Tested by Financial Crisis, Drama Queen McCain Fails

McCain’s leadership tested and failed.

If a show ever deserved to be canceled its the Drama Queen McCain Show. The show made its debut last week with that ridiculous charade where McCain was going to suspend his campaign to work in a purely bi-partisan manner to help with the bailout. Then he gets a free campaign ad courtesy Katie Couric, takes a nap and heads out to help American homeowners and banks faster then a bullet that never leaves the barrel… the next morning. Arriving in Washington he goes straight to work in a photo-op with George Deregulation Bush doing his remarkable impression of Superbailout Guy. It was a challenge. McCain had to convince the president and many members of his own party that they needed to do something to fix the mess they were responsible for while simultaneously making McCain look like the new improved populist Conservative. In McCain’s entire career he  has never displayed the ability to rally the Cons in the Senate, so not much of a surprise that even though our star Drama Queen was just around the corner at his condo he couldn’t bend many Republican arms in Congress. Aha, McDrama exclaims to himself, I’ll blame the lack of congressional Republican support for the bailout on Senator Obama. That McCain is one wily super star. The public will never figure out that Democratic Senators have next to no influence on the votes of Republican Congressmen. McCain issues a statement to the effect that what America has witnessed the last week was a mirage,

“From the minute John McCain suspended his campaign and arrived in Washington to address this crisis, he was attacked by the Democratic leadership: Senators Obama and Reid, Speaker Pelosi and others. Their partisan attacks were an effort to gain political advantage during a national economic crisis. By doing so, they put at risk the homes, livelihoods and savings of millions of American families.

“Barack Obama failed to lead, phoned it in, attacked John McCain, and refused to even say if he supported the final bill.

“Just before the vote, when the outcome was still in doubt, Speaker Pelosi gave a strongly worded partisan speech and poisoned the outcome.

“This bill failed because Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country.”

The problem with the McCain drama queen show is it can’t decide if its a comedy, a tragedy or a mystery. Last week McCain swore he’d stay in Washington until a deal was worked out. The mystery? Where is McCain? He is in Iowa. You don’t have to be Sherlock Homes to figure out that Mccain is literally phoning it in after he put on his big play trying to convince America that he was leading the charge to a solution. That would certainly have been an historic moment had Senator Obama charged into the U.S. House of Representatives and taken over Nancy Pelosi’s job as Speaker of the House. If McCain thought that would have been legal and appropriate why didn’t he do it. McCain: Bailout ‘rescue,’ not bailout

John McCain, who “suspended” his campaign for a day last week and went to Washington to work on the federal bailout talks, insisted today that Congress will keep working until it gets the “rescue” right – suggesting they stop calling it a bailout.

“We haven’t convinced people that this is a rescue effort not just for Wall Street but for Main Street,” McCain said in an appearance on CNN’s American Morning. “All over America, people are going to lose credit… .We didn’t do a good enough job.”

Asked about his own influence – and the fact that the entire Arizona congressional delegation in the House voted against the $700-billion measure that collapsed in a 228-205 vote on Monday, McCain said: “If I think I can do some good, I’ll do it… I may fail the second time or the third time, but we’ll get the job done.”

Reminded that he had said last week that he would stay in Washington until a deal was reached, the senator, campaigning in Iowa this morning, was asked what he is doing this week.

“I will do whatever is necessary. I spoke to the president this morning,” ( Calling it in McCain)he said. “I recommended the Treasury’s exchange stability fund, which has $250 billion.”

McCain, like Democratic rival Barack Obama, also is calling for an increase in the insurance that the FDIC provides for the bank accounts of individuals – raising the coverage from $100,000, where it has stood for nearly three decades, to $250,000. This could be one sweetener that makes the rescue bill more palatable to Republicans protesting the measure does nothing for taxpayers.

Speaker Pelosi did do some partisan improvisation in her statement as compared to the text that was released, Did Pelosi’s ad lib doom the deal?

“… Democrats believe in a free market … but in this case, in its unbridled form as encouraged, supported by the Republicans — some in the Republican Party, not all — it has created not jobs, not capital, it has created chaos.”

Pelosi’s office says any claim that the speaker’s remarks caused GOP members to turn against the bill is “ridiculous.”

“The speaker has repeatedly stressed that we need to work in a bipartisan way on this,” said Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly. “Even in her speech that they claim they didn’t like she says we have to work in a bipartisan way.”

Every single word true and like the saying goes the truth hurts little republican feelings. Republicans are claiming that was the deal breaker. You spoke truth to power Nancy Pelosi and we’ll teach you, Wall St and Main St not to be mean to us even if we are guilty as charged, Rep. Frank On GOP: ‘Because Somebody Hurt Their Feelings, They Decide To Punish The Country’

Here’s the story. There’s a terrible crisis affecting the American economy. We have come together on a bill to alleviate the crisis. And because somebody hurt their feelings, they decide to punish the country. I mean, I would not have imputed that degree of pettiness and hypersensitivity.

We also have — as the leader will tell you, who’s been working with them — don’t believe they had the votes, and I believe they’re covering up the embarrassment of not having the votes. But think about this. Somebody hurt my feelings, so I will punish the country. That’s hardly plausible. And there are 12 Republican members who were ready to stand up for the economic interest of America, but not if anybody insulted them.

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

As long as we’re talking billions why not set a side a few million to get every elected Republican official in Washington some psychological counseling. Many Americans are looking at this drama and asking themselves exactly what day was it that the Democratic Speaker of the House became responsible for how Republican Congress critters vote.

Even the editorial page at the Wall Street Journal wonders about what Republicans were thinking,

House Republicans share the blame, and not only because they opposed the bill by about two-to-one, 133-65. Their immediate response was to say that many of their Members turned against the bill at the last minute because Ms. Pelosi gave her nasty speech. So they are saying that Republicans chose to oppose something they think is in the national interest merely because of a partisan slight. Thank heaven these guys weren’t at Valley Forge.


