9.30.2008

Presidential Politics? US Senate to Vote on Bailout Plan

To make Republican Senator John McCain look good, the House Republicans threw their vote to humiliate Nancy Pelosi and push for a Senate vote. That way, Republican John McCain can look like he actually DID something. So, in a highly unusual manoeuvre, Senate leaders agreed last night to vote this evening on the package before the lower house has passed it. Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate leader received unanimous consent for a vote on the bail-out.

It's the same Republican dirty tricks, and the Democrats as well as the American people keep voting these greedy money changers into office.

The McCain campaign needed to do something before the Vice Presidential Gaff-off on Thrusday.

GOP Political Hit on Speaker Pelosi


The Republicans orchestrated a political hit against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the highest ranking female in the United States of America. The Republicans coordinated an event that would publicly humiliate Speaker Pelosi. In front of the American people as the television newscasts broadcasts the failed vote in the US House for the proposed Republican Bush Administration proposed massive Bailout Bill.

The Republicans had their talking points and mouthpieces in place. Senator John McCain flopped all around the country suspending and un-suspending his campaign. Never once did he go on the record to support the Republican President's Bailout Proposal.

The Republicans played politics with the American economic system. They NEVER had the votes necessary for the Bailout Bill. Once again they just lied through their teeth and tricked Speaker Pelosi into calling for a vote of one of the most unpopular legislations ($700 billion bailout), by the most unpopular president (Bush), for the most unpopular group of people (rich, Wall Street fat-cats). The Republicans lied and cheated, they assumed ABSOLUTELY no responsibility or accountability in the making of this housing bubble and the deregulation of the derivative markets.

The Republicans pretend they are as innocent as newborn babies. The Republicans have held all three branches of government for 6 out of 8 years. The Republican fingerprints are all over the looted US treasury, yet they tarred and feathered Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

They blame Jimmy Carter, they blame President Clinton. They think we're stupid! They think the American people don't know that total Republican Tyrannical control over ever lever of the government caused this unbridled orgy of deregulation and corporate greed.

Now the Emperor Caligula McCain is blaming Senator Obama and Speaker Pelosi for the market meltdown and financial crisis. Speaker Pelosi was hoodwinked and bamboozled by those GOP Crooks and Liars that will do any cheap trick to keep their grubby hands in the government till. Country first my ass.


Obama: Failed GOP Economy

The Sarah Palin Pity Party

Salon's Rebecca Traister writes in her column "The Sarah Palin Pity Party":

I guess I'm one cold dame, because while Palin provokes many unpleasant emotions in me, I just can't seem to summon pity, affection or remorse.


Don't get me wrong, I'm just like all of the rest of you, part of the bipartisan jumble of viewers that keeps one hand poised above the mute button and the other over my eyes during Palin's disastrous interviews. Like everyone else, I can barely take the waves of embarrassment that come with watching someone do something so badly. Roseanne Barr singing the national anthem, Sofia Coppola acting in "The Godfather: Part III," Sarah Palin talking about Russia -- they all create the same level of eyeball-squinching discomfort.

....


Sarah Palin is no wilting flower. She is a politician who took the national stage and sneered at the work of community activists. She boldly tries to pass off incuriosity and lassitude as regular-people qualities, thereby doing a disservice to all those Americans who also work two jobs and do not come from families that hand out passports and backpacking trips, yet still manage to pick up a paper and read about their government and seek out experience and knowledge.

When you stage a train wreck of this magnitude -- trying to pass one underqualified chick off as another highly qualified chick with the lame hope that no one will notice -- well, then, I don't feel bad for you.

When you treat women as your toys, as gullible and insensate pawns in your Big Fat Presidential Bid -- or in Palin's case, in your Big Fat Chance to Be the First Woman Vice President Thanks to

All the Cracks Hillary Put in the Ceiling -- I don't feel bad for you.


When you don't take your own career and reputation seriously enough to pause before striding onto a national stage and lying about your record of opposing a Bridge to Nowhere or using your special-needs child to garner the support of Americans in need of healthcare reform you don't support, I don't feel bad for you.


When you don't have enough regard for your country or its politics to cram effectively for the test -- a test that helps determine whether or not you get to run that country and participate in its politics -- I don't feel bad for you.


When your project is reliant on gaining the support of women whose reproductive rights you would limit, whose access to birth control and sex education you would curtail, whose healthcare options you would decrease, whose civil liberties you would take away and whose children and husbands and brothers (and sisters and daughters and friends) you would send to war in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and wherever else you saw fit without actually understanding international relations, I don't feel bad for you.


Read the entire column "The Sarah Palin Pity Party" here.

Economic Slowdown on Main Street

US Families Struggle to Feed Themselves

Happy-Happy

Gelatin silver print by George Durr II "Arches National Park, Utah"

Craig Ferguson, "If you don't vote, you're a moron"

Pure Madness: Republican Hefalumps


Bob Herbert from the New York Times has an execelent article entitled "When Madmen Reign":
Madness.

I’m not holding my breath, but I would like to see the self-proclaimed conservative, small government, anti-regulation, free-market zealots step up and take responsibility for wrecking the American economy and bringing about the worst financial crisis since the Depression.

Even now, with the house on fire, the most extreme among them won’t pick up the fire hoses and try to put it out.

With the fate of the Bush administration’s desperate $700 billion bailout of the financial industry hanging in the balance, Representative Darrell Issa, a Republican from California, stuck to his political playbook like a man covered in Krazy Glue. He pronounced himself “resolute” in his opposition to the bailout because to be otherwise would amount to a betrayal of party principles.

To deviate from those principles, in Mr. Issa’s view, would be like placing “a coffin on top of Ronald Reagan’s coffin.”

We are in very strange territory here.

George H.W. Bush warned us about “voodoo economics” in 1980, but the ideologues clamped a gag on him and put him on the Gipper’s ticket. For much of the time since then, the madmen of the right have carried the day. They were freed of their remaining few restraints with the ascendance of George W. Bush in 2000.

