Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Palin Calls Biden Old, Campaign Misses Irony of Comment

How many more passes is the media going to give Sarah Palin in just another one of so many gaffs. The Joe Biden joke on age was obviously prepared, but strategically, one of the dumbest things things the McCain campaign has come up within the last few days.

Obama ad vs Trickle Down Republican/McCain ads

Obama’s got the Democratic message down.

Here are the three competing ads now running in selected states. The RNC ad is first, already positioning and blaming the Democrats and Obama for spending a trillion dollars on the bailout, as well as additional proposed spending under an Obama administration.

Obama’s ad is second, with a 2 minute message the Democrats should have been delivering for the last 13 years, on the failure of the Republicans trickle down economic platform.

The third ad is McCain’s, with a list of protections that should have been put in place years ago, not after the fact when it’s too late to make a difference.




According to the Washington Post:

Amid continued claims by the McCain campaign that he would raise taxes on lower-income Americans, Barack Obama lays out his tax proposals in a two-minute commercial release by his campaign today.

"On taxes, John McCain and I have very different ideas," Obama says in the spot. "Instead of giving hundreds of billions in new tax breaks to big corporations and oil companies, I'll cut taxes for small and startup businesses that are the backbone of our economy."

He also states: "If you make less than a quarter million a year, you won't see your taxes raised one penny under my plan. And seniors making less than fifty thousand, who are struggling with the rising costs of food and drugs on fixed incomes, won't pay income taxes at all."

This latest economic message -- with its emphasis on middle- and lower-income tax relief -- comes as McCain and his surrogates continue to say that Obama would raise taxes on anyone earning more than $42,000 per year. That's a misleading argument according to The Post's Fact Checker, because "the vote that McCain is talking about was a non-binding resolution on the budget that envisioned letting the Bush tax cuts to expire, as scheduled, in 2011. But these budget resolutions come up every year, and do not represent a vote for higher taxes in future years."

A new ad from the Republican National Committee's independent expenditure unit seems to dismiss the economic bailout proposals that John McCain continues to work on, potentially confusing voters by leading them to think the senator opposes the measures. The ad also criticizes Barack Obama for the size and costs of his government spending proposals.



Forbes Columnist: "Let markets Sort Themselves Out"

I almost spit out my coffee on this one. In an interview on Fox News, Forbes columnist and Fidelity Investor Editor Jim Lowell even stunned the rabid conservative Fox News hosts with this breathless take on letting the free market run rampant.

There are no lessons learned apparently. It would seem that Lowell doesn't quite take into consideration the gigantic losses the American public might experience while the "markets sort themselves out."

Jim Lowell: "We get paid to take risks, and if the risks turn out great, we get the reward, and if they don't, we're supposed to take the lumps. The answer is to let it go, let this market sort itself out and let the poll following lemmings do what they do best, which is basically point fingers at each other while ROME'S BURNING."

"Let the market sort itself out...while Rome's burning." You'll want to put your fist through the monitor on this one.

Palin Movie Could Turn To Election Win? Disney Thinks So

When your talking down home family values, Bullwinkle moose hunting and chanting "drill, baby drill" around the breakfast table as you shuffle the kids off to school, you can't leave out a good G rated Disney movie.


Obama's New "Constructive Criticism" McCain Ads

Heads up to the Obama campaign, the Onion News service might just be onto to something here: Negative Constructive Criticism ads against McCain.


The question for Obama might be: Should they go this negative?

Pelosi Speech THE Message, Not Republican Tantrum

Leave it to the Republicans to come up with a way to distract from the central message Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave in her speech before the bailout vote in the House.

Their tantrum and disciplinary no vote is nothing new to these authoritarians, but Pelosi's Democratic message to voters was long in coming, and I hope a turning point in the discussion among conservatives about their free market theories. Perhaps regulating capitalism in some way would prevent further meltdowns and protect hard earned taxpayer money. Duh! In her speech, Pelosi finally says what many of us have been talking about for years.

McCain and Palin Elitism on Display, Denounce Voter Question as a "Gotcha Sound Bite"

The following clip provides Republicans and Democrats alike the startling image of John McCain as an in your face liar and spinmeister, and a man who appears to have made some kind of deal when it comes to relenquishing his souls ownership.

For Sarah Palin and McCain to belittle the average guy presented in this clip as someone asking a "gotcha" question, shows their contempt for the lowly public and an insight into their elitist political philosophy.

OpEdnews: So, John McCain has retracted statements Palin made about going into Pakistan. During the debate last Friday, McCain criticized Barack Obama for saying that if US troops had members of Al Qaeda in their sights and they went over the border into Pakistan and Pakistan refused to help us, we should go after those members of Al Qaeda on our own. Yesterday, Palin said almost the same thing as CNN reports in this story



According to Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post:
John McCain accused the media of "gotcha journalism" in response to a question about whether his running mate had contradicted him on his policy toward Pakistan.

Over the weekend, Sarah Palin told a voter in a restaurant that the U.S. should launch cross-border attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan to "stop the terrorists from coming any further in." In a joint interview with CBS's Katie Couric Monday, McCain defended Palin and at one point intercepted a question intended for her. Here's how the exchange went:
COURIC: Is that something you shouldn't say out loud, Sen. McCain?

McCAIN: Of course not. But, look, I understand this day and age "gotcha" journalism. Is that a pizza place? In a conversation with someone who you didn't hear ... the question very well, you don't know the context of the conversation. Grab a phrase. Gov. Palin and I agree that you don't announce that you're going to attack another country.

COURIC: Are you sorry you said it ...

McCAIN: ...And the fact ...

COURIC: Governor?

McCAIN: Wait a minute. Before you say, "is she sorry she said it," this was a "gotcha" sound bite that, look ...

COURIC: It wasn't a "gotcha." She was talking to a voter.

McCAIN: No, she was in a conversation with a group of people and talking back and forth.

During and After Failed Bailout, McCain Loses Gamble and Credibility

It's almost impossible to watch the Republicans desperately hang on to their free market principals, while Wall Street Melts down from what appears to be their failed ideology.

The horror of seeing John McCain twist himself into a some kind of grotesque pretzel, telling one hideous lie after the next, is just plain scary. Any one of McCain's follies would have sunk the Obama campaign in the upcoming election.

I've put everything I found relevant into the following clip. Hope you can enjoy it's surreal quality of a very real crisis.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Some Debate Notes on Palin and Biden


I really liked this AP piece written by Calvin Woodward and Matt Volz. It’s funny, unsettling and perhaps even a harbinger of things to come in the VP debate:

Sarah Palin brought something more effective than facts and figures to an agriculture debate in the Alaska governor's race. She packed an engaging disposition. One of her opponents, Andrew Halcro, had memorized the complexities of the subject beforehand. He was super prepared. He might as well have stared out the window during the proceedings, for all it mattered.

"She did such a great job with just the glittering generalities and filling the room with her presence that people didn't care what she said about agriculture," Halcro says now. "Palin's a master at spending 45 seconds telling you what color the sky is," he adds, "and people will say, 'That's the greatest thing I ever heard.'"