McCain’s Cronies, Nationalism is Not Patriotism, Pity Palin

If Barack Obama had the last eight days that McCain-Palin had the Democratic bid for president would be on a respirator and the funeral home would have already been called for the inevitable arrangements. The yesterday comes the investigative report from the NYT, McCain and Team Have Many Ties to Gambling Industry “more than 40 fund-raisers and top advisers have lobbied or worked for an array of gambling interests.” Now comes news in the midst of the Right’s attempt to shift all blame from the Wall St meltdown to everyone from Barney Frank to everyone whose skin tone isn’t pearly white; that a McCain fundraiser and we don’t need no stink’n regulations financial wizard is in trouble, For McCain, Another Problem Fundraiser

A former investment banker who admitted to “loaning” himself millions from his client’s accounts without their knowledge is a fundraiser and donor for John McCain’s presidential campaign and the Republican party.

In a 2006 interview with the Willamette Week newspaper, onetime Oregon venture capitalist Craig Berkman said that between 1998 and 2001 he borrowed $5 million from the investors whose funds he controlled, and failed to tell “most” of them what he had done.

Still, “I was a good steward of investors’ funds,” Berkman told the paper’s reporter.

A two-year suit against Berkman was decided last month when a jury found he had defrauded investors and ordered him to pay them $28 million.

Berkman, a former chairman of the Oregon GOP, co-hosted a $1,000-a-plate fundraising luncheon for McCain in January, and has donated $4,600 to McCain’s campaign, the maximum allowable by law, the paper reported today.

Republicans all seem to hold dual citizenship and one is clearly in the United State of Denial.

Soldier’s mom defends Obama’s mention of bracelet. There’s few problems with the Right’s shrill reactions, some quotes and commentary here, The Right Gets It Wrong About Soldier Bracelet. The Right’s reaction is symptomatic of their ongoing delusion that they are the guardians of all things patriotically correct. Not one word was spent on McCain’s using his bracelet to exploit someone’s death for purely political reasons. The Right has also said to the military as a whole that you’re not real soldiers, real Americans or real patriots if you or your family support Senator Obama. In Right World they own the military. I’ve lost count of the veterans and heroes they’ve trashed from Max Cleland to John Kerry, General Wesley Clark, General Anthony Zinni to veterans like Ted Kennedy, Al Gore and John Murtha. Military service means a lot to the Right up to the point where you disagree with them on using the troops for foreign policy escapades that have more to do with politics then actual national defense. Then stand back and wait for them to trash the soldier and their family. The Right’s litmus test for their screwy idea of patriotism isn’t service to country, its fidelity to the rabid Right’s extreme brand of nationalism. Ironically the troops don’t see this election quite the way the Right sees it, Troops Deployed Abroad Give 6:1 to Obama. Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett ran for office partly on an anti-Bush platform and found out personally how fast the Right turns on a vet,

The National Republican Congressional Committee, the official Republican Party body that helps candidates for the United States House of Representatives, announced on July 28, it was spending $265,000 for television ads in the Cincinnati market, covering the western part of the district, and $250,000 for ads in the Huntington, West Virginia, market, covering the eastern half. Carl Forti told The Cincinnati Enquirer “we decided to bury him” after Hackett told USA Today, in a story published that morning, “I don’t like the son-of-a-bitch that lives in the White House but I’d put my life on the line for him.” Forti said the NRCC had “no concern that she will lose. She will not lose.”

Hacket’s attitude is probably not that different from those giving to Obama. As members of the military there is commitment to the USA and the commander-in-chief, but that doesn’t mean they all mindless drones. Many have come to see that the Right’s policies are not in the best interests of the military or the country.

Just to test if, as Fort Hill, SC Mayor Danny Funderburk seems to think, wondering out loud if this or that person is the anti-Christ is now socially acceptable; try saying it in a crowd of people today – I wonder if George Bush is the anti-Christ, I wonder if Sarah Palin or John McCain is the anti-Christ. I was just curious if there is some Biblical passage about that. You know, just being curious is all. Let’s have a nationally recognized week, maybe compile a list of Who’s the anti-Christ. I guess the winner gets burned at the stake, but that’s just a guess.

McCain supporters at Newsbusters give us this breathless headline, ‘Fight the Smears’ Website Admits Obama was Kenyan Citizen: Where’s the MSM? By P.J. Gladnick (Bio | Archive) September 29, 2008 – 07:18 ET

They even link to Obama’s Fight the Smears entry with his birth certificate. Anyone born in the U.S., but has a parent who is a citizen of a foreign country can, depending on that other countries laws automatically have dual citizenship. Just like many high ranking Republicans currently in state and federal office. Since Obama has never contacted the Kenyan government about establishing citizenship there, he no longer has that option, he is just a citizen of the U.S. like foreign born Panama Johnny.

AP Investigation: Palin got zoning aid, gifts. The small items from merchants who probably had some friendly acquaintanceship with Palin doesn’t amount to much, well within we all make mistakes range. That she pulled strings to get a special zoning exception for her home is your basic full fledged corruption. The average person has to go to quite a bit of trouble to pull that off. Monkey business like that has ended more then one local pols political ambitions.

I wonder if Governor Palin’s finds it uncomfortable having McCain’s hand up her back pulling those strings, Sen. John McCain retracted Sarah Palin’s stance on Pakistan Sunday

Working the refs is paying off. Some journalists are holding back on Palin , “some journalists say privately they are censoring their comments about Palin to avoid looking like they’re piling on”

Taxi to the Dark Side: Monday at 9 p.m.

As the Bush Administration now enters into its final meltdown, the perfect time has come to examine the moral corruption that has long festered right under the surface of what passes for national security policy.

Monday’s visual relief,

Map and Compass wallpaper

Gold rain drops wallpaper. Probably more orange then gold, but you get the idea.

McCain fails to inspire

McCain’s foreign policy juggling act

Early polls call Obama winner of debate

A CBS poll of uncommitted voters found 40 percent saying Obama came out on top in the debate, compared to 25 percent for McCain. Thirty-six percent called it a draw.

