There Are No Conservatives in Financial Fox Holes

Its been said that humans are unique among the animals for their ability to learn from experience. Year after year for eight years everything Bush-Cheney have touched has ranged from bad to truly disastrous. Its been a golden era for those with a penchant for dark humor or tragedy. Though not in the eyes of the actual perpetrators. Much like their praise for former FEMA director Michael Brown, Bush and Cheney think they’re doing a heck of a job. Just trust them to manage this one last disaster on their watch, Bush Officials Urge Swift Action on Rescue Powers

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration, moving to prevent an economic cataclysm, urged Congress on Friday to grant it far-reaching emergency powers to buy hundreds of billions of dollars in distressed mortgages despite many unknowns about how the plan would work.

Balkinization’s concern is that Congress will act without actually reading the legislation. 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. Then again with radical changes to FISA in which the other overight was that which Bush felt like giving the courts. Democrats did immediately rise the addition of deeply indebted homeowners in any financial relif package.

“Given the precarious state of today’s financial markets — and their vital importance to the daily lives of the American people — government intervention is not only warranted, it is essential,”

Who is this block quote from? Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Clinton or maybe  Senator Barack Obama? Nope, from George W. Bush. There are no Republicans in financial fox holes.

Neocon delusions

Mr. McHonorCode is still at it, McCain attacks on Obama for purported ties to Freddie and Fannie, but not McCain aides’ lobbying on their behalf

In articles about the presidential candidates’ responses to the economic crisis, the Associated Press, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Washington Post reported that the McCain campaign criticized Sen. Barack Obama for, in the words of McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds, “his ties to spiraling lenders like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and their jet-set CEOs.” But those articles did not note that several senior McCain campaign aides have served as lobbyists for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or both.

The AP would be one of the press organization that the Righties single out as being too librul.

The McCain campaign cited a July Washington Post profile of Raines as the source for his connection to Obama. In that profile, it was reported that he had “taken calls from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters.” In a statement issued by the Obama campaign late Thursday, Raines strongly denied having provided counsel to Obama, saying: “I am not an advisor to Barack Obama, nor have I provided his campaign with advice on housing or economic matters.”

Sans any compelling evidence, McCain and his supporters repeating the lie about about Raines over and over again doesn’t magically make it true. Even if the Obama camp did call the guy a few times to get his thoughts on the subject that is pretty thin even for guilt by association. Loan takeovers sound okay now, thanks

McCain embraces a financial fix that he was less sure about in the 1980s

In Iowa today, John McCain proposed a new government agency called the Mortgage and Financial Institutions Trust to help manage the assets of banks and funds hit hard by the subprime crisis.

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News Flash – Republicans Discover Privacy

AP reporter e-mails: Yeah, it’s all Palin’s fault By Michelle Malkin  •  September 18, 2008 06:47 PM

Just call them the Associated (With Hackers) Press.

A reader e-mailed AP reporter Ted Bridis yesterday after Bridis’s article on the Palin e-mail hacking disclosed that the AP was refusing to cooperate with the feds and suggested that Palin was to blame for the crime.   ( the AP Malkin refers to is the same news corp with a Republican hack parading as a reporter)

A headline from another right-wing blogger called Gateway Pundit, FATHER OF HACKER Is Tennessee Dem State Rep!!!!! …Update: Name- David Kernell …Update: He’s Been Contacted by Feds!

Easy to get the impression that these two Republicans care about privacy and the fundamental rules of law. Both of them supported the corruption of the 4th Amendment, FISA law and the FISA Court. They were and still are cheerleaders for the surveillance state. The big reason is that, seriously, they’re afraid they and their fans will be killed. If they chose to live their lives in fits of paranoid delusion that’s their business. Its their insistence on trampling over the rule of law and the privacy of others that is disturbing. An e-mail account that Governor Palin used to avoid public scrutiny is hacked and suddenly privacy and the rule of law matter. Two wrongs still don’t make a right as they say. Even though Palin may have been breaking the law by using a private e-mail to conduct official business and still get around Alaska’s laws that require government correspondence be achieved. Glenn Greenwald has a post up that details the blatant hypocrisy of the rightie pundits that were denouncing the “constitutional absolutists” and “civil liberties absolutists”. While most Americans think that we’re all equal under the law and think that we should have some consistency in our respect for the tenets of the Constitution the Right likes to take a different tact. They find a position that like on whatever issue on any given day and then backtrack to find some rationalization for it, Todd Palin Refuses to Comply With Subpoena. Ironically in the last 24 hours the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has renewed its efforts to stop illegal surveillance. Not a word of support from those Righties who have miraculously discovered the concept of privacy, Internet group sues Bush for electronic eavesdropping (Update)

“For years, the NSA has been engaged in a massive and massively illegal fishing expedition through AT&T’s domestic networks and databases of customer records.”

The suit names Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, as well as attorneys general, the NSA director and 100 “john does” yet to be identified.

It accuses them of personally violating the US constitution and a host of federal laws by helping orchestrate or carry out illegal snooping of Internet and voice communications.

The lawsuit asks the court to order federal officials to account for and then destroy information illegally-obtained from AT&T databases and to pay unspecified cash damages.

It is unfortunate that Palin’s e-mails can’t be unhacked, we can all pretend they haven’t been and that if investigators flt they were pertinent to their investigation of her wrong doing to get them by legal means. We can undone some of the harm that has been done to our Constitutionally guaranteed rights by letting these lawsuits proceed.

