Now Operational: Economic Indicators Continued by SGS.
The Department of Commerce (DOC) has decided to discontinue its economic indicators service economicindicators.gov (effective March 1st) “due to budgetary constraints.” Shadow Government Statistics is pleased to announce that it will provide — at no charge to the public — a continuation of the basic link service heretofore provided by the DOC’s Economics and Statistics Administration.
The existing government service provides links to the Web pages and recent releases of the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau. We eventually plan to extend the service to other government or quasi-government reporting agencies, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve, as well as to provide links to other major economic data providers.
New service available from the home page navigation bar or here:
Buchanan claimed McCain’s FCC letters were “in the normal course of business of a congressman” — not according to then-FCC chairman
Discussing reports about Sen. John McCain’s ties to lobbyist Vicki Iseman, Pat Buchanan asserted: “I don’t have a problem with John McCain writing a letter there, depending on what he says in the letter,” adding, “[B]ut McCain shouldn’t be denying that, I don’t think, because it seems to me that’s in the normal course of business of a congressman.” But contrary to his description of McCain’s actions as “the normal course” for a congressman, the FCC chairman at the time criticized McCain for his request, calling it “highly unusual.”
Emergency War Spending Lacks Transparency, Increasingly Used for Non-Emergency Items
The Bush administration’s emergency supplemental spending requests for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have lacked the transparency that normally accompanies the appropriations process, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). In addition, the CBO war spending report, however constrained by available data, revealed the composition of the war funding requests has been evolving into broader Defense Department spending initiatives, such as acquiring next-generation aircraft and replacing aging aircraft.
Paying Insurgents Not to Fight
by Paul Craig Roberts
It is impossible to keep up with all the Bush regime’s lies. There are simply too many. Among the recent crop, one of the biggest is that the “surge” is working.
Launched last year, the “surge” was the extra 20,000–30,000 US troops sent to Iraq. These few extra troops, Americans were told, would finally supply the necessary forces to pacify Iraq.
This claim never made any sense. The extra troops didn’t raise the total number of US soldiers to more than one-third the number every expert has said is necessary in order to successfully occupy Iraq.
The real purpose of the “surge” was to hide another deception. The Bush regime is paying Sunni insurgents $800,000 a day not to attack US forces. That’s right, 80,000 members of an “Awakening group,” the “Sons of Iraq,” a newly formed “US-allied security force” consisting of Sunni insurgents, are being paid $10 a day each not to attack US troops. Allegedly, the Sons of Iraq are now at work fighting al Qaeda.
This is a much cheaper way to fight a war. We can only wonder why Bush didn’t figure it out sooner.
The “surge” was also timed to take account of the near completion of neighborhood cleansing. Most of the violence in Iraq during the past five years has resulted from Sunnis and Shi’ites driving each other out of mixed neighborhoods. Had the two groups been capable of uniting against the US troops, the US would have been driven out of Iraq long ago. Instead, the Iraqis slaughtered each other and fought the Americans in their spare time.
In other words, the “surge” has had nothing to do with any decline in violence.
Complete article at:
Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is author or coauthor of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholarly journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury’s Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He is also coauthor with Karen Araujo of Chile: Dos Visiones – La Era Allende-Pinochet (Santiago: Universidad Andres Bello, 2000).
Surge doesn’t equal success
By Michael Kinsley
If things are so much better in Iraq, why are we just back where we started?
Why was President Bush’s decision a year ago to send another 30,000 troops to Iraq called the surge? I don’t know who invented this label, but the word “surge” evokes images of the sea: a wave that sweeps in, and then sweeps back out again. The second part was crucial.
What made the surge different from your ordinary troop deployment was that it was temporary. In fact, the surge was presented as part of a larger plan for troop withdrawal. It was also, implicitly, part of a deal between Bush and the majority of the people in this country who want out of Iraq. The deal was: Just let me have a few more soldiers to get Baghdad under control, and then everybody, or almost everybody, can pack up and come home.
In other words: You have to increase the troops in order to reduce them. This is so perverse on its face that it begins to sound Zen-like and brilliant, like something out of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” And in Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, the administration conjured up its own Sun Tzu, a brilliant military strategist.