McCain was considered the better candidate in terms of running the war in Iraq, but Obama was selected as the best manager of the economy. The poll had a margin for error of 4 percent.

The general political wisdom is that die hard partisans are a given at this point in a presidential campaign. Thus the goal of the debates to make some head way with undecided voters and independents. That being the case Obama won. Because much of the public thinks they know McCain and have come to see that he doesn’t quite live up to the honorable maverick image that he has tried so hard to sell he continues to lose ground. Especially when he insists on acting as though he were both inately superior to Senator Obama and as though he is entitled to the presidency. Being the grumpy arrogant guy has a curiosity factor in in otherwise dull debate, but doesn’t win over many voters. Obama was clear and concise, so McCain’s hope that by repeating “he doesn’t understand” would be the zinger catch phrase of the evening fail flat. Since most viewers could understand both the specific points Senator Obama was trying to make and the deeper policy implications, it was like McCain was telling the audience they were dumb. A not uncommon frustration among some of Obama’s supporters is the frustration that McCain leaves plenty of openings to land a solid jab and Obama insists on being the statesman. While I agree that Obama could at least cut down on the conciliatory bridging the gap bipartisan complements. Maybe, considering the results, Obama deserves credit for having a plan and resisting what must be a deep temptation to lay into McCain’s obvious failings in the debate and his near quarter century of being a Washington player, DEBATE WRAP

Passing up those opportunities might have been a mistake, but it was not an oversight. Obama had plainly made a decision to project the actual knowledge and insight he has on foreign policy (which throughout the campaign has actually seemed to come more naturally to him than domestic and economic policy). The only way to do that is to resist, resist, resist the temptation to take every opportunity for the kill. Obama had a game plan and he executed it. The result is that voters who had not yet appreciated that Obama understood foreign policy, who assumed that McCain was the military/security guy and Obama the domestic, mommy-party candidate, had a chance to recognize that he more than knew what he was talking about — that he had what sounded like a coherent, responsible, and not-weak vision.

The perception of McCain as having a slight advantage on foreign policy is honestly a mystery. Without getting into some tedious links to McCain’s foreign policy related votes at least six huge issues came to mind about McCain’s vision, or rather lack of vision in foreign policy. McCain didn’t know that Spain was an ally and member of NATO, confusing it with a Latin American country. McCain’s subscribes to the Bush Doctrine, voting with Bush 90% of the time – “All I can say is that on the fundamentals and the principles of our Republican Party and most of the specifics of our shared conservative philosophy, President Bush and I are in agreement,”. McCain doesn’t see the links between dependence on foreign oil, national security and world stability – just saying drill, drill, drill like a six year old might go over great with low information voters, but is not an answer to long term problems with energy costs and the environment. Thinks that conflicts initiated by former Soviet state Georgia are reason to go to war with Russia and rhetoric which increases the likely hood of less then measured behavior by those that McCain sends these reckless signals to. Little Johnny promulgated Bush’s falsehoods about Iraq’s WMDs and connections to al Qaeda. Many on the Right think it is perfectly fine to lie the nation into bloody counter productive conflicts and McCain agrees. A search of the news archives supports McCain’s flip flopping on multiple issues including foreign policy. If you’re an old school Conservative pragmatist on foreign policy McCain has made a speech you’ll like. If you’re a neocon that believes in shooting from the hip, damn the consequences then he had made that speech too – he has wavered back and forth between reckless hothead and pragmatist. As he became the Republican nominee he moved to the far Right, but it is a mystery as to what America will get in a McCain presidency. It defies the record and common sense for Obama and Democrats to cede anything to McCain on matters of foreign policy expertise. Judging on substance and not the Conservative public relations hog wash, McCain might be even more of an empty suit then Bush.   Barack Obama and the Return of Grace

That sound you hear is the keyboards in the basements of McCain supporters working feverishly to cast Johnny as SuperMcCainBailout Guy. Not going to work, Ex-Adviser: McCain “Blinked,” Campaign “Governed By Tactics, Not Ideology”

After days of saying that John McCain would not attend Friday’s presidential debate unless an agreement on a bailout package for the markets was “locked-down,” the McCain campaign has gone back on its word.

On Friday, it announced that the Senator would head down to Mississippi even though, as they readily admit, much work remained needed on the bailout agreement.

The whole episode left even conservatives admitting that the McCain campaign looked erratic and a bit foolish with no apparent direction or guiding principle.

It is the tiresome custom that after a presidential debate the VP candidates do the media rounds to help with spin. McCain doesn’t trust Palin to fill that role, Sarah Palin, MIA

Amusing moment on CNN just now. Wolf Blitzer, coming out of a commercial:

“We’ve been getting some emails from views out there wondering why we spent some time interviewing Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential nominee and not Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee. We would have loved to interview–we’d still love to interview Sarah Palin. Unfortunately we asked, we didn’t get that interview…We’re hoping that Sarah Palin will join us at some point down the road.”

Iowa Mississippi River Landscape wallpaper

Paul Newman Dies at 83 – To me Newman transcended just being an actor, a mere screen presence for our entertainment. He was an artist and great humanitarian. In every interview I ever saw with him he was articulate, but modest. He was frequently self effacing, but he and his fans knew he possessed a rare down to earth charm.

He sometimes teamed with his wife and fellow Oscar winner, Joanne Woodward, with whom he had one of Hollywood’s rare long-term marriages. “I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?” Newman told Playboy magazine (NYSE:PLA) when asked if he was tempted to stray. They wed in 1958, around the same time they both appeared in “The Long Hot Summer,” and Newman directed her in several films, including “Rachel, Rachel” and “The Glass Menagerie.”

[  ]…Newman had a soft spot for underdogs in real life, giving tens of millions to charities through his food company and setting up camps for severely ill children. Passionately opposed to the Vietnam War, and in favor of civil rights, he was so famously liberal that he ended up on President Nixon’s “enemies list,” one of the actor’s proudest achievements, he liked to say.