McCain Flub? Republican Says He’d Fire SEC Chair as President

“While I have great respect for Sen. McCain, we have sometimes disagreed, and this is one such occasion,” Cox said in a statement. “The SEC has made plain that we have zero tolerance for naked short selling. In this market crisis, the men and women of the SEC have responded valiantly, as they always do –- with the utmost dedication and professionalism.”

The White House said this week it wants to stay out of politics, but a Bush administration spokesperson said today of SEC Chairman Cox, who was nominated by President George W. Bush, “The chairman has the president’s support.”

In the private sector asking someone to resign is frequently code for fired, but not so in government especially with chairs of regulatory agencies. McCain would know that if he hadn’t spent most of his adult life on the government payroll.

Obama campaign staffers note that several of McCain’s top advisors –- including campaign manager Rick Davis, vice presidential vetter Arthur Culvahouse, and McCain consigliere Charlie Black -– lobbied on behalf of the mortgage giants.

Republinomics

The Pain in Spain Falls Mainly on McCain

You gotta feel for Jos[a {e}] Luis Rodr[a {i}]guez Zapatero. Here the Spanish Prime Minister is only four months from an end to his government’s strained relations with that of President George W. Bush and blam! — along comes John McCain to suggest that the next four years might not be any better. During an interview in Miami earlier this week with Spanish-language station Union Radio, a reporter asked McCain whether, if elected, he would receive Zapatero in the White House. McCain answered, “Honestly, I have to analyze our relationships, situations and priorities, but I can assure you that I will establish closer relationships with our friends, and I will stand up to those who want to harm the United States.”

Spain is a member of NATO. You know, that organization that McCain thinks Georgia should be allowed to join. Those two major flubs. Serious flubs that once again raise doubts about McCain’s competence in two days would have sunk the Obama campaign. The worse the Obama-Biden team has done is suggest that paying your taxes is the right thing to do in order to maintain the infrastructure necessary to actually have a civilized country to live in.

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There is absolutely no evidence Obama tried to delay Iraq troop withdrawals

A few days ago the New Yok Post, a publication whose journalistic standards are only a few degrees away from the National Enquirer and Sean Hannity claimed that Senator Obama tried to talk Iraqi officials into preventing an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. troops until after the election, Obama Tried To Stall GIS’ Iraq Withdrawal by Amir Taheri

WHILE campaigning in public for a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence.

The National Review among other far Right sources echoed the story as loud as they could for a few days. It didn’t get much traction in the mainstream media. Which became cause for a round of the usual tired sniffling about the librul media. The reason the stall story didn’t get much coverage is because no one could find a credible corroborating source. Taheri’s absurd conceit

Plus, Taheri doesn’t even get the time or location of the supposed exchange right.  In the very same sentence which Taheri quoted, Zebari said:  “That is the question which Barack Obama asked me when I was in Washington a while ago, when I met with McCain and Obama.”  That’s right – Taheri’s only piece of evidence that “Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July” is Zebari’s account of an exchange which did not take place during Obama’s trip to Baghdad in July, but rather during Zebari’s trip to Washington in June. If Taheri can’t even get such an obvious and consequential detail right, why should we trust anything else he says?

The whole post is worth saving. In the reality based world the claim doesn’t make sense because as Abua Ardvark pionts out the long term security agreements being negotiated by the Bushies don’t require agreement for the draw down of troops. Bush has in fact started a draw down of troops. The reverse is also true. If Bush and a future president feels that further increases in troop deployments are required for security reasons, that does not require negotiating with the Iraqis. It might be a big assumption considering McCain’s erratic behavior, but lets assume that McCain has knowledge of these basic facts. This is his overwrought press release in response to the Post rumor,

At this point, it is not yet clear what official American negotiations Senator Obama tried to undermine with Iraqi leaders, but the possibility of such actions is unprecedented.  It should be concerning to all that he reportedly urged that the democratically-elected Iraqi government listen to him rather than the US administration in power.  If news reports are accurate, this is an egregious act of political interference by a presidential candidate seeking political advantage overseas.

Is McCain Taheri’s tool. It sounds as though he is. Amir Taheri is an Iranian-born journalist. if the name kind of rings a bell its because he’s taken us down this road before, “A Colour Code for Iran’s Infidels”

written by Taheri, a “prominent U.S. neo-conservative” [3], was published May 19, 2006, by Canada’s National Post. The story “regarding new legislation in Iran allegedly requiring Jews and other religious minorities to wear distinctive colour badges circulated around the world this weekend before it was exposed as false,” Jim Lobe wrote May 22, 2006, for Inter Press Service.

Taheri wrote a book released in 1989 called Nest of Spies which was found to contain sources made up solely from his imagination. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari is quoted as one of Taheri’s sources. Zebari isn’t actually an Iraqi, he’s a Kurd and had pushed the U.S. and Great Britain to put boots on the ground in Iraq since the nineties. So even if Zebari was the source and Taheri quoted him accurately, another dubious source. Juan Cole has this post, Obama smeared by Taheri on Iraq Troop Withdrawals. Cole points out that the Iraqi timetable to have U.S. troops out is very similar to the one that Obama has been very public about even before his recent tour of the Middle-East. As Obama and a spokesperson says in this press release it all just doesn’t add up. The Senator is on the record urging the Iraqis not to rush to any agreement one way or the other. Any such agreements would normally require approval by Congress regardless of who is president. Taheri was Bush’s guest at the White House in 2006, Iran Bamboozler Invited to White House as “Expert”

Normally is the optimum word, Bush Administration Rewords Security Agreement With Iraq To ‘Avoid’ Getting Congressional Approval

The Bush administration is currently negotiating a long-term Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the Iraqi government, which would codify “legal protections for U.S. military personnel and property in Iraq” after 2008, when a U.N. security mandate runs out. People in both Iraq and the United States have criticized the deal’s sweeping demands, including 58 permanent bases, “control of Iraqi airspace,” and immunity for U.S. troops and private contractors.

