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 .

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.

“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