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Grand Theft America

Grand Theft America
By Stephen Lendman

The crime of the century. The greatest one ever. Author Danny Schechter calls it "Plunder." The title of his important new book on the subprime and overall financial crisis. Economist Michael Hudson and others refer to a kleptocracy. A Ponzi scheme writ large. Maybe an out-of-control Andromeda Strain. An economic one. Deadly. Unrecallable. Science fiction now real life. Potentially catastrophic. World governments trying to contain it. Trying everything but not sure what can work. Maybe only able to paper it over for short-term relief. Buy time but in the end vindicate the maxim that things that can't go on forever, won't.

The world as we know it is changing. Industrial capitalism. The entire global economic system. Interconnected. What affects one nation touches others. If the troubled country is America it reaches everywhere, and if the crisis is great enough, the disease may be fatal and human wreckage catastrophic. Precisely the current dilemma that world leaders and financial experts are scrambling to figure out. Desperate to contain, and not sure what, if anything, can work. How did this happen and why?

A Memo Found in the Street: Uncle Sam the Enabler

A Memo Found in the Street: Uncle Sam the Enabler
By Barry L. Ritzholtz | Barron's

No Grand Jury for Gonzales

No Grand Jury for Gonzales
Report to Call for Continued Probe of U.S. Attorneys' Firings
Carrie Johnson |

Former attorney general Alberto R. Gonzales will not be referred to a federal grand jury for his role in the 2006 firings of nine U.S. attorneys, but a long-awaited report to be released today will recommend that a prosecutor continue to probe the involvement of lawmakers and White House officials in the episode, according to two people familiar with the case.


You can expect to see that one word, FAIL, at lots of street protests.

That's the second big thing bubbling up online. Activists spread the word of a big rally to be staged near Wall Street last Thursday at 5pm. One email that was forwarded to me came from a group called "Picture the Homeless":

When poor and homeless people ask the government for help, they're told that low-income housing and living wage jobs are not a government priority because this country is built on "personal responsibility" and people need to "make better decisions."

When giant banking corporations are on the brink of total collapse because they have made a systematic series of bad business decisions - because they can - the government gives them a trillion dollars. The Administration even wants to include multi-million dollar "golden parachutes" for the corporate executives who MADE those bad decisions.

White House Coup: Smedley Butler and Prescott Bush

Click here to watch a half-hour video on how the US almost went fascist in the Great Depression.

In 1934, Marine Major General Smedley Butler told Congress, according to Wikipedia, that a group of wealthy industrialists had plotted a military coup known as the Business Plot to overthrow the government of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.


In a 1995 History Today article Clayton Cramer argued that the devastation of the Great Depression had caused many Americans to question the foundations of liberal democracy. "Many traditionalists, here and in Europe, toyed with the ideas of Fascism and National Socialism; many liberals dallied with Socialism and Communism." Cramer argues that this explains why some American business leaders viewed fascism as a viable system to both preserve their interests and end the economic woes of the Depression.

Prescott Bush is George Bush's grandfather. Wikipedia continues:

On July 23, 2007, the BBC Radio 4 series Document reported on the alleged Business Plot and the archives from the McCormack-Dickstein Committee hearings. The program mentioned Bush's directorship of the Hamburg-America Line, a company that the committee investigated for Nazi propaganda activities, and the alleged 1933 attempt, supposedly

Perhaps This Rout, Too, Will Stop At The Gates of Rome: More War in Store?

Perhaps this rout, too, will stop at the gates of Rome
Avner Mandelman |

After Hannibal had crossed the Alps and beaten the Roman army twice, the alarmed Roman Senate spent the nation's treasure and sent eight legions against the invader. Up to then, Rome had rarely thrown more than two legions into battle. But when the state was in danger, there was no limit to what the authorities would do.

A Shattering Moment in America's Fall From Power

A Shattering Moment in America's Fall From Power
The global financial crisis will see the US falter in the same way the Soviet Union did when the Berlin Wall came down.
The era of American dominance is over
by John Gray | GuardianUK

Our gaze might be on the markets melting down, but the upheaval we are experiencing is more than a financial crisis, however large. Here is a historic geopolitical shift, in which the balance of power in the world is being altered irrevocably. The era of American global leadership, reaching back to the Second World War, is over.

What's Good for Wall Street Is Only Good For Wall Street

What's Good for Wall Street Is Only Good For Wall Street
By David A. Love, JD |

One trillion dollars. Now that’s some money. When all is said and done, that is roughly the amount it will take to save that shining beacon for all the world to follow, American predatory capitalism.

