But first . . .
THE SENATE HAD THE EXACT SAME INTELLIGENCE AS THE PRESIDENT AND V.P. – NOT
It doesn’t rise to the level of lying about sex – they only started a disastrous war – but according to this from the National Journal (thanks, Ralph Sierra) . . .
Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks . . .
The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the White House for the CIA assessment, the [Presidential Daily Briefing] of September 21, 2001, and dozens of other PDBs as part of the committee’s ongoing investigation into whether the Bush administration misrepresented intelligence information in the run-up to war with Iraq. The Bush administration has refused to turn over these documents.
Indeed, the existence of the September 21 PDB was not disclosed to the Intelligence Committee until the summer of 2004, according to congressional sources. Both Republicans and Democrats requested then that it be turned over. The administration has refused to provide it, even on a classified basis, and won’t say anything more about it other than to acknowledge that it exists. . . .
“What the President was told on September 21,” said one former high-level official, “was consistent with everything he has been told since – that the evidence was just not there.” . . .
. . . [and yet] in the days just before a congressional vote authorizing war, they professed to have been given information from U.S. intelligence assessments showing evidence of an Iraq-Al Qaeda link.
“You can’t distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror,” President Bush said on September 25, 2002.
The next day, Rumsfeld said, “We have what we consider to be credible evidence that Al Qaeda leaders have sought contacts with Iraq who could help them acquire … weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities.”
The most explosive of allegations came from Cheney, who said that September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta, the pilot of the first plane to crash into the WorldTrade Center, had met in Prague, in the Czech Republic, with a senior Iraqi intelligence agent . . .
Cheney continued to make the charge, even after he was briefed, according to government records and officials, that both the CIA and the FBI discounted the possibility of such a meeting.
Credit card and phone records appear to demonstrate that Atta was in Virginia Beach, Va., at the time of the alleged meeting . . .
☞ It sure seems as if “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy,” to quote the British Intelligence service.
And now . . .
REASONS THE DOW, NEARING 11,000, COULD RISE EVEN FURTHER
(But Maybe Not Much)
The market senses we’re on our way out of Iraq. (But look at how our standing in the world, and our balance sheet, have eroded in the process.) Housing appears to have peaked as the hot place to invest, which could send more cash toward stocks. (But how badly could a housing slump hurt the economy and household balance sheets?) There are only three more years of the current, some-would-say incompetent, Administration. (But, well, there are three more years – three years and 53 days, actually.)
Click here for an argument that there could actually be a nationwide slump in housing prices, even though it would be the first time since the Depression. I don’t know if he’s right, but he makes a well-reasoned case that . . .
The housing mania, like all manias that have preceded it, is finally coming to a long overdue end. Time tested principles of prudent mortgage lending will inevitability return, and houses will once again be regarded merely as places to live. However, the country will be a lot poorer as a result of the unprecedented dissipation of wealth and accumulation of consumer and mortgage debt which occurred during the bubble years. Before real estate prices can return to normal levels, they will first have to get dirt cheep. It has been a wild party, but in the end all that will remain is a giant hang-over.
☞ The implications for our economy – and for that condo you were about to buy – make this well worth reading. (Thanks, Stephen Willey.)
Tomorrow: You Won’t Believe These Fares!