Running around with his hair on fire now, seems his only motivation was to save his pals from ruin. Just like Bush energy policy, Bush monetary policy was enforced by an insider.
Back in 2000, when Hank Paulson was CEO of Goldman Sachs, he testified in front of the Security and Exchange Commission. Among other things, he lobbied the SEC to enact a "change to self-regulation" for Wall Street. He also urged them to change the "net capital rule" which governed the amount of leverage investment banks could use. The net capital rule was indeed changed in 2004, and is now blamed for the investment banks' collapse. [my ems]
And people are surprised when McLame loads his campaign staff up with lobbyists? It's the 'Republican Way'; let people with a vested interest make the rules. As long as corporations are given a superior voice over the constituency in policy making we'll keep having fiascoes like the Wall St. meltdown and the Enron mess in California.
It amazes me, after all we know, that 30% of our population still support this gang of thieves and 40-odd percent are in the tank for McCain.
Sen. John McCain's senior foreign policy adviser cites a steamy romance 50 years ago with a Brazilian babe among the things that illustrate McCain's decades-long interest in Latin America.
He's got an 'interest' in things Latin American all right. In mojar el churro en panocha Latina. Nothin' wrong with that of course, but since he probably can't do it any more, now he'll just do it figuratively to them and us.
My mom was a hockey mom, by the way, schlepping me to every rink from Long Island to Boston to Albany and back at insane hours and going back to work part time to help pay for my sport (hockey wasn't cheap - compared to Little League - in the 60s and 70s) and she did it for 10 years. Sarah Palin couldn't hold a candle to my mom (OR nurse, degree from the Orthopedic Clinic in Heidelberg), in intelligence, in toughness, and in character. Calling Sarah Palin a hockey mom is an insult to hockey moms everywhere.
But when a Sarah Palin gets up on national television in a $2500 designer jacket and perfect makeup and tries to pass herself off as being no different from the zaftig mother of four who works at a nursing home during the day and then at the neighborhood Burger King three nights a week, women don't identify. On the contrary, they remember back to high school, and the Sarah Palins who made their lives miserable back then.
It breaks a girl's heart to know that Molly Ivins does not get to have a go at the Republican slate this year. I can see that big, rosy, sunflower face watching this all with astonishment and roaring with laughter. Ivins -- the legendary buckaroo populist, journalist, freelance hell-raiser and freedom fighter -- would be pounding her fists on the arms of her easy chair, stomping her feet as if listening to live bluegrass.
She would have had such a ball with Sarah Palin -- the trooper scandal, her love of moose (between buns), the flamboyantly botched television interviews, the bravery of people who hunt wolves for sport, from the air. Even though Molly was a Texan -- who would have been on guard for the sneering tone of liberal criticism toward anyone with a gun or a double-wide -- she still would have obliterated Palin as a faux populist wingnut with a tanning bed instead of a heart. She would have made great hay with the capacity of certain politicians to reinvent themselves in entirely new realities, as newfound populist Brotherman McCain has done, and his desperate, icky laugh of contempt might have raised some worries for her.
Molly'da been great this time around, as she always was. I miss her terribly too.
A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty
This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.
In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.
Well, Pickles is a Methodist. That's pretty mild mainstream Protestantism. I got no problem with them. I don't know about Cindy, but I'm sure McCain goes to church wherever his money mama wants him to go.
We don't need four more years of a loser tryin' to prove he's got a bigger dick than his daddy.
Update after I read the whole article:
1. He's way too unstable to have his hand on The Button, and 2. With his temperament, and more to the point, his fat mouth, he'd have lasted about ten minutes around any of the guys I've hung out with in fifty years as a motorcyclist.
While you were giving money to Wall St, other folks are waiting to line their pockets too:
Last week, a key Congressman predicted that the mega-expensive Wall Street bailout would naturally force the government to cut back defense spending.
Well, not if the Pentagon has anything to do with it.
The Defense Department "wants an increase of $57 billion in fiscal 2010, about 13.5 percent more than this year's budget of $514.3 billion," according to Bloomberg News.
Gotta have all that good stuff. I wonder how much it would cost to build a 'Bin Laden Finder'. Shit, we've spent billions on other crap and we still can't get him. Get DARPA on it, that'll suck up a billion or two, easy.
The easy one was the Federal government’s painless and generous approval of $25 billion in bailout loans to the auto industry at below-market prices. The $25 billion bailout loan to the automakers was signed by President Bush yesterday, and would allow the car producers to borrow money at about half the going market rate. (Nice terms if you can get them). The government already approved the $25 billion of loans to help the auto makers and their suppliers build more fuel-efficient vehicles in 2007 as part of an energy bill. The automakers — Chrysler, Ford Motor and General Motors — will not have to repay the loans for five years.
You know, I'm getting quite pissed that we're giving our money to people who've proven they can't mange it, or those who waste it on toys, or those who make antithetical business decisions, yet if I ran my personal finances like they do, I'd be seeing the repo man taking my cars away, the lights, water, and cable going off, and the county sheriff putting a foreclosure notice on my door.
A very good source for records by Gram, The International Submarine Band, Byrds, Flying Burrito Bros., Clarence White, and many others is Sierra Records in Southern California.
Gram came to an untimely end. What happened next was a big deal in SoCal in '73 and a rock 'n roll legend. Hie thyself to thy local movie rental joint and rent Grand Theft Parsons. If they don't have it, and they probably won't, Big A does.
