Saturday, September 27, 2008

Chris Matthews Calls McCain A Troll

Pundit-extraordinaire Chris Matthews of MSNBC has quite a mouth on him. With all the talking he does on Hardball, "exceptional" comments range from the obscene to the hilarious. He's a mixed bag and the viewer never knows what inane thing he'll say next (probably why he gets to stay on cable day-in and day-out). Well last night his new found feelings for the No-Talk McCain showed through. Summing up the debate and the candidates' demeanor, Matthews wrapped McCain into one hell of a five-letter word while speaking with the New Yorker's John Howard.

From RawStory:

Matthews: "Who do you want to listen to for 4-8 years? It really is part of how we look at these things. Let's start with John McCain. Do you think he was to troll-like, tonight? You know, too much of a troll? Seriously, do people want to put up with four years of that, of sitting there angrily, a codger?

I don't want to push you too far, but didn't he seem really contemptuous of his opponent?"

After much laughter, Howard responds, "He did..."

Matthews: "You want to put up with four years of that?"

Howard: "He hates Obama...Maybe when Obama's not on stage we won't have to put up with that."

"Excuse me," interrupts Matthews, "that's what he thinks of the press. Is every press conference going to be like that? Troll-like performance, angry at the world?"
Personally I've never referred to John McCain as a troll, especially with so many other wonderful adjectives available in the English language. I do believe I've used the word "curmudgeon" before, so I guess that comes close. Descriptive, yet seldom-used adjectives aside, McCain came off as a grumpy and angry man that could hardly believe that he, John S. McCain, would have to debate anyone that would want to get in his way of becoming President. Really, the arrogance of the Senator was over the top. The fact that he couldn't make eye contact once in over an hour and half says more to the American people than any pundit could, even those that dare call people trolls.

"Zero" For The Middle Class

Obama's first ad out of the debate hits McCain hard. It was not for what he said last night but what he didn't say. McCain didn't speak about the middle class because he does not understand what is necessary for Main Street's economy. He gets it when it comes to wealthy Wall Street lobbyists that help run and fund his campaign but that will not get him anywhere with the rest of us.

GM Gives A Taste Of Green Jobs In America

For far too long our automotive industry has been woefully behind the rest of the world when it comes to innovation and ways of dealing with climate change. It isn't that we aren't capable of it but more aptly that no one has stepped up to fund the large-scale projects that will propel us into the 21st century, whether that be private industry or the government. Finally, the old stalwart GM is starting to see the error of their ways and is not only talking about alternative energy but building the facilities right here at home to make it happen.

From CBS News:

(AP) General Motors Corp. said Thursday it will build a new factory in Flint to make four-cylinder engines for the Chevrolet Volt rechargeable electric car and other models.

GM Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner said the new plant will build a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that will extend the range of the Volt, and a turbocharged version that will power the Chevrolet Cruze, a new compact car to be built in Lordstown, Ohio.

"This will be one of the places. You will be one of the teams that help GM lead into our second century," Wagoner told workers and government officials gathered for the announcement.

Production at the new $370 million plant will begin in 2010, and both cars are slated to go on sale in the same year.
This is excellent news out of Michigan. For far too long we have lost jobs in this area and across the country because our leadership has failed to foster an environment that creates 21st century jobs. We cannot merely subsist on a retail economy by itself. America was made great by manufacturing and now it is being torn apart by greedy financiers that hedge their bets on housing market bubbles that were bound to burst, made worse only because the government is deliberating on how much of the taxpayer's money should pay for Wall Street's losses.

Last night before the debate a few friends of mine were talking about the economy and what to do with money put away in bonds and mutual funds. My answer for them is the same I tell everyone who is looking for solid investments with a long-term gain. Go green! Put your money in companies that are building wind and solar plants. Rechargeable cars, geo-thermal energy, anything that helps reduce our carbon pollution is a win.

The value of this budding industry is nothing compared to what it will be once we force ourselves off of oil, both foreign and domestic. Fossil fuel giants like ExxonMobil and Shell are blocking green efforts today, but slowly we are turning the tide. Down the road (no pun intended) we will be driving zero-emission vehicles and powering our houses without a coal power plant at the beginning of the transmission line. Getting in on this today is a smart move, for one's savings and the planet as a whole.

Tony Avella Continues His Quest To Rid NYC Of Horse Carriages

Tony Avella showed up at an Eastside event last night to protest the use of horse-driven carriages in New York City. The idea to ban them for the inhumanity of the practice has been around for a while, but progress has been slow. Organizers put together a video to make dual use of the word "blinders" to inform tourists and locals alike and shocked the most friendly crowd. Though no one is really sure if anything got done.

From The NY Observer:

In a small theater on East Third St. at around 8:00 p.m. on Sept. 26, you wouldn’t have wanted to be a carriage-horse driver.

It was a benefit screening of Blinders: The Truth Behind the Tradition, which documents the alleged abuses of the horses that ferry tourists around Central Park in hansom cabs. Before the film had even started, organizers ejected a driver for threatening to disrupt the event, and a sympathizer was thrown out when he showed his pro-carriage colors during the question-and-answer session afterward.

But you wouldn’t have minded being city councilman and long-shot mayoral candidate Tony Avella, who has been making political hay out of the issue ever since the untimely death of Spotty the horse in 2006.

Playing to a crowd of several hundred adoring Eastsiders after the screening, the white-haired Councilman said, “Speaker Christine Quinn just goes along with what the mayor wants.”

For those that followed the issue, Quinn and 45 others on the Council have remained mum, most likely out of deference to the Mayor, who promotes NYC for everything and anything. Our city has so many great attractions for the tens of millions that pass through here every year, but the carriages do not have to be a part of it. One thing is for sure that as long as Bloomberg is Mayor, nothing will change.

Of course there are on-going talks about alternatives, but so far I haven't seen any proof that there is any hope of movement in the near future. However, with enough pressure we'll be able to join other forward-thinking cities across the world...probably even before the MTA can build the 2nd Ave. subway.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Obama To McCain: "You Were Wrong" On Iraq

This was one of my favorite scenes from tonight. Obama consistently called McCain out on his lies (though didn't use that word once) and pointed out the facts of John McCain's record, like he did here about the war in Iraq.

McCain Can't Even Look Obama In The Eyes

We're more than halfway through the first debate down at Ole Miss and McCain hasn't even looked at his opponent. While he lies through his teeth over everything from earmarks and spending to Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama shines in this debate. Georgia10 at DailyKos has the perfect summarization thus far:

From DailyKos:

About a half hour in and we've seen that the debate styles, not surprisingly, reflect the campaign styles of these two candidates.

Barack Obama is occasionally delivering elegant, understated smackdowns (his response to the McCain's corporate tax rate claim was brilliant). McCain, on the other hand, is jabbing erratically, trying to squeeze in a hit here or there, but is largely missing his mark.