These were the reckless clowns who led us into the foolish multitrillion-dollar debacle in Iraq and who crafted tax policies that enormously benefited millionaires and billionaires while at the same time ran up staggering amounts of government debt. This is the crowd that contributed mightily to the greatest disparities in wealth in the U.S. since the gilded age.

This was the crowd that cut the cords of corporate and financial regulations and in myriad other ways gleefully hacked away at the best interests of the United States.
Now we’re looking into the abyss.
Read the entire Bob Herbert "When Madmen Reign" here.

9.29.2008

Politics Over Prosecutors


Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post's article "Politics Over Prosecutors" states: With Wall Street's fate hanging in the balance, and with Sarah Palin's incoherence sparking interest in Thursday's vice presidential debate, it was easy to overlook a major story that got less attention than it deserved yesterday. The Justice Department released a nearly 400-page report with this jaw-dropping bottom line:


"Our investigation found significant evidence that political partisan considerations were an important factor in the removal of several . . . U.S. attorneys."

Remember the controversy over the sudden dismissals of nine U.S. attorneys? Remember the allegation that the Bush administration had sullied the long-held principle that justice should be administered in an impartial, nonpartisan way? Remember the questions about what then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales knew and when he knew it? Remember Kyle Sampson, the Gonzales aide who played a key role in the firings? Remember Monica Goodling, the Justice Department's liaison to the White House, who went so far as to ask prospective Justice appointees to wax eloquent about why they wanted to "serve" George W. Bush?

The Justice Department conducted as thorough an investigation as it could, and it concluded that there was evidence of White House political meddling in "at least three of the removals." The joint probe by the department's Office of the Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility recommended further investigation to determine "whether the totality of the evidence demonstrates that any criminal offense was committed."

The investigators reported being stonewalled by the White House, saying they were unable to look at all the evidence "because of the refusal by certain key witnesses to be interviewed by us, as well as by the White House's decision not to provide internal White House documents to us."
In other words, as far as the team of investigators could determine from the limited evidence they were allowed to uncover, what we suspected and feared seems to have been true. The Bush administration seems to have removed at least three federal prosecutors -- who are supposed to be even-handed and apolitical in the way they do their jobs -- for partisan political reasons.


Read the entire Eugene Robinson article "Politics Over Prosecutors" here.

Paul Krugman: "OK, We Are A Banana Republic"


Paul Krugman of the New York Times has amazing insight. On Krugman's blog he writes:

OK, we are a banana republic

House votes no. Rex Nutting has the best line: House to Wall Street: Drop Dead. He also correctly places the blame and/or credit with House Republicans. For reasons I’ve already explained, I don’t think the Dem leadership was in a position to craft a bill that would have achieved overwhelming Democratic support, so make or break was whether enough GOPers would sign on. They didn’t.

I assume Pelosi calls a new vote; but if it fails, then what? I guess write a bill that is actually, you know, a good plan, and try to pass it — though politically it might not make sense to try until after the election.

For now, I’m just going to quote myself:

So what we now have is non-functional government in the face of a major crisis, because Congress includes a quorum of crazies and nobody trusts the White House an inch.
As a friend said last night, we’ve become a banana republic with nukes.

A House Divided: Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)

Republican Rep. John Boehner addresses House before Bailout Bill vote.

Bailout Bill Defeated: Wall Street in Freefall


As of this post, the Dow is down 780 points! Wall Street is in virtual free fall from this defeated bill. Poor Speaker Pelosi. She gave a speech on the floor of the House and it hurt the Republican's wittle feelings. Check her out on this MSNBC clip. Dang! Speaker Pelosi looks tired, haggard, overworked, and under appreciated. She looks like she needs a nap and some chamomile tea to calm her nerves.

The GOP fell apart. What happened to their RNC Convention mantra "country first." Well, these country firsters decided it was more important to perserve their Republican Brand than to preserve the American Republic.
So, what did the Speaker say that offended the GOP soooo much that caused the House Republicans to act like small childeren and blame Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the failed bailout vote. The House Republicans claimed that she made a partisan speech. Let's take a look at an excerpt fo Nancy Pelosi's speech:

"[W]hen was the last time someone asked you for $700bn? It is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush administration's failed economic policies — policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything-goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system."
"Democrats believe in the free market, which can and does create jobs, wealth, and capital, but left to its own devices it has created chaos."
"Democrats insisted that legislation responding to this crisis must protect the American people and Main Street from the meltdown on Wall Street. The American people did not decide to dangerously weaken our regulatory and oversight policies. They did not make unwise and risky financial deals. They did not jeopardise the economic security of the nation. And they must not pay the cost of this emergency recovery and stabilisation bill."
"Today we will act to avert this crisis, but informed by our experience of the past eight years with the failed economic leadership … We choose a different path. In the new year, with a new Congress and a new president, we will break free with a failed past and take America in a new direction to a better future."


Representatives Barney Franks and Rahm Emmanuel talkling to about the crisis on.
Here’s the story. There’s a terrible crisis affecting the American economy. We have come together on a bill to alleviate the crisis. And because somebody hurt their feelings, they decide to punish the country. I mean, I would not have imputed that degree of pettiness and hypersensitivity.
We also have — as the leader will tell you, who’s been working with them — don’t believe they had the votes, and I believe they’re covering up the embarrassment of not having the votes. But think about this. Somebody hurt my feelings, so I will punish the country. That’s hardly plausible. And there are 12 Republican members who were ready to stand up for the economic interest of America, but not if anybody insulted them.

I’ll make an offer. Give me those 12 people’s names and I will go talk uncharacteristically nicely to them and tell them what wonderful people they are and maybe they’ll now think about the country.

Conservatives Begin Questioning Palin’s Heft

Paul Newman: 1925-2008

Farewell Paul Newman. Thanks for the memories, the movies, the charity giving and the spaghetti sauce. You'll be missed.