Because of these demands, Iraqi officials said they were likely to miss a July target for coming to an agreement. New remarks by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari reveal, however, that U.S. negotiators have finally backed down and conceded that the estimated 160,000 foreign contractors in Iraq would no longer have immunity.

Additionally, the Bush administration has consistently insisted that it doesn’t need congressional approval for the deal. Yet it appears that this stance was nothing more than posturing, as officials are now reworking the agreement with new language in order to actually avoid going before Congress:

U.S. and Iraqi officials negotiating long-term security agreements have reworded a proposed White House commitment to defend Iraq against foreign aggression in an effort to avoid submitting the deal for congressional approval, Iraq’s foreign minister said yesterday.

The alternative under discussion will pledge U.S. forces to “help Iraqi security forces to defend themselves,” rather than a U.S. promise to defend Iraq, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said. Although “it’s the other way around,” he said, “the meaning is the same, almost.”

Here’s your right-wing journalism at work from a Republican blog called Wizbang, Confirmed: Obama Did Try to Postpone US-Iraq Agreement on Troop Draw-Down, Posted by Kim Priestap, Published: September 17, 2008 – 8:23 AM

The Prowler at the American Spectator has all the details on how Obama, in a closed door session with Iraqi officials, tried to persuade them to not negotiate a troop draw-down agreement with the US government until after Bush left the White House.

The post contains not one shred of proof. It does contain unsupported assertions from the same right-wing Iranian and lots of shrill manufactured outrage that Obama would do something he hasn’t done.

UPDATE: September 19, 2008 Undermining McCain Campaign Attack, Republicans Back Obama‘s Version of Meeting With Iraqi Leaders

The Obama campaign said that the Post report consisted of “outright distortions.”

Lending significant credence to Obama’s response is the fact that — though it’s absent from the Post story and other retellings — in addition to Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, this July meeting was also attended by Bush administration officials, such as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and the Baghdad embassy’s legislative affairs advisor Rich Haughton, as well as a Republican senator, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

Attendees of the meeting back Obama’s account, including not just Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., but Hagel, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffers from both parties. Officials of the Bush administration who were briefed on the meeting by the U.S. embassy in Baghdad also support Obama’s account and dispute the Post story and McCain attack.

The Post story is “absolutely not true,” Hagel spokesman Mike Buttry told ABC News.

[  ]…A Bush administration official with knowledge of the meeting says that, during the meeting, Obama stressed to al-Maliki that he would not interfere with President Bush’s negotiations concerning the U.S. troop presence in Iraq, and that he supports the Bush administration’s position on the need to negotiate, as soon as possible, the Status of Forces Agreement, which deals with, among other matters, U.S. troops having immunity from local prosecution.

McCain Bites Celeb Hands That Feed Him

John McCain took the opportunity Tuesday to criticize Barack Obama for consorting with celebrities at a Democratic fund drive in Hollywood that night, but McCain had apparently forgotten about his own celeb-attended fundraiser in Beverly Hills last month…

The Two faces of Conservatism

Keeping Up With Palin and McCain

Some quick links. Some new and some in case you missed them.

Pretty much indispensable and the count seems to go up everyday, Fact Checking McCain. 55 lies by Johnny and Sarah as of today. Good thing they’re basing their campaign on change otherwise we wouldn’t get our daily dose of irony.

Candidate McCain Violates U.S. Naval Academy Honor Code.

During the Republican convention in St. Paul, Fred Thompson offered a folksy if bizarre recounting of John McCain’s rebellious days at the United States Naval Academy. But while McCain’s bottom-of-his-class record there was “loaded with demerits,” Thompson assured Americans, “he never violated the honor code.” That may or may not have been true about John McCain’s days at Annapolis. But there can be no doubt that with his avalanche of lies, distortions and smears, candidate John McCain is violating that code today.

I’m sure that many graduates of the Naval Academy are repulsed by McCain’s behavior, but the Right is eating it up and that is what seems to matter.

In Family Values. McCain has lost his half sister in-law’s vote as well as a cousin. GOP delegate’s hotel tryst goes bad when he wakes up with $120,000 missing

The People’s Guide to the Conservative Palinguage Vol. 3: Market Meltdown Edition! Which wouldn’t be necessary if Republicans did ever engage in actual straight talk.

Democrats who balance the budget and lower unemployment are tax and spend liberals. Republicans who run record deficits and crash the housing market are fiscally responsible.

Five former U.S. state secretaries urge Iran talks. The list includes Dubya’s former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Just eight years ago he was frequently mentioned as a potential presidential candidate.

How is McCain connected to the almost bankrupt AIG?

A bipartisan effort, no doubt about it. But nobody made it more of a sacred mission to ensure that credit derivatives were kept unregulated than Senator Gramm, long recognized as the key force in the passage of the Commodities Future Modernization Act of 2000, which specifically exempted new derivative markets from government oversight.

Until Gramm stuck his foot in America’s mouth with his whiners comment a couple months ago he was Change McCain’s chief economic adviser.

