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Sunday
Mar162008

A Crude Case for War?

It's hard to miss the point of the "Blood for Oil" Web site. It features one poster of an American flag with "Blood for oil?" in white block letters where the stars should be and two dripping red handprints across the stripes. Another shows a photo of President Bush with a thin black line on his upper lip. "Got oil?" the headline asks wryly.

Five years after the United States invaded Iraq, plenty of people believe that the war was waged chiefly to secure U.S. petroleum supplies and to make Iraq safe -- and lucrative -- for the U.S. oil industry.

We may not know the real motivations behind the Iraq war for years, but it remains difficult to distill oil from all the possibilities. That's because our society and economy have been nursed on cheap oil, and the idea that oil security is a right as well as a necessity has become part of our foreign policy DNA, handed down from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter to George H.W. Bush. And the war and its untidy aftermath have, in fact, swelled the coffers of the world's biggest oil companies.

But it hasn't happened in the way anyone might have imagined.

Instead of making Iraq an open economy fueled by a thriving oil sector, the war has failed to boost the flow of oil from Iraq's giant well-mapped reservoirs, which oil experts say could rival Saudi Arabia's and produce 6 million barrels a day, if not more.

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Sunday
Mar162008

FAA Says It Didn't Follow Rules

Demolishing a building that dates back to the days of asbestos is a complicated business. You need to examine the construction method and, often, call in the men in white suits.

When the Federal Aviation Administration decided to knock down an old guard shack last year on the grounds of the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center in Leesburg, no such precautions were taken. Instead, managers called in a crew of mentally disabled people and put them to work at the site, which had been found in 1993 to contain asbestos.

Now, the FAA says, the agency's inspector general, federal prosecutors in Alexandria and a grand jury are investigating whether the decision to give part of the job to people with severe disabilities was a purposeful attempt to circumvent procedures.

"They used a groundskeeping crew from a disadvantaged group to clean up the debris," said Diane Spitaliere, an FAA spokeswoman. She said federal investigators are looking into whether FAA managers knowingly assigned the crew to a job involving toxic materials, endangering the workers' health.

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Saturday
Mar152008

4 Day Winter Soldier Anti-War Conference -  www.ivaw.org

warcomeshome.org / kpfa.org / ivaw.org

Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are meeting this weekend at an anti-war conference modeled after a well-known 1971 gathering at which Vietnam veterans spoke out against that conflict.

The four-day event called "Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan _ Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations," is expected to draw more than 200 veterans of the two conflicts through Sunday. It was timed for the eve of the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war next week.

On Friday, former soldiers and Marines addressed an audience of several hundred in Silver Spring. They spoke of having to make snap decisions about whether to fire on civilians, of soldiers firing indiscriminately on Iraqi vehicles, and of an apartment building filled with Iraqi families attacked by an American gunship.

Former Marine Jon Turner began his presentation by ripping his service medals off his shirt and tossing them into the first row. He then narrated a series of graphic photographs that brought gasps from the audience. In a matter-of-fact voice, he described episodes in which he and fellow Marines shot people out of fear or retribution.

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Saturday
Mar152008

Iran Celebrates Election by Ending Nuclear Talks

Hardliners in the Iranian regime celebrated victory in parliamentary elections by toughening their stance against the West, firmly rejecting any possibility of talks over the country’s controversial nuclear program.

Buoyed by the early results from Friday’s parliamentary elections, the government said talks with the group of five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany were at an end.

The statement will come as a blow to those who believed the group could still broker a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis, but reflects the strength of the conservative vote.

With more than half the results counted for the 290 seat parliament, conservatives had taken a 108 to 33 seat lead over their reformist opponents.

If the results are repeated in the remaining seats, it would mark a significant victory for the hardliners aligned with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

After months of jostling for position among the ranks of rival conservatives, the IRGC is now poised to take over from Iran’s clerics as the dominant force in the country’s parliament.

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Saturday
Mar152008

Spitzer Targeted by Bush Admin in Revenge for Washington Post Piece?

Editor's Note: It wouldn't be the first time that this administration took aim at a critic of its policies! Let's not forget, Valerie Plame Wilson and her spy agency was protecting the U.S. from weapons of mass destruction. When her husband said there was no Iraq-Niger uranium connection, she was outed by the same administration that claims they want to protect us from terrorists! How ignorant do they think we are? Read Spitzer's report: Predatory Lenders' Partner in Crime

By Ted Lang

The DC Madam scandal has been erased from the American public's radar screen by the Zionist-controlled "American" mass media. The Bush White House pedophile scandal is non-existent thanks to the Zionist MSM. And if one needs proof of the Zionist domination of our mass mainstream Establishment media, please go here to get up to speed. The New York Times, gatekeeper for all broadcast and cable TV news, has yet to learn of the Downing Street Memo. And Cheney's direct involvement in orchestrating defense system "stand-downs" to facilitate the 9/11 massacre of Americans, and his criminally motivated exposure of Valerie Plame, are of absolutely no concern to the MSM.

So why all the concentrated media focus on New York Governor Elliot Spitzer's long-term rolls in the hay with paid sex partners? Even a novice news junkie that has only recently begun to understand the fraud and propaganda agenda of the "American" MSM can immediately notice something weird relative to the "exposure" of Governor Spitzer's addiction to high-priced prostitutes. Any normal red-blooded American male just loves women who can reduce down sexual pleasure to the simple exchange requiring only money. It is indeed the "oldest profession."

