Saturday, October 04, 2008

With Campaign On The Ropes, McCain Is Getting Meaner

We're now officially one month out from election day and things are looking horrific for John McCain. His failed conservative ideas are tanking among the people and his choice of Sarah Palin has moderates and independents panicking. Liberals were already scared shitless of a McCain Administration from the get go. So the only hope left for the McPalin ticket is to go even more negative and basically be downright nasty. The shadow campaigns talking about Obama being the anti-Christ is nothing compared to what we are about to see. In fact, the smearing has already begun.

From The Pennsylvania Progressive:

A former POW companion of John McCain's, campaigning for him yesterday in Pennsylvania, invoked the holocaust in warning about Barack Obama. Colonel Tom Moe, who occupied the adjacent cell to McCain at the Hanoi Hilton, called Barack Obama a dangerous demagogue whose rhetoric could cause a new holocaust while speaking in Harrisburg at the Republican Party headquarters.

The story was reported by David Spett of Capitaolwire (subscription only) yesterday following the controversial event:

"All we have to do is open up the history books and look at what the fruits of demagoguery are," Moe said. "When any individual or group tries to pick up a target of opportunity to blame social problems on ... the results can be catastrophic. And you can choose any point in history that you want."

Asked whether Obama's statements could cause an event like the Holocaust, Moe responded: "If you like."

That's right, a vote for Obama is a vote for fire and brimstone. Of course, there is no proof or substance of any kind to back up what Colonel Moe says. For McCain and friends, it is all about provoking mass fear among the public in hope that the public will vote irrationally. Oh and it is only October 4th, comparisons between an Obama presidency and the Holocaust is just the beginning.

Cenk Uyugr Reviews This Last Crazy Week

So much that went on is all crammed into these five little minutes:

Palin Hits Obama For Decrying War Crimes

Lindsay Graham says that the McCain campaign needs to unleash Sarah Palin quickly or else they're stupid. I wholeheartedly agree with the first part of that statement. We need more Sarah Palin out there on the campaign so we can hear about what a tremendous idiot she is. In Sarah's head, George Bush has done a heckuva job in Iraq and Afghanistan. Anyone that says otherwise hates America and for Barack Obama, isn't qualified to be Commander-in-Chief. That goes double if you don't like war crimes and carpet-bombing innocent civilians.

From RawStory:

In a remark that is sure to be controversial, Palin also told Cameron that Barack Obama's statements "about the war" should "disqualify someone from consideration as the next commander in chief," because "some of his comments about Afghanistan and what we're doing there -- supposedly just air-raiding villages and killing civilians -- that's reckless."

Time Magazine's Mark Halperin found Palin's implication that Obama ought to be "disqualified" as a candidate for his criticism of Bush administration policy unusual enough to be worth quoting at "The Page," though he did so without comment.

Palin's statement about Obama came in the course of some negative remarks about her earlier interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric. She confessed to Cameron that "the Sarah Palin in those interviews was a little bit annoyed," because the "media elite" expected her to answer the questions they asked instead of saying what she thought "Americans want to hear."
If Sarah Palin actually cared to read anything about what goes on outside of Wasilla, she'd know what happens in Afghanistan. Of course she doesn't and blindly attacks Obama without having a clue about war and what that means to the people that live in a war zone. Most Americans however, are opposed to war and especially war crimes. We want to get the hell out of Iraq, get the terrorists that got us and then get the f*&k out of there, so we can focus on what really matters, improving the quality of life here at home.

Mrs. Palin however, wants to talk to the public without anyone criticizing her or filtering through her lies. Americans can hear what she thinks she wants them to hear during the debate or in a 30 second ad. Otherwise, I think I'll take that filter, even if it is Katie Couric. Though I must say, Couric did a great job in showing just how "annoyed" Palin is with answering questions that might cause some concern for people choosing a President and a Vice-President. If you don't read newspapers, that is a problem. If you don't know of a Supreme Court case other than Roe v. Wade, that is a problem. If you want to make it illegal for a 15 year old child to have an abortion after being raped by her father, that is a problem.

Sarah Palin, I think we'll continue to get your statements with a strong filter, dontcha know?

Paterson Wants Another $2 Billion Cut Off The Budget

The first time around Albany went into special session we saw nearly half a billion dollars in budget cuts. Now that everyone is screaming in horror at the crisis on Wall Street and paper assets are being wiped out left and right, Governor Paterson is back at it with his budgetary axe. This time around a mere half a billion isn't enough, now we are looking at two...billion....dollars!

From The NY Times:

In a meeting with legislative leaders that was at times remarkably testy for what are often scripted affairs, the governor said he would call the Legislature back to Albany — but not until after the election — to reopen the state budget. The governor and lawmakers agreed during a session in August to cut $427 million from this year’s budget, but recent turmoil on Wall Street has opened an additional $1.2 billion hole, and the numbers are expected to worsen.

While Mr. Paterson and legislative leaders have warned that the Wall Street crisis would have a magnified impact on New York, the extent of the damage is only beginning to emerge.

Preliminary tax receipts released this week by the state comptroller’s office showed that revenue in September from sales, business and other taxes declined by about 7 percent, or $154 million, compared with September 2007.

Tax receipts are expected to get worse, Mr. Paterson said. Tax revenue from Wall Street bonuses, expected to be down sharply this year, will not be counted until early next year.

Not only that, but our financial rating could be downgraded and borrowing costs could rise. Of course that is terrible news for the state of our state's economy and I'm not knocking the seriousness of this at all. What I am knocking is the ridiculousness of the situation on the state level when compared to what is going on 250 miles to our southwest in Washington, D.C.

How is it that New York, being in the center of this crisis (you know, Wall Street is in Manhattan and not a magical mythical place that politicians can crusade against from afar) is expected to weather this financial storm with no help from the Federal government. Congress just gave the wealthy bastards who screwed everything up $700 billion and our state gets jack shit. How is that fair? Can someone tell me, because I'm obviously out of the loop.

Oh wait, will this "trickle-down" to the rest of us? Is that the plan, because if it is....if this is another endorsement of the failed policies that originated with Reagan and his neo-con nut brigade, I'm gonna explode.

Obama Ad Highlights McCain's Tax Increase On The Middle Class

John McCain may want to lower taxes, but it is primarily for the rich. He wants to show us he has a health care plan that helps America, but he fails to say how he intends to make us pay for it:

Congratulations! You Owe Ten Trillion Dollars!!!

Yes you read that right. No, you don't have to buy any magazines for that prize. Our nation is now saddled with over ten trillion dollars in debt and the number continues to grow and the rate of increase is moving higher and higher. When Clinton left office it was less than $6 trillion, which was lower than when Bush I left. Now Bush has got a real mark on his record and within a few months of his departure.

From The Swamp:

There were no fireworks so a lot of people probably missed it. We even forgot to mention it here on The Swamp when it happened though we saw the reports. Anyway, on the last day of September, the national debt hit $10 trillion plus.

President Bush signed legislation in July that raised the debt ceiling to $10.615 trillion. Meanwhile, the financial bailout legislation passed by the Senate last night would raise the debt ceiling further to $11.315 trillion.

Click on the article for the charts of how the history of our debt has changed in the last seventy years. It's really rather pathetic. When are politicians going to understand that you cannot keep borrowing obscene amounts of money to prop up false ideologies (like conservatism) to put a happy face on for the public?

It. Just. Doesn't. Work.....Damnit!

Who Benefits From A Bloomberg Third Term

With a fresh poll that shows a slight majority in favor of a third term for the current Mayor, I believe that we haven't been able to get the message out about what is going on here. Within a year's time, New Yorkers are going to know what Bloomberg is up to here. He claims he knows his finance and can guide the city through these rough fiscal times, but who exactly is he taking by the hand now and through 2013 if he is re-elected?