Never in living memory has an election been more critical than the one fast approaching—that’s the quadrennial cliché, as expected as the balloons and the bombast. And yet when has it ever felt so urgently true? ...
The incumbent Administration has distinguished itself for the ages. The Presidency of George W. Bush is the worst since Reconstruction, so there is no mystery about why the Republican Party—which has held dominion over the executive branch of the federal government for the past eight years and the legislative branch for most of that time—has little desire to defend its record, domestic or foreign ... John McCain, played the part of a vaudeville illusionist, asking to be regarded as an apostle of change after years of embracing the essentials of the Bush agenda with ever-increasing ardor.
The election of Obama—a man of mixed ethnicity, at once comfortable in the world and utterly representative of twenty-first-century America—would, at a stroke, reverse our country’s image abroad and refresh its spirit at home. His ascendance to the Presidency would be a symbolic culmination of the civil- and voting-rights acts of the nineteen-sixties and the century-long struggles for equality that preceded them. It could not help but say something encouraging, even exhilarating, about the country, about its dedication to tolerance and inclusiveness, about its fidelity, after all, to the values it proclaims in its textbooks. At a moment of economic calamity, international perplexity, political failure, and battered morale, America needs both uplift and realism, both change and steadiness. It needs a leader temperamentally, intellectually, and emotionally attuned to the complexities of our troubled globe. That leader’s name is Barack Obama. [my ems]
I'm forty-six years old today and I ain't doing half bad. Shit, never thought I'd live so long. Something to be said for finding the right one and settling down. Something to be said about getting one's act together.
I'm usually not one for covers of old classic songs, but Rory Block has made a career out of resurrecting old blues tunes. Here she does one of Robert Johnson's best:
Like Glenn Beck and David Brooks have jobs? There are a lot of good, hard-working folks losing theirs and these idiots keep getting paid nice money to spew their drivel. Digby on Brooks' masturbatory ode to Palin:
... It always amuses me when Washington insiders like Brooks wildly applaud people who hate them.
I am so fucking bored with and sick of the news today that I thought I'd bring you something a little different.
The last few days, we've posted several times about the pirates holding for ransom a Ukrainian ship full of battle tanks off the Somalian coast, kinda with an eye toward "The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!". Impish brats that we are, our reaction is kinda "Whee! This is gonna be something to watch!".
I did a little lookin' around and discovered that the U.S. Navy ship that is closest to the highjacked ship is USS Howard DDG 83 (Turn yer sound waay up and hit the link. Heh.). You can read all about it at her site, but what got me was that she's named after Staff Sergeant Jimmie C. Howard USMC who received the Medal Of Honor for his actions in Vietnam at the famous (to Marines) 'Battle for Howard's Hill'.
Interestingly, I read the above-linked account many years ago in "Small Unit Action In Vietnam Summer 1966" written by Captain Francis J. West, Jr., USMCR who evolved into Bing West who is IMNSHO the best author extant at describing actions on the ground in Iraq today. But I digress.
Here's SSgt Howard's Medal citation:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty. G/Sgt. Howard and his 18-man platoon were occupying an observation post deep within enemy-controlled territory. Shortly after midnight a Viet Cong force of estimated battalion size approached the Marines' position and launched a vicious attack with small arms, automatic weapons, and mortar fire. Reacting swiftly and fearlessly in the face of the overwhelming odds, G/Sgt. Howard skillfully organized his small but determined force into a tight perimeter defense and calmly moved from position to position to direct his men's fire. Throughout the night, during assault after assault, his courageous example and firm leadership inspired and motivated his men to withstand the unrelenting fury of the hostile fire in the seemingly hopeless situation. He constantly shouted encouragement to his men and exhibited imagination and resourcefulness in directing their return fire. When fragments of an exploding enemy grenade wounded him severely and prevented him from moving his legs, he distributed his ammunition to the remaining members of his platoon and proceeded to maintain radio communications and direct air strikes on the enemy with uncanny accuracy. At dawn, despite the fact that 5 men were killed and all but 1 wounded, his beleaguered platoon was still in command of its position. When evacuation helicopters approached his position, G/Sgt. Howard warned them away and called for additional air strikes and directed devastating small-arms fire and air strikes against enemy automatic weapons positions in order to make the landing zone as secure as possible. Through his extraordinary courage and resolute fighting spirit, G/Sgt. Howard was largely responsible for preventing the loss of his entire platoon. His valiant leadership and courageous fighting spirit served to inspire the men of his platoon to heroic endeavor in the face of overwhelming odds, and reflect the highest credit upon G/Sgt. Howard, the Marine Corps, and the U.S. Naval Service."
Basically, Howard and his men, 18 Marines against maybe 400 NVA, fought throughout a very long night with everything they had and ended up in a circle with their feet touching, while they threw rocks at the enemy and waited for dawn and help to arrive.
You sailors in Howard have a hell of a namesake. SSgt. Howard is guarding the streets of Heaven. Make him proud.
For his brothers and sisters ... not so much. Montag:
# Veterans Groups Give McCain Failing Grades. In its most recent legislative ratings, the non-partisan Disabled American Veterans gave Sen. McCain a 20 percent rating for his voting record on veterans' issues. Similarly, the non-partisan Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America gave McCain a "D" grade for his poor voting record on veterans' issues, including McCain's votes against additional body armor for troops in combat and additional funding for PTSD and TBI screening and treatment.
