Our Attorney General at the behest of our President has sued Verizon and the State of Maine, so that our President can hide a sworn statement to comments previously made regarding Verizon’s participation in the NSA domestic surveillance program. Verizon had previously denied turning over consumer phone records to NSA. The PUC ordered Verizon to detail their participation in the NSA program as part of an investigation into alleged privacy law violations. The DOJ has also sued the AG of New Jersey to block telecom companies from cooperating with a New Jersey investigation. Our President and the DOJ has argued such suits could reveal state secrets, which a federal judge ruled that such spying was unconstitutional, which has been appealed. We all know the government spied on us, what they don’t want you to know is for how long. This has been going on for 25 years. It is totally outrageous that the federal government could suggest that the state doesn’t have the authority to ask a regulated entity to tell the truth. This is an infringement on federalist principles. This is what a police state is all about.
Dutch F-16’s escorted a Northwest Airlines flight bond for India back to the airport after the pilot radioed for help, and police arrested 12 passengers who had aroused suspicious. Their crimes were they were using cell phones and passing them around among themselves.
House prices in Massachusetts fell 3.5% in July, the largest decline in 13 years, as sellers finally cut prices. The median house price fell to $361,750 from $375,000 y-o-y in one of the best selling months of the year. Condo sales fell 21.4%, driving prices down 4.1%, the biggest decrease since 12/98. The median price was $276,000 versus $287,900 y-o-y.
Nationwide sales fell to the lowest level in more than two years. Sales fell 4.1% from July. The median prices was $219,000, up slightly y-o-y.
The Phoenix July sales were the slowest since 1999. The median price was $265,000, up $10,000 from July 2005, but off $2,000 from June 2006.
Nationally existing home sales fell 11.2%. Unsold homes rose to a record 3.86 million, up almost 100,000 properties from June and up a whopping 1.1 million from July 200. That is 7.3 months of inventory.
Up to 21,000 borrowers had their personal data exposed to other users on a student loan website this week due to a software glitch, said the US Department of Education. This shows you again how unsafe your personal data is in the hands of our government.
Orders for durable goods in July fell 2.4%. Transport goods fell 9.6%, as other durable goods rose 0.5%. Year-to-date orders are up 9.3%. Shipments fell 1.3% after rising 0.3% in June. Inventories rose 1% and unfilled orders rose 1.4% and are up 20.2% y-t-d. Computer orders rose 4.6% in July after a 6.7% rise in June. Machinery orders rose 1.9% as shipments rose 1%.
The states at the US-Mexico Governors Conference will focus on illegal immigration. All four governors are up for reelection.
Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) had to explain why a staff report was made public before the House Intelligence Committee approved it. Peter broke the rules for political reasons. His answer was, “We think it is important for the American people to understand the kinds of pressure we are facing and to increase the American public’s understanding of Iran as a threat.” What gobbliegook in an effort to tone down the committee’s findings. Hoekstra is a hard line hawk on Iran and fully backs the White House position that the Islamic Republic is moving forward with a nuclear weapons program and it poses a significant danger to the US. Now get this, the committee issued a stinging critique of US intelligence on Iran, charging that the CIA and other agencies lack “the ability to acquire essential information necessary to make judgments” on Tehran’s nuclear program, its intentions or even its ties to terrorism. He should not be returned to office for this blatant breach of confidentially. If the report says in detail our spy agencies do not know what is going on inside Iran, how can our President and his war hawks say that there is a nuclear program, it simple they can’t, they are lying.
Europeans don’t want to impose strict measures on Iran, because they know Bush is lying and they do not want to grapple with oil prices at $125 to $200 a barrel. They are not economically suicidal.
A top Argentine trade official says FTAA is dead. Carlos Alvarez, a high-level official in Mercosur says it is dead because it implies an asymmetrical model of negotiations between north and south. There is no longer a need to be dependent on a dominant power, such as the US, and nations can now operate with greater autonomy and choice. Alvarez defended Mercosur’s position to back Venezuela’s candidacy for one of the rotating seats on the UN Security Council for 2007-2008.
There is no question that Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez Frias has taken advantage of the void left by the Washington neocons in its relations with Latin America. The dupes in Washington still have no clear idea of Latin America’s importance for internal security and for their economy. What has transpired over the past six years in Latin American relations will take 25 years to repair. It is the worst US foreign policy ever by the worst group of elitist incompetents in American history. They are dumber than dumb.
The collapse of the WTO’s Doha Round is good for the poor. The talks failed because they were not about helping poor nations. Even if the rich countries had cut tariffs, subsidies and other protection for their farmers, the big winners still would have been the elitist Cargill, ADM and others that trade and process what farmers produce stood to profit, not the poor, urban or rural, who would have gained on average less than a penny a day in income over a decade. Doha and WTO are all about the expansion of free trade and globalization built around opening markets for multinational conglomerates and protecting their interests.
As a result, the collapse also signals a turning point for regulation of the global economy. It will be all down hill for the elitists from here on out. There was absolutely no provision for workers’ rights. They are to remain slave labor. This also had nothing to do with “fair” trade. The US will now proceed to enslave countries one by one having captured control of leadership in countries like Colombia and Peru.
There is overt rebellion against the “Washington Consensus” of free trade, privatization and minimal government from leaders in countries like Bolivia and Venezuela. Brazil, Argentina and Chile are doing hard-nosed bargaining about the terms of trade.
As you know CAFTA passed by 2 votes, but the Dominican Republic hasn’t fully implemented it and Costa Rica has not yet ratified it and two years have passed. Costa Rica makes up 48% of the trade in the group. Even the elitist Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, whose business is to plan wars and subject developing countries said in its report, gains from trade would be extremely modest, with rich countries capturing 80% of any benefits and many of the poorest countries would actually lose ground. If Doha had succeeded the results might have reduced global poverty by only 0.3%, or for six million people. There would have been cuts in vital government revenue from tariffs, new constraints on government economic policies, new intellectual property rights requirements that would raise medical and prescription costs, and accelerate displacement of poor peasants into exploding slums of the urban unemployed, further depressing wage levels.
What we are back to is the sovereignty, or the right of each nation to fashion its own economic and food strategy to strike a balance for their country. They have a right to limit ruinous competition. That includes American workers as well who are being killed by free trade. Fair trade is good – free trade is bad. The WTO model is a total failure. Let’s go back to what we did before that worked.