9.28.2008

Wall Street Bankers: The Unmerciful Servants


Sunday's Sermon: The Unmerciful Servant
by: Ron Edwards

As lawmakers write legislation to bailout the Wall Street bankers and investment houses, the New Testament Parable of the Unmerciful Servant is strikingly parallel and applicable today. The banks and the financial industrial complex request that the government of the USA bequeath them with a massive bailout, in the ballpark of an unfathomable price tag of $700 billion taxpayer dollars to buttress their bad business decisions and practices.

Meanwhile back on Main Street, Anywhere, USA the taxpayers and their descendants who will pick-up Wall Street's tab are getting foreclosed and harangued by these same financial institutions. The overburdened taxpayers are asked to shoulder this nearly trillion dollar burden. From the exact people that have for years shouted from the mountaintops “free market,” “personal responsibility,” “ownership society,” “the government is the problem, not the solution,” “no welfare checks for the poor,” “no government handouts,” and it goes on and on. The laundry list of rightwing talking points only seem to apply to the poor and downtrodden, God forbid the rich and well connected should actually suffer the same foreclosures, delinquent payments, overdrawn credit cards, and other non-dischargable debt that was legislated and written by these same banking beggars.

In other words, the bankers have been the “unmerciful servants” that Jesus speaks about in Matthew 18:21-35 of the New International Version.

The “Parable of the Unmerciful Servant” begins when Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"

Then in verse 22, Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

Jesus begins to teach through a short story about a a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.


18:24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents [of gold] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26"The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

In this story, the “king” is the federal government and the “servant” that owes about $700 billion dollars is the banking and finance industry. Now much like today, the king (feds) are negotiating a deal to bailout the debts of the groveling servants (banks). The rich and powerful bankers will no doubt get the taxpayer money. Their bad business practices and unfettered greed has flipped the whole system of American capitalism into American socialism. In 8 short years, the Bush Administration and their corrupt cronies cratered the national economy.

Back to the parable of the unmerciful servant. The unmerciful servent is like the bankers on Wall Street, who are going to get a trillion dollar bailout, but how will the bankers react to the mercy and debt forgiveness from the taxpayers and the feds. Oh yes, you guessed it. The bankers will continue to foreclose on mortgages and throw the taxpayers out of their homes. The big wigs on Wall Street won't reset the A.R.M (adjustable rate mortgages) to keep the loan repayments at a reasonable rate for strapped consumers. They'll continue business as usual, by selling those demonic derivatives and their skanky cousin the credit swap to each other--all the while blaming the dufass sub-prime market. Certainly the bankers will act like the unmerciful servant from Jesus' parable.

We'll pick-up the text from verse 28: "But when that servant [Wall Street bankers] went out, he found one of his fellow servants [Main Street taxpayers] who owed him a hundred denarii.[silver] He [banker] grabbed him [taxpayer] and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.

29"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' 30"But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.

This parable explains exactly what is happening across the landscape of America today. The bankers will get debt forgiveness and a bailout, while struggling regular run-of-the-mill Americans will get both the shaft and bill. The bankers wrote the bankruptcy bill, the bankers made big bucks riding this housing bubble, the bankers paid each other millions and billions of dollars for shady deals with swampy swaps and demonic derivatives. It's been their big drunken money orgy and the American people have to clean-up the mess that the elephants made for 8 years, under the bigtop of life.

Bill Maher on McCain Palin and the Economy

SNL on the Debates

SNL's Take on the Couric/Palin Interview

9.27.2008

Personal Responsiblity Indeed

Ellen Goodman's article "Personal Responsibility?" from the Indianapolis Star:
For decades now the mantra of personal responsibility has kept a lock on our imaginations. And our political dialogue....

In the economy even more than the culture, personal responsibility has been a best-seller. We were told by conservatives and free-market holy rollers that markets were smart and governments were dumb, that the government was the problem not the solution. So when credit cards come through the mail, college freshmen are expected to just say no. When poor people were wooed and seduced by subprime mortgages, they are the ones dubbed irresponsible....

...The ownership society turned into the everyone-on-your-own society. Three years ago, Congress passed a law making it harder for people to declare bankruptcy. Just six months ago, Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary who now wants to be czar, insisted the government actions to prevent mortgage foreclosures would "do more harm than they would do good."

But now, as Jacob Hacker, the author of "The Great Risk Shift," puts it, we are seeing that "the rhetoric of personal responsibility stops at the edge of the market."

... Consider the lame duck who reappeared on the national stage this week, sounding less like a president than as a press secretary for Paulson...

The other bookend on the Bush years is this meltdown of epic proportions. We are bailing out the institutions that operated what Warren Buffett once called the financial weapons of mass destruction. Only this time, the mushroom cloud -- the threat of an economic catastrophe -- may be real.


Personal responsibility? "I share the outrage," says Paulson. But in his original three-page fix-it manual there was a paragraph that lit up like neon. The secretary who asked for all the power to "take such actions as the secretary deems necessary" also asked for protection from any oversight or review. Personal responsibility? The titans coming to Congress with cups in their hands and the economy in the balance were not too embarrassed to fight against caps on their salaries. What exactly do we have here? Socialism for the rich?...

Read Ellen Goodman's entire article on "Personal Responsibilty?" here.

9.26.2008

If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.


Kathleen Parker from the National Review Online (NRO) wrote an interesting analysis of the Sarah Palin interview by CBS's Katie Couric. As you know, NRO is the late Bill Buckley's uber-conservative symposium. In her NRO article, "Palin Problem," Kathleen Parker dismantled the legitimacy of Governor Palin (or Chief Executive Palin of the Alaskan Empire). Midway through the article Ms. Parker states:



As we’ve seen and heard more from John McCain’s running mate, it is increasingly clear that Palin is a problem. Quick study or not, she doesn’t know enough about economics and foreign policy to make Americans comfortable with a President Palin should conditions warrant her promotion.

