Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Philly Welcome? You Betcha!

God, this was predictable (h/t danger durden here at The Daily Kos - nice try with the music, Ed).

Update: By the way, DD notes in an update to the Kos post that Palin admitted bringing her kids dressed up in Flyers jerseys to try and stop the booing.

I have to admit that that's a new kind of crazy that I've never experienced before, and hopefully never will again.

Saturday Stuff

David Shuster filed this report last night on the finding of the Alaska legislature that "Governor Hottie" abused her authority in Troopergate (a bipartisan finding, I hasten to add)...

...and as "Governor Hottie" prepares to "puck off" at the FU Wachovia Wells Fargo? Center, please keep this great report from Rachel Maddow in mind about the McBush campaign (gee, ya' think he FINALLY decided to try to tamp down the hate because he realized at long last that his campaign is tanking partly because of it?)

A New Trading Card For Flyers Fans

Keystone Progress brings us this little item to commemorate the person who will "puck off" tonight.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Stuff

The Palin-McBush mob hits the road in Strongsville, Ohio (that blonde might end up giving me nightmares - h/t The Daily Kos)... end to the Repug trickery, by the way - awfully hard to make a typo with an "s" instead of a "b" (Norah O'Donnell actually doing serious reporting; spank me)...

...and the Palin-McBush campaign is in trouble with other musicians besides Heart for using tunes without their permission - this group in particular for this song (Foo Fighters with "My Hero")... addition to John Lennon, yesterday was also the birthday of Jackson Browne ("World In Motion," a song with parallels to today as far as I'm concerned, and somebody else who told McBush to stop it for unauthorized use of "Running On Empty").

Mind Those Who Herald The Way

(Not trying to get Biblical or anything with a post title like that, but I thought it fit…)

The New York Times tells us here that both the Obama and McBush campaigns have been working with Dubya to ensure as smooth a transition as possible between His Fraudulency and the poor sap who will be handed an epochal mess winner of the presidential campaign when the latter takes over next January (O Blessed Day – and let it please be “that one,” of course).

The McCain campaign has tapped William E. Timmons Sr., a longtime Washington lobbyist, to be part of its transition team, along with John Lehman Jr., former secretary of the Navy.

The Obama campaign has turned to John Podesta, a former White House chief of staff for Bill Clinton and now president of the Center for American Progress.
Christy at firedoglake has more on Timmons here, telling us that…

...Timmons is old-school power, and he brings all those connections to the McCain table -- for his own and clients' benefits, though, or for McCain's? Or both?

Timmons has been greasing the skids for a whole host of special interests for decades, and thus brings a certain "insider smarm" that the Maverocity PR purveyors will have to try to downplay. But can they?

Just take a peek at a partial list of clients for whom Timmons and Company has lobbied just since 2001 according to Implu:

  • Unocal (now owned by Chevron)

  • American Petroleum Institute

  • American Health Care Association

  • Lincare

  • AT&T

  • Freddie Mac (of course)

  • Centex Corporation

  • Cox Enterprises, Inc.

  • National Assoc. of Manufacturers

  • Asbestos Working Group

  • Northrup Grumman

  • American Financial Services Assoc.

  • The NRA (The National Rifle Association)

  • The American Council of Life Insurers

  • Farallon Capital Management, LLC

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

  • The Vanguard Group, Inc.

  • Primerica Financial Services

  • Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.
  • On the other hand, this tells us that John Podesta, in addition to running the Center for American Progress…

    ..served as Chief of Staff to President William J. Clinton from October 1998 until January 2001, where he was responsible for directing, managing, and overseeing all policy development, daily operations, Congressional relations, and staff activities of the White House. He coordinated the work of cabinet agencies with a particular emphasis on the development of federal budget and tax policy, and served in the President's Cabinet and as a Principal on the National Security Council.

    Podesta has held a number of positions on Capitol Hill including: Counselor to Democratic Leader Senator Thomas A. Daschle (1995-1996); Chief Counsel for the Senate Agriculture Committee (1987-1988); Chief Minority Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks; Security and Terrorism; and Regulatory Reform; and Counsel on the Majority Staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee (1979-1981). In addition, in 1988, Podesta founded with his brother Tony, Podesta Associates, Inc., a Washington, D.C. government relations and public affairs firm.
    So, making the way for a possible Palin-McBush administration is a well-heeled, longtime Repug insider thoroughly versed in the ways of crony capitalism going back at least 30 years. Making the way for Obama-Biden, however, is perhaps the one individual most thoroughly grounded in the law, government and public policy available for such a challenge within the D.C. beltway, having done so for the last president under whose administration this country saw actual growth and prosperity.

