McCain’s Moral Courage, Palin’s UnAmerican Friends and Bush’s National Security Failure

The search for McCain’s moral courage

In Josh Marshall’s The Cowardice Issue he writes,

McCain’s moral cowardice has been one of the subtexts of this campaign ever since he wound up the nomination and turned his attention to Barack Obama. But I did not realize it would reveal itself in such a physical dimension.

The tell came this week as McCain unearthed the Ayers story which, for whatever its merits, was fully aired months ago and has no clear relation to the particulars of October other than McCain’s collapsing poll numbers. He’s on it. Palin’s on it.

[  ]…And now Obama can lightly taunt McCain with that very cowardice, his inability to just say it to his face. And if my take on the inner workings of McCain’s mind at the moment is right that should simply unhinge him even more.

To which a few Republican bloggers have made the NOUN, VERB…POW reply. Did McCain display some physical courage forty years ago. Certainly, in my view anyway, but that is not the point that Josh among others is making. Where is McCain’s moral courage. He has hidden behind Palin and his wife’s skirt, gotten the media to play his deranged attack ads for free, yet in the first debate couldn’t even make eye contact with Senator Obama. Second debate, McCain is a little condescending, but says nothing about his attempts at pure character assassination. Considering Palin’s very real issues of integrity in abusing her political powers to get public safety commissioner Walt Monegan to fire trooper Michael Wooten, it takes a high degree of narcissism and denial to go out on the political stomp claiming to be the country’s ethics savior. Palins Repeatedly Pressed Case Against Trooper

In all, the commissioner and his aides were contacted about Trooper Wooten three dozen times over 19 months by the governor, her husband and seven administration officials, interviews and documents show.

Lets suppose that Wooten is as awful as the Palins say. It doesn’t speak too well for Palin’s executive judgment that she and her husband seemed to handle the situation so badly, then lie and try and derail the investigation. Meet Sarah Palin’s radical right-wing pals

In Wasilla, the AIP became powerful by proxy — because of Chryson and Stoll’s alliance with Sarah Palin. Chryson and Stoll had found themselves in constant opposition to policies of Wasilla’s Democratic mayor, who started his three-term, nine-year tenure in 1987. By 1992, Chryson and Stoll had begun convening regular protests outside City Council. Their demonstrations invariably involved grievances against any and all forms of “socialist government,” from city planning to public education. Stoll shared Chryson’s conspiratorial views: “The rumor was that he had wrapped his guns in plastic and buried them in his yard so he could get them after the New World Order took over,” Stein told a reporter.

Palin and the first dude were and are much closer to people that think the Civil war was The War of Northern Aggression then Obama has to any radical groups.

Chryson and Stoll viewed Palin’s ascendancy as a vehicle for their own political ambitions. “She got support from these guys,” Stein remarked. “I think smart politicians never utter those kind of radical things, but they let other people do it for them. I never recall Sarah saying she supported the militia or taking a public stand like that. But these guys were definitely behind Sarah, thinking she was the more conservative choice.”

Some Democrat walks past a book store that sells some Marxist screed and the Right screams like its a three alarm fire. Conservatives are neck deep in neo-fascism, not a word. The media lets them get away with it because anything that remotely hints of socialism – Medicare, unemployment insurance – has been so thoroughly demonized, but soft fascism, like secession and weakening infrastructure, ain’t so bad.

Fear and loathing bubbling up at GOP events

A man stood up and said, “I’m mad. I’m really mad, and what’s going to surprise you, it’s not about the economy. It’s about the socialists taking over our country.”

“When you have Obama, Pelosi and the rest of the hooligans up there gonna run this country. We gotta have our head examined. It’s time that you two are representing us and we are mad. So go get ’em!”

The crowd erupted in “USA! USA! USA!” chants.