From The Real Deal:

Many in the New York real estate community are in favor of Mayor Michael Bloomberg serving a third term as mayor. Developers, landlords, investors and brokers like Bloomberg because he's been a pro-business, pro-real estate mayor, and want a businessman in charge of the city during the Wall Street crisis. Developer Alex Sapir said, "Let's keep him forever"; Howard Lorber, chairman of Prudential Douglas Elliman, said, "I can't think of anyone who's done more for New York … in my lifetime"; and Donald Trump said, "Any time I see Michael I say, please run."
These are the people that want Bloomberg to stay another term and when that term is up maybe they'll extend the law for another four years. Who really knows? This is a slippery slope if I've ever seen one. Everyone except for regular New Yorkers wins here. The Council will now be able to qualify for generous pensions if they stay more than ten years in office, the Mayor holds onto his power and the wealthiest among us get a guy who is more than willing to bend the city over and allow the Ellimans, Tishman Speyers and Trumps to recreate Manhattan and the surrounding buroughs as they see fit.

Meanwhile, those of us who have lived and worked here for years or decades slowly get pushed out by rising rents and real estate prices. Sure, the numbers are down right now for apartments around the city but that downturn won't last long, especially in Manhattan. In a year or two, when prices rebound the developers and real estate tycoons will be reaping more profits while the rest of us just try to hang onto a place in the city, though many have already folded and moved out to PA.

So if you want to be chased out of your city by rising costs, then a vote for Bloomberg and term limit extensions is one for you.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Joe Biden Sent His Son Off To War Today

Last night's debate must have been tough for Senator Biden to prepare for but nothing comes close to what he had to do today. Like too many other worried parents, Joe Biden saw his son Beau off to Iraq, along with his National Guard unit.

McCain Operatives Think You're Stupid

John McCain and his henchmen obviously do not care much for the target voters they're going after. With every legitimate poll showing Obama's increasing lead, the powers that be are afraid of losing the nice hold they've had under Republican leadership (or lack therof). Since their ideas are tired and old, naturally they are employing the usual brand of GOP dirty tricks to get as many fearful votes as they can. The problem in 2008 is, no one is buying it anymore.

From The Guardian:

Barack Obama's campaign for the White House is receiving increasing complaints about scam pollsters involved in dirty tricks operations to discredit the Democratic candidate.

Victims claim the fake pollsters work insinuations into their questions, designed to damage Obama. Those targeted in swing states such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania include Jews, Christian evangelicals, Catholics and Latinos.

One of those to protest, Debbie Minden, who lives in a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood, Squirrel Hill, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, told the Guardian that the pollster had begun by asking her the usual questions about her background and who she would vote for.

But the pollster went on to ask Minden, who is Jewish, how she would vote if she knew that Obama was supported by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that runs Gaza and was responsible for most of the suicide bombings against Israel. "It is scare tactics. It is terribly underhand," she said.

Debbie didn't believe their crap for one second and many other people are waking up to the fact that McCain and his people are using these tricks to sway voters. Lying comes easy to McCain, so we shouldn't expect anything different from those that work for him or are working to get him elected. As I mentioned earlier this week about push polls, the more that is written about them, the more people realize what is going on when its happening to them. You don't have to disconnect your phone like interviewee Joelna Marcus down in Florida, but recognizing the problem and telling your friends about it (especially ones that live in swing states like Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, etc) is more than half the battle.

While Congress Cheers The Bailout...

Today the Congress approved one of the biggest blank checks in history. How could the legislature get behind Wall Street and George Bush's proposal to give our money to these crooks and liars? Well it's really easy actually, just add another $110 billion dollars worth of treats and you'll get the extra votes you need.

From Smart Money:

Some relief could be on the horizon for contracted credit markets if the House on Friday votes for the bailout plan approved by the Senate late Wednesday. While most of our pundits concede the necessity of a rescue in some form, the unappetizing aspects of legislative sausage-making that pushed the price tag for taxpayers up to as much as $850 billion could prolong resistance to the bill.

"What started out as a two-and-a-half page proposal is now hundreds of pages and includes 'bells and whistles' (earmarks) such as: tax benefits for film and television productions, stockcar racetrack owners, wooden arrows designed for use by children, six pages worth of earmarks for litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident; and tax earmark extenders for Virgin Island and Puerto Rican rum-makers, American Samoa, mine rescue teams and mine safety equipment," Charles Schwab analyst Liz Ann Sonders wrote Thursday. "No, I'm not kidding about this!"

Washington analysts like Tom Gallagher, who tracks policy for the ISI Group, began handicapping the House vote like horse track habitués, and decided the odds were in favor of passage by the House.

"We believe the GOP leadership has secured enough votes to pass the bill," he wrote in a Thursday policy report. "But the Democrats expect to pick up a few votes as well, which should produce a majority for the TARP. But the package hasn't changed much and we don't expect very many of the 'no' votes to change their votes, so while we think it will pass, the vote will be close."

So the damn thing passed and now Wall Street will have our their filthy money and Congress can say they got us some goodies that will cost us even more. So while Congress cheers, the rest of the nation is left with more sobering news, such as the fact that the economy lost another 159,000 jobs in September alone.

Of course, Mr. Anti-Earmark Money himself voted for this, which is no surprise to anyone because he has the uncanny ability of being for something in one sentence and changing his position in the next. He could care less about what happens to the rest of us as long as he gets to be President and gives large tax breaks to his wife and the wealthy elite like her.

I guess we should be happy with the pork we got, right? I think I'll get into the wooden arrow business or even better, make rum down in Puerto Rico. Heaven knows we needed that garbage! Maybe I'll just say f*&k it and paint, perhaps something like the latest Banksy piece on Broadway and Howard right now.

Of course, there is some good stuff in there I'll admit. Increasing the FDIC limit to $250K is a nice thing. Honestly though, this is akin to letting the water out of a manmade lake in order to save a couple of yachts while the middle class's S.S. Dingy will be sitting stuck in the muck at the bottom of the pit.

Wrong Again Sarah, Main Street Was Screwed By Wall Street

During last night's debate, Sarah Palin blamed the actions of Main Street for the problems on Wall Street. Despite whatever pseudo-populism she has tried to trick people with, the end of this video shows who she blames....and wants to punish with her potential policies.

Palin Was Clueless On Protecting Homeowners

Last night in the middle of the debate, Gwen Ifill asked Palin about her running mate's support of allowing bankruptcy judges to rewrite mortgage payments on people's first homes. Biden called out McCain's opposition to helping homeowners (particularly those unlike him that only own one house). Palin didn't want her side to come off as mean and uncaring of the millions who are threatened by foreclosure on their homes so she quickly lied and ran away from the question.

From ABC News:

Sarah Palin got her facts wrong in Thursday's debate with Joe Biden when discussing where John McCain stands on new protections for homeowners facing foreclosures.

The Alaska governor incorrectly made it sound like McCain supports giving bankruptcy judges the power to rewrite mortgage payment terms on first homes.

He doesn't.

Joe Biden did what he did best in the debate and went after John McCain and his failed policies. His adversary across the stage clearly showed that she was way out of her league when it came time to defend her man McCain:

"[W]e should be allowing bankruptcy courts to be able to re-adjust not just the interest rate you're paying on your mortgage to be able to stay in your home, but be able to adjust the principal that you owe, the principal that you owe," said Biden. "That would keep people in their homes, actually help banks by keeping it from going under.

"But John McCain, as I understand it," he continued, "I'm not sure of this, but I believe John McCain and the governor don't support that. There are ways to help people now. And there -- ways that we're offering are not being supported by -- by the Bush administration nor do I believe by John McCain and Governor Palin."