Palin and her Democratic vice presidential rival, Joe Biden, each bring distinctive qualities and vulnerabilities to the campaign's only running-mate debate, Thursday in St. Louis. It's a potential gold mine and minefield for both.

She had a way of disarming opponents that made up for her lack of experience. Biden knows something about that, too. Biden is a loquacious man of charm and
detail with an agile yet unpredictable mind. He can bring the house down with a
quip.

"I probably had better political instincts then than I have now," Biden writes in his recent memoirs."Today I'd probably win the point but lose the match because I'd be too busy ripping someone's head off with the facts."

Gulp.

Palin hit some potholes in the blur of debates. Asked to name a good bill and a bad bill that the Alaska Legislature had passed that year, the small-town mayor drew a blank.

In one debate, she proposed teaching creationism alongside evolution in schools: "Teach both." The next day, she backtracked.Asked what she would do about rising dropout rates, she blandly offered: "We need to get kids excited about being in schools." Rivals rattled off specific programs they'd expand.

The Job Seekers Line is Getting Longer, In a Bad Economy

We often times only get to see the jobless numbers, currently at a high of 6.1 percent, instead of the even more important numbers of available jobs vs job seekers.



The Economic Policy Institute has the details:

This week's Snapshot by Heidi Shierholz highlighted the growing gap between jobs and workers. In Dec. 2006, there were 1.6 job seekers for every job, but by July that number had jumped to 2.6. The number of job openings is an important measure of employment that often gets overlooked. The number of job seekers per opening is now firmly in recessionary territory, and the August data will certainly be worse, Shierholz notes. The job openings data represent one more strong indicator of the need for a second stimulus package that is targeted directly at job creation.


This is Our President

This is Bush in front of the American people, our father figure, warning everyone of the impending danger. He's the protector, shielding us from corporate greed and corruption, brought on by a Republican Congress that provided no oversight and a president that never used a veto.

This is the president of a party that believed in small government and few regulations. A party philosophy where the good stay in business, and the bad get their just due. A party that takes it one day a time, never wasting one precious moment, not one precious dollar on preventive measures or planning ahead. A party that uses what has been given to them by previous generations, without ever maintaining or replacing that crumbling gift for future generation to enjoy.

This is a president that wants to help save us from something he and his party have worked years to create, a sense of helplessness and insecurity, so Americans would look to them for protection. This is a president that doesn't think he's at fault or that he should be held accountable. Here's a president that thinks history will look kindly on his years in office.

This is a president...?



VP Debate Reminder: George Will on Sarah Palin

I know this is so "last week," but I couldn't help but put up this reminder about the Conservative bailout of support for that knuckle head, Sarah Palin. VP debates, here we come.


Companies to Large to Fail, Becoming Larger. HELP!


If the problem with bailing out corporate bankruptcies centers on the idea they’re too large to fail, why are we letting these same banks get larger?

CNN: Citigroup Inc. agreed to acquire Wachovia Corp.'s banking operations on Monday. The Federal Reserve and Treasury Department were also part of the effort, another sign of how proactive the government has been in preventing ailing financial firms from failing and instead pushing for stronger firms to acquire some assets of the weaker companies.
It’s good to see a responsible bank like Citigroup helping out another troubled competitor…

Over the past year, Citigroup has racked up more than $40 billion in write- downs and other losses stemming from the mortgage meltdown. The company was a leader in creating and marketing some of the exotic securities that have been at the heart of the credit crunch.

Huh! Has it occurred to anyone else that the consolidation we’re seeing on Wall Street is actually re-creating even larger companies that the government considers “too large to fail?”

Down the rabbit hole…

Breaking Story: Palin’s Parents Think Daughter Ready to be President! Democurmudgeon admits, “I guess I was Wrong About Her.”

After a disastrous interview with Katie Couric, CBS has the balls to foist this story off as news:

Palin's readiness to be president in the event she and McCain are elected and McCain becomes incapacitated has been widely questioned by Democrats and many in the media.
I would like to note here that many of the most powerful conservative writers and pundits have also come out against the Palin pick. Maybe CBS forgot about that little detail. Now, let’s get back to the stunning revelations CBS uncovered when they interviewed Sarah Palin’s parents.

In an exclusive interview at their home in Wasilla, Alaska, the Heaths told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith their daughter is, indeed, ready to occupy the Oval Office at a moment's notice. Chuck replied, "She's ready to do anything she wants to be. Yeah, she -- I -- I don't worry about that at all. That's what I'll tell 'em. Yeah. ... You want some honesty, yeah -- yeah, not a typical politician, get her. Yeah. Yeah." Sally added, "She's got that ability to relate to people. She's diplomatic. She can get her point across.
Thank you CBS, for your family values, and hard hitting subject matter. We should all be ashamed for doubting her.

THIS JUST IN: Democurmudgeon’s parents think he’s more than ready to have his own national radio talk show. According to his mom, in a letter she wrote to sister six years ago before they went on vacation, “Yeah, yeah, I don’t know why he wastes his time with that grog (blog) thing, he’s good enough to beat the pants off of Sean Hannity any old day, you know, yeah, that’s for sure, you know.”

Mom, I hope the nation is reading this. My only regret is that you didn’t speak up sooner.

THIS JUST IN: McCain's mom says son ready to be president, and asks voters to do one thing on Nov. 4th:



Ooops!

What the Media Missed in the Obama v McCain Debate

I have already posted comments about the more bizarre aspects of the presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, how could I resist, but I also thought some of the highlights were getting too little attention.

Each of the issues Obama brought up here were either things I wished Democrats had been saying for the last 13 years about the radical and failed conservative ideology, or more importantly, were angles on issues that basically blew up some old Republican talking points.



Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gov. Sarah Palin and Her "Imaginary" Hat Trick

This is the case of “imaginary hats.”

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin seems to have a few around to suit the occasion. This story is really a bizarre one, so let’s start with the set up from the Washington Post:

For months, the confrontation mounted, a face-off that arguably held in the balance the fates of two of Alaska's biggest industries. On one side were companies hoping to open Pebble Mine at a huge gold and copper reserve adjacent to one of the world's largest salmon runs, Bristol Bay. On the other side were fishermen and environmentalists pushing a referendum that would make it harder for the mine to open.…and throughout it all, the state's highly popular first-term governor, Sarah Palin, held back. Alaska law forbids state officials from using state resources to advocate on ballot initiatives.
And now let’s get to the issue of “invisible hats.”

Then, six days before the Aug. 26 vote, with the race looking close, Palin broke her silence. Asked about the initiative at a news conference, she invoked "personal privilege" to give an opinion. "Let me take my governor's hat off for just a minute here and tell you, personally, Prop. 4 -- I vote no on that," she said. We're going to make sure that mines operate only safely, soundly."

With the help of Palin’s invisible hat exchange:

The pro-mining coalition fighting the referendum had placed full-page ads with a picture of the governor and the word "NO." The initiative went down to defeat, with 57 percent of voters rejecting it. Three days later, Palin was named Republican Sen. John McCain's running mate, throwing Alaska into a media frenzy.
The question is can Palin legally change “invisible hats” like that?
The state ethics panel is examining whether her comments violated the law against state advocacy on ballot measures; it had already ruled that a state Web site was improperly slanted toward mining interests.

