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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fallen From Grace

Religious leaders who didn't practice what they were preaching

The Man Who Sank New Jersey

How a quiet, stocky real estate developer named Solomon Dwek cracked open the massive corruption scandal. LinkHere

NY man accused of trafficking kidneys

Brooklyn man's arrest on kidney-selling charges throws a spotlight on organ trafficking
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Levy Izhak Rosenbaum of Brooklyn called himself a "matchmaker," but his business wasn't romance. Instead, authorities say, he brokered the sale of black-market kidneys, buying organs from vulnerable people from Israel for $10,000 and selling them to desperate patients in the U.S. for as much as $160,000.
The alleged decade-long scheme, exposed this week by an FBI sting, rocked the nation's transplant industry. If true, it would be the first documented case of organ trafficking in the U.S., transplant experts said Friday.
"There's certainly cross-national activity, but it hasn't touched the United States or we haven't known about it until now," said University of Pennsylvania medical ethicist Arthur Caplan, who is co-directing a U.N. task force on international organ trafficking.
Rosenbaum was arrested Thursday, 10 days after meeting in his basement with a government informant and an FBI agent posing as the informant's secretary. The agent claimed to be searching for a kidney for a sick uncle on dialysis who was on a transplant list at a Philadelphia hospital.
"I am what you call a matchmaker," Rosenbaum said in a secretly recorded conversation. "I bring a guy what I believe, he's suitable for your uncle." Asked how many organs he had brokered, he said: "Quite a lot," the most recent two weeks earlier.
As part of the scheme, the organ donors were brought from Israel to this country, where they underwent surgery to remove the kidneys, authorities said. Prosecutors did not identify which hospitals in the U.S. received the donors and their kidneys.
"The allegations about an organ trafficking ring in the United States are appalling," said John Davis, chief executive of the National Kidney Foundation. LinkHere

TRAVOLTA to renounce Scientology?

Now that would be something!!!!!

There's a rumor going around that one of Scientology's most powerful proponents, John Travolta, is looking to leave the draconian religion once and for all. After the year he's had, it would make sense.
According to the Daily Mail - who rounded up some interesting quotes on the matter - it appears to be a very real possibility. LinkHere

So few

The death of Harry Patch leaves Aussie veteran Claude Choules as the last person to have seen active service in WWI
WWI trench soldier Harry Patch dies
Claude Choules last surviving veteran
Patch called the war "organised murder"
HARRY Patch, the last soldier to fight in the trenches of Europe during World War I, has died at the age of 111.
Claude Choules, 108, who lives in Perth, Australia, and served with the Royal Navy, now becomes the last surviving veteran of the 1914-18 conflict from the British side.
Patch, who fought at the notorious Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, was also Britain's oldest man following the death of fellow veteran Henry Allingham, the oldest man in the world, one week ago.
He is the last World War I veteran to have served in the trenches, according to the dersdesders.free.fr website, which is regarded as an authoritative chronicle of veterans of the conflict. LinkHere

Crossfire - F-22s and Concealed Weapons

The two incidents come less than a week after a five-year-old boy died after shooting himself in the head.

In the US, the right to bear arms is enshrined in the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. There are thought to be more than 200 million firearms in private hands.
Two US toddlers shot in 24 hours
Two young children have been shot by their siblings in the space of 24 hours in the United States.
In Las Vegas, a two-year-old girl was in a critical condition after being shot by her four-year-old brother at their home, police said.
In South Carolina, a four-year-old boy was shot in the stomach by his three-year-old brother after the little boy found a gun.
The injured boy was expected to make a full recovery, police said.
The incident in Las Vegas happened on Thursday night after the girl's brother found a loaded 9mm handgun inside their home.
It went off while he was holding it, hitting his sister in her torso.
According to police, the father was home at the time and the gun appears to have been improperly secured. LinkHere
Gun-toting parishioners attended Pastor Ken Pagano's service in Kentucky
A pastor in the US state of Kentucky told his flock to bring handguns to church in what he said was an effort to promote safe gun ownership.
Pastor Ken Pagano told parishioners to bring their unloaded guns to New Bethel Church in Louisville for a service celebrating the right to bear arms.
He said he acted after church members voiced fears the Obama administration could tighten gun control laws.

Anyone listen to this GOP piece of work, she has govt HEALTH CARE, and by the way, the GOP doesn't know the meaning of bipartisanship.

