September 29, 2008

Wall St. moves to make millions from efforts to clean up their mess

What's not included in all the coverage of the massive Wall St. bailout is the fact that many of those very same Wall St. execs and firms at the heart of the problem now stand to make millions from the taxpayer financed scheme to bail them out.

Kind of ironic, eh? They're essentially being rewarded for their utter greed and recklessness, at least the Bush administation proposal they attempted to ram through congress with warnings of dire and immediate economic castastrophe if congress didn't give them a $700 billion open-ended blank check with no oversight whatsoever.

It's not known if anyone is seeking to add provisions to prevent the same firms who screwed the pooch from making excessive profits from the very effort to bail them out.

Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.

Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.

At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.

Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury’s proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions.

“The definition of Financial Institution should be as broad as possible,” the Financial Services Roundtable, which represents big financial services companies, wrote in an e-mail message to members on Sunday.

The group said a wide variety of institutions as varied as mortgage lenders and insurance companies should be able to take advantage of the bailout, and that these companies should be able to sell off any investments linked to mortgages.

The scope of the bailout grew over the weekend. As recently as Saturday morning, the Bush administration’s proposal called for Treasury to buy residential or commercial mortgages and related securities. By that evening, the proposal was broadened to give Treasury discretion to buy “any other financial instrument.”

Sarah, Saaaarah, no time is a good time for goodbyes

"It's very important when you consider even national-security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America. Where—where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to—to our state."
- Gov. Sarah Palin, explaining why her state's proximity to Russia gave her foreign policy experience, as she and McCain have repeatedly claimed, during her 3rd ever press interview with Katie Couric.

Airspace indeed.

COURIC: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.
Uh.... sure. That's a clear explanation of her views on whether government should step in to prop up private Wall St. firms. That's a maverick alright. But I'm not sure trade is what's scary here.

The chorus calling for Palin to step down from the McCain ticket is getting larger, and almost exclusively from staunch conservatives.

George Will, Charles Krauthammer, David Brooks, David Frum, and the National Review's Kathleen Parker have all expressed the obvious fact that Palin is simply out of her league and some call for her to step down. That's quite a list.

Fareed Zakaria has also called for Palin to step down.

Who'd have thought McCain would, at this critical time in our history, pick a running mate that makes Dan Quayle look like Stephen freaking Hawking by comparison. Way to put your campaign, er.. "Country First".

With columnists of all stripes saying McCain's incendiary temper is liability, and Palin's being from the northernmost state, maybe Starship said it best in their sappy ballad, "Sarah"...

"With fire and ice, the dream won't come true."

(Appologies to Starship)

Watch this and be a better American

Watch this interview with Andrew J. Bacevich, then buy his recent book, "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism".

Doesn't matter if you're right, left, Republican, Democrat, or somewhere else, this guy's views deserve to be heard and heeded.

The interview is in two parts and I guarantee you'll want to watch both. Important and interesting stuff from perhaps the most serious and thoughtful political show on television, "Bill Moyers Journal".

The show often discusses how poorly informed and poorly served the American public is by major networks when it comes to in-depth political coverage and how rare it is to find discussions of serious topics facing the nation. The pathetic irony is that, as if to prove the point, WQPT dropped "Journal" a few months back and IPTV (chan. 12) moved it from prime time to a 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning time slot.)

September 26, 2008

Let's review

John McCain's response to the looming economic catastrophe has been nothing short of erratic, clueless, and so impulsive and reckless that it seems clear he literally had no idea what to do and so they tried one thing after another after another trying to see what might work.

Just off the top of my head, beginning on the day the crisis occured, McCain has, sometimes literally within hours:

-stated that the fundamentals of our economy were strong.

-Said that the economy was in a serious crisis.

-The guy trying to paint himself as a decisive, take charge leader emerged to say he wanted a "9-11 style" committee to "study" the issue and come up with a solution. (read: dither around until the economy collapse while shifting any potential risk of blame to others.)

-Decided the solution was to come out and act tough and say he'd fire the head of the SEC if he were president. (The president can not fire the head of the SEC, which McCain a short time later referred to as the "FEC")

-Paulson issued a three page summary of the White House plan to inject $700 billion in a bail-out plan.

-Early one morning, Obama reached out to McCain and suggested they issue a joint statement on the crisis in order to keep presidential politics out of the issue and ensure that both parties are able to work for the good of the country without trying to take credit or assign blame.

-McCain agrees, then blind-sides Obama by appearing on TV with no notice to the Obama campaign and making a blatantly political stunt.

-Out of the blue, McCain decides that he, someone who admittedly doesn't know much about economic matters, must "suspend" his campaign and rush to D.C. to single-handedly solve the problem. He simultaneously announces that he might skip the first presidential debate in order to deal with this crisis. He trys to spin this as his putting the country first over politics.

By doing this, he ensures that presidential politics is injected into the matter, thus destroying the delicate bi-partisan negotiations.

-After this announcement, McCain spends 22 hours in New York appearing with Katie Couric and at the Clinton World forum, having dinner, then finally gets around to going to D.C. the next day.

-TENS DAYS after the crisis began, and three days after Sec. Paulson released his bail-out plan, (and two days after he announced the "suspension" of his campaign,) McCain revealed to an interviewer that he couldn't comment on the proposed White House bail-out plan because, stunningly, he hadn't gotten around to reading the three page plan yet. This alone is reason enough to disqualify him from the presidency.

-During the 24 hours plus between the time McCain tried to inject some drama into his sputtering campaign by announcing he was going to ride to the rescue and his actual arrival at the photo op set up by Bush, Dems and Republicans announced that they were making progress and had agreed in principle on a bail-out plan. McCain then arrived and the deal fell apart.

-McCain brought a campaign aide to this supposedly critically important White House summit, (which turned out to be nothing but a photo op.) Obama, coming to get something done, brought one of his senate office staffers.

-McCain sat mute during the vaunted meeting at the White House that he'd "suspended" his campaign for, only speaking briefly at the end and offering no direction on the matter.

-McCain's campaign was not suspended in any way. Ads still ran, the entire campaign kept campaigning, surrogates kept up their appearances. In short, it was a sham.

-There's no deal as of today. The house Republicans blew up the entire process by refusing to even negotiate the matter.

-Despite his statement that he would not debate until a deal was struck, McCain leaves D.C. after blowing up the process and goes to Mississippi to debate.

Is this the steady leadership that McCain pretends to offer?

When he goes on and on tonight about how all this bullshit was a principled and heroic act by a selfless public servent who, without regard to political cost, dropped everything to help his beloved country in her hour of need, will you kind of throw up a little in the back of your throat?

Debate number one

Well, the phony baloney suspense over whether John McCain would be able to run away from his first debate is over. Of course it turns out it was all a sham to begin with.

Here's the place to share your views on the debate, the ridiculous stunts leading up to it, and your reaction afterwards. (or during.)

Afterwards, what did you think were some of the moments which stuck out and what did they suggest to you?

Sub Prime crisis explained

This is the best thing I've gotten in e-mail in ages. It's a powerpoint slide-show that explains, by someone who obviously knows, just exactly how the sub-prime housing crisis happened in a simple but comprehensive way with a good dose of humor to boot.

I don't have PowerPoint myself, but I could view it fine with a Powerpoint Viewer program I happened to have.

When you click on the link above, it should ask if you want to run the file or download it. Take your pick.

If you choose to run it from the webpage and have either Powerpoint or the Powerpoint viewer installed, it will open in your browser. Use your right & left arrow keys to go from slide to slide.

Or you can download it and then run it from your computer. Your call. It's worth it.

If you can't see the file, here's where you can download the PowerPoint viewer program.

Any problems, let me know and I'll try to help.

"Goring" Palin

I can't stand Sarah Palin. She's unappealing to me personally, and I sure think, well, know, that she's nowhere close to being qualified to be within a time zone of the White House.

But there's something I've noticed from a few in the press these last few days that really pisses me off. They're "Goring" Palin.

By that I mean that the press has decided it's OK to repeat stuff which isn't exactly true, but which are so snarky and sarcastic and demeaning that they can't resist.

The grand-daddy of all such bullshit was of course, the entire false "Al Gore said he invented the internet" crap. Wholey untrue, a complete distortion, unfair, and simply false. But how many thousands of times did you hear it repeated, not only by Republicans, but by journalists? In fact, they sometimes STILL DO.

What happened to Palin is far less bad, but it bugs me nonetheless.

Palin, in what was truly a stunning example of stupidity on parade, has cited the fact that her state is the nearest to Russia as some sort of proof of her foreign policy credentials and qualifications.

This will go down in history as perhaps one of the must ludicrous, insulting to anyone with a mind, crazy political assertions in history.

It started with Cindy McCain, then her husband repeated it, and then Palin repeated it over and over and over and over and over. She might as well have said in a high-pitched squeak, "I'm stupid!, I'm stupid!, I'm stupid!, I'm stupid!, I'm stupid!, and I think you're stupid too!"