    Not much for me to think about here – what say you?

    Update 10/14/08: Freaking whoa, dude!

    More Flowers Freeper Obama-Rama Fiction (updates)

    Gee, Christine, I’m so glad Barack Obama introduced race into this campaign and not you here today in the Philadelphia Daily News (uh huh, sure)…

    Ever since the campaign entered its most frenetic stage, race has become the not-so-secret weapon of the Obama camp, allowing it to both promote the candidate as a historic step forward while at the same time attack his opponents with the bigot label. And the polls say that it seems to be working.
    Forgive me if I inadvertently end up patting myself on the back here, but I have to note that, like you I’m sure, I’ve ended up reading a hell of a lot about this campaign and Barack Obama in particular. And I’ve seen no evidence whatsoever to support the “bigot” charge. None.

    Further, no one from the Obama campaign would have been dumb enough to do that; yes, we still have a little less than a month to go and anything is possible, but the Obama campaign has remained fixed on the issues unlike any Democratic campaign I’ve seen since 1992 (and I think the response from Obama to the relatively minor infraction committed some months ago by senior aide Samantha Power – she referred to Hillary Clinton as a “monster,” and that led to her resignation – sent a pretty clear message as to what would and would not be tolerated).

    Actually, though, I should point out that a cursory Google search revealed this link to The Weekly Standard (of course), quoting CNN’s Drew Griffin who said that Obama and William Ayres (here we go again) “funded niche lefty causes and Jeremiah Wright's church” (it links to a video that I am unable to watch at this location). However, the blockquoted text following this charge – which should substantiate this, if that’s possible, which I doubt – rehashes the whole business of whether or not the meeting Ayres and wife Bernadine Dohrn hosted in 1995 that introduced Obama had to do with him or then-Illinois State Senator Alice Palmer - yawn). And it’s not as if Griffin never tried to manufacture a story before (here).

    My feeling, my friends, is that there’s no “there” there, if you know what I mean.

    And the reason I’m mentioning this is that the supposed excuse for our corporate media not touching this ongoing non-story is the charge that Flowers alleges; because Obama’s supporters will automatically charge racism if you do.

    So to recap, we have an allegation of a nonexistent conspiracy of some type or another between Obama and Ayres, and when that charge is blown full of holes, Flowers and others of her ideological ilk come along to accuse the Obama camp of racism when they debunk it (nice little bit of media sleight-of-hand that diverts attention from the economy; and by the way…).

    Flowers also alleges that “the Obama campaign has made it harder to talk about the economy, national security, health care, etc., without dragging in the murky and volatile factor that corrupts every debate” (re: race), which, again, is an unsubstantiated charge.

    However, how’s this for a “pot, meet kettle” moment from Flowers?...

    I doubt Obama condones these tactics. As he's said on many occasions, he wanted to transcend race in this campaign. And as a man raised in large part by his white grandparents, I believe him.

    So, if Obama had been raised entirely by people of color, he would have been less trustworthy as far as Flowers is concerned? And she calls Obama supporters racist!

    And how funny is it to read sentences from Flowers like, “Democrats have long claimed (and often abused) the loyalty of African-Americans,” when the Repugs are the ones who have perfected any number of ways to disenfranchise African Americans, particularly in 2000 (Florida) and 2004 (Ohio)?

    And if you want to talk racism, check this out from Oliver Willis, particularly the note of Repug Kentucky Congressman Geoff Davis referring to Obama as a “boy.”

    To be fair to Flowers, though, she does offer the following anecdotal “evidence” near the end of her column…

    A recent essay in Newsweek made that clear. In "What If Obama Loses," Alison Samuels quoted one Daetwon Fisher, who said, "I'm going to be mad, real mad, if he doesn't win. Because for him to come this far and lose will be just shady and a slap in black people's faces."