One of McCain’s pathetic replies was that Democrats have had a majority in Congress for two years. The reasoning must be that the House should have been able to repair the damage McCain and his party did the last ten years in two. The crowds at these rallies ar suffering either from denial or RADD -Republican Attention Deficit Disorder. A Republican administration moved to the defacto socialization of Wall Str while McCain alternately tried to take credit for, voted for it and then damned it. All in the course of a week. While Democrats have arguably been lacking in being more aggressive on some issues they still do not have a real majority in the Senate because of McCain’s buddy Joe Lieberman. Its not just the run of the mill rightie loons you can watch over at YouTube , its the so called movement Conservative intellectuals at the Corner (National Review), The Corner goes round the bend

As you know, Bob, The Corner is the bloggy opinion-mongering operation of National Review Online. Their fame recently spiked, not in a good way, when Rich Lowry wrote an infatuated review of Sarah Palin’s performance in the VP debates that earned him Keith Olbermann’s Worst Person of the Day award. The Corner was embarrassed enough to remove Lowry’s piece from their site, but you can still hear Olbermann read the whole thing verbatim on YouTube.*

They’ve continued their slide into bizarre behavior with their focus on Obama’s supposed (i.e., nonexistent) radicalism. In this, they’re taking their cues from the McCain campaign—which, with the country embroiled in the worst financial crisis since the Great Crash of 1929, has chosen to concentrate on Obama’s connections with Bill Ayers…

I’m a little tired of writing about the whole Ayers deal because it has so little substance. The entirety of the Right’s case as of today is two fold – why doesn’t Obama explain his ‘connection” and “questions” remain. One can almost imagine the haunting music score in the background as the camera pans over to the shadows. Actually that’s close to being one of McCain’s silly ads. There is no connection and much like the paper folds and seals on Obama’s birth certificate, for the Right questions will remain in their dull minds for years. If they put this much effort into investigating the wrong doing of Republican pols there would be dozen still holding public office.

Moment of Truth

The United States should have been in a much stronger position. And when Mr. Paulson announced his plan for a huge bailout, there was a temporary surge of optimism. But it soon became clear that the plan suffered from a fatal lack of intellectual clarity. Mr. Paulson proposed buying $700 billion worth of “troubled assets” — toxic mortgage-related securities — from banks, but he was never able to explain why this would resolve the crisis.

What he should have proposed instead, many economists agree, was direct injection of capital into financial firms: The U.S. government would provide financial institutions with the capital they need to do business, thereby halting the downward spiral, in return for partial ownership. When Congress modified the Paulson plan, it introduced provisions that made such a capital injection possible, but not mandatory. And until two days ago, Mr. Paulson remained resolutely opposed to doing the right thing.

But on Wednesday the British government, showing the kind of clear thinking that has been all too scarce on this side of the pond, announced a plan to provide banks with £50 billion in new capital — the equivalent, relative to the size of the economy, of a $500 billion program here — together with extensive guarantees for financial transactions between banks. And U.S. Treasury officials now say that they plan to do something similar, using the authority they didn’t want but Congress gave them anyway.

The question now is whether these moves are too little, too late. I don’t think so, but it will be very alarming if this weekend rolls by without a credible announcement of a new financial rescue plan, involving not just the United States but all the major players.

Why do we need international cooperation? Because we have a globalized financial system in which a crisis that began with a bubble in Florida condos and California McMansions has caused monetary catastrophe in Iceland. We’re all in this together, and need a shared solution.

There probably isn’t a solution that everyone will be happy with, but partial ownership by taxpayers would mean that, hopefully the economy will be stabilized short term. Then when the economy starts to pick up again that ownership just reverts back to the private sector.

And while we’re on the subject of socialism, this is more in the tradition of Stalin then Jefferson, FISA, Revisited

Despite pledges by President George W. Bush and American intelligence officials to the contrary, hundreds of US citizens overseas have been eavesdropped on as they called friends and family back home, according to two former military intercept operators who worked at the giant National Security Agency (NSA) center in Fort Gordon, Georgia. […]

“These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones,” said Adrienne Kinne, a 31-year old US Army Reserves Arab linguist assigned to a special military program at the NSA’s Back Hall at Fort Gordon from November 2001 to 2003.

Kinne described the contents of the calls as “personal, private things with Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism.”

She said US military officers, American journalists and American aid workers were routinely intercepted and “collected on” as they called their offices or homes in the United States.

I wish i had a transcript, but on one of morning news programs one security expert said that data mining was frequently like looking for a needle in haystack. By including illegal search activity Bush created more hay, which in turn made the bad guys more difficult to find, thus damaging our national security .