Complete article at:
Michael Kinsley, a contributing editor to Opinion, is The Times’ former editorial page editor. He is also former editor of the New Republic, Slate and Harper’s.
Iraq and the Recession
As long as we keep pouring money down the drain in Iraq, we won’t have the money we need to solve our economic woes. Can you take a moment to write a letter to the editor of your local paper about how much we’re spending in Iraq, while things go south here at home?
Good News: House Democrats Standing Up to President Bush
Last week, the House of Representatives took two strong stands for the rule of law: They voted to hold two Bush administration officials in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas as part of an investigation into the US Attorneys scandal. They also refused to consider a flawed wiretapping bill that would have let phone companies off the hook for helping the president illegally spy on innocent Americans.
Dear MoveOn member,
As of today, we’ve spent over $495 billion in Iraq.1 With the economy in the tank, think about what that money could do here at home: Cover millions of kids who don’t have insurance, or help folks who’re losing their jobs and homes.
Instead, it’s supporting a failed occupation in Iraq.
More and more Americans are making the connection between the billions we’ve spent over there and the crumbling economy here at home. In fact, a new AP poll shows that most Americans think ending the war is the best way to help the economy.2 But pundits still talk about the war and the economy as two unrelated things.
That’s why we’re launching our “Iraq/Recession” campaign—our push to make sure that politicians and pundits understand what voters already know: As long as we keep pouring that money down the drain in Iraq, we won’t have the money we need to solve our economic woes.
Can you take a moment to write a letter to the editor of your local paper about how much we’re spending in Iraq, while things go south here at home? By speaking out together, we can make sure the cost of war is part of the economic equation. Our tool makes writing a letter easy. Click here to get started:
If thousands of us write, we can get the media to stop ignoring the connection between the war and the recession. The opinion pages are the most widely read pages in the newspaper, so we can also make sure voters—who are growing increasingly concerned about the economy—know that any candidate who wants to stay in Iraq has no plan for the economy.
The ongoing occupation in Iraq is sucking up the resources we need to make our economy work again. The tradeoffs are stark: Bombs or unemployment insurance for people laid off as the economy slows? Billions for Halliburton and Blackwater, or help for people on the verge of losing their homes because of the subprime meltdown? Consider these key facts:
The recession is going to force states to cut back their budgets. Most likely, the cuts are going to affect the services that working families need and depend on.3
Meanwhile, the war is costing Americans more than $338 million a day. 4 That money could be spent to help out the folks who’re hurting most now. For less than what we’re spending on the war, we could pay for affordable housing for hundreds of thousands of families, health care for children, or scholarships to help folks pay for education. 5
Gas prices are close to double what they were before the war began. The cost of oil is still hovering around $100 barrel. 6
We’re borrowing $343 million every day to finance the war in Iraq. 7 Our skyrocketing debt will be a bigger and bigger drag on the economy—slowing recovery and burdening future generations.
The truth is that economic forecasts are going to continue to be grim as long as we continue to dump billions into a reckless war that has no end in sight. Please write a letter to the editor of your local paper today:
Thanks for all you do.
–Nita, Wes, Justin, Eli, and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team
Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
1. “The War in Iraq Costs, National Priorities Project,” January 2008
2. AP Poll: Exiting Iraq would boost economy more than stimulus, Associated Press, February 9, 2008
3. “State and Local Governments Need Fiscal Relief.” AFSCME, January 29, 2008
4. The Economy & The War In Iraq, Factsheet from Speaker Pelosi, February 13, 2008
5. “Federal Budget Trade-Offs, National Priorities Project,” February 2008
6. “Oil prices continue higher above 91 usd mark as possible Fed rate cut eyed,” CNN, January 29, 2008
7. “Hidden Costs to the War in Iraq,” Rep. Murtha in Huffington Post, January 28, 2008
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Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee
Professor of politics at the University of San Francisco, Zunes returned from Serbia last week.