It was disturbing to even hear any grownup trying to use such mangled logic, but what was worse was that they stuck to it even after it had become the joke it was.

At one point, as if to try to explain it and put a finer point on the ridiculous claim, she mentioned to an interviewer (one of the three) that you could actually SEE Russia from land in Alaska. (From a tiny island at the end of the Alutians.)

Tina Fay famously took this and during her turn as Palin on SNL squeaked, "I can see Russia from my house!"

It was hilarious stuff.

But what pisses me off is that I've heard reporters on more than one occassion ascribe that line to Palin!

They'll say something like, "Well, Palin might be able to see Russia from her house, but ... blah blah blah."

One blogger even posted a map of Alaska marked with Wasilla and Russia and calling Palin a liar for supposedly saying she could see Russia from her house.

I mean, it's insane!

It's really irresponsible and infuriating to see the press or commentators or anyone take a politicians words and distort them to make them look like a buffoon when they didn't say it, and these people should know better. (Especially when you don't NEED to distort anything Palin says to make her look like a buffoon! She does a bang-up job on her own.)

Surely these highly paid reporters KNOW that it was Tina Fay that said the "see Russia from my house" line, NOT Palin, who only said that you could see Russia from land in Alaska. (true, on a clear day) But that doesn't stop them. "Well, I can see the MOON from my house. That doesn't make me an astrophysisit!" har har har har.

They did it to Gore with reckless abandon. Now they're doing it to Palin.

The "turn about is fair play", or "live by the sword, die by the sword" axioms might apply. And the Republicans elevated such false distortions to an art form and used it to turn Dem candidates into cartoon caricatures. It was dishonest and underhanded and slimy.

So maybe what's good for the goose is good for the gander? (as long as we're slinging around platitudes.)


But it doesn't make it any less disgusting to anyone who doesn't like to see anyone attacked with words they never said.

September 25, 2008

I asked the Witchdoctor he told me what to do....

Seriously folks, are a lot of Americans about to vote for a VP that didn't get the memo that witch hunts went out of style around 1692?

Palin's spiritual mentor, Pastor Muthee, somehow ended up in Wasilla, AK after getting his big start in Kenya, where he gained notice after accusing a local woman of being a witch, saying she caused car accidents, and threatened and harassed the woman until she was forced to leave town. Every year, hundreds of women are killed after being accused of being witches in Africa.

Muthee, in the sermon, calls on church members to try to gain footholds in centres of influence, such as politics and the media, and praises Palin for her bid to become governor of Alaska. He spoke about the hindrances she faced from her enemies. "In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus, every form of witchcraft is what you rebuke. In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus, father make away now," Muthee said.

In a video that emerged last week Palin, in a speech to the church on June 8, thanked Muthee for his help in getting her elected governor. She said his invocation was "very, very powerful".

The Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, faced weeks of damaging reports this year over links to controversial Chicago pastor Jeremiah Wright, who was accused of being unpatriotic. The links between Palin and Muthee have the potential to damage her.

The Christian Science Monitor reported that Muthee, while in Kenya, led a campaign to find the source of alleged witchcraft after a series of fatal car accidents in Kiambu. He blamed a local woman called Mama Jane, who is reported to have been forced to leave.

Muthee, in a promotional video, said: "We prayed, we fasted, the lord showed us a spirit of witchcraft over the place."

Curiously enough, this and dozens of other YouTube videos critical of Palin have been yanked down. Here's the same video that still survives. (for now.)

Give a listen, and tell me if this guy doesn't sound like HE'S possessed! The guy's voice sounds like he should have done the voice-over in "The Exorcist".

Example # 234,578

I've gone around with some Republicans here who pop up predictably whenever I cite an instance of Republican racism.

It particularly gets them cooking when the idea that millions of voters (who won't vote for Obama soley on the basis of race.

Why! They protest, none of us would vote against Obama due to his race or all the bullshit propaganda constantly put out (that we believe and spread ourselves,) propaganda designed specifically to appeal to racist fears and stereotypes! We're going to vote for McCain simply because we love the way this country has been run and want more of the same! How DARE you suggest any racial motivation!

They usually come up with their other usual ridiculous argument, citing the fact that back about, oh, 70 years ago, southern racists were all Democrats. This conveniently ignores the reality that the southern racist/segregationist Dems all followed Strom Thurmond and ran to the Republican side once the other Democrats and a Democratic president took the politically courageous stand for civil rights, thus ensuring that all the racists in the South would vote Republican from that day forward. (and they have.... and do.)

Southern Dems were once racist, goes their unique logic, hence it's the Democrats who are racist now. (I guess that's what they're arguing. It's so illogical that I'm not sure what their point is.)

Or they point to a dubious poll which said that 30% of respondent Dems wouldn't vote for Obama due to race. Of course, not only is that one shaky poll, but the fact remains that the number of Republicans who vote based on race is far, far higher.

Any self-respecting racist in this country isn't going to register as a Democrat, and the idea that they don't flock to the Republican party is ludicrous and silly.

Did you see all those black delegates at the Republican Convention in St. Paul?

Me neither.

I recently posted about the story of these guys who were pedaling a product which put a caricature of Obama in place of Aunt Jemima on a box of pancake mix. (along with other blatantly racist imagery and text) They thought it was hilarious and clever, and they were selling them like, well, hotcakes to the, get this, fine upright Christian right folks at the "Values Voter Summit" sponsored by the lobbying arm of James Dobson's Family Research Council.

Now comes this. Wonder what goofy arguments they'll come up to ignore this example of God's own racists in training.

NEWBERG, Ore. - Students and school leaders at a small Christian university expressed outrage Wednesday at the discovery of a life-size cardboard effigy of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama hanging from a tree on campus.

A custodian at George Fox University discovered the effigy early Tuesday and immediately removed it, President Robin Baker said. University spokesman Rob Felton said Wednesday that the commercially produced reproduction had been suspended from the branch of a tree near Minthorn Hall with fishing line around the neck.

The hanging of the effigy around the neck is seen as racist symbolism because it harkens back to lynchings of black men by white mobs, especially in the U.S. South, decades ago. Obama is aiming to become America's first black president.

"We will not tolerate such displays and condemn it in the strongest terms," Baker said. "George Fox University is committed to becoming a place that more broadly represents the Kingdom of God — a place where students from diverse backgrounds come together to live out the teachings of Jesus in our world."

Taped to the cardboard cutout of Obama was a sign that read "Act Six reject." Act Six is a scholarship program geared toward increasing the number of minority and low-income students at several Christian colleges, mostly in the Northwest.

The school has 17 students in the program, whose name derives from the New Testament book of Acts. All but one are members of minority groups, Felton said.

Sure, Christian colleges are expensive, but you want your kids to get those great Christian values they can't get at non-sectarian schools.

Except when we do

"We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself."

--2008 Republican Party Platform, adopted September 2008

Getta load of this commie lib! Sheesh!

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.
It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?

Man, that guy probably wrote that after cashing his welfare check and going back to his welfare pad to smoke dope all day. Oh yeah, and he's probably a minority too and would take a job away from a white guy, if there were any jobs.

What? That was George who??!!

Love this ad

This ad came out quite some time ago (Maybe the Super Bowl?), but I just saw it air again. I loved it then and I still do.

They've yanked the YouTube clip of it, so to see it, you have to go here and then scroll to the "Robot Dance" clip. Click on it to play.

The only thing wrong with it is that it's too short.

September 24, 2008

Putting politics first, McCain pulls Hail Mary stunt

Call it flop sweat. Call it desperation. Call it B.S.

McCain's campaign has decided to disrupt the process of dealing with the nearly impossible to decipher bail-out plan being deliberated in D.C. by pulling a border-line crazy political stunt.

In response to plunging poll numbers since the Wall St. crisis, McCain decides to drop a bomb and say that he's "suspending" his campaign in order to lend his own dubious hand to finding a solution, thus using this weird excuse to try to duck the first debate.

This is patent non-sense, of course. McCain's presense in D.C. is neither wanted nor needed.

Hope to get more on this up later.... but feel free to offer your opinion on the recent wild gyrations and this stunt by McCain.

Does he even care anymore?

They loves them some lobbyists, but not freedom of the press

McCain's campaign manager up to his very well paid neck in lobbying for Freddie Mac.

Since 2006, the federally sponsored mortgage giant Freddie Mac has paid at least $345,000 to the lobbying and consulting firm of John McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis, according to two sources familiar with the arrangement.

Freddie Mac had previously paid an advocacy group run by Davis, called the Homeownership Alliance, $30,000 a month until the end of 2005, when that group was dissolved. That relationship was the subject of a New York Times story Monday, which drew angry denunciations from the McCain campaign. McCain and his aides have vehemently objected to suggestions that Davis has ties to Freddie Mac—an especially sensitive issue given that the Republican presidential candidate has blamed "the lobbyists, politicians and bureaucrats" for the mortgage crisis that recently prompted the Bush administration to take over both Freddie Mac and its companion, Fannie Mae, and put them under federal conservatorship.