“It turns out that there’s a lot of interlinks throughout the financial system”

Trick or Treat from the bailout pretenders

I found the perfect article for McCain. On Monday our hero SuperMcBailout couldn’t be bothered to read a three page summary of the Bush/Paulson bailout plan. This little primer, not a plan is only one page long – The Dummy’s Guide to the US Banking Crisis. Snark aside a good quick reference. While not the last word on the subject it lays out the basics. The very last entry describes Paulson as acting decisively. If yelling fire after watching half the house burn down is the new decisive.

Just a quick McCain to the rescue time line update. McCain called Letterman to cancel on Wednesday and according to Letterman, McCain sounded as though it was urgent and he had to leave immediately. Letterman gets a live feed of Johnny getting make-up for an interview with Katie Couric. Did SuperMcBailout leave for Washington after the Couric interview on Wednesday. No, he didn’t leave for Washington until Thursday morning. As Letterman said “Somebody’s putting something in his Metamucil”. McCain hasn’t placed a vote in the Senate since April. Democrats, Republicans and the White house had been working for a week on some kind of solution. If McCain had decided to return Wednesday or Thursday and made an announcement to that affect no big deal. Why all the cheesy theatrics and saying one thing while doing another. Four years of a McCain-Palin presidency would no doubt be entertaining for those that have the stomach for four more years of Kabuki theater. McCain has suspended his campaign for the benefit of all Americans or maybe he’s just a media hog, McCain to do round of network interviews tonight

A must read. McCain keeps saying he wants to get to the bottom of the Wall Street fiasco. He might want to start with questioning, in a public hearing, everyone on the Straighttalk Express, It’s Judgment Day for McCain

Maybe the McCain Commission on Deregulation can kick off with a statement from the candidate himself. It will be helpful for the public, if painful for the senator himself, to hear about Mr. McCain’s own close brush with one of the towering figures of financial deregulation, Charles Keating, the master of Lincoln Savings and Loan. Keating had a special, urgent interest in getting Big Brother off our backs: in 1986 some meddlesome agency suspected him of massive violations of S&L regulations. Keating fought back by recruiting a handful of legislators, including Mr. McCain, to pressure S&L regulators to leave his S&L alone. A few years later, Lincoln became one of the largest financial failures in U.S. history.

After that, Mr. McCain can get on to witness No. 1: Phil Gramm, a former adviser to the candidate on economic issues and for many years the heavyweight champion of financial deregulation. It was this very fellow who, as a senator, co-authored the Financial Services Modernization Act, largely trashing the old financial regulatory structure and allowed banks, insurance companies and investment houses to merge into what Mr. Gramm called “a supermarket for financial services” — supermarkets whose lousy decisions are now the wonder of the world and whose losses we will be underwriting for years to come.

America reacts to Mccain’s silliness

McCain is now claiming that he reached out to Obama to find a bipartisan solution – its even an official McCain talking point. The reverse is true, Obama was the one that called McCain

“At 8:30 this morning, Senator Obama called Senator McCain to ask him if he would join in issuing a joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal and urging Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal,” said Obama spokesperson Bill Burton. “At 2:30 this afternoon, Senator McCain returned Senator Obama’s call and agreed to join him in issuing such a statement.

Some Republicans are signing on for the no bailout of any kind position. Letting some Wall Street fat cats sink into the abyss is one thing, but working class homeowners do need some help. Skip to the bottom if you’re in a hurry, House Republicans Obstruct Bailout Plan

Cons still don’t get irony, Gateway Pundit: Missouri Sheriffs & Top Prosecutors Form Obama “Truth Squads” & Threaten Libel Charges Against Obama Critics. Libel, as stated in that thing called the U.S. Constitution has never been covered by free speech. Yes, how dare someone take away the Right’s incessant libeling of anyone to the left of Herman Goering. Without all the smears they wouldn’t have much to say to America, they’d be stuck having to act like adults and honestly discuss issues.

And so I decided to act and act boldly. It turns out that there’s a lot of interlinks throughout the financial system.  – George W. Bush, September 21, 2008

McWaffling Through the Bailout

McCain the action figure

At a political rally in Florida on 9-15-2008 McCain said the fundamentals of the economy were strong. Maybe his pal Joe Lieberman, ever ready to help John get through another gaffe called him later that day when McCain also declared that the U.S. was facing its worse crisis since WW II. This past Monday 9-22-08 McCain admits that he hasn’t read a three page summary of the bailout proposal. Wednesday 9-25-08 McCain declares that his campaign must be suspended in order to return to Washington D.C. to personally intercede in the financial crisis. There wasn’t time to read a summary of the bailout because he was busy campaigning, but like one of those light bulbs that goes on over a cartoon figures head he decides to race back to D.C. where he hasn’t placed a vote since this past April. He isn’t sinking like a lead balloon in the polls, but the downward spiral seems to be a trend. McWaffle wouldn’t be grandstanding with some relatively meaningless gesture to refocus media attention to something else or would he. Getting back to D.C. pronto was important enough to cancel his Late Nite appearance, but not important enough to miss a press op with Katie Couric,

But it’s later when Keith Olbermann is in the chair when things get really interesting. It’s then that Letterman is informed that McCain was not in fact flying to Washington at all, but rather was at that very minute taping an interview with Katie Couric, his fellow CBS-mate. They then proceeded to show a bit of what appeared to be a live feed of the interview, as Letterman shouted at the screen “Hey, Senator, you need a ride to the airport?”

McCain’s rudder is broke or he’s rigged his sails wacky, or heck, maybe he really thinks this is how a leader acts in a crisis. There’s another possibility. he’s trying disparately to deflect attention away from the Couric interview with Governor Palin, What McCain was trying to bury

Couric: You’ve said, quote, “John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business.” Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?

Palin: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie – that, that’s paramount. That’s more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.

