Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for April, 2007

Understanding the mortgage mess

Posted by Charles II on April 30, 2007

The mess in mortgages is not, basically, a money issue. With modest amounts of money and some serious federal pressure on mortgage holders to abstain from foreclosure and negotiate reasonable terms, it could be fixed. What is characteristic of panics is that unforeseen events lead people to liquidate assets at fire sale prices and cut costs with reckless disregard for future consequences.

The man who pioneered innovation in mortgages has now supplied us with a road map for why there could be a panic in the mortgage market. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments »

Reagan, The Precursor To Bush (Nuclear Proliferation Edition)

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 30, 2007

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Funny how Bush and his recycled Reagan-Administration buddies like Cheney and the rest of the PNAC Platoon are oh-so-outraged over Iran’s efforts to get nuclear power for peacetime uses. Especially since Bush’s Reagan-Administration buddies like Cheney were the ones who made sure that Pakistan got The Bomb. In the words of former CIA analyst Richard Barlow, they sold out the world for an F-16 sale.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Reagan, The Precursor To Bush (Nuclear Proliferation Edition)

Your American Media At Work

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 30, 2007

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(Guess which one of these DC prostitutes once had a White House press pass?)

Pull up a chair, grab the beverage of your choice, and settle in for a bit. This will take a while:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in corruption, GOP/Media Complex, media, Media machine, mediawhores | 12 Comments »

Reagan: The Precursor To Bush

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 29, 2007

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As Dean Baker so very ably shows, the “cuddly ol’ grandpa Ronnie” figure is a media myth created largely after the man left office. In fact, Reagan was every bit as vile as Bush and his cronies are today — and many of Bush’s oldest and most trusted advisors are Reaganites and/or Nixonites.

Posted in abuse of power, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, Ronald Reagan | Comments Off on Reagan: The Precursor To Bush

Lies And The Lying Liars Who Don’t Dare Go Under Oath (But Will Appear On The Sunday Gabfests)

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 29, 2007

Okay, this makes me wanna hurl:

This evening, 60 Minutes will air its discussion with former CIA Director George Tenet. In one exchange, Tenet elaborates on a briefing that he and his former aide Cofer Black delivered to then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in July 2001 warning of an “urgent threat” from al Qaeda. In the 60 Minutes interview, Tenet says this is the message he delivered to Rice two months prior to 9/11:

We need to consider immediate action inside Afghanistan now. We need to move to the offensive.

On CBS’s Face the Nation, a perplexed and stunned Rice said, “The idea of launching preemptive strikes into Afghanistan in July of 2001, this is a new fact.” Rice then said, “I don’t know what we were supposed to preemptively strike in Afghanistan. Perhaps somebody can ask that.”

Oh, bullshit, Condi.  You’ll lie like this on the Sunday shows, but you don’t dare try this under oath in front of Congress. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Afghanistan, BushCo malfeasance, liars, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples | 2 Comments »

Bush Junta Passed Up 2003 Chance To Settle Things With Iran

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 29, 2007

This is yet another thing that you won’t see on the evening news, or hear on drive-time radio (unless you listen to Democracy Radio, Air America or Democracy Now!):

In May 2003, Iran sent a secret proposal to the U.S. for settling our mutual disputes in a “grand bargain”.

It is an astonishing document, for it tries to address a range of U.S. concerns about nuclear weapons, terrorism and Iraq. I’ve placed it and related documents (including multiple drafts of it) on my blog, www.nytimes.com/ontheground.

Hard-liners in the Bush administration killed discussions of a deal, and interviews with key players suggest that was an appalling mistake. There was a real hope for peace; now there is a real danger of war.

Scattered reports of the Iranian proposal have emerged previously, but if you read the full documentary record you’ll see that what the hard-liners killed wasn’t just one faxed Iranian proposal but an entire peace process. The record indicates that officials from the repressive, duplicitous government of Iran pursued peace more energetically and diplomatically than senior Bush administration officials — which makes me ache for my country.

[…]

In the master document, Iran talks about ensuring “full transparency” and other measures to assure the U.S. that it will not develop nuclear weapons. Iran offers “active Iranian support for Iraqi stabilization.” Iran also contemplates an end to “any material support to Palestinian opposition groups” while pressuring Hamas “to stop violent actions against civilians within” Israel (though not the occupied territories). Iran would support the transition of Hezbollah to be a “mere political organization within Lebanon” and endorse the Saudi initiative calling for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Iran also demanded a lot, including “mutual respect,” abolition of sanctions, access to peaceful nuclear technology and a U.S. statement that Iran did not belong in the “axis of evil.” Many crucial issues, including verification of Iran’s nuclear program, needed to be hammered out. It’s not clear to me that a grand bargain was reachable, but it was definitely worth pursuing — and still is today.

Instead, Bush administration hard-liners aborted the process. Another round of talks had been scheduled for Geneva, and Ambassador Zarif showed up — but not the U.S. side. That undermined Iranian moderates.

A U.S.-Iranian rapprochement could have saved lives in Iraq, isolated Palestinian terrorists and encouraged civil society groups in Iran. But instead the U.S. hard-liners chose to hammer plowshares into swords.

That’s right: Bush and his PNAC Platoon puppeteers, by rejecting calls from the Iranian moderates to sit down and work things out, guaranteed the fall of Iran’s moderate faction and the rise of hard-liners like Ahmedinejad.