But neither the Times story—nor the McCain campaign—revealed that Davis's lobbying firm, Davis Manafort, based in Washington, D.C., continued to receive $15,000 a month from Freddie Mac until last month—long after the Homeownership Alliance had been terminated. The two sources, who requested anonymity discussing sensitive information, told NEWSWEEK that Davis himself approached Freddie Mac in 2006 and asked for a new consulting arrangement that would allow his firm to continue to be paid. The arrangement was approved by Hollis McLoughlin, Freddie Mac's senior vice president for external relations, because "he [Davis] was John McCain's campaign manager and it was felt you couldn't say no," said one of the sources. [McLoughlin did not return phone calls].

It's clear that Davis severed ties to his direct lobbying for Freddie Mac, but then continued to accept $15,000 a month UP UNTIL LAST MONTH, for crying out loud, from Freddie Mac for doing essentially nothing at all, other than providing access to the guy who's now out there ranting about how evil D.C. lobbyists have caused this near depression.

Trouble with that is, his own damn campaign manager was one of them.

And when it was initially reported by the NYT that Davis's firm had collected hundreds of thousands from Freddie Mac for lobbying, McCain's chief spokesman went out of his mind and threw a tantrum, saying,

"But whatever the New York Times once was, it is today not by any standard a journalistic organization. It is a pro-Obama advocacy organization that every day attacks the McCain campaign, attacks Gov. Palin and excuses Sen. Obama. There is no public vetting... there is no level of outrage directed at his deceitful ads... This is an organization that is completely and totally 150 percent in the tank for the Democratic candidate.... Everything that is read in the New York Times should be evaluated by the American people from that perspective. It is an organization that has made a decision to cast aside its journalistic integrity and advocate for the defeat of one candidate and the election of another."

Then it comes out that it's even worse than was reported.

When you have to resort to overblown crazy accusations against the press, for the offense of reporting the truth, then you're in trouble.

And when half of your ticket embarks on an excellent adventure in New York, sort of a field trip, to meet the first foreign heads of state she's ever met, trying to give Palin some foreign policy "insta-cred" and generate some neat-o pictures of her RIGHT THERE IN THE SAME ROOM AS FOREIGN LOOKING GUYS, and they want to ban access to reporters to actually report, or the (horrors) questions they might ask, then you're in trouble.

There are two things to bear in mind here.

First, these are photo sessions... photo ops, not press conferences. The press is usually allowed to pile in and do their thing for maybe 5 minutes, then they're shooed out. (In this case, it was more like 30 seconds.) It's a very controlled deal and Presidents and candidates usually like them because they have someone else there to kind of deflect things off and the questions are usually easy and there are only a couple at most.

A press pool of some sort have ALWAYS been allowed at these sorts of photo ops. The State Dept. DEMANDS that they be allowed when the Sec. of State meets with repressive leaders in places like Syria or China which don't allow the press to witness such meetings.

Yet, after frothing at the mouth in indignation that anyone would dare even ask whether Palin could manage to run for vice president while properly raising 5 kids including a handicapped infant, suggesting that such a thing was insulting and misogynistic, they now are so absolutely TERRIFIED of her shallowness and lack of knowledge that they won't even allow the poor woman to speak unless it's in front of a friendly crowd and she stays on script.

Boy, they sure have faith in the abilities of a woman to be just as smart and tough and skilled as a man. They're such ardent feminists that they pick an attractive female, ("The hottest governor from the coldest state." campaign crap flew off the shelves.) then want the public to only see pictures of her and hear tales of how tough and smart she is and her family and handicapped infant and to listen to her recite repeated lies in front of adoring crowds in her God-awful screeching voice (which always reminds me of the bird screech that opened the intro to the show "Northern Exposure". Cicily might as well be Wasilla.)

The round of brief meaningless meetings in New York were really helpful and make me at least feel much more secure in Palin's knowledge and preparedness in foreign affairs.

When the press went into revolt at the brazen attempts to limit coverage, threatening to not cover the stunt at all, the McCain camp backed down, saying it was a "misunderstanding" and allowed the three or four person press pool access.

So the press (our representatives) were allowed to show about 30 seconds of each meeting. Pretty impressive, eh? What did we learn?

Palin spent her meeting with the leader of Afghanistan talking about his children. She asked what his son's name was. He told her.

She talked to the leader of Columbia briefly, but no one could hear what they were talking about over the snapping of cameras.

She met with Henry Kissinger, which should pretty much alarm anyone with a knowledge of history.

During the few seconds the press were allowed into the room, Kissinger said that he was going to give conservative French president Nicolas Sarkozy credit for brokering the Georgia-Russia ceasefire in a speech he was to give.

"Good, good," Palin replied. "And you'll give me more insight on that, also, huh? Good."

Palin answered one question while leaving Henry Kissinger's office after their meeting. "It was great", Palin said when asked how it went.

So there you go. What more could you want? Try to say she's unqualified NOW.

I'm aware that most people aren't really crazy about the press. But they ARE our only means of knowing and seeing and finding out what's going on with the people who purport to run our country or who aspire to it.

And I find this over-the-top attempt by the McCain campaign to keep Palin in a weird sort of bubble, all the while trying to vilify the press for attempting to do their job, really disgusting and a bit disturbing.

It's really not much of a leap to some sort of "Brave New World" scenario where the candidates only appear on video prepared by the campaign.

They're literally refusing to allow Palin to answer, or even be exposed to, any questions from the press.

She did do the Charlie Gibson interview, which was an actual interview. She sucked. Bad. (In what respect, Charlie?)

Then she did a late night infomercial type of interview with Sean "Mutton head" Hannity.

God, was that a gem. With Hannity trying to act like Walter Cronkite, in a setting that looked like they were in the White House. It was like Hannity was a kid playing at being an actual reporter. Egads. He tossed her every softball imaginable, and I'm only surprised he didn't ask, "Will you be a great vice president, or the greatest vice president in history?"

Other than that, they've scrupulously avoided exposing her to anything which would give the slightest glimpse into what she believes, how bright she is, or the depth (or lack of) of her knowledge about critical issues confronting the country.

When you find yourself with nothing left to do but try to lash out at the press because they actually are trying to figure out who the hell you picked to be a heart-beat away from the presidency, or daring to report the truth about the thick and numerous ties between the several lobbyists running the McCain campaign and the very firms and banks that are at the heart of the worst economic crisis for generations,
you've got problems.

That's not good.

Maybe this is what McCain was talking about

.... when he said the fundamentals of our economy are strong. When you spend your life around people in this income bracket, especially since they've been allowed to keep millions more to themselves rather than contributing to the country in taxes, things are, and have been, just great.

If you're one of Bush/McCain's "base", you might be in the market for one of these homes. (Just try to remember how many you own. It's very tacky to lose track.)

By the way, I heard Trump say he just sold the Palm Beach mansion to one of the many post break-up Russian billionaires who've now snapping up exclusive property in the U.S.


Click on toons to view larger

McCain's history with financial sector

In looking for something else the other day, I came across this article from the Arizona Republic. It's apparently part of a larger story about John McCain's biography, but this section deals with his involvement with the infamous Keating 5, a group of lawmakers who were in kahoots with multi-millionaire savings and loan shark Charles Keating.

While a few of them were indicted, McCain got away with a slap on the wrist.

But in light of the current crisis and McCain's utterly baffling flailing about on what he would do, perhaps this is the time to educate yourself on what the Keating 5 story was all about.

Though McCain has so far gotten a free-pass from the press about this chapter in his past, you'll likely hear about it from time to time. Why not actually know what they're talking about?

Read this straightforward factual account of the scandal and McCain's involvement.

September 23, 2008

Want to make money? Vote Democratic.

It's hard to argue with success.

President George W. Bush inherited the lousy end of the business cycle. The stock market has been falling throughout his entire term, battered by war, a feeble economy, and corporate scandals. Yet this decay still hasn't shaken Americans' faith that Republicans are better for the economy and the market. Poll after poll shows that when Americans divide up the chores of running the country, they tend to think of the economy and stock market as Republican domain and delegate softer issues, like the environment, to Democrats.

But Democrats, it turns out, are much better for the stock market than Republicans. Slate ran the numbers and found that since 1900, Democratic presidents have produced a 12.3 percent annual total return on the S&P 500, but Republicans only an 8 percent return. In 2000, the Stock Trader's Almanac, which slices and dices Wall Street performance figures like baseball stats, came up with nearly the same numbers (13.4 percent versus 8.1 percent) by measuring Dow price appreciation. (Most of the 20th century's bear markets, incidentally, have been Republican bear markets: the Crash of '29, the early '70s oil shock, the '87 correction, and the current stall occu! rred under GOP presidents.)

According to almanac editor Jeffrey Hirsch, the presidential party figures are among the most significant he's found. If the stock market were random, we'd expect such a result only one-quarter of the time. "I don't know why people are convinced Republicans are good for the stock market," Hirsch says.

