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News
in bed with the red
crowd control
interpreting the constitution
Weather
spread of the red
number 162    
07.20.08
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The White House has blocked a
Congressional subpoena seeking
documents related to the Justice
Department investigation of the
administration’s leak of the identity of
a CIA agent in 2003.

President Bush and Attorney General
Michael Mukasey invoked executive
privilege in denying members of the
House Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform access to
reports of FBI interviews with Vice
President Dick Cheney and other
senior administration officials thought
to be involved in the leak. Committee
members indicated that Mukasey is
likely to become the fourth Bush
appointee to be voted in contempt of
Congress this year.

California Democrat Rep. Henry
Waxman, who chairs the committee
that issued the subpoena, said in a
statement, “This unfounded
assertion of executive privilege does
not protect a principle; it protects a
person. The president is wrong to
shield Vice President Cheney from
scrutiny.” Waxman told reporters he
would proceed with a contempt vote
as soon as all members of his
committee could be present.
Mukasey provided the legal opinion
requesting Bush to assert executive
privilege in the matter, creating what
Senate Judiciary Committee
chairman Patrick Leahy (D-
VT) called a clear conflict of
interest.

The identity of undercover CIA
operative Valerie Plame was
leaked to the press in an effort to
retaliate against her husband,
former US diplomat Joseph
Wilson, who had publicly
questioned the veracity of
statements made by Bush and
Cheney in the run up to the
invasion of Iraq. Special
Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald
traced the leak to the Office of the
Vice President, eventually
obtaining a conviction against
Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis
“Scooter” Libby. Libby's  2 ½-year
prison sentence was commuted
by President Bush in 2007.    
it's all
true
Federal authorities have released
a scathingly critical report on
conditions at Cook County Jail,
the nation’s largest single-site
facility, concluding that
overcrowding, inadequate health
care, and routine abuse by
guards have resulted in the
systematic violation of inmates’
constitutional rights. The report
details a host of problems at the
dilapidated complex on Chicago’s
West Side, from medical neglect
that has led to “preventable
deaths, amputation,
hospitalizations, and unnecessary
harm,” to what US Attorney
Patrick Fitzgerald described as a
“culture of abuse” among the jail
guards. The facility houses about
10,000 inmates, mostly awaiting
trial.

Cook County Sheriff Thomas J.
Dart rejected the findings, saying
the Justice Department report
relied on “inflammatory language”
and
“hearsay from the inmates”.
Fitzgerald told reporters he hoped
to reach an agreement with Cook
County officials on a program to
rectify deficiencies at the jail, but
that a federal lawsuit was possible
if the efforts were insufficient.    
it's
all true
White House Above the Law, Attorney General Beneath
Contempt
Decrepit Chitmo Unfit
For Enemy
Combatants
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson
made the rounds of the television talk
shows on Sunday to discuss the
federal bailout plan for Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac and to proclaim that
the US banking system is sound,
capping another extraordinary week
for Washington’s top economic policy
makers. Intervention on behalf of the
Government Sponsored Enterprises
was necessitated after a sudden
institutional run depressed their
share prices and fueled rumors of
insolvency at the quasi-governmental
agencies that together hold or
guarantee more than 80 percent of
US home mortgage loans. Also last
week, the Securities and Exchange
Commission announced an
emergency measure prohibiting the
short selling of stocks in the GSEs
and 17 other financial institutions,
prompting confusion on Wall Street
and giving rise to fears that troubled
banks not protected by the SEC
order may soon collapse.

Referring to the FDIC list of
institutions that may be in jeopardy of
failure, which currently numbers
about 90 banks and thrifts, Paulson
told
CBS News, “Of course the list is
going to grow longer given the
stresses we have in the marketplace,
given the housing correction. But
again, it’s a safe banking
system, a sound banking system.
Our regulators are on top of it. This
is a very manageable situation.” With
regard to the recent failure of
California-based IndyMac, that led to
long lines of tense depositors at
several branches, the Treasury
Secretary reiterated that no one has
ever lost money on a federally
insured deposit.

Paulson denied that the rescue
package devised for Fannie and
Freddie amounts to a government
bailout, even as he urged Congress
to quickly approve the plan to
provide essentially unlimited liquidity
to the GSEs. Some analysts have
predicted that the immediate cost of
salvaging the GSEs will exceed a
trillion dollars. New York University
economics professor Nouriel Roubini
has argued that the government will
ultimately be forced to nationalize
home mortgages to stabilize the
banking and financial
services sectors.