# McCain Voted Against Increased Funding for Veterans' Health Care. Although McCain told voters at a campaign rally that improving veterans' health care was his top domestic priority, he voted against increasing funding for veterans' health care in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. (Greenville News, 12/12/2007; S.Amdt. 2745 to S.C.R. 95, Vote 40, 3/10/04; Senate S.C.R. 18, Vote 55, 3/16/05; S.Amdt. 3007 to S.C.R. 83, Vote 41, 3/14/06; H.R. 1591, Vote 126, 3/29/07)
# McCain Voted At Least 28 Times Against Veterans' Benefits, Including Healthcare. Since arriving in the U.S. Senate in 1987, McCain has voted at least 28 times against ensuring important benefits for America's veterans, including providing adequate healthcare. (2006 Senate Vote #7, 41, 63, 67, 98, 222; 2005 Senate Votes #55, 89, 90, 251, 343; 2004 Senate Votes #40, 48, 145; 2003 Senate Votes #74, 81, 83; 1999 Senate Vote #328; 1998 Senate Vote #175; 1997 Senate Vote #168; 1996 Senate Votes #115, 275; 1995 Senate Votes #76, 226, 466; 1994 Senate Vote #306; 1992 Senate Vote #194; 1991 Senate Vote #259)
MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- The Somali government has asked Russia to intervene against pirates who have seized a Ukrainian cargo ship, the Somali ambassador to Russia said Wednesday.
But the Russian navy issued a statement later in the day saying it had no intention of using force against the pirates, the Russian news agency Interfax reported.
"The questions of freeing the ships and crew are being dealt with in line with the corresponding international practices," Interfax quoted Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo as saying. "For understandable reasons, the use of force would be an extreme measure because it could threaten the life of the international crew of the ship."
Aw, geez, what a time for the Russkies to go all warm an' fuzzy on us! What could possibly have been their motivation?
To sum up: the Russians announced that they were sending a warship to patrol off of Somalia’s coast, and dispatched it just two days before a Ukrainian ship loaded with Soviet-era weapons was seized by pirates. A week after the hijacking, the Somalian government announced recognition of South Ossetian and Abkhazian independence, and announced that they were in talks with the Russians for military training and assistance. (Somalia was allied with the Soviets during the Cold War, but relations fell apart after pro-Soviet President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991.)
Setting aside the coincidence that Russia announced the deployment of an anti-piracy warship three days before the hijacking of the Ukrainian ship, the strategic issue is that the Russians are involving themselves once again in the Horn of Africa. They had been involved there during the Cold War, and they are returning — on a very small scale for now. The Horn of Africa is critical to U.S. counterterrorism efforts; the region is watched through Africa Command, headquartered in Germany, and Djibouti hosts the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.
This follows the pattern Russia established with Venezuela: recruiting allies whose interests diverge from those of the United States. The primary function at this point is to irritate Washington, since the primary deployment is naval — and so minimal that it presents no threat to U.S. naval sea-lane control. At the same time, the Somalian announcement that the Russians are welcomed ashore in Somalia opens the possibility of a Russian land base in the region, and the possibility of Russian troops helping to assert government control over Somalian chaos — or at least trying to.
The fate of the hijacked ship is unknown. Kenya’s decision to buy T-72s from Ukraine is not unheard of. The timing of the announcement and the hijacking is entirely coincidental. We understand all of that of course. But in this bizarre affair what is clear is that the Russians are moving ahead rapidly to at least show the flag in diverse parts of the world, and are finding willing partners — maybe not of the first quality, but enough to distract the United States at least somewhat from more focused and pressing issues elsewhere.
I guess the best we can hope for is that there's a camera pointed at MV Faina when 30 or 40 previously unannounced limpet mines go off on her hull in a spectacular coincidence about two hours after the Russians show up.
[...] In 1996, Pat Buchanan (‘The peasants are coming with pitchforks’) appealed to the same bloc of voters with a programme that was militantly Christian, white, nativist, provincial, protectionist and anti-Washington. In 2000, Karl Rove cleverly enrolled this quasi-Poujadist faction in his grand alliance of libertarians, born-agains and corporate interests. It’s worth remembering that in 2004 every American city with a population of more than 500,000 voted for Kerry, and that the election was won for Bush in the outer suburbs, exurbia and the countryside – peasants with pitchforks territory. For an organisation so wedded to its big-city corporate clients, the Republican Party has been hugely successful in mopping up the votes of low-income, lightly educated rural and exurban residents.
What is most striking about her is that she seems perfectly untroubled by either curiosity or the usual processes of thought. When answering questions, both Obama and Joe Biden have an unfortunate tendency to think on their feet and thereby tie themselves in knots: Palin never thinks. Instead, she relies on a limited stock of facts, bright generalities and pokerwork maxims, all as familiar and well-worn as old pennies. Given any question, she reaches into her bag for the readymade sentence that sounds most nearly proximate to an answer, and, rather than speaking it, recites it, in the upsy-downsy voice of a middle-schooler pronouncing the letters of a word in a spelling bee. She then fixes her lips in a terminal smile. In the televised game shows that pass for political debates in the US, it’s a winning technique: told that she has 15 seconds in which to answer, Palin invariably beats the clock, and her concision and fluency more than compensate for her unrelenting triteness.