"Governor Palin, is that so?" asked PBS' Gwen Ifill.

"That is not so," said Palin, "but because that's just a quick answer."

Sarah was pretty good at running from questions she didn't have a clue on and if there's something to give her credit for, it was this. Meanwhile back in reality, homeowners with plummeting home values that can't afford their mortgage payments have nowhere to go, that is until they lose their home to foreclosure and the banks are given a free pass and a $700,000,000,000.00 check.

Palin's Problem Isn't Debating, Its Still Troopergate

From the moment she was selected as McCain's running mate, she was preparing for the debate and anyone aware of that fact knew she would probably survive ninety minutes with Joe Biden. While the McCain campaign put in all that time cramming her full of talking points, they have also been hard at work trying to stall the justice system in Alaska. McCain lawyers have done all they can so that the truth about Palin and her trooper-gate fiasco does not make its way into broad daylight. Even worse than that, if the report due out next week is bad enough, it'll go to the State House for a possible impeachment inquiry. Despite the GOP's best efforts, justice is slowly but surely staying on course.

From CBS News:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) An Alaska judge on Thursday refused to block a state investigation into whether Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power when she fired her public safety commissioner this summer.

Judge Peter Michalski threw out the lawsuit filed by five Republican state legislators who said the investigation had been tainted by partisan politics and was being manipulated to damage Palin shortly before the Nov. 4 presidential election.

''It is legitimately within the scope of the legislature's investigatory power to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the termination (of) a public officer the legislature had previously confirmed,'' the judge wrote in his decision.

The probe is looking into whether Palin, who is the Republican vice presidential candidate, and others pressured Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan to fire a state trooper who was involved in a contentious divorce from Palin's sister, and then fired Monegan when he wouldn't dismiss the trooper. Palin says Monegan was ousted over budget disagreements.

The five Republican lawmakers had argued that the legislative body that ordered the investigation exceeded its authority. Their attorney, Kevin Clarkson, said the political bias was demonstrated by the plan of the Legislature's independent investigator to issue a report by Oct. 10 although the full legislature won't consider until reconvening in January.
So the real, impeach and convict stuff won't come until Barack Obama is in office, but the report will still be significant. Republicans will cry about partisanship no matter how independent the commission is, but voters will see through their whining. What counts is Palin's reputation and what the undecided public wants to do about that. She has been tanking ever since she stepped out on stage with McCain. While last night helped stem the bleeding, a report showing that she abused the Governor's office for her own personal vengeance will open that wound up quicker than a vat of blood thinners.

Colbert Takes On The Bailout And Corporate Orgies

When Stephen Colbert debates Stephen Colbert, you never know what is going to happen. Last night before Palin went up against Biden, Colbert analyzed the crisis on Wall Street like no one on CNBC, CNN or PBS would ever dare to. I had to watch this three times before realizing its true beauty:

Palin May Not Have Fallen On Her Face, But She Still Lost

Based on the interviews with Katie Couric, a lot of Americans were expecting a spectacular explosion from Sarah Palin. While there were a few gaffes, for the most part she appeased her base and managed to stay on the stage for ninety minutes. Now I would have loved if Gwen Ifill asked her some of these questions but conservatives did a great job of keeping Gwen quiet and inserting a dose of covert racism into the debate in one shot.

As the show went on, Sarah followed her flow chart and while she came off as robotic at times with those talking points, she scored points with her base, especially when she viciously jabbed Biden over Iraq. Sure, the majority of the country was probably horrified to hear her say that Obama and Biden wanted to "wave a white flag of surrender," but Palin's strong suit is not to appeal to undecided voters (the majority of which are opposed to the war). In fact, as the polls showed after the debate, Biden dominated with undecideds. As long as Palin brings the fundamentalists to the polls, she'll have done her part.

While this debate will probably not sway anyone dramatically to one side or the other, there were some memorable moments. In her closing segment Sarah Palin went for the obvious Ronald Reagan reference as she tried to use people's fears so that they'd vote for her and McCain to hold onto our freedoms or else we'll have to explain the loss of them to our grandkids. It was a touching wingnut moment to say the least. Too bad the quote was about Reagan's appeal to end Medicare.

That one probably sailed over the heads of many so I think the key moment for most people was when Biden teared up over the loss of his wife and child and relating to America that he knows what it is like to be a single parent. He showed he was a human being and not just a politician. Then Sarah Palin showed her utter classlessness when she followed it up not with empathy but a tone-deaf response that showed she was still in the debate prep room while everyone else was at the main event. If she was mentally there, then that speaks even more negatively of her character.

Of course there was plenty more and we'll certainly be talking about it in the next day or so before round two of Obama/McCain starts on Tuesday. As many have pointed out, this was no Bentsen-Quayle event and even that verbal sparring match didn't help the Dukakis/Bentsen ticket. All last night did for the big picture was to show that Palin could survive a debate and that Joe Biden could clearly step in for Barack Obama in case of something godforbid. You could tell that Palin had studied and was still cramming with her notes up on stage. Meanwhile Biden spoke with ease and made his points clearly and concisely. As his word cloud shows, he hammered McCain over and over again while Palin had trouble putting together coherent sentences.

Oh and everything that DemFromCT says too.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Cliff Note Sarah Vs. To The Point Joe

Really, there is no comparison between the two people on stage tonight. Sarah Palin leaned heavily on her notes and ran from any questions that weren't answered on those 3x5's. Joe Biden on the other hand, is clearly connecting John McCain to George Bush and smacks any petty attack that Palin throws his way. He doesn't look like a policy wonk as many feared and he isn't brutally attacking her either. Joe has just the right amount of facts and Sarah has empty statements. She may not have burned the place down (yet) but this is hardly a pretty sight for any Republican supporter to watch.

As they did for the first debate, ThinkProgress is live-blogging the event and is easily refuting every false assertion that Palin makes. Everything from her BS about being in the middle class to calling out meetings with foreign leaders that haven't happened. All the "gosh darns" and "ya betchas" isn't going to save that car crash. Nope, not even the winks and the shout out to Dad sitting in the audience.

Despite her presence on the stage, Joe Biden is following Andrew Halcro's advice for the most part. He is going past her and talking directly to the middle class. His policy knowledge translates directly into what him and Obama will do for Americans that have suffered under eight years of George Bush. With fifteen minutes to go, unless Biden starts crying on the floor like a baby, this is game, set and match.

Obama Rips McCain Over The Economy

McCain can make up whatever he wants when he's on stage, but the only candidate to speak the truth about what's going on in America is right here:

Bloomberg Is Running On Fiscal Cred He Doesn't Have

Just like everyone suspected, Bloomberg officially announced his candidacy to run for a third term as Mayor. He talked a lot about the economy and New York needing someone that can guide our city through this tumultuous time. While this reminds many of the crap that Giuliani put out after 9/11 so that he could stay Mayor for a "little bit" longer, Bloomberg insists it isn't and we should obviously take him at his word that it isn't a purely political power move.

So lets swallow that disgusting lump of bullshit for a moment and focus on the fiscal crisis and the city needing leadership to get through it. Now we all know that Bloomberg is one of the wealthiest men in the country, but since when has a billionaire made a difference in your livelihood unless you work for him or her? When it comes to the city, his record isn't even that good.

From The NY Times:

And it is Mr. Bloomberg’s handling of the city’s bigger, longer-term financial issues that has provoked some disappointment among experts and others.

The mayor, they say, has failed to control the city’s growing pension and health care costs, and has allowed overall city spending to increase significantly. Those costs, they argue, will contribute to gaping budget deficits starting next year.[...]