The American Bankers Association
called on the SEC to broaden its
order to protect all US banks, writing
in a letter to the commission,  "The
emergency order could further
exacerbate a loss of confidence in
the safety and soundness of this
country's banking industry."               
it's all true
Paulson a Day Late and a Trillion Dollars
Short
Dollar's losses against
the Euro since December
2005
12.05        12.06           12.07   
07.08
.90
.80
.70
.60
"A buddy of mine said,
well, what about the reefs?
verbatim                                                  31.5
...So I'm concerned
about the reefs.
   White House 07.15.08
Satellite imagery shows that a
massive Antarctic ice shelf the
size of Connecticut is
disintegrating rapidly and may
soon split from the continent.  
The 6000 square mile Wilkins
Ice Shelf is being melted by
warm ocean waters that are
related to overall global
warming trends.  The
disintegration of the ice shelf is
of particular concern because
it is the middle of winter in the
Southern Hemisphere.

The European Space Agency
in association with researchers
from the British Antarctic
released satellite imagery that
shows the shelf has visibly
diminished over the past few
months.

Researchers from the British
Antarctic Survey said that the
Wilkins shelf “is the most
recent in a long and growing
list of ice shelves on the
Antarctic Peninsula that are
responding to the rapid
warming that has occurred in
this area over the last 50
years.”

Scientists believe that warm
waters are rising from the
depths of the ocean and
reaching the underside of the
shelf causing thinning.  The
images showed that the shelf
is separating from islands off
the coast of the continent
increasing the stability of the
shelf and facilitating its
disintegration.  Scientists had
predicted in the 1990s that the
ice shell would likely
disintegrate and shear from
the continent in 30 years.  
Researchers report
that seven other Antarctic ice
shelves have collapsed over
the past 30 years including the
Larsen A and B shelves.         
it's all true
A recent survey found America has
slipped among industrialized
countries in many indices of human
development including life
expectancy, education and the per
capita income.  The American Human
Development Report also found that
there are significant differences in
levels of development in the United
States itself, with human
development in some areas of the
country lagging behind other areas
by decades in terms of growth and
potential.

The report found that although the
US is the world’s largest economy, it
has fallen from second on the list of
most developed countries in 1990 to
12th place this year.  The study
found that America is 42nd in terms
of life expectancy even though
Americans spend vast amounts more
for health care than other countries,
more than $5
billion every day.  Americans live
shorter lives than citizens in Japan,
Greece, Singapore, South Korea and
every European country.

The study found that the US ranked
34th in terms of infants living past
their first birthday and a greater
percentage of American children live
in poverty than in any of the world’s
wealthy countries.  The report said
that 15 percent of American children
live in families that earn less than
$18,000 dollars a year.  Researchers
also reported that 25 percent of 15-
year olds in the US performed at or
below the lowest level in math tests.

The study also reported “huge gaps”
in development within the US itself.  
The author of the study, Sara Bird-
Sharps, said, “Some Americans are
living
anywhere from 30 to 50 years
behind others when it comes to
issues we all care about; health,
education and standard of living.”  
The study revealed that residents
of Connecticut live on average 30
years longer than residents of
Mississippi.

The study reviewed US
government data on health,
education and
income integrating the statistics
into a single measurement that is
used by the UN in its yearly
human develop-ment index.  The
creator of the index, Nobel Lauriat
economist Amartya Sen, said that
the human development index
measures “the basic development
idea: namely, advancing the
richness of human life” as
opposed to simply looking at
economic development to gauge
human development.       
it's all true
The Swiss banking company UBS
has announced it will cease offshore
banking services for its US customers
and accept no new accounts from US
citizens.  The declaration came last
week during Senate hearings
regarding the use of offshore
banking companies by wealthy US
citizens to shield their wealth to avoid
paying taxes.  

Mark Branson, chief financial officer
for UBS Global Wealth Management
and Business Banking, told the
committee that his bank would fully
cooperate with US tax officials as it
attempts to identify US depositors
who committed tax fraud by hiding
wealth in the banks offshore
accounts.

A report released by the Senate
found that wealthy Americans use the
services of UBS and other banks in
both  
Switzerland and Liechtenstein to
shield trillions of dollars.  The
investigation found that 19,000
Americans hold $18 billion dollars in
UBS accounts.  Senator Norm
Coleman (R-WI) said American
depositors use offshore accounts to
hide “an estimated $1.5 trillion in
American assets, resulting in lost
taxes of roughly $100 billion.”

The hearing and investigation came
about after an employee of the LGT
bank in Liechtenstein provided
12,000 pages of documents
regarding secret bank accounts to
tax authorities.  US authorities have
initiated investigations into 100 US
depositors who are alleged to have
hidden wealth to avoid paying taxes.  
The investigation is the first
time that US authorities have ever
probed the use of offshore tax havens
by wealthy Americans.          
it's all true
Despicable Disparities Define Dysfunctional Decade of
Decline
Planet’s Shelf Life
Melting Away
Wealthy Americans an Army of Evaders
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