Wasilla is what inevitably happens when there are no codes, no civic oversight, no planning, when the only governing principle in a community is a naive and superstitious trust in the benevolent authority of the free market. Palin’s view of aesthetics was nicely highlighted in 1996, a few months before she ran for mayor, when a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News happened to light on her in an excited crowd of five hundred women queuing up in the Anchorage J.C. Penney’s, waiting to snag the autograph of Ivana Trump, who was in town to hawk her eponymous line of scent.
‘We want to see Ivana,’ Palin said, who admittedly smells like a salmon for a large part of the summer, ‘because we are so desperate in Alaska for any semblance of glamour and culture.’
The blot on the Alaskan landscape that is Wasilla is the natural consequence of a mindset that mistakes Ivana Trump for culture.
By implication, then, big city people are unpatriotic (Palin’s last phrase was a sneer at Michelle Obama, a lifelong Chicagoan); they are insincere slackers and draft dodgers – in a word, liberals. The passage reminded Republicans of their party demographics, their strength in the exurbs, and prepared the ground for an assault on the metropolitan manners and mores of their Democratic opponents, in a depressingly effective piece of hokum.
The most likely cause of her undoing will – strangely – be the McCain campaign. In St Paul, unveiled as the goose who could lay for the Republicans the golden egg of the presidency, she brimmed with the inflated self-assurance of the small-world conqueror, and held a national audience in the palm of her hand as she recited the same confident platitudes that served her so well in Alaska. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and McCain and his advisers should have left well alone, left ‘Sarah’ to be her vote-winning self. Instead, they seem to be no less alarmed by her than liberals are, and have taken to force-feeding her, stuffing her gullet with ‘talking points’ on foreign and domestic policy. Under their frantic tuition, Palin has recently looked less likely to lay the golden egg than to produce inferior goose-liver pâté.
She may yet regain her poise. Her populist appeal is still enormous, and it’s far too early to start dancing on her grave, as some commentators have already tried to do. Palin’s campaign-trail mistakes will not calm that deep groundswell of public feeling of which she is now the national figurehead. But, for the last few days, as her education at the hands of her captors has proceeded, we in the cities, with our elitist liberal ideas and our stark terror of what further harm the United States might inflict on itself and the world under a third consecutive Republican administration, have been just a little less likely to wake up screaming at three in the morning.
I'm lucky - my bladder usually wakes me up quietly at 3AM.
I recently visited Australia and New Zealand, and it made me realize that we need mythic language — the kind that comes from oral cultures reliant on handed-down legends — to capture what has happened these past eight years. Like the Aborigines’ dreamtime stories, we need something more powerful than “the failed policies of the Bush administration.” I propose “The Stolen Years.”
It began, of course, with the stolen election in 2000. But just think how much has been stolen from us: our morality and, indeed, our sense of humanity.
These are not just policy failures. This has been a spiritual pillaging of any sense that the United States can ever aspire to, or represent, higher principles; that our nation is, or can be, a democracy, however flawed; that the government cares about citizens other than the really rich.
The Bush administration has seized all we hold dear and ground it into the dirt with its boot heels.
Most important has been the nation’s sense of its own morality. Few of us are deluded that the U.S. government was, before the Bush regime, a beacon of moral rectitude and social justice. The United States has overthrown many governments, mostly in secret, and supported repressive rulers. But when have our leaders publicly and adamantly rejected the Geneva Conventions and endorsed torture as a matter of national policy? It’s one thing for there to be a gap between national principles and government practices, and quite another for a president to deride those principles as no longer essential to the nation’s moral compass.
An important distinction here. While more Americans are coming around to "supporting" the bailout bill, the vast majority still hate the idea of bailing out Wall Street. They're for the bailout bill now only because they fear that a failure to pass it will have worse consequences -- drying up credit at a time when Main Street is struggling. But make no mistake: America is mad as hell. They resent what they perceive as extortion by the Masters of the Universe.
But whatever it's called and however it's financed, it's still an outrage. America's foreign policy is made no more flexible by going into deeper hock to the Chinese and the Middle East. And the deal still subjects American taxpayers to some risk, especially if the housing market doesn't bounce back for many years. Worse, the bill can't help but prop up the earnings many Wall Street executives whose malfeasance, greed, and stupidity got us into this mess in the first place. And it does nothing for average Americans except avoid economic calamity. (The provision ostensibly helping distressed homeowners is to be used at the discretion of the Treasury Department, so it's mostly a sham.)
The larger economic outlook is not encouraging. All signs point to the economy worsening, bailout or no bailout. Unemployment will continue to rise. Median earnings will continue to drop, adjusted for inflation. More Americans will lose their health insurance.
The Era of Angry Populism has only just begun. Let's hope Obama wins, and is able to mobilize the anger into fierce pressure on Congress to get his agenda enacted, as well as reform Wall Street and Washington.
LONDON (AFP) - Cannabis is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco, according to a report by a research charity Thursday, which called for a "serious rethink" of drug policy.
The Beckley Foundation, a charity which numbers senior experts and other academics among its advisors, said banning cannabis has no impact on supply and turns users into criminals.
"Many of the harms associated with cannabis use are the result of prohibition itself, particularly the social harms arising from arrest and imprisonment," it said.
Nothing new. Studies have shown this for years. I'm glad it's comin' around again, but it's kinda like inventing the wheel over and over again.
On the other hand, the truth has no relationship to, or effect on, the desire of governments to oppress their people for smoking untaxed plants for fun without regard to either Puritan sentiment or corporate commerce.