Obama: GOP Would Rather Inflict "Damage On My Administration" Than Reform Health Care
Weekly Address: Health Insurance Reform, Small Business and Your Questions

This effort to gum up the works is inexcusable. Healthcare reform is the most critical thing Congress will do this session, the thing that will do the most to help the most Americans. Matt Yglesias

7/25/09 Weekly Republican Address: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)

Makes you sick to the stomach, to even listen to these Wankers, and their "bullshit"
White House M.D.
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The shame of it is that this loser could even be elected, not once but twice, to even be on that list

Countdown: Bachmann Returns

Michele Bachmann Put On GOP's "Most Vulnerable" List
The National Republican Congressional Committee has added another Minnesota representative to its list of most vulnerable incumbents for 2010: Rep. Michele Bachmann joins Rep. Erik Paulsen in the NRCC’s “Patriot Program,” Roll Call reports.
The NRCC announced it is adding 15 more candidates to its fundraising program, bumping the total count of incumbents to 25. Bachmann’s addition means she’ll compete to make a final cut of 10 candidates who’ll participate in the next “Patriot Day,” a one-day fundraiser that brought in almost $100,000 last time it was held, in June.
The NRCC’s program, modeled after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s 42-member “Frontline” program, is “designed to hold Members accountable for their own re-election campaigns,” Roll Call (subscription only) reports. “If the incumbent does not meet certain benchmarks for fundraising and infrastructure, they will not get financial help from the NRCC.”
The Swing State Project states that Bachmann is in “real danger” next election; she’s among three “Patriot Program” members elected with the lowest margin of victory in 2008 — three percentage points or less. LinkHere

[Charles Pierce] Turns On MSNBC's David Schuster And Mainstream Media During Interview About Liz Cheney's "Birther" Remarks About President Obama

Why Do Blue Dogs Want You and I to Pay Three Times More Than They Do for Health Care?

The Blue Dog negotiating list for health reform has been floating around for days now. Here's the list:
--Effectively bend the cost curve
-- Realign incentives to reward high quality, efficient health care; include value-based purchasing, value index, innovation center for Medicare and Medicaid, and other delivery system reforms
--Increase small business exemption and adjust for inflation
--Address end-of-life care
--Adjust the value and cost of subsidy levels
-- Provide affordability credits on a sliding scale from 100-300 percent FPL
-- Public option must negotiate rates with providers, provide greater clarity on opt out, compete on a level playing field, and be available as a fallback
--Establish consumer-driven, state-based co-ops
--Create state-based exchanges with a federal fallback
--Maintain current state-federal partnership with Medicaid, while implementing reforms that increase its value and effectiveness
I've emphasized the two in the middle, because those are the two we hear are highest on the Blue Dog list right now. They are also the ones that cut to the heart of health reform. In short, the Blue Dogs want to keep health care unaffordable for you and your family.
Right now, the House bill protects families up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). The Blue Dogs want to cut that back to 300%. That would cut millions of people out and leave them on their own, paying full price for health care.
What's full price?
The average family health care plan costs $12,680 per year, which comes out to $1,056 per month. For someone making 350% FPL, that's 16% of their income going to health care costs. Meanwhile, Blue Dogs -- who get health care paid for by you and me through the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan -- pay an average of just $357 per month [pdf] for health care, or $4,284 per year. They pay three times less, and they make $174,000 per year.
That's just not fair, and more importantly, Blue Dogs want to weaken the main goal of health care reform -- to make it truly affordable to families.
Instead of asking families to pay huge portions of their income for health care costs, they should agree with leaders in the House and ask those in our society who can most afford it -- those families making over $350,000 per year -- to chip in their fair share by starting to roll back the tax breaks the wealthy got under George Bush.
To do any less would be to deny the crisis going on Blue Dog districts, where health care is unaffordable and uninsurance rates are sky high. It would be a dereliction of duty, it would keep health care out of reach for millions of families, and it would be shockingly unfair. LinkHere
Waxman: Blue Dogs Must Relent On Health Care Reform
Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) says there is "no alternative" but to have healthcare legislation bypass his Energy and Commerce Committee if Blue Dog Democrats don't accept a deal worked out Friday.
Waxman is now playing a game of legislative chicken with the Blue Dogs. He's hoping the inclusion of a study on Medicare reimbursement rates in the healthcare overhaul will be enough to placate the centrist Democrats, who say the government program short-changes hospitals and physicians in their rural districts.
If that’s not, the seven Blue Dogs could join with the committee's Republicans to "eviscerate" healthcare reform, and that’s something Waxman will not tolerate.
"I won't allow them to hand over control of our committee to Republicans," Waxman told reporters.
"I don’t see what other alternative we have, because we're not going to let them empower Republicans on the committee."
The reimbursement rates are important to the healthcare bill, because the government-run "public option" would be based on Medicare. LinkHere