Some budget experts said another aspect of Mr. Bloomberg’s stewardship of the city’s finances had caused concerns: the recent contracts he has negotiated with the city’s teachers and police officers that could become problematic as the city enters tough economic times.

Of course that is in a mixed bag of good and bad things about our economy and Bloomberg's management of it. Considering that George Bush has been in office for eight years, any Mayor is going to have trouble navigating our fiscal disaster.

Yet there is one giant thing that the economist do not mention in their analyses of the Mayor. That is the character of New York and the massive push of gentrification that is going on in the city. The influence of developers and real estate lobbyists has changed New York in so many ways. Local businesses that make our city what it is are being pushed out by high rents, making way for a type of suburbanization where we live in a checkerboard of Starbucks and Chase bank branches. I'm not calling for the old Times Sq or anything, but what is happening across our city in the last few years is beyond ridiculous.

Republicans Still Trying To Blame Fiscal Crisis On Minorities

Conservatism, for all intensive purposes has been proven a failed ideology that has done nothing but tear America apart at the seams. Then it gets into the core of our nation and starts rotting the core of our democracy. The only purpose it seems to serve is to make the rich richer at the expense of the poor. One effective tactic of the GOP has been to use wedge issues (such as abortion, gay rights, etc) and exploited differences in race to hold onto their corruptive power. Now as voters are waking up to the realities of the fiscal nightmare they created, the GOP is trying to divert our attention by playing on their base's fears of minorities. Naturally, the right wing pundits and conservative elites happily pick up their party's baton.

From The Huffington Post:

The campaign is being conducted by such leading advocates of the right as Charles Krauthammer, Mona Charen, Jeff Jacoby, television hosts like Lou Dobbs, and the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily and the Washington Times.

Krauthammer, for example, makes the case that, "For decades, starting with Jimmy Carter's Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, there has been bipartisan agreement to use government power to expand homeownership to people who had been shut out for economic reasons or, sometimes, because of racial and ethnic discrimination. What could be a more worthy cause? But it led to tremendous pressure on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- who in turn pressured banks and other lenders -- to extend mortgages to people who were borrowing over their heads. That's called subprime lending. It lies at the root of our current calamity."

For those inclined to blame Democratic liberals, this argument is appealing. Neither Krauthammer nor Charen quotes any sources to back up their respective cases, and the only expert cited by Boston Globe columnist Jacoby is Loyola College economist Thomas DiLorenzo. DiLorenzo is most famous as a defender of the Confederacy and for his anti-Abraham Lincoln books, including The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War and Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe.

The argument is so ridiculous, it could only be picked up by the most vile members of our society. Most are afraid to accept the responsibility of advocating and achieving the de-regulation that put us in this mess. Instead of admitting their failures and the utter disappointment that conservatism is as a whole, people like Dobbs, Krauthammer et al. resort to the worst elements of our society.

The entire article by Thomas Edsell at Huffington Post goes into even more detail and sheds the appropriate light that their racism deserves.

McCain: "I'm Not A Rich Man"

While on the topic of baseball this morning, John McCain got a line in at the end of the interview where he stated he wasn't a rich man.

While I like his favorable mention of the Dodgers, trying to mislead people about his wealth was one line too many for him on Mornin Joe. In reality, he is one of the richest men in the Senate...and that is no small feat.

What To Expect From Palin Tonight, From The Man That Has Debated Her Before

Sarah Palin may be political neophyte on the national stage but that doesn't mean she hasn't been in a debate before. She did get to be a Mayor and Governor somehow, even if it was by underhanded means and backstabbing her way to the top of Alaska's government. Everyone is talking about how Biden should play his cards tonight, so I hope he talked to Andrew Halcro. When he ran against her and Tony Knowles, Andrew learned the hard way that Sarah Palin knows what to do in a debate.

From The Christian Science Monitor:

Palin is a master of the nonanswer. She can turn a 60-second response to a query about her specific solutions to healthcare challenges into a folksy story about how she's met people on the campaign trail who face healthcare challenges. All without uttering a word about her public-policy solutions to healthcare challenges.

In one debate, a moderator asked the candidates to name a bill the legislature had recently passed that we didn't like. I named one. Democratic candidate Tony Knowles named one. But Sarah Palin instead used her allotted time to criticize the incumbent governor, Frank Murkowski. Asked to name a bill we did like, the same pattern emerged: Palin didn't name a bill.

And when she does answer the actual question asked, she has a canny ability to connect with the audience on a personal level. For example, asked to name a major issue that had been ignored during the campaign, I discussed the health of local communities, Mr. Knowles talked about affordable healthcare, and Palin talked about ... the need to protect hunting and fishing rights.

So what does that mean for Biden? With shorter question-and-answer times and limited interaction between the two, he should simply ignore Palin in a respectful manner on the stage and answer the questions as though he were alone. Any attempt to flex his public-policy knowledge and show Palin is not ready for prime time will inevitably cast him in the role of the bully.

Truer words could not have been said. Biden should definitely not come off as a bully and in fact, if he plays his cards right he can turn her into the over-aggressive candidate that is over compensating for not knowing anything. She is definitely believes in a non-answer to everything (as we've seen with Katie Couric) and that is a tactic that can be countered. This isn't Alaska, we are talking about the Vice-Presidency and Joe Biden can take a policy and relate it to ordinary people. Sarah Palin may not be Robert Bork, but she is certainly someone that Biden can run circles around without coming off as a policy wonk.

Obama's Collegiality Scared McCain Last Night

John McCain's campaign relies on fear and manipulation, lies and tearing down his opponent with any baseless attack his hacks can think of. Generally beneath the facade of that type of snarling dog is a fearful and vulnerable little boy. We got to see that little McCain on the Senate floor last night, when Obama came up to him to say hello while the bailout bill was on its way to be passed. No attacks, no sniping, nothing rude, just a simple hello.

From CQ Politics:

As the two shared the Senate floor tonight for the first time since they won their party nominations, Obama stood chatting with Democrats on his side of the aisle, and McCain stood on the Republican side of the aisle.

So Obama crossed over into enemy territory.

He walked over to where McCain was chatting with Republican Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida and Independent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut. And he stretched out his arm and offered his hand to McCain.

McCain shook it, but with a “go away” look that no one could miss. He tried his best not to even look at Obama.

Finally, with a tight smile, McCain managed a greeting: “Good to see you.”

Of course he didn't mean it, McCain probably despises Obama at this point, especially with the whooping he's taking in the polls. Like an immature child out of his comfort zone, McCain had trouble talking to another Senator because of a fragile ego. He could hardly act Senatorial, let alone Presidential. Everyone in the room knew who actually possessed those qualities last night as he walked back to the Democratic side of the floor.

Richard Trumka Tells AFL-CIO There's No Good Reason To Not Vote For Obama

His speech is primarily about the only "bad" reason, meaning racism. He talks about how unions have been a great fighter against the ills of racism. He talks about how racism only serves to divide us and keep everyone down for the benefit of the elite. This is one of the most impassioned speeches about race that I've heard in a long time, especially from a white guy.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Palin Provides McCain Foreign Policy Advice? Really?

I guess when you are always full of shit, it is easy to spew more and more of it especially as a politician of the GOP sort. John McCain delivered a real doozy this morning when talking to NPR, saying that he has consulted with Sarah Palin many times in the past about foreign policy issues. Yeah, he's talking about Sarah "I live near Russia" Palin. Seriously, you can't make this up.

From ThinkProgress:

In an interview this morning with NPR, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that he has often turned to Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) for foreign policy advice:

NPR: Given what you’ve said Senator, is there an occasion where you could imagine turning to Governor Palin for advice in a foreign policy crisis.