Nor does having a Republican Congress help the market. A Democratic Senate showed returns of 10.5 percent (versus 9.4 percent for a GOP upper chamber), and a Democratic House returned 10.9 percent versus 8.1 percent for the Republicans.
Republicans are no doubt muttering that that's just the stock market, not the whole economy. But real GDP growth follows the same pattern. Since 1930 (the first year decent data is available), GDP growth was 5.4 percent for Democratic presidents and 1.6 percent for Republicans.

Yet another con job by Republicans..... they're better on economic issues. Not if you value facts and reality... or having money in the bank.

September 22, 2008

McCain finally lays out plan to address economic meltdown

McCain�s Economic Plan For Nation: "Everyone Marry A Beer Heiress"

Sometimes the best defense is .... pathetic

I'm still not sure if my eyes are deceiving me, but I don't think so.

Palin/McCain's rapid response lawyer squad which parachuted into Alaska recently to try to shut down the Troopergate scandal investigation are now arguing that Palin didn't fire Alaska's top cop for refusing to illegally fire her former brother-in-law. No, they now say, he was fired for planning to go to D.C. to lobby for ... well, here's the quote. You tell me if it's as insane as it sounds.

Fighting back against allegations she may have fired her then-Public Safety Commissioner, Walt Monegan, for refusing to go along with a personal vendetta, Palin on Monday argued in a legal filing that she fired Monegan because he had a "rogue mentality" and was bucking her administration's directives.

"The last straw," her lawyer argued, came when he planned a trip to Washington, D.C., to seek federal funds for an aggressive anti-sexual-violence program. The project, expected to cost from $10 million to $20 million a year for five years, would have been the first of its kind in Alaska, which leads the nation in reported forcible rape.

The McCain-Palin campaign echoed the charge in a press release it distributed Monday, concurrent with Palin's legal filing. "Mr. Monegan persisted in planning to make the unauthorized lobbying trip to D.C.," the release stated.

But the governor's staff authorized the trip, according to an internal travel document from the Department of Public Safety, released Friday in response to an open records request.

Sooooo, the guy's firing offence was to try to find funds to combat rape and sexual assault in his state which has the highest rates of rape per capita in the entire United States? And Palin found this so objectionable that she canned a guy with an exemplary record over decades in law enforcement for it? (Though evidence states that her office OKed it.)

THAT'S the kind of "reformer" she was up there?

The more that is revealed, the more she seems like a Cheney clone, vindictive, secretive, and surrounding herself with unqualified cronies.

And did I mention that Sarah Palin is a real feminist? A great beacon of hope to Republican women everywhere? Well, it's true.

According to her hometown newspaper, while "The Drilla from Wassila" was mayor, Wasilla charged traumatized rape victims for the cost of their own rape exams, for God's sake! (and was upset by a bill that forced them to do so.)

"You got raped!"
"Oh my God! Are you pressing charges? Did you report it to the police?"
"Why on earth not!!??"
"They said I had to pay for the exam to collect evidence and I can't afford it."
"Well, that's reasonable. It would be too big a burden on taxpayers. Besides, anyone that gets raped was probably asking for it anyway and isn't a good Christian."

Is this just another example of "normal" Republican values and philosophy? Or is Palin and her ilk just more despicable nut-case conservative ideologues using their phony Christianity as a shield to justify their decidedly un-Christian ways?

Yet Palin is quite the feminist. The McCain campaign pushed that idea hard. And we all know they wouldn't lie.

She's the woman who can simultaneously raise 5 kids including a handicapped infant while travelling non-stop and campaigning 18 hours a day, field dress a moose, and have it on the table by 6, and still look good enough to unleash frenzied masturbation among pasty conservatives everywhere.

Yep, the great feminist Sarah who feels that rape victims should pull themselves up by their bootstraps (if they survived and weren't beaten or stabbed too badly) and pay the Wassilla PD out their own pockets to have evidence collected from the violent act committed against them.

The Republican's idea of feminism is a little... different, I guess.

But I'm sure those Hillary voters will still flock to McCain. After all, Palin is a woman.

That's what the McCain campaign told us, and we all know they wouldn't lie.

The Man of the People

Here's a little slideshow about newest phony "populist" in town, John McCain and his 13 cars.

(The Obamas own one vehicle, a Ford Escape Hybrid.)

September 21, 2008

The painful truth

Frank Schaeffer, a man who knows what he's talking about, has a few things to say to Republicans.

Unless you haven't been paying attention to the recent history of the Republican Party you will know that today Republican ideology and energy is derived from three sources:

* The Religious Right,

* The Neoconservative Movement,

* Corporate business interests.

You also should know that when it comes to the Religious Right my late father and evangelist, Francis Schaeffer, was the intellectual voice that made it happen. As his young sidekick (in the 70s and 80s) I helped take his message to a huge evangelical audience.
[Republicans], take a hard look at yourselves. Play back this year's Republican convention and you'll see an all-white crowd of people screaming for offshore oil drilling -- fat lot of good that will do! more carbon! more polution! -- and essentially reacting like starved hyenas when presented with a piece of juicy carrion. At the convention Sarah Palin and others produced nothing more than a snide list of smart ass put downs aimed at the really dumb, with so little substance that former conservatives such the late William F. Buckley, for instance (let alone my late father) would simply have been ashamed to be in your company. You have become a hate-filled rabble proud of your ignorance and resentful of the rest of your own country, resentment that's exceeded only by your maudlin (and false) sense of victimhood.
The smell emanating from your convention was that of a beer hall putsch circa 1930s, not anything remotely like participation in a democracy. Now you all know what it felt like to be in a lynch mob minus the hanging. You should be ashamed. But shame is something that apparently Republicans are no longer capable of feeling, at least when you get together in a mob.

If you could feel shame there would have been a series of contrite public apologies at your convention for the incredible fiasco of non-governing that has typified the Bush administration. My pension, other people's pensions, our homes, jobs and economy are in chaos because of you. Young Americans are dying in Iraq because of you. The world is a more dangerous place because of you. America is hated because of you. Yes, that is you personally. I blame all of you.

You are the people who gave us eight years of Bush. My Marine son fought in his wars. Cowards, where were most of your sons and daughters? The President's daughters were getting arrested for under age drinking and harassing their Secret Service detail. The rest of you were shopping.

Far from saying you're sorry for the state our country is in you're trying to change the subject by reviving a culture war that has nothing to do with the principled fight against abortion of the 1970s that my dad and I began, and everything to do with simply hating people not like yourselves. The ultimate irony is that you're doing this in the name of Jesus Christ, someone, by the way, whom I try to follow as a Christian. You have become blasphemers by dragging our Lord into your political games.
You have a little fool for a vice presidential candidate who says she doesn't believe that human beings have anything to do with the phenomena of global warming and the endangering of all human life on this planet. Dream on. This fool claims to know what she knows because of an absolute "I don't blink" confidence in herself. So on top of everything else this fool who says she is a Christian, proves she is not. She lacks any shred of decent humility, the most basic biblical virtue.
Belligerent posturing is not a policy, it is idiocy. You Republicans have become the party of perpetual fear and aggressive non-provoked war, seeing enemies where there are none and/or provoking former friends to become our enemies, and/or faking reasons for war and/or wasting our soldier's blood in places such as Afghanistan, where our cause was just but you fumbled the ball.

Your moron vice presidential candidate is still at it! While turning her son's deployment to war into a flag-dishonoring political circus stunt she repeated the Bush lie and said that her son was going off to fight the perpetrators of 9/11. This is a barefaced lie and you all know it. Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack. The only reason we attacked them is because the fools listed above decided it would be good for Israel and our stupid "president" went along.

Now you belligerent asses are supporting the same idiot (McCain) that helped bring us Iraq. He is now champing at the bit to revive the cold, and maybe a hot war with Russia. (and Iran) Have you gone mad? Can't you see you have an old foolish semi-senile man mired in the bathos of post-Vietnam "we were denied victory" psychosis for a candidate? Don't you know that Bush has made us weak?
We have met the enemy and he is us! When Islamists tried to destroy our country by flying planes into the Pentagon and the World Trade Towers, we rightly called them terrorists. When the Republicans in the Congress and the White House set about destroying our country, our standing in the world, our military and our economy, but much more effectively, you called them statesmen. It is time for all Americans -- including all you who are patriotic Republicans -- to sweep away these putrid earth-consuming, family killing, government bashing "me" worshipping individualistic fools--that or to watch our country be swept away by them. We can't afford eight more years of this willful ignorance. Obama in 2008!

Read the whole piece.

September 19, 2008

Kampaigning to Kindergarteners.and McCain on Spain

McCain campaigns to kindergarteners. Or at least it sounds like he thinks he is.

And if you're close to Russia, that means you know all about foreign policy. And the fundementals of our economy are strong. And I'm the "change" candidate, and I'm for regulation, even though I have always been against it, boys and girls.

"It's safe. I've been on one. And you can see fish! So hundreds of oil rigs offshore mean good eatin'. And it's perfectly safe."