Howard Fineman On GOP Health Care Strategy: 'Stand On The Sidelines With Their Arms Folded'

Fineman: RNC wants to "talk about racial fears" and birth certificate but not about health care

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cheney "Got In The President's Face" Over Libby Pardon: "He Just Wouldn't Give It Up"

Treason is the word Georgies daddy used, isn't it?In next week's cover story, TIME magazine delves deep into the relationship between former President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney -- in particular, their falling-out over the pardon of Scooter Libby in the Valerie Plame leak.
Massimo Calabresi and Michael Weisskopf examine the "last hours ...in the mysterious and mostly opaque relationship at the center of a tumultuous period in American history," a press release from the magazine reads.
Cheney stretched the boundaries of his relationship with Bush in his relentless quest to get his ex-Chief of Staff pardoned:
Petitions for pardons are usually sent in writing to the White House counsel's office or a specially designated attorney at the Department of Justice. In Libby's case, Cheney simply carried the message directly to Bush, as he had with so many other issues in the past, pressing the President in one-on-one meetings or in larger settings. A White House veteran was struck by his "extraordinary level of attention" to the case. Cheney's persistence became nearly as big an issue as the pardon itself. "Cheney really got in the President's face," says a longtime Bush-family source. "He just wouldn't give it up."
And there was a darker possibility. As a former Bush senior aide explains, "I'm sure the President and [chief of staff] Josh [Bolten] and Fred had a concern that somewhere, deep in there, there was a cover-up." It had been an article of faith among Cheney's critics that the Vice President wanted a pardon for Libby because Libby had taken the fall for him in the Fitzgerald probe.
Bush and his lawyer ultimately agreed that Libby had lied under oath. Read the whole story.

Cheney Wanted To Use Military To Arrest Terror Suspects In U.S.
Bush-Era Debate: Using G.I.’s in U.S.

WASHINGTON — Top Bush administration officials in 2002 debated testing the Constitution by sending American troops into the suburbs of Buffalo to arrest a group of men suspected of plotting with Al Qaeda, according to former administration officials.
Some of the advisers to President George W. Bush, including Vice President Dick Cheney, argued that a president had the power to use the military on domestic soil to sweep up the terrorism suspects, who came to be known as the Lackawanna Six, and declare them enemy combatants.
Mr. Bush ultimately decided against the proposal to use military force.
A decision to dispatch troops into the streets to make arrests would be nearly unprecedented in American history, as both the Constitution and subsequent laws restrict the military from being used to conduct domestic raids and seize property.
The Fourth Amendment bans “unreasonable” searches and seizures without probable cause. And the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 generally prohibits the military from acting in a law enforcement capacity.
In the discussions, Mr. Cheney and others cited an Oct. 23, 2001, memorandum from the Justice Department that, using a broad interpretation of presidential authority, argued that the domestic use of the military against Al Qaeda would be legal because it served a national security, rather than a law enforcement, purpose.
“The president has ample constitutional and statutory authority to deploy the military against international or foreign terrorists operating within the United States,” the memorandum said.

Unfrikingbelievable, will never understand the citizens of the USA, time and time again they allow themselves to be dumped on by,

Faux News, the media, and special interest groups who have republican and democratic politicians in their back pockets.
What a joke they are.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made it official Thursday, telling reporters that his chamber would miss President Obama's August-recess deadline.
"What we're going to do is come back in the fall," Reid told reporters. "All this is no big surprise to anyone. The president's message was [that] he wanted something sent to him before the end of the year," he said, emphasizing the word year. "It's better to get a product that's based on quality and thoughtfulness than on trying to just get something through."
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) tried to put the best face on the slowdown: "No one wants delay, but I think the president has done this just right. He keeps importuning us and moving us and pushing us forward, but not to the extent that you don't have the best product possible."
Health care reform will now need to survive the month of August, when opponents will work hard to kill it. "It's going to be out there certainly for a significant amount of time while the public reacts and maybe the plan is modified," said Schumer, who nevertheless expressed confidence that the Senate would finish the job in the fall. LinkHere