...Finally, Palin’s narrative is fun, inspiring and all-American in that frontier way we seem to admire.

When Palin first emerged as John McCain’s running mate, I confess I was delighted. She was the antithesis and nemesis of the hirsute, Birkenstock-wearing sisterhood — a refreshing feminist of a different order who personified the modern successful working mother...

...Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been
pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly.
I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious
parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.



Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there. Here’s but one example of many from her interview with Hannity: “Well, there is a danger in allowing some obsessive partisanship to get into the issue that we’re talking about today. And that’s something that John McCain, too, his track record, proving that he can work both sides of the aisle, he can surpass the partisanship that must be surpassed to deal with an issue like this.”

When Couric pointed to polls showing that the financial crisis had boosted Obama’s numbers, Palin blustered wordily: “I’m not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who’s more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who’s actually done it?”


Kathleen Parker's article is a must read! Continue reading the entire article entitled "Palin Problem" here.


Jon Stewart's Daily Show

9.25.2008

White House caught napping on financial crisis



CNN's Campbell Brown is on a roll. Check out her commentary on "White House caught napping on financial crisis" below.

Campbell Brown says, "They are now telling us we are in a dire crisis, and that we must hand over hundreds of billions of dollars so they can lead us out of this mess."

"What's amazing to me is that the administration seems a little surprised that Congress and the American people are not marching in lockstep with them on this and not fully appreciating the urgency."

Then she nails the whole 8 years of the Republican Administration of President Bush in one sentence that sums-up the Iraqi Operation Never ending Occupation, the Katrina debacle and its aftermath, non-existent weapons of mass destruction, credit crunch, financial socialism, Wall Street bailouts for billionaires, etc., etc. With this Administration it's just one crisis (real or imagined) after another. They are like the boy who cried wolf. After about the 5th or 6th time, the American people are righteously skeptical of this Administration's clarion call for urgency.

These unfaithful stewards of our national economy have ran the ship-of-state into an abyss. And Bush & Co. expects the American people to just blindly trust them with $700 billion taxpayer dollars to bailout their cronies' shady business practices.
Mrs. Brown nails it when she says "Well here's why, in one word: accountability."

"This administration missed the boat on this crisis. They didn't see it coming. That's why when Bush goes on TV in a few minutes, he will face a very wary audience."

"And Secretary Paulson, frankly, you didn't help the situation with your initial, imperious request to Congress that you be handed this money and that your decisions "may not be reviewed by any court of law or administrative agency." Seriously, what were you thinking?"

Hardball with Chris Matthews

Wall Street Bailout Game

Let's play the Wall Street bailout game. From the Republican Party that brought the US decades of deregulated markets that shouted from the mountain tops that "government is the problem," "free markets," "privatization," and "personal responsibility" are caterwauling and groveling at the doors of big government for a bailout. The American people are hurting from the poor choices and crappy stewardship of total Republican tyranny. This is the GOP that lead the USA into not one, but two wars abroad. The GOP that looted the national treasury for 7 years. The same repugnant Republican Bush Administration that cried wolf and used scare tactics to rob the American taxpayers of their liberties, freedoms and now they've got their grubby hands in our pocketbooks. ENOUGH!


Rep. Kaptur's (D-OH) Statement on Economic Turmoil:
The American people are extremely concerned about recent turmoil in the nation’s economy, including the dramatic events of last week.

1. Congress must not adjourn until it addresses this situation.

2. Due Diligence: we must protect the hard-earned assets of the American public.

3. Prudence: No reforms = no money for the bailout.

4. Help families fight off foreclosure.

5. Wrongdoers must be held responsible.

I do not believe that the people who helped bring about this situation should be allowed to profit from it. Therefore, I will insist on measures that hold responsible anyone whose actions helped bring us to this extraordinary moment where the American people are being called upon to save the financial system.

David Letterman's Take on McCain's Campaign

9.24.2008

McCain Wants to Delay Friday's Debate at Ole Miss

Senator John McCain wants to delay Friday's debate at Ole Miss and suspend his campaign. It just begs the question: I say, I say......did that pitbull in lipstick eat your homework boy?
John McCain proves that he doesn't care about the little guys over at Ole Miss who have been planning to host Friday's first Presidential debate. This means losses for the vendors, hotels, retailers, restaurants, etc. Money's too tight to mention, so the proposed losses for Small Town USA is staggering.
Mr. McCain should just level-up and say, I'm unprepared and I don't know jack about the economy, foreign policy, or anything else of consequence.
ABC News' Tahman Bradley Reports: A senior University of Mississippi official reacted Wednesday to the news that Sen. John McCain R-Ariz., wants to postpone Friday's presidential debate, saying that such a move would be "devastating" for the university which has already invested millions in preparation for the debate.

Andrew Mullins, special assistant to university Chancellor Robert Khayat, told ABC News that the Ole Miss campus has been transformed to accommodate the candidates and the press. Road blocks are in place on campus and in the community and the debate set for the candidates has already been constructed. He said the university has spent roughly $5.5 million getting ready for the debate.
Mullins also noted that if the Commission on Presidential Debates asks the campus to hold the debate at a later date, he is not sure the university would be able to accommodate them.
"It's huge. You cannot just say that you're not going to do this thing," Mullins said. "I don't have any idea whether we do the debate" at a later date. (We) probably wouldn't do it."
For now, Mullins, says the university is proceeding like they're still having the debate until the commission makes a decision. The university was instructed by the commission on Wednesday to move forward as though the debate is still going to happen, Mullins said.
Sen. McCain, who suspended his campaign activity Wednesday, called for the debate to be postponed so that he could focus on congressional negotiations of a $700 billion Wall Street bail out deal.

OMG Society Is Collapsing

Congratulations Stephen Colbert on winning an Emmy Award!