Some in Alaska are questioning the ability to use “invisible hats.”

Most irksome to initiative proponents was Palin's effort to cast her intervention as "personal.""We were just like, 'When does she have her hat on and when does she have it off?' " Tim Bristol, Alaska program director for Trout Unlimited said. Former governor Tony Knowles, a Democrat who lost to Palin in 2006, went further and said she may have violated the law against using state resources to advocate on initiatives. He said he never took such a decisive stand on a ballot initiative.

"She says, 'I'm going to take off my governor's hat,' but the only reason the press was there was that they were called to a press conference by the governor," he said. "Being governor is not a costume -- you either are the governor or not."

“Being governor is not a costume…”

Huh oh, someone might want to tell the keeper of “invisible hats,” pit-bull Palin.

Body Language Experts Disect Obama McCain Debate on NBC

Ok, so we heard what the candidates said, but what about their body language? NBC asks some experts their opinion. Personally, much more should have been made of McCain's refusal to look at Obama. It's elitist, condescending, disrespectful and just plain mean spirited not to acknowledge your opponent. But hey, that's just me.
A Candidate's body language-even facial expressions- can
have a big impact on voters. Lester Holt speaks with David Birdsell of Baruch
College and facial coding expert Dan Hill.

This is good stuff, except Holt never brings up the odd McCain expressions during Obama's answers, which I thought bizarre and frightening.


Any Doubt Whether Media is Conservative? Phony Voter Fraud, McCain Pic Proof Positive

As we near the presidential election, the Republican Party in Wisconsin has succeeded in getting conservative media headlines, promoting the myth of voter fraud. Here in Madison, one of the most liberal cities in the country, our only daily newspaper is the conservative Wisconsin State Journal. How did that happen? Media consolidation and a bad economy (downsized staff and marginally circulated papers discontinued due to lost ad revenue).

Here's how the State Journal promoted voter fraud in the Sunday edition. Not only does it perpetuate the myth, but not so subtly reminds everyone that voting might be more trouble than it's worth, creating long lines and a possible wasted trip to the polls. It's just what the state GOP was hoping for. What else would a voter think after reading "Voters may be nervous," "Mix-ups and a lawsuits bring uncertainty" and "So what's a voter to do?"


The AP continues to show it's ultra conservative stripes with this prominent photo of John McCain next to the headline, "Congress expected to pass rescue package." Like McCain had anything to do with the final outcome of the bailout. If your just glancing at the story, you'd think McCain smiled down upon the Congress and made the rescue plan so.



Fey's Use of Palin's Actual Comments Gets Laughs

Did you notice in Tina Fey's second appearance as Gov. Sarah Palin, that she used actual sentences from Palin's recent interviews with Katie Couric, and got laughs.

I can't wait for the VP debates this Thursday, and the pundit dissections of Palin's comments from deep within the rabbit hole. I'm sure they'll find Sen. Joe Biden's sexist, condescending and fact based look at the real world a colossal gaff.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Obama Wins, McCain "Same Old, Same Old"

Here are some observations from the first debate:

Question: Is it a good or bad charactor trait for a candidate to point out the common areas of agreement instead of being in a constant state of attack? Would it display an ability to reach across the isle in a bipartisan way to bring change in Washington? Hmmm, I wonder...



Here's a great grouping of clips demonstrating the building anger, with music, of John McCain during the debate.



Finally, the elitist errogance of Republican John McCain, never even giving Barack Obama a passing glance.

Have a “Will My Vote Count” Neighborhood film Festival

Just before you go out and vote for president, you might want to throw a neighborhood “will my vote count” film festival. Who would would want to miss the dvd of “Murder, Spies & Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story, After the Florida Election in 2000, one man found himself on the wrong end of a smoking gun."

According to Brad Blog:
The terrifying feature-length documentary, shot in high-definition video, details, for the first time, the complete Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises vote-rigging scandal, in all of its, yes, sometimes very gory detail. It tells a tale of the media, as it details my attempts to tell the story over the last four years, to a corrupt, detached, and too-oftened frightened corporate media. The BRAD BLOG broke the Curtis story originally in late 2004, and we've been investigating and reporting on it ever since.

Don’t forget these other “will my vote count” festival titles as well:

Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections and Stealing America: Vote-by-Vote.

If these won’t energize greater voter participation, then you know to many Republicans.

Insanity Defines Republicans, Forcing Us All To Live in Their Crumbling Asylum


So what happens when your philosophy of free markets and liassez-faire capitalism crashes and burns while the whole world watches? If you’re a Republican, stick to your guns, act like nothing ever happened and refuse to pay for cleaning up the mess you’ve made.

Oh, and while they’re at it, blame any bailout on wasteful spending by the those socialist Democrats. With a compliant contingent of flag waving “country first” followers, their smug elitist sneering is just the cure for what ails us.

What could be more dangerous than their theory of unfettered capitalism and its subsequent failure? A refusal to except reality and propose even more deregulation as the solution. I’m not kidding. The entire party of fringe zealots are pushing back in Congress, as reported by the NY Times:

In a message to members of the conservative Republican Study Committee, leaders of the bloc of more than 100 lawmakers solicited ideas, calling for a “free-market alternative to the Treasury Department’s proposal so that, regardless of how individual R.S.C. members vote on final passage, House conservatives have something to be for.” House Republicans found the administration’s latest proposal to be too much to swallow.

By Thursday, a legislative alternative was circulating, one centered on federal
insurance for mortgage assets combined with tax cuts on investment gains.
The plan was promoted by … a major fund-raiser and a rising star in the Republican ranks, and
Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who is seen as one of the sharpest economic minds in the Republican conference.

I’m familiar with Paul Ryan, and simply speaking, his extreme advocacy for all things free market would make this current crisis look like an overdraft notice from your bank.

He believes in the completely discredited idea of health savings accounts, believes that Medicare could also apply the health savings account model and Social Security should be splintered up into our financially safe markets (now in crisis). Another words, he’s not a fiscal genius, but a conservative freeloader and a guy who’s willing to gamble with taxpayer money and their economic security.

Get a load of this BS from Rep. Paul Ryan:
Appearing on CNBC on Friday, Ryan said Republicans were acting in the interests of taxpayers, and they “understand the gravity of the situation.”
Republicans weren't acting in the interest of taxpayers when they put our money at risk with deregulation. Now they want to be looked upon as HEROES, protecting the bailout money needed for their failed free market theories? God I hate these people.
Republican John Gard, who is running against Democrat Rep. Steve Kagen of Appleton, began airing a television ad that criticized the Paulson plan. “You playby the rules and fall further behind, while they (Wall Street) break the rules, and Congress hands them your money,” Gard says in the commercial. “Washington’s got it wrong again.”
Wall Street didn't break the rules, they didn't have them to begin with. What rules were in place were voluntary. No lessons learned here.
Canada here we come

What is even stranger was a chance meeting with an old friend, who like me, sees the Republican Party as fiscal losers. I mentioned that for the first time I’m actually thinking of getting the hell out of this country, as a way to protect my kids from policy makers that refuse to improve our nation’s ability to treat its citizens humanely, just so they can support a failed crackpot ideology. Imagine my surprise when he said he had considered the same thing. It was an uncomfortable realization for both of us.