Jon Stewart Eviscerates The 'Birther' Movement

Bin Laden's son 'killed by missile'

OSAMA bin Laden's third-oldest son "may be dead," a US counterterrorism official says, after reports he was likely killed by a US missile strike in Pakistan earlier this year.
"There are some indications that he may be dead, but it's not 100 per cent certain," the official said, cautioning however that "if he is dead, Saad bin Laden was a small player with a big name. He has never been a major operational figure." LinkHere

Bin Laden son 'killed in drone strike'
The Australian, 24 Jul 2009

Obama Press Conference On Health Care:

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

LISTEN: Lou Dobbs Speculates If Obama Is Undocumented

Rachel Maddow & Guest Make Fun Of Miss California's Book Deal

Obama Administration Orders Downsizing Of US Mega-Embassy In Baghdad

Report: Big cuts needed at huge Baghdad embassy that Bush built
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Embassy in Iraq, the government's largest overseas mission, is significantly overstaffed and needs to be downsized to reflect the reduced American role in the country, according to a new State Department report.
"There is a clear consensus from the top to the bottom of the embassy: The time has come for a significant rightsizing," says the report Wednesday by the department's inspector general.
The report came as President Barack Obama was to meet in Washington with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki.
The meeting takes place against the background of a significantly changed U.S.-Iraqi relationship. American combat troops ceased operations in Iraqi cities on June 30, Maliki's government is being much more assertive and Obama has shifted the attention that his predecessor put on Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In addition to downsizing the embassy, the report also recommends ending the Provincial Reconstruction Teams by 2011, which have been the prime U.S. tool for rebuilding civilian life in Iraq's provinces.
"For some, it (the downsizing) is much overdue as they believe the 'civilian surge' went too far," the report says. "For others, it is a necessary result of the now-changed circumstances in Iraq and in our bilateral relationship."
The American Embassy in Baghdad became a symbol of the Bush administration's ambitions to remake Iraq. A huge new structure was built on the banks of the Tigris River, at a cost of more than $700 million, and hundreds of civilian experts from agencies across the U.S. government were deployed to help with reconstruction.
The 103-page inspector general's report gives high marks to embassy personnel for what it calls an "exemplary" relationship between American civilians and the U.S. military in Iraq. LinkHere

Thom Hartman on Obama Pt1 - 2 - 3

Web Warfare Team Unveiled

“To all intents and purposes the internet is a theatre in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we must be active in that theatre, otherwise we will lose,” said Ilan Shturman, who is responsible for the project.
By Jonathan Cook

Israel's Foreign Ministry is reported to be establishing a special undercover team of paid workers whose job it will be to surf the internet 24 hours a day spreading positive news about Israel. LinkHere

Deaths of U.S. Troops Exceed 5,000 in Wars

By Andrea Stone

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan reached two solemn milestones Monday: July has become the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and the combined death toll surpassed 5,000. LinkHere

Ain't that the truth!!! Question is, is everyone going to sit back and let them win? or tell them, not this time, not this year.

"If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him."

That's what a Republican senator said last week about health care. Republicans will stop at nothing to kill health care reform and undermine Obama's agenda for change.

Howard Dean Dismisses Criticism Of Work For Biotech, Accuses Media Of Devouring GOP Talking Points On Health Care
Speaking about health care on Tuesday, Gov. Howard Dean said the media "hate that they can't take down Obama, so they're using every Republican talking point to try." According to Dean, health reform is "doing very well."

Dean, a physician who is closely involved with the issue politically, emphasized the importance of a public health care option to compete with private insurers. A bill without such a provision is "not worth passing" as it would not control costs, he argued, at a conference hosted by Campus Progress in Washington, D.C.

"Let the American people choose" between private and public medical care, he said, claiming that a public option would force private insurers to get their act together.