According to the Los Angeles Times' article on the "Emmy Night Notables": After "The Colbert Report" took home the Emmy for outstanding writing for a variety, music or comedy program, star Stephen Colbert popped in to the press tent in a lively mood. When asked if he were casting a film, who he would pick to play John McCain, Colbert replied, "Rickles, obviously, would be good, and maybe me for Sarah Palin, 'cause I also have absolutely no business being vice president."

Debt to America

Congrats to Jon Stewart on winning and Emmy for the Daily Show!

George Will: Ice, Ice Baby



The pen is mightier than the sword. With cold precision, George Will demonstrates just how to wield the mighty pen to lance the heart of an issue. In two different Washington Post Opinion columns, published on two consecutive days, George Will unsheathes his sword to strike a blow at both the bumbling feds and Senator McCain's response to the financial crisis.


In his September 24th article, “Stampede of the Lemmings”, George F. Will warns that “the government's speed should not vary inversely with its information.” Will writes in the Washington Post article entitled “Our Federal Economy”:

Members of Congress are being exhorted to stampede, like lemmings in reverse, away from a postulated cliff. But some of the economic geographers who say they know that the cliff is there, and that the economy will plunge over it if Congress stops to think before empowering the secretary of the Treasury to control the flow of capital through the veins of American capitalism, are some of those experts who said in March that prophylactic federal intervention in the matter of Bear Stearns was necessary to contain the crisis.

Everything that has been done for the past six months has been done to cope with what previous actions were supposed to prevent. A perhaps pertinent axiom: There is no education in the second kick of a mule. The essence of this crisis is lack of knowledge, including the inability to know who owes what to whom, and where risk resides. In such a moment, government's speed should not vary inversely with its
information...Henry Paulson, a.k.a. the Fourth Branch of Government, is intelligent and indefatigable and has as much pertinent experience as could be hoped for. But no one has ever had much experience that is pertinent to the tasks that would be assigned to him by the three-page legislation that would give him almost complete discretion over at least $700 billion.

Before Congress codifies this, it should consult Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution: "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives." ...

Rep. Barney Frank...says: "No one in a democracy, unelected, should have $800 billion to spend as he sees fit. . . . That's not the way to run a democracy." ...
Read George Will's entire article “Our Federal Economy” here.


Yesterday on September 23rd, Mr. Will took a cold stab at the heart of Senator John McCain's response to the financial crisis. In his article entitled “McCain Loses His Head,” George Will compares McCain with the Queen of Hearts character from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. He even opens his critique with a quote from Lewis Carroll's classic: “The queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. 'Off with his head!' she said without even looking around." Oh man, if that weren't cold enough, Will adds:

Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama.

Channeling his inner Queen of Hearts, John McCain furiously, and apparently without even looking around at facts, said Chris Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, should be decapitated. This childish reflex provoked the Wall Street Journal to editorialize that "McCain untethered" -- disconnected from knowledge and principle -- had made a "false and deeply unfair" attack on Cox that was "unpresidential" and demonstrated that McCain "doesn't understand what's happening on Wall Street...."

...In any case, McCain's smear -- that Cox "betrayed the public's trust" -- is a harbinger of a McCain presidency. For McCain, politics is always operatic, pitting people who agree with him against those who are "corrupt" or "betray the public's trust," two categories that seem to be exhaustive -- there are no other people. McCain's Manichaean worldview drove him to his signature legislative achievement, the McCain-Feingold law's restrictions on campaigning...

By a Gresham's Law of political discourse, McCain's Queen of Hearts intervention in the opaque financial crisis overshadowed a solid conservative complaint from the Republican Study Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the RSC decried the improvised torrent of bailouts as a "dangerous and unmistakable precedent for the federal government both to be looked to and indeed relied upon to save private sector companies from the consequences of their poor economic decisions." This letter, listing just $650 billion of the perhaps more than $1 trillion in new federal exposures to risk, was sent while McCain's campaign, characteristically substituting vehemence for coherence, was airing an ad warning that Obama favors "massive government, billions in spending increases."


...Today, the efficient means to that end is government control of capital. So, is not McCain's party [Republican] now conducting the most leftist administration in American history? The New Deal never acted so precipitously on such a scale. Treasury Secretary Paulson, asked about conservative complaints that his rescue program amounts to socialism, said, essentially: This is not socialism, this is necessary. That non sequitur might be politically necessary, but remember that government control of capital is government control of capitalism. Does McCain have qualms about this, or only quarrels?

Read the complete "McCain Loses His Head" article here.

George Will deserves the Ice, Ice Baby Award (Jim Carey-style) for his accurate portrayal of the financial fiasco that we call Wall Street free market capitalism.

9.22.2008

Senator Barack Obama on the Economy

$700,000,000,000 Bailout!!!


"Buffett's "time bomb" goes off on Wall Street" by James B. Kelleher from Reuters:
On Main Street, insurance protects people from the effects of catastrophes.

But on Wall Street, specialized insurance known as a credit default swaps are turning a bad situation into a catastrophe.

When historians write about the current crisis, much of the blame will go to the slump in the housing and mortgage markets, which triggered the losses, layoffs and liquidations sweeping the financial industry.

But credit default swaps -- complex derivatives originally designed to protect banks from deadbeat borrowers -- are adding to the turmoil.

"This was supposedly a way to hedge risk," says Ellen Brown, the author of the book "Web of Debt."
"I'm sure their predictive models were right as far as the risk of the things they were insuring against. But what they didn't factor in was the risk that the sellers of this protection wouldn't pay ... That's what we're seeing now."
Brown is hardly alone in her criticism of the derivatives. Five years ago, billionaire investor Warren Buffett called them a "time bomb" and "financial weapons of mass destruction" and directed the insurance arm of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to exit the business.
LINKED TO MORTGAGES

Recent events suggest Buffett was right. The collapse of Bear Stearns. The fire sale of Merrill Lynch & Co Inc (MER.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz). The meltdown at American International Group Inc (AIG.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz). In each case, credit default swaps played a role in the fall of these financial giants.
The latest victim is insurer AIG, which received an emergency $85 billion loan from the U.S. Federal Reserve late on Tuesday to stave off a bankruptcy.
Over the last three quarters, AIG suffered $18 billion of losses tied to guarantees it wrote on mortgage-linked derivatives.