When McCain proposes a spending freeze (except for basically "entitlement programs" and military spending), Obama does a good job of pointing out that that's like "using a hatchet where you need a scalpel." Pretty much sums up the two proposed governing styles as well.
Forget about the color problems of McCain's tie and his robotic motions whenever he moves his arm. Forget about the smiles he forces onto the screen and forget about the fact he used the word "congeniality" twice. This debate was supposed to be about foreign policy and we are starting to get into it now, but thus far the economy has dominated the time and McCain consistently lied about his positions and that of Obama's. 

McCain may not be in front of a green screen this time, but his presence is an indication of his campaign. Though I have hope for John McCain, if he can't look at his opponent because of all the lies, perhaps there is a conscience in there after all.

Oh and way to go Obama by using the "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran" song against McCain!

Palin Tells Her First Lie To Israel

Sarah Palin is a textbook case of a pathological liar. She tells so many whoppers and lies that are easily debunked that the rational observation is that she no longer knows her own truth. Such a serious incompetent human being has no business being Governor of a state, let alone a heartbeat from the Presidency. No wonder the McCain campaign tries to hide her as much as they do. The more unscripted camera time she gets, the greater chance there is for her to lie to anyone she comes into contact with, such as Shimon Peres of Israel.

From The NY Sun:

President Peres of Israel yesterday met for the first time with Governor Palin and with Senator McCain, who called the veteran Israeli statesman "my old friend." The warm handshake and exchange of broad smiles occurred during an international gathering known as the Clinton Global Initiative, hosted by President Clinton. "I wanted to meet you for many years," Ms. Palin told Mr. Peres, according to an aide to the president. "The only flag at my office is an Israeli flag," she was quoted as saying, "and I want you to know and I want Israelis to know that I am a friend."
Her friends include people that denounce Jews, something I'm sure she does not wnant people like President Peres to know about. And as for that single solitary Israeli flag flying in her office up over yonder in Alaska? Well, this picture doesn't even need to tell a thousand words to show she is a terrible liar. Perhaps she meant the only tiny 3x5 flag was that of Israel?

Even On Fox, Campaign Aide Struggles To Explain McCain's Ridiculous Behavior

Tucker Bounds might have thought he'd have it easy on his home network today but things are so bad for the campaign that he has to defend himself everywhere. This interview was definitely a struggle, but thankfully for Tucker nowhere near as painful as it will be for McCain to go up against Barack Obama tonight at Ole Miss.

A 'Nobel' Choice For Obama

McCain supporters might try to call these people elitists, so beware if you have helped to cure diseases, work for peace around the world or anything else the Nobel Committee might find worthy of their prestigious awards.

From Wired Magazine:

A list of 61 Nobel Laureates issued an open letter to their fellow Americans Thursday urging them to vote for Barack Obama.

Asked about the basis of their support, a small sub-group of those scientists' basic answer was: Because he's a safe bet, and because he would make science education and research funding a priority.

A trio of Nobel Laureates reached out to the media together with the Obama campaign Thursday to explain their support. They sounded haunted by the past eight years of the Bush Administration's unflagging record of fudging scientific evidence to suit political aims, and by its powerfully symbolic exile of its science advisers from the White House.

"We join this effort because we strongly believe that US science policy has been disastrous during the past several years, and that we need a new and visionary leadership to ensure America’s dominant position in the sciences, and to maintain our nation’s competitiveness in the world." said Bob Horvitz, an MIT biologist who won a Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2002.

Nothing is more important to our country's future than funding it to meet tomorrow's challenges with today's brightest minds. George Bush has tried to hard to cut back on educating Americans for the sake of his rich buddies on Wall Street and the fundies that want to switch us over to a Christian theocracy. However, with balanced and intelligent leadership under President Obama, we can start to right the wrongs of the last several years and make it so that all Americans have the potential to become Nobel Laureates.

McCain Blinks On Debate, Still Can't See Past His Nose

Well, as expected John McCain flip-flopped for the umpteenth time and decided that yes, he can show up for the debate. No, things didn't pan out on the bailout like he had planned but playing chicken with the first Presidential debate is something that most Americans strongly disapprove of. McCain clearly got that when he changed the channel from his crooners at Fox News.

From The NY Times:

Campaign statement:

Senator McCain has spent the morning talking to members of the Administration, members of the Senate, and members of the House. He is optimistic that there has been significant progress toward a bipartisan agreement now that there is a framework for all parties to be represented in negotiations, including Representative Blunt as a designated negotiator for House Republicans. The McCain campaign is resuming all activities and the Senator will travel to the debate this afternoon. Following the debate, he will return to Washington to ensure that all voices and interests are represented in the final agreement, especially those of taxpayers and homeowners.
Yada, yada, yada.

So McCain's grandstanding and gratuitous drama-king action failed miserably. The meeting he had Bush call him and Obama to actually highlighted Obama's consensus building abilities while McCain was deafeningly silent. Now he has to drag himself down to Mississippi for tonight's debate with all the attention on his ridiculous campaign tactics. Not only that, he can be called on to answer why it took several days to read the three page plan from Treasury Secretary Paulson, why his plan is just like George Bush's and how when our economy is in such tatters, why we should trust someone with it that said on the record that he doesn't know much about the economy to begin with.

Undecideds have looked to the debates in the past to sway them to one candidate or the other. That has certainly made a difference in prior elections. In 2008 Americans are looking for a leader after several years of the disastrous Bush Administration and there are still a few that need to see the two candidates go head to head.

So right now McCain is either shaking nervously in his boots or devising another gimmick to spare him from the embarassment he'll endure tonight at Ole Miss.

We've Heard Bush's Fearmongering Speech Before

Jon Stewart matches up the George Bush of 2003 with the one we saw on TV Wednesday night. Amazingly, both appeal to fear and catastrophe to get their goals of _____ (starting an illegal war/ giving our money to Wall Street) accomplished. Of course, there are plenty more speeches where this deception came from, but it would take to long to show them all from the last eight years.

Giuliani Looks To Cash In On Taxpayer's Giveaway

Most of us here in New York are well aware of what a scumbag Rudy Giuliani is. You don't earn the nickname "Hitler on the Hudson" lightly. His Presidential campaign scared me more than McCain's (not counting Palin at least) and he gave us another reason why this week. Millions of homeowners have been foreclosed on or are in danger of it. Our national debt is at a staggering $9,600,000,000,000.00 and is only eclipsed by our collective personal debt. The war in Iraq sucks our treasury of billions and eventually trillions of dollars. Basically we are suffering as a nation and we need to come together to get out of this mess.

So what is Rudy doing as a patriotic American?

Rudy Giuliani is positioning his law firm to cash in on Wall Street's train wreck - a move that has become a gift to political enemies of his pal John McCain.

