Archive for the ‘The White House’ Category
You won’t @#$#&$%-ing believe this!
“It’s not based on any particular data point,” a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. “We just wanted to choose a really large number.”
CONTACT YOUR SENATOR AND CONGRESS-PERSON NOW! THEY ARE NOT SAVING THE MARKETS – THEY ARE COVERING THEIR CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES AND YOU WILL PAY FOR IT! TELL THEM NOT TO VOTE FOR THE BAIL-OUT.
AND BY THE WAY – WHY CAN THEY FIND $700,000,000,000 TO BAIL OUT CROOKS, BUT CAN’T “FIX” NEW ORLEANS?!
The financial meltdown the economists of the Austrian School predicted has arrived.
We are in this crisis because of an excess of artificially created credit at the hands of the Federal Reserve System. The solution being proposed? More artificial credit by the Federal Reserve. No liquidation of bad debt and malinvestment is to be allowed. By doing more of the same, we will only continue and intensify the distortions in our economy – all the capital misallocation, all the malinvestment – and prevent the market’s attempt to re-establish rational pricing of houses and other assets.
Last night the president addressed the nation about the financial crisis. There is no point in going through his remarks line by line, since I’d only be repeating what I’ve been saying over and over – not just for the past several days, but for years and even decades.
Still, at least a few observations are necessary.
The president assures us that his administration “is working with Congress to address the root cause behind much of the instability in our markets.” Care to take a guess at whether the Federal Reserve and its money creation spree were even mentioned?
We are told that “low interest rates” led to excessive borrowing, but we are not told how these low interest rates came about. They were a deliberate policy of the Federal Reserve. As always, artificially low interest rates distort the market. Entrepreneurs engage in malinvestments – investments that do not make sense in light of current resource availability, that occur in more temporally remote stages of the capital structure than the pattern of consumer demand can support, and that would not have been made at all if the interest rate had been permitted to tell the truth instead of being toyed with by the Fed.
Not a word about any of that, of course, because Americans might then discover how the great wise men in Washington caused this great debacle. Better to keep scapegoating the mortgage industry or “wildcat capitalism” (as if we actually have a pure free market!).
Speaking about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the president said: “Because these companies were chartered by Congress, many believed they were guaranteed by the federal government. This allowed them to borrow enormous sums of money, fuel the market for questionable investments, and put our financial system at risk.”
Doesn’t that prove the foolishness of chartering Fannie and Freddie in the first place? Doesn’t that suggest that maybe, just maybe, government may have contributed to this mess? And of course, by bailing out Fannie and Freddie, hasn’t the federal government shown that the “many” who “believed they were guaranteed by the federal government” were in fact correct?
Then come the scare tactics. If we don’t give dictatorial powers to the Treasury Secretary “the stock market would drop even more, which would reduce the value of your retirement account. The value of your home could plummet.” Left unsaid, naturally, is that with the bailout and all the money and credit that must be produced out of thin air to fund it, the value of your retirement account will drop anyway, because the value of the dollar will suffer a precipitous decline. As for home prices, they are obviously much too high, and supply and demand cannot equilibrate if government insists on propping them up.
It’s the same destructive strategy that government tried during the Great Depression: prop up prices at all costs. The Depression went on for over a decade. On the other hand, when liquidation was allowed to occur in the equally devastating downturn of 1921, the economy recovered within less than a year.
The president also tells us that Senators McCain and Obama will join him at the White House today in order to figure out how to get the bipartisan bailout passed. The two senators would do their country much more good if they stayed on the campaign trail debating who the bigger celebrity is, or whatever it is that occupies their attention these days.
F.A. Hayek won the Nobel Prize for showing how central banks’ manipulation of interest rates creates the boom-bust cycle with which we are sadly familiar. In 1932, in the depths of the Great Depression, he described the foolish policies being pursued in his day – and which are being proposed, just as destructively, in our own:
Instead of furthering the inevitable liquidation of the maladjustments brought about by the boom during the last three years, all conceivable means have been used to prevent that readjustment from taking place; and one of these means, which has been repeatedly tried though without success, from the earliest to the most recent stages of depression, has been this deliberate policy of credit expansion.
To combat the depression by a forced credit expansion is to attempt to cure the evil by the very means which brought it about; because we are suffering from a misdirection of production, we want to create further misdirection – a procedure that can only lead to a much more severe crisis as soon as the credit expansion comes to an end… It is probably to this experiment, together with the attempts to prevent liquidation once the crisis had come, that we owe the exceptional severity and duration of the depression.
The only thing we learn from history, I am afraid, is that we do not learn from history.
The very people who have spent the past several years assuring us that the economy is fundamentally sound, and who themselves foolishly cheered the extension of all these novel kinds of mortgages, are the ones who now claim to be the experts who will restore prosperity! Just how spectacularly wrong, how utterly without a clue, does someone have to be before his expert status is called into question?
Oh, and did you notice that the bailout is now being called a “rescue plan”? I guess “bailout” wasn’t sitting too well with the American people.
