Some truth re: the US economy

Thanks for your emails Mark,

I listen to MSNBC/ stock market and constantly hear how GREAT the US economy is doing. What are those guys smoking? It’s just like you forwarded. The media, like a futuristic horror movie, keeps telling the public everything’s wonderful. Meanwhile, everyone I know can’t
pay their bills and are losing their houses. It’s just so sad. People have given up. What will ever stop this onslaught of strangling the American public economically and democratically.

Thanks for what you do.

Melanie G

Greenspan `Made a Mess’ and
U.S. Risks Recession, Stiglitz Says
By Reed V. Landberg and Paul George

Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) — Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel-prize winning former
World Bank economist, said the U.S. economy risks tumbling into
recession because of the subprime crisis and a “mess” left by
former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

“I’m very pessimistic,” Stiglitz said in an interview in London
today. “It’s not just the housing sector. Over the last five to six
years our economy has been bolstered by the real estate sector.

“Americans have been taking money out of their houses to finance a
consumption binge,” Stiglitz said. “Last year alone mortgage equity
withdrawal was between $850 billion to $950 billion. That game is

Read more.


America's sports addiction

from the November 20, 2007 edition – America’s addiction to sports
It’s profoundly unhealthy to our schools, our bodies, and ourselves.
By Jonathan Zimmerman
New York

Last week, when a federal grand jury indicted baseball star Barry
Bonds for perjury, it confirmed an ugly truth: America’s got a big
drug problem.

I’m not talking about steroids, Mr. Bonds’ alleged
performance-enhancer of choice. Instead, I’m talking about athletics
themselves. Americans are addicted to competitive sports in ways that
are profoundly unhealthy to our schools, our bodies, and ourselves.
And until we confront that problem, head-on, steroids will continue
to plague us.

Consider this simple fact: Although every shred of evidence shows
that adolescents do not learn well before 9 a.m., US high schools
start the day at around 7:30 a.m. Why? To make room for afternoon
sports practice, of course.

Read more.


Sibel Edmonds case "more explosive" than Pentagon Papers, says Ellsberg

and yet the US press is fast asleep.



EXCLUSIVE: Daniel Ellsberg Says Sibel Edmonds
Case ‘Far More Explosive Than Pentagon Papers’

‘Gagged’ FBI Whistleblower, Risking Jail, Says American Media Has
Refused Her Offer to Disclose Classified Information, Including
Criminal Allegations, Information Concerning ‘Security of Americans’

Charges Several Mainstream Publications Have Been Informed of ‘Full
Story’ by Other FBI Leakers Nearly a Year Ago, Have Remained Mum…

— Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG

“I’d say what she has is far more explosive than the Pentagon
Papers,” Daniel Ellsberg told us in regard to former FBI translator
turned whistleblower Sibel Edmonds.

“From what I understand, from what she has to tell, it has a major
difference from the Pentagon Papers in that it deals directly with
criminal activity and may involve impeachable offenses,” Ellsberg
explained. “And I don’t necessarily mean the President or the
Vice-President, though I wouldn’t be surprised if the information
reached up that high. But other members of the Executive Branch may
be impeached as well. And she says similar about Congress.” The BRAD BLOG spoke recently with the
legendary 1970’s-era whistleblower in the wake of our recent exclusive, detailing
Edmonds’ announce that she was prepared to risk prosecution to expose
the entirety of the still-classified information that the Bush
Administration has “gagged” her from revealing for the past five
years under claims of the arcane “State Secrets Privilege”. Ellsberg, the former defense
analyst and one-time State Department official, knows well the plight
of whistleblowers. He himself was prepared to spend his life in
prison for the exposure of some 7,000 pages of classified Department
of Defense documents, concerning Executive Branch manipulation of
facts and outright lies leading the country into an extended war in

Ellsberg seemed hardly surprised that today’s American mainstream
broadcast media has so far failed to take Edmonds up on her offer,
despite the blockbuster nature of her allegations.

As Edmonds has also alluded, Ellsberg pointed to the New York Times,
who “sat on the NSA spying story for over a year” when they “could
have put it out before the 2004 election, which might have changed
the outcome.”

“There will be phone calls going out to the media saying ‘don’t even
think of touching it, you will be prosecuted for violating national
security,'” he told us.

“I have been receiving calls from the mainstream media all day,”
Edmonds recounted the day after we ran the story announcing that she
was prepared to violate her gag-order to disclose all of the national
security-related criminal allegations she has been kept from
disclosing for the past five years.

“The media called from Japan and France and Belgium and Germany and
Canada and from all over the world,” she told The BRAD BLOG.