Palin Propaganda Edward Bernays-style

Governor Sarah Palin is to American women's freedoms and liberties, what breaking the gender taboo on cigarette and tobacco usage to women's health. Equally as deadly and deathly marketed. In the sweet name of Jesus during the Easter Parade commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, Edward Bernays persuaded women to smoke. George Hill, the president of the American Tobacco Company, to gain half of the market share to sell cigarette smoking to women. Much like the Republican Party's selling of Sarah Palin, the myth and the narrative. She gets women excited and gins up support amongst the Republican base. Beware, Mrs. Palin is just as toxic and deadly as the cigarettes that the manufacturers sold American women for decades. They dressed-up tobacco in a pretty package with lipstick and pretty face. Behind the facade, however, lies the biggest health risk of tobacco addiction and the loss of millions of women's lives, slowly over time. It's all about packaging and marketing, substance and consequences be dammed.












Edward Bernays even called cigarettes as "torches of freedom" for women. They symbolized little penises and now with smoking, women could control and have their own. This image and symbolism sold to women for years, Virginia Slims devised a cleaver campaign to coincide with the Women's Movement by saying "You've got Virginia Slims now baby, you've come a long long way." They even used vintage photos of oppressed women juxtaposed with glamorous models.























Unfortunately, American women are gullible and will fall for this marketing prestidigitation..........and poof! Up pops Sarah Palin, moose hunter and hockey mom. Like the debutantes that Bernays brazenly displayed smoking cigarettes, Palin supports teenage pregnancy, no time off with a special needs infant, no health care for mothers and infants......Sarah Palin is against EVERYTHING that the Women's Movement worked so hard for.
According to Noam Chomsky, Edward Bernays was one of the early founders, gurus, of the public relations industry...It was understood, both in Britain and the U.S., that people have won too much freedom for the state to repress them by violence, and therefore, both in Britain and the U.S., the two most democratic countries, there was a growth of the public relations industry, to try to control attitudes and beliefs, since you can’t control people by force. And Bernays was a leading figure.
Bernays' first great achievement: A public relations campaign trying to get women to smoke. So he had models walking down Fifth Avenue smoking cigarettes and showing how it makes you beautiful and slim. We can’t estimate how many tens of millions of people he managed to kill by that, but a substantial number. And that put him on the map.

From Smokey Imagery and the 7 Deadly Myths by Liz Jones: For as long as any of us can remember, the deep-pocketed tobacco industry has bought and sold the imagery of cigarette smoking. Image one: the independent, tough, leather-skinned cowboy. Image two: the thin, liberated woman enjoying an active, love-filled life. In fact, the tobacco and public relations industries have been instrumental in defining how females perceive smoking and how society perceives women who smoke.

The 1929 Easter Parade in New York City marked a magnificent triumph for the tobacco industry in its ability to manipulate women and foster their addiction to a deadly habit. Promoted as a publicity stunt for "female emancipation" in these post-suffrage days, the parade featured a contingent of New York debutantes marching down Fifth Avenue while openly lighting and smoking cigarettes. It was the first time most Americans had witnessed any woman who wasn't a prostitute smoking in public.


What the bold debutantes didn't know was that their expression of "freedom and equality" was orchestrated by George Washington Hill of American Tobacco and Edward L. Bernays, public relations mastermind and nephew of Sigmund Freud. In addition to boosting sales for American Tobacco's Lucky Strikes, the demonstration succeeded in breaking the taboo of women's smoking.



Often cited as one of the most ingenious and effective PR stunts of all time, the parade is viewed by some as a coup that launched a distinctly new American industry and further reinforced the deceptive power of PR flackery.



Flashback: DNC Convention in Denver


From the St. Louis American, "The Top 10 moments of the DNC: Greatest hits of the Dems’ diverse, historic show " by Alvin A. Reid and American staff.

In a week that will be remembered for centuries, it was difficult to define the most memorable moments of the Democratic National Convention. But 10 stand out for the political, emotional and historic impact they had - and will continue having - on America.

1. Barack Obama’s nomination speech and the historic night at Invesco Field. More than 80,000 people packed the stadium stands and covered the playing field while another 38.4 million Americans watched on television...


2. Hillary Clinton moves that rules be suspended and Barack Obama be nominated by acclamation... As the “ayes” erupt in favor of Obama’s nomination, history is made at 5:38 p.m. on August 27, 2008.


3. Michelle Obama kicks off the convention with a rousing speech supporting her husband, her party and her patriotism...


4. Michelle Obama is joined on stage by her daughters, Sasha and Malia, and together the girls say, “Hi, Daddy” to Barack Obama, who is in Kansas City. At this moment, more Americans are watching a non-fiction black family on television than at any point in the country’s history...


5. Hillary Clinton uses the words of Harriett Tubman in her speech endorsing Barack Obama for president and pleading for Democratic Party unity. Clinton said, “Ask yourself, were you supporting me or the issues that we stand for?”

6. Though gravely ill, Ted Kennedy takes the stage after a video tribute and, in one of the convention’s most emotional scenes...,


7. Stevie Wonder ...sings the Obama campaign theme song “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”


8. Throughout the week, people of all races, genders and creeds were presented to the nation and world. Denver’s streets looked as cosmopolitan as any city’s on the globe.

9. Joe Biden delivers a tremendous vice presidential acceptance speech, and the Pepsi Center crowd goes wild when Barack Obama makes a surprise appearance...