Even as the nation's $700 billion, taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailout was still being hashed out, the former mayor announced Thursday his high-powered law firm has set up a task force.

Its mission: to help corporate clients get a piece of the action - or keep the federal wolves from the door.

"Our team of former government officials and experienced attorneys in the fields of legislation, enforcement and finance are equipped to guide institutions in this quickly evolving and complex environment," Giuliani noted in a press release from his law firm, Bracewell & Giuliani.

Yep, like an alpha dog leading a pack of hungry wolves to a kill, Giuliani is attempting to take maximum advantage of our economic catastrophe and the bailout is one large tasty morsel. The NY Daily News puts the words "crass opportunism" in quotes for the article and rightly so. I'd just like to say that this latest act is hardly surprising coming from the former Mayor and goes to show he'll take advantage of any situation for personal gain, whether it be the death of nearly 3,000 people on September 11th or the unregulated juggernaut that is Wall Street.

Bailout, No Bailout, Bailout, No Bail....How About A Real Solution?

While Warren Buffett prays to heaven to alleviate our fiscal crisis, another large bank fell last night as regulators swooped in and sold Washington Mutual off to JP Chase for pennies on the dollar. It helped the FDIC by not having to deplete more billions from the fund, but it hit Wall Street hard as the financial center lost their sixth largest bank. Now, this was their fault of course, by dabbling in the irresponsible lending and trading bad mortgage securities. I don't take any pity on the rich bastards that made this happen but there does need to be a solution.

Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) had a great one:

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. [...] advocated a new government fee of .25 percent of every stock transaction to ensure that the government can recoup funds to pay for the aid that it provides to lenders. “If this is truly such a catastrophe, I don’t see how anybody can object to a one-quarter of one percent fee,” DeFazio said. Others who attended the session said that proposal seemed to be gaining little traction.
Obviously making Wall Street pay to clean their own mess isn't thought of so highly down in D.C. Basically the majority of the House wants to give a bailout but the Dems want oversight and the Republican leadership (but not all Repubs) want to give out a giant blank check for the President. Its funny (and also tragic) that Bush and his remaining followers want to go the socialist route for their buddies while the Socialist in the Senate probably has the best plan in the room.

Bernie Sanders knows whats up. The rich benefitted by screwing the rest of us and now that they ran out of credit they are begging to be able to continue the status quo. In an ideal world, Sanders would have the power to make them pay. While it won't happen now, with enough primary and general elections, perhaps one day we can accomplish that by electing all of the challengers out there that see this bailout as one big giant mess.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Palin Sounds Painful

Sarah Palin's performance during Couric's interview of her was so torturous, so laughable and so pathetic, that Couric went on afterwards to talk not about how terrible her policy ideas are, but that she was completely incoherent and the only thing she latched on to were the talking points McCain's operatives handed her.

Oh and speaking of Palin, make sure you know the difference between the myth and the facts, care of Rolling Stone.

Bringing Back NYC's Commuter Tax

As I noted earlier today, it is ridiculous that the MTA and the city have to squabble over $10 million in E-Z Passes. The Federal government should be helping out with the funding for mass transit instead of its "investments" in war and giveaways to wealthy Wall Street bankers. For now though, we are screwed on that side of things and funding has to come from somewhere. So today two political opponents got together and spke out for the reinstatement of the Commuter Tax.

From The NY Observer:

After Sheldon Silver dropped the news that he's open to reinstituting the commuter tax, Michael Bloomberg told reporters in City Hall that he himself is also in favor of bringing it back. Bloomberg stopped short of demanding Republican state lawmakers take action.

“I’ve always thought it was a very bad mistake to give up the commuter tax back when it was done,” the mayor said. “I’ve been screaming about the commuter tax for all the time I’ve been here.”

New York City's commuter tax was lifted in 1999.

Bloomberg added, “The fact that the speaker is in favor of it is encouraging, but there’s 145-odd members in the Assembly, and we’re going to need a majority of them, as well, if we are to reinstitute it.”

As shocking as it is to see Sheldon Silver open to do something substantive in regards to anything related to the problems of New York City(excluding those that donate to his campaign), that in no way means that he'll actually follow through with it. The Mayor learned that lesson well during the congestion pricing fiasco among other skirmishes with the Speaker.

Westchester, Rockland and Duchess County legislators will probably cry out the most, but the fact of the matter is that millions of commuters come to the city every single day do not pay their fair share. Those that travel in and out each weekday depend on the city for their livelihood just as us city dwellers. Pataki got rid of it back in 1999 based on conservative economic principle for his wealthy contributors that live outside the city and now it is time to bring it back for the good of all those that use NYC in some form or fashion.

On Election Day, Vote For Obama But Don't Wear Your Support To The Polls

More than a hundred million people will vote for the next President of the United States on November 4th and most will be inevitably be Obama supporters. However, those of us voting for change instead of more than the same should be forewarned about wearing Obama gear. Here in New York City, Obama buttons, t-shirts and hats can be seen everywhere on the streets and posters adorn many windows above. To avoid any trouble when casting your ballot, the NYCLU is telling people to leave the gak at home and simply bring your ability to vote.

From The NYCity News Service:

An obscure, seldom-enforced state law bars anyone from wearing political buttons and other campaign paraphernalia within “a 100-foot radial measured from the entrances of the voting booth.”

With the election just over a month away, the law is suddenly gaining notice: an email begging potential Obama voters to “PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE” leave T-shirts and buttons home on Election Day is circulating on the Internet – spurring worried calls and emails to state election officials. The New York Civil Liberties Union plans – for the first time – to include a similar warning in its voter information materials.

Meanwhile, Republican leaders in Pennsylvania are calling on officials to enforce that state’s similar “passive electioneering” law banning campaign paraphernalia at the polls, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sept. 19.

In New York, election officials said they would stick to the law even as they tried to downplay concerns.

However you may feel about the law, it can not and will not be changed before election day. So keep it in mind. On November 4th electioneers will be doing whatever they can to make sure their candidate is elected. One side will be trying to get as many people to the polls and the other will be preventing a large swath of the population. So make their job a little harder here in New York and wear your Obama stuff after, or put a sweatshirt over the Obama t-shirt and hide the button for the few minutes spent at your local polling site.

Sarah Silverman Wants You To Make The Great Schlep For Obama

Sarah Silverman wants you to make "The Great Schlep" for Barack Obama. So talk to your grandparents down there in Florida to avoid the bad butterflys and go vote for Barack Obama on November 4th!

Oh yeah, there are some very non-PC things in this video, so for the easily offended, beware.

McCain's Campaign Manager Rick Davis Is Still A Lobbyist

Despite John McCain's pathetic attempt to lie about Rick Davis' lobbyist status, it wasn't too hard to pull the facts from the shallow ground that the GOP dug for them. At this point McCain and his cronies simply do not care about earning the public's trust. Instead they are on a direct strategy to lie and manipulate the public with ridiculous gimmicks that a blind man could see through. Since McCain challenged anyone on Rick Davis' status, the media did exactly that and guess what they found?