Couric: But he’s been in Congress for 26 years. He’s been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.

Palin: He’s also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he’s been talking about – the need to reform government.

Couric: But can you give me any other concrete examples? Because I know you’ve said Barack Obama is a lot of talk and no action. Can you give me any other examples in his 26 years of John McCain truly taking a stand on this?

Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.

Couric: I’m just going to ask you one more time – not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

Palin: I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring them to you.

Rather then answer a question a politician or anyone for that matter reaches for inexplicable generalizations and quirky nosequitars you’re listening to someone out of their depth. At this point it is not only clear that she is not prepared to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, but many Alaskans are probably wondering what kind of governor they’re stuck with. Was McCain’s Stunt an Attempt at Palin Damage Control? – The Anonymous Liberal mentions that Palin thinks that a failure to pass bailout legislation would, in her words, lead to another Great Depression. Add up the McCain Financial Crisis Timeline divided by the corner that Palin backed McCain into and its difficult to gloat. Its like watching a train wreck in progress and its not over yet. McCain and/or Palin are going to have to explain at some point, the Great Depression remark in addition to dealing with more scrutiny of McCain’s nonreformist reform record. McCain’s Record On Economic Reform: ‘Zero’ and Flashback: McCain Debated While Gramm Negotiated Deregulation

“The deal was announced about 2 A.M. after a compromise was reached over the measure’s effect on lending rules for the disadvantaged, the source of months of partisan bickering between the White House and Senator Phil Gramm, the Texas Republican who heads the banking committee. … For more than 20 years, Congress has tried unsuccessfully to rewrite the nation’s financial services laws and repeal Glass-Steagall… That all changed in recent years as the lines between the industries began to blur and it became more broadly acknowledged that a deregulation of financial services could be beneficial to insurers, bankers and securities firms alike. Once the three industries rallied around the legislation, they became a formidable political force, raising millions of dollars for lawmakers and pressing both Republican leaders in Congress and the White House for new legislation.”

Those negotiations took place on October 22. And where was McCain at the time? At a presidential debate in New Hampshire, praising deregulation.

I meant to post this yesterday, The Paulson Plan Bad News For The Bailout

In fact, some of the most basic details, including the $700 billion figure Treasury would use to buy up bad debt, are fuzzy.

“It’s not based on any particular data point,” a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. “We just wanted to choose a really large number.”

Wow. If it wants to see a bailout bill passed soon, the administration’s going to have to come up with some hard answers to hard questions. Public support for it already seems to be waning. According to a Rasmussen Reports poll released Tuesday, 44% of those surveyed oppose the administration’s plan, up from 37% Monday.

As funy as that “really large number” is maybe they did us all a favor by freaking everyone out and slowing things down a bit. I went over to Senator Dodds site and the latest release says they will continue to work on a solution today so its not too late to send your reps your thoughts.

McCain as of this writing is refusing to debate unless a bailout deal is reached. Getting a handle on mutiple priorities is pretty much the rule for working class Americans, but not so much for the guy that wants to be leader of the free world. Senator Barack Obama released this statement late yesterday,

I believe that several core principles should guide this legislation.

First, there must be oversight. We should not hand over a blank check to the discretion of one man. We support an independent, bipartisan board to ensure accountability and complete transparency.

Second, we need to protect taxpayers. There should be a path for taxpayers to recover their money, and to turn a profit if Wall Street prospers.

Third, no Wall Street executive should profit from taxpayer dollars. This plan cannot be a welfare program for CEOs whose greed and irresponsibility has contributed to this crisis.

Fourth, we must help families who are struggling to stay in their homes. We cannot bail out Wall Street without helping millions of families facing foreclosure on Main Street.

Fifth, we both agree that this financial rescue package should move on its own without any earmarks or other measures. We have different views about the need for other action, but this must be a clean bill.

This is a time to rise above politics for the good of the country. We cannot risk an economic catastrophe. This is not a Democratic problem or a Republican problem – this is an American problem. Now, we must find an American solution.

Republican’s Try Blame Shifting on Financial Meltdown

Palin-McCain Sleazy ads

McCain is still running the same ads that made even the fact checker’s heads spin.

Did Liberals Cause the Sub-Prime Crisis?

But CRA (Community Reinvestment Act) has always had critics, and they now suggest that the law went too far in encouraging banks to lend in struggling communities. Rhetoric aside, the argument turns on a simple question: In the current mortgage meltdown, did lenders approve bad loans to comply with CRA, or to make money?

The evidence strongly suggests the latter. First, consider timing. CRA was enacted in 1977. The sub-prime lending at the heart of the current crisis exploded a full quarter century later. In the mid-1990s, new CRA regulations and a wave of mergers led to a flurry of CRA activity, but, as noted by the New America Foundation’s Ellen Seidman (and by Harvard’s Joint Center), that activity “largely came to an end by 2001.” In late 2004, the Bush administration announced plans to sharply weaken CRA regulations, pulling small and mid-sized banks out from under the law’s toughest standards. Yet sub-prime lending continued, and even intensified — at the very time when activity under CRA had slowed and the law had weakened.

Second, it is hard to blame CRA for the mortgage meltdown when CRA doesn’t even apply to most of the loans that are behind it. As the University of Michigan’s Michael Barr points out, half of sub-prime loans came from those mortgage companies beyond the reach of CRA.

Robert Gordon points out that months ago the right-wing libertarians at Cato and the Republican hacks at The National Review were already trying to do some blame shifting away from under regulated lenders onto libruls, low income home owners and minorities. Fox has been pushing that meme, Fox News’ Neil Cavuto

On September 18, Fox News’ Neil Cavuto conflated giving home mortgages to minorities with risky lending practices, suggesting that there should have been “a clarion call that said, ‘Fannie and Freddie are a disaster. Loaning to minorities and risky folks is a disaster.’ “

All of this finger pointing by Conservative zealots like Cavuto has a fumbling Keystone Cops quality about especially in light of their candidate for president and McCain’s adviser Rick Davis. As we all know Davis was on the payroll of the Homeownership Alliance which was an advocacy group for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,

“You can say what you want about free-market distortions, but people like the system because it gets them into houses cheap,” Mr. Davis said to Institutional Investor magazine in 2000, adding that he would run the advocacy group out of his Alexandria, Va., lobbying firm.