MCCAIN: I’ve turned to her advice many times in the past, I can’t imagine turning to Senator Obama or Senator Biden because they’ve been wrong. They were wrong about Iraq, wrong about Russia –

NPR: But would you turn to Governor Palin?

MCCAIN: I certainly wouldn’t turn to them, and I’ve already turned to Governor Palin particularly on energy issues and I’ve appreciated her background and knowledge on that and many other issues.

What the hell is McCain talking about here? There really isn't much there in Sarah's bucket of experience, especially when it comes to foreign policy. The woman practically admitted earlier to Couric that she had no idea what Hamas is when she unwittingly offered her support for them.

As for turning to her many times in the past, would McCain be referring to August or September, because he only met her once or twice before selecting her to be his VP choice.

Term Limit Challenges And Christine Quinn

New York is in a tizzy over the term limit debate (not to mention the crisis on Wall Street). With Bloomberg's announcement to run for a third term possibly coming tomorrow, questions as to the feasibility of the plan are arising, particularly the support from Christine Quinn and ultimately the legality of overturning the will of the voters that was expressed in 1993 and 1996. First we have Quinn on the record coming strongly against changing the rules ten months ago, just as the Mayor has made stern statements in the past as well.

From The NY Daily News:

The press office of Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has been unusually quiet since the news broke of Mayor Bloomberg's intention to change term limits via legislation, just released the following statement:
"The pending announcement that Mayor Bloomberg will seek to change New York City's term limits law is a significant development for the City of New York. Speaker Quinn takes that announcement seriously and will be discussing its legislative implications with her colleagues."

Bloomberg can't make the change he's proposing without Quinn, and Quinn, like Bloomberg, is on the record saying there should be no changes to term limits.

Her statement on the subject last December was pretty emphatic:

"I will neither support legislation nor will I seek or support a new referendum eliminating or altering term limits.

Over the last two years, the City Council has pursued an agenda of reform and democratization.We have strengthened our lobbying and campaign finance laws, increased transparency in the budget process and improved our constituent services by implementing CouncilStat."

"I believe that overruling the will of New Yorkers - who have voted twice in favor of term limits - would be anti-democratic and anti-reform."

Obviously she is in quite a bind over this. She wants to appease Bloomberg but risks taking down whatever "reformer" is left in her public image, especially after the slush-fund scandal. The Mayor believes he has enough money to drown out a negative reaction from the voters, but she certainly does not and that is important if she ever does finally get the courage to officially run for Mayor, whether that be in 2009 or 2013.

The bill to make Bloomberg's re-election run legitimate also has its legal challenges. Good government groups are pissed at this oligarchic move and are threatening to sue Bloomberg and his cohorts in court to put an end to this. Jerry Goldfeder has his doubts about the Mayor's ability to pull it off, given how limited the proposal for extending the current term limits actually is.

Also from the NY DN:

Election Law attorney Jerry Goldfeder, who returned this summer to private practice after a stint in AG Andrew Cuomo's office, said he would be "surprised" if a legislative effort to change term limits doesn't generate at least one legal challenge.

He concurred with the suggestion that such a challenge might be based on the 1965 Voting Rights Act, but also raised another intriguing possibility.

It could be deemed a conflict of interest for sitting Council members to vote on a term limits extension, particularly if it only applies to current office holders, Goldfeder said.

"If it's a one-shot deal, then there might be an issue as to whether or not the Council is just acting for themselves," said Goldfeder, who declined to go into too much detail, since he might be involved in future litigation.
Obviously this all about looking out for number one, the voters be damned. Bloomberg's excuse to run again (because the markets are in trouble) is as honest as Sarah Palin talking about....well, anything really. Hopefully Quinn will come to her senses and leave this to the voters to decide. If not the courts have good reason to dismiss this crap outright as soon as a purely self-interested city council voted to pass it.

Palin's Worst Answer Yet

If Sarah Palin knew who she was talking about down below, then we would have to conclude that she supports the terrorist group Hamas. Of course, she doesn't, as we can tell from the rest of her incoherent answer to Couric's question. Like all of the other responses we have seen so far, she diverts from what was asked of her because she has no clue what she's talking about.

Who Cares Who Or What Contributes To Global Warming?

If someone with a cigarette blew smoke in your face, would you simply acknowledge the fumes or call out the smoker and do something about it, like moving out of the way? Well Sarah Palin admits there is a problem with our over-cooked planet and says we should do something to combat global warming, but she's unwilling to point out the 800 pound gorilla that is the oil and gas industry that contributes to the problem.

From RawStory:

Palin, who is governor of the vast and remote northern state of Alaska, said communities in her state "feel the impacts more than any other state up there with the changes in the climate and certainly it is apparent."

The 44-year-old mother of five was little known nationally until she burst onto the political scene when Republican presidential candidate John McCain chose her as his shock running in late August.

In interviews prior to McCain tapping her to be on the ticket, Palin has said she does not believe global warming is a man-made problem, putting her at odds with McCain.

Her state is one of the country's largest energy producers and she supports opening a protected Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil drilling -- a position pilloried by environmentalists and some Democratic leaders.

So this is how she changes her radical position of ignorance to one that resembles McCain's recognition of the problem. Sure, Alaska feels it more dramatically due to the proximity of the North Pole, but she has done much to ensure that the changes continue by opening up more avenues to fossil fuels and shredding her state to get it pumped out of the ground and sold off to market. To her green-energy is one that brings the state cash, not something that includes wind, solar or geothermal energy. Contrary to her belief (or today's position) that global warming exists but ignoring those that contribute to it is ok, most Americans are aware that we need to do something about the fossil fuel industry, but to Palin, that means coddling them, not criticizing.

No Sarah, It Isn't A Choice

Sarah Palin is known as a right-wing ideologue with very narrow-minded views about those that differ from her in the eyes of (her) lord. In the on-going interview with Katie Couric, Palin tried to temper people's perception of her hateful views by using the now cliché "Some of my best friends are gay." Actually it is just one friend, but when you see what she said, there is a lot more to it than just her single, solitary friend.

From The NY Daily News:

Sarah Palin, the socially conservative GOP veep nominee, is not opposed to gay people. Heck, some of her best friends are gay.

"I am not going to judge Americans and the decisions that they make in their adult personal relationships," Palin told CBS' Katie Couric Tuesday night when asked about churches, including Palin's, that promote conferences to convert gays into heterosexuals through prayer.

"I have one of my absolute best friends for the last 30 years who happens to be gay and I love her dearly," Palin said, without mentioning names. "And she is not my gay friend, she is one of my best friends who happens to have made a choice that isn't a choice that I have made."

Your friend made a choice? Was it a choice of hers to tell you that she was gay? It certainly isn't what you insinuate, because being gay isn't a choice Sarah. Maybe you are gay but haven't made the choice to say it outloud, because that would be the only way for you and your friend to make different choices on this particular issue.

Oh and what would a story about Sarah Palin be without a lie. Here she clearly admits she thinks that it is a choice to be gay, but when asked about the issue by Charlie Gibson just a few days ago, you feigned ignorance on the matter.

What we do know about Sarah Palin and gay rights is much more straight-forward (no pun intended). Palin is a member of a church that promotes conversion for gays to become straight (and for Jews to be converted to Christianity too). In the legislative arena, she was in favor of making sure that same-sex couples were denied the rights afforded to heterosexuals.

I know Sarah Palin is full of shit when it comes to GLBT issues, but I have to wonder, who is this friend of hers and how can you stand a woman that wants to strip your rights as an American and clearly sees you as inferior to herself?

Temper, Temper Mr. McCain

John McCain's temper is famous around Capitol Hill but only now is the nation starting to clue in on it. The editorial staff of the Des Moines Register got a taste of it yesterday when asking about his dishonest tactics in the campaign.