    You could say this is just one person, ignore him. But we weren't so ready to do that when a West Virginia woman said during the primary that she could never vote for a black man.
    So, a couple of people preparing to vote with their passions, however incorrect they may be, are indicative of a trend by the Obama campaign to blame those opposing him of racism?

    Spare me.

    Besides, the Palin-McBush campaign has flailed away for days now on the charge that Obama is a terrorist which, besides being legally actionable as far as I’m concerned, is far worst than any racist smear Flowers or her supporters could ever conjure up.

    Update 1: Brendan via Atrios here has more; all I'll say concerning the "I'm white, and I'm not voting for Obama" Flowers nonsense that I didn't comment on earlier was that this is the time of year when the wingnuts believe it to be a source of pride to advertise to the whole world why, how and for whom they vote. In particular, the Bucks County Courier Times is just chock full anymore of letters proclaiming, "I used to be a Democrat, but now I'm a Repug" (zzzzzzzz) and "any Democrat who claims to be pro-choice will burn in eternal hellfire," etc.

    Update 2: And Obama is somehow worse than this?

    Update 3: C'est dommage, Christine.

    Update 4: As usual, Kagro X nails it.

    Thursday, October 09, 2008

    Thursday Stuff

    (I also posted over here today.)

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Great Unwashed at the Palin-McBush Hate Fest in Bethlehem, PA yesterday; Michael Morrill of Keystone Progress has brass ones for bringing this to us (and though the comparison doesn't totally work I know, wasn't someone else born in Bethlehem about 2000 years ago who, when he grew to an adult, was considered by some to be a terrorist?)...

    ...another terrific Brave New Films production from Robert Greenwald, this one on the positively odious voting record John Cornyn has assembled against our veterans (and to help Rick Noriega, click here - and the wife of a certain "straight-talking maverick" delivers another slap here)...

    ..."WTF" indeed (and if you guessed this was John W. "Get Off My Lawn" McBush, then you get a free "Country First" bumper sticker, my fellow prisoners - h/t The Daily Kos)...

    ...and Al Franken has a real barnburner on his hands with Norm Coleman and the other guy, so to help him out, click here (loved this ad)...

    ...and speaking of Norm, it seems that he hearts former Senator Man-On-Dog (Santorum's column today in the Inky blaming homeowners for the market collapse was too tedious for me to explain how wretched it truly was - turn down the music a tad, though)...

    ...John Lennon ("Instant Karma"; insert your Yoko Ono snark here).

    A Performance Review For Dana Perino

    Think Progress tells us the following from here…

    During today’s press briefing, White House press secretary Dana Perino suggested the Bush administration would oppose any effort to extend jobless benefits — a stance the White House has taken before. She explained their position by saying, “we want people to be able to return to the workplace as soon as possible.” The suggestion was that extending benefits somehow prevents people from returning to work.

    She concluded by saying that “the best way to help” the economy and unemployed people is for unemployed people to simply “get back to work.”
    I’ll tell you what, Dana: drive down to the Home Depot near you (assuming such a place for what you would call the “blue collar rabble” actually exists in the posh Maryland suburb where you no doubt live) and ask the store manager what the chances are of hiring a “white collar professional” during these tough times to help him or her get by until they find a better job.

    If this person were honest, what they would say is that they’d hire a professional perhaps skilled in a trade but probably not (probably even an illegal worker) for as little money as possible, and they would pass over a person from an office environment who might command more money otherwise and who would work hard since that individual would leave anyway.

    But how silly am I to think you’re actually serious?

    Well, since you’re working in the public sector after all (and I, as a taxpayer, contribute to your salary), I believe that I’m entitled to evaluate your job performance:

  • This tells us Perino didn’t believe the U.S. economy was in a recession.

  • This tells us of Perino’s lies on the question of GSE reform (for “government sponsored enterprises,” notably Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac).

  • This tells us of more Perino lies about the supposed cleanup in the DOJ under Mukasey.

  • “Safe, environmentally friendly offshore drilling” here; need I say more?

  • Here, Perino covered up a program from DHS Secretary Mike Leavitt to actually not identify the names of retailers in this country selling tainted meat.

  • She basically said here that the stimulus checks (remember them?) were going to save people facing home foreclosure from the subprime meltdown.