From Newsweek:

Rick Davis, John McCain's campaign manager, has remained the treasurer and a corporate director of his lobbying firm this year, despite repeated statements by campaign officials that he had ended his relationship with the firm in 2006, according to corporate records.

The McCain campaign this week criticized news stories disclosing that, since 2006, Davis's firm has been paid a $15,000-a-month consulting fee from Freddie Mac, the troubled mortgage giant recently put under federal conservatorship. The stories, published Tuesday by NEWSWEEK, The New York Times and Roll Call, reported that the consulting fees continued until last month even though, according to two sources familiar with the arrangement, neither Davis nor anybody else at his firm did any substantial work for the payments.

Stefanie Mullin, a spokesperson for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which has taken over Freddie Mac and its sister entity Fannie Mae, confirmed Wednesday that the Davis Manafort contract is being terminated. "All lobbying activity has stopped and political consulting contracts at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are in the process of being terminated," said Mullin. (Democratic strategist Paul Begala also was on the Freddie Mac payroll, according to sources familiar with the arrangement.)

The McCain campaign can skirt around the issue all the want, but the truth of the matter is that Davis still benefits from the arrangement. The facts of the case make this extremely relevant and especially revealing about the character of the people McCain employs and by that standard, the character of the candidate as well.

MTA Finally Gets Strict With All E-Z Passes

Apparently the Boardmembers of the Metropolitan Transit Authority were pissed when nearly everyone demanded they stop giving free E-Z passes to themselves and their families (who aren't supposed to be paid in any way for their positions). It has been a couple months since Cuomo threatened them with a lawsuit before they relented, but now the MTA is getting its revenge on the city by revoking their free E-Z Passes for Police, Fire, Emergency units and other city vehicles.

From NY1:

The full Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted Wednesday to revoke free E-ZPass tags for city employees – a perk which has been offered for decades.

The board barely passed the measure, 7-6.

The MTA's finance committee narrowly approved a plan earlier this week, which requires police, fire, and other agencies to get their own pre-paid E-ZPass accounts, just like other drivers.

For the last 50 years, the MTA has allowed other government agencies to pass through the tolls free of charge.

The MTA is facing a $900 million deficit, and officials say this will generate about $10 million a year. The deficit could also lead to cuts in subway, bus, and commuter rail service.

Not too surprisingly, the city is making a big stink about it and is outraged that the MTA would impede on officials that protect the public. Of course the mayor's staff forgets to mention the $100 million less the city is giving to the MTA for capital projects, but that doesn't mean Bloomberg won't make someone have a fit over it for him.

The sad thing is that while the two bicker over $10 million a year the real problem is that our country does not help finance mass transit in the manner it should. Imagine taking just a tenth of what we spend on the war disaster in Iraq and devoting it to rail and clean-energy buses. Then this $10 million would be meaningless and these officials could quit blustering and get back to business.

Letterman Rips McCain A New One For Standing Him Up

At first Letterman was ok with John for cancelling on the account of rushing back to Washington to "work on the economy." Yet Dave quickly found out that was stood up for Katie Couric, who was taping an interview with the candidate while Dave was doing his show. Well lets just say that Dave wasn't too happy with it.

$700 Billion: "We just wanted to choose a really large number"

If you didn't catch George Bush's address to the nation, don't worry, there wasn't much to miss. Basically he said that too many people screwed up on their mortgages, causing his buddies to lose out on mortgage securities. So if we don't give them money to get rid of the bad securities, the economy will go from here to the 7th ring of hell. One thing George forgot to mention were the facts of how this whole thing was going to work and he didn't answer something on the minds of many, why $700 billion?

Well a Treasury spokeswoman did that for him:

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 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.

Hmm, I don't know about you, but that doesn't give me much confidence. In fact, nothing the Administration is doing right now gives me anything but the chills. Giant giveaways to the rich aren't going to solve anything. If there is any money going to fix this, it should be directed at homeowners.

One thing in particular pissed me off last night about that speech. Bush talked about loving the free market and if it screws up then let business pay the price, but if it screws up really bad, then we have to save it. No wait, that wasn't the worst of it. Oh yeah, I remember now. He said that the democratic capitalist society is still the greatest thing out there. Well Mr. Bush, this isn't democratic capitalism, its socialist corporatism.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain Tries To Worm His Way Out Of Debating, Obama Rejects Petty Political Play

John McCain is seriously scared of what is going to happen on Friday. The first Presidential debate has been scheduled for months but just two days out McCain is trying to slither away. His excuse is that he wants to come to Washington to work on the economic crisis, but any astute observer of McCain can tell this is a petty political play. If McCain was serious about doing the business of the people in the Senate, he would have shown up for work more often in the last two years. Of course the GOP knows it as well, and they are all too happy to help him in getting away from having a debate in front of the American people.

From ThinkProgress:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is announcing that he would like to suspend his campaign and delay Friday’s foreign policy debate to focus on the financial crisis. According to MSNBC, McCain would like to come back to Washington and help work out a bailout package on Thursday.

This interest in the bailout is new for McCain. As recently as yesterday, when a reporter asked him about his position on the Bush administration's financial proposals, McCain said, "I have not had a chance to see it in writing. I have to examine it." As the stock market tanked and the federal government bailed out financial institutions over the past week, McCain has been campaigning around the country. Originally, McCain McCain planned to skip the vote on the bailout and continue campaigning. The last time McCain voted in the Senate was on April 10.[...]

Fox reporter Carl Cameron lauded the "very, very big move" by McCain. Fox host Martha MacCallum hailed it as "a bold move, a very strong move." Cameron added that McCain is making "some political sacrifice" by volunteering to leave the campaign trail.
The White House also joined in to "laud" the Senator for coming to Washington to help bailout the companies that put us in this mess in the first place. The truth of the matter is, Americans do not trust McCain to handle the economic crisis and since Lehman's bankruptcy McCain has been steadily losing support. He is trying to boost his economic cred (even though admitting to not knowing much about economics) with a cheap political stunt, nothing more, nothing less.

The Obama camp had four words for McCain's trick, "The debate is on."

Biden Delivers A Foreign Policy Speech Palin Couldn't Even Dream Of

Of course even if Sarah Palin knew anything about geopolitics (which is different from geography Governor) she wouldn't deliver an eloquent and informative speech like Joe Biden did today in Cincinnati. As Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Biden knows more about the world in his pinky than Palin could hope to learn in several years, let alone the time from now until the election.