On Olbermann a few minutes ago (that basement classroom with the heavy paper over the windows and camera sure has come in handy lately!) a phrase popped out of my mouth: “Stockholm Syndrome”, with regard to the bailout rescue.
Here’s the thing: it’s very hard for Congress to originate complex financial rescues, so it’s normally up to the executive to put things together. Unfortunately, Paulson came up with an awful plan. Ideally, the Dems would have ripped the thing up and started over, but that was never realistic. So instead they made it significantly better, but still building on the original, misconceived structure; it became better than nothing, but not good.
And then it failed in the House, so the Senate has larded it up, with stuff like SEC. 503. EXEMPTION FROM EXCISE TAX FOR CERTAIN WOODEN ARROWS DESIGNED FOR USE BY CHILDREN.
I think that Congressional leaders know that it’s a bad bill, but feel compelled to defend it, because they’re (rightly) scared of the financial consequences of a second rejection. And to some extent economists like myself are in the same position; I think I called it the “hold your nose caucus.”
So am I for the bill? Yuk, phooey, I guess so. And I’m very angry at Paulson for putting us in this position.
Reminds me of a show I watched last night about an outlaw motorcycle gang. They had thrown a guy out and he hadn't done the right thing and blacked out the full-size tattoo of the club patch on his back. They gave him the choice of 'fire or knife?'. He chose fire and they burned it off him with a cutting torch.
At least he got a choice before the pain was inflicted, unlike us.
On a lighter note, great story in the WSJ about how canned mackerel has emerged as the medium of exchange in America’s prisons. Sure to be a case study in the next edition of every single principles of economics textbook.
How can you know? How do you possibly choose? How to decide which is your favorite cruelly disheartening tidbit of news to slide down the national gullet like a rancid oyster this past week?
Is it the wretched and touching fact that no one, not Repubs, not Dems, not animals or bacteria or flowers or rocks or the very air itself, no extant entity anywhere trusts George W. Bush as far as they can hurl him back to Crawford, Texas, in a quivering lump of historic failure? Is it his utter powerlessness and uselessness and ineptitude in the face of the biggest and most volatile fiscal crisis in 20 years? Might be, might be.
But wait, that's not all. Perhaps your attention is split between Bush and the crisis in D.C. and other delightful tidbits, such as John McCain's heroic "suspension" of his campaign so he could be parachute in to Washington like GI Joe's crotchety grandpa and unify his sour party and wrangle the crisis to the ground like it was an uppity "gook"?
Which do you prefer, that his silly suspension stunt was no suspension at all (his campaign kept right on going), or that his thuggish fiscal meddling only made matters worse and quite possibly fractured the vote even further, which makes it all disgustingly obvious that he's clearly willing to sabotage the country's health and stability if it will get him into the Oval Office?
Hmm. What might that be? What else could possibly be happening right now in the bleak corridors of power that's more freakishly entertaining than Congress in a fistfight or Wall Street going up in flames? Is there maybe some sort of soap opera-ish circus sideshow featuring guns and skinned moose and shiny lipstick and speaking in tongues and rumors of witches in the belfry?
Ah, yes. Sarah "Don't Ask Me Anything" Palin. What a sheer joy it's been to watch this bubbly train-wreck of a grand mistake shimmy her way into history, no? Screw the doom 'n' gloom of Bush and the end of Wall Street. At least this nutball creationist knows how to get her freak on, am I right?
It's now obvious that the McCain campaign is so desperately embarrassed by Palin and her shocking ignorance of all things complex and political and worldly, they are simply terrified of letting her speak to any media anywhere. She is being shielded like the deformed stepdaughter, like the cute puppy they bought on the cheap at the mall only to get it home and realize it's got incurable parasites and a wonky eye and pees in its sleep and will require very expensive surgery if it ever wants to digest actual food.
So, which will it be? The strangely satisfying feeling of unity brought on by universal disdain for our failed president? McCain behaving like a nearsighted Rambo stabbing the nation in the foot, accidentally on purpose? The disquieting sense that your bank and your investments are about as stable as Lindsay Lohan at Oktoberfest? Or is it Palin's girly show o' patronizing silliness, full of witches and gobbledygook responses and tales of cavemen riding the backs of dinosaurs?
I know, it's tough to choose a favorite, particularly when all appears to be one big, repellent joke. On us.
These are the people who laughed at Katrina victims, who mocked them as they drowned, and who said to people standing on rooftops in rags in the days after, tough rocks, your own fault, and by the way fuck you, for still being alive to shame me.
They said they'd shoot them, if they could.
What did you think they would do to you?
These are the people who called a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer a murderer.
These are the people who laughed at the idea of Timothy McVeigh making a detour to the New York Times Building.
These are the people who called Jill Carroll a traitor. After she was kidnapped. Held captive. Tormented.
These are the people who said Pat Tillman's family should shut up and go away. That Cindy Sheehan was a whore. That Valerie Plame was a criminal. That Richard Clarke was a monster.
These are the people.
Did you think it would be different for you? You did, didn't you. You poor, deluded thing. You thought your time in Wingnuttia would buy you out of jail. Would buy you the right to say something contrary. Would give you the benefit of the doubt. Some wiggle room, with them. You thought you were immune; when they threatened journalists and laughed at the death of "the dinosaur media" and fantasized about killing the people who disagreed with them, they didn't mean you. Surely not you. They meant other people.