I wonder how many other people are feeling the same way.

S.E.C. Chairman Chistopher Cox: “Voluntary Regulation Does Not Work.” Democurmudgeon says, “No S**t.”


Perhaps the Republican Party could force themselves to pick up the liberal propaganda attack machine, the NY Times, and learn a little something that could change their approach to the failed theory of unfettered capitalism.

Naw, that’ll never happen, but it was fun to imagine. Here are the facts most conservative nut jobs will want to avoid:

The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a longtime proponent of deregulation, acknowledged on Friday that failures in a voluntary supervision program for Wall Street’s largest investment banks had contributed to the global financial crisis, and he abruptly shut the program down. Christopher Cox, the commission chairman, said he agreed that the oversight program was “fundamentally flawed from the beginning.”

“The last six months have made it abundantly clear that voluntary regulation does not work,” he said in a statement. The program “was fundamentally flawed from the beginning, because investment banks could opt in or out of supervision voluntarily. The fact that investment bank holding companies could withdraw from this voluntary supervision at their discretion diminished the perceived mandate” of the program, and “weakened its effectiveness,” he added.

For many average citizens like me, the "voluntary" nature of a program overseeing corporate profits seemed crazy to begin with. A Simple idiot could tell you it wasn't going to work, but then again, most of us out here in normal America are just whiners anyway.

On one level, the commission’s decision to end the regulatory program was somewhat academic, because the five biggest independent Wall Street firms have all disappeared.

Because it is a relatively small agency, the S.E.C. tries to extend its reach over the vast financial services industry by relying heavily on self-regulation by stock exchanges, mutual funds, brokerage firms and publicly traded corporations.

The commission created the program after heavy lobbying for the plan from all five big investment banks. The investment banks favored the S.E.C. as their umbrella regulator because that let them avoid regulation of their fast-growing European operations by the European Union.

Facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Mr. Cox has begun in recent weeks to call for greater government involvement in the markets.

The report found that the S.E.C. division that oversees trading and markets had failed to update the rules of the program and was “not fulfilling its obligations.” It said that nearly one-third of the firms under supervision had failed to file the required documents. And it found that the division had not adequately reviewed many of the filings made by other firms.

The division’s “failure to carry out the purpose and goals of the broker-dealer risk assessment program hinders the commission’s ability to foresee or respond to weaknesses in the financial markets,” the report said.

In 1999, the lawmakers adopted the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which broke down the Depression-era restrictions between investment banks and commercial banks. As part of a political compromise, the law gave the commission the authority to regulate the securities and brokerage operations of the investment banks, but not their holding companies.

There's also another important aspect of the economic crisis, as explained at middleclassimpact.com:

The ongoing financial crisis in the U.S. has occasioned plenty of finger pointing. Some blame reckless mortgage brokers; others greedy financial institutions; and still others lax regulators.
Carl Feuer, a spokesman for
UAW Local 2300, sees it slightly differently. According to him, the real cause of the crisis is the
falling standard of living of the American worker.

As prices for food, gasoline, and health care rise even as wages stagnate or fall, many households have been unable to make their mortgage payments. Defaults, and foreclosures, were the inevitable result. The losses suffered by banks and other financial institutions are currently making the biggest headlines, but it’s important to remember where the problem started.

Feuer has a point. If average Americans weren’t in a financial bind they wouldn’t be defaulting on their mortgages. Or at least fewer of them would be in default. Still, a lot of the blame must nonetheless be placed on the financial system. Reckless lending practices made unaffordable mortgages too easy to obtain, which resulted in many unwise home purchases, which drove up real estate prices, forcing even prudent people to spend more on housing then they wanted to, thus creating a vicious circle. Now that the circle has come to an end, we’re all paying the price.

Obama Criticized in Debate for Pointing Out the Few Times McCain Was Right

Huh oh, Barack Obama said John McCain had been right about a few details on the economy and foreign policy. That did not sit well with Rachel Maddow. I have seen Maddow rail on this subject before. Even thought she has a point about giving even just a little bit, to a Republican thug, Rachel gets it handed to her by Obama's senior advisor, Linda Douglass.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Green Economy Catching On, We Hope

I love to see liberals and Democrats ganging up on the opposition. You know who you are. Since the green economy has suddenly caught on in many of our competing industrialized countries, any time lost will be jobs lost and an economic loser. Which is why the We campaign is working so hard to get us on track. Here's how the "Wecansolveit.org campaign" describes themselves.

The We campaign is a project of the Alliance for Climate Protection. Founded in 2006 by Former Vice President Al Gore, the Alliance is a unique, single‐purpose organization committed to igniting public action to help solve the climate crisis.


HUH?

Who else thinks John McCain and his campaign are just plain creepy?

Republican..? They're All GOP Party Members Now

During the Democratic primary in Milwaukee, Republicans ran as Democrats to challenge incumbents, but failed miserably at the polls.

At first, I thought it was just a political ploy, and an incredibly devious plan. I have now come to the conclusion that there was a second reason: Republicans don't want to run as...Republicans.

Here's Rachel Maddow with a perfect example of party avoidance control.


Like McCain, Let's Suspend our Businesses Until Congress Works Out A Deal. Stephen Colbert Leads the Way..

If I thought it would help, like the Mccain campaign, I would suspend this blog until Congress comes up with a solution to the implosion of unfettered capitalism. The Colbert Report beat me to it...although it didn't seem to make much difference.


McCain's Campaign Suspended? Another Lie?

It looks like MSNBC's Rachel Maddow is going to be a source for some interesting political observations. Her look at McCain's ploy of suspending the his campaign, while negotiating a bailout of Wall Street, is the kind of analysis the public so desparately needs. How can we trust a candidate like McCain in the White House if this is the kind of campaign he supports?


The Sarah Palin Primer, via Katie Couric

Here's a shortened version of the Sarah Palin interview with Katie Couric, featuring the frightening highlights of a wafer thin awareness of the world, and a neo-conservative's wet dream date. You won't believe your eyes and ears.




Is this the October surprise?:

Nationally syndicated conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, after a scalding critique of Palin's readiness for high office, begs the Alaska governor to step down from the Republican ticket.

"Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first," Parker advises, pleading: "Do it for your country."

Parker says: No more. She has declared her cringe reflex exhausted.

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

"Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there's not much content there," she continues.

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

"If BS were currency," Parker concludes, "Palin could bail out Wall Street herself."-Washington Post

Radio talk show host Ed Schultz reports:
Capitol Hill sources are telling me that senior McCain people are more than concerned about Palin. The campaign has held a mock debate and a mock press conference; both are being described as "disastrous." One senior McCain aide was quoted as saying, "What are we going to do?" The McCain people want to move this first debate to some later, undetermined date, possibly never. People on the inside are saying the Alaska Governor is "clueless."

Good-bye Republicans, Hello to Democratic "Bottom Up Economic Prosperity"

I have to admit, this moment in our economic history is the game changer I've been waiting for, since starting this blog in March.

Not only have I tried to peal away the slick conservative marketing facade, but I have also attempted to explain the whole free market ideology as a failed experiment, ready for burial.

