Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Market Watch: RECESSION WILL BE NASTY AND DEEP



Housing is in a free fall and is pulling the economy down with it, Roubini says

WASHINGTON (MarjetWatch)---The United States is headed for a recession that will be "much nastier, deeper and more protratced" than the 2001 recession, says Nouri Roubini, president of Roubini Global Economics.

MarketWatch
By: Rex Nutting
August 23, 2006

Writing on his blog Wednesday, Roubini repeated his call that the U.S. would be in a recession in 2007, arguing that the collapse of housing will bring down the rest of the economy.

Roubini wrote after the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday that sales of existing homes fell 4.1% in July, while inventories soared to a 13-year high and prices flattened out year-over-year.

"This is the biggest housing slump in the last 4-5 decades; every housing indicator is in a free fall, including housing prices," Roubini said. The decline in investment in the housing sector will exceed the drop in investment when the Nasdaq collapsed in 2000 and 2001, he said.

And the impact of the bursting bubble will effect every household in America, not just the few people who owned significant shares in technology companies during the dot com boom, he said. Prices are falling, even in the Midwest, which never experienced a bubble, "a scary signal" of how much pain the drop in household wealth could cause.

Roubini is a professor at New York University and was a senior economist in the White House and the Treasury Department in the late 1990s. His firm focuses largely on global macroeconomics.

While many economists share Roubini's concerns about the imbalance in the global economy and in the U.S. housing sector, he stands nearly alone in predicting a recession next year.

Fed watcher Tim Duy called Roubini the "the current archetypical Eeyore," responding to a comment Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher made last week in referring to economic pessimists as "Eeyores" (after Winnie the Pooh's grumpy friend).

"By itself this slump is enough to trigger a U.S. recession; its effects on real residential investment, wealth and consumption, and employment will be more severe than the tech bust that triggered the 2001 recession," Roubini said.

Housing has accounted, directly and indirectly, for about 30% of employment growth during this expansion, including employment in retail and in manufacturing producing consumer goods, he said.

In the past year, consumers spent about $200B of the money they pulled out of their home equity, he estimated. Already, sales of consumer durables such as cars and furniture have weakened.

"As the housing sector slumps, the job and income and wage losses in housing will percolate throughout the economy," Roubini said.

Consumers also face high energy prices, higher interest rates, stagnant wages, negative savings and high debt levels, he noted.

"This is the tipping point for the U.S. consumer and the effects will be ugly," he said. "Expect the great recession of 2007 to be much nastier, deeper and more protracted than the 2001 recession."

He also sees many of the same warning signs in other economies, including some in Europe.

Iraq: PROLONGED WAR WASN'T IN THE DEAL

VIETNAM CREEP in Iraq continued this week as the Marines said they would recall up to 2,500 troops. Guy Stratton, the head of the Marines' manpower mobilization, told reporters, "We've been tracking our volunteer numbers for the last two years. If you tracked it on a timeline or chart, you would see it going down."

Boston dot com
By: Derrick Z. Jackson/Globe Columnist
August 26, 2008

This was not the time line that President Bush hoped for, either for Iraqi liberation or American patriotism. He admitted as much in a testy press conference this week. Asked if he was frustrated, he said, "Frustrated?" Sometimes I'm frustrated... These are cahllenging times, and they're difficult times, and they're restraining the psyche of our country."

This is from the man who strained to promise us a Rose Garden war. The 2,500 reservists are not a big number in an occupation of 138,000 soldiers, but they are a huge reminder of one of the biggest lies that the administration told us to justify the invasion.

Just before the hostilities, the Army Chief of Staff, General Eric Shinseki, said at a Senate hearing that "something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers" would probably be required in postwar Iraq. "We're talking about post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that's fairly significant, with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems."

Top administration officials all but called Shinseki crazy, even though almost none of them had ever fought in a war. They sold the fantasy that high-tech weapons in the air would reduce the need for boots on the ground. They downplayed fears that soldiers would need to corral a civil war.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said at a House hearing that predictions, "such as the notion that it will take several hundred thousand US troops to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq, are widely off mark. First, it's hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam's security forces and his army. Hard to imagine."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also said it was "not logical" to him that it would take as many forces for the occupation as were needed for the invasion. "We have no idea how long the war will last," Rumsfeld told reporters. "We don't know to what extent there may or may not be weapons of mass destruction used. We don't know---have any idea whether or not there would be ethnic strife. We don't know exactly how long it would take to find weapons of mass destruction and destroy them---those sites. There are so many variables that is not knowable.

