Archive for April, 2008

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By Susan Page
USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — President Bush has set a record he’d presumably prefer to avoid: the highest disapproval rating of any president in the 70-year history of the Gallup Poll.

In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday, 28% of Americans approve of the job Bush is doing; 69% disapprove. The approval rating matches the low point of his presidency, and the disapproval sets a new high for any president since Franklin Roosevelt.

The previous record of 67% was reached by Harry Truman in January 1952, when the United States was enmeshed in the Korean War.

Bush’s rating has worsened amid “collapsing optimism about the economy,” says Charles Franklin, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies presidential approval. Record gas prices and a wave of home foreclosures have fueled voter angst.

Bush also holds the record for the other extreme: the highest approval rating of any president in Gallup’s history. In September 2001, in the days after the 9/11 attacks, Bush’s approval spiked to 90%. In another record, the percentage of Americans who say the invasion of Iraq was a mistake reached a new high, 63%, in the latest poll.

Assessments of Bush’s presidency are harsh. By 69%-27%, those polled say Bush’s tenure in general has been a failure, not a success.

Low approval ratings make it more difficult for presidents to maneuver, limiting their ability to get legislation passed or boost candidates in congressional elections.

“The president understands war and the slowdown in the economy weigh down public opinion, but the situation in Iraq is improving, and the economy is about to get a big boost from the stimulus package,” White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said.

Bush has had dismal ratings through most of his second term. His approval rating hasn’t reached as high as 50% since May 2005. He has been steadily below 40% since September 2006.

Views of Bush divide sharply along party lines. Among Republicans, 66% approve and 32% disapprove. Disapproval is nearly universal — 91% — among Democrats. Of independents, 23% approve, 72% disapprove of the job he’s doing.


I knew a man who lived in fear
It was huge, it was angry,
It was drawing near.
Behind his house a secret place
Was the shadow of the demon
He could never face.

He built a wall of steel and flame
And men with guns to keep it tame
Then standing back he made it plain
That the nightmare would never ever rise again
But the fear and the fire and the guns remain.

It doesn’t matter now it’s over anyhow
He tells the world that it’s sleeping
But as the night came round I heard
It slowly sound
It wasn’t roaring, it was weeping
It wasn’t roaring, it was weeping.

And then one day the neighbors came
They were curious to know about the smoke and flame
They stood around outside the wall
But of course there was nothing to be heard at all
“My friends,” he said, “We’ve reached our goal
The threat is under firm control
As long as peace and order reign
I’ll be damned if I can see a reason to explain
Why the fear and the fire and the guns remain.”

It doesn’t matter now it’s over anyhow
He tells the world that it’s sleeping
But as the night came round I heard
It slowly sound
It wasn’t roaring, it was weeping
It wasn’t roaring, it was weeping.

Say ah, say ah, say ah
Say ah, say ah, say ah

[Ladysmith’s solo]

It doesn’t matter now it’s over anyhow
It doesn’t matter now it’s over anyhow

It doesn’t matter now it’s over anyhow
He tells the world that it’s sleeping
But as the night came round I heard
It slowly sound
It wasn’t roaring, it was weeping
It wasn’t roaring, it was weeping.

Say ah, say ah, say ah
Say ah, say ah, say ah

There has been a lot of talk in the news recently about the Federal Reserve and the actions it has taken over the past few months. Many media pundits have been bending over backwards to praise the Fed for supposedly restoring stability to the market. This interpretation of the Fed’s actions couldn’t be further from the truth.

The current market crisis began because of Federal Reserve monetary policy during the early 2000s in which the Fed lowered the interest rate to a below-market rate. The artificially low rates led to over investment in housing and other malinvestments. When the first indications of market trouble began back in August of 2007, instead of holding back and allowing bad decision-makers to suffer the consequences of their actions, the Federal Reserve took aggressive, inflationary action to ensure that large Wall Street firms would not lose money. It began by lowering the discount rates, the rates of interest charged to banks who borrow directly from the Fed, and lengthening the terms of such loans. This eliminated much of the stigma from discount window borrowing and enabled troubled banks to come to the Fed directly for funding, pay only a slightly higher interest rate but also secure these loans for a period longer than just overnight.

After the massive increase in discount window lending proved to be ineffective, the Fed became more and more creative with its funding arrangements. It has since created the Term Auction Facility (TAF), the Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF), and the Term Securities Lending Facility (TSLF). The upshot of all of these new programs is that through auctions of securities or through deposits of collateral, the Fed is pushing hundreds of billions of dollars of funding into the financial system in a misguided attempt to shore up the stability of the system.