Bush’s Buddy McCain Running as Reformer

Hello? If McCain Had His Way, That’d Be Our Social Security Money Wall St. is Losing

When George W. Bush made it to term #2, he decided to try to privatize social security to reward his supporters on Wall Street with a new source of capital, customers, and fees. (Those would be the same people whose firms are now cratering under the weight of the bad debt they recklessly took on while Republican regulators looked the other way). But as it turned out, we Americans were not about to let our elected representatives turn over our social security taxes to Wall Street financiers to gamble with if it meant losing the guaranteed income that has allowed millions upon millions of American seniors to live out their sunset years with at least a basic measure of dignity.

But while ordinary Americans spoke out, John McCain stood with Bush (hugged him awkwardly in public, even), against the American people. In fact, just six months ago, McCain again let slip his fondness for privatization.

I wonder if the Conservative snakes running the push-poll smearing Obama are trying to counter McCain’s flip-floppery over Social Security, Jewish voters report calls disparaging Obama

Jewish voters in Florida and at least one other state are being targeted by a telephone survey tying Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama to Palestinian causes, an advocacy group alleged Monday.

The Jewish Council for Education in Research says at least two women in separate states were push polled, or asked questions intended to influence voters while pretending to take a poll, on Sunday afternoon from a caller who said he was from Research Strategies.

Joelna Marcus says she became uncomfortable when the caller asked if she was Jewish, whether she was Orthodox and how often she attends synagogue.

The caller then asked if Marcus would be influenced if she learned that Obama had donated money to the Palestine Liberation Organization. The caller also asked how she would vote if she learned that someone on the Illinois senator’s staff had close ties to Palestine.

Marcus, a 71-year-old former college professor, said she was furious.

“I said you’re not polling me. This is un-American. This is unacceptable,” said Marcus, a snowbird who lives in New Jersey and has a house in Key West. “And then this is the scary part. He said if you had not said that you were Jewish, you would have been disqualified.”

According to TPM, Research Strategies has advisers connected to the campaign of, you know that guy that swore to the honor code at the Naval Academy.

McCain Rips “Fat Cats” Instrumental In Funding His Campaign. Once you walk off the deep end on the lie your way to the White House road it apparently becomes addictive.

The initial infatuation phase seems to have peaked and it is trending downward, Palin’s Favorability Numbers Eroding

Too bad all the people squeezed in the housing ad financial crisis can’t collect a nickel for every time Republicans claimed they were better for the economy, Recent Republican Presidents Aren’t Conservatives; They Are Illiberals

I would contend that, not just George W. Bush, but also Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and (to a lesser extent) George H.W. Bush, all — in sharp distinction from their conservative rhetoric – in practice have been interventionist.  They have all wandered, far from the principles of good neoclassical economics, and far from from the principles of small government and laissez faire.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and company have ordered an investigation into Wall Street. Which Mccain and his supporters shouldn’t have a problem with since McCain said he favored such investigations. Right?

Sarah Palin’s powerful “First Dude”

Todd Palin has exerted unusual influence on his wife’s Alaska government. In Washington, their methods would do Bush and Cheney proud.

What Todd Palin’s role seems to underscore is the extent to which his wife has run Alaska without engaging in the normal machinations of government. Insiders say Palin pays scant attention to the day-to-day workings of the bureaucracy that employs about 15,000 people. John McCain’s campaign has used that number of employees to talk up Palin as having the executive experience necessary to be vice-president, or president — but critics say she hasn’t displayed an understanding of the details needed to manage even a state as sparsely populated as Alaska.

Remember Todd is the one that belonged to a group that advocated Alaska sucession. Something that Abe Lincoln and a few other Americans once considered treason.

Brother McCain’s Travelling Reform Show

In the last 24 hours I’ve seen the commercial where McCain claims to be a “maverick” and he and Palin are reformers three times. Despite all the articles and fact checkers McCain continues to claim that Palin was against the bridge to Nowhere. Karl Rove, as it turns out might have been given too much credit for the Conservative smear and lie machine. It has become deeply embedded in the entirety of the Republican Party, Business as usual. McCain must have had a civics transfusion from our Fourth Branch of government, Dick Cheney. He doesn’t seem to know or is lying about the role of governors in the earmark process,

McCain cut off a question about the “Bridge to Nowhere,” which Palin claims to have killed in Alaska even though Washington pulled back money for the project before she turned against it.

“The important thing is she’s vetoed a half a billion dollars in earmark projects — far, far in excess of her predecessor and she’s given money back to the taxpayers and she’s cut their taxes, so I’m happy with her record,” McCain said.

In addition to her current requests, state budget documents show Alaska requested 52 earmarks worth $256 million for 2008.

Palin has done no such thing. Congress passes a spending bill with earmarks. Bush signs it into law. Alaska gets the earmark. Governors have no “veto” power over earmarks. Rather then spending the money on a bridge to where-ever she spent the earmark on something else after it became a political hot potato. Palin is is only a reformer if we stretch the definition to the point of absurdity. In most ways she is a typical Republican pol. The public has to watch what they do, not what they say. Fueled by oil taxes, Alaska spending soared under Palin

Indeed, in her 20 months in office, Palin’s toughest financial decisions involved dickering with the Legislature on creative ways to spend and salt away the billions of dollars in oil revenues pouring into the state treasury.

At times, Palin has been more economic populist than small-government conservative, partly because of Alaska’s unique government financing system.

With no statewide income or sales tax, Alaska funds about 90 percent of the state budget from royalties and taxes on oil producers. Soaring oil prices and a higher windfall oil profits tax – an increase pushed through by Palin, now the Republican vice presidential nominee – have state coffers overflowing with petrodollars. The Alaska oil industry calculates that its annual payments to the state doubled in a single year to $10.2 billion.