Who better to do this than Keith Olberman and John Talbott, author of Obamanomics, to explain the failure of the current form of unregulated capitalism, and the alternative called "bottom up economic prosperity."


I loved this comment from our genius president:

“If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down,” President Bush declared as he watched the $700 billion bailout package fall apart before his eyes, according to one person in the room.

What Republicans Don't Want You To Know: This Modern World

The best politcal cartoon commentary out there, This Modern World, continues to expose the absurd world of Republican ideology.



Check out the whole strip here, and past revelations.

Bush Administration, Congress at Fault for Economic Crisis, Eliot Spitzer Warned in February


Here's the editorial written by Eliot Spitzer that should end the debate as to who is responsible for the economic meltdown. Both parties are not "equally to blame" for the problem.

Predatory Lenders' Partner in Crime How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers By Eliot Spitzer Thursday, February 14, 2008

Several years ago, state attorneys general and others involved in consumer protection began to notice a marked increase in a range of predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders. Some were misrepresenting the terms of loans, making loans without regard to consumers' ability to repay, making loans with deceptive "teaser" rates that later ballooned astronomically, packing loans with undisclosed charges and fees, or even paying illegal kickbacks. These and other practices, we noticed, were having a devastating effect on home buyers. In addition, the widespread nature of these practices, if left unchecked, threatened our financial markets.

Even though predatory lending was becoming a national problem, the Bush administration looked the other way and did nothing to protect American homeowners. In fact, the government chose instead to align itself with the banks that were victimizing consumers.

Predatory lending was widely understood to present a looming national crisis. This threat was so clear that as New York attorney general, I joined with colleagues in the other 49 states in attempting to fill the void left by the federal government. Individually, and together, state attorneys general of both parties brought litigation or entered into settlements with many subprime lenders that were engaged in predatory lending practices. Several state legislatures, including New York's, enacted laws aimed at curbing such practices.

What did the Bush administration do in response? Did it reverse course and decide to take action to halt this burgeoning scourge? The answer is a resounding no. Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye.

Let me explain: The administration accomplished this feat through an obscure federal agency called the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The OCC has been in existence since the Civil War. Its mission is to ensure the fiscal soundness of national banks. For 140 years, the OCC examined the books of national banks to make sure they were balanced, an important but uncontroversial function. But a few years ago, for the first time in its history, the OCC was used as a tool against consumers.

In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government's actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.
But the unanimous opposition of the 50 states did not deter, or even slow, the Bush administration in its goal of protecting the banks. In fact, when my office opened an investigation of possible discrimination in mortgage lending by a number of banks, the OCC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the investigation.

Throughout our battles with the OCC and the banks, the mantra of the banks and their defenders was that efforts to curb predatory lending would deny access to credit to the very consumers the states were trying to protect. But the curbs we sought on predatory and unfair lending would have in no way jeopardized access to the legitimate credit market for appropriately priced loans. Instead, they would have stopped the scourge of predatory lending practices that have resulted in countless thousands of consumers losing their homes and put our economy in a precarious position.

When history tells the story of the subprime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners, the Bush administration will not be judged favorably. The tale is still unfolding, but when the dust settles, it will be judged as a willing accomplice to the lenders who went to any lengths in their quest for profits. So willing, in fact, that it used the power of the federal government in an unprecedented assault on state legislatures, as well as on state attorneys general and anyone else on the side of consumers.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Facing Another Great Depression, Bizarro Republican Solution: Removing tax and Regulatory Barriers

HOLD ONTO YOUR SEATS, the Republicans want to do it all over again. Where's the press?

I may not know how to save our country from this economic meltdown, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the Senate and House Republicans solution is crazy loco. Despite their insane offer to fix the greed of deregulated capitalism, with more deregulated capitalism, the media is letting the extreme elements of the GOP off the hook.

The Democrats are no better. Instead of taking this golden opportunity to brand the Republicans with their failed free market theories, they're allowing themselves to dragged into this cesspool, and come to the rescue of these thugs. Democrats will spend a trillion dollars to bail out the economic mess Republicans created. Then, depending on how things work out, Republicans can always blame the Democrats again for wasting a trillion dollars of taxpayer money. It doesn't have to happen, and here's why.

It would be easy to tell the press over and over, "We're not going to pass any Wall Street rescue plan unless the Republican freeloaders help pay for the economic meltdown they created with deregulation and laissez-faire capitalism. Getting the government out of the way is going to cost taxpayers over a trillion dollars."

The Republicans want to bring "private capital to the market" by "removing tax and regulatory barriers."

According to NBC reporter Mike Viqueira, "Their trying to look at a more laissez-faire free market, anti-regulation approach to this."

It's insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.


Who would you trust to handle the crisis? Let the NY Times report, then you decide.

Mr. Boehner pressed an alternative that involved a smaller role for the government, and Mr. McCain, whose support of the deal is critical if fellow Republicans are to sign on, declined to take a stand.

Mr. McCain was at one end of the long conference table, Mr. Obama at the other, with the president and senior Congressional leaders between them. Participants said Mr. Obama peppered Mr. Paulson with questions, while Mr. McCain said little.

Couric Interview Devastating to Palin Image.

Is Sarah Palin ready to become president? Is the world really as simple and easy to explain as Palin would like us to believe? Can the American people withstand listening to here "small town" accent and casual slang for four long years? Like hearing Bush's voice, I want to run out of the room screaming. Intellectual content? Are you kidding?

9 Kids Abandoned. Safe Haven Law Criticized. No One Wants to Talk About Human Nature?

I can't tell you how completely empty I feel about this devastating family tragedy, caused by the most uncaring, irresponsible parent Nebraska has probably seen in recent memory, short of a murder suicide.

AP-Nine children were left at a hospital by their father late Wednesday under the state's new safe haven law, a move officials say illustrates the problems many feared when the rule went into effect. The father, who was not identified, left the children aged 1 to 17 at Creighton University Medical Center's emergency room.

The law, which went into effect in July, allows caregivers to abandon children at any state-licensed hospital without fear of prosecution. It was initially intended to protect infants — like similar laws in other states — but was amended to include children and teenagers.

At least four children between the ages of 11 and 15 have been abandoned by parents since the law took effect. The nine youngsters surrendered Wednesday are OK, said Kathie Osterman, a spokeswoman for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. She didn't know how many were boys or girls, or why their father left them.

The AP article goes on about the problems of safe haven laws and it's unintended consequences. But instead of criticizing the law, which worked in this case, let's criticize the parent. The law isn't the problem, it's human nature.


UPDATE: AP-Friday 26, 2008-An out-of-work widower who abandoned nine of his children at a hospital under Nebraska's new safe haven law said he was overwhelmed without his wife and just "fell apart."

"I hope they know I love them," Gary Staton told KETV. "I hope their future is better without me around them."

Staton said his wife died early last year, shortly after delivering their youngest child. He said he quit his job because of his family responsibilities but couldn't pay rent or utilities or take care of his kids.

"I was with her for 17 years, and then she was gone," he said of his late wife. "What was I going to do? We raised them together. I didn't think I could do it alone. I fell apart. I couldn't take care of them."