"However, I will say this: What is, I think, reasonably certain is the idea that it would take several hundred thousand US forces I think is far from the mark...Any idea that it's several hundred thousand over any sustained period is simply not the case."

Vice President Dick Cheney, in the same appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" during which he claimed Iraqis "will welcome as liberators the United States," said of Shinseki's estimate, "I disagree...To suggest that we need several hundred thousand troops there after military operations cease, after the conflict ends, I don't think is accurate. I think that's an overstatement."

There were groups of gravitas back in 2003 that knew Shinseki was right. A Council of Foreign Relations task force, one that included John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted psotwar troops estimates of 75,000 to more than 200,000 and said, "The task force recommends that deployments for peace stabilization err on the side of robustness."

Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Cheney have proven to be so wildly off the mark that Frederick Kagan, a military historian from the conservative, prowar American Enterprise Institute, last year told the Houston Chronicle, "The Army needs to grow about 200,000 soldiers. Reorganizing the troops we have now is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic."

The ship is listing so badly that it is being abandoned by both the right and the left. In announcing the involuntary call-up of Marines, spokesman Major Steven O'Connor said, "When Baghdad fell, we thought that this was not going to be a prolonged battle." Until we get out of Iraq, Bush has to soothe the American psyche.

HE CAN START BY FIRING RUMSFELD, WHO TOLD US THE BATTLE WOULD NOT BE PROLONGED. THIS WOULD BE A GOOD FIRST STEP TO REARRANGING THE CHAIRS.

Politics: SOMETHING REP. HASTERT KEPT OUT OF THE NEWS

CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION NULLIFIED---NOBODY NOTICED

Speaker of the House, J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Nullified San Diego Congressional Race

Scoop Independent Media
By: Michael Collins
August 25, 2006

It appears the US media overlooked one of the great political stories of the year. In what is becoming something of a pattern, here's a brief chronology:

On June 6, 2006 Republican Brian Bilbray allegedly slightly outpolled Democrat Francine Busby in the special election for California's 50th Congressional Dostrict, despite Busby's lead in the polls going into the election. There were immediate cries of foul following the election due to major irregularities, including electronic voting machines sent out to the homes and cars of volunteers for up to 12 days prior to the election, and irregular results like huge mega-precincts of absentee ballots where turnout was thousands of percent more than registered voters.

On June 13, 2006 Bilbray flew to Washington. DC and was sworn in as a member of the United States House of Representatives by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL).

On or about June 30, 2006 17 days after Bilbray was sworn in as a member of the House, Mikel Haas, Registrar of San Diego County, officially completed the audit of election results required for certification, and officially certified the election of Bilbray over Busby based on 163,931 votes cast, of which 2,053 votes were said to be cast on Diebold TSX touchscreens, and the remainder scanned via Diebold Accuvote OS computers.

On June 31, 2006 the Contestants filed an election contest, seeking a hand recount and to invalidate the election on several grounds, not only including the affirmative evidence of irregular results, but also including the stonewalling of citizen information requests and the pricing of recounts at an estimated $150,000 that made it difficult or impossible for any citizen to tell who won the election.

On August 22, 2006 the defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that the swearing in of Bilbray deprives everyone else of jurisdiction including specifically the San Diego Superior Court because Art. 1, sec. 5 of the US Constitution has been held to mean that the House and Senate are the judges of the Qualifications of their Members, one of those qualifications is supposed to be "election."

***If you think that Hastert didn't know this, you are wrong! What a dirt-bag!

There is something very wrong with this sequence! Elections are not complete, anywhere, until they are officially certified by local authorities. How can a citizen get sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives before his or her election is certified? Only Speaker Dennis Hastert, his team, and Bilbray have the answer.