In general terms increased spending isn’t necessarily bad. Politicians have been throwing money at constituents and their problems for years. What matters, with an eye on the balance sheet, is if you throw that money at things that really matter. Palin in her RNC speech promised the disabled and their families, “I pledge to you that, if we’re elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.” As governor of Alaska, with all the state revenue plus those earmarks that she used and McCain claims she didn’t, Palin vetoed $275,000 in Special Olympics Alaska funds (PDF). As most of America has learned over the last forty years, at least since the early days of Jerry Falwell’s moral majority heyday the self described pro family, pro values crowd has never given violence against women and children much of a priority. Like many of their social and political positions there is a disconnect between bluster about caring and actually doing some caring. Actually doing some caring sometimes requires spending some money. People like McCain uses money to buy lots of houses, while Palin likes to have her own personal tanning bed, Effort to Tackle Sex Violence Stalled by Palin’s Office, Sources Say

Alaska leads the nation in reported forcible rapes per capita, according to the FBI, with a rate two and a half times the national average a ranking it has held for many years. Children are no safer: Public safety experts believe that the prevalence of rape and sexual assault of minors in Alaska makes the state’s record one of the worst in the U.S.

{  ]…The status of the plan, which would have “fast-tracked” sex crime cases via a dedicated group that included specially-trained investigators, judges and prosecutors, is unknown. “I’d ask the governor,” said one official with knowledge of the plan. Numerous inquiries to Palin’s campaign spokeswoman went unreturned.

Pain did increase funding for some aspects of domestic violence by two percent, but funding for state troopers to respond in pairs as they’re supposed to has gone lacking as has a program to fast-track sex crime cases. Remember that when she was mayor she played around with local taxes to fund a sports arena. She isn’t the brightest person in the world, but she manages to find funding for projects that she thinks deserve priority. Special Olympics and sex crimes just don’t make it to the top of her to-do list.

If McCain wants to sell himself as a reformer he’s going to have to rely on the public’s notoriously short memory – a tactic that seems to be working. Maybe getting out from under the Keating 5 Scandal by the skin of his teeth gave McCain the impression that he could claim it never happened. Keating happened in 1987. Some simple math shows the maverick reformer has been AWOL as it were, on finance industry regulation for 21 years. After the Arizona S&L scandal McCain rescued his political career by claiming in so many words to have turned a corner, had an epiphany of sorts. That realization just never resulted in championing the cause of putting the breaks on the anything goes economic policies of his party and his friends like Phil Foreclosure Gramm.

McCain has also seemed to soften his earlier statements about being influenced by political donors and lobbyists. In 2000, McCain told the Globe: “People give money to buy access. We’re all tainted by this system. . . . They have access, and therefore they have influence. It corrupts the system. And I’m a victim of it, too.” But at a press conference on Feb. 21(2008), McCain said: “The question is . . . do they have excess or unwarranted influence? And certainly no one ever has, in my conduct of my public life and conduct of my legislative agenda.”

One of the cornerstones of the maverick image that Johnny has been selling the public the last twenty years is integrity. That last assertion is devoid of anything resembling integrity.

THE DEBATE OBAMA WANTS TO HAVE..

“[T]oo many folks in Washington and on Wall Street weren’t minding the store,” Obama said. “For eight years, we’ve had policies that have shredded consumer protections, loosened oversight and regulation, and encouraged outsized bonuses to CEOs while ignoring middle-class Americans. The result is the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression.

“I certainly don’t fault Senator John McCain for these problems, but I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to. It’s the same philosophy we’ve had for the last eight years — one that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. It’s a philosophy that says even common-sense regulations are unnecessary and unwise; one that says we should just stick our heads in the sand and ignore economic problems until they spiral into crises.

“Well now, instead of prosperity trickling down, the pain has trickled up — from the struggles of hardworking Americans on Main Street to the largest firms of Wall Street. This country cannot afford another four years of this failed philosophy.”

Dear Senator Obama. I get it. You’re one of the more decent politicians at the forefront of American politics in years. Why, when making a perfectly good speech ( and this is not the first time) do you insist on throwing John McCain some crumbs. Johnny has been there with the rest of his cohorts  throwing his occasional cup of fuel on the economic meltdown. No, he isn’t singularly responsible, but don’t give him an out. Let him explain or rather lie his way out, like he does everything else.

All American Wonder Dog

Chicago Autumn wallpaper

Following the McCain Narrative

I was wondering why McCain’s blatant lies and the underlying lack of character that propels them was getting enough traction to make the race for president statistically about even as of today. The I came across this link from Seeing the Forest from James Fallows at The Atlantic, The Palin interview

Mention a name or theme — Brett Favre, the Patriots under Belichick, Lance Armstrong’s comeback, Venus and Serena — and anyone who cares about sports can have a very sophisticated discussion about the ins and outs and myth and realities and arguments and rebuttals.

People who don’t like sports can’t do that. It’s not so much that they can’t identify the names — they’ve heard of Armstrong — but they’ve never bothered to follow the flow of debate. I like sports — and politics and tech and other topics — so I like joining these debates. On a wide range of other topics — fashion, antique furniture,  the world of restaurants and fine dining, or (blush) opera — I have not been interested enough to learn anything I can add to the discussion.  So I embarrass myself if I have to express a view.

What Sarah Palin revealed is that she has not been interested enough in world affairs to become minimally conversant with the issues. Many people in our great land might have difficulty defining the “Bush Doctrine” exactly. But not to recognize the name, as obviously was the case for Palin, indicates not a failure of last-minute cramming but a lack of attention to any foreign-policy discussion whatsoever in the last seven years.