Its clear enough for those not wearing Conservative blinders that Republicans were happy to make those loans that Cavuto suddenly decided were poor risks as long as the cash was flowing. Still might be if the regulations had not been weakened by Neil’s buddy Dubya and his Republican hand-maidens in Congress.

Bank stocks down again

Oppenheimer analyst Meredith Whitney, one of the most influential banking analysts on Wall Street, said in a report published Tuesday that the bailout was too late to save the credit and lending markets.

“A virtual suction of liquidity has occurred in the credit and lending markets, and consumer and corporate credit is already showing the effects,” Whitney said.

“What started last summer has accelerated and intensified so much so that we believe any government bailout plan has little hope of improving core fundamentals over the near and medium term,” she added.

That “suction of liquidity” has been more real then virtual for many people. Nice sound bite though.

Another reason not to be so quick on the blame shifting from Wall Str. to Main Str. is these guys knew what they were doing was riding on some pretty thin paper promises. No one held a gun to any mortgage banker’s head and forced them to make poor lending decisions. Greed had a lot to do with it, Report: FBI probes firms at heart of meltdown

Over the past year as the housing market cratered, the FBI has opened a wide-ranging probe of companies across the financial services industry, from mortgage lenders to investment banks that bundle home loans into securities sold to investors. FBI has said its hunt for culprits in the nation’s subprime mortgage crisis focused on accounting fraud, insider trading, and failure to disclose the value of mortgage-related securities and other investments.

The investigations revealed Tuesday come as lawmakers began considering whether to approve emergency legislation that would give the government broad power to buy up devalued assets from troubled financial firms.

Campbell Brown Rips McCain Camp’s “Sexist” Treatment Of Palin. Brown goes way off the deep end on the compliments of Palin. She is flesh and blood, not a goddess. Still, the major point stands. Either McCain thinks Palin can stand up under the same questioning any candidate would get when running for VP of the U.S. or he doesn’t. If Mac daddy thinks his little soul mate isn’t ready for some questions from our generally lame press corps then how ready to lead can she be.

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Conservative accountibility, did it ever exist

In my Septmber 20 post I wrote about the emergency financial powers that Bush wants,

Caving once again to Bush and the public perception that they might not be acting as quickly as they should. Didn’t we go down that road before with the AUMF (Authority to use Military Force) and Iraq.

September 22, 2008 Paul Krugman writes, Cash for Trash

Some skeptics are calling Henry Paulson’s $700 billion rescue plan for the U.S. financial system “cash for trash.” Others are calling the proposed legislation the Authorization for Use of Financial Force, after the Authorization for Use of Military Force, the infamous bill that gave the Bush administration the green light to invade Iraq.

There’s justice in the gibes. Everyone agrees that something major must be done. But Mr. Paulson is demanding extraordinary power for himself — and for his successor — to deploy taxpayers’ money on behalf of a plan that, as far as I can see, doesn’t make sense.

Great minds think alike or the analogy has just been so obvious that it would be irresponsible not to see it. The Democrats are showing some backbone especially regards looking out for home owners, but I think, until proven otherwise that the Agonist is right about letting many of these banks go into bankruptcy and continue to operate thus eventually paying their own way out of trouble.

I’m being a little disingenuous by posting this snip from George Will since I could care less what he thinks, McCain Loses His Head

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.

[   ]…Conservatives who insist that electing McCain is crucial usually start, and increasingly end, by saying he would make excellent judicial selections. But the more one sees of his impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events, the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either.

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?

I’ll be generous and give Will credit for having the few seconds of political clarity it took to write those words. The rest of the piece is either the usual ideological mangling available from cheesy right-wing sites across the net or eligible for the We Really Need a New Crew of Pundits Award.

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

Will speaks as though he has slept through the last fifty years. Whenever Republicans have controlled a branch of government and certainly the presidency, they have been pro corporate socialism. Will like many Republicans has learned to somehow do the mind trick required to listen to Conservative rhetoric and ignore their actions. Republicans have always used government to intercede in the free market, to tip the scale toward multinational corporation at the expense of consumers and frequently investors. Corruption has always walked hand in hand with that concept – that was what Reagan’s HUD scandal was all about, that is what Tom Delay’s K-Street was about and Bush’s Medicare overhaul that was a windfall for medical corporations and big pharma. Democrats wasted a lot of breath complaining about Bush taking the free market aspects out of the Medicare drug plan. The current financial crisis is not a one of. If Will has been truly paying attention and not filtering out loads of inconvenient truths he would know that this Paulson-Bush write me a check for 700 billion nonsense is just par for the course. If the left, which i assume he means liberals ( an unfortunate equation. I’m a liberal not a leftist) wanted to sneak socialism into our economic system, we’re rank amateurs in comparison to modern Republicans. Just looking at the two party’s track record Democrats come closer to being actual Republicans then today’s Right. One economist recently made the observation that today’s Republicans are not Conservative, they’re just illliberal.

Rush Limbaugh is an Evil Bastard

On the September 22 broadcast of his syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh baselessly claimed that Sen. Barack Obama is “not black,” and went on to ask: “Do you know he has not one shred of African-American blood?” Limbaugh continued: “He’s Arab. You know, he’s from Africa. He’s from Arab parts of Africa. … [H]e’s not African-American. The last thing that he is is African-American.”

Fecke gives Mr. Limbaugh a much needed geography lesson. While Kenya has had Arab immigrants over the years it is distinctly not an Arab country. Though Jeff’s map has arrow pointing to Tanzania, Kenya is just above. Jack and Jill’s Politics thinks this is part of the Right’s ongoing lame efforst to “Otherize” Senator Obama. Limbaugh, the draft dodging drug addict serial monogamist who is responsible for an inordinate amount of the world’s hot gases is obviously distraught seeing the decay of the brand of Conservatism he helped shove down America’s throat.