McCain Goes All Out On Make-Up

We live in an age with television and when someone goes on there to convince Americans to vote for them, they should look good. I'll grant that to any candidate because voters want to see that you are not a disheveled mess. For John McCain though, he needs make-up to look his best, a lot of make-up, to the tune of over five thousand dollars.

From RawStory:

It's not cheap to get John McCain's 72-year-old face ready for prime-time.

The celebrity gossips at US Weekly report the Republican presidential candidate has spent more than $5,500 for a makeup artist better known for her work in Hollywood.

White did McCain's makeup before a televised forum at the Saddleback Church last month and before an unknown number of additional appearances.

A McCain spokesperson wouldn't comment when asked about the makeup services.
McCain's face, like his policies, need to be covered up and hidden by the very best, whether they be make-up artists or spin artists. Honestly I could care less that he spends $5,000 or $10,000 to make him look pretty (though honestly I can't tell that's a $5K face). Yet the make-up is a great metaphor to what he plans to do to our country, telling us he has a new plan and direction when it really is more of the same that Bush brought us.

All the powder and rouge in the world couldn't make a McCain Administration appealing nor attractive.

Bloomberg Follows Paterson With Budget Cuts

With Wall Street's internally-created disaster rampaging the economy, New York and NYC in particular are feeling the effects on multiple levels. Governor Paterson went ahead this summer (and probably next month as well) to cut the state budget by $427 million with more cuts to come. Now Bloomberg is following up with cutbacks of his own and putting taking away last year's property tax cut as well.

From The NY Times:

With an eye on Wall Street’s turmoil and New York City’s fragile economy, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg ordered city agencies on Tuesday to cut spending by about $500 million this year and $1 billion next year.

The cuts are to be made across the board, affecting agencies including the Police Department, which must cut costs by $95 million this year, and the school system, which needs to trim $185 million.

Over all, the reductions represent 2.5 percent of the agencies’ budgets this year and 5 percent next year.

The midyear budget cuts are intended to provide a financial cushion should the city’s tax revenue, which is heavily dependent on Wall Street’s profits, drop further, as many expect.

"Across the board" is exactly the way it sounds. Education, Fire, Parks, Homeless Services and DoT are all expected to significantly reduce costs for this year and next. Of course, as the Times and everyone else is well aware of, next year is also a city-wide election and those cuts Bloomberg desires might not be as easy as they have been for him before. That is especially so if he gets his way and has term-limits extended, then he'll be running for re-election as well.

Campbell Brown Calls Out McCain For Chauvenism

Usually Campbell acts like a tool for corporate America while in front of the cameras for CNN. However, yesterday was not one of those days and her rant against the McCain campaign for hiding Sarah Palin from the media's (potential) scrutiny was a thing of beauty.

Paulson Takes His Cue From Nigerian Scam Artists

Almost everyone with an email box has received spam messages that offer too-good-to-be-true proposals that "guarantee" millions in profit. All you have to do is send a small amount of money to Mr. So and so from xxx bank and you are on you way to living like a millionaire. I feel bad for the few unfortunate suckers that actually believe that garbage and lose money. Of course, it'll be nowhere near as devastating if Congress believes the junk that just showed up in their inbox.

From RawStory:

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson
Those of us that use our cerebral cortex would hit the delete button instantly, yet Congress is actually taking its time on this crap. If they are seriously that dumb, I'm going to draft my own Nigerian letter, stash a billion or two in my bank account and retire to some place tropical. This bailout/giveaway/scam has no business being on the table for discussion.

Congress should get a group of real, independent economist and draft a proposal that will put the American people first and the bankers who put us in this mess dead last, where they belong. Actually, they probably belong in jail. I wouldn't mind some of my taxpayer dollars going to keep them in lockup, far from being able to influence the financial markets.

Go Go Gennaro!

The battle for the State Senate is raging in many districts across the state and things are looking good for many Democratic challengers. One of those just happens to be right here in NYC, specifically in Northeast Queens. Councilman Jim Gennaro is seeking to oust longtime Senator Padavan. Incumbents usually hold huge advantages and especially so in New York. Yet the political climate is looking more and more favorable for a future Democratic majority and for a future Senator Gennaro.

From The NY Observer:

Democratic State Senate candidate Jim Gennaro, who is trying to unseat Republican Frank Padavan, says he can ride the coattails of national Democrats in his district, but the full picture could be more complicated.

His campaign just released figures of newly registered voters in the district, citing figures from the state Board of Elections.

"Between January and August of this year, 6,859 new voters enrolled in Senate District 11, according to the Board of Elections. Of them, 711 are Republicans and 4,083 are Democrats, giving the latter party a nearly six-to-one advantage with these voters.

"Democrats also overwhelmingly outnumber Republicans in Senate District 11's overall enrollment, 88,494 to 33,123 (a nearly three-to-one advantage)."

Azi's worry is that while Dems enjoy the large advantage, Padavan sits pretty because not everyone "pulls the lever down party lines." However, the 2006 example has nothing to do with what is going in 2008. Obama has large coattails and merely putting his name on a pollcard next to Barack's will have serious sway. Gennaro's progressive nature and outspokenness on important issues also has tremendous influence on the way Northeast Queens will vote. This is a time of change and that goes double for Padavan.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Obama Does Q & A With The Media, Affirms His Middle Class Tax Cuts

Unlike Sarah Palin, Barack Obama is not afraid of talking to the media and having a back and forth conversation. While McCain keeps his VP under wraps and away from the prying questions of the press, Obama and Biden are out there talking about how to fix our economy...while McCain and Palin are promising more of the same disastrous policies that the Bush Administration helped bring upon us.

Neil Cavuto Is A Racist Bastard

There really aren't many nice things to say about the on-air personalities at Fox News. It takes no a certain character of person to be able to spew the lies of the right day in and day out. So it wasn't surprising to that Neil Cavuto tried to blame brown people for the fiscal crisis we are currently suffering, despite the overwhelming load of facts that show the blame lies with rich, stuffy and ignorant white people like Neil.

From RawStory:

In an attempt to blame the Democrats in Congress for the current economic meltdown, Cavuto told Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) last week that he should have warned bankers about possible problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

"I'm just saying," Cavuto insisted, "I don't remember a clarion call that said, 'Fannie and Freddie are a disaster. Loaning to minorities and risky folks is a disaster.'"

"Wow," commented Olbermann. "Usually they hide their racism a little bit better at Fox."
Nah, I've got to disagree with you there Keith. Neil Cavuto and Fox News as a whole do not really give a rat's ass what people think of their racist attitudes and remarks. Their bigotry and ignorance shine through on a regular basis and no one is really ashamed of it there. Roger Ailes wouldn't have it any other way.