Some voters, enough of them to make a difference of around two to five percent are not following the entire narrative of what’s at stake that on the surface the McCain ticket doesn’t look that bad. The RNC convention was the last big bite of political input they had. McCain looks and talks like many Americans. I could close my eyes turn a few times and end up pointing to a person of either gender that comes across much like Palin. Policy, competence at government, the background and record of the candidates are barely showing up on some of these voters radar. It is Fallow’s Phenomenon or low information voter mania. They’ve walked into the tail end of the conversation. Picked up some bits and pieces about lipstick, bulldogs and other nonsense and feel they know something. This election cycle generation won’t be the first one in our history in which people voted, not in their best interests, but for someone they liked. Much like they based their vote for the prom king and queen, or bought that Ford Pinto from the very very nice salesman. McCain’s insulting attacks on Obama account for some of the problem, but McCain’s lies about policy and his plans have some appeal as sound bites. McCain has promised America that they can keep having a huge military, roads in good condition and all the other services that America wants without actually paying for it. Goodness knows we’re a nation that loves a bargain. Though most of us know that like those sale ads that promise something for nothing, McCain and company’s rhetoric is a gimmick. The problem will come around next February when those people that believed the sale ad have McBuyers Regret. It would seem that Obama needs to do as he says and fight McCain’s lies with the truth, but he needs to attack at the same time.  McCain and Palin Are Trying to Take Political Lying to the Next Dimension

Assessing the Republican Party Platform

Among the more frightening aspects of the platform is its unconstitutional assertion that the president has sole prerogative to make decisions on matters of war, rejecting any role for Congressional “interference” in foreign policy matters. This appears to be a pre-emptive assertion by the Republican Party that, in the event of a John McCain win in November, they would reject any attempt by the likely Democratic-controlled Congress to impose any checks and balances to prevent a possible war on Iran or other dangerous executive initiatives.

[  ]…The Republican platform calls for nothing less than an outright “military victory” in Iraq, something which has alluded the United States for over five years despite its overwhelming military might. As the Bush administration has claimed every year since the 2003 U.S. invasion, “A stable, unified, and democratic Iraqi nation is within reach.” Yet, despite the relative lull in violence in recent months, such a scenario appears to be as far from reality as ever. The platform rejects any timetables for a U.S. withdrawal. Despite the ruling Iraqi coalition’s domination by sectarian fundamentalist Shia parties and their militias, the platform argues that continuing to sacrifice American lives and dollars to keep that regime in power would somehow “give us a strategic ally in the struggle against extremism.”

I’m not knocking the entire nation of Saudi Arabia, but they are officially a U.S. ally. As is Egypt, the second largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, just behind Israel. Many of the foreign fighters in Iraq come from those two nations who are currently allies in the “struggle against extremism.” They’re both fairly authoritarian, especially the Saudis, yet the brilliant thinkers behind the Republic/McCain platform haven’t mentioned invading and occupying either country for as long as it takes to make them a liberal democracy. McCain like most Republicans is somewhat clever about twisting and turning logic in such a way that what they say sounds informed and unhypocritical. Maybe some folks are over analyzing what the modern era Conservatives are selling. Its simple. Republicans like Bush and McCain are ideological twins. McCain is not the competent version of Bush who will sort things out. McCain will implement the exact same disastrous polices and hope that this four year extension will make them work once and for all. That’s not really change or good government, its an amateur magic show.

Professor Vote Explains it all

Rain Beads on a Web wallpaper

Republicans Don’t Care If Candidates Are Corrupt Liars

Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes

Gov. Sarah Palin lives by the maxim that all politics is local, not to mention personal.

So when there was a vacancy at the top of the State Division of Agriculture, she appointed a high school classmate, Franci Havemeister, to the $95,000-a-year directorship. A former real estate agent, Ms. Havemeister cited her childhood love of cows as a qualification for running the roughly $2 million agency.

Ms. Havemeister was one of at least five schoolmates Ms. Palin hired, often at salaries far exceeding their private sector wages.

More then anything else this piece from the NYT is confirmation that she sees government as a way to reward friends and use her power to punish those that don’t tow the Palin line. The Con blogs that have picked up on this story manage to brezze right through this part,

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

Its diificult to pick out one, but probably the most damning aspect of Palin’s political style is her arrogance and inaccessibility,

Mayors across the state, from the larger cities to tiny municipalities along the southeastern fiords, are even more frustrated. Often, their letters go unanswered and their pleas ignored, records and interviews show.

Civics 101. If a govenor is simply refusing to mmeet with mayors she isn’t performing a large part of her duties.

Jennifer Rubin  writing at the right-wing Commentary, Is This It? Really?, 09.13.2008 – 10:04 PM

But what is so remarkable is how little there is in the page after page of minutiae thrown against the wall by the Times. And indeed there’s plenty of favorable material there (emphasis mine)

Jen liked the good parts, didn’t like the bad parts. Commentary honestly feels, as do most Republicans that corruption, cronyism and incompetence is OK as long as they’re the ones dishing it out. Jeniifer is thus not the least bit shocked that the way Palin conducts governance in a way that lines the pockets of her friends, incompetent ones at that and doesn’t feel that a governor should lower herself to meet with mere mayors, like she once was.

The Republican blog Riehl World View agrees with Commentary, Saturday, September 13, 2008, They Really Are Deranged: Yes, Enough Is Enough

So now the media really cares precisely which foot of Sarah Palin may or may not have been across a border on one overseas trip?

Yes. Dammit he’s mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. How dare the media fact check Palin and find out she lied. Sweet, good Queen Palin, that she should have to undergo the same scurtiny of every vice-presidential candidate since forever.