Dean accused Republicans of being "enemies of reform" and didn't take kindly to Sen. Jim DeMint's admitted desire to kill the bill as a way of hurting Obama. On passing the bill, he said "if we have to do it through reconciliation, let's do it." LinkHere

The Great Tax Con Job

By Thom Hartmann
Republicans are using the T-word - taxes - to attack the Obama healthcare program. It's a strategy based in a lie.
A very small niche of America’s uber-wealthy have pulled off what may well be the biggest con job in the history of our republic, and they did it in a startlingly brief 30 or so years. True, they spent over three billion dollars to make it happen, but the reward to them was in the hundreds of billions - and will continue to be.
As my friend and colleague Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks pointed out in a Daily Kosblog recently, billionaire Rupert Murdoch loses $50 million a year on the NY Post, billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife loses $2 to $3 million a year on the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, billionaire Philip Anschutz loses around $5 million a year on The Weekly Standard, and billionaire Sun Myung Moon has lost $2 to $3 billion on The Washington Times.
Why are these guys willing to lose so much money funding “conservative” media? Why do they bulk-buy every right-wing book that comes out to throw it to the top of the NY Times Bestseller list and then give away the copies to “subscribers” to their websites and publications? Why do they fund to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year money-hole “think tanks” like Heritage and Cato?
The answer is pretty straightforward. They do it because it buys them respectability, and gets their con job out there. Even though William Kristol’s publication is a money-losing joke (with only 85,000 subscribers!), his association with the Standard was enough to get him on TV talk shows whenever he wants, and a column with The New York Times. The Washington Times catapulted Tony Blankley to stardom.
“Fellowships” and other forms of indirect sponsorship of right-wing talk show hosts have made otherwise-marginal shows and their hosts ubiquitous, and such sponsorships of groups like Norquist’s anti-tax “Americans for Tax Reform” regularly get people like him front-and-center in any debate on taxation in the United States.
All so they could run a tax con on the American people, thus keeping Moon and Murdoch and Scaife and Anschutz (and others) richer than you or I could ever even imagine. LinkHere

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Conservative "C Street House" Organization

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Maddow Demolishes Buchanan's Surreal Facts About Am erica's Racial Past


Senate Beats Back Military-Industrial Complex In Historic Vote
"Military Industrial Complex" Eisenhower Warned About Suffers Major Blow... Congress, Obama Roll Back F-22 Production
President Obama won a major victory in the Senate Tuesday in a dogfight that has major, long-term implications for his agenda.
The Senate, by a vote of 58-40, approved an amendment proposed by Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) to strip $1.75 billion in funding for the F-22 fighter. Levin worked hand in hand to kill the F-22 money with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
"There was an extensive effort by the White House," said Levin. "The president really needed to win this vote, not just in terms of the merits of the F-22 issue itself, but in terms of the reform agenda."
The vote had become a proxy fight against the power of the military-industrial complex, a term coined by President Dwight Eisenhower in his farewell address. LinkHere

New World Order

Stock Shock: Movie Trailer

Sandra said...
See the movie "Stock Shock" for a real education in short selling and NSS. Amazon has it.
Stock Shock
Stock Shock exposes the down and dirty schemes and calculated market manipulation behind the glitter of Wall Street. LinkHere

Stock Shock-Short Sellers Raided the American Market!

Stock Shock: Movie Trailer
Has been removed from You Tube

PoliticsSotomayor Vote Delayed One Week By Republicans

They still think she "has some 'splainin' to do."
Sotomayor Vote Delayed One Week By Judiciary Committee Republicans
WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee has put off its vote on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor (SOHN'-ya soh-toh-my-YOR') for one week after Republicans asked for a delay.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy says the vote will occur on July 28. The Vermont Democrat says he's disappointed the GOP held up the committee's action, but predicts Sotomayor will join the Supreme Court in time for an earlier-than-usual first meeting on Sept 9.
Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the senior Judiciary Committee Republican, says President Barack Obama's first high court nominee is on track to be confirmed in early August – a slightly faster timetable than GOP-nominated Chief Justice John Roberts.
Sotomayor is expected to be confirmed easily. LinkHere

Aussie icons up for seven wonders list

Uluru, Great Barrier Reef in line for Seven Wonders

AUSTRALIAN icons will battle it out against the Grand Canyon and Angel Falls to make a new Seven Wonders of the World list.
– Northern Territory, and part of Australia’s Red Centre
Vibrant in colour, rich in texture and steeped in history, Uluru – also commonly known as Ayers Rock – is the world’s largest monolith, and an icon of Australia.