“But not from here?,” we asked incredulously.

“I’m getting contact from all over the world, but not from here.
Isn’t that disgusting?,” she shot back…



Wolf Blitzer's "Don't ask" policy

which is also Brian Williams’, Tim Russert’s, Chris Matthews’….


Debate moderators overlook key questions
by Jamison Foser

Through 17 debates this year, roughly 1,500 questions
have been asked of the two parties’ presidential
candidates. But only a small handful of questions have
touched on the candidates’ views on executive power, the
Constitution, torture, wiretapping, or other civil
liberties concerns. (A description of those questions
appears at the end of this column.)

Only one question about wiretapping. Not a single
question about FISA.

There has, however, been a question about whether the
Constitution should be changed to allow Arnold
Schwarzenegger to be president.

Not one question about renditions. The words “habeas
corpus” have not once been spoken by a debate moderator.
Candidates have not been asked about telecom liability.

Read more.


AT&T to block the vote?

This, friends, is an EMERGENCY!

If the Senate grants the telecom giants retroactive immunity,
AT&T will wield absolute and total power over the US election system.

Thus the party will be able to remain on top without the infamous
and highly complicated apparatus of e-voting systems now in place.
Instead, AT&T will be positioned to distort the outcome centrally.

This cannot be allowed.

So please read this piece through, and pass it on–and go to
this ACLU Website, which will allow you to contact the Senate.


The Fate of a Free Presidential Election
in 2008 May Now Depend on the Senate
Created 11/19/2007 – 10:24am

by Elliot D. Cohen

In 1972, Nixon’s burglars, all members of the Committee to Reelect
the President, had to risk breaking into Democratic National
Headquarters to try to gain an unfair election advantage for the GOP
over its Democratic opponent. Now, with Total Information Awareness
in place, the Bush White House may not even have to flip a switch to
have the Dems’ private e-mails and phone conversations delivered to
its doorstep. Unfortunately, this may only be the tip of the iceberg
for the fate of free elections in America if Congress decides to
grant legal status and retroactive immunity to this massive
surveillance and data mining operation conducted by giant telecoms on
behalf of the President.

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee failed to decide on
provisions of the FISA Amendments Act of 2007 that would grant
telecom corporations ironclad retroactive immunity against civil
suits and criminal prosecution for helping the Bush Administration
engage in systematic, widespread, warrantless surveillance and data
mining of the contents of both domestic and foreign phone and e-mail
messages of Americans since at least 2001, and possibly earlier.
Instead, the Committee sent two versions of the bill to the full
Senate, one of which granted retroactive immunity to telecoms and the
other of which did not. Now, the fate of Fourth Amendment protections
against unreasonable search and seizure — including its implications
for the future of free and fair elections in America — rests in the
hands of the Senate.

Read more.


Rudy's messianic paranoia

aturday November 17, 2007 06:43 EST

Rudy Giuliani’s messianic paranoia

The right-wing Federalist Society, architects of many of the most extremist Bush executive power abuses, invited only one candidate to speak at their annual event — “moderate” Rudy Giuliani. That invitation was, as The Associated Press put it, a “testament to his close ties to [Ted] Olson and other prominent members of the organization,” many of whom “are advising his campaign.” Giuliani, as he has done many times before, promptly “cited Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts as models for the judges he would appoint.”

But far more significant was Giuliani’s expressed view of what he thinks his mission will be as President. After proclaiming that “America has a special, even a divinely inspired role in the world,” Giuliani vowed:

It was this nation that saved the world from the two great tyrannies of the 20th century, Nazism and Communism. It’s this country that’s going to save civilization from Islamic terrorism.

So Islamic Terrorism is no longer merely “a threat to our freedoms.” It isn’t even just an existential threat to our country any more. It’s been upgraded rather severely in Giuliani’s mind: it’s now a threat to civilization itself. And Rudy Giuliani is running for President because he is “going to save civilization” — his words — from the Terrorists.

Read more.


Praise for Edwards' use of public funding

(And, of course, there’s also Dennis Kucinich.–MCM)

From Linda Starr:

John Edwards is using public funding. This guy [Ken] never even
mentions that fact, or that he is a big advocate for campaign finance

From C. Bryan:

>Until the misconception or the 1886 lie that corporations are
>persons and that money equals free speech is reversed, I do not see
>how we can stop the influx of corporate funds. I am some what
>encouraged by John Edwards increasing his attack on the large
>corporations and the broken system in Washington. Maybe we have a
>new TR/FDR in the making, both railed against corporate power.
>Edwards is a product of this broken system, maybe his conscience is
>pushing him to change it? To rail against the machine is not going
>to win friends among those corporate donors, so doubt whether it is
>just rhetoric. I believe it is genuine and knowing the public is
>against the influx of corporate money, he jumping in front of the
>parade. It really is refreshing to hear a politician attack the
>corporate money machine, it gives me some hope.