Chain Email Smears And The Success Of Obama's Rapid Response

laflIn our high-tech world, John McCain fears going online but some of his supporters have no trouble writing vicious smear emails and sending them to everyone they know, creating the chain-effect. It was supposed to be a below the radar tactic that riled up people's irrational fears of Muslims. When it wasn't effective enough, they added that Obama could be the anti-Christ. It is an absurd idea, but this is America and people will believe a lot of stupid shit.

Normally this would be allowed to go on and while Democrats were aware of such smears, they wouldn't do anything about it ('staying above it all' mentality) and yet the garbage emanating from the GOP hacks still stunk things up. Now I though that this pattern of immobility would continue this year while the attacks worsened in their frequency and 'quality,' especially with a black man as the Presidential nominee. I treated the rapid-response team with skepticism, wondering if anything could put the spine back in our party.

Well my doubts have been beaten out of me with the help of a couple stories in the press that have shown the growing toxicity of these malicious emails. In South Carolina Mayor Funderbunk of Fort Hill has been chastised for sending along the chain email. Today we found out that Dutchess County's GOP Chair Corinne Weber resigned her post after it was exposed that she too took part in spreading hate-filled lies about Obama. No longer are these GOP officials allowed to conduct themselves like this without scrutiny.

These are two examples that show people are not going to get away with this ridiculous political, racist and obscene hackery. Not only do these stories make Republicans hesitate before pressing the send button but it provides ample opportunity for people to learn that the email is pure garbage, before they even get it in their inbox from one of their McCain-supporting family and friends.

Smear emails like purporting that Obama is the anti-Christ thrives on getting around in the shadows. When we shine light on it like the rapid-response of the campaign has done, the effectiveness of the tactic disappears

The Progressively Minded "No BAILOUTS" Act

Why is "bailouts" in all caps? That's because not only did the Progressive caucus put together a comprehensive package that reforms the way things are done on Wall Street, they made an acronym out of it too. The "Bringing Accounting, Increased Liquidity, Oversight and Upholding Taxpayer Security" Act does almost everything that the original plan floated by Paulson did not.

From Congressman DeFazio (co-sponsor of the bill):

1) Require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require an economic value standard to measure the capital of financial institutions.

This bill will require SEC to implement a rule to suspend the application of fair value accounting standards to financial institutions, which marks assets to the market value, no matter the conditions of the market. When no meaningful market exists, as is the current market for mortgage backed securities, this standard requires institutions to value assets at fire-sale prices. This creates a capital shortfall on paper. Using the economic value standard as bank examines have traditionally done will immediately correct the capital shortfalls experienced by many institutions.

2) Require the Securities and Exchange Commission to restricting naked short sells permanently

This bill will require SEC to implement a rule that blocks naked selling, selling a stock short without first borrowing the shares or ensuring the shares can be borrowed. Such practices many times harm the companies represented in the sales and hurt their efforts to raise capital. There is no economic value produced by naked short sales, but significant negative effects.

3) Require the Securities and Exchange Commission to restore the up-tick rule permanently.

This bill will require SEC to implement a rule that blocks short sales without an up-tick in the market. On September 19, 2008, the SEC approved a temporary pause of short selling in financial companies “to protect the integrity and quality of the securities market and strengthen investor confidence.” This rule prevents market crashes brought on by irrational short term market behavior.

4) “Net Worth Certificate Program”

This bill will require FDIC to implement a net worth certificate program. The FDIC would determine banks with short-term capital needs and the ability to financially recover in the foreseeable future. For those entities that qualify, the FDIC should purchase net worth certificates in these institutions. In exchange, these institutions issue promissory notes to repay the FDIC, counting the amount “borrowed” as capital on their balance sheets. This exchange provides short term capital, with not cash outlay. Interest rates on the certificates and the FDIC notes should be identical so no subsidy is necessary.

Participating banks must be subject to strict oversight by the FDIC including oversight of top executive compensation and if necessary the removal of poor management. Financial records and business plans should be subject to scrutiny while participating in the program.

In 1982, Congress approved a program, known as the Net Worth Certificate Program, that allowed banks and thrifts to apply for immediate capital assistance. From 1982 to 1993, banks with total assets of $40 billion participated in the program. The majority of these banks, 75%, required no further assistance beyond the certificate program.

5) Increase the FDIC Insurance limit from $100,000 to $250,000.

The bill will require the FDIC raise its limit to provide depositors confidence that their money is safe and help eliminate runs on banks which are destabilizing to the industry.
It may not be perfect and certainly not all-encompassing, but this is far better than what Henry Paulson put on the table with the full-backing of the President (for whatever that is worth these days). Congress should also move to rollback anything with Phil Gramm's name on it along with much of the de-regulation that the Republicans went with while they were in control from 1994-2006. I'd also love to see a tax on trades like others have suggested. A quarter ($0.25) surcharge per transaction is nothing for these people and in the end the government can raise billions of dollars a year to help undo the damage the industry has to our economy. Then break up the big banks so that the market will not have to rely on a few giant actors and give the taxpayers and homeowners a break (think foreclosures) to make up for the egregious behavior we have seen from the financial elites. The time for corporate welfare is over and we can right the wrong by giving the money they "stole" back to the people...and certainly disallow them from stealing even more, like Paulson tried to do.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Can't Name A Newspaper? Palin Continues To Amaze Me

This interview is the gift that keeps on giving. While Sarah Palin has devolved into a nightmare for the McCain campaign, she horrifies voters with every new answer to some of the simplest questions most candidates will ever face.

Bloomberg Could Hit The Campaign Trail As Early As Thursday

The buzz in the big apple and apparently on national cable news is that Michael Bloomberg is going to announce his run for re-election....for the second time. This would of course fly in the face of voter-approved term limits and most likely bring a whole slate of City Council Members back for their own third terms as well. It seems that the fiscal crisis has got a lot of rich fuddie-duddies and idiot-savant pundits talking about Bloomberg staying in because he's got $20 billion, give or take a billion such a nice guy and knows stuff about finance and what not.

The Times has the details on this disaster:

Right now, Mr. Bloomberg is barred by law from seeking re-election. But he will propose trying to revise the city’s 15-year-old term limits law, which would otherwise force him and dozens of other elected leaders out of office in 2009, the three people said.

In his announcement, Mr. Bloomberg, a former Wall Street trader and founder of a billion-dollar financial data firm, is expected to argue that the financial crisis unfolding in New York City demands his steady hand and proven business acumen.

The move represents an about-face for Mr. Bloomberg, who has repeatedly said he supports term limits and once called an effort to revise the law “disgusting.” He will apparently try to do so through legislation in the City Council, rather than the ballot box.

Yes, I agree Mr. Mayor, this is a disgusting move on your part. It reeks of arrogance and disdain for the voters that approved the term limits that you were in favor of until now, when they get in your way to hold on to power. The only people that could possibly agree with and benefit from your political calculus are the rich and wealthy elite that love to see skyrocketing real estate prices, an environment that encourages gluttonous development and having more Chase bank branches and Starbucks than the entire state needs. New York deserves better than this abrogation and subversion of the law. If you really think we want you to serve another term, then run in 2013 and respect the will of the voters.

A Progressive Plan To Rescue Americans, Not To Bailout Wall Street

A group of progressively-minded Democrats are sick of letting Republicans and Wall Street get their way by setting the debate over a bailout for the wealthy. This afternoon the Congressional Progressive Caucus is talking about helping Americans with oversight for Wall Street and real relief for everyone else that has suffered from the greed of the financial industry over the last few years. The press conference is going on live from Capitol Hill right now.

