Thursday, June 19, 2008

Most say US on Wrong Track: AP-Ipsos Poll

And it will only get worse unless something dramatic isn't done:

Wherever the nation should be headed, this isn't it.

The number of Americans who believe the country is moving in the wrong direction has risen sharply, to nearly eight in ten, amid soaring food and gas prices, falling home values and unending war. Just 17 percent say the country is going in the right direction, according to an AP-Ipsos poll.

The right-direction number is the lowest ever recorded by the survey, which began in 2003. When other surveys are taken into account, the general level of pessimism is the worst in almost 30 years.

And it's getting worse. The 17 percent positive reading was down from 24 percent just since April.

Those who said the country was on the wrong track totaled 76 percent of the people contacted in the survey, which was taken from June 12-16. That's up from 71 percent in April and 66 percent near the end of 2007.

Solution to the Zimbabwe Atrocities: Video

Apparently the people of Zimbabwe are all alone while they suffer horrific brutality and oppression. There is no hope that the UN or any other organization will come to their rescue. Its the same old story. The world ignores genocide in Africa. Why? No press coverage. And why no press coverage? No video or pics. The solution? The people of Zimbabwe should be armed with video cameras and camcorders. Such tactics were used with success, although for a limited time, in Burma and Tibet. It is the best solution in a world that doesn't care unless they see it on TV. It didn't happen if it isn't reported. We live in the YouTube age. The best weapon of against oppression: video:

The mutilated bodies of four young men bore witness yesterday to the latest atrocities of the Mugabe regime in the run-up to next week’s elections.

The victims were murdered while defending the home of a local leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), as the campaign of terror against the opposition reached a new pitch.

They represent the most deaths in a single day since Robert Mugabe lost the presidential elections ten weeks ago. Three of the men were MDC youth activists in the sprawling dormitory township of Chitungwiza about 20 miles (30km) south of Harare. The fourth was a passer-by, abducted because he did not know the secret slogans and salutes used by the ruling Zanu (PF) youth organisation to identify supporters. All four had their skulls smashed, and some had their lips and genitals cut off.

Karl Rove Accuses McCain with Talking "Economic Nonsense"

Once again McCain alienates a major Republican political figure. This time around its no less than Karl Rove:

Obama and McCain Spout Economic Nonsense

Barack Obama and John McCain are busy demonstrating that in close elections during tough economic times, candidates for president can be economically illiterate and irresponsibly populist.

In Raleigh, N.C., last week, Sen. Obama promised, "I'll make oil companies like Exxon pay a tax on their windfall profits, and we'll use the money to help families pay for their skyrocketing energy costs and other bills."

Set aside for a minute that Jimmy Carter passed a "windfall profits tax" to devastating effect, putting American oil companies at a competitive disadvantage to foreign competitors, virtually ending domestic energy exploration, and making the U.S. more dependent on foreign sources of oil and gas.

Instead ask this: Why should we stop with oil companies? They make about 8.3 cents in gross profit per dollar of sales. Why doesn't Mr. Obama slap a windfall profits tax on sectors of the economy that have fatter margins? Electronics make 14.5 cents per dollar and computer equipment makers take in 13.7 cents per dollar, according to the Census Bureau. Microsoft's margin is 27.5 cents per dollar of sales. Call out Mr. Obama's Windfall Profits Police!

It's not the profit margin, but the total number of dollars earned that is the problem, Mr. Obama might say. But if that were the case, why isn't he targeting other industries? Oil and gas companies made $86.5 billion in profits last year. At the same time, the financial services industry took in $498.5 billion in profits, the retail industry walked away with $137.5 billion, and information technology companies made off with $103.4 billion. What kind of special outrage does Mr. Obama have for these companies?

Sen. McCain doesn't support the windfall profits tax, but he can be as hostile to profits as Mr. Obama. "[W]e should look at any incentives that we are giving," Mr. McCain said in May, even as he talked up a gas tax "holiday" that would give drivers incentives to burn more gasoline.

This past Thursday, Mr. McCain came close to advocating a form of industrial policy, saying, "I'm very angry, frankly, at the oil companies not only because of the obscene profits they've made, but their failure to invest in alternate energy."

[...]Messrs. Obama and McCain both reveal a disturbing animus toward free markets and success. It is uncalled for and self-defeating for presidential candidates to demonize American companies. It is understandable that Mr. Obama, the most liberal member of the Senate, would endorse reckless policies that are the DNA of the party he leads. But Mr. McCain, a self-described Reagan Republican, should know better.

Ex-State Dept. official: Hundreds of detainees died in U.S. custody, at least 25 murdered.

Someone should be impeached for this. Guess who:

At today’s House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Rights hearing on torture, Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, told Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) that over 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody, with up to 27 of these declared homicides:

NADLER: Your testimony said 100 detainees have died in detention; do you believe the 25 of those were in effect murdered?

WILKERSON: Mr. Chairman, I think the number’s actually higher than that now. Last time I checked it was 108.

Read the transcript and see video

FOX Top Story: "Blowing Stuff Up"

Fox is shameless when it comes to what they call news. This live coverage went on for several minutes. I did not witness anything being blown up.