Just like the GOP candidates, the use of fear and manipulation to drive home their talking points is part of the well-oiled machine that got Fox to the top of the charts and the Republicans in power. While they still dominate among older and more conservative audiences that like to hear the " I hate brown people" so its ok for you to as well, society as a whole is generally moving away from the old racist attitudes of the past. That doesn't mean that racism as an institution will disappear in 20 years, but it will most certainly be significantly reduced. That goes double for the ratings and popularity of the right's favorite propaganda organ.

Have Some Rocket Fuel With That Water Johnny

As human beings, there are essential items that we need to survive. Water, vitamins and minerals along with carbohydrates, proteins and fats are the six things that are necessary for life. Keeping each of those as pure as possible in our industrialized world has become a chore but one that we have entrusted to the government.

Agencies such as the FDA, NRC, USDA and the EPA were put in place so that we could live in a cleaner and safer world while we continue to scientifically and technologically advance. However, with the Bush Administration in charge for the last several years none of those have really performed the roles they were assigned and today's example of Bush's disdain for government regulation is particularly frightening.

From USA Today:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency has decided there's no need to rid drinking water of a toxic rocket fuel ingredient that has fouled public water supplies around the country.

EPA reached the conclusion in a draft regulatory document not yet made public but reviewed Monday by The Associated Press.

The ingredient, perchlorate, has been found in at least 395 sites in 35 states at levels high enough to interfere with thyroid function and pose developmental health risks, particularly for babies and fetuses, according to some scientists.

The EPA document says that mandating a clean-up level for perchlorate would not result in a "meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public-water systems."

The conclusion, which caps years of dispute over the issue, was denounced by Democrats and environmentalists who accused EPA of caving to pressure from the Pentagon.

Yeah, perchlorate isn't the healthiest of things to consume. The effects are even scarier than the word lets on. The fact that the EPA knows the damage perchlorate can cause and then turns around to shrug their shoulders is horrifying and unconscionable. Yet in the context of the Bush Administration, it is simply part of the status quo.

CNN Shows Some Spine To Sarah Palin

Since the day the McCain campaign introduced Sarah Palin, they played right into her hands. Sure, they reported the messy details of her life and the way she governed but the media still put the cameras on her without having a chance to do a Q and A with her. So today at the UN when she tried to pull the same trick while meeting with foreign leaders for the very first time in her life, CNN denied her that free pass:

Lehman Bros. Gives One Last F.U. To Its Employees And The Rest Of Us

Last week Lehman Brothers started off the unbelievable financial action by declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The gigantic swings in the market haven't stopped since while other monolithic companies teetered on the brink of collapse. Now the Congress is considering a $700 Billion dollar package to save the market from the greed and carelessness within itself. You would think that while the financial sector is trying to pull one over us that they'd be on good behavior, at least until they get their money.

You thought wrong:

Up to 10,000 staff at the New York office of the bankrupt investment bank Lehman Brothers will share a bonus pool set aside for them that is worth $2.5bn (£1.4bn), Barclays Bank, which is buying the business, confirmed last night.

The revelation sparked fury among the workers' former colleagues, Lehman's 5,000 staff based in London, who currently have no idea how long they will go on receiving even their basic salaries, let alone any bonus payments. It also prompted a renewed backlash over the compensation culture in global finance, with critics claiming that many bankers receive pay and rewards that bore no relation to the job they had done.

A spokesman for Barclays said the $2.5bn bonus pool in New York had been set aside before Lehman Brothers filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States a week ago. Barclays has agreed that the fund should continue to be ring-fenced now it has taken control of Lehman's US business, a deal agreed by American bankruptcy courts over the weekend.

Set aside? Set aside??? If I were employed by Lehman in Europe I would be seething at this news, and I'm sure many are. It just goes to show that these "captains of industry" have no concept of right and wrong and that any money we as taxpayers give them will be wasted away into the abyss of their cold, greedy hearts just as the bad loans were given out over the past few years. The fact that Barclays excuses this behavior is ridiculous.

Conservatives may argue that it is up to the shareholders to allocate $2.5 Billion dollar bonuses to faltering companies, but it isn't the shareholders propping up this faltering system. The people with their backs breaking on this deal includes all of us that mail checks to the I.R.S. every year. Yet these bastards do not even want us to see a return on this escapade in the event that the bailout works.

Figures, Seminerio Wasn't Alone

Having politicians on the payroll of large corporations is nothing new when it comes to greasing the wheels of government. That is especially true in Albany, where pay to play is practically the only game in town if you want something done. Politicians are all too well endeared to these fiscal overtures, whether or not they are legit. Anthony Seminerio showed his love for the all mighty buck over the pledge he took to put his constituents first. Now it seems that Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. has his hand in the same cookie jar that got Seminerio in trouble with the Feds.

From The NY Sun:

A hospital system that may figure in the federal corruption case against a Democratic state assemblyman, Anthony Seminerio, has for years been paying another assemblyman as a consultant, according to state financial disclosure records.

Since 2003, a Democratic state assemblyman of central Brooklyn, William Boyland, Jr., has received an unspecified amount of outside income from Brookdale University Hospital in Brownsville.[...]

The MediSys network also includes the Flushing Hospital Medical Center and Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, which is in Mr. Seminerio's district.

Financial disclosure forms have listed Mr. Boyland as a director of marketing and as a consultant to the hospital, describing his job as giving "advice on community outreach." The public version of the forms conceals the extent of the lawmaker's outside earnings.

The lawmaker described his role as a "patient recruiter," saying he brought to Brookdale "patients and folks." He declined to say how much he is paid by Brookdale and cut off the conversation abruptly when asked to explain his responsibilities at the hospital with more detail.

Boyland may not be charged with anything by the authorities, but that doesn't mean there isn't smoke billowing from this room. He may not have been caught doing anything malicious like Seminerio but it still strikes me as odd that Boyland is a "patient recruiter." Being associated with Seminerio in any fashion is a bad sign and one of many such marks for Albany in general. While Boyland might not be guilty of anything specifically, it is still indicative of the need to change the way business....and especially outside business of lawmakers is handled.

This Should Be The National News

This local broadcast from CBS affiliate Channel 8 in Las Vegas is geared to their desert denizens but the topics apply nationwide. All you need to do is change the name of the town and every American can relate to the bad economy and what the candidates are willing to do about it.

A Nation Of Whiners Within The McCain Campaign

"Whining" has been an interesting word in this campaign season, especially when Phil Gramm said that we are a "Nation of whiners" and that times aren't as tough as they feel (probably because he's super-wealthy from working at UBS). He tried to tell people to suck it up, but that is exactly the message that the McCain campaign and specifically Steve Schmidt needs to hear. He whined that the NY Times was going after them and no one else, citing stories about Obama during a conference call that had no basis in fact.