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Saturday
Mar152008

Foreign Buyers Swoop Up American Property Due to Weak Dollar

Stephane Torriglia flew in from Spain about a month ago to check out a rowhouse for sale on Capitol Hill and declared it the "perfect" buy for someone like him, a foreign businessman with euros to invest.

"The idea is we'll convert our euros into dollars," Torriglia said. "We can rent the place out. Maybe in five years or six, the dollar will be strong again and the real estate will gain value. It's an opportunity."

With the U.S. dollar at its weakest level in decades, international buyers are chasing housing bargains here, eager to take advantage of their purchasing power and the declining prices in some of the best-known U.S. cities.

Against that backdrop, the Washington area is luring more than the usual crowd of diplomats. Now that the dollar is cheap, the region's appeal has broadened, enticing international business types and sophisticated investors who find comfort in the area's global reputation as a recession-proof market.

Several area real estate agents said inquiries from abroad have at least doubled since a year ago, mostly from wealthy Europeans and people in such growing economies as India and Russia, where the currencies are gaining against the dollar. Some are making all-cash offers. Even Web sites are seeing a surge in page views from overseas. The international traffic for D.C. area listings was recently up 60 percent year over year on http://Zillow.com, a popular real estate Web site.

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Saturday
Mar152008

Chinese Forces Say They’ve Secured Tibet’s Capital

Thousands of Buddhist monks and other Tibetans clashed with the riot police in a second Chinese city on Saturday, while the authorities said they had regained control of the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, a day after a rampaging mob ransacked shops and set fire to cars and storefronts in a deadly riot.

Conflicting reports emerged about the violence in Lhasa on Friday. The Chinese authorities denied that they had fired on protesters there, but Tibetan leaders in India told news agencies on Saturday that they had confirmed that 30 Tibetans had died and that they had unconfirmed reports that put the number at more than 100.

Demonstrations erupted for the second consecutive day in the city of Xiahe in Gansu Province, where an estimated 4,000 Tibetans gathered near the Labrang Monastery. Local monks had held a smaller protest on Friday, but the confrontation escalated Saturday afternoon, according to witnesses and Tibetans in India who spoke with protesters by telephone.

Residents in Xiahe, reached by telephone, heard loud noises similar to gunshots or explosions. A waitress described the scene as “chaos” and said many injured people had been sent to a local hospital. Large numbers of military police and security officers fired tear gas while Tibetans hurled rocks, according to the Tibetans in India.

“Their slogans were, ‘The Dalai Lama must return to Tibet’ and ‘Tibetans need to have human rights in Tibet,’ ” said Jamyang, a Tibetan in Dharamsala, India, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile, who spoke to protesters.

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Saturday
Mar152008

Fed Efforts Foiled By Banks as Mortgage Rates Rise!

By Bob Ivry and Sharon L. Lynch / Bloomberg

Ben S. Bernanke can't revive the housing market and the banks are no help.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has cut interest rates five times since September and this week pumped $200 billion into the financial system. Yesterday its New York branch provided funds to help rescue Bear Stearns Cos.

Those initiatives haven't brought down mortgage rates for residential borrowers, whose success in refinancing or buying would help bolster the U.S. economy. The interest rate on a 30- year fixed-rate mortgage has climbed to 6.37 percent from 5.5 percent since Jan. 24, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, as financial institutions try to cover $195 billion in mortgage-related losses and save capital for future losses.

``The mortgage rate isn't down as much as it should be because the banks are in desperate straits and they need to maintain a larger spread than they normally would,'' said Alan Nevin, chief economist with the California Building Industry Association in Sacramento. ``The banks need to generate income and the easiest way to do that is to broaden the spread. If they pay 3.5 percent and charge 6 percent, that's a lot of money.''

Over the past 10 years, the average spread between 10-year U.S. Treasuries and 30-year fixed-rate mortgages has been 1.75 percent. Last week, it 2.83 percent, pushing mortgage costs up.

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Saturday
Mar152008

The Ron Paul Revolution Continues

The High Tide could be a lifting anthem for the Ron Paul Revolution as it seeks ways to voice its message in the post-campaign era.

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Friday
Mar142008

Fed Chief Warns Anew on Foreclosures

Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, added fresh warnings on Friday about a gathering wave of home foreclosures bearing down on American communities, while pledging new regulations to limit the impact and crack down on predatory mortgage lending.

“Mortgage delinquency and foreclosure rates have increased substantially over the past year and a half,” Mr. Bernanke said during a speech in Washington. “Behind these disturbing statistics are families facing personal and financial hardship and neighborhoods that may be destabilized by clusters of foreclosures.”

“These realities challenge to find ways to prevent unnecessary foreclosures,” and “ensure a regulatory environment that promotes responsible lending,” he added.

The chairman’s words before the annual meeting of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition were perhaps most notable for what they left unsaid: At a time of grave concern about a recession that many economists believe has already begun, Mr. Bernanke offered no clues as to whether another cut in interest rates is in the offing when Fed governors convene on Tuesday.

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