What could $1 trillion buy you? Well, you could buy a failed war in Iraq for about that much. In contrast, it would cost $55 billion a year to wipe out child poverty in the U.S. And not doing anything about child poverty costs us $500 billion a year.

Bailout Would Come In Stages That Congress Could Halt

Bailout Would Come In Stages That Congress Could Halt
by Kevin G. Hall |

Congress and the Bush administration reached tentative agreement early Sunday on a sweeping $700 billion rescue plan to take bad assets off the books of banks and other financial firms. The deal is expected to be put on paper in the course of the day and sent to legislators for debate and a vote later in the week.

The two sides were racing a self-imposed deadline to get a deal by 6 p.m. Eastern time before Asian financial markets opened for business. A deal was announced in the wee hours by tired, puffy-eyed lawmakers that had been working almost around the clock to reach accord.

As lawmakers neared the tentative deal, staff members had their phones confiscated to prevent leaks in what had become a heavily politicized negotiation. Lawmakers pledged to post a copy of the deal online later Sunday for an angry American public to take a look at the compromise ahead of a congressional vote.

A tentative deal had been announced last Thursday, only to have House Republicans balk. The new compromise gives Democrats more restrictions on the pay of Wall Street execs and a taxpayer stake if the program actually makes money. Republicans tacked on a parallel insurance plan that can work as an alternative to taxpayer funding and killed provisions that would have let federal judges modify distressed mortgages.

'Un-American' Bailout, Paulson Should Have Quit, Gingrich Says

'Un-American' Bailout, Paulson Should Have Quit, Gingrich Says

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., on Sunday described Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's request for billions of dollars to buy debt from struggling Wall Street financial firms as "un-American" and said the secretary should have stepped down.

Gingrich even expressed concern with Paulson's connections to Wall Street. The treasury secretary served as the chairman of a major global investment banking and securities firm before joining the Bush administration.

Bank Borrowing From Fed Already Exceeded Bailout Total in Last Week: $700 Billion Figure Means Nothing

Bank Borrowing From Fed Already Exceeded Bailout Total in Last Week
$700 billion figure means nothing
Steve Watson |

Excerpt: The real reason for the bill is the unprecedented transfer of power to the Executive Branch and into the hands of the global corporate elite.

U.S. banks borrowed $188 billion per day on average in the latest week from the Federal Reserve, meaning that the Fed loaned out more money than the Treasury's proposed bailout in just one week, still barely managing to keep the economy afloat.

Ron Paul: Greenspan, Bernanke Should Be Criminally Charged

Ron Paul: Greenspan, Bernanke Should Be Criminally Charged Congressman says civil unrest after meltdown could lead to martial law Paul Joseph Watson | Prison Planet

Congressman Ron Paul says that the bailout bill is likely to pass, heralding a 10-year plus economic depression for America and the potential for martial law should civil unrest arise as the financial meltdown worsens.

Speaking on The Alex Jones Show, Paul said of the bailout, “They want dictatorship, they want to pass all the penalties and suffering on to the average person on Main Street,” adding, “We will have a depression or recession, it’s locked in place due to previous Federal Reserve actions.”

“When they say that if we don’t do exactly as they say and turn over more of our money and more of our liberties and exempt themselves from any court in the whole nation, they’re trying to intimidate us and lead us into doing the wrong thing,” said Paul.

The Congressman added that serious problems would arise if nothing was done to address the problem, but that more serious consequences would follow should the bailout be passed.

NO BAILOUT Petition by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders Tops 40,000 Signers - Sign Off for NO BAILOUT

Wall Street Bailout -- 09/26/2008

There is little public support for President Bush's $700 billion bailout. Just 30 percent support Bush's package, according to an Associated Press poll released Friday. More than 4,000 of you have taken our survey, and those results are even more remarkable. Are you confident that taxpayers would be treated fairly if Congress and the Bush administration agree on a bailout? You aren’t. Do you think a bailout would help the economy? No. Do you favor a surtax on individuals who make more than $500,000 a year and couples earning more than $1 million to pay for a Wall Street bailout? More than 91 percent agree with the proposal by Senator Bernie Sanders. What’s more, as of late Friday, more than 40,000 (as of late Friday) of you co-signed Bernie’s letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson suggesting a tax on the very wealthy.

Alabama's Senator Shelby Rejects Paulson's Treasury Raid

Senator Richard C. Shelby, ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, issued the following statement:

“Last Saturday Secretary Paulson presented Congress with draft legislation that would grant him sweeping authority to spend up to $700 billion in taxpayer money to buy illiquid securities. The stated goal of this scheme is to return confidence and liquidity to our credit markets.