Africa Capitals with Kenya. The full size is more legible.

Evangelical leader smacks McCain for lack of ‘principle’

Richard Cizik is one of the country’s most powerful and outspoken Christian evangelical leaders. He happens to be a Republican, and he has known the GOP’s presidential nominee for many years. “I thought John McCain was a principled person,” Cizik says. “But John McCain has backed off, not just on climate change but on torture and a sensible tax policy — in other words, he’s not the John McCain of 2000. … He seems to be waffling on issue after issue.

“It’s not illogical for someone to conclude that John McCain is going to be more like George Bush than John McCain is going to be like John McCain in 2000.”

At this point McSame has done such a good job of impersonating a George Bush on steroids I wonder if this hasn’t been the real McCain all along.

City Autumn wallpaper

A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury. -John Stuart Mill

Prejudice, Political Records, and The Wrong Financial Bailout

Will Prejudice Trump Economy For Voters?

The poll does show that many whites who see blacks in a negative light are still willing (or even eager) to vote for Obama. But statistical models derived from the poll suggest that Obama’s support would be as much as 6 percentage points higher if there were no white racial prejudice.

Former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder had a few point lead in the polls before going on to become that state’s first black governor. His final victory was by less then one percent. The one big factor in Obama’s direction is his favor-ability ratings. In the same survey above Senator Obama leads in popularity and intelligence among voters and scores well on common values in this poll – More Americans, 66%, Think Obama, Not McCain, Shares Their Values . While blogtopia may see McCain, and rightly so, as the man behind the mask, the public thinks they know him. Liberal bloggers tend to be those voters that look behind the curtain, political geeks so to speak. How to get the general public to take a long hard look at McCain record, including his flip flops is something only a well organized political campaign like Obama’s is equipped to do. People powered publishing is great, but the reality is that a large portion of voters still make up their minds based on TV sound bites.

The Right including Fox, the syndicated print pundits and the netnuts are working overtime to Swiftboat Senator Obama and they are having some success, The Push to ‘Otherize’ Obama

A Pew Research Center survey released a few days ago found that only half of Americans correctly know that Mr. Obama is a Christian. Meanwhile, 13 percent of registered voters say that he is a Muslim, compared with 12 percent in June and 10 percent in March.

[   ]…The online Red State Shop sells T-shirts, mugs and stickers exploiting the idea. Some shirts and stickers portray a large “O” with horns, above a caption: “The Anti-Christ.”

[   ]…In fact, of course, Mr. Obama took his oath on the Bible, not — as the rumors have it — on the Koran. He is far more active in church than John McCain is.

(Just imagine for a moment if it were the black candidate in this election, rather than the white candidate, who was born in Central America, was an indifferent churchgoer, had graduated near the bottom of his university class, had dumped his first wife, had regularly displayed an explosive and profane temper, and had referred to the Pakistani-Iraqi border …)

The last paragraph of course describes John McCain. That the Right manages to turn every locale where a Democrat is born into a hedonistic bastion of the far left should be insulting to everyone, we are the United States after all, but they some how get away with it. One blogger in an on going one fingered salute to that mentality keeps referring to McCain as Panama Johnny. Black Americans are well aware of the hidden black tax when they enter the world of business or politics. Add in the hidden tax that goes with being a moderate Democrat, it will be something close to miraculous for Obama to claim victory. McCain’s history in politics is clear enough, as is Palin’s Cheneyish view of governance. Yet they campaign as though they’re entitled to live at 1600 Penn Ave. How dare America examine their records which are filled with corruption, flip flops, pandering and an extremely poor grasp of the principles that should guide their governance. Sarah Palin Linked Her Electoral Success to Prayer of Kenyan Witch Hunter

Bankrupt AIG Underwrote McCain’s ‘Reform Institute’

John McCain is making a big show of criticizing the government “bailout” of insurance giant AIG. But it turns out that AIG, which received $85 billion in US tax dollars earlier this week, is one of the largest donors to McCain’s pet think tank, the comically named “Reform Institute,” which he co-founded in 2001 “in direct response to the millions of Americans who, during the 2000 presidential campaign, expressed profound disillusionment with corrupt fundraising activities.”

McCain’s Reform Institute was a kind of trial balloon for McCain’s current campaign. It had Reform in the title. many people, including some Democrats climbed on board thinking that it was as McCain advertised. Some background on McCain’s VooDoo Reformism.

McCain’s less then great environmental record.

In every case, McCain voted against renewables, as did Sen. “Global warming is ‘the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people'” Inhofe. On the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the biggest congressional effort to push alternative energy in more than a decade, McCain voted against it along with just 11 other senators. Even Inhofe voted for it.

The Conservative Origins of the Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis

This isn’t surprising, considering who was at the negotiating table when the Bush administration, led by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, forged the plan. The key players were the mortgage service companies (who collect the homeowner’s monthly payments, or foreclose when they fall behind) and groups representing investors holding the mortgages, dominated by Wall Street banks. The Bush plan reflected both groups’ calculation that — for some loans — they would do better temporarily freezing interest rates than foreclosing. Groups who represent consumers — ACORN, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the Greenlining Institute, Neighborhood Housing Services, and the Center for Responsible Lending — were not invited to the negotiation.

I don’t know that Paulson would be the last person in the world I’d write a 700 billion dollar check to, but he’d be close to the bottom. How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers

Text of the Bailout Is Authoritarianism At Its Worst

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Which is part of what prompted The Agonist open letter to Senator Obama,

Having worked for many years in the banking industry and been closely involved with risk management and derivatives, I can tell you that it looks like catastrophe is already here.