Staton said he surrendered them so they would be safe.

Last Refuge? American Patriotism, Exceptionalism and Palinism!


I had planned on doing a blog on American exceptionalism, but the article in the NY Times “Palin’s American Exception” By Roger Cohen, beat me to the punch. You might even like Cohen’s new word for “real state of the world” deniers; Palinism.
Exceptionalism might explain the right wing anger toward all of those “blame America first” liberals. Where Democrats see problems and want to correct them, Republicans angrily defend the American ideal and ignore the problem. I’ll let Cohen fine tune my meanderings:

Sarah Palin loves the word “exceptional.” At a rally in Nevada the other day, the Republican vice-presidential candidate said: “We are an exceptional nation.” Then she declared: “America is an exceptional country.” In case anyone missed that, she added: “You are all exceptional Americans.”

I have to hand it to Palin, she may be onto something in her batty way: the election is very much about American exceptionalism. But exceptionalism has taken an ugly twist of late. It’s become the angry refuge of the America that wants to deny the real state of the world. American exceptionalism has morphed into the fortress of those who see themselves threatened by “one-worlders” (read Barack Obama) and who believe it’s more important to know how to dress moose than find Mumbai.

That’s Palinism, a philosophy delivered without a passport and with a view (on a clear day) of Russia. Behind Palinism lies anger. It’s been growing as America’s relative decline has become more manifest in falling incomes, imploding markets, massive debt and rising new centers of wealth and power from Shanghai to Dubai.

The damn-the-world, God-chose-us rage of that America has sharpened as U.S. exceptionalism has become harder to square with the 21st-century world’s interconnectedness.

But, let’s face it, from Baghdad to Bear Stearns the last eight years have been a lesson in the price of exceptionalism run amok.

I’m going to try to make this simple. On the Democratic side you have a guy whose campaign has been based on the Internet, who believes America may have something to learn from other countries (like universal health care) and who’s unafraid in 2008 to say he’s a “proud citizen of the United States and a fellow citizen of the world.” On the Republican side, you have a guy who, in 2008, is just discovering the Net and Google and whose No. 2 is a woman who got a passport last year and believes she understands Russia because Alaska is closer to Siberia than Alabama.

If I were Obama, I’d put it this way: “Senator McCain, the world you claim to understand is the world of yesterday. A new century demands new thinking. Our country cannot be made fundamentally secure by a man who thought our economy was fundamentally sound.”

American exceptionalism, taken to extremes, leaves you without the allies you need (Iraq), without the influence you want (Iran) and without any notion of risk (Wall Street). The only exceptionalism that resonates, as Obama put it to me last year, is one “based on our Constitution, our principles, our values and our ideals.”

Palinism has its intellectual roots. But it’s dangerous for a country in need of realism not rage. I’m sure Henry Kissinger tried to instill Realpolitik in the governor of Alaska this week, but the angry exceptionalism that is Palinism is not in the reason game.

Myth: College Education Means Good Job and Pay

I've held onto this story since the early part of August, and probably should have posted it sooner. For those who don't watch Lou Dobbs from time to time, and I don't anymore, their consumer news has been outstanding. Surprisingly, I've never seen any of their reports outside of Dobb's program.

This story, based on information from EPI (the Economic Policy Institute), exposes the problem of job losses in the U.S.. The myth of getting a college education and landing a decent job is one of its shocking revelations. Bill Tucker has the bad news:



McCain Lied to David Letterman and Skipped His Show, He Instead Does Interview with Couric Down Hall

John McCain is a frequent guest of David Letterman's. So when McCain personally called Letterman and canceled his appearance just before the show was to be recorded, Dave was not to happy. In fact, he thought something didn't smell right. Letterman rightly pondered the question: Why doesn't Palin just fill in for McCain when he's off saving the U.S. economy. Was it perhaps she wasn't ready to step in as president?

Eonline reported:

The GOP presidential candidate canceled his appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman on short notice, because he apparently told the TV host he was "racing back to Washington" to attend to the current economic crisis.

Letterman was not pleased. But watch what happens when the host and his replacement guest, Keith Olbermann (who
teased this bit on his MSNBC show Countdown), learn that Sen. McCain was at that very moment not racing to the airport.

He was being interviewed by Letterman's CBS colleague
Katie Couric. Letterman then proceeds to broadcast the live feed of the interview on his show.



Here are a few comments from Letterman, according to AP:

This doesn't smell right," Letterman said. "This is not the way a tested hero behaves. Somebody's putting something in his Metamucil." Letterman called McCain "a true American hero" but told his viewers: "This is not the John McCain I know, by God. It makes me believe something is going haywire with the campaign."

Instead of suspending a campaign, Letterman said, a presidential candidate should go to Washington to deal with a crisis and let his running mate shoulder the burdens of politicking.
"That's what you do. You don't quit. ... Or is that really a good thing to do?" Letterman said, a reference to McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. "What's the problem? Where is she? Why isn't she doing that?" he asked.

Letterman later asked: "Are we suspending it because there's an economic crisis or because the poll numbers are sliding?"

McCain told the CBS show that he was immediately flying back to Washington, Letterman told his audience. Then Letterman showed a TV feed of McCain being made-up for an appearance on news anchor Katie Couric's "CBS Evening News."

"Doesn't seem to be racing to the airport, does he?" Letterman said. "This just gets uglier and uglier."

As McCain spoke to Couric, Letterman shouted at the feed: "Hey, John, I've got a question. Do you need a ride to the airport?"

Letterman later said: "We're told now that the senator has concluded his interview with Katie Couric and he's now on Rachael Ray's show making veal piccata. ... What are you going to do?"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Campbell Brown Did More For Women in a few Minutes Than Palin's Done Her Whole Life

I had to post the rant from Campbell Brown aimed at the McCain campaign for not allowing Sarah barracuda a long enough leash from her male masters.

It's refreshing to see a burst of feminism from anyone these days, especially a news anchor, turning the tables on the McCain strategy of accusing anyone of sexism if they ask a tough question or mention the word lipstick. Even my mindless Republican friend loved the sentiment.


Obama: Debate On, President Should Be Able to Deal With More Than One Thing At Once

Surprise! Barack Obama thinks the first presidential debate should go on, suggesting the next inhabitant of the White House should be able to multitask. What a novel thought, considering the last 7 and a half years of single mindedness. Obama sets the record straight, AP:

Barack Obama said "it's more important than ever" that the country hear from its next president. It's my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who, in approximately 40 days, will be responsible for dealing with this mess," Obama said at a news conference in Clearwater, Fla. "It's going to be part of the president's job to deal with more than one thing at once."




I thought this was rather revealing:

McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt said that if an agreement is not reached by Monday, "there is potential for an economic calamity the likes of which has not been seen since, potentially, the Great Depression."

Thank you. The irony isn't lost on most of us. So we should elect another Republican and party member that believes in the very ideology that brought about this crisis?

AP- Michael Douglas asked about Wall Street crisis as Movie Character


I had a good laugh, even as the McCain campaign pulled another fast one on the American public by postponing the debate, with this story from AP:

Michael Douglas had to field questions Wednesday about the financial turmoil shaking world markets from reporters recalling his role in the 1987 film "Wall Street."

