In the short term, the U.S. and the rest of the developed world do not have to be overly concerned about rising prices as those economies are slowing down. But economic forces are gathering over a larger, secular timeframe to…
Late last month during the heated negotiations over the U.S.-Iraq security agreement, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki took issue with the pact’s terminology. “We don’t call it a security pact but an agreement to withdraw the troops and organize their activities during the period of their presence in Iraq,” Maliki said. Now that an agreement has been reached, which includes a mandate for all U.S. troops to leave Iraq by the end of 2011, Maliki’s terminology has been made official:
The Bush administration had sought a conventional status of forces agreement that would provide a semi-permanent basis for stationing troops in Iraq, while Obama campaigned on promises to withdraw all combat troops within 16 months of his inauguration. The Arabic language version calls the final agreement a withdrawal accord.
Defiant enabler monkeys give a standing ovation to one of their own as he heads off to prison
I just heard about McCain's humiliating return to his Senate office and how he just stared straight ahead and couldn't look anyone in the eye-- not well-wishers or even his own staff. Once in his office he found that the only visitors were Arizonans requesting the hottest ticket in town, passes for Barack Obama's inauguration.
I don't feel sorry for the Republicans. Even as their standing with the American people continues to tumble drastically, they are all still playing the blame game (McCain's pollster insisted that a reporter put on the record that he thinks GOP pollster Frank Luntz is a "moron" and that he wants to break his bones) and still jockeying selfishly for position. This year the Republican Party's-- not just George Bush's-- unfavorability rating has gone from 49% to an accelerating 61%. They do, however, still embrace the Republicans and their toxic policies and agenda in many of the old slave-holding states and in most of the most backward and ill-educated districts of the Mormon West.
Inside the Beltway elites are weeping for their brother, convicted and defeated Republican felon Ted Stevens today and senators from both sides of the aisle who are likely as guilty of taking bribes as he is-- if not as blatantly-- gave him a standing ovation and tried passing him off as a "distinguished colleague" (that was Harry Reid) rather than a disgraceful criminal. After all, like Lieberman, he is them and they are him. The Senate is not capable of monitoring its own criminal tendencies and there should be some kind of an outside authority to watch this pack of crooks. Six years is too long for their terms-- and too short for prison terms for more than half of them.
Anyway, back to the Republicans' fits and lurches towards some kind of recovery: you're not going to see it any time soon. Almost 60% of them are certain that they've been so thoroughly rejected by normal Americans because the party isn't far right enough! And those are the nuts in charge now. Yes, they want a party run by witch-hunter Sarah Palin, exorcist Bobby Jindal and an assorted array of Klansmen and sociopaths. It's so much easier to let five and dime entertainment figures and hustlers like Ted Nugent, Jimmy Dobson, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly set their agenda for them than actually trying to figure out how to serve the real needs of real American families. Remember, Hitler never won a majority but he was sort of elected. Even as the leaders of the entire civilized world refuse to even shake hands with Bush on his way to obscurity and the garbage heap of history, the GOP is still trying to hang on to a shred of power so they can sabotage Barack Obama's agenda for change-- an agenda to fix what they have lain waste. They seem to be determined to go down dragging the American automotive industry with them and bragging to the public that they will obstruct whatever President Obama tries to do.
What a strange coincidence for the Repugs!
They've learned nothing from the recent drubbings the American people have given them. Corruption hasn't slowed-- a Kit Bond and Roy Blunt operative pleaded guilty today-- and partisan hacks like Kentucky's two reactionary Republicans, McConnell and Bunning, are already plotting obstructionism against the Democrats' and moderate Republicans' attempt to solve the problems in Detroit, problems acerbated, if not caused, by far right Republicans manipulating the tax code to encourage SUVs and discourage fuel efficient vehicles. So reading Politico's post today that the Senate GOP is in a big funk, shouldn't surprise anyone who's been paying a little attention.
Some are in denial. Some want a return to conservative principles. Some want to cut deals. Some want more filibusters.
Others want to jump out a window-- but they?re afraid they?d screw that up, too.
?We probably wouldn?t die,? a Republican Senate aide joked Wednesday. ?We?d just lie there, hurt and suffering, which is not too much different from where we are now.?
The Republicans? only glimmer of good news: When Stevens-- the longest-serving Republican in Senate history-- conceded his Alaska race to Democrat Mark Begich on Wednesday, he spared them the unpleasant task of having to expel him from their caucus.
...During a closed-door Republican Conference meeting on Tuesday, DeMint offered proposals to impose term limits on the Republican leader and to restrict how long members can serve on the Appropriations Committee. The resolutions were soundly defeated, but not without bitter exchanges among the Republicans present for the meeting.
Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida said the meeting was ?terrible? and ?caused consternation? among his colleagues because of the dispute over DeMint?s proposals.
GOP senators met behind closed doors again on Wednesday and did a quick review of their races, with the leadership and defeated incumbents blaming Republican losses on the economic downturn and the president?s call for a $700 billion economic rescue plan.
But even this session brought a clash between GOP lawmakers, as Sens. David Vitter of Louisiana and Kit Bond of Missouri fought over whether Republicans should support a bailout of the auto industry, with Bond supporting it and Vitter opposed.
?Sometimes people don?t like change, but after two disastrous elections, we need it,? DeMint said. ?We need to be who we say we are. The most important thing for the party is to mean something again.?