Just when you thought the whole "I can see Russia from Alaska" thing couldn't get any funnier...CNN's Gary Tuchman delivers the goods: it turns out that Sarah Palin has never seen Russia from Alaska.
Tuchman went up to the part of Alaska from which you can actually see Russia, a remote island called Little Diomede located just 2.4 miles from it's Russian twin, Big Diomede.
No Alaskan governor has ever visited Little Diomede, though indicted U.S. Senator Ted Stevens has made the trip. The town's residents barely knew who Palin was, and one of them didn't know she was the VP nominee. [my em]
It's going to be fun watching McCain-land spin this one, and it's going to be even more fun watching Tina Fey parody it.
Can't wait. Now, I could deal with Tina Fey as a VP candidate ...
A tense standoff has developed in waters off Somalia over an Iranian merchant ship laden with a mysterious cargo that was hijacked by pirates.
Andrew Mwangura, the director of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme, told the Sunday Times: “We don’t know exactly how many, but the information that I am getting is that some of them had died. There is something very wrong about that ship.”
The vessel’s declared cargo consists of “minerals” and “industrial products”. But officials involved in negotiations over the ship are convinced that it was sailing for Eritrea to deliver small arms and chemical weapons to Somalia’s Islamist rebels.
Oh, bad luck, fellas. I wonder what's worse; dying horribly, painfully, from some weaponized chemical or gettin' blowed out the water by a buncha Russian conscripts who need the target practice? Shoulda opted for a career in fishing.
The Somali government has invited foreign powers to attack the pirates holding a Ukrainian cargo ship loaded with tanks hostage in its waters.
A Russian navy warship armed with marines and special forces commandos has already left for the Gulf of Aden, where a US guided-missile destroyer with air support is just a few miles from the captured MV Faina.
"The international community has permission to fight with the pirates," said Mohamed Jama Ali, the foreign ministry's acting permanent director. "Permission to use force was given."
Hmmmm. Russian ship...marines and special forces commandos...permission to use force.
Arrgh, mateys! If those fuckin' outboards still run, you better use 'em or you're shark shit. You'll have so much Russian lead in you your bros might dredge up what's left and sell you to a battery factory.
The pirates are reported to have turned on each other and fought a gunbattle, killing three of their comrades, as helicopters from a flotilla of ships deployed by the US Fifth Fleet buzzed the Ukrainian ship, the MV Faina. The dispute was believed to be about what to do with their haul.
A US defence official in Washington corroborated the reported shooting, but the pirates denied there had been any such incident and said they were happily celebrating Eid, the Islamic festival which marks the end of Ramadan. Their spokesman did not say whether the crew had been invited to the feast.
Heh. That last sentence was some great tongue-in-cheek humor in the finest tradition of British drollery..
I guess it's customary to empty your Kalashnikov into yer bros to celebrate religious holidays. Whadja do fer Rosh Hoshanah?
There seem to be two prevailing narratives about the bailout plan(s). Both have elements of truth, but are fundamentally wrong.
One narrative is that of the Wise Men and the Destructive Yahoos. According to this narrative, men who Understand What Needs to be Done put together a plan to save the world, but they did a bad job of communicating, and a mob of ignorant people stands in their way.
The other narrative is that of the Evil Plotters and the Righteous Uprising. According to this narrative, the same people who sold us the Iraq war have tried to bully Congress into adopting a plan that is, in essence, a cynical ripoff — a scheme to transfer vast wealth to the rich and cripple the next administration.
My view, which I think is now shared by many economists, is that Paulson grabbed hold of the wrong end of the stick — he should have been seeking to expand bank capital, taking an ownership share in compensation, rather than trying to push up the value of toxic paper. In the end, that’s what we’ll probably do.
On the other hand, the way that Paulson et al have been blundering around puts the lie, I think, to the idea that this is a cynical ploy. Ideology certainly played a role — it’s probably a lingering distaste for Evil Socialism that made Treasury go for buying toxic waste rather than injecting capital. And if the Bush years have taught us anything, it is that sometimes conspiracy theories are right. But in this case the performance has been more Keystone Kops than Star Chamber.
So now what? Like Jamie Galbraith, I’d rather see Dodd-Frank-Paulson, which is much better than the original plan, pass than not. The true cost to taxpayers will probably be close to zero, and it would buy some time. But I’m not passionate about this. The real financial rescue still lies in the future, probably under the Obama administration.
Tactic: In addition to claiming McCain invented the Blackberry, assert that he also invented the wheel, sliced bread, fire, the missionary position, whiskey, apple pie, sliders, cleavage, Beanie Babies, oxygen, blow jobs, sunlight, bikinis, pasteurization, nuggies, the handshake, ice cream, poll dancing, Penicillin, the wave, hot dogs, the Theory of Relativity, beer nuts, New Journalism, indoor plumbing, low-rise jeans, Method Acting, rap, Twister, funnel cake, the printing press, soft pretzels, the phrase "dude," the color blue, moving pictures, "bringing sexy back," nougat, and baseball.
Strategy: Highlights McCain's superior record of accomplishment. Bonus: no time left in the campaign season for media to fact-check effectively.
Tactic: Palin speaks only in tongues for remainder of campaign season.
Strategy: Couldn't be worse than what she's said in English.
Allow me to introduce myself. I am a traitor and an idiot. Also, my mother should have aborted me and left me in a Dumpster, but since she didn't, I should "off" myself.