10. Following a video tribute to slain civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., King’s friend and confidant Congressman John Lewis honors his legacy and all the sacrifices over decades that led up to Barack Obama’s nomination for president. Obama’s historic speech is delivered on the 45th anniversary of the March on Washington and King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

11. President Bill Clinton receives a lengthy ovation and must quiet the Pepsi Center crowd before he can endorse Barack Obama’s candidacy and unequivocally declare “Barack Obama is ready to lead.”


Hillary Clinton: No How, No Way, No McCain


Hillary Clinton made a call for unity behind Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention.

"Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose," Mrs Clinton said. "We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines."


She went on to declare that the party must do nothing that would help the Republicans win the presidency. "No way. No how. No McCain," to thunderous applause.


McCain is NOT Change We Can Believe In

Republican Noise Machine: Lies and Lying Liars

ABC Panel Rips McCain


Conservative George Will calls Sen. John McCain "unpresidential"; Mr. Will also strongly asserted that John McCain "Once again substituted vehemence for coherence."

Obama on Letterman

Explain It To Me Like I'm A Four Year-Old


In the 1993 movie Philadelphia starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, the Attorney Joe Miller (Denzel) often asks his client, Andrew Becket (Tom Hanks) to explain things to him like he was a two year-old. That's what Obama's campaign is lacking. Obviously, the same nation that voted George W. Bush into office not once, but twice needs the simplicity and message management of a small child.

Here's a small clip of Denzel delivering his lines of explain it to me like I'm a two year-old. Keep it simple enough for a small child that still drinks from a sippy cup and wears pull-ups to understand.

http://www.evtv1.com/player.aspx?itemnum=6010

From 20 Setember 2006 issue of Slate: "Obama's Message Deficit: Why he needs an economic slogan" by Jacob Weisberg:
Barack Obama has a range of sensible economic policies. He has a team of prudent advisers with a centrist, pro-trade cast. He may even have some grasp of why the American financial system collapsed last week.
What Obama doesn't have, so far, is an economic message. He's missing a story about what's gone wrong with the American economy and how to fix it. He hasn't managed to present his various proposals on taxes, health care, energy, housing foreclosures, and the rest in a way that resonates with voters. He hasn't emphasized a few signature policies to let us know what his top priorities are. He hasn't got a decent slogan. If you go to the economy section on Obama's Web site, the banner that greets you proclaims, "Responsible Tax Cuts for Ordinary Americans." It's accompanied by an image of two piggy banks, a small one labeled "Taxes" and a big one labeled "Savings." The fat piggie is overflowing with pennies. What, exactly, is the concept here? That we should save less to feed the tax piglet?
The ability to organize economic issues around a simple, lucid theme was a talent of our two most successful recent presidents. Ronald Reagan offered an overarching narrative about how government had come to play too large a role in the economy. His most famous slogans—"Get the government off our backs," "Morning again in America," "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"—all got at his notion of unshackling enterprise from its bureaucratic fetters to restore growth. Bill Clinton had a different tale about how ordinary Americans—people who work hard and play by the rules—were falling behind. His catchphrases—"Putting people first," "It's the economy, stupid," "Building a bridge to the 21st century"—similarly supported the policy changes he thought would help the struggling middle class.
Read the entire Slate column here.

Kevin Phillips on Bill Moyers

Check out Kevin Phillips on Bill Moyers:






9.21.2008

British minister says Palin is 'horrendous'


A British government minister attacked Republican US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin as "horrendous" at the Labour Party conference on Saturday.

The outburst from Communities Secretary Hazel Blears threatens to undermine Prime Minister Gordon Brown's determination for the British government to maintain a neutral position in the US presidential election.

Speaking at a fringe meeting of the centre-left party during its annual party conference in Manchester, Blears said Palin was capitalising on people's disillusionment with regular politics.

"I just think there is so much anti-politics -- not just in this country but around the world," Blears said.

"One of the reasons why Sarah Palin has been such a phenomenon is because she's anti-politics, anti-Washington.

"Her politics are horrendous, but actually she's struck a chord with people -- 'I'm a maverick, I'm not part of those powerful people' -- and people identified with that."

Palin, the strongly anti-abortion governor of Alaska, has boosted Republican candidate John McCain's fortunes since being named his surprise choice as running mate.

She has previously remarked that US soldiers in Iraq were being sent on a task from God.

Read the full Breitbart.com story here.

President Bush: Nobody Wants You When You're Down and Out

9.20.2008

Explosion at Pakistan Marriott hotel kills at least 60

At least 60 people including foreigners were killed in a powerful blast outside the five-star Marriott Hotel in the Pakistani capital after a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden truck into the hotel gate engulfing the building in flames.

ARY TV reported that 60 people had died and 200 injured in the explosion in which the popular American hotel chain was targetted for the second time in 20 months. The blasts were the most intense explosion ever in the country at one particular spot,according to officials.


Reports late tonight said that two-thirds of the 290-room hotel were destroyed in the blast which occurred at about 8 pm in the heavily guarded part of Islamabad. Several US officials were believed to be in the hotel at the time of the blast which would have been packed with diners including Muslism breaking the Ramzan fast.

Palingate

"Team McCain and the Trooper: Nominee's ally moves to curb probe of Palin"

by: Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball

Key Alaska allies of John McCain are trying to derail a politically charged investigation into Gov. Sarah Palin's firing of her public safety commissioner in order to prevent a so-called "October surprise" that would produce embarrassing information about the vice presidential candidate on the eve of the election.


In a move endorsed by the McCain campaign Friday, John Coghill, the GOP chairman of the state House Rules Committee, wrote a letter seeking a meeting of Alaska's bipartisan Legislative Council in order to remove the Democratic state senator in charge of the so-called "troopergate" investigation.