  • Perino also said here that infrastructure repair “wasn’t a stimulative way to get the economy going” (oh, and I wonder if she ever read up on the Cuban Missile Crisis?)

  • Perino said here that Dubya could campaign for McBush “vigorously.”

  • Finally, she said here that “this Congress hasn’t sent us a single appropriations bill,” when in fact Dubya had vetoed or threatened to do the same to numerous bills of that type.
  • Gosh, Dana, based on all of this, I don’t know how to break the news to you, but all I can say is that you’d better update your resume (not that you’ll be around after 1/20/09 anyway).

    And after all, you only got your job to begin with because this guy died, remember?

    Update 4/25/09: Apparently, Mark Penn's new hire has a torture problem of her own (here).

    More Beck Dreck Trying To Taint Obama-Rama

    I noted last night that finding posting material is getting more challenging because our corporate media has decided to write and comment on real issues more now than in previous years, and it’s harder to blow up the wingnuttery.

    Fortunately, though, Glenn Beck is always around, and he communicates the following today from here…

    NEW YORK (CNN) -- With a little less than a month before the election, this week started with a re-examination of Barack Obama's association with William Ayers.

    Whether holding a career-launching state Senate campaign event at the home of an unrepentant terrorist should disqualify you from the presidency is up to the people to decide.
    From that point on, Beck’s column turns into a rant against people who accuse voters of racism if that voter doesn’t cast his or her ballot for Obama (and as you might expect, I have heard that accusation leveled against absolutely no one).

    However, I want to go back and add the following from the New York Times story by Scott Shane last Saturday (here) which should settle the question once and for all as to whether or not Obama was influenced politically by Ayres in any way (and the answer is a resounding No, though I realize that Beck often doesn’t let facts stand in the way of his argument)…

    In March 1995, Mr. Obama became chairman of (a) six-member board that oversaw the distribution of grants in Chicago (from the so-called “Annenberg Project” which gave out $500 million, with $50 million going to Chicago). Some bloggers have recently speculated that Mr. Ayers had engineered that post for him.

    In fact, according to several people involved, Mr. Ayers played no role in Mr. Obama’s appointment. Instead, it was suggested by Deborah Leff, then president of the Joyce Foundation, a Chicago-based group whose board Mr. Obama, a young lawyer, had joined the previous year. At a lunch with two other foundation heads, Patricia A. Graham of the Spencer Foundation and Adele Simmons of the MacArthur Foundation, Ms. Leff suggested that Mr. Obama would make a good board chairman, she said in an interview. Mr. Ayers was not present and had not suggested Mr. Obama, she said.

    Ms. Graham said she invited Mr. Obama to dinner at an Italian restaurant in Chicago and was impressed.

    “At the end of the dinner I said, ‘I really want you to be chairman.’ He said, ‘I’ll do it if you’ll be vice chairman,’ ” Ms. Graham recalled, and she agreed.

    Archives of the Chicago Annenberg project, which funneled the money to networks of schools from 1995 to 2000, show both men attended six board meetings early in the project — Mr. Obama as chairman, Mr. Ayers to brief members on school issues.
    Now comes the part pertaining to the meeting Beck noted…

    It was later in 1995 that Mr. Ayers and Ms. (Bernardine) Dohrn (Ayres’ wife and another ‘60s-era radical) hosted the gathering, in their town house three blocks from Mr. Obama’s home, at which State Senator Alice J. Palmer, who planned to run for Congress, introduced Mr. Obama to a few Democratic friends as her chosen successor. That was one of several such neighborhood events as Mr. Obama prepared to run, said A. J. Wolf, the 84-year-old emeritus rabbi of KAM Isaiah Israel Synagogue, across the street from Mr. Obama’s current house.

    “If you ask my wife, we had the first coffee for Barack,” Rabbi Wolf said. He said he had known Mr. Ayers for decades but added, “Bill’s mad at me because I told a reporter he’s a toothless ex-radical.”

    “It was kind of a nasty shot,” Mr. Wolf said. “But it’s true. For God’s sake, he’s a professor.”
    So, in fact, the meeting was hosted by Ayres and Dohrn on behalf of Illinois State Senator Alice Palmer who introduced Obama as her protégé of sorts, which, to me, is an important distinction (hard to imagine someone in Obama’s position at the time “calling the shots” on who he’d prefer or not prefer to be seen with, especially with Ayres so thoroughly established as a professor at the University of Illinois).