Posted in abuse of power, BushCo malfeasance, Iran | Comments Off on Bush Junta Passed Up 2003 Chance To Settle Things With Iran

For the moment, soaring

Posted by Charles II on April 29, 2007

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Steve Bell of The Guardian hits another home run

Posted in Bush, Iraq war | Comments Off on For the moment, soaring

Sometimes The Jokes Just Write Themselves II: Wake Up And Smell The Hypocrisy!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 28, 2007

When last we saw former US Agency for International Development Randall “Randy” Tobias, he was resigning his post late yesterday afternoon after he was revealed to be one of the D.C. Madam’s clients.

Now the fine people of ThinkProgress are providing us all with a relevant bit of history from Tobias’ career at AID:

Former U.S. AID director Randall Tobias, who resigned yesterday upon admitting that he frequented a Washington escort service, oversaw a controversial policy advocated by the religious right that required any US-based group receiving anti-AIDS funds to take an anti-prostitution “loyalty oath.”

Aid groups bitterly opposed the policy, charging that it “was so broad — and applied even to their private funds — that it would obstruct their outreach to sex workers who are at high risk of transmitting the AIDS virus.” But President Bush wouldn’t budge. He signed a 2003 National Security Presidential Directive saying prostitution “and related activities” were “inherently harmful and dehumanizing.”

Several groups and countries had their funding cut due to the policy. Brazil lost $40 million for “one of its most successful anti-AIDS strategies, persuading sex workers to use condoms or other measures to stop spreading the disease.”

During an “Ask the White House” online chat in 2004, Tobias defended the policy, saying the U.S. was “partnering with communities” to begin “fighting sex trafficking and prostitution, while still serving victims of these activities.” Tobias added that he was overseeing several “highly successful” relationship programs “aimed at men and boys to help them develop healthy relationships with women.”

A truly inspired idea, having someone who pays for “gals come over to the condo to give me a massage” run programs on developing “healthy relationships with women.”

Tobias and his fellow Fundies think of themselves as the Elect:  They’re already saved, so they get to do what they want.  They lecture the rest of the world on morality and impose policies that claim to be “moral” but result in pain and death for millions, and then they don’t even obey the very rules they tell others to follow.

It’s still mid-afternoon and they make me want to get drinking.  And I don’t even drink.

Posted in abuse of power, GOP bullying, government malfeasance, hypocrites | 1 Comment »

Sometimes The Jokes Just Write Themselves

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 27, 2007

As promised, the “D.C. madam” Jeane Palfrey has just scored her first* high-value scalp — and it’s a doozy:

Bush’s ‘AIDS Czar’ Frequented Sex Fantasy Emporium

Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias submitted his resignation Friday, one day after confirming to ABC News that he had been a customer of a Washington, D.C. escort service whose owner has been charged by federal prosecutors with running a prostitution operation. Tobias, 65, Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), had previously served as the Ambassador for the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief.

A State Department press release late Friday afternoon said only he was leaving for “personal reasons.” On Thursday, Tobias told ABC News he had several times called the “Pamela Martin and Associates” escort service “to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage.” Tobias, who is married, said there had been “no sex,” and that recently he had been using another service “with Central Americans” to provide massages.

[…]

As the Bush administration’s so-called “AIDS czar,” Tobias was criticized for emphasizing faithfulness and abstinence over condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS.

Pass the popcorn!

*UPDATE:  Turns out that Tobias isn’t the first Bush Junta member to be laid low by the D.C. Madam.  Harlan Ullman, the guy who gave us the phrase “shock and awe”, had that honor a couple of weeks ago.

Posted in hypocrites, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples | 3 Comments »

Time for More News Articles About ‘Democrats in Disarray’

Posted by MEC on April 27, 2007

Fife and Drum

Fife and drum corps at Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan

The entire Senate Democratic Caucus responds to David Broder’s attack on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

We, the members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, contest the attack on Sen. Harry Reid’s leadership by David S. Broder in his April 26 column, “The Democrats’ Gonzales.”
 

In contrast to Mr. Broder’s insinuations, we believe Mr. Reid is an extraordinary leader who has effectively guided the new Democratic majority through these first few months with skill and aplomb.
 

The Democratic caucus is diverse, and Mr. Reid has worked tirelessly to make sure that the views of each member are heard and represented. No one ideology dominates the caucus, so that a consensus can be reached and unity achieved. It is hard to imagine a better model for leadership.
 

Because Mr. Reid has the support of members of the caucus, is a good listener and has an amazing ability to synthesize views and bring people together, the Senate has accomplished a great deal during his time as majority leader. Armed with his years of service in the Senate and with a mastery of procedure, Mr. Reid has led the chamber with a slim majority and a minority that is, at times, determined to stop legislation with which it disagrees.
 

In the first 100 days alone, we made great strides under his leadership on long-neglected legislation concerning stem cell research, the Sept. 11 commission’s recommendations and the minimum wage, to name three. In addition, under Mr. Reid’s leadership, we have fulfilled our obligation, left uncompleted by last year’s Republican-led Senate, to fund the federal government. He has accomplished all of this in the face of stiff opposition and with a commitment to giving ideas full opportunity for debate.
 

Finally, in this age of scripted politicians speaking only to their base or claiming that they “don’t recall” anything, the fact that Mr. Reid speaks his mind should be applauded, not derided. His brand of straight talk is honest, comes from the heart and speaks directly to the people.
 

THE MEMBERS
OF THE SENATE
DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS
 

Washington
 

This letter was signed by Sen. Reid’s 50 colleagues in the caucus.

Yes, even Joe Lieberman signed it.

Posted in beat the press, Democrat-bashing, Democrats with spines, GOP/Media Complex, Harry Reid | 1 Comment »

 
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