The very people who with somber faces tell us of their deep concern for the spread of democracy around the world are the ones most insistent on forcing a bill through Congress that the American people overwhelmingly oppose. The very fact that some of you seem to think you’re supposed to have a voice in all this actually seems to annoy them.
I continue to urge you to contact your representatives and give them a piece of your mind. I myself am doing everything I can to promote the correct point of view on the crisis. Be sure also to educate yourselves on these subjects – the Campaign for Liberty blog is an excellent place to start. Read the posts, ask questions in the comment section, and learn.
H.G. Wells once said that civilization was in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow. For the truth is the greatest weapon we have.
White House Projects Record Deficit for 2009
(We colored portions below for emphasis.)
WASHINGTON (CNN) — The White House on Monday predicted a record deficit of $490 billion for the 2009 budget year, a senior government official told CNN.
The deficit would amount to roughly 3.5 percent of the nation’s $14 trillion economy.
The official pointed to a faltering economy and the bipartisan $170 billion stimulus package that passed earlier this year for the record deficit.
The fiscal year begins October 1, 2008.
The federal deficit is the difference between what the government spends and what it takes in from taxes and other revenue sources. The government must borrow money to make up the difference.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official is not authorized to speak publicly ahead of an official briefing later Monday by Office of Management and Budget Director Jim Nussle.
President Bush inherited a budget surplus of $128 billion when he took office in 2001 but has since posted a budget deficit every year.
The Bush administration has spent heavily on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and faces a large budget shortfall in tax revenue because of Bush’s tax cuts and a souring economy.
But the senior administration official says the budgetary problems stem from what is believed to be inadequate defense, intelligence and homeland security resources that were handed down from President Bill Clinton.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in March projected the deficit for the 2008 fiscal year, which ends September 30, would be $396 billion. It predicted the 2009 deficit to be $342 billion, if the president’s proposals were adopted.
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Former terrorist suspects detained by the United States were tortured, according to medical examinations detailed in a report released Wednesday by a human rights group.
The Massachusetts-based Physicians for Human Rights reached that conclusion after two-day clinical evaluations of 11 former detainees, who had been held at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Afghanistan.
The detainees were never charged with crimes.
“We found clear physical and psychological evidence of torture and abuse, often causing lasting suffering,” said Dr. Allen Keller, a medical evaluator for the study.
In a 121-page report, the doctors’ group said that it uncovered medical evidence of torture, including beatings, electric shock, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, sodomy and scores of other abuses.
The report is prefaced by retired U.S. Major Gen. Antonio Taguba, who led the Army’s investigation into the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in 2003.
“There is no longer any doubt that the current administration committed war crimes,” Taguba says. “The only question is whether those who ordered torture will be held to account.”
Over the years, reports of abuses at Abu Ghraib and allegations of torture at Guantanamo prompted the Bush administration to deny that the U.S. military tortures detainees.
Since only 11 detainees were examined “the findings of this assessment cannot be generalized to the treatment of all detainees in U.S. custody,” the report says.
However, the incidents documented are consistent with findings of other investigations into government treatment, “making it reasonable to conclude that these detainees were not the only ones abused, but are representative of a much larger number of detainees subjected to torture and ill treatment while in U.S. custody.”
Four of the men evaluated were arrested in or taken to Afghanistan between late 2001 and early 2003 and later were sent to Guantanamo Bay, where they were held for an average of three years before being released without charge, the report says. The other seven were detained in Iraq in 2003 and released within a year, the report says.
All the subjects told examiners that they were subjected to multiple forms of torture or ill treatment that “often occurred in combination over a long period of time,” the report says.
While the report presents synopses of the detainees’ backgrounds based on interviews with them, the authors did not have access to the detainees’ medical histories. Therefore, there’s no way to know whether any of the inmates may have had medical or mental problems before being detained.
Among the ex-detainees was an Iraqi in his mid-40s, identified only as Laith, whom U.S. soldiers took into custody in October 2003 and who was released from Abu Ghraib in June 2004. According to the report, Laith was subjected to sleep deprivation, electric shocks and threats of sexual abuse to himself and his family.
“They took off even my underwear. They asked me to do some movements that make me look in a very bad way so they can take photographs. … They were trying to make me look like an animal,” Laith told examiners, according to the report.
According to the report, Laith said the most “painful” experiences involved threats to his family: “And they asked me, ‘Have you ever heard voices of women in this prison?’ I answered, ‘Yes.’ They were saying, ‘Then you will hear your mothers and sisters when we are raping them.’ ”
The examiners concluded in the report that “Laith appears to have suffered severe and lasting physical and psychological injuries as a result of his arrest and incarceration at Abu Ghraib prison.”
Another detainee, Youssef, was detained by U.S. soldiers nearly seven years ago when he tried to enter Afghanistan from neighboring Pakistan without a passport, the report says. He initially was held in an Afghan prison, where he describes “being stripped naked, being intimidated by dogs, being hooded and being thrown against the wall on repeated occasions,” the report says.