Over 318 metres high, 9.4 kilometres in circumference and extending 6 kilometres below the ground’s surface, the remarkable geological compositions of Uluru ensures that it will remain a relic of our nation. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1987, Uluru, is also remarkable for its religious and spiritual significance.
To vote for Uluru, click here

Great Barrier Reef – Queensland

A remarkable natural gift, the Great Barrier Reef is blessed with the breathtaking beauty of the world’s largest coral reef. The reef contains an abundance of marine life and comprises over 3,000 individual reef systems and coral cays and literally hundreds of picturesque tropical islands with some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.

The marine park stretches over 3,000 kilometres and the reef, around 65 kilometres wide in some parts, is a gathering of more than 400 different kinds of coral, coral sponges, molluscs, rays, dolphins, over 1,500 species of tropical fish, more than 200 types of birds, around 20 types of reptiles including sea turtles and giant clams over 120 years old.

To vote for the Great Barrier Reef, click here

Monday, July 20, 2009

We will break him, Hopefully he will fix these Wankers right where it hurts them.

Obama Calls On Bloggers To Keep Health Care Pressure On Congress
Peppering the president with questions were some of the progressive community's most prominent netroots voices from Jonathan Singer of MyDD to John Amato of Crooks and Liars. As in interviews and public statements past, the president stressed that the White House had already made major steps toward achieving reform, including bringing key stakeholders in the private sector to the table. Repeating his statement on Monday criticizing the posture of some of his Republican opponents, Obama accused those who sought to delay the bill as trying to kill the prospects of reform and, by extension, his presidency.
"I think it was telling, some of you may have seen, a Republican senator this weekend saying, we are just going to delay and delay because if we can stop Obama on this one, this is going to be his Waterloo. We will break him," he said of the remarks made by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C). "That was a quote. And I think it indicates the degree to which a lot of folks may sincerely think that the more time we take the better off we are going to be but I also think there are some who deliberately want to delay this process because they know the longer the special interests have to run negative ads or lobby members of congress, the more difficult it becomes to get this done." LinkHere

GOP Trying To Torpedo Health Reform
Kristol: "This Is The Week" To "Go For The Kill"... Steele: Health Care Is Obama's Waterloo

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bailout Overseer Says Banks Misused TARP Funds

By Binyamin Appelbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 20, 2009
Many of the banks that got federal aid to support increased lending have instead used some of the money to make investments, repay debts or buy other banks, according to a new report from the special inspector general overseeing the government's financial rescue program.
The report, which will be published Monday, surveyed 360 banks that got money through the end of January and found that 110 had invested at least some of it, that 52 had repaid debts and that 15 had used funds to buy other banks.
Roughly 80 percent of respondents, or 300 banks, also said at least some of the money had supported new lending.
The report by special inspector general Neil Barofsky calls on the Treasury Department to require regular, more detailed information from banks about their use of federal aid provided under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The Treasury has refused to collect such information. Doing so is "essential to meet Treasury's stated goal of bringing transparency to the TARP program and informing the American people and their representatives in Congress about what is being done with their money," the report said.
In a written response, the Treasury again rejected that call. Officials have taken the view that the exact use of the federal aid cannot be tracked because money given to a bank is like water poured into an ocean.
"Although it might be tempting to do so, it is not possible to say that investment of TARP dollars resulted in particular loans, investments or other activities by the recipient," Herbert M. Allison Jr., the assistant Treasury secretary who administers the rescue program, wrote in a letter to Barofsky. LinkHere

Military Has One Year To Turn Things Around In Afghanistan

Americans won't accept 'long slog' in Afghanistan war, Gates says

Virginia Mayo / Associated Press
“After the Iraq experience, nobody is prepared to have a long slog where it is not apparent we are making headway,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in an interview. “The troops are tired, the American people are pretty tired.”
The Defense secretary says forces must show progress in a year or risk losing public support -- especially as casualties mount with at least 50 U.S. and NATO deaths in July, the deadliest month yet.
By Julian E. Barnes
July 19, 2009
Reporting from Washington -- After eight years, U.S.-led forces must show progress in Afghanistan by next summer to avoid the public perception that the conflict has become unwinnable, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in a sharp critique of the war effort.
Gates said that victory was a "long-term prospect" under any scenario and that the U.S. would not win the war in a year's time. However, U.S. forces must begin to turn the situation around in a year, he said, or face the likely loss of public support. LinkHere