In further McCain mental gyrations, McCain was asked whether he'd invite the president of Spain to the White House during an interview on a spanish language radio station. Take a little listen and try to see if you can figure out what the hell he's talking about or whether he knows himself.

The candidate which so many people seem to feel is some sort of foreign policy "expert" seemed to diss the nation of Spain, a member of NATO and a steady ally in Afghanistan, even though the Republican administration, in it's typical childish fit of pique, has shunned the President of Spain even since they decided to withdraw their troops from the mess in Iraq.

So the interviewer asked him about speaking to the leader of Spain. Repeatedly. And McCain, sounding like Grandpa Simpson, kept talking about Mexico and central America. When the interviewer asked once more would McCain speak to the President of SPAIN, McCain mumbled on about this "hemisphere", saying, "Honestly, I have to analyze our relationships, situations and priorities, but I can assure you that I will establish closer relationships with our friends, and I will stand up to those who want to harm the United States."

Evidently, McCain's not sure if Spain is an enemy or not. Or what hemisphere it's in, for that matter.

On top of that, this is yet another of the dizzying and never-ending flip-flops for McCain, who literally can contradict himself daily, sometimes even hourly! (As when he said he was against bailing out insurance giant AIG, then literally hours later, said he was OK with it. What a maverick. He first says what he actually thinks and believes, then gets told what he's SUPPOSED TO SAY, and goes out and says it as if no one will remember that he said just the opposite only hours ago.

McCain had previously stated that he'd be willing to meet with Spain's President Zapatero. Now he seemed to refuse to answer, and even cast Spain in the catagory of "those who wish to do harm to the United States" in his bewildering answers.

If McCain's a foreign policy expert, then so is my dog.

What did he mean exactly? No one knows. Even his campaign.

September 18, 2008

What goes up....

Let's see... Let's try to get through all the interesting stuff that have emerged in the past day or so. I'll start off with a couple things that aren't entirely fair or that are non-stories in my opinion.

-Sarah Palin's negatives went up 5 points in only two days. Her positives went down by 4. That's what happens when you toss a bucket of fluff that high in the air. It's going to come down pretty hard.

- It was revealed that Palin had a tanning bed installed in the Governor's mansion.

Big deal. She didn't use state funds for it, so it's a big nothing. Except she apparently didn't spend much time there anyway, preferring to charge the state thousands in per diems to stay in her own home.

-Palin's voice causes seizures in some people. Well, it hasn't been reported yet. But her God-awfully grating tone of voice has actually caused some people's earlobes to spontaneously morph into little fingers which then plugged their ears.
I was listening to her at the town hall yesterday and her voice actually loosened one of my filings and dogs all around the neighborhood errupted in spontaneous howling.

- Carly Fiorina said that McCain isn't qualified to run a company.

And she said neither are any of the candidates on either slate. Sure, she'll get canned, and I couldn't be more pleased. She was an unpleasant person to begin with, and had a decidedly checkered past, being known for laying off thousands of workers on her way to dragging down Hewlett-Packard while she was CEO.

But this is piling on. It's another instance of someone getting crucified for telling the truth. She was clearly trying to say that running a large corporation and being President are two entirely different things. CEOs probably wouldn't be good Presidents, and visa-versa. It was an honest observation, and the only thing she was guilty of was not somehow looking into the future and realized how her valid comment could be distorted.

I can't stand Fiorina, but what she said was more than likely true, though I have to admit that if all four candidates DID run a company, I'd sure the hell buy stock in Obama's over any of the rest and I'd likely do quite well.

- More lies. Palin lie regarding teleprompter at convention speech.

Within 20 minutes of the finish of Sarah Palin's screech, er.. speech to the RNC, the McCain camp was spreading the story that the teleprompter had screwed up mid-speech but Palin, in an example of just how brilliant and talented she is, had effortlessly ad libbed and gotten past it.

Well, that turns out to be not true. What most of us call a "lie". Press risers were in direct line of sight of the teleprompter and no one saw any glitch in the teleprompter at all. Also sources who ran the teleprompter confirmed that there was no problem with it at all.

Why do these people lie when they don't even have to? Pretty bad.

- The coverup is worse than the crime.
Apparently no one told Palin and the McCain campaign goon squad which has been deployed to Anchorage to try to make her "Troopergate" problems disappear.

In a weird legal twist, Palin's state lawyer had filed a motion with the state's personel board arguing that they, and not the bi-partisan committee organized to investigate the issue, were the proper body to determine if there'd been any misconduct. (The personnel board happens to be appointed by Palin, natch.)

Then the Republicans took a Justice Dept. lawyer who was in the anti-terror division, got him to quit his job, then hired him and sent him to Alaska to "help" Palin's lawyer with the case.

He promptly filed a motion arguing AGAINST the motion Palin's lawyer had just filed, arguing this time that even the personnel board had no jurisdiction as there wasn't enough probably cause to justify an investigation by ANYONE or ANYTHING, period.

In other words, they're trying to shut down the entire thing before it's even started, thus giving the obvious impression that they're afraid of something VERY bad emerging if it's allowed to continue. They don't even trust Palin's hand picked personnel board to handle it!

The bi-partisan committee recently voted (tie broken by a Republican) to subpoena state witnesses in the investigation. But Palin's appointed State Attorney General has chosen to defy the subpoenas and forbid ANY Alaskan state employee to cooperate or testify.

The Republicans, bless 'em, have just ensured that this story, which appeared to not a big deal and likely to not have much of an impact on the race, will now become a huge story in the press and convince the public that Palin had indeed done something so wrong that the McCain campaign had to bring in the thug squad to try to shut it down completely. Amazing.

- John McCain invented the Blackberry.
Yep, hahahaha! What a jerk, claiming to have invented the Blackberry! Hahahahahaha!

Well, actually, he said no such thing. But then again, neither did Al Gore say anything remotely like he'd invented the internet. But that didn't stop the press and Republican boobs from repeating it with giddy glee for years.

As a matter of fact, the comment by one of McCain's economic advisors (at least the one that they can still send out in public, unlike the REAL economic guru, Phil Gramm.) is even worse than Gore's.

When asked what accomplishments McCain had ever made regarding economic matters while in the Senate, Douglas Holtz-Eakin held up his Blackberry device and said, "He did this. You're looking at the miracle John McCain helped create and that's what he did."

What Gore actualy said essentially similar, "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system."

As it was in Gore's case, trying to say that McCain claims to have invented the Blackberry is a ridiculous distortion of the truth. But hell, you simply could not count the millions of times the "Gore invented the internet" falsehood was repeated on a daily basis for literally years, so as long as the Republicans have no shame (and that's clear) why not give 'em a taste of their own medicine?

So next time you talk on a cell phone or use e-mail, thank John McCain. (but don't thank him by e-mail or blackberry, he doesn't know how to use it yet.)

- McCain, who makes up his position as to the economic collapes on an hourly basis, turns out to have employed as top campaign staff, current or former lobbyists for Lehman Bros, AIG, Merill Lynch, and Bank of America.

-In yet another wild-ass flip-flop, McCain, a guy who's argued against any suggestion that the financial markets should be regulated in any way, is now out there calling for more regulation. Talk about shutting the barn door AFTER the cows have all gone.

The last experience with the country's financial system was being caught up in the Keating 5 scandal where he used his position in congress to PREVENT regulation of Charles Keating's S&L in exchange for money.

-Pakistan's president announces that his troops will shoot any U.S. troops who engage in any military actions within their borders, thus essentially protecting with military force, al Queda and Osama bin-Laden.

- Several U.S. servicemen and women were captured during the first Gulf War and held in, of all places, abu Garaib prison, where they were mistreated and abused. Now they want to sue the government of Iraq (which has something like an $80 billion dollar surplus these days) for the suffering they experienced.

Well, not everyone likes that idea. Some are fighting to prevent it. The Iraqi government? No, guess again.

The Bush administration is actually fighting to deny the former military POWs the right to sue Iraq!!

So afraid of the possibility that they themselves could be hauled to court for their numerous war crimes and perhaps being held responsible for the abduction and torture of thousands of innocent people, the Bush administration is now spending hundreds of thousands of you tax dollars fighting to prevent the heros they constantly trot out for political gain, the very troops they've accused others of not supporting as much as they patriotically do, from being able to try to get some compensation for the abuse and horrible mistreatment they suffered.

Support the troops indeed. Assholes.

Where are the de-regulation, trickle down, tax cut fools now?

Where's Jim Mowen when you need him?

He's the guy, you may recall, who lost to Andrea Zinga in the Republican primary a while back for Lane Evan's seat.

And he's been a constant (until lately) commenter here, constantly and mindlessly defending Bush/Republican economic policy and trickle-down and tax breaks skewed massively towards multi-millionaires, while being amazingly deaf dumb and blind to any of the counter-arguments and evidence I'd present in response.

In other words, he's been consistently and near obsessively determined to defend the very policies which have led to the current economic crisis, always quick to argue that my facts to the contrary weren't true. In other words, he was a typical right wing ostrich, head firmly planted, shall we say, in the sand, while Rome burned around him.