He just wrote the piece “Kosovo and the Politics of Recognition”
Zunes said today: “Even among longstanding supporters of independence for Kosovo, the eagerness with which the Bush administration extended diplomatic recognition immediately upon that country’s declaration of independence on Feb. 17 has raised serious concerns as a result of the violence and instability that may result. U.S. policy has contributed a great deal to the tragic political climate in this corner of the Balkans, which marginalized the more moderate Kosovar nationalists in the early- to mid-1990s and encouraged the more hard-line elements which dominate today. And, once again, questions are being raised regarding U.S. double-standards when it comes to recognizing the right of self-determination.”
From: Institute for Public Accuracy
Opening a Pandora’s Box: Kosovo “Independence” and the Project for a “New Middle East”
By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Global Research, February 20, 2008
Western public opinion has been misled. Unfolding events and realities on the ground in the former Yugoslavia have been carefully manipulated.
Germany and the U.S. have deep-seated geo-strategic interests in dividing Yugoslavia. Washington, D.C. and Berlin have also been the first governments to recognize the secessionist states, which resulted from the breakup of the Yugoslav federation.
The Broader Implications of Kosovo “Independence”
The February 2008 declaration of independence of Kosovo is a means towards legitimizing the dissolution and breaking up of sovereign states on a global scale.
Eurasia is the main target. Kosovar “independence” is part of a neo-colonial program with underlying economic and geo-political interests. The objective is to instate a New World Order and establish hegemonic control over the global economy.
In this sense Kosovo provides a blueprint and a “dress-rehearsal” which can now be applied to restructuring the economies and borders of the Middle East, under the Project for a “New Middle East.”
The restructuring model that is being applied in the former Yugoslavia is precisely what is intended for the Middle East — a process of balkanization and economic control.
Kosovo’s Pseudo-Declaration of Independence
Complete article at:
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is an independent writer based in Ottawa specializing in Middle Eastern affairs. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).
Borowitz Report – McCain Pushback Shocker
McCain: Lobbyist Did Not Force Me into Positions
Would Not Try Out New Positions at His Age, Mac Says
One day after The New York Times published an article raising ethical questions about Sen. John McCain’s dealings with lobbyist Vicki Iseman, the Arizona senator pushed back today at a press conference in Cleveland, telling reporters, “Vicky Iseman did not force me into any positions.”
Calling suggestions that Ms. Iseman could make him assume a different position “ridiculous,” Sen. McCain said, “At my age, I’m not about to try out new positions that I’m uncomfortable with.”
While Mr. McCain was vague about his official dealings with Ms. Iseman, he told reporters, “I would not allow a lobbyist to perform any favor for me unless it felt really, really good.”
The Republican frontrunner said that neither he nor Ms. Iseman had been aware that The New York Times was conducting an investigation into their relationship, adding, “Vicki and I have been in the dark together for a long time.”
But he vehemently defended the lobbyist’s professionalism, telling reporters, “Vicki Iseman is an energetic and passionate woman who has bent over backwards to please me.”
Early reaction to Sen. McCain’s comments was mixed, with some Republicans wondering whether he had done himself more harm than good.
But Mr. McCain did receive high marks from at least one Senate colleague, Sen. Larry Craig (R-Id.).
“I called John today to offer him my encouragement,” Sen. Craig said. “I said, ‘It’s hard, and it’s going to get harder, but stick it out.’”
Andy’s Only West Coast Appearance – April 24
Andy makes his only scheduled West Coast appearance Thursday, April 24 at University of California, Santa Barbara. 8 PM at Campbell Hall. Tickets available at https://artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu
Andy with Susie Essman and Jeffrey Toobin – May 13
Andy hosts “Countdown to ’08″ on Tuesday, May 13 at 8 PM at the 92nd St. Y with his special guests Susie Essman (HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Jeffrey Toobin (CNN, bestselling author of The Nine). The Y is located at 92nd St. and Lexington Avenue. For tickets, go to www.92y.org .
three thousand words
David Horsey: I did not have relations with that lobbyist …
RJ Matson: CONSUMER SAFETY RECALLED
Steve Greenberg: #1.3 trillion black hole