In a filing in San Diego Municipal Court yesterday, attorney Paul Lehto outlined the core in stark terms:

Defendants are in effect arguing for the remarkable proposition that unilateral self-serving actions by a majority party in the House of Representatives to shuttle in a member of the same party can be effective, even if those actions do violence to and amount to circumvention of other sections of the US Constitution as well as the California constitution.

***Hastert's arrogance makes him think that he can do whatever he wants. This is only one of the reasons he needs to go!

Lehto is one of the two attorneys representing citizens who are challenging the election. Shortly after the last vote was cast, citizens discovered disturbing facts. Prior to election day, several poll workers had taken home voting machines for periods of a day to a week at a time without supervision or even consistent tracking procedures. Other irregularities like vote switching on touch screening machines emerged. Brad Friedman, conducted an extensive investigation that uncovered a series of sloppy procedures by County Registrar Haas.

***Check out Brad Friedman's results at www dot BradBlog dot com.

The election became an immediate cause for citizens, supporters of the losing candidate, and national voting rights activists. The results were also challenged by Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

A suit was filed by two local citizens challenging the election. The initial filing relied on the right of citizens to know that their votes are counted correctly in order to assure that the candidate designated as the winner is in fact the winner. Part of the suit is a request, denied to date, for a recount of the ballots cast on Election Day.

In response to the suit, the County of San Diego filed a response questioning the authority of the local court to decide the case since (a) membership in the house was the province of the House of Representatives and (b) the speaker had already sworn in Bilbray.

Lehto and Simpkins filed a withering response to this argument. They point out that the elections are the province of local and state authorities for all elections including federal contests, unless otherwise specified in the constitution. The following is from the filing yesterday:

Clearly, the swift swearing in did not end the election in the 50th Congressional District, and it did not render everything, including the certification of results weeks later, nugatory and without "jurisdiction." If the swearing in had this effect, then in the course of dismissing this case the Court would be bound to conclude that the certification of the results after the swearing in of Bilbray was without force and effect, without jurisdiction, and in contravention of principles of federalsim, as Defendants argue. That conclusion, however, requires either an abusrdity, or the conclusion that our Congressional election was canceled by decision of the Speaker of the House, J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), before all the votes were fully counted, and well before certification.

So, there you have it. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, called "the peoples' House," NOW HAS THE AUTHORITY TO NULLIFY ELECTIONS SIMPLY BY SWEARING IN CANDIDATES AND IGNORING FEDERAL PRIVILEGE based on one narrow section of the constitution, while completely ignoring the others, including the one stating that members of the House shall be elected every two years "by the People," and not selected in Washington, DC. Once again, the country is faced with a Bush v. Gore style selection manufactured in Washington, DC, and if only the people did not know which party benefited and which party was hurt by the selection, the country would be unanimous in denouncing this power grab.

***They are going to continue doing this in order to keep the majority in office! The Republicans and this administration are overturning our government and "the people" are allowing it to happen. People out there are already being arrested and jailed for "what they think!" Even though they haven't done anything about it!

Ongoing support and interference by the House of Representatives or persons associated therewith continues in San Diego. Paul Vinovich, Counsel to the House Administration Committee, Chaired by Bob Ney (R-OH), had a letter delivered to San Diego Superior Court presiding Judge Yuri Hoffman, with a number of arguments in favor of the Judge dismissing the case. This type of communication with members of judiciary, particularly when another government authority is invloved, is covered by strict rules. One such rule is that the ex parte communication by provided simultaneously to counsel for all invloved. In his own hand, Vinovich says to plaintiff's attorney Lehto, "Letter delivered to court last evening." Lehto received the fax at 8:56 a.m. Thursday morning, many hours after the letter was admittedly provided to the judge by Vinovich.

***Nobody should be listening to Bob Ney (R-OH), especially since he is corrupt and is leaving office! Especially a judge!

In the letter, Vinovich admits the time sequence of a July 13 swearing in followed by a July 29th certification of the election and then, through circular reasoning, tries to use the certification as justification for the swearing in ceremony. He fails to note that Speaker Hastert (R-IL) would have needed psychic powers on June 13th to know that the swearing in of Bilbray would be justified by a June 29th certification.