He STILL believed that it is a great idea to allow unlimited rigging of the tax system to the point where those who already possess great wealth pay a lower tax rate than a typical secretary.

To the mind of these right wingers, there should be absolutely NO limits or regulation on any financial speculation or business practice. They couldn't be bothered when confronted with the fact that the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us was widening faster, and had grown to be larger than at any time since the pre-depression era of the robber barons.

The fact that middle class workers were taxed at a far higher rate than billionaires when all taxes were considered didn't bother them either. They simply argue using income taxes only, a patently dishonest arguement.

The falling dollar, running the deficit to literally fantastical levels, all while pouring billions after billions into the quagmire in Iraq, while AT THE SAME TIME, slashing taxes for everyone but those who truly needed it, none of it fazed Jim a bit. He'd just ignore it all and regurgitate some BS talking point and throw out some phony figures put out by some group paid by the rich to argue for tax breaks for the rich.

And this crash hasn't even been felt by 99% of us. It's like getting kicked in the crotch... the pain is slow to arrive, but when it gets there, .... it hurts.

So where's Jim now? Is he left impotently sputtering about how the Democrats have had a slim majority in congress for a couple years, therefore all the Republican policies, which created the largest tranfer of wealth from the middle class to the rich in history, aren't to blame? Is he somewhere arguing that the only problem is that we didn't cut taxes ENOUGH? That spending billions of tax dollars to bail out Wall St. firms who have spent the last several years sucking up half our economy into their own Swiss bank accounts is something we have to do, since they're such a big chunk of our economy? That spending literally billions upon billions of tax dollars to help a Wall St. bank when it's in trouble is only prudent, while spending a few hundred on a family that's in trouble is some sort of communism?

These people have been wrong, they ARE wrong, and they will continue to be WRONG.

I feel quite confident that, in his own little world, he still believes the Republican fiscal policies are our only salvation, and that rampant and unlimited deregulation and slashing taxes for those who already have quite a bit of money is the only way to go.

For types like this, facts mean nothing. Reality means nothing. The country could be collapsing, as some feel it is at the moment, and they'd be still saying that the market will fix everything and that tax cuts for the ultra wealthy should continue and the corporate take-over of our entire government in the guise of the Republican party is the greatest thing that ever happened, and any change would be disasterous. (of course, utterly ignorant of the fact that we're already experiencing disaster.)

Do yourself and our country a favor. Next time you hear some misguided blow-hard telling you how great Republican economic policy is, excuse yourself and just walk away.

I've had to defend these views on a daily basis for over 3 years. Now that Bush is a demonstable jack-ass and failed president, now that Obama did indeed become the Dem nominee, and now that the very economic policies so fervently embraced by those like Mowen have lead to the biggest economic free-fall since the Great Depression, wiping out in a matter of days hundreds of billions of dollars of American assets, WHERE ARE THESE PEOPLE?

When Sarah Palin, like the helium balloon she is, finally shrivels and falls to the ground, where will the fine conservatives who thought she was the bimbo of their dreams be?

I don't expect anyone to come around every time they are proven wrong in an argument. Far from it.

But when the conservatives I've spent time arguing with here have been proven wrong over and over and over and over and over again, you'd think they'd at least get a tiny bit more humble. But what am I saying. They're the party with the commandment, thou shalt never admit error.

I don't think about it much, but when I stop to think about it, I have to admit that every position I've argued for over the past 3 years has been proven to be the right one. Everything I've said was actually happening contrary to the propaganda of the right, to the constant derision of my merry band of wing-nuts, have proven to have been reality.

My views on the invasion of Iraq, the character of Bush, the rape and pillage of our treasury and resources by the ultra rich and connected, all eagerly supported by Republicans who fought every attempt to restrain it, the dangers of allowing the wealthy to indulge their greed with no restraint whatsoever, and all the lies and BS that the Republicans spewed to defend it and villify and demean those who pointed out how senseless and dangerous it was.

I've seen the train wreck coming for over two years, yet there were always a steady supply of boobs who thought I was the one who was just a crazy out-to-lunch "liberal."

I'm just as amazed to realize it as anyone, yet I can't think of a single thing I've warned of or predicted that hasn't come true. I've been vindicated on every position and opinion I've had. If you've got an example of a position I took where I was later proven wrong or events didn't bear out my views, I'm all ears. (There's gotta be SOME... surely. But I can't think of any.)

And where's Jim Mowen? I'll be nice to you if you admit you were real, real, real, real wrong about your economic views and crazy idea that free market capitalism with little or no government intervention and regulation wouldn't end up greedily sucking up every dime they could steal in any way they could and end up crashing the economy.

And Barack Obama will become America's next president.

And I haven't been wrong yet.

September 17, 2008

McCain hearts fundementals

The latest data shows that unemployment levels have soared to new heights, 6.4%, with thousands of fundementals now out of work and without income, many due to having their jobs shipped overseas.

Many fundementals were initially very pissed off and depressed, until assured by John McCain that they were "sound". This caused many of them to continue to support the person who was directly responsible for enacting the gutting of regulations and other legislation which created the opportunity for the economic blood bath of recent days.

Many fundementals have also lost their homes in the housing crisis brought on by deregulation again championed by the guy they plan to vote for, and pushed through by his chief financial advisor, Phil Gramm, who still is part of his campaign.

You may recall Gramm for having said that the obvious economic collapse was only in the minds of these fundementals, saying that they were simply "whiners".

But Obama is black and his VP looks hotter than their wives and seems as dim-witted as most of the people they know, so many fundementals still support McCain.

Below, a fundemental from McCain's era.

For those who haven't heard, McCain, in possibly a new high in lows, said in the face of the recent Wall Street economic collapse, a disaster which even Alan Greenspan said was the worst he's ever seen (and he's even older than McCain.. maybe.) said, "The fundementals of our economy are sound."

The guy is seriously delusional. But not really.

With all the frothing and outrage over this outrageous statement, it was noted that McCain has been using that phrase for months and has said it repeatedly. What none of the pundits remembered was that McCain's economic guru, Phil Gramm, was the one who used that term in his famous statement asserting that the economic meltdown was all in our heads, and that the fundementals of our economy are strong.

John McCain admittedly doesn't know shit from applesauce when it comes to the economy, and he was simply aping what Phil Gramm was feeding him. Only McCain didn't have the sense to drop it on the day that the U.S. economy lost several tens of billions of dollars in value.

To McCain, another Republican cipher saying what he's told, the topic was the economy, and he knew that every time that word came up, he was to say, "the fundementals of our economy are sound.", so he did.

Of course, McCain doesn't know any more than you or I just what these "fundementals" are. He couldn't tell you if you put a gun to his head. Old Phil Gramm might be hard pressed too. But what it really means is that the very wealthy are still sitting pretty, and they'll be fine. THAT'S the fundementals that Phil Gramm refers to. The rest of us are all "whiners". The super wealthy are the true "fundementals" that McCain was blathering about in that meaningless statement.

But of course, McCain had to back away from that utterly stupid statement, and fast.

So the mealy mouthed guy who will obviously say anything, no matter how dishonest or humiliatingly stupid for political gain, simply tried an amazing feat of political ju-jitsu.

He later said that by "fundementals of our economy" he was clearly referring to our brave, hardworking, valiant, good looking, and brilliant workers here in America (who are losing jobs by the 100's of thousands thanks to his party's policies) and that, by being incredulous about his statement, Barack Obama was actually making fun of .... fundementals, aka American workers.

Wow. Imagine the freaked out McCain weasels who frantically concocted that pathetic dodge. Brilliant.

So hat's off to all you fundementals out there! Rest assured you're as sound as can be!

And that's straight from the leader of the party that's ALWAYS put the well-being of the working man and woman first for the past 8 years.

Didn't they?

September 16, 2008

The party of "honor"

The party of true patriots trying to scare Jews.

Well, when you've got nothing, nada, zip, to run on but theories and ideology which has proven utter failures and led to disasterous consequences, how the heck do you run a campaign?

Well, you lie, smear, lie some more, distort, smear, distract, bullshit, do everything but talk about issues, hide your candidate from the press, and do stuff like the above.

Yep, McCain. He's got so much honor, he's full of it.

September 15, 2008

Not that pretty at all.

America needs to know a little bit about those who are asking them to place them second in line to the most powerful position on the planet.

Thus far, the Republicans have clearly thought they had the perfect choice of candidate with which they could simply make it all up, stick to their stories, and hope no one would be able to report the truth. But just in case, they launched a massive coordinated effort to pre-emptively smear and denigrate "the press" in general, and anyone who asked just about anything as "sexist" and unfair.

But thank goodness, despite the McCain campaign manager saying they wouldn't allow Palin to be interviewed by any reporter unless they showed a proper amount of "deference" and respect towards Palin, apparently laboring under the delusion that this is a monarchy, some bits and pieces of reality are seeping through.

But try as they might to tighely manage the Palin myth, some truth is coming out.