    And concerning Beck’s attempts to obfuscate racism in this country, that’s perfectly in character for someone who rails against the charge if it pertains to Caucasians, but has no trouble slinging it around (or related innuendo at least) when one African American in particular is concerned (here).

    (And by the way, I have a request in light of this: if anyone knows of a countdown calendar to election day that you can embed like the Bush Countdown calendar, please let me know - I'll look for myself in the meantime. That way, I'll know how much longer we have to deal with the baseless, gutteral attacks of the Palin-McBush Campaign.)

    Wednesday, October 08, 2008

    Wednesday Stuff

    Did he really say "My fellow prisoners"? Yes, he really said it, my friends (h/t The Jed Report)...

    ...Worst Persons with K.O., leading off with K-Lo criticizing Olbermann and others who noted that McBush messed up Petraeus' titles TWICE, some law enforcement guy in Maryland (Thomas Hutchins - sp?) who entered the names of peaceful, nonviolent protesters into state and federal terrorist tracking databases (imagine the zany hijinks ensuring over that), and Bobby May of Virginia, a former McBush Virginia campaign operative, who will have plenty of opportunity now to attend cross burnings during his copious leisure time...

    Update 10/10/08: Here's more on the Hutchins thing, by the way.

    ...Cold War Kids ("Something Is Not Right With Me," a little ditty I dedicate to John W. McBush)...

    ...and given the news that "Governor Hottie" was going to "puck off" for the Flyers in their home opener this Saturday (yep, I'm down with Atrios totally on this - I smell trouble...genius move, Ed Snider), I think the following is apropos once more.

    A Brief Meta Post

    I know the posting has tailed off a bit, and there are at least three reasons that come to mind.

    The first (and I won't dwell on this) is because my real job has a connection to the financial services industry (won't say any more than that), so you can just imagine what a joyful time I've had over the last few weeks.

    The second is that the PA-08 congressional race continues to be pretty much invisible (that is, unless I take another poke at Tom Manion, thus spurring a response from his staffers). That is also based on the fact that I often rely on my local news from, that mystery portal into Bucks County wingnuttery which occasionally craps out entirely. I'm sure this will pick up after the debates, though (two scheduled between Patrick Murphy, Manion and pretend candidate Tom Lingenfelter that I know of).

    The third (and perhaps the most troubling, though partly good) is that, given our extraordinarily bad times, the pundit class has suddenly become afflicted with a case of conscientious journalism. McBush and Palin are being given no quarter, which is as it should be, though one would wonder why that was not the case in 2000 and 2004 also (ya' think, if Bush and Cheney had received the same treatment, we'd be in our current mess?). I'm thinking of MoDo and Little Tommy Friedman in particular today; the only thing Mr. "Suck.On. This." said that I disagreed with was that McBush was "presidential timber," and that's not enough for me to work with. And Richard Cohen was actually scathingly insightful recently. Hell, even Smerky had a good column about John Bogle of Vanguard on Sunday, timed to promote the latter's book (Kevin Ferris meandered on in bizarre fashion about the Constitution Center; I think it was supposed to be a parody, though it was hard to tell how that stood apart from his usual fare).

    Hey! What happened to all those idiotic Repug simpatico story lines about Obama being a "Manchurian Candidate" or something? You mean I have to actually watch Fox Noise to brush up on the latest explodable talking points? Ye gods!!

    So, I'll keep looking for interesting stuff and trying to unearth more infestations of our discourse. The second I do, you'll be the first to know.

    The "Steady Hand" Of "That One"

    (Still trying to fathom what could have been in McBush’s mind to refer to Obama in that fashion – I’m sure I’ll never know.)