Well the Times took on Gramm's role and told him to grow up:

Bill Keller, executive editor of The Times, responded in a statement: “The New York Times is committed to covering the candidates fully, fairly and aggressively. It’s our job to ask hard questions, fact-check their statements and their advertising, examine their programs, positions, biographies and advisers. Candidates and their campaign operatives are not always comfortable with that level of scrutiny, but it’s what our readers expect and deserve.”
I wish that Keller and the rest of the NY Times did more of this journalism thing. It would be amazing if they really covered what was going on in New York, the nation and the world if they and the rest of the traditional media would stop trying to give "balance" to politicos that have no qualm about lying to our faces.

Colin Powell "Straight-Talks" John McCain Over Georgian Conflict

A common theme in Washington and mentioned by the press last month was that big bad Russia started the conflict with Georgia. Some politicians tried to remain calm and review what was going on, but not John McCain. He went after Russia with avengeance and even sent Senators Graham and Lieberman to the area as if he were the President already. "We are all Georgians" had to have been the key line that showed the oil and gas industry that he was on their side no matter where in the world they did or wanted to do business. This past Sunday Colin Powell went on CNN to help set the record straight on the situation and out straight-talked one of the most crooked politicians ever to run for the Presidency.

From Crooks and Liars:

On CNN Sunday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell offered some “straight-talk” on the Georgia/Russia conflict, and not-so-subtly insinuated that McCain’s rather belligerent response was careless and unnecessarily provocative.

video_wmv Download | Play video_mov Download | Play (h/t Heather)

POWELL: And I think it was foolhardy on the part of President Saakashvili and the Georgian government to kick over this can, to light a match in a roomful of gas fumes.

SESNO: So you’re saying the Georgians provoked this?

POWELL: They did. I mean, there was a lot of reasons to have provocations in the area, but the match that started the conflagration was from the Georgian side.

AMANPOUR: And yet…

POWELL: And that’s a given.

AMANPOUR: And some debate in the presidential elections has basically been, “We are all Georgians now.” What does that mean? It’s the same as was said after 9/11.

POWELL: One candidate said that, and I’ll let the candidate explain it for himself. […] You have to be very careful in a situation like this not just to leap to one side or the other until you’ve taken a good analysis of the whole situation.

Powell very succinctly shredded McCain for his position on the conflict. He categorized him as any other Republican that takes advantage of 9/11 for a profit and uses the goodwill of Americans for the interests of the gas and oil industry. It is sick and disgusting to say the least, so I'm glad to see Powell continuing his quest to be redeemed for the false testimony he gave the U.N. about Iraq back in 2002. The endorsement will be a nice icing on the cake when it comes to wooing moderate-conservatives to Obama.

Monday, September 22, 2008

McCain's Horrendous Week

Only a deluded conservative could think that McCain had a successful past week. The Sunday talk circuit rightly slammed him for his gaffes, ignorance and general absurdities:

Another Reason To Flip The State Senate

No one can deny that Albany is in need of some serious reform. Like our Federal government in Washington, the state capitol must be led in a new direction away from the sleaziness of the past that plagues it today. One of the big problems in our state is that very little gets done and members in both parties have been able to get away with too much under the cloak of gridlock. However, the tide can be turned and a new day can begin in Albany if the balance of power in the State Senate changes hands. The Democratic Party is just two seats away from taking back the reins of NY's government.

Besides outright victory, what does that mean to ordinary New Yorkers? "So what," the cynics will say. Well for anyone plagued by the way eminent domain is abused in the City or elsewhere across the state, this may offer some hope for you.

State Senator Bill Perkins, a Democrat of Harlem, is calling for a moratorium on the use of eminent domain and said he is willing to push for more restrictions on the use of eminent domain, provided the political climate is right in Albany.

"I don't know of too many other issues where you have such diverse and pervasive outrage," he said yesterday in an interview.

Mr. Perkins said he would be meeting with Governor Paterson this week to discuss the findings of a hearing he held last week examining the possible use of eminent domain for the proposed $7 billion expansion of Columbia University's campus. He said Mr. Paterson was "supportive" of his work on eminent domain, but said he had not discussed specifics with the governor.

For far too long wealthy developers have had the larger voice in Albany and here in the city as well. While the Democrats haven't been perfect, Senators like Perkins can lead the way in the new/future Majority caucus. Of course changing the rules in the Senate to distribute power beyond the leadership will help too, but that can only be done with a Democratic majority. The people of New York, especially in the key areas of the state will be instrumental to the way things in Albany get done next year.

Wall Street Wants Us To Bail Them Out To Screw Us Over Again

Everyone has paid at least a little attention to the massive fiscal crisis that Wall Street felt last week. If you are confused as to what happened, you should check out this must-read piece by Devilstower at DailyKos. Now this week the President and Congress are trying to remedy the situation but have very different views on how to go about that.

Basically Bush, Paulson and the rest of the GOP wants us to let Wall Street off the hook for their excesses and make the taxpayers shoulder the burden (what's another trillion when we already owe $9.6 trillion?). Leaders in the Democratic caucus better take heed of some important questions though. Listening to Bush beforehand got us into a lot of trouble, no matter what the topic, so lets not just go and bend over for his "solution" this time. There is some sort of positive agenda forming from the majority party, but you never know what you'll get when Pelosi is in charge of something that challenges Bush's authority.

One Senator who is neither a Democrat nor a Republican (but sides with the Dems) is on to the right idea:

By Senator Bernie Sanders

The current financial crisis facing our country has been caused by the extreme right-wing economic policies pursued by the Bush administration. These policies, which include huge tax breaks for the rich, unfettered free trade and the wholesale deregulation of commerce, have resulted in a massive redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the very wealthy.

The middle class has really been under assault. Since President Bush has been in office, nearly 6 million Americans have slipped into poverty, median family income for working Americans has declined by more than $2,000, more than 7 million Americans have lost their health insurance, over 4 million have lost their pensions, foreclosures are at an all time high, total consumer debt has more than doubled, and we have a national debt of over $9.7 trillion dollars.

While the middle class collapses, the richest people in this country have made out like bandits and have not had it so good since the 1920s. The top 0.1 percent now earn more money than the bottom 50 percent of Americans, and the top 1 percent own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. The wealthiest 400 people in our country saw their wealth increase by $670 billion while Bush has been president. In the midst of all of this, Bush lowered taxes on the very rich so that they are paying lower income tax rates than teachers, police officers or nurses.

Now, having mismanaged the economy for eight years as well as having lied about our situation by continually insisting, “The fundamentals of our economy are strong,” the Bush administration, six weeks before an election, wants the middle class of this country to spend many hundreds of billions on a bailout. The wealthiest people, who have benefited from Bush’s policies and are in the best position to pay, are being asked for no sacrifice at all. This is absurd. This is the most extreme example that I can recall of socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor.