Those are just a few nuggets randomly selected from thousands of e-mails written in response to my column suggesting that Sarah Palin is out of her league and should step down.
The picture is this: Anyone who dares express an opinion that runs counter to the party line will be silenced. That doesn't sound American to me, but Stalin would approve. Readers have every right to reject my opinion. But when we decide that a person is a traitor and should die for having an opinion different than one's own, then we cross into territory that puts all freedoms at risk. (I hear you, Dixie Chicks.)
Our day of reckoning, indeed, may be upon us. Between war and economic collapse, we have enormous challenges. It will take the best of everyone to solve them. That process begins minimally with a commitment to engage in civil discourse and a cease-fire in the war against unwelcome ideas.
Now you see how your own side rolls, Ms. Parker. Lovely, huh?
Speaking as an ol' Jarhead, the only meaningful 'cease fire' happens when there is no return fire coming from the other side because they're out of ammo, surrender, or best of all, they're all dead.
Da wimmens is unloadin' big time on McBimbo. It's Rebecca Traister's turn in a 'recommended read':
Everyone seems to be oozing sympathy for the fumbling vice-presidential nominee. Please. Cry me a freaking river.
I guess I'm one cold dame, because while Palin provokes many unpleasant emotions in me, I just can't seem to summon pity, affection or remorse.
Don't worry Sister, she kinda numbs me out too. It's for our own mental protection.
When you stage a train wreck of this magnitude -- trying to pass one underqualified chick off as another highly qualified chick with the lame hope that no one will notice -- well, then, I don't feel bad for you.
When you treat women as your toys, as gullible and insensate pawns in your Big Fat Presidential Bid -- or in Palin's case, in your Big Fat Chance to Be the First Woman Vice President Thanks to All the Cracks Hillary Put in the Ceiling -- I don't feel bad for you.
When you don't take your own career and reputation seriously enough to pause before striding onto a national stage and lying about your record of opposing a Bridge to Nowhere or using your special-needs child to garner the support of Americans in need of healthcare reform you don't support, I don't feel bad for you.
When you don't have enough regard for your country or its politics to cram effectively for the test -- a test that helps determine whether or not you get to run that country and participate in its politics -- I don't feel bad for you.
When your project is reliant on gaining the support of women whose reproductive rights you would limit, whose access to birth control and sex education you would curtail, whose healthcare options you would decrease, whose civil liberties you would take away and whose children and husbands and brothers (and sisters and daughters and friends) you would send to war in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and wherever else you saw fit without actually understanding international relations, I don't feel bad for you.
Palin is tough as nails. She will bite the head off a moose and move on. So, no, I don't feel sorry for her. I feel sorry for women who have to live with what she and her running mate have wrought.
I think Palin was the perfect choice for McCain, but then, I want him to lose.
Does any of this sound familiar? It should. Governor and Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin is the Gileadian "Aunt" manifested. Her sudden emergence onto the American political scene, accompanied by a burst of enthusiasm on the part of many American women, is a surreal example of life imitating art. Much of Palin's rhetoric, tactics and personal philosophy seem to be taken directly from the Auntie training manual. By accepting the position on the GOP ticket despite her astonishing lack of qualifications, Palin signaled that she was prepared to be used - on the basis of her sex alone - in exchange for the promise of status and power. Refer to Palin's RNC convention speech, which was mostly a fawning homage to McCain's patriotism and leadership, sprinkled with condescending references to Obama as "our opponent." Although the lines were delivered with Palin's own folksy vernacular and over-enunciation, it was not Palin, but McCain - or more accurately, the GOP elders at whose feet he finds himself on election eve - who wrote the speech and whose voice echoed through the hall that night in St. Paul. Women who find themselves drawn to Palin because they think she epitomizes the classic "woman who has it all" might want to take a closer look. Sarah Palin was picked for the ticket solely because of - not despite - the fact that she is female. By keeping her sequestered from the media, McCain has confirmed he does not have faith in an unscripted Palin's ability to represent the campaign to the world. By going along with it, Palin is telling us that she's perfectly fine with being controlled by her male superiors. And by portraying herself as the candidate of the empowered woman (while simultaneously promoting policy that is openly hostile to the interests of working and middle-class American women), she reveals the sad truth about how little progress we've actually made.
COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this — to stay informed and to understand the world?
PALIN: I’ve read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media —
COURIC: But what ones specifically? I’m curious.
PALIN: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.
COURIC: Can you name any of them?
PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news.
I'm sorry, but my tolerance for stupid is excruciatingly low. It's one thing to be stupid and have a regular job, but to be an idiot and intend to be one heartbeat away from the Presidency of the United States is unconscionable. We've had 8 years of Moron-in-Chief and look what it's got us.
Why is it, in this country, we think being a dumbass is a good thing?
And by the way, Katie Couric is no bright light either. If you can't hold your own with her, you might as well give up.
And another reason people telling me they have a college degree doesn't impress me. The Chimp has an MBA, McLame went to Annapolis, and Palin has a degree in journalism.
The New Republic’s Christopher Orr observes, “You know things are getting dicey when the RNC goes on the air with an ad attacking the very bailout plan that, 24 hours ago, was the centerpiece of John McCain’s claim of economic leadership.”
Orr says that this shows that the “RNC either isn’t coordinating with the McCain campaign or is doing so very poorly.”