Not that Palin and McCain's staff haven't tried. As noted in this revealing NY Times piece, a suitably icey fear of revealing any information about Palin has been cast over Alaska. The McCain forces have already gotten the message to the troops, ordering anyone who had any familiarity with Palin to not speak to any reporters, instructing them to refer them to the campaign or the governor's office, or simply refuse to respond or provide documents. Websites have been scoured and cleaned up, and the effort to hide the evidence is in full swing, including smear campaigns against those who might reveal the real Sarah.

Are you swallowing the idea of Palin as a "maverick" and "reformer"? Not so fast. She surrounded herself with cronies and appointed many high school classmates who were completely unqualified to high state offices while placeing a priority on loyalty and secrecy. (sound familiar?) and has a long track record of vilifying her opponents and using her office to punish enemies and reward friends. (Like all pols do, but not this blatantly and this extensivesly.)

Read the article and see if, rather and a reformer and "change agent", Palin doesn't sound alarmingly like a carbon copy of George Bush.

But an examination of her swift rise and record as mayor of Wasilla and then governor finds that her visceral style and penchant for attacking critics — she sometimes calls local opponents “haters” — contrasts with her carefully crafted public image.

Throughout her political career, she has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to a review of public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials.

Interviews show that Ms. Palin runs an administration that puts a premium on loyalty and secrecy. The governor and her top officials sometimes use personal e-mail accounts for state business; dozens of e-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that her staff members studied whether that could allow them to circumvent subpoenas seeking public records.

Rick Steiner, a University of Alaska professor, sought the e-mail messages of state scientists who had examined the effect of global warming on polar bears. (Ms. Palin said the scientists had found no ill effects, and she has sued the federal government to block the listing of the bears as endangered.) An administration official told Mr. Steiner that his request would cost $468,784 to process.

When Mr. Steiner finally obtained the e-mail messages — through a federal records request — he discovered that state scientists had in fact agreed that the bears were in danger, records show.

“Their secrecy is off the charts,” Mr. Steiner said.
Ms. Palin ordered city employees not to talk to the press. And she used city money to buy a white Suburban for the mayor’s use — employees sarcastically called it the mayor-mobile.
Ms. Palin chose Talis Colberg, a borough assemblyman from the Matanuska valley, as her attorney general, provoking a bewildered question from the legal community: “Who?” Mr. Colberg, who did not return calls, moved from a one-room building in the valley to one of the most powerful offices in the state, supervising some 500 people.

"I called him and asked, 'Do you know how to supervise people?'" said a family friend, Kathy Wells. "He said, 'No, but I think I’ll get some help.' "

The Wasilla High School yearbook archive now doubles as a veritable directory of state government. Ms. Palin appointed Mr. Bitney, her former junior high school band-mate, as her legislative director and chose another classmate, Joe Austerman, to manage the economic development office for $82,908 a year. Mr. Austerman had established an Alaska franchise for Mailboxes Etc.
Many lawmakers contend that Ms. Palin is overly reliant on a small inner circle that leaves her isolated. Democrats and Republicans alike describe her as often missing in action. Since taking office in 2007, Ms. Palin has spent 312 nights at her Wasilla home, some 600 miles to the north of the governor’s mansion in Juneau, records show.
As Ms. Palin’s star ascends, the McCain campaign, as often happens in national races, is controlling the words of those who know her well. Her mother-in-law, Faye Palin, has been asked not to speak to reporters, and aides sit in on interviews with old friends.

At a recent lunch gathering, an official with the Wasilla Chamber of Commerce asked its members to refer all calls from reporters to the governor’s office. Dianne Woodruff, a city councilwoman, shook her head.

“I was thinking, I don’t remember giving up my First Amendment rights,” Ms. Woodruff said. “Just because you’re not going gaga over Sarah doesn’t mean you can’t speak your mind.”

P.S. Frank Rich essentially repeats my contention that this election, and those who vigorously support McCain (or anyone Republican) are simply voting out of a deep-seated fear that the white power structure is fading away, and desperately trying to stop the inevitable, they lash out almost pathologically. The very notion of change scares the hell out of them.

September 14, 2008

What if........

Consider this seriously for a moment.

What level of Republican freak-out and resulting press coverage do you honestly think would occur if Barack Obama:

- had used his office to allow his wife to carry narcotics for her consumption on a diplomatic passport.

-If Obama had a scandal where he traded campaign favors for political influence in the Keating 5 scandal.

-If Obama had picked his Veep with the same skill set and experience as Sarah Palin and after meeting them only briefly.

-If it was documented and witnessed that Obama had called his wife a trollop and c++t in public.

-If Obama couldn't remember what border Afghanistan was on.

-If Obama repeatedly kept confusing Iraq with Iran.

-If Obama had vigorously supported getting the U.S. involved in Iraq.

-If Obama had surrounded himself with a lobbyist operation of 150 people to manage his campaign.

-If Obama had dumped his 1st wife after she was crippled in a car accident. but only after committing adultery for a period of months with a 24 year old heiress to a beer fortune, 18 years younger than Obama. And it was revealed that when they met, she lied about her age, saying she was much older, and he lied about his age, saying he was much younger. (as actually featured at the Republican National Convention.)

-If Obama brags about once dating a stripper, and it was included as a virtue in a keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention.

-If Obama had a lobbyist that got him to intercede with the FCC on broadcasting licensing with a potential sex angle involved.

-If Obama was 72 years old with a medical history of numerous occurrences of cancer.

-If Obama was celebrating his birthday with Bush at his his ranch with a cake while New Orleans was drowning.

-If Obama was a major figure in a political party that has been a governing disaster for the past 8 years.

-If Obama had falsely held Iraq responsible for the 9/11 attack.

-If Obama had fellow Senators of his own party expressing publicly their worries about his temper and temperament to be POTUS.

-If Obama only months ago was caught on camera celebrating his birthday with a celebrity and her indicted con artist husband on his huge yacht off the coast of Montenegro along with his lobbyist campaign manager. And then shortly thereafter, his campaign manager's lobbying partner got a fat contract with the con man to lure other suckers into his investment con.

-If Obama couldn't remember how many million dollar plus homes he owned.

-If Obama violated campaign rules about flying in private aircraft by flying repeatedly in a private jet owned by his wife, at no cost to his campaign.

-If Obama stated that he thought rich was making $5 million a year, even if he was half-joking.

-If Michelle Obama had shown up for her husband's nominating convention wearing an outfit costing over a half million dollars, including $280,000 worth of jewels.

-If Obama continually lied about his VP's accomplishments. particularly on earmarks and a "bridge to nowhere" in his VP's home state, far, far past the point where they'd been proven false.

-If Obama stated that his VP choice probably knew more about energy, "than any other person in the United States."

-If Obama had graduated 894th out of a class of 896 from a military academy, despite being the son and grandson of Navy brass, and then went on to crash and destroy 5 jets.

What would be the Republican's reaction? How much coverage would these stories get if they were true about Obama, his family, and his career?

Every single one of the above are documented and uncontested facts about John McCain.

The instances of IOKIYR... it's OK if you're Republican... are so numerous that it would be impossible to list them. I'm sure every one reading this can think of a few off the top of their head.

Would any one, or possibly two of these examples of poor character, corruption, law-breaking, lies, and poor judgement, were they true of Obama, spell certain death for Obama's chances at the White House? Would he have even gotten past the Iowa caucus', for that matter?

If so, then why do the media and the oh-so-sensitive and easily outraged Republican right remain so eerily silent on all of this? If it's considered out of bounds for McCain, then why would they make an ENORMOUS stink over any of them if it were Obama? (and even Republicans have to realize that they surely would.) Any theories?

Why is such a blatant double standard allowed to continue? And what should be done to change it?

The McCain's fresh out of "straight talk" on the topic of Cindy's addiction

Here's a little nugget for all you fine folks out there who are more concerned ith issues of "character" and "family values" than a candidate's stance on the numerous pressing crisis both domestic and international which will determine the country's future.
McCain's drug use became national news during her husband's first presidential campaign in 2000. Newsweek published a first-person account of her struggle, but it included some errors.

"It began with Vicodan [sic]. In 1989, I had ruptured a couple of disks carrying my 1-year-old, Bridget, in a pack on my back," she wrote.

But Bridget was not born until 1991.
Well, what do you expect? She was, er.. feeling no pain at the time.

What are the odds that the fact that a candidate's wife was caught stealing prescription pain pills from a charity organization will get much play?

Bonus question. What coverage would you expect to see if Michelle Obama had done the exact same thing?

Lipstick on a Wingnut

Pollitt nails it and provides a list of legitimate questions that Palin should face.

Of course, the McCain campaign has admitted that Palin is unqualified and in over her head for VP by the fact that they kept her away from the press for over a week and clearly don't want to let her out to prove herself, since they know she'd fail.

Rick Davis, super-lobbyist and McCain campaign chief, even expressed the truly creepy edict that the campaign wasn't going to allow Palin to speak to the press, unless they showed a willingness to treat her "with some level of respect and deference."