In my view, we need to go forward in addressing this financial crisis by insisting on four basic principles:

(1) The people who can best afford to pay and the people who have benefited most from Bush’s economic policies are the people who should provide the funds for the bailout. It would be immoral to ask the middle class, the people whose standard of living has declined under Bush, to pay for this bailout while the rich, once again, avoid their responsibilities. Further, if the government is going to save companies from bankruptcy, the taxpayers of this country should be rewarded for assuming the risk by sharing in the gains that result from this government bailout.

Specifically, to pay for the bailout, which is estimated to cost up to $1 trillion, the government should:

a) Impose a five-year, 10 percent surtax on income over $1 million a year for couples and over $500,000 for single taxpayers. That would raise more than $300 billion in revenue;

b) Ensure that assets purchased from banks are realistically discounted so companies are not rewarded for their risky behavior and taxpayers can recover the amount they paid for them; and

c) Require that taxpayers receive equity stakes in the bailed-out companies so that the assumption of risk is rewarded when companies’ stock goes up.
The rest of the Op-Ed addresses the need for a jobs program, re-regulating the industry that took advantage of GOP policies and ensuring that these corporate entities never get as big as they have.

Sanders is exactly right that we need to fight back, because there are so many agents that are trying to keep the status quo going at the expense of all of us. For example, the Fed gave Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley a big wet kiss yesterday by changing their status to bank holding companies, ensuring that they get a piece of the potential government bailout. Some champion this as a way to regulate the two giants, but really it is a giveaway to firms that contributed to the fiscal disaster we are in. Even foreign banks like UBS are trying to cash in on this financial raping of the American taxpayer.

This is a crucial time in the fight between the middle class and the wealthy elite. Now is the time for Dems to stand up tall along with Sanders and say, enough is enough!

Obama Attacks McCain's Prescription For Disaster

What you saw on Wall Street last week was something John McCain helped to create. It is also what he wants to see happen in other sectors of the economy, including your health care. Imagining the damage a McCain Administration could do to us is enough to give me nightmares.

Paterson Gets Cuomo To Investigate MTA Disability Fraud

The New York Times unearthed a massive scheme by MTA workers who were fraudulently taking disability from the Federal government despite most of them not needing it at all. It goes to show that when it comes to corruption, the MTA doesn't just take from the locals. It turns out that a system-wide operation was in plan that gave many workers equal or more than their pay while they were actually doing something for mass transit in NYC. So now Paterson, being the pro-active governor he is, wants to get to the bottom of the mess.

From The NY Times:

Gov. David A. Paterson said on Sunday that he would give Andrew M. Cuomo, the state’s attorney general, broad powers to investigate the Long Island Rail Road as part of a wide-ranging review his administration would seek of how disability and pension benefits were potentially manipulated by L.I.R.R. supervisors, workers and retirees.

The governor’s action comes after The New York Times reported that virtually every career employee of the railroad applies for and gets disability payments soon after retirement at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal disability money. The disability claims are paid by an obscure federal agency called the Railroad Retirement Board. (See related graphic comparing the L.I.R.R. to other railroads, a graphic comparing the L.I.R.R. to Metro-North Railroad, interactive graphic and video.)

When it comes to corruption in New York, Cuomo is the man to go to. Having McCain's endorsement for S.E.C. chief might make Democrats wary, but I must say he'd be excellent for the position (that is if the President could fire Cox, but that is another story altogether). For now, I think we'll keep him as the top attorney in New York.

Palin Has Road Building Experience

One of the big complaints people have about Sarah Palin is that she has no experience and definitely not enough to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Yet that isn't entirely true, especially being Governor of our nation's eastern-most, northern-most and western-most state. That has to count for something (and I'm surprised if Palin hasn't mentioned it yet) but even if you think that simply living somewhere doesn't give you foreign policy experience, then her infrastructure and Federal earmark skills will simply wow you over.

From Yahoo News:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's transportation department has completed a $25 million gravel road leading to the site of a bridge that Palin, as John McCain's vice presidential candidate, now boasts that she stopped, so as to save taxpayers money. The road was built with federal tax dollars.

Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein said the 3.2-mile road will be useful for road races, hunters and possibly future development. But with no bridge to serve it, that's probably about it.

"I think it will be good for recreational things like a 5K and a 10K," Weinstein said. "And instead of people walking through brush, it may be used for hunting in the area."

You could even say she is promoting a good health lifestyle for Americans so they'll jog on roads that lead to nowhere. Then they'll be able to eat a nice meal by going out and hunting some moose. If she could do that with just $25 million dollars of money she said "Thanks but no thanks," to, imagine what she'd do with the world's largest economy.

Scary shit, eh?

Bloomberg Gives His Two Cents On The Economy To MTP

Because he's rich, Mayor Bloomberg was invited on the show yesterday to spread his wisdom to the people. Although he was better than Paulson in being up front and honest, he avoided the term limit question with a lame joke. While term limits and Wall Street may be disconnected, if he can't be honest about taking the will of the voters away when it comes to those limits, why should we expect him to be honest about an assessment of Wall Street and more importantly, what it means to Main Street?

Sen. Stevens Trial Starts Today

Its been fifteen years since Kay Bailey Hutchinson was indicted for abuses of power and now a comrade in the Senate GOP caucus is about to stand trial as she did back then. To be fair to Hutchinson, the decisions of the Grand Jury didn't speak to her budding Senate career, simply as a local politician. Stevens on the other hand has been a Senator almost as long as Alaska has been in the Union and he knows very well what he's been up to with his cronies. Now his trial will start tomorrow regarding those lobbyist relationships and specifically how he hid gifts from VECO.

From The Washington Post:

The first sitting senator to face a federal trial in more than two decades, Stevens, an 84-year-old Republican icon of both the Senate and his home state, was indicted eight weeks ago on charges that he failed to disclose lavish gifts he received from executives of an oil services company. If convicted, Stevens could face prison time, his 40-year Senate career would meet an ignominious end, and Republicans would probably lose a normally reliable Senate seat.

While battling prosecutors in what is expected to be a month-long trial, Stevens also will be running an uphill reelection campaign from the same Washington courthouse -- 3,500 miles from Anchorage. He may have to debate his Democratic opponent well after midnight by teleconference and make arduous red-eye flights to attend weekend campaign events.

It's a risky strategy but perhaps the only one that could result in his reelection, analysts say.

"We have an Alaska Senate race that's about to be decided by 12 residents of the District of Columbia," said Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. "If he's acquitted, he goes home, and it becomes more of a victory lap than a campaign."

Twelve D.C. residents sure sounds like a nice metaphor for the United States' system of justice and the possible outcome for Stevens. Ultimately it is how they judge his actions and decide whether or not it is time to hold criminals like him accountable for screwing with our democracy. With six weeks to go in this race Stevens is seriously handicapped while Mark Begich campaigns around the state. He needs to get his name out and meet people, so that he can convince them that representing Alaska is not all about bringing home an obscene amount of pork while slicing yourself a nice piece of the national taxpayers' money.