Our reeking campaign system

From Marco Ugolini:

Hi Mark.

In my opinion, the present system of never-ending presidential campaign
works amazingly well for the people who are now so safely ensconced in
positions of political power (Republicans and Democrats), and for their
delighted sponsors in major corporations (foreign and domestic).

The modus operandi in election campaigns in the U.S. is not dissimilar in
intent and practice from the mercantile, market-worshiping mode that runs
the rest of society: one long protracted advertising onslaught meant to
twist the “consumers” (of our degraded “politics”, in a fashion directly
analogous to that of commercial goods) into abject submission, a process
which creates the widest possible distance between the reality of everyday
life and the dreamland of slogans, jingoism and religious piety.

The rest of the Western world (my native Italy as well) has strict laws
governing how campaigns are run and how money is allowed or not to enter
them. This doesn’t mean that corruption is unknown over there, mind you,
only that, at the very least, the law clearly makes felonies many of the
abuses that in the U.S. are just considered business as usual. The
monumental, mind-bending, officially-sanctioned corruption occurring here is
not only perfectly legal, but it’s almost unanimously viewed as *necessary*
to the survival of our “system”. The *perversion* of the process has become
the “normality” we are all expected to live with.

Mandating and enforcing brief campaigns would be only *one of many* needed
changes in our system. Among the others would be:
– Abolishing the electoral college, and directly counting the presidential
votes nationwide instead of state by state;
– Holding elections for 2 days on weekends (for ALL elections);
– Public financing exclusively, with no exceptions whatsoever (ha! it would
be nothing short of a revolution…);
– Voiding Buckley vs. Valeo (1976) (as well as the concept of “corporate
personhood” that was introduced into our laws with the Santa Clara vs.
Southern Pacific decision of 1886) and issuing a prohibition of *any*
politically-related advertising on TV and all private media (based on the
principle that money is NOT free speech);
– Replacing the advertising circus with free public debates (that MUST be
broadcast by TV stations as a non-negotiable condition for the issuance of
their public license) which provide equal access to *all* candidates,
instead of more access to the public ear (via advertising) for millionaires
and/or those well-connected to moneyed entities, and far less access (or
none at all) for those without — that being a clear travesty of “free

Short of changes such as these taking place, the public will grow ever more
factionalized, disgusted, fed up and/or apathetic, and the interests of the
majority of working Americans will keep getting the shaft, as has been the
case for the longest time already.

Marco Ugolini


Team Hillary replies to News from Underground!

Team Hillary replies to News from Underground!

In response to “CNN dumbs down the questions“,

vote for hillary online wrote:

This is nothing but yet another reason to attack and smear Hillary.
I actually thought it was a pretty valid question.

MCM replied:

Great talking point. Good work, “vote for hillary online”!

Aside from spin, what exactly are you doing to make sure Hillary
doesn’t end up illegitimately “losing” on Election Day? How, for
example, do you plan to deal with the e-voting machines? What
about the Repub plot to halve CA’s electoral vote? And the DoJ’s
voter purges that are going on all over America RIGHT NOW?

Do you plan to put these problems in the public eye, and thereby
help improve the nation’s voting system with the people’s help?

Or do you plan to play some inside baseball to prevent or override
the other party’s fraud?

Or will you not do anything, assuming that your candidate will
somehow rise above such problems on Election Day? (That’s what
the Gore and Kerry campaigns both assumed.)

I’ll tell you what: If she opts either for the second or the third of
those alternatives, Hillary deserves to lose, regardless of how vile
a thug she finally runs against.


What would Sam Adams say?

Boston police to search homes without warrants…

News Update from Citizens for Legitimate Government
17 Nov 2007

‘The Constitution was written with a very
specific intent, and that was to keep the law out
of private homes unless there is a written
document signed by a judge and based on probable
cause. Here, you don’t have that.’


police to search homes without warrants

–Officers to travel in groups of three,
disguised in plainclothes 17 Nov 2007 Boston
police are launching a program that will call
upon parents in ‘high-crime’ neighborhoods to
allow detectives into their homes, without a
warrant, to search for guns in their children’s
bedrooms. In the next two weeks, Boston police
officers who are assigned to schools will begin
going to homes where they believe [?] teenagers
might have guns.