What Sec. Paulson wants you to believe is that catastrophe is approaching, but it can be averted if only Congress acts urgently to give him the extraordinary authority he is requesting. The implication is if you don’t give him $700 billion in borrowing authority within a week, markets will collapse and it will be all your fault.

We’ve seen this drill before, with the Patriot Act and with the Iraq War authorization. The scare tactics, the urgency, the implied threat of blame for any failure – this is what the Bush administration does. Some of you in the Senate were able to stand up to this pressure, and that type of strength is desperately needed now.

[   ]…Paulson is basically rolling you and the rest of Congress into giving him unprecedented power to protect his friends on Wall Street. This decision you are making is probably as momentous as the Iraq War resolution. Don’t fall for this bailout disguised as the only way to prevent Armageddon. Armageddon is already here – at least for the big banks – and it needs an entirely different solution. Spend our money protecting us, by ensuring the FDIC is properly funded, by throwing these too-big-to-fail banks into bankruptcy if they truly are insolvent, by preserving the healthy parts of these banks while in bankruptcy, and bringing them back out again so they function under much better safety and soundness regulations. We’ve had airlines functioning properly and safely for years while in bankruptcy, and there is no reason we can’t do the same with banks.

While I took a large chunk of it the whole letter is worth a read.

Antique World map 1755

“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there’s a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.” – William Douglas

Meet McCain the Reformer


David Corn asks in so many words, asks how a veteran of unregulated greed like McCain can sell himself as a reformer, Is McCain More the Populist than Obama?

Forget for a moment all of McCain’s connections to the current crisis. (He seems to do so easily enough.) Forget that his pal and adviser Phil Gramm helped create this mess. That his top advisers and campaign staffers lobbied for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And that over 80 lobbyists for top financial industry firms–including AIG, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and Washington Mutual–have worked for McCain’s campaign. McCain is showing anger, vowing to knock heads together (on Wall Street and Washington), and, by the way, tying Obama to the mess. McCain is no William Jennings Bryan. But for a Republican, he’s coming on like a populist gangbuster. Given his track record as a deregulator, this is faux populism. But that doesn’t mean it can’t work politically.

We live in a sound bite culture that barely remembers what happened two months ago much less what McCain has done in his quarter century in Washington. Can McCain get away with selling a completely false image of himself. Sure he can. This was part of and remains part of the Bush-Rove legacy. Lie often, lie big and keep repeating it. Through out McCain’s career he has picked up and dropped positions so fast it was difficult to tell whether he really stood for something or was just an attention hog. In a profile from Time during the 2000 campaign, How Conservative Is McCain? Plenty conservative. He isn’t the Clinton clone Bush makes him out to be–or the muckraker he likes to play on the stump

Bush went after McCain’s reform credentials last week, pointing out that as Commerce chairman, McCain has been willing to milk the system he rails against. “The portrait McCain likes is the one of the plain-talking crusader who’s bucking the system,” writes Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity in his book The Buying of the President 2000. “The one many others see is that of a politician who rarely breaks ranks with the special interests that finance his campaign.” Many of McCain’s top fund raisers and advisers–Kenneth Duberstein, Vin Weber–are lobbyists who do business with his committee. And as the Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, McCain is more apt to rail against corporate malfeasance than to sponsor legislation to rein it in. It’s the reverse of Teddy Roosevelt’s dictum–McCain speaks loudly and carries no stick. He hammered airlines for providing lousy service, then tabled his passengers’-rights bill when they promised to do better. He bashed cable-TV operators for raising rates, but didn’t write a bill forcing them to open their networks to competition. (Telecommunications giants such as AT&T and Time Warner, which owns TIME, have been among his big contributors.) “If we can get people to act in a meaningful, progressive fashion,” he says on the stump, “we don’t need legislation.”

McCain’s record makes the Bush strategy of calling him a Clinton clone seem foolish. In the Senate, McCain has been a rock-solid vote on just about every core G.O.P. issue, winning high ratings from the Christian Coalition and other conservative groups. He supported every item in Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America and voted to convict Bill Clinton on every article of impeachment. And his environmental record would make Teddy Roosevelt cringe. McCain has voted many times to cut funding for toxic-waste cleanups, he has supported subsidies for mining on public lands, and he favors reopening national forest lands to logging. (In 1998 the League of Conservation Voters gave him a zero rating.)

The Real McCain written in 2000 also took a look at McCain record on the Senate Commerce Committee versus his rhetoric,

“He is about as craven politically as the rest of them,” says one former staff member.

If one considers McCain’s entire record, Kimmelman’s point is probably well taken, but there are two recent examples that suggest that even if politics did not dictate what McCain believed, it dictated when he decided to make his beliefs known. Last March, McCain was actively raising funds from telecommunications executives and lobbyists. At a Washington fundraiser hosted by adviser Vin Weber, who lobbies for AT&T, McCain raised $120,000. A few days later, according to Associated Press reporter Jonathan Salant, McCain hinted that he would introduce a bill eliminating the role of the FCC in policing mergers. Then in May, after FCC Chairman William Kennard had said that AT&T’s purchase of MediaOne”warrants careful scrutiny,” McCain introduced this bill. Within two weeks, McCain received 10 contributions of $1,000 from AT&T executives.

McReform waned to give the FCC the boot despite the fact that in 2000 as now, most of the media is owned directly or indirectly by five corporations. Maybe he was right in an incidental way. The FCC doesn’t been doing its job protecting the public interest in regards to corporate oligarchies. As recently as 2004 Mccain wanted to privatize Social Security – despite what his campaign says otherwise and he’s been caught on tape as they say.

Debate Rules Modified to Benefit Palin

At the insistence of the McCain campaign, the Oct. 2 debate between Gov. Sarah Palin and her Democratic rival, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., will have shorter question-and-answer segments than those for the presidential nominees, the advisers said. There will also be much less opportunity for free-wheeling, direct exchanges between the running mates.

She’s ready to lead we’re told. She is just not ready to have a debate without training wheels. If she isn’t ready to debate without training wheels then she is not equipped to govern the USA.