With Wall Street's fate hanging in the balance, and with Sarah Palin's incoherence sparking interest in Thursday's vice presidential debate, it was easy to overlook a major story that got less attention than it deserved yesterday. The Justice Department released a nearly 400-page report with this jaw-dropping bottom line:
"Our investigation found significant evidence that political partisan considerations were an important factor in the removal of several . . . U.S. attorneys."
Jaw-dropping indeed! That Bush'sJustice Legal Cover-up Department would even come close to admitting what we all knew!
In releasing the report, Attorney General Michael Mukasey announced that he had ordered a new investigation to "pursue this case wherever the facts and the law require," including possible criminal charges. By most accounts, Mukasey has taken pains to cleanse Justice of the partisan taint that Gonzales left behind. Whatever ultimately comes of this disgraceful episode, however, we already know enough to put it in context.
The people who have been running our government for the past eight years have nothing but contempt for government. They believe only in politics and ideology, in that order. First, win elections by any means necessary. Second, once in a position to act in the public good, govern with the ideological conviction that government is either irrelevant or harmful to the public interest.
You can draw a straight line between firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons and turning a blind eye to the ruinous excesses of Wall Street. What's impartial justice against the possibility of gaining political advantage? Why shackle the hallowed free market with government oversight?
And, if you want to draw the line a little further, who cares if the prospective vice president appears to know nothing about anything?
Well, I do. There's a hell of a lot more than one thing this criminal administration has done, is doing, and will do to 'care' about, not to mention their running dogs in Congress and our fraidy-cat yellow ones.
Gov. Sarah Palin will now spend two and a half days near Sedona, Arizona, to prepare for Thursday's debate, instead of prepping in St Louis, as originally planned.
Sarah Palin will be at John McCain's rustic creek side home outside Sedona for what a top aide calls "debate camp."
Click here to be transported to Sedona's only cyber-vortex. Explanation of vortexes here.
This is the Hail Mary move of all time! The McRovians are hoping two and a half days under the influence of Spiritual Energy will get The Flight Attendant From Hell ready for prime time without a teleprompter. Fat chance.
I'm hoping for more. I hope the ancient spirits kick the fundie crap right outta her vacuum brain and she emerges from the vortex as a real New Age Sedona Woo-Woo - bare feet, no bra, tinfoil hat, crystals, hairy armpits, and reeking of patchouli oil and incense. Not to mention the sorta glazed eyes and give-a-shit demeanor of Those Who Have Seen. Put that on TV!
As we speak, Uncle Sam's Canoe Club is monitoring a pirated Ukrainian ship loaded with Russian-style T-72 tanks off the coast of Somalia. I say 'Russian-style' because the tank has been in service since 1971 and has many variants from all over Eastern Europe and elsewhere, so no telling where they originated without more info.
There is a little confusion as to whether the destination was Kenya or Sudan, but either way I think these tanks were primarily to be used in a crowd-control mode around whichever presidential palace.
There were also unconfirmed reports of two other Western warships close to the captured Ukrainian ship, the MV Faina. Russia said it was also sending a naval vessel from the Atlantic to Somalia.
Heh. Note to the Suez Canal gatekeepers: You will see the Russian's bow wave with just enough time to throw open the gates and GTFO of the way! I recommend you do not try to collect the toll. Maybe they got exact change...
A spokesman for the pirates which seized the ship and its 21 Ukrainian, Lithuanian and Russian crew said on Sunday that the Faina was surrounded by three foreign warships, but he said his men were ready to fight to the death to protect their catch.
My first thought was that the tanks' destination should be the sea floor directly beneath the ship's present position, but our guys can't very well sink a Ukrainian ship with Ukrainian, Lithuanian and Russian crew members.
We will see what the Russian skipper thinks about this.
Keeping in mind that the foremost purpose of the world's navies is to protect commerce, I think the Somali pirates are well on their way to Paradise, perhaps by a joint infusion of Russian and American ordnance. Wouldn't that be something?!
As for the tanks, after doing a little research, I say let 'em reach their destination. Watch what happens when they shoot one of these things:
Also, go see the Eastern European counterparts of Fixer & Gordon road test a T-72.
I probably shouldn't find this deal as entertaining as I do, or at least admit to it, but I'm just plain sick of McCain, Palin, the Bailout, etc. and require a little harmless diversion.
Can we now admit the obvious? Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president. She is a feisty, charismatic politician who has done some good things in Alaska. But she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start. The next administration is going to face a set of challenges unlike any in recent memory. There is an ongoing military operation in Iraq that still costs $10 billion a month, a war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan that is not going well and is not easily fixed. Iran, Russia and Venezuela present tough strategic challenges.
Obviously these are very serious challenges and constraints. In these times, for John McCain to have chosen this person to be his running mate is fundamentally irresponsible. McCain says that he always puts country first. In this important case, it is simply not true.
She's a moron and he's insane for picking her as his running mate. They're both unqualified.
At a Harvard panel discussion yesterday, economics professor Ken Rogoff made an interesting point: The liquidity crisis isn't real. Or, to restate it: Any liquidity crisis is caused by the promise of a government bailout. Ken said that his many friends in investment banking said that there is plenty of money to invest in financial services, but right now it is "sitting on the sidelines." Why? Because the financial services industry does not want to pay the terms demanded. As he put it, why do business with Warren Buffett who will negotiate a tough deal, if you believe that the government will ride in soon with cheaper cash?
The only thing our legislators should be doing is tightening up the rules for these mofos.