Huckabee: Demonizing Obama is a ‘Fatal Mistake’

Republicans--are you listening. If you are basing your hopes on destroying Obama ask Hillary how much good that does:

Former GOP presidential contender Mike Huckabee called Barack Obama's candidacy "a landmark achievement" Tuesday, and warned fellow Republicans not to demonize Obama.

"Republicans will make a fundamental if not fatal mistake if they seek to win the election by demonizing Barack Obama," Huckabee told reporters in Tokyo, according to a report by Agence France-Presse.

Huckabee praised the country for getting "to a point where we did not see his color but we truly saw his charisma, his message and what he brought to the campaign trail."

"When people are really hurting — and they are right now — they're not looking at a person's race," he added.

Huckabee said he hopes John McCain beats Obama, but that Republicans should focus on policy differences, not race.

Amnesty: More than 1,000 Unaccounted for in Tibet

Does anyone care? The issue has died lately--just in time for a peaceful Olympics game. No boycott, no more protests:

More than 1,000 protesters detained during anti-government riots in Tibet three months ago have not been accounted for, a human rights group said Wednesday.

Amnesty International said a quarter of about 4,000 people detained by police during the riots in Tibet in March are unaccounted for. The others have been either released or placed under formal arrest.

The Olympic torch will pass through the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, on Saturday, and Amnesty's Asia-Pacific director, Sam Zarifi, said the event should draw attention to the missing and those in prison.

"There is very little information coming out of Tibet, but the information we have paints a dire picture of arbitrary detentions and abuse of detainees," he said. "With the torch relay about to enter Tibetan areas, this should be an opportunity to shine some light on the situation there."

It's all about those profits for big business:
The United States and China, concluding high-level economic talks, agreed to launch negotiations on an investment treaty that holds out the promise of greatly expanded opportunities for U.S. companies in China's vast market.

The two countries also pledged greater cooperation to deal with energy shortages and global pollution.

The agreements were announced Wednesday by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., who said he believed the initiatives would produce "significant progress" on two priorities both nations share.

The announcements came as the two countries concluded two days of talks aimed at defusing simmering economic tensions. Paulson and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan participated in a joint signing ceremony in the Treasury Department's ornate Cash Room to wrap up the fourth round of a series of talks known as the Strategic Economic Dialogue.

The announcement Wednesday represented a fleshing out of details of an agreement that was initially announced at the last round of talks in Beijing in December. Paulson said the framework would focus on five major areas -- electricity, air, water, transportation and conservation of forest and wetland ecosystems.

Cocaine Overdose Kills Baby, Father gets Life

Justice was done. Let this scum rot in jail. Hopefully this case will send a tough message:

A man whose teething infant son died after sucking on his father's cocaine-tainted fingers has been sentenced to life in prison.

Dennis Ray Driver, 26, was convicted Wednesday of felony murder for the overdose death of his 8-month-old son, Dennis Jr. The jury also fined Driver $10,000.

Driver said he fell asleep at his apartment on Dec. 28 with his son lying on his chest. When he awoke, the baby wasn't breathing. The infant died the next day at a hospital.

Driver had told investigators that he had chopped up cocaine and the baby later sucked on his fingers, prosecutor Murray Newman said.

Iraq Nears First Major Oil Service Deals

This is why we are in Iraq. Its about the oil:

Iraq is close to signing oil service deals with several major Western oil companies in an effort to boost its output capacity, the country's oil ministry said Thursday — the first major Iraqi contracts with big Western companies since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

If the Iraqi government thinks that those Western companies will leave their country, they are enormously naive:
The deals, once signed, are something of a stopgap measure to help Iraq begin to increase production until the country is able to approve a new national oil law — now held up by political squabbles among Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.

But they also could mark the beginning of an important long-term toehold by big Western companies into Iraq's potentially lucrative oil industry, by giving the companies a bidding advantage over other companies in the future.

You can bet those companies have ties to the Bush Klan:
Iraq's oil ministry spokesman would not name the companies set to get the deals.

But last December, four major companies — Royal Dutch Shell PLC, BP PLC, ExxonMobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. — submitted technical and financial proposals for the five oil fields and received counterproposals from the Iraqi side.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Shell, BP and Exxon Mobil, plus Total, were the four major companies close to signing deals, along with Chevron and some smaller companies.

Obama Opts out of Public Funding of Election

It is a smart idea for Barack Obama not to fall for McCain's hypocritical call for staying within the public funding of the presidential campaign. The Illinois Senator has an enormous advantage in fundraising relative to the Republican candidate. It would tantamount to unilateral disarmament for him stay within the public funding of the campaign. Wouldn't McCain done the same thing if he were in the same position and not Obama. Historically Republicans have had the upper hand. This time around the Democrats are in a superior position:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Thursday he has decided to forgo public financing of his election campaign against Republican John McCain.

The decision frees him up to collect money privately, which could be a help to him strategically ahead of November's election. During the Democratic primary, Obama smashed records for fundraising, largely on the success he achieved in raising money over the Internet.

"We've made the decision not to participate in the public financing system for the general election," Obama said in a video statement emailed to reporters.