***Maybe Hastert knew something about the voting machines. That's probably the only way he'll win his re-election!

We're clearly at the point where members of the ruling party are making up rules "post hoc" to justify whatever actions they wish to take. We are also at a point where there is little if any opposition to this. The House is silent. With the exception of local and national voting rights activists and Chairman Dean, the opposing party is silent. The Defendants literally argue that the Courts are powerless to stop them (without jurisdiction). Friday will reveal whether the courts are powerless to stop this abuse of power and premature termination of elections.

Will Judge Yuri Hoffman carry on the emerging tradition of silence, or will he take us back to the courage and integrity shown by Judge John Sirica, a Republican appointee, who made history by demading the truth from the Watergate burglars?



VA Issues: FAMILIES ALLEGE STATE VETERANS' HOME IN EL PASO, TEXAS NEGLECTS PATIENTS

"They treated me like dirt. I had no dignity."

El Paso Times
By Chris Roberts
August 27, 2006

James Pai lies in his hospital bed, his bone-thin body exposed for the video camera. Under his gown, he is clad only in a diaper. His arms and legs are covered with blood-red sores, and he urges the videographer, his lawyer, to get him out of the state veterans home where he has been placed.

Last month, Pai, a former U.S. Navy diver, was a resident at the Ambrosio Guillen State Veterans Home in Northeast El Paso. Now, he is in a foster care home, where he has regained the lost weight. At the age of 79, he is slowed by Parkinson's disease, but from a padded living room chair, dressed in comfortable street clothes, he watches television, reads the paper and carries on lucid conversations.

But his voice strains with emotion when he talks about treatment of the elderly and his time at Ambrosio Guillen, where he was wasting away.

"They treated me like dirt. I had no dignity," Pai said. "It hurt me deeply inside to think that my country---I served in the war, I'm a World War II veteran---I think they should take care of us."

Paul Moore, executive secretary of the Texas Veterans Land Board, was at the home Friday for a routine visit. He said the board takes all complaints seriously. The land board oversees the 160-bed home, which is operated by a private company. Requests to the company for information and interviews were all referred to the state.

"Their (veterans) care is of the utmost concern," Moore said. "We're aware of their sacrifice and they've given so much for their country, and we want to make sure they get the best care possible."

Ambrosio Guillen doesn't get any more complaints than the other five homes in the system, Moore said. When people are admitted, he said, it often is an emotional transition, and "we get complaints for every facility; it's just the nature of the beast."

Pai isn't the only one who has problems with the quality of care at Ambrosio Guillen.

Norma Mayo's husband, Jack, an Air Force veteran, was at the home in February when his health began to deteriorate. Instead of listening to her concerns and trying to help, she said, staff members at the home tried to bully her into signing a "do not resusitate order." She said she believes he was getting about half the oxygen he needed.

Mayo insisted that her husband be transferred to a hospital, where his condition stabilized, she said, providing what she considered a higher quality of life until he died about a week later.

"When my husband was in the veterans home, he could barely catch his breath," Mayo said. "He was terminal, but after 20 minutes (at the hospital where he was transferred), they had color back in his face and he was better."

The home is regulated by both Veterans Affairs and the state Department of Aging and Disability, Moore said. He said he tries to visit each home a couple of times each year. The board also sends nurses out to inspect facilities 3 or 4 times a month, he said, and some of those inspections are unannounced.

Moore said it isn't possible to discuss case detailes because of patient confidentiality, but he added that he had not heard about the Pai and Mayo cases. He said, however, that he expected to be informed when problems occur. Problems related to neglectful treatment at the home reported late last year, soon after it opened, have been taken care of and are no longer a concern, he said.

But Pai and Mayo both reported neglectful treatment. Pai's relatives and friends also said they received little or no cooperation from staff at the veterans home.

Pai was removed from his foster care when an allegedly disgruntled caretaker made what the family called a false report that the foster home was taking advantage of him. Adult Protective Services intervened and eventually sent Pai to the Ambrosio Guillen home.

Mona Stevenson, Pai's niece, asked the foster home caretaker to check on her uncle, but he was refused access. The caretaker, Gilbert Pena, then called El Paso lawyer Terry Hammond. Hammond also was refused access after he and a psychiatrist visited and found Pai's living conditions to be unacceptable.