Retiring Sen. John Warner of Virginia-- who will be succeeded next year by a Democrat, former Gov. Mark Warner-- tried to lighten the mood Wednesday with some gallows humor.
Warner told of how he had gone to a straw poll in Virginia with McCain. Warner made a strong pitch for McCain at the event and figured he?d seal the deal by offering to pay for lunch for the whole crowd. When the voting was over, Texas Rep. Ron Paul had won.
Flying from Jerusalem, I hankered to hear Hebrew poetry. Back in Jerusalem, unpacking, I longed to hear liberal principles. This place is beautiful; that has always been its problem. It is the kind of place that engenders enigmatic words like birthright, which brothers kill each other over. And it makes the word brother a little dangerous, too.
Anyway, the city just elected a new mayor who narrowly beat the ultra-orthodox candidate promising my brothers that Jerusalem is one birthright he would never share. We hung up the clothes, and shelved the hair cream, listening to laconic Israeli reporters talking about what our enemies have been up to; and it suddenly occurred to me that I'd like to hear, of all things, Barack Obama's speech "on race" again. I took out the laptop, and linked over to the site, and we began to listen. After a while we just sat down on the bed; by the time we got to "Ashley," we were in tears.
This is not a speech about race. It is about enlightenment. As we pick apart what choosing Hillary means, or how much stimulus we need, it may be worth listening to this speech again: forty minutes, about the same as Dvo?ák's New World symphony and about as reliably moving. If nothing else, it will remind us how choking it was to live in Atwatermorrisroveland, the new new world, and how helpless most of our journalists were in defending us against its claims. It makes one grateful for a champion, particularly those of us headed into Bibiland.
I've yakked enough. TChris and J, schedules permitting, will surely follow with some interesting posts on criminal law and politics.
For now, it is your turn.
One last thing, CA Pol Junkie apparently has some gizmo that projects the result of the MN Sen recount based on returns as they come in. Right now, with 18% recounted, he projects Coleman winning the recount by 21 votes. But the trend is our friend I think.
This is an Open Thread.
[cross posted at E Pluribus Unum]I’ve followed the progress of bailout talks with the Big Three with greater than average interest. Detroit is my town. I grew up in Detroit. I’m a product of Detroit public schools — and I’m a better man for it. My kids were born and raised there; and members [...]
Read The Full Article:
Consumer prices dropped at the fastest rate in its 61 years of record keeping, the Labor Department reported in its October Consumer Price report.
Its closely watched Consumer Price Index (CPI) dropped 1% in October, higher than the 0.8% decline forecast.…
Holders role is not in dispute. Without him this travesty would likely not have occurred, as described here:
Mr. Holder, the [Congressional] report says, played a major role, steering Mr. Richs lawyers toward Jack Quinn, a former White House counsel. Mr. Rich hired Mr. Quinn, whose Washington contacts and ability to lobby the president made the difference, according to the report. It says that Mr. Holders support for the pardon and his failure to alert prosecutors of a pending pardon were just as crucial.
The panel criticized Mr. Holders conduct as unconscionable and cited several problems. It cited his admission last year that he had hoped Mr. Quinn would support his becoming attorney general in a Gore administration.
So to be clear, Holder helped steer the attorney for Rich, a fugitive whose pardon request would likely have been rejected through normal channels due to his status as a fugitive, to the man Holder wanted assistance with in getting his next job. Now theres a man who knows something about conflicts of interest.
[T]here is a blot on Mr. Holder's otherwise stellar reputation. Mr. Holder was No. 2 at the Justice Department when President Bill Clinton pardoned fugitive financier Marc Rich, whose ex-wife was a major Clinton contributor. Although Mr. Holder oversaw the lawyers responsible for evaluating pardon requests, he did not insist that his department formally evaluate the legal merits of the claim after Mr. Rich applied directly to the White House for his pardon. He told the White House on President Clinton's last night in office that he was "neutral, leaning toward favorable" on the pardon. Mr. Holder has since said he would have opposed the pardon had he had more information.
Mr. Holder testified before Congress in 2001 about the Rich affair. But Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) was right to say on MSNBC yesterday that, if nominated, Mr. Holder must be questioned again about his failure to block that unconscionable pardon. Ultimately, the call was President Clinton's, but why did Mr. Holder not object to the pardon of a fugitive millionaire politically connected to the president? After almost eight years of a highly politicized and dysfunctional Justice Department, the Senate should assure itself that the next attorney general will be beyond reproach.
Coming from Hiatt, this is, pardon the pun, rich. His support for Alberto Gonzales has never been explained.
In any event, it appears opposing Holder will be a rallying point for the Right.
By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only
The speculation on whether or not, and why or why not, Hillary Clinton may or may not become Secretary of State continues:
"She is definitely unsure of what to do," said one Clinton adviser...
The source added that if Clinton ultimately decides against the job, it won't be because of the vetting process but rather because her interest in domestic policy issues --
Sounds reasonable, right? Not so fast...this could be:
...a part of a power struggle between her and Obama; a public show of force to make clear that just because the president-elect has asked her for something doesn't mean she is in any rush to accede.
...entirely plausible that she legitimately hasn't made up her mind...
Or, or, or....
By PABLO GORONDI
Oil prices plunged over $3 Thursday, briefly dipping below $50 a barrel as 16-year high U.S. unemployment figures and plummeting stock markets caused investors to price in lower crude demand.
Light, sweet crude for December delivery was down…