Here is their initial statement:

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04), an outspoken critic of the Bush/Paulson bailout, along with Rep. Kaptur (OH-09), Rep. Scott (VA-03), Rep. Cummings (MD-07), Rep. Doggett (TX-25), Rep. Holt (NJ-12), Rep. Edwards (MD-04) and Rep. Hirono (HI-02), will introduce legislation today to address the failures in the financial markets. DeFazio believes that the Paulson/Bush proposal is based on a flawed premise: if the American taxpayers spend $700 billion to buy Wall Street's toxic assets - a plan pundits are calling "trash for cash" - it will create liquidity in our financial markets and will somehow trickle-down to Main Street.

DeFazio's plan is not in any way based on the Paulson/Bush plan. Instead of throwing taxpayer dollars at the program and crossing our fingers that the plan work, the measure will direct the Administration to take five simple steps, suggested by noted economist and former head of the FDIC, William Isaac, to re-regulate the markets and move America towards a healthy financial future.

The legislation will be available at the press conference.

The media, if they do their job right will disperse the information given out by the Progressive Caucus so that the nation can talk about a new way, a better way to help all of us and not just the wealthy few. This is what America wants to hear, not Bush, Paulson and McCain's vision of socialist corporatism.

CNN Catches McCain Lying Again

CNN's Alina Cho calls this misleading, but really, a lie is a lie is a lie:

Is Newt Trying To Re-Take The GOP?

A couple of pundit/well to do Washingtonians (Mike Barnicle and Andrea Mitchell-Greenspan) have been hearing whispers around the capitol that yesterday's lack of leadership in the Republican caucus was the result of Newt Gingrich. Why would Gincgrich do such a thing? Perhaps to cap McCain's faltering campaign in the knees and run for President in four years. Of course after hearing the chatter, Gingrich quickly berated them, raising suspicions even higher.

From ThinkProgress:

.....Speaking at the National Press Club today, Gingrich denied Mitchell’s claim, saying MSNBC is wrong and probably “deliberately wrong” because its a “stunningly dishonest network.” “I was reluctantly helping it get through,” he said.

Even throughout yesterday, Gingrich’s position was nearly impossible to pin down. On Glenn Beck’s radio show, he admitted, “I’m not sure if I were in the Congress I could vote against it” while also declaring that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson “should be fired” and that the bailout plan “is still a bad bill.” On Fox News last night, he seemed to praise the House’s rejection of the bill: “The vote today indicated that even when they’d worked for five days to try to improve what was really a pretty terrible original plan that [Paulson] sent up, it still couldn’t get a majority in the House.”

Apparently, Gingrich was against the bailout before he was for it — before he was against it again.

Gingrich is staying extra slimy throughout this situation and it raises the possibility that he wants to bring about a full circle in the GOP. The vehement denial by someone of his stature means that we should all watch out for a resurgent Gingrich. Of course, that would be absolutely hilarious, since it was his reckless behavior that ultimately screwed Republicans out of power two years ago. People are tired of his brand of thuggery (along with the rest of the GOP) and desire leadership in these trying times, not cheap political tricks. Now with that said, if he wants to help divide up what's left of the Republican caucus, then by all means, go right ahead.

Lauder Falls In Line For Bloomberg's Attempt At 3rd Term

Ron Lauder, who's family name is better known for make-up, decided to flip sides on the issue of term limits. He had donated his time and money towards the cause of keeping term limits they way they are for most of this month. Now that Wall Street is in a panic and we are in a new year (L' Shanah Tovah everyone) the wealthy Upper East Side billionaire is backing another wealthy Upper East Side billionaire that also happens to be the current Mayor.

From The NY Post:

Mayor Bloomberg geared up to seek a third term after the path to four more years was cleared yesterday when billionaire term-limits advocate Ron Lauder vowed to support a change in the law that would allow Hizzoner to run again, The Post has learned.

In a surprise move, Lauder said in an exclusive interview with The Post that he would back a one-time extension from eight years to 12 years because he feels the city needs Bloomberg to help steer it through these perilous fiscal times.

Lauder's stunning move comes at a time when Bloomberg, according to sources, has told top aides he intends to seek a third term.

"I've been reading that Mayor Bloomberg might be interested in serving a third term," the cosmetics heir said.

"Because of the unprecedented times, this is welcome news. To me, Mayor Bloomberg's brilliance in the financial sector, particularly Wall Street, would be invaluable."

Invaluable to whom Mr. Lauder? Seriously, spare me the excuses of turning your back on the will of the voters in NYC that put these limits in place. Just like when people like you recommended that Rudy stay in past his term because of 9/11, it is ridiculous that we circumvent the rule of law simply because Wall Street screwed up. On top of that, it is people of Bloomberg's ilk that put us in this mess to begin with. What New York needs is a leader, not more of this media manager that favors corporatism over the people of the city.

A Song To Sarah: "I Can See Russia From Alaska"

Matthew Brookshire picks up the Ukelele and plays an ode to Sarah Palin:

Absolutely brilliant! I wonder if those animals in the music video live in ANWR? Hmmm...

Oh and on a side note, the New Yorker seems to think it would take a powerful set of binoculars to even catch a glimpse.

Bailing Out Rich Financial Firms Doesn't Make Sense, So Follow The Money

"Follow the money" has almost become a cliché in Washington and for how business is done in our capitol. The reason is because like most clichés, there is a fundamental truth between money and politics and the outcome of legislation when the two are added together. Take yesterday's bailout bill for example, it was a close vote and not political party had little to do with whether one Congresscritter voted for it or didn't. If anything, it was the leadership of both majority and minority that were for it and the legislators lower down the totem poll voted nay.

Answering why that may be, OpenSecrets has an idea:

WASHINGTON -- Members of the House of Representatives who supported bailing out the financial sector with $700 billion in taxpayer money have received 51 percent more in campaign contributions from the finance, insurance and real estate sector in their congressional careers than those who opposed the emergency legislation, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics calculated following the 228-205 vote on Monday that defeated the House bill.

Examining campaign contributions from the industries that were most eager to see the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 passed, the Center found that the gap between lawmakers who supported the bailout and those who successfully opposed it was especially wide among House Democrats.

In this election cycle, Democrats backing Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's proposal have collected 78 percent more from the finance, insurance and real estate (or FIRE) sector than those in their caucus who opposed it and, over time, 88 percent more. In dollar figures, the 140 Democrats who supported the bailout proposal have received $792,744 over their careers from the FIRE sector and $188,572 in this cycle, on average. The 95 Democrats who voted against the bill have received $420,686 over their careers and $105,878 in the 2007-2008 cycle. (CRP's campaign finance data goes back to the 1990 election cycle, or the calendar year 1989.)

The 65 Republicans who backed the bill have collected $1,078,533 from the finance sector in their careers and an average of $185,461 toward this election. The 133 Republicans who led the opposition to the bailout have collected, on average, $705,297 over their careers in Congress and $150,381 in this election cycle alone. That translates into a difference of about 23 percent in this cycle and 53 percent over time.
If you head over there to the full article, the nifty graphs show that Republicans got more whether they voted yea or nay based on the natural affinity for Wall Street over in the GOP. Yet the strongest correlation is the money, not partisan identification. The true problem in Washington is the money, hands down. The Center for Responsive Politics does an excellent job of highlighting the discrepancies and should elicit the public to question their representatives on their vote and why they received so much money from the financial sector.