A few months later, he was taken to the Guantanamo Bay facility, where he was subjected to interrogators who would enter his cell and force him to lie on the floor with his hands tied behind his back to his feet, the report says.
Youssef said the interrogators wanted him to confess of involvement with the Taliban, the report says.
Based on its investigation, the report calls on the U.S. government to issue a formal apology to detainees subject to torture and ill treatment by the military since fall 2001 in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.
The rights group also demands that the Bush administration:
• “Repudiate all forms of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”;
• Establish an independent commission to investigate and report publicly the circumstances of detention and interrogation at U.S.-run prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay;
• Hold individuals involved in torturing detainees accountable through criminal and civil processes; and
• Monitor thoroughly the conditions at U.S.-run prisons all over the world.
Bush Mob is Like West Wing “Sopranos”
You are inclined to say that Scott McClellan is like the first one out of The Bada Bing Club, scurrying into the light and looking for redemption, except that it has become clear by now that even the hoods from “The Sopranos” would be out of their weight class with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove.
The shame of McClellan and this new book of his isn’t that it took him this long to develop a conscience or actual convictions about what he says he saw and heard in Bush’s White House, especially in the runup to the war in Iraq.
The shame of this particular White House, the rock from under which McClellan reappears, is that no one is surprised for one minute about the story he tells, no one is shocked, no one is outraged. No matter how fast the book is selling.
One of the ironies of the hysterical reaction, mostly from the media, is that even a watered-down version of the truth about Bush and his lieutenants could sell this big.
For now the real outrage on McClellan comes from inside the White House, not outside. What McClellan does here is make work for them on their way out the door, because for the first time they will be forced to Swift Boat one of their own.
To save what is left of his sniveling reputation, Rove – noted analyst for Fox News – will have to take down one of his own. They all will, now that somebody from their own club is calling them out as criminals for the way they got us into this war.
You can call McClellan any kind of bum and weasel, a mouse who grew up to be a rat. Nobody will stop you. But when you look at the shameful cost of the war in Iraq, the cost of it in all ways, starting with the dead and the wounded, you tell me whether the real bum here is the one writing the book or the ones he is writing about?
“I would not personally participate in a process in which we are misleading the American people,” former White House counselor Dan Bartlett said on the “Today” show yesterday morning, during McClellan’s appearance there.
To the end Bartlett defends an administration as weak and lousy as we have ever had, Nixon’s without the indictments, at least so far. But then Bartlett comes out of a culture where little Scooter Libby, given a get-out-of-jail card by the President, is treated like some kind of an American hero.
It is different with McClellan. They will get him good.
You were unpatriotic if you tried to go against them in the months before the war. You are some kind of traitor if you cross them on it now the way McClellan does.
McClellan, who helped sell this war the way ad companies used to sell cigarettes and now feels real bad about that, knew something long before he wrote a book: You can only sell war the way these people did if you have a willing and eager buyer.
The buyers in this case were the media. Some of them bought the White House’s huckstering on Iraq because they would have bought anything. Some were afraid to speak out against the huckstering because they didn’t want to look soft on terrorism in a post-Sept. 11 America. All fell over themselves getting on board.
The hyenas Bush still has in the media will make this all about disloyalty. They won’t just try to shoot the messenger – McClellan – they will try to shoot him out of a cannon. They will make him the issue. And when they are through with him, he won’t just be a disgruntled former employee, he will be some kind of threat to national security and if you believe him, the terrorists win.
“He can’t back up his story!” they are already yelling about McClellan.
Maybe he can’t back up all of it. But look where the loudest yelling about Scott McClellan, author, comes from, the authors of a war that Frank Rich described in his own best-selling book as “The Greatest Story Ever Sold.”
McClellan is no hero here, or even close. If he believed all these things when he stepped down as Bush’s press secretary, nobody was stopping him from saying something as soon as he was out on Pennsylvania Ave. He said nothing at the time. No money there.
So he is late in the church service finding religion, late having the stomach to tell the truth about the people that he worked with, looks as if he is only doing it to sell a book.
But take a look at the ones coming after him hardest for the story he is selling this time around. It is those for whom he sold the war, and the ones who helped him do it.
The war lovers will declare war on McClellan now. At least this time somebody actually attacked them.
You’ll pardon us if we don’t jump on the “Yay Scott McClellan” band wagon – what we see is yet another son-of-a-b cashing in on what he knew to be wrong in the first place.
We wish to say to Mr. McClellan –
“What you have done, or more importantly, WHAT YOU DID NOT DO BY CALLING OUT THE UNTRUTHS AS YOU SAID THEM, has led directly to the deaths of thousands of American men and women as well as to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis civilians.
Whatever your beliefs are about ‘Karma’ – we’d hate to be in your shoes.”
If you have the stomach to read about yet another “fine American civil servant just doing his duty” and then finally telling “the truth” – click below for the story of Mr. McClellan’s book:
Not that we’re fans of GW or his cohorts but we’re just curious, Scott – as an admitted liar, what makes you think we should believe you now?