    Returning to the debate last night, John W. McBush offered this (from here)…

    He said the nation needs "a cool hand at the tiller" and, later, "a steady hand at the tiller."
    Fortunately, Ilan Goldenberg of Democracy Arsenal gives us the following examples of the “steady hand” in action here, in which McBush proclaims that “a major war with North Korea is inevitable unless America finds a way to deter Kim Il Sung, (from) crashing the nuclear club and unleashing weapons of mass destruction around the world.” He also falsely accused Iraq of sending the Anthrax letters, falsely linked Iraq and al Qaeda (of course), urged a ground invasion by our troops in Kosovo in the ‘90s instead of the bombing campaign authorized by President Clinton, and also blamed Russia exclusively for the recent Georgia conflict, departing with other Western leaders in doing so.

    My friends, this “steady hand” would leave me “shakin’ all over” in fear and dread if he were to ascend to the White House, which, fortunately, looks less and less likely (though we still have much work to do to prevent that).

    And speaking of Iraq, Goldenberg also presented this analysis of a recent article on Iraq by Michael Gordon of the New York Times (Democracy Arsenal is a great site that I should visit more often)…

    Gordon presents Obama’s timeline (for withdrawal of our forces) as being very different than that of the Iraqis and the U.S. military and also presents it as an “ironclad deadline.”

    The “time goal” in the draft accord calls for the withdrawal of American forces by the end of 2011, more than twice as long as Mr. Obama’s 16-month deadline. And in the view of American negotiators, a “time goal” is more flexible than an ironclad deadline.

    In reality, Obama’s plan – not McCain’s – is much closer to what the Iraqis are looking for and to what appears to be in the draft agreement. In July Prime Minister Maliki himself argued for an agreement along Obama’s timeline. Additionally, the draft agreement calls for all American combat forces to be removed from Iraqi cities by the middle of 2009. That is more aggressive than anything Obama has said. And according to Maliki’s own statements and interpretation of the agreement it looks like he may view 2011 as the date for the final withdrawal of all American forces – not just combat forces.

    It has also been reported that the Iraqis originally took the position that they wanted American forces out by the end of 2010 and the Bush administration had to negotiate for an extra year. There has even been speculation that the Bush administration pushed for 2011 to provide political cover for John McCain. So how is it that Obama’s timeline is so problematic while McCain’s lack of any timeline makes any sense?

    Moreover, Obama has never said that he has an “ironclad deadline”. Obama has been pretty clear throughout the campaign that he is flexible and that, like any sane person, he would be willing to reexamine the exact details of the timeline if circumstance change. In fact, earlier in the summer when he made this point very clearly people tried to call him out as being a “flip flopper.”
    Such is how our media feeds into the notion of McBush’s supposed strength on foreign policy matters (and speaking of Iraq, this Murdoch Street Journal story tells us of “house bombs,” the latest threat faced by our troops, and this hints at the latest NIE that, of course, we won’t find out about officially until after the election – nothing wrong with the Journal’s “hard news” reporting in my estimation, only their editorial commentary, notwithstanding Thomas Frank).

    Tuesday, October 07, 2008

    Tuesday Stuff

    "That One?" Is McBush losing his mind (and apparently he said that Petraeus was chairman of the Joint Chiefs again - God, can't he at least make new mistakes instead repeating the same old ones?)

    (Oh, and nice job to be "in the tank" for McBush by constantly cutting in on Obama, Brokaw; my father was a member of "the greatest generation," and he thought you were a creep. Write your next book about that, OK?) ...

    ...Obama responds to McBush on the rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the McBush beneficiary who received the money from Freddie who Obama noted was Rick Davis, by the way - h/t HuffPo)...

    ...and K.O. brings us "Worst Persons" (goose stepping with Sean Inanity, AIG blows six figures of our tax dollars after we bail them out - those responsible should be jailed - and oh noes! John W. McBush gets the nod for complaining about a $5 mil study on Montana bears that, as it turns out, HE VOTED FOR!!!)...

    ...Ingrid Michaelson ("Be OK"; I sing this song every day any more).

    What A Difference A Disaster Makes

    Just some random observations on our current financial mess, starting with today’s lies from Dana Perino (here)…

    Q Do you think the U.S. economy is in a recession?

    MS. PERINO: You know I don't think that we know. Obviously, this next quarter is probably not going to be a very good one. And we know that. But we know that the last quarter we had about a 2-percent* growth, which is not too bad. But obviously, right now we are in a very difficult situation. But we're working every day to make sure that we effectively put this plan to use so that we can pull up out of it and return to job growth.