At that point, Hammond, who was hired by Stevenson, asked for and received a temporary restraining order preventing APS or veterans home staffers from interfering with family-approved visits or from moving Pai to another home. It was on one of those visits that Hammond made the recording of Pai, a video that is now part of a probate court record of the case.

And although Pai complains of neglect---he says he fell out of his bed numerous times, not receiving medical care until after Hammond and Cruz intervened---he says more sinister problems existed. He said a staffer would approach him and whisper in his ear, "I don't like Japs; I'm going to kill you."

"I was really afraid of him," said Pai, who is Korean-American. "He slapped me. They used profanity and racial epithets."

In a wry reply to his alleged persecutor, he notes that Japanese families take better care of their elderly. "Parents should be honored," he said. "They can't help it if they get old. Love them and give them the understanding and care they deserve."

Pai said he believes he would be dead now if he had stayed at the home, and Mayo said she believes her husband would have died at the home within hours if he hadn't been moved to the hospital.

"That's pretty serious when somebody feels that way. I'm going to look into this...to see if there's any truth to the allegations," Moore said. "Once those things get to us, everything is addressed. We leave nothing unhandled."

Politics: IN POLL, GOP SLIPS AS A FRIEND OF RELIGION

A new poll shows that fewer Americans view the Republican Party as "friendly to religion" than a year ago, with the decline particularly steep among Catholics and white evangelical Protestants---constituencies at the core of the Republicans' conservative voting bloc.

The New York Times
By: Laurie Goodstein
August 25, 2006

The survey found that the proportion of Americans who say the Republican Party is friendly to religion fell 8 percentage points in the last year, to 47% from 55%. Among Catholics and white evangelical Protestants, the decline was 14 percentage points.

The Democratic Party suffers from the perception of an even more drastic religion deficit, but that is not new. Just 26% of poll respondents said the Democratic Party was friendly to religion, down from 29% last year.

The telephone poll, conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, was conducted July 6-19 among 2,003 adults. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3-4 percentage points, depending on the question.

The survey examined Americans' attitudes on such topics as politics, science, the Bible, global warming and Israel. But the most startling change, said John Green, senior fellow in religion and American politics at the Pew Research Forum, was the perception of the Republican Party by its core constituency.

"It's unclear how directly this will translate into voting behavior," Mr. Green said, "but this is a baseline indicator that religious conservatives see the party they've chosen to support as less friendly to religion than they used to."

He speculated that religious conservatives could feel betrayed that some Republican politicians recently voted to back stem cell research, and that a Republican-dominated Congress failed to pass an amendment outlawing same-sex marriage.

"At the minimum, there will be less good will toward the Republican Party by these conservative religious groups, and a disenchantment that the party will be able to deliver on its promises," Mre. Green said.

Americans remained critical of the influence of both the right and the left on religion. Sixty-nine percent agreed that liberals had "gone too far in trying to keep religion out of schools and the government"---and increase of three percentage points, which is not statistically significant. And 49% agreed that conservative Christians had "gone too far in trying to impose their religious values on the country," also a three percentage point increase.

Asked about "the Chrisitan conservative movement," 44% had a favorable view and 36% unfavorable, about the same as a year ago.

The respondents were almost evenly divided on whether the influence of religion on governmental institutions like the presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court was increasing (42%) or decreasing (45%). Most of those who said the influence was decreasing said that was a "bad thing."

Americans also disagree on whether churches and houses of worship should express their views on politics, with 51% saying they should, and 46% saying they should keep out of political matters. This divide has held steady for the last 5 years, the Pew report said.

On topics addressed by clergy members during religious services, 92% of respondents who attend religious services regularly said they had heard clergy members speak about hunger and poverty, 59% said abortion, 53% said Iraq, 52% said homosexuality and 40% said evolution or intelligent design. Only 24% said they heard clergy members discuss stem cell research, and 21% immigration.

In the last year, religious organizations, including some representing evangelicals, have made global warming a priority.

In the poll, a large majority (79%) said there was "solid evidence" of global warming, and 61% said it was a problem that required "immediate government action." But white evangelicals and mainline Protestants were more skeptical about global warming than Catholics and secular Americans were, and more likely to say that it is the result of natural causes, not human activity.