Coghill charged that the senator, Hollis French, had "politicized" the probe by making a number of public comments in recent days, including telling ABC News that Palin had a "credibility problem" and that the investigation into the firing of public safety commissioner Walter


Monegan was "likely to be damaging to the administration" and could be an "October surprise." Wrote Coghill: "The investigation appears to be lacking in fairness, neutrality and due process."
The investigation, authorized by the Legislative Council last July, revolves around charges that Palin abused her power by embroiling the governor's office in a bitter family feud involving her ex-brother in law, a state trooper named Mike Wooten. Specifically, the council is investigating whether Palin fired Monegan when he refused to dismiss Wooten (who at the time was involved in an ugly custody battle with Palin's sister) after getting repeated complaints about him from the governor and her husband, Todd Palin. (Among the allegations that were raised against Wooten by Palin's sister: he had Tasered his ten-year-old stepson and shot a moose without a permit.) Palin has denied wrongdoing; Monegan has said he believes his firing was connected to his refusal to fire Wooten.


Read the entire article by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball in Newsweek.

Mother of All Bailouts: The Republicans Socialize the Financial Sector With Taxpayer Money


From the New York Times Paul Krugman's article "Crisis Endgame" from the 19 September 2008 edition.


On Sunday, Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary, tried to draw a line in the sand against further bailouts of failing financial institutions; four days later, faced with a crisis spinning out of control, much of Washington appears to have decided that government isn’t the problem, it’s the solution. The unthinkable — a government buyout of much of the private sector’s bad debt — has become the inevitable.

The story so far: the real shock after the feds failed to bail out Lehman Brothers wasn’t the plunge in the Dow, it was the reaction of the credit markets. Basically, lenders went on strike: U.S. government debt, which is still perceived as the safest of all investments — if the government goes bust, what is anything else worth? — was snapped up even though it paid essentially nothing, while would-be private borrowers were frozen out.


Thus, banks are normally able to borrow from each other at rates just slightly above the interest rate on U.S. Treasury bills. But Thursday morning, the average interest rate on three-month interbank borrowing was 3.2 percent, while the interest rate on the corresponding Treasuries was 0.05 percent. No, that’s not a misprint.


This flight to safety has cut off credit to many businesses, including major players in the financial industry — and that, in turn, is setting us up for more big failures and further panic. It’s also depressing business spending, a bad thing as signs gather that the economic slump is deepening.




Paul Krugman interview on Bill Maher's Real Time:

McCain and the Zigzag Express


From Johnathan Alter's "McCain and the Zigzag Express" from Newsweek:


John McCain's whole campaign is based on the idea that Barack Obama is risky, untested and can't be trusted to protect the nation in a crisis. But this week it was McCain who seemed unpresidential, as his Zigzag Express swerved back and forth across the median strip. His approach to the greatest financial crisis since 1933 was erratic and off-key. Would his presidency be any different?


McCain's first reaction to the climactic events of Sunday, Sept. 14, when Lehman Brothers fell, Merrill Lynch was sold and AIG began to totter, was to repeat his longstanding sound bite that "the fundamentals of the economy are strong." When Obama predictably leapt on this clueless comment with a TV ad, McCain quickly backtracked by saying that he was merely talking about the strength of "the American worker" and anyone who disagreed obviously had a problem understanding the importance of working people. He told the morning shows that he was a Republican in the mold of Teddy Roosevelt, though his true views on free-market economics are more in tune with Herbert Hoover.


9.18.2008

McCain Gets Baracked and Rolled!

The E-mails of Sarah Palin

Newsflash for Sarah Palin and the McCain campaign: Anything posted on the Internet can be accessed. I don't know why this silly woman hasn't been paying attention to the millions of data breaches that disclose of social security numbers, grades, medical records, and etc. that have been leaked, accessed, or hacked over the Internet in the past few years. Certainly the McCain campaign knows that they Patriot Act and other warrantless, wireless surveillance acts have ben supported and voted into law by Republicans.


Glenn Greenwald's piece entitled "What does Sarah Palin have to hide in her Yahoo e-mails?"

Still, it's really a wondrous, and repugnant, sight to behold the Bush-following lynch mobs on the Right melodramatically defend the Virtues of Privacy and the Rule of Law. These, of course, are the same authoritarians who have cheered on every last expansion of the Lawless Surveillance State of the last eight years -- put their fists in the air with glee as the Federal Government seized the power to listen to innocent Americans' telephone calls; read our emails; obtain our banking, credit card, and library records; and create vast data bases of every call we make and receive and every prescription we fill and every instance of travel and other vast categories of information that remain largely unknown -- all without warrants or oversight of any kind and often in clear violation of the law.

The same political faction which today is prancing around in full-throated fits of melodramatic hysteria and Victim mode (their absolute favorite state of being) over the sanctity of Sarah Palin's privacy are the same ones who scoffed with indifference as it was revealed during the Bush era that the FBI systematically abused its Patriot Act powers to gather and store private information on thousands of innocent Americans; that Homeland Security officials illegally infiltrated and monitored peaceful, law-abiding left-wing groups devoted to peace activism, civil liberties and other political agendas disliked by the state; and that the telephone calls of journalists and lawyers have been illegally and repeatedly monitored.


And the same Surveillance State Worshipper leading today's screeching -- Michelle Malkin -- spent the last several years deriding those who objected to the President's illegal spying program as "privacy crusaders" and "constitutional absolutists" and "civil liberties absolutists".


Shouldn't these same people be standing up today and insisting that if Sarah Palin has done nothing wrong, then she should have nothing to hide? If Sarah Palin isn't committing crimes or consorting with The Terrorists, then why would she care if we can monitor her emails? And if private companies such as Yahoo can access her emails -- as they can -- then she doesn't really have any "privacy" anyway, so what's the big deal if others read through her communications, too? Isn't that the authoritarian idiocy that has been spewed since The Day That 9/11 Changed Everything -- beginning with the Constitution -- to justify vesting secret and unchecked surveillance powers in our Great and Good Leaders?

Read the complete story by Glen Greenwald here.