“I do not believe this is the right approach. We did not get into this situation in a matters of days, and we are not going to fix it in a matter of days.

Bailout Bums: Libertarian-Minded Republicans Are Caught With Their Pants Down As Wall Street Panics The Capital City

Bailout Bums
Libertarian-minded Republicans are caught with their pants down as Wall Street panics the Capital City
by David Weigel |

To understand how Washington, D.C.’s fiscally conservative and libertarian-leaning Republicans are handling Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's proposed $700 billion bailout of the financial services sector, think of a child who’s just learned that there is no Easter Bunny. Better yet, think of a guy who sunk his portfolio into Lehman Brothers or Bear Sterns and watched everything he was taught to believe about his investments declared moot, wrong, meaningless, at the mercy of the state. 

Democrats, Republicans Conspire To Remove Wall Street Bailout From Election Debate

Democrats, Republicans conspire to remove Wall Street bailout from election debate
By Patrick Martin |

Closed-door talks continued throughout the day Friday between congressional Democratic and Republican leaders and the Bush administration, with all sides pledging to reach agreement on terms of a $700 billion bailout package for the US financial system before the Asian stock markets open Monday morning—Sunday afternoon in the US.

Both parties agree on one fundamental principle: The American people will have no say whatsoever in an arrangement that will compel them to pay for the losses of bankers and speculators who created the financial disaster. That is the content of the demand on all sides that “politics” be kept out of the bailout talks.

Defense Contractor Claims Immunity in Iraq Torture

Defense contractor claims immunity in Iraq torture
Defense contractor CACI is claiming immunity from an Abu Ghraib torture lawsuit because it was doing the government's work by supplying interrogators to the U.S.-run prison in Iraq, according to court documents.
By David Dishneau |

Defense contractor CACI is claiming immunity from an Abu Ghraib torture lawsuit because it was doing the government's work by supplying interrogators to the U.S.-run prison in Iraq, according to court documents.

Once in a Century Rip-Off

Once in a century rip-off

Producer: Carlo Basilone |

GEORGE W. BUSH, US PRESIDENT: I want to thank the leaders of the House and the Senate for coming. I appreciate our presidential candidates for being here as well.

CARLO BASILONE, TRNN (VOICEOVER): President George Bush pushed for a multi-billion dollar Wall Street bailout plan in an historic meeting attended by the two men fighting to succeed him. But at the end of the meeting, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee said that no agreement on the deal had been made.

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R-AL), RANKING MEMBER, SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE: We haven't got an agreement. There's still a lot of different opinions. Mine is it's flawed from the beginning. I said that the other day at the banking committee. Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke, had they considered other alternatives? Some of you recall a silence—they hadn't. But they should.

Socialist Bailout of the Criminal Investment Banks: Are We On The Verge of The Deluge?

Are We On The Verge of The Deluge?
New Questions as the Bailout Sparks A War
by Danny Schechter |

New York - The Hank and Ben Show was doing so well in the ratings. They crafted a plan -- ok, only 3 pages but still a prodigious effort in an era when so few can agree on the need for heat on a freezing day. But now the great unraveling has begun. Remember Karl Marx's lesson on the dialectic: thesis leads to anithesis resulting in synthesis. Maybe.

They sold the Democrats on the need for a bailout. They made it big so the rest of the world would notice and be impressed. They started out unreasonably demanding total power knowing they would have to compromise and so allow all sides to win something and hence come aboard.

Redistributing the Wealth - National Protests Erupt Over Bailout Plan

National Protests Erupt Over Bailout Plan
by Haider Rizvi | InterPressService

NEW YORK - The George W. Bush administration's plan to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to rescue giant Wall Street firms from their current financial meltdown has unleashed a spontaneous wave of protests across the United States.

Protesters said they want the Congress to protect millions of U.S. citizens who are on the verge of losing their homes due to bad lending practices of creditors instead of doling out public money to big investment firms responsible for ruining the economy.

"People are up in arms about this," Matt Holland of the, an advocacy group comprising 700,000 members that played a major role in organising the protests, told IPS. "Our members are livid. They're hitting the streets."