Now while persuadable politicians are a problem, they are merely a symptom of the much larger systemic ailment we endure. If we were able to clean up the system so that money were given from a public account, politicians would be held more accountable by the people and not the industries that fuel their campaigns and cushy retirement gigs. If you live in Arizona or Maine you know what I'm talking about at the state and local level, imagine how much better things would get if we could develop a similar system nation-wide. There are plans in development to go Federal, but they need all of our support, if we do not push our legislators to action, it'll never happen, because it is in their interest to stay elected and ultimately an informed citizenry (with clean elections) wrests power from corporate America and gives it back to the people.

Palin Shows Ignorance Of The Supreme Court

Except for the Supreme Court ruling legalizing a woman's right to choose, Sarah Palin knows nothing about what the Court has done. That's right, nothing, nada, zip. She wasn't asked if she knew there were nine justices currently sitting, so perhaps she knew what most grade school children are taught. Of course, kids in high school are instructed on Marbury v. Madison, Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education and dozens of other influential cases throughout our history that have helped define us as a nation. One would think and hope a woman that wants to be a heartbeat from the Presidency would know this stuff but sadly, you'd be wrong.

From Politico:

Of concern to McCain's campaign, however, is a remaining and still-undisclosed clip from Palin's interview with Couric last week that has the political world buzzing.

The Palin aide, after first noting how "infuriating" it was for CBS to purportedly leak word about the gaffe, revealed that it came in response to a question about Supreme Court decisions.

After noting Roe vs. Wade, Palin was apparently unable to discuss any major court cases.

There was no verbal fumbling with this particular question as there was with some others, the aide said, but rather silence.

That silence was most likely deafening to Couric and most certainly will be to the American people. We as a nation demand more of our leaders. When those that wish to ascertain power from the consent of the governed can not even recall what it is one of the three co-equal branches of government does is a sad statement for that candidate. Meanwhile on the Democratic ticket, we have Joe Biden, who is well-versed on the Court, including an incredible display of insight and tact that led to the defeat of Robert Bork's nomination to the Court. That contest made Republicans red in the face but no one could deny his commanding presence when it came to fulfilling the Senate's duty to scrutinize the President's pick for the Supreme Court. I seriously wonder if Sarah Palin is aware of that time in our recent history.

Monday, September 29, 2008

McCain And Palin Attack The Media In First Interview

There are plenty of reasons to criticize the media, but when they ask valid questions of candidates the people have a right to their honest answers. With John McCain and Sarah Palin, instead of being forthright with voters they blame the media for daring to act as defenders of our democracy.

While McCain Was Busy Gimmicking, Congress Derails Bailout For Time Being

While most of the candidates were out campaigning, John McCain stayed behind at his Arlington headquarters so he could pretend he was in Congress being a bi-partisan maverick, or something like that. In fact, he had his whole brigade claiming that he was there to bring the bill in and get passed, when in reality we saw a majority of Republicans and some Democrats opposing it. The defeated bill then caused the largest drop in the Dow ever recorded, nearly a seven percent loss of the total value. There were many reasons to vote against it for Democrats and Republicans and in the end the American people were saved from the largest legit robbery of the poor to pay the rich. And to top it off, the media is now blaming McCain for coming in and screwing everything up.

From Crooks and Liars:

Chris Matthews cuts through the spin and pins the blame squarely where it should be: On House Republicans and John McCain who promised to deliver their vote.

“McCain said he was going to lead the Republican charge, he was going to make sure that this was a bipartisan success. He called charge, and the Republican retreated. That’s what happened here. “

Politico’s Mike Allen writes:

McCain takes credit for bill before it loses

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his top aides took credit for building a winning bailout coalition – hours before the vote failed and stocks tanked.

The rush to claim he had engineered a victory now looks like a strategic blunder that will prolong the McCain’s campaign’s difficulty in finding a winning message on the economy.

Think about how bad this is for McCain. He “suspended” his campaign last week and promised to get the House GOP on board. The bill failed today because those very same Republicans bailed once Pelosi hurt their feelings. McCain put his leadership credentials on the line and failed. Not a little fail, but an Epic Fail. And the worst part about it is he and his campaign have been claiming for the past 48 hours that it was McCain’s leadership that got the bill passed.
So John, when will we see the humble side of you and admit that your intervention helped make this mess even larger? Oh, that's right, never. McCain's leadership skills are in the gutter, proven by his inability to rein in his party after saying repeatedly that he would. John may have acted heroic in Vietnam, but as a Senator and Presidential nominee, he is clearly anything but.

Palin Lied To Couric About "Trade Missions"

Even though we haven't seen all of the footage from the Katie Couric interview of Sarah Palin, so far it has been quite painful to listen to her answers. On Saturday Night Live, Tina Fey used the responses verbatim, no need to tweak something for the audience when it is already laugh out loud funny (tragically so I might add). We also know she is a pathological liar and not unexpectedly, there was a whopper in there about Alaska and Russia.

From RawStory:

Research doesn't show a single Alaska-Russia trade mission since former Democratic governor Tony Knowles visited Siberia in 1997, when Palin was running Wasilla, according to

When the reporter asked gubernatorial spokeswoman Kate Morgan about this issue, she refused to answer. Morgan claimed she couldn't legally discuss the matter because she is a state employee and the reporter had learned about the trade missions through the Couric interview, which stems from her bid for the Oval Office.

Spokespeople for the McCain/Palin campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

Palin has never visited Russia and had never traveled outside of North America until last year, the Associated Press reported. The vice presidential candidate had never met a foreign leader until a trip to New York this week.
Another day, another lie care of Sarah Palin. Now how exactly do Republicans say with any credibility that she's trustworthy? Oh yeah thats right, they don't.

Obama Aide Calls Out Right Wing Tools On Fox

Obama aide Robert Gibbs went on Fox and Friends this morning (why he bothered, I don't know) to talk politics. At one point Steve Doocy decided to bring up the right wing's latest whining fest over a bracelet Obama wears for a Gold Star mother. McCain's cheerleaders have complained that he shouldn't wear it because the father of the fallen soldier did not want his son to be used for political gain. Of course their gripe was debunked as soon as his mother applauded Barack Obama for mentioning his son during the debate and berating anyone that criticized him for it.

Watch as Gibbs puts an immediate end to their unsubstantiated and false gossip, while Fox and Tools go on the defensive:

How Not To Win Over The Latino Vote

Across the country and specifically in the Southwest, capturing the Latino vote is increasingly important for any politician. Listening to and offering solutions that meet their needs is essential to gaining the trust of the fastest growing ethnic groups in America. Over on the GOP side, that advice doesn't seem to be taken to heart. Of course, if you are working to elect Republicans, make sure to not expose your true feelings on the matter, or you could find yourself out of a job.

From USA Today:

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The spokeswoman for the Republican Party in Nevada's most populous county was removed from her post Saturday, after she said the Democratic Party made black people "dependent on the government."

Didi Lima, the Clark County GOP communications director, also was removed from her volunteer role as a Hispanic community liaison for Republican John McCain's presidential campaign over the remarks made earlier in the day while working at a McCain campaign booth.

"We don't want (Hispanics) to become the new African-American community," Lima told The Associated Press. "And that's what the Democratic Party is going to do to them, create more programs and give them handouts, food stamps and checks for this and checks for that. We don't want that."

"I'm very much afraid that the Democratic Party is going to do the same thing that they did with the African-American culture and make them all dependent on the government and we don't want that," she said.

First some advice for Didi Lima, if I were you I'd avoid black people at all costs. That has to be one of the dumbest things I've ever heard and if you said it in front of the group you are addressing, you should start running and move fast. Now that you are out of a job, perhaps you could help these guys out and start selling waffles.

As for Hispanics, I believe as a group people would rather vote for the party that wants to give them a hand up and a fair society to live in just like the rest of us. For some odd reason, people generally do not vote for the party that likes to take away their civil liberties, including the one that gives all Americans the right to vote.