    So I couldn't say. The classic definition of a recession is not something that we could determine now, or forecast. It's something that people look back on.
    Uh huh; this story from last January tells us…

    The feared recession in the US economy has already arrived, according to a report from Merrill Lynch.

    It said that Friday's employment report, which sent shares tumbling worldwide, confirmed that the US is in the first month of a recession.

    Its view is controversial, with banks such as Lehman Brothers disagreeing.
    Chalk that up to another inglorious moment for Lehman, including this one; Merrill got sucked in also, but at least they seemed to have a better understanding of what was going on.

    And this story in the New York Times tells us…

    “The globalization of the crisis means we need a globalization of responses,” said C. Fred Bergsten, the director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “But most of the responses will be national. For all the institutions we have, we don’t have the right institutions to do this.”

    That is particularly true in Europe, which has an effective central bank but lacks a unified legislature or treasury to coordinate or finance a rescue of the banking system. So far, economists say, Europe’s response to the crisis in its banks has been mostly marked by denial and dissension.

    From London to Berlin, governments are clinging to a piecemeal approach. The British and the Germans have resisted a broader solution, because they fear they will end up rescuing their neighbors.

    A weekend meeting of European leaders in Paris, called by President Nicolas Sarkozy, ended with a pledge that Europe would not countenance a bank failure like that of Lehman Brothers, but little else.

    Part of the problem, experts said, is the nature of this crisis: bailouts of banks are costly and unpopular with taxpayers — even more so, as in Europe, where burden sharing is a perennial sore point.

    “Taxpayers won’t agree to bail out the banking system of other countries,” said Thomas Mayer, the chief European economist at Deutsche Bank in London. “Not even in Europe, where you have a neutral framework, could you get people to cooperate on a joint effort.”

    As the problems in Europe have worsened, the crisis has taken on an “every country for itself” quality. When Ireland placed a guarantee on all bank deposits and debt last week, it angered neighbors, who feared capital would flee their banks to the safer haven of Dublin. Now, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Austria have all pledged to guarantee deposits.
    I think this is noteworthy because of this New York Times Magazine story from last January here that I referred to in this post, in which writer Parag Khanna envisioned the growth of Europe’s “influence” in a new world order of sorts (hardly sounds like everyone is "on the same page" above, though)...

    Europe spends its money and political capital on locking peripheral countries into its orbit. Many poor regions of the world have realized that they want the European dream, not the American dream.


    Many of the foreign students we shunned after 9/11 are now in London and Berlin: twice as many Chinese study in Europe as in the U.S. We didn’t educate them, so we have no claims on their brains or loyalties as we have in decades past. More broadly, America controls legacy institutions few seem to want — like the International Monetary Fund — while Europe excels at building new and sophisticated ones modeled on itself.
    I will cede the notion that Europe is rising at our expense because they seek educational and research partnerships with foreign students to perhaps a greater degree than we do right now, but all it takes is a global calamity of this sort to break down the new alliances in favor of the time-honored old ones by national borders, ethnicity and spheres of influence once more (not an original observation I know, but I only mean to point out that we don’t know what other metaphorical shoe is going to drop as a result of this, so we should just be prepared for more unfortunate developments).

    Bottom line? My concern is a resurgent Asia, not Europe; I don’t have Khanna’s experience in these matters, but I’ll stand or fall on that analysis (and I hasten to add that I don’t begrudge them their right to economic growth as long as they play fair in the process).

    An "Ifill" Of Wingnut Whining

    (And by the way, I also posted over here recently.)

    From what I can determine based on watching the videos of last week’s vice-presidential debate between Joe Biden and “Governor Hottie,” I believe that moderator Gwen Ifill did a good job, primarily because I barely knew she was around (in contrast, think of the stage–hogging presences of Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos in the past, and though I know the man is dead and I should leave him alone, think of Tim Russert also for similar reasons). And I give Ifill credit for keeping her composure while the member of Alaska’s AIP kept blowing off her questions.

    But of course, what would the Palin-McBush campaign be without more whining about “the media” (particularly funny when Governor Red High Heels has yet to hold a press conference since she was named to the ticket; McBush and his people are dumb, but they’re not that dumb). And the flashpoint is that Ifill wrote this book about race which features the Democratic candidate for president