iranian Oil Bourse Threaten the Dollar?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005
(The Trumpet)

Iran continues to push its weight around. Now it proposes to begin pricing oil in euros. Unfortunately, just about everyone would benefit—except the United States.

For half a century, the American dollar has been the reserve currency of the world. Seventy percent of all currency reserves are in American dollars.

This has a lot to do with the fact that oil, the most important commodity traded in the world, is mostly priced in U.S. dollars. The majority of countries, being oil importers, have to buy their oil in U.S. dollars. This, together with related economic considerations, encourages them keep most of their foreign currency in dollars.

The debt-burdened U.S. economy is dependent upon this high demand for its currency in order to remain afloat. The day this demand comes to end will portend disaster for the American economy.

There is a move underway, however, to effect just such a reversal of the dollar’s fortunes. In particular, the world’s second-largest producer of crude oil—and declared enemy of the United States—Iran, seeks to end the predominance of America’s currency.

Several weeks ago, Tehran reconfirmed that it plans to create a euro-based exchange in oil—to compete with the London and New York dollar-denominated oil exchanges, both American-owned.

The proposed March 2006 launch of the Iranian oil bourse (iob), if successful, would give the euro a foothold in the international oil trade, solidifying its status as an alternative oil transaction currency. This, in turn, could be a catalyst for a major currency flight from the dollar to the euro—and a disaster for America.


Another Rat Jumps the Bush League's Ship

Daily Kos blogger SusanG notes that Bremer Says U.S. Didn't Expect Iraqi Insurgency. This is almost as weird as Reuters putting the story in their 'Entertainment" section because it came out in the course of an interview plugging Bremer's new book. Here's a link to the Reuters story:
Bremer says US did not expect insurgency in Iraq
Fri Jan 6, 2006 5:00 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Paul Bremer, who led the U.S. civilian occupation authority in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, has admitted the United States did not anticipate the insurgency in the country, NBC Television said on Friday.

Bremer, interviewed by the network in connection with release of his book on Iraq, recounted the decision to disband the Iraqi army quickly after arriving in Baghdad, a move many experts consider a major miscalculation.

When asked who was to blame for the subsequent Iraqi rebellion, in which thousands of Iraqis and Americans have died, Bremer said "we really didn't see the insurgency coming," the network said in a news release.
Bremer said he raised his concerns about the numbers and quality of forces with President George W. Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and senior military officials.

But he told NBC "there was a tendency by people in the Pentagon to exaggerate the capability of the Iraqi forces and I felt it was not likely we would have professionally trained forces to allow us to withdraw American forces in the spring of 2004."

Asked if he believes he did everything he could do in Iraq, Bremer replied, "I believe I did everything I could do ... The president, in the end, is responsible for making decisions," the network reported.
Wow, Bremer even blames President Bush - I guess those rumors about Lucifer opening up a ski resort in the Alternative Destination might be true...


Another "Borrow and Spend" Republican

Arnold's got a great plan for California. Remember how he promised to bring back "financial responsibility" to a debt-ridden state? He's got a solution: BORROW MORE MONEY!!! I guess he's planning on paying back the loans by cutting taxes.
Schwarzenegger proposes huge spending in key speech
Thu Jan 5, 2006 9:21 PM ET
By Adam Tanner

SACRAMENTO (Reuters) - A year after picking a bitter fight with legislators that he ended up losing at the polls, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled a massive 10-year spending plan on Thursday aimed at winning back Californian support ahead of his November re-election effort.
Not that issuing more bonds is a new idea - Arnie first floated it as a way to solve California's budget deficit right after getting elected. However, those bonds were supposed to be paid off by lowering future spending, not raising spending:
New administration could find deficit bonds a strong option

By Ed Mendel

October 12, 2003

SACRAMENTO – Will incoming Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger deal with a projected state budget shortfall in the same way as outgoing Gov. Gray Davis, mainly through massive borrowing?
The speculation is that Schwarzenegger may propose $20 billion in bonds, perhaps with limits on future state spending and debt, that could solve the inherited budget problem and set a new course for the future.
So, what's the difference between a "tax and spend" liberal and a "borrow and spend" Republican? The old-fashioned concept of "fiscal responsibility" springs to mind...

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Bush to Give Up 6% of Abramoff-Tainted Funds

You just have to skip down to the Washington Post story's 10th paragraph to discover this fact. Lead:
Bush to Give Up $6,000 In Abramoff Contributions

By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 5, 2006; Page A01

Republican Party officials said yesterday that President Bush will give up $6,000 in campaign contributions connected to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, joining an expansive list of politicians who have shed more than half a million dollars in tainted campaign cash.
Hey, sounds good - the President is giving up that tainted money. Except, of course, he didn't give up very much if you read the whole story. What Paul Harvey would call "page 2" comes in around the 10th paragraph:
Abramoff raised more than $100,000 for the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign, making him an honorary Bush "Pioneer." But the campaign is giving up only $6,000, which came directly from Abramoff, his wife and one of the Indian tribes the lobbyist represented. The money will be donated to the American Heart Association.
(Washington Post, Bush to Give Up $6,000 In Abramoff Contributions [emphasis added.])
I guess it would be too "reality-based" to expect the $100,000 figure to show up where it might get noticed by Joe Voter...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