Cheating SC gov says God will make him better

Hypocrisy, thy name is Republican.
Source: Associated Press
"South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, still clinging to office after admitting to an extramarital affair, wrote in an opinion piece released Sunday that God will change him so he can emerge from the scandal a more humble and effective leader.
"(W)hile none of us has the chance to attend our own funeral, in many ways I feel like I was at my own in the past weeks, and surprisingly I am thankful for the perspective it has afforded," Sanford wrote in the opinion piece distributed statewide for Sunday newspapers.
Sanford, a two-term Republican, returned from a mysterious, nearly weeklong disappearance last month to reveal a romance with a longtime friend in Argentina. In a series of Associated Press interviews, he described the woman as his "soul mate" but said he would work to repair his relationship with his wife, Jenny, the mother of their four sons.
Some lawmakers have called for Sanford to resign, and one state senator plans hearings on whether state money was used to facilitate the trysts. A criminal probe found nothing illegal.
Sanford and his wife left the state earlier this week for an undisclosed location and are expected to return Sunday evening, spokesman Joel Sawyer said." LinkHere

Israel Trains U.S. Assassination Squads

Democracy Now! & Julian Borger
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh reveals how a new Special Forces group assembled to "neutralize" Iraqi resistance is working with Israeli commandoes to train in assassination and other tactics - comparable to the Phoenix Program in Vietnam. One of the key planners is Lt Gen. William Boykin who declared that Bush was not elected but appointed by God. LinkHere

'Government Sachs' Strikes Gold ... Again

By Robert Scheer
Connect the dots: Goldman Sachs made $3.44 billion in profit this past quarter, while the U.S deficit topped $1 trillion for the first time in the nation's history and appeared to be headed toward doubling that figure before the budget year is out. Since most of the increase in the federal deficit is due to bailing out the banks and salvaging the greater economy they helped destroy, why is the top investment bank doing so well? LinkHere
Goldman Sachs Posts Record Profits

Matt Taibbi Probes Role of Investment Giant in US Financial Meltdown
By Democracy Now - Audio and Transcript
Goldman Sachs, the nation's most powerful financial company, has reported the richest quarterly profit in its 140-year history: $3.44 billion between April and June. We speak to Matt Taibbi, whose new Rolling Stone article argues that "Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression." LinkHere

A Palestina Breaks the Siege, Arrives in Gaza

By PressTV
The Viva Palestina US Convoy finally crossed into Gaza from the Rafah Crossing in Egypt. Headed up by the British Member of Parliament, George Galloway as well as former Congresswoman Cynthia Mckinney, the convoy was due to bring over US $1million of aid and humanitarian assistance into the besieged Gaza Strip; they were finally only able to cross with half of that amount of aid. LinkHere

Israel Rejects U.S. Call To Halt Jerusalem Project

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel on Sunday rejected a U.S. demand to suspend a planned housing project in east Jerusalem, threatening to further complicate an unusually tense standoff with its strongest ally over settlement construction.
Israeli officials said the country's ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, was summoned to the State Department over the weekend and told that a project being developed by an American millionaire in the disputed section of the holy city should not go ahead.
Israel Will Implode
By Gilad Atzmon
Israel's oppressive occupation will cause its own demise. LinkHere

How Israel Lobby Took Control Of US Foreign Policy
By Jeff Gates
In the early 1960s, Senator William J. Fulbright fought to force the American Zionist Council to register as agents of a foreign government. The Council eluded registration by reorganizing as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC has since become what Fulbright most feared: a foreign agent dominating American foreign policy while disguised as a domestic lobby.

Obama: Civil Rights Leaders Paved the Way

NATO: At Least 16 Killed in Afghan Helicopter Crash

Agence France-Presse: "At least 16 civilians were killed on Sunday when a helicopter crashed near a military base in southern Afghanistan, the NATO-led force said, in the second fatal chopper crash here in a week. The civilian-contracted aircraft was not shot down by insurgents, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said, but gave no details on what caused the crash in war-torn Kandahar province. LinkHere

Peter Graff and Hamid Shalizi, Reuters: "A U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet crashed in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, the U.S. Air Force said, and a military source said both crew members on board were killed."
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