The actor sought to focus on the subject of Wednesday's news conference - urging the United States and eight other holdout nations to ratify a nuclear test ban treaty.

Douglas won an Academy Award for portraying the rapacious banker Gordon Gekko, who popularized the phrase "greed is good" in the movie.

After world leaders here condemned the "boundless greed" of world markets, Douglas was asked to compare nuclear Armageddon with the "financial Armageddon on Wall Street."
But the likening to Gekko did not end there, with a reporter asking: "Are you saying Gordon that greed is not good?"

"I'm not saying that," Douglas replied. "And my name is not Gordon. He's a character I played 20 years ago."

Desperate McCain Calls Off Campaign, Debate. No One's Fooled

This breaking story involving the suspension of the McCain campaign and presidential debate struck my very born again conservative friend the wrong way, and he called and alerted me to his feelings of outrage.

He felt manipulated at the transparent political ploy. If McCain were sincere, his announcement would have been short and sweet, but that didn't happen.



Watch in amazement as Mcacain Sr. Policy Advisor Nancy Pfotenhauer bobs her head yes, dripping with insincerity, politicizing the situation minutes after the announcement. Watching this cold, calculating carnival barker, nodding yes, reminds me of Super-Marionation and some of the female characters in Fireball Xl5, Supercar and Stingray. This time though, we know who's pulling the strings

McCain Stared Greed in the Face, and Asked for Their Help on Economic Crisis


Jonathan Weisman’s article, “McCain's Barbarians at the Gate” in the Washington Post, should scare the living daylights out of anyone fearing a John McCain presidency. In fact, I can’t even believe any candidate would do what McCain just did, if they were seriously trying to garner the confidence of the American people.

For a presidential candidate running against Wall Street greed, Sen. John McCain's selection of titans of finance to discuss the ailing economy with this morning did little to underline his message. Gathered around McCain's U-shaped table was Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder of the private equity giant, Blackstone Group. Schwarzman has recently become the poster child in a Washington debate over what many consider to be the mother of all tax dodges, "carried interest." He received a $350.2 million in cash distributions last year. On much of that income, Schwarzman's tax rate was a secretary-level 15 percent, not the 35 percent income tax rate that regular rich folks pay. That is because private equity traders like Schwarzman structure their fees as capital gains and are taxed accordingly. He even sold a stake of his company to an entity controlled by the Chinese government -- not a crowd pleaser on the campaign trail. But it is his lifestyle that has long raised eyebrows. His personal chef "often spends $3,000 for a weekend of food for Mr. Schwarzman and his wife, including stone crabs that cost $400, or $40 per claw," the Journal reported.

Remember, this is McCain bucking Wall Street and greed. Let’s continue with McCain’s "reform" discussion group.

Henry Kravis, the takeover artist made famous in "Barbarians At The Gate," Kravis helped engineer the leveraged buyout of R.J.R. Nabisco in 1988 with what was then a staggering sum of mostly borrowed money, $31.4 billion. After a few years, the deal unraveled and the company was dismantled.

John Thain, who took control of Merrill Lynch as it stumbled into the subprime crisis -- and then steered it into the maw of Bank of America during investment banking's darkest week. Thain, who as chairman and chief executive of Merrill Lynch was actually at the helm of one of the venerable institutions felled by the crisis McCain is trying to help address.

It’s almost surreal isn’t it? If Barack Obama had met with these thugs, it would be all but over. I’m still not sure this story isn’t some wishful hallucination or an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. ...! This is getting to be all so Dickensian.

$15,000 Went to Rick Davis' Firm, Not to Davis? We Are Through The Looking Glass Now


Contrary to the McCain campaigns attempts to create a tie between Barack Obama and Fannie Mae, it appears the reason for the misleading ads were to inoculate themselves against those same ties. In marketing it’s called defining your opponent first.

If people believe Obama has those ties, McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis’ ties will be minimized in voter memories. But, it looks the like the media isn’t going to fall in line this time.

AP - Almost up until the time it was taken over by the government in the nation's financial crisis, one of two housing giants paid $15,000 a month to the lobbying firm of John McCain's campaign manager, a person familiar with the financial arrangement says. The money from Freddie Mac (FRE) to the firm of Rick Davis is on top of more than $30,000 a month that went directly to Davis for five years starting in 2000. The $30,000 a month came from both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (FNM), the other housing entity now under the government's control because of the nation's financial crisis.

All the payments were first reported by The New York Times, which posted an article Tuesday night revealing the $15,000 a month to the firm of Davis Manafort. The McCain campaign said the $15,000 a month went to Davis's firm, not to Davis.

The $15,000 went to Davis's firm, not to Davis...?

OH GOD!



Fact Check Fails Again Interpreting McCain Ideological leanings


I like factcheck.org. It has managed to inspire other news organizations to do their own fact checking, which used to be a part of covering the news, informing Americans devoid of spin.

But
factcheck.org has never gotten the hang of ideological meanings while interpreting political commentary. Let’s take health care for instance. According to Marketwatch:

Every day, another financial institution shutters its doors. Over 600,000 thousand U.S. jobs have been lost so far this year. Gas, food, and health care prices are through the roof. The writing is on the wall: the American economy is teetering on the edge of collapse, and American families are paying the price. But despite the mounting evidence that deregulation has been a major contributing factor in the current financial crisis, John McCain wants to implement the same, failed Bush-McCain economic policies on our health care system.

On Sunday, the Washington Post reported that in a recent article he authored in Contingencies Magazine, John McCain wrote that "Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation."

SEIU International President Andy Stern responded by saying "You would think that the 'going out of business sales' on Wall Street would demonstrate what can happen when there is no watchdog keeping an eye on big business. Now, John McCain wants our health care system run the same way. Aren't families struggling enough? Stern pointed out that the worst is still to come as the financial meltdown hits kitchen tables - and that John McCain's health care plan would mean less regulation for insurance companies, more costs and more risks for ordinary working families.

McCain’s positions are pretty clear. His ideological business model is consistent with his party affiliation. Competition can only take place if regulations don’t hold them back. Simple? Not for factcheck.org.:

McCain said he would "reduce oversight of the health insurance industry ... just 'as we have done over the last decade in banking.' " But the ad takes the comments out of context, failing to explain what exactly McCain meant by the comparison to banking. He was talking specifically about allowing the sale and purchase of health insurance plans across state lines.
How na├»ve can this non-partisan organization be? Of course, all they had to do was get a “clue” from the second part of their own analysis.

The Obama-Biden ad ends by calling McCain's plan "a prescription for disaster," as those words, credited to the Boston Globe, flash on screen. Unlike the first quote cited in the ad, this one is accurate. It comes from a Sept. 21 Globe editorial that compared McCain's and Obama's health care plan, raising objections to McCain's. Here's the quote in context:

Globe editorial (Sept. 21): There is no comparable lab test, however, for the radical revision of health care that McCain is proposing. For all of his moderate positions on immigration and climate change, on health care he has endorsed a right-wing ideologues vision: destroy employer-based coverage and turn Americans over to the tender mercies of private nongroup insurers in an unregulated environment. It's a prescription for disaster.
I rest my case.