So Might reading the "Al Qaeda Determined to Attack America" Memo

These people have no shame. They ignore all warnings of possible terrorist attacks before 9/11, and now claim that our safety can only be protected by becoming a totalitarian dictatorship where the executive branch can imprison anyone without charge and ignore any laws it finds inconvenient?
Cheney Says Eavesdropping Program Might Have Prevented 9/11

By William Branigin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 4, 2006; 4:15 PM

Vice President Cheney today offered a staunch defense of a secret government eavesdropping program, saying it might have been able to thwart the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks if it had been in place at the time.
They already had the authority to bug the 9/11 terrorists, they just didn't feel like using it. As Richjard Clark observed:
In June and July, intelligence indicated an increased likelihood of a major al Qida attack against US targets, probably in Saudi Arabia or Israel. In response, the interagency Counter-terrorism Security Group agreed upon a series of steps including a series of warning notices that an attack could take place in the US. Notices were sent to federal agencies (Immigration, Customs, Coast Guard, FAA, FBI, DOD, and State), state and local police, airlines, and airports.

In retrospect, we know that there was information available to some in the FBI and CIA that al Qida operatives had entered the United States. That information was not shared with the senior FBI counter-terrorism official (Dale Watson) or with me, despite the heightened state of concern in the Counter-terrorism Security Group.
(Source: MSNBC Richard Clarke 9/11 prepared testimony, March 24, 2004.)


Abramoff Scandal Linked to Delay's K Street Project

Here's the message that needs to be repeated endlessly into the public's ears (like "Stepford" Scott McClellan at a press conference.)
Abramoff was among the lobbyists most closely associated with the K Street Project, which was initiated by his friend Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), now the former House majority leader, once the GOP vaulted to power. It was an aggressive program designed to force corporations and trade associations to hire more GOP-connected lobbyists in what at times became an almost seamless relationship between Capitol Hill lawmakers and some firms that sought to influence them.
(Source: Washington Post Case Bringing New Scrutiny To a System and a Profession, Jan 4, 2005 [emphasis added.])
Abramoff's key role in Tom DeLay's K-Street Project gives a nice, one-sentence response to the Republican propagandists squealing about alleged democratic inviolvement in this scandal. Tell us all about how a project designed to push Democrats out of the lobbying industry was influenced by Democrats...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Will Bush Tap Rummy's Phone?

After all, we're tapping the phones of anyone making overseas phone calls that are also involved in bombing innocent people...
U.S. Airstrike on House Enrages Local Iraqi Officials

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 3 - United States warplanes dropped bombs on a home near Bayji Monday night that Iraqi officials said killed nine members of a family and wounded three more.

American military officials confirmed the attack today and said the bombs were dropped after an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft recorded three men planting a bomb next to a road about 9 p.m. After the men were tracked to a nearby building, United States warplanes bombed the structure with "precision guided munitions," the military said.

But enraged Iraqi officials in Bayji, about 150 miles north of Baghdad, said today the attack was unjustified and killed an innocent family. A preliminary investigation of the blast site indicated that the airstrike killed the wife of the home's owner, his daughter-in-law and seven other family members, including one son who worked for the police, said Maj. Muthanna al-Qaisi, a spokesman for the governor of the Saluhaddin province.
(Source: New York Times)
Now that the insurgency is in its "last throes" and there are thousands of trained Iraqi troops ready to take over security, isn't it about time to stop aerial bombardment of suspected insurgent positions? Or will Alberto Gonzales be announcing air strikes targeting suspected drug dealers' homes within the US during the coming year. After all, there's a war on drugs, too...

Monday, January 02, 2006



Looks like "Bubble Boy" Bush has designed a high-tech bubble-maintenance system:
NSA Gave Other U.S. Agencies Information From Surveillance
Fruit of Eavesdropping Was Processed and Cross-Checked With Databases

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 1, 2006; Page A08

Information captured by the National Security Agency's secret eavesdropping on communications between the United States and overseas has been passed on to other government agencies, which cross-check the information with tips and information collected in other databases, current and former administration officials said.

The NSA has turned such information over to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and to other government entities, said three current and former senior administration officials, although it could not be determined which agencies received what types of information. Information from intercepts -- which typically includes records of telephone or e-mail communications -- would be made available by request to agencies that are allowed to have it, including the FBI, DIA, CIA and Department of Homeland Security, one former official said.

At least one of those organizations, the DIA, has used NSA information as the basis for carrying out surveillance of people in the country suspected of posing a threat, according to two sources. A DIA spokesman said the agency does not conduct such domestic surveillance but would not comment further. Spokesmen for the FBI, the CIA and the director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte, declined to comment on the use of NSA data.
The attorneys for the three Denver-area activists ejected from one of George Bush's ''Town Hall'' meetings need to determine whether it was their car's "No Blood for Oil" bumper sticker that got them ejected - or illegal government surveillance based solely on their political beliefs.

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