Republicans have a sudden change in standards

Outrage From A REAL Disabled Person

I can’t use my arms or hands for much of ANYTHING, and I practically LIVE on my computer. But there is a much deeper issue under the surface.

I type 60 words a minute with a pencil in my mouth. I use my lower lip to move the mouse cursor via my laptop’s touchpad. I am quite good with computers and have used them since second grade, when Vick and Tandy and Commodore were state of the art. There are also TONS of adaptive equipment, voice recognition software, and more to allow the disabled to type.

From a diary at DKos in reply to Jonah Goldberg’s absurd assertion that Senator Obama’s ad was making fun of McCain’s disabilities. The diarist couldn’t help but notice that the Right, constantly whining about affirmative action should try and milk McCain’s for votes. Democrats from every corner of the kown universe have saluted McCain’s service and expressed sympathy for his physical problems, the Right needs to move on. There are no cheap gotcha points to be scored in that regard.

Wheels come off Straight Talk Express?

To top it off, McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said this to the Politico about the increased media scrutiny of the campaign’s factual claims: “We’re running a campaign to win. And we’re not too concerned about what the media filter tries to say about it.”

It is Mr. Rogers and the McCain camps assertion that they smugged the truth, bludgeoned it to death and buried it in a ditch in some back woods. If the public and press don’t like it, too bad they’ll lie as much as they damn well please.

McCain Pre-Palin Mayors And Governors Can’t Handle National Security

Yakutat Bay Alaska wallpaper

McCain and the Right’s Endless Hypocrisy

I was reading this post at OpenLeft about Senator Obama attack on McCain for caring more about foreign countries then American jobs, Obama Asks Whether McCain Is Putting “Country First”

“Just ask the machinists in Pennsylvania who build Harley-Davidsons,” Obama said of McCain’s record. “Because John McCain didn’t just oppose the requirement that the government buy American-made motorcycles, he called Buy American provisions ‘disgraceful.’ Just ask the workers across this country who have seen their jobs outsourced. The very companies that shipped their jobs overseas have been rewarded with billions of dollars in tax breaks that John McCain supports and plans to continue.

“So, when American workers hear John McCain talking about putting ‘Country First,'” Obama said, “it’s fair to ask — which country?”

Besides thinking it is about time a Democratic leader started pointing out how Republicans are frequently all talk about America first and usually come up short on actually putting America first, it reminded me of Bush and McCain  plan to outsource American port management to the United Arab Emirates. Mr. McFreedom had this to say, McCain: Port Sale Overblown Since UAE is ‘Freer Than China’

According to the Freedom House’s 2006 Global Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties, China scores the worst rating (7) for political rights and a 6 for civil liberties. Overall, it receives a rating of “Not Free.” It’s actually a feat to be less free than China — only 7 countries of 192 do it.

The UAE is also rated “Not Free,” scoring a 6 for both political rights and civil liberties. Some other human rights bastions who are “freer than China”: Iran, the Congo, Cote d’Iviore, and Rwanda.

Also reported during this controversy was that the UAE wasn’t very cooperative after 9-11 with Treasury Department efforts to track down Bin Laden’s bank accounts and the UAE was one of the few countries to recognize the Taliban as Afghanistan’s official governing body. Why do Republicans hate America? I don’t know.

Obama-Biden have also been running an ad about how out of touch with modern business and technology McCain is. The Right in another mouth foaming episode of false outrage is claiming Obama owes McCain an apology. According to an old article McCain is unable to use a keyboard because of his disabilities. Maybe he can’t and that is certainly unfortunate, but that shouldn’t keep him from being more in touch with a major portion of the U.S. economy and communications. Matter of fact PCs/MACs and the net have been a boon to the disabled, McCain Computer Ignorance Raises New Questions: Can His Injured Hands Type?

Whether McCain’s physical limitations are part of what is keeping him from using computers remains to be seen, but if so, there are a lot of assistive devices out there for using computers for people who have injuries or disabilities: certain types of mice, voice activation software, special keyboards, keyboard usage training, etc.

[  ]…As Sarah Lai Stirland of Wired News noted, Rahm Emanuel explained in Friday’s media conference call about the ad, “There’s a whole economic revolution going on that has fundamentally changed the economy and fundamentally changed people’s lives, and he’s removed from that.”

British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking suffers from Lou Gehrig’s Disease, uses a computer and has his own web site. The Right’s relentless attempts to exploit everything from lipstick to disabilities to milk public sympathy is getting tiresome. It is all clearly a way of deflecting attention away from their abysmal record of governance and McCain’s desire to govern in that tradition. It doesn’t occur to the Right that Obama is simply pointing out a lack of knowledge, while McCain supporters are claiming that John is a helpless old man. What is the Right’s version of McCain going to do if he gets in the White House, cry to Jonah Goldberg when Putin says “e-mail me” to McCain, make him stop. Update: John Cole has a photo of McCain using a Blackberry. So he can find ways to use technology if he wants to. H/T to a commenter over at TBogg who remembers that McCain did return to active duty after Nam and this photo shows the instrument panel of the kind of plane McCain worked with, the A-7 Corsair. The rightie blogs are having a real hissy fit. They should know by now not to march blindly to the likes of Jonah Goldberg and Glenn Reynolds.