Health Care Next Republican Economic Disaster, But This Time Personalized. McCain's "Your On Your Own" Plan

Here's the Obama campaigns ad attacking John McCain's anti-regulation policies and plans for health care. Paul Krugman offers up the analysis which should leave no doubt in anyones mind what will happen in a McCain administration.


McCain Reads Cards, Denies He's A Washington Insider and Gets Booed In Auto Plant

A few days back, Chris Matthews covered the John McCain trip to Michigan, and his appearance at a GM plant there.

What Chris and I have noticed, but is getting little press, is McCain's simpleton reliance on index cards to properly make his case. He not at a podium, but on the floor of the plant reading cards to the workers, denying he was ever a Washington insider. Rabbit hole politics. As he is leaving, he's shouted out with "Obama."


How Wrong Were Republicans On Economy, Hannity Explains To Robert Kuttner

Combing through a list of unused clips, I couldn't help taking another look at this from Hannity & Colmes. Since I never used it, I was ready to delete it ... until I realized it was a perfect example of Republican ideology and how twisted their world view is.

They are in your face elitists, as demonstrated here by the unprofessional attacks on a fellow American, Robert Kuttner, who has written a book on Barack Obama entitled "Obama's Challenge." If you support anyone other than a Republican candidate, you're beneath them. It's funny, the vicious attacks and denigrations show conservatives for what they really are, elitists.

Robert Kuttner holds his own, and says what a lot of us wish we could say to the Fox News bloviator, while at the same time eliciting from Hannity the incoherent anger and vacuous nature of conservatives talking points.


Fringe Group NRA Spew Ads That Use And Manipulate Veterans, Lie Straight Faced, Take Aim at Obama/Biden

The well oiled smear machine is gearing up, and this time it’s the “The National Rifle Association (who) is likely to spend "in the eight figure range" on radio and television advertisements in the next 42 days as part of its efforts to deter undecided voters from voting for Barack Obama, according to the Washington Post.


One ad stars former Marine and Iraq war veteran Kurt Rusch. "Like all the guys I fought with in Iraq, I was honored to defend my country and our freedom. But when I got back stateside, I learned that Barack Obama opposes my right to own a handgun for self-defense. It's ridiculous," Rusch says in the spot, adding later in it: "There's no way I'm voting for a president" who would take away "the freedoms that I fought for, that my friends died to defend."

Another ad, called "Hunter", stars Kurt's father, Karl Rusch. "I gotta tell you, with the high cost of gas and just about everything else, we're all feeling pinched," Rusch says. "And now I learn that Barack Obama supports a huge new tax on my guns and ammo. Where is this guy from? He's probably never been hunting a day in his life. You don't have to be bitter to know Barack Obama isn't the kind of change we need."

Washington Post's Fact Checker gave the spot three out of four Pinocchios for its claims that Obama would take away guns and ammunition used by hunters.

The Obama campaign notes the senator has no plan to raise taxes on guns or ammunition and did not vote to regulate the sale of hunting ammunition but instead on "armor piercing" or "cop killing" bullets. It also cites several votes Obama has cast in favor of legislation the NRA supported.

In Pennsylvania the group will target Joe Biden with an ad that states that Biden "wants you to believe he shares your values because he was born in Scranton. But Pennsylvania gun owners and hunters don't share his values. Joe Biden voted to ban ammunition used for hunting and self-defense.

Just a little note on John McCain and the NRA from CBS:

Though NRA officials made conciliatory statements concerning McCain, the Arizona senator has not always been a favorite of the gun lobby: He earned a C+ from the NRA in 2004 after backing legislation to close the so-called "gun show loophole," legislation that this 2003 NRA document claimed "is about eliminating gun shows." McCain is also the co-author of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation that the NRA saw as an unfair restriction on its free speech. McCain told Field And Stream that his position in favor of closing the gun show loophole is the issue most likely to cause friction between himself and sportsmen. "I think that gun shows are marvelous, and we now have the capability for instant background checks," he said.



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Disaster Capitalism at Work: The Economic Takeover of America

In my past life as a liberal radio talk host, I have enjoyed the commentary of Gerald Celente, who’s looked into the future at where we’re headed and how those trends will effect us.

In an editorial entitled, DC Heist - Wall Street Gang Hijacks Washington, Gerald Celente Founder/Director, The Trends Research Institute and Publisher the The Trends Journal wrote this:

On the evening of September 18th 2008, the American democratic system was replaced by a financial dictatorship.

What was billed as a "Federal Bailout" was nothing less than a bloodless coup. The Wall Street Gang had taken over the White House and control of Washington. Congress promised not to resist, and pledged to pass legislation as demanded.

Warning that America's financial system was perilously close to collapse unless immediate action was taken, economic martial law was declared.

The American people were told that from this day forward, they would be responsible for paying off the bad debt from any failing private financial enterprise deemed "too big to fail."
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, spearheading the coup, sought unrestricted authority to spend the nation's money as he saw fit. The first order of business by the Economic Czar was to take trillions of dollars of bad debt from crumbling investment banks and insurance companies and transfer it to the backs of already debt-burdened citizens.

"We're talking hundreds of billions," said Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the "too-big-to-fails." Within days of the takeover, the number jumped into the trillions. This will put a "significant amount of taxpayers' money on the line," he said.

Quick & Clean

In simple language, with cameras rolling, in broad daylight, the American public was robbed blind. This wasn't a magic show. There were no hidden tricks or sleights of hand. "We want this to be clean, we want this to be quick," demanded the Economic Czar.

"We need to get this done quickly, and the cleaner the better," intoned President Bush, with the urgency of his "smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud" logic he used as a pretext to invade Iraq. "The risk of not acting would be far higher," Bush said, promising to "work with Congress to get a bill done quickly."

Having accurately forecast the current financial debacle, we confidently now forecast that taking swift action will prove - as it did in Iraq - far more catastrophic than allowing Wall Street to suffer the consequences of its greed and mismanagement.

Americans were told they would have to pay to rescue the very companies whose unregulated greed, fraud and recklessness had created the crisis in the first place. Considered "nobodies" by the authorities, the people had no voice and had no choice.

"I know of nobody who is arguing over the amount of money or even about that the secretary ought to have the authority to purchase these toxic instruments, these bad debts,'' bowed Senator Christopher Dodd, the Democratic chairman of the Banking Committee.

Publisher's Note: Call your newspaper, radio and TV stations. Talk to reporters covering the "DC Heist." Tell them what you think and what you want. Write editorials. Use the Internet as a call to action. Use your imagination, wits and common sense to have your voice heard and make your will known. Until Congress votes on the plan, it is not yet a fait accompli. Tell them if they vote "yes," you'll vote "no."

Trendpost: While the transfer of "toxic instruments" from private firms to the national debt will enrich those companies that once had owned them, the measures taken will do nothing to keep the sinking US economy from going under.

The biggest casualty, besides indentured American servants held responsible for paying off the debt, is the US dollar. The greenback's getting slaughtered on the foreign exchanges and gold prices, the safe-haven commodity, are once again soaring. As we previously forecast, we are still predicting "Gold $2000."

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