The PDCF in particular is a departure from the established pattern of Fed intervention because it targets the primary dealers, the largest investment banks who purchase government securities directly from the New York Fed. These banks have never before been allowed to borrow from the Fed, but thanks to the Fed Board of Governors, these investment banks can now receive loans from the Fed in exchange for securities which will in all likelihood soon lose much of their value.

The net effect of all this new funding has been to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into the financial system and bail out banks whose poor decision making should have caused them to go out of business. Instead of being forced to learn their lesson, these poor-performing banks are being rewarded for their financial mismanagement, and the ultimate cost of this bailout will fall on the American taxpayers. Already this new money flowing into the system is spurring talk of the next speculative bubble, possibly this time in commodities.

Worst of all, the Treasury Department has recently proposed that the Federal Reserve, which was responsible for the housing bubble and subprime crisis in the first place, be rewarded for all its intervention by being turned into a super-regulator. The Treasury foresees the Fed as the guarantor of market stability, with oversight over any financial institution that could pose a threat to the financial system. Rewarding poor performing financial institutions is bad enough, but rewarding the institution that enabled the current economic crisis is unconscionable.

Dr. Ron Paul
Project Freedom

Remember: They Are Liars
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Columnist

Tuesday 08 April 2008

No one is such a liar as the indignant man.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleezza Rice, along with a slew of administration underlings and a revolving-door cavalcade of brass hats from the Pentagon, have been making claims regarding Iraq for many years now.

They claimed Iraq was in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, “enough to kill several million people,” according to a page on the White House web site titled Disarm Saddam Hussein.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq was in possession of 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq was in possession of 500 tons, which equals 1,000,000 pounds, of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq was in possession of nearly 30,000 munitions capable of delivering these agents.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq was in possession of several mobile biological weapons labs.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq was operating an “advanced” nuclear weapons program.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq had been seeking “significant quantities” of uranium from Africa for use in this “advanced” nuclear weapons program.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes “suitable for nuclear weapons.”

They lied.

They claimed America needed to invade, overthrow and occupy Iraq in order to remove this menace from our world. “It would take just one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country,” went the White House line, “to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known.”

They lied.

“Simply stated,” said Dick Cheney in August of 2002, “there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”

Liar.

“Right now,” said George W. Bush in September of 2002, “Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of nuclear weapons.”

Liar.

“We know for a fact,” said White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer in January of 2003, “that there are weapons there.”

Liar.

“We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction,” said Colin Powell in February of 2003, “is determined to make more.”

Liar.

“We know where they are,” said Donald Rumsfeld in March of 2003. “They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad, and east, south, west and north somewhat.”

Liar.

“The Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about,” said Paul Wolfowitz in March of 2003. “Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator.”

Liar.

“No one ever said that we knew precisely where all of these agents were,” said Condoleezza Rice in June of 2003, “where they were stored.”

Liar.

“I have absolute confidence that there are weapons of mass destruction inside this country,” said Gen. Tommy Franks in April of 2003. “Whether we will turn out, at the end of the day, to find them in one of the 2,000 or 3,000 sites we already know about or whether contact with one of these officials who we may come in contact with will tell us, ‘Oh, well, there’s actually another site,’ and we’ll find it there, I’m not sure.”

Wrong.

“Before the war,” said Gen. Michael Hagee in May of 2003, “there’s no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical. I expected them to be found. I still expect them to be found.”

Wrong.

“Given time,” said Gen. Richard Myers in May of 2003, “given the number of prisoners now that we’re interrogating, I’m confident that we’re going to find weapons of mass destruction.”

Wrong.

“Do I think we’re going to find something? Yeah, I kind of do,” said Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton in May of 2003, “because I think there’s a lot of information out there.”

Wrong.

Gen. David Petraeus, commander of US forces in Iraq, is about to give testimony before the Senate regarding the current state of affairs in that battle-savaged country. He is a political general, one of many America has seen and heard over the last five years, one who would leap nude from the Capitol dome before telling the real truth about matters in Iraq … or who would speak using words fed to him by liars, and thus be wrong.

Remember: they lie. They all lie, from the top man down to the bottom. If their lips are moving, a lie is unfolding. If they say water is wet, get into the shower to make sure.

They lie.

Period.

End of file.