As E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post noted, "Deference? That's a word used in monarchies or aristocracies. Democracies don't give "deference" to politicians. When have McCain, Obama, Biden or, for that matter, Hillary Clinton asked for deference?"

How long can they keep the hot-house flower away from the sunlight?

John McCain chose the supremely under-qualified Sarah Palin as his running mate partly because she is a woman. If you have a problem with that, you're a sexist. She talks incessantly about being a mother of five and uses her newborn, Trig, who has Down syndrome, as a campaign prop. If you wonder how she'll handle all those kids and the Veep job too, you're a super-sexist. "When do they ever ask a man that question?" charges that fiery feminist Rudy Giuliani.

Indeed, Palin, who went back to work when Trig was three days old, gets nothing but praise from Phyllis Schlafly, James Dobson and the folks at National Review, who usually blame all the ills of modern America on those neurotic, harried, selfish, frustrated, child-neglecting, husband-castrating working mothers. Even stranger, her five-months-pregnant 17-year-old, Bristol, gets nothing but compassion and respect from Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and others who have spent their careers slut-shaming teens for having sex--and blaming their parents for letting it happen.

If there were an Olympics for hypocrisy, the Republican Party would have more gold medals than Michael Phelps. And Palin would be wearing quite a few of them. It takes chutzpah for a mother to thrust her pregnant teen into the world's harshest spotlight and then demand the world respect the girl's privacy. But then it takes chutzpah to support criminalizing abortion and then praise Bristol's "decision" to have the baby. The right to decide, and privacy, after all, are two of the things Palin wants to deny every other woman, and every other family, in America.

Palin's even said she would "choose life" if her daughter was pregnant from rape. Can't you just hear Bristol groaning, "Mo-om...!"

The Republicans bashed Barack Obama as a "celebrity," but now they've got a star of their own, so naturally the rules have changed. Nothing would suit them better than for the media to spend the next two months spellbound by the wacky carnival on ice that is the Palin family: Todd, aka the First Dude, the kids, Levi the hunky bad-boy dad-to-be--well, maybe not him so much after his expletive-adorned MySpace page briefly came to light ("I'm a fuckin' redneck"; "I don't want kids"--whoops). The snowmobiles, the moose burgers, the guns, the hair, the glasses that are flying off America's shelves (starting at $375 a pair, and she has seven). Fretting over the work/family issue alone should take up enough column inches to employ all the female
journalists in America from now to next Mother's Day. And don't forget that op-ed staple, What Does This Mean for Feminism?


Count me as a feminist who never believed that being PTA president meant you could be, well, President. The more time we spend on dippy ruminations--how does she do it? Queen Bee on steroids or the hockey mom next door? how hot is Todd, anyway?--the less focus there will be on the kind of queries that should come first with any vice presidential candidate, and certainly would if Palin were a man. Questions like:

§ Suppose your 14-year-old daughter Willow is brutally raped in her bedroom by an intruder. She becomes pregnant and wants an abortion. Could you tell the parents of America why you think your child and their children should be forced by law to have their rapists' babies?

§ You say you don't believe global warming is man-made. Could you tell us what scientists you've spoken with or read who have led you to that conclusion? What do you think the 2,500 scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are getting wrong?

§ If you didn't try to fire Wasilla librarian Mary Ellen Baker over her refusal to consider censoring books, why did you try to fire her?

§ What is the European Union, and how does it function?

§ Forty-seven million Americans lack health insurance. John Goodman, who has advised McCain on healthcare, has proposed redefining them as covered because, he says, anyone can get care at an ER. Do you agree with him?

§ What is the function of the Federal Reserve?

§ Cindy and John McCain say you have experience in foreign affairs because Alaska is next to Russia. When did you last speak with Prime Minister Putin, and what did you talk about?

§ Approximately how old is the earth? Five thousand years? 10,000? 5 billion?

§ You are a big fan of President Bush, so why didn't you mention him even once in your convention speech?

§ McCain says cutting earmarks and waste will make up for revenues lost by making the tax cuts permanent. Experts say that won't wash. Balancing the Bush tax cuts plus new ones proposed by McCain would most likely mean cutting Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Which would you cut?

§ You're suing the federal government to have polar bears removed from the endangered species list, even as Alaska's northern coastal ice is melting and falling into the sea. Can you explain the science behind your decision?

§ You've suggested that God approves of the Iraq War and the Alaska pipeline. How do you know?

The right chooses to pretend that Palin has the Dems flustered, as if she's such a great leader that she'll blow the Obama team out of the water.

As usual, they couldn't be more wrong.

Democrats, and other rational beings, are freaking out because they simply are dumbstruck that McCain, the guy with the "Country First!" mantra, would be so reckless and irresponsible, and demonstrate beyond doubt that he clearly puts politics WAY ahead of the well-being of the country he constantly reminds us he revers and loves so much.

We're freaked out that someone could, in this day and age, at this crucial and pivotal juncture in our history, actually choose to foist this nobody from nowhere, this utterly and completely unqualified and unprepared person to be president of the United States of America should anything befall an elderly man with a history of repeated bouts with cancer.

We're not freaked out and worried because Palin is so good. No, Dems and other people who actually care about the country are freaked out because Palin is so clearly a horrible choice for the position. The prospect of our country actually being led though times requiring a depth of knowledge, intelligence, and prudence by the likes of Sarah Palin should freak out ANY rational person who isn't so blindly partisan that they'd loudly cheer a potted plant if McCain told them it was his running mate.

We're freaking out because we can not believe that a candidate for President, and millions of his lemming like followers, are perfectly willing to PRETEND that Sarah Palin is a perfectly legitimate choice to become Vice President of the United States.

Excuse us, but the fate of this country is a bit more important than to take any chance, even the slightest, that a person of Palin's stature could ever hold the fate of our nation in her hands.

For the benefit of the reckless right, people are freaking out over Palin because, as Bob Herbert, no flaming liberal puts it, "John McCain, who is shameless about promoting himself as America’s ultimate patriot, put the best interests of the nation aside in making his incredibly reckless choice of a running mate. But there is a profound double standard in this country. The likes of John McCain and George W. Bush can do the craziest, most irresponsible things imaginable, and it only seems to help them politically."

Herbert is at least one journalist who refuses to be bullied by the McCain camp, and is unafraid to mention the elephant in the room.
While watching the Sarah Palin interview with Charlie Gibson Thursday night, and the coverage of the Palin phenomenon in general, I’ve gotten the scary feeling, for the first time in my life, that dimwittedness is not just on the march in the U.S., but that it might actually prevail.

How is it that this woman could have been selected to be the vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket? How is it that so much of the mainstream media has dropped all pretense of seriousness to hop aboard the bandwagon and go along for the giddy ride?

For those who haven’t noticed, we’re electing a president and vice president, not selecting a winner on “American Idol.”

Ms. Palin may be a perfectly competent and reasonably intelligent woman (however troubling her views on evolution and global warming may be), but she is not ready to be vice president.

With most candidates for high public office, the question is whether one agrees with them on the major issues of the day. With Ms. Palin, it’s not about agreeing or disagreeing. She doesn’t appear to understand some of the most important issues.

Ms. Palin’s problem is not that she was mayor of a small town or has only been in the Alaska governor’s office a short while. Her problem (and now ours) is that she is not well versed on the critical matters confronting the country at one of the most crucial turning points in its history.

The economy is in a tailspin. The financial sector is lurching about on rubbery legs. We’re mired in self-defeating energy policies. We’re at war. And we are still vulnerable to the very real threat of international terrorism.

With all of that and more being the case, how can it be a good idea to set in motion the possibility that Americans might wake up one morning to find that Sarah Palin is president?

I feel for Ms. Palin’s son who has been shipped off to the war in Iraq. But at his deployment ceremony, which was on the same day as the Charlie Gibson interview, Sept. 11, she told the audience of soldiers that they would be fighting “the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans.”

Was she deliberately falsifying history, or does she still not know that Iraq and Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks?

To burnish the foreign policy credentials of a vice presidential candidate who never even had a passport until last year, the Republicans have been touting Alaska’s proximity to Russia. (Imagine the derisive laughter in conservative circles if the Democrats had tried such nonsense.) So Mr. Gibson asked Ms. Palin, “What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?”

She said, “They’re our next-door neighbors. And you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska. From an island in Alaska.”

Mr. Gibson tried again. “But what insight does that give you,” he asked, “into what they’re doing in Georgia?”

John McCain, who is shameless about promoting himself as America’s ultimate patriot, put the best interests of the nation aside in making his incredibly reckless choice of a running mate. But there is a profound double standard in this country. The likes of John McCain and George W. Bush can do the craziest, most irresponsible things imaginable, and it only seems to help them politically.

If ANY Republican cares to take a stab at arguing that Palin is qualified or anywhere near a reasonable choice of running mate, PLEASE give it a shot. I'd love to hear you explain why every American shouldn't be very concerned over this reckless and inexplicable choice.