Palin’s economics talk was awful, but the real point is that McCain, calling on his experience and best judgment picked her. Having done so, the McC Squad prepared her for this interview  and that’s the best McCain prepers could do. Experience isn’t the absolute end all as far as qualifications go, McCain has proved his experience gap by letting One Heart Beat Away Palin be an example of how he’ll conduct his presidency, Maverick Budgeting

But it is telling that the woman John McCain chose as his running mate doesn’t seem to understand what “entitlements” are. Clearly, just as most citizens don’t know what the Bush Doctrine is, most people probably aren’t all that familiar with the meaning of the entitlement/discretionary distinction in federal budgeting. But it’s a big deal for people who actually pay attention to political and policy issues in the United States.

Matt is right of course. Many voters could care less about the actual details of governing and policy. They care about phony arguments over quaint analogies and manufactured outrage.

Some visual relief,

Seascape Autumn wallpaper

Antique World map circa 1700

McCain Campaign Officials Lobbied For Companies At Center of Sex-For-Oil Scandal

The short version is as follows: Employees at a number of leading energy companies allegedly gave improper gifts — including sports tickets, ski trips, illegal drugs and even sexual relations — to federal officials in charge of a program that oversees a program by which the companies can pay for use of public lands with free energy instead of cash, saving them money.

The McCain Apologists and The Sarah Palin Interpreters

Even before McCain threw his hail Mary pass and selected a small time pol with nothing resembling foreign policy expertise nor experience the fabrications, blustering and embellishments of the truth were running thick and deep. After the RNC convention, during which they seemed to decide to put the previous tendency to lie on steroids. The Wall Street Journal, typical of most of the media tip toes up to the Senator and asks about the “tone” of Mccain’s campaign. The campaign commercials where honor is thrown in the trunk and the the old “maverick” does his impression of a game show contestant that has to tell as many lies as possible in thirty seconds to win,

Questioned about the tone of the campaign, Sen. McCain insisted he was running an issues-based campaign and put the blame on his opponent for refusing to join him in town hall meetings.

“First of all this is a tough business,” the Arizona senator said. “Second of all, I think the tone of this whole campaign would’ve been very different if Sen. Obama had accepted my request for us to appear at town hall meetings all over America.”

Sen. McCain pushed for weekly town hall meetings more than three months ago, suggesting that the candidates travel together to battleground states and have a discussion with voters. Sen. Obama repeatedly refused to participate, citing the opportunities voters will have at the three presidential debates to see the pair together.

If Senator Obama isn’t with him in a setting of his choosing before the official debate McCain is going to pretend that he just can’t get a sense of where Obama stands on the issues. What tired load poli-speak. McCain wanted things a certain way, told Obama to jump, and Obama dared not to ask how high. Way too many Republicans share this arrogant streak. To say no to what they want, when they want it means you deserve to be punished with an awful load of bull. Analysis: McCain’s claims skirt facts, test voters

John McCain’s campaign keeps telling voters that Sarah Palin opposed a federally funded Bridge to Nowhere that, in fact, she originally supported. It accuses Democrat Barack Obama of calling Palin a pig, which did not happen.

Even in a political culture accustomed to truth-stretching, McCain’s skirting of facts has stood out this week. It has infuriated and flustered Barack Obama’s campaign, and campaign pros are watching to see how much voters disregard news reports noting factual holes in the claims.

That voter reaction could help determine who wins this presidential election and influence the strategies of future campaigns.

This is your liberal press. McCain’s campaign has a “tone” and “skirts” facts. His career is littered with lies, but he was known on occasion to speak the truth. McCain he is now 72, this is his last shot at being president so he, his staff and his surrogates have decided that if truth and honor are victims on Johnny’s way to the White House then so be it. Winning is everything.

Something else that we’ll have to get used to, not they we shouldn’t be after eight years of Dubya. Whenever Sarah Palin speaks a shrill bunny slipper wearing brigade of apologists is sure to follow. Why is this necessary? Though they claim she is smart ( she’s not dumb), is experienced and is “ready to lead”; they have to tell us that what she said she meant is not what we think it meant based on the facts. Everything That Palin says must be poured through the filter of the Right’s avid interpreters. She doesn’t know what the Bush Doctrine is. Period end of story. Republicans cannot thus, in any honest way make the case she is ready to lead. Palin and her interpreters such as the New York Times Billy Kristol, are wrong when they try and distort history. U.S. troops in Iraq are not fighting the perpetrators of the 9-11 attacks. In fact there was no al-Qaeda in Iraq until after Bush invaded. As Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) who has a son in Iraq, has stated Bush’s strategy allowed al-Qaeda into Iraq and allowed them to use it as a recruiting tool. The Washington Post is correct,

The idea that the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein helped al-Qaeda plan the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a view once promoted by Bush administration officials, has since been rejected even by the president himself. But it is widely agreed that militants allied with al-Qaeda have taken root in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion.

Palin like many people still believe there is an Iraq-Bin laden connection. She is wrong. Kristol is wrong to try and spin the meaning of what she said to make it look as though she knew what she was talking about. Most of the violence in Iraq has come from home grown insurgents, foriegn fighters that came into Iraq after the invasion have always been in the minority,

Some American officials also believe that Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a homegrown insurgent group that claims a loose allegiance to Osama bin Laden, may by itself have as many as 10,000 members in Iraq.

In a report by the Washington-based Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) in 2005 foreign fighters were numerous, but still only made up 4 to 10 percent of those that attacked American troops and Iraqis. If Republicans want America to take Palin seriously as a leader, one that will be a heart beat away from the presidency. How are they going to accomplish that bit of propaganda if they spend hours at their keyboards telling America what she really meant. Maybe in the short time between now and November they’re hoping that the majority of Americans doesn’t notice those strings attached to Palin while she dances.