Finally, the Story of the Whistleblower Who Tried to Prevent the Iraq War

Finally, the Story of the Whistleblower Who Tried to Prevent the Iraq War
by Norman Solomon |

Of course Katharine Gun was free to have a conscience, as long as it didn't interfere with her work at a British intelligence agency. To the authorities, practically speaking, a conscience was apt to be less tangible than a pixel on a computer screen. But suddenly -- one routine morning, while she was scrolling through e-mail at her desk -- conscience struck. It changed Katharine Gun's life, and it changed history.

How Wall Street Can Bail Itself Out Without Destroying The Dollar

How Wall Street Can Bail Itself Out Without Destroying The Dollar
by Thom Hartmann |

For Grover "Drown Government In The Bathtub" Norquist, this bailout deal will work out very well. At a proposed cost of $4,780 per taxpayer, it'll further the David Stockman strategy of so indebting us that the next president won't have the luxury of even thinking of new social spending (expanding health care, social security, education, infrastructure, etc.); taxes will even have to be raised just to pay for the bailout. It'll debase our currency, driving up commodity prices and interest rates, which will benefit the Investor Class while further impoverishing the pesky Middle Class, rendering them less prone to protest (because they're so busy working trying to pay off their debt). It'll create stagflation for at least the next half decade, which can be blamed on Democrats who currently control Congress and, should Obama be elected, be blamed on him.

Kucinich Introduces “Voter Foreclosure” Bill

Kucinich introduces “voter foreclosure” bill
By Jonathan E. Kaplan |

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced legislation today to bar political parties from challenging the eligibility of voters whose homes have been foreclosed.

Kucinich, who ran losing presidential bids in 2004 and 2008 and faced a stiff primary challenge earlier this year, drafted the legislation following a report in the Michigan Messenger that a Macomb County Republican Party official said he planned to gather lists of foreclosed homeowners to challenge their eligibility.

The Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee have since filed a lawsuit in federal court over the reported plans.

Robert Fisk: Six Years in Guantanamo

Robert Fisk: Six years in Guantanamo
The Independent

Sami al-Haj, an Al Jazeera cameraman, was beaten, abused and humiliated in the name of the war on terror. He tells our correspondent about his struggle to rebuild a shattered life

Sami al-Haj walks with pain on his steel crutch; almost six years in the nightmare of Guantanamo have taken their toll on the Al Jazeera journalist and, now in the safety of a hotel in the small Norwegian town of Lillehammer, he is a figure of both dignity and shame. The Americans told him they were sorry when they eventually freed him this year – after the beatings he says he suffered, and the force-feeding, the humiliations and interrogations by British, American and Canadian intelligence officers – and now he hopes one day he'll be able to walk without his stick.

The TV cameraman, 38, was never charged with any crime, nor was he put on trial; his testimony makes it clear that he was held in three prisons for six-and-a-half years – repeatedly beaten and force-fed – not because he was a suspected "terrorist" but because he refused to become an American spy. From the moment Sami al-Haj arrived at Guantanamo, flown there from the brutal US prison camp at Kandahar, his captors demanded that he work for them. The cruelty visited upon him – constantly interrupted by American admissions of his innocence – seemed designed to turnal-Haj into a US intelligence "asset".

IRAQ: The Biggest Hospitals Become Sick

IRAQ: The Biggest Hospitals Become Sick
By Arkan Hamed and Dahr Jamail | Inter Press Service

Not even the elevators work now at Baghdad Medical City, built once as the centre for some of the best medical care.

One of the ten elevators still does, and the priority for this is patients who have lost their legs -- and there are many of them. The rest, the doctors, patients and students at the four specialised teaching hospitals within the building complex, just take the stairs, sometimes to the 18th floor.

This is in a city that had been given dreams of great development five years back, around the time of the U.S.-led invasion. And much of the corporate-led media in the U.S. and Europe still insists that the situation in Baghdad has "improved".

Peace Activists Go To Trial in DC for "Ghosts of War" Action in Senate Gallery

Peace Activists Go To Trial in DC for "Ghosts of War" Action in Senate Gallery By Joy First

Ten activists will be tried at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in Washington, DC beginning September 29, 2008. They are being charged with “Unlawful Conduct” and face a possible sentence of up to six months in jail if they are found guilty.

On March 12, 2008, the defendants went to the Senate gallery, put a piece of cloth over their heads to dramatize the suffering and death resulting from the war and occupation of Iraq, and called on the Senators to end the funding for the war. “The right to peacefully and nonviolently petition the government is a cornerstone of democracy,” said Eve Tetaz, a 77-year-old activist who is a former teacher and was arrested during the action. All of the activists participating have had training in nonviolent civil resistance, and have participated in actions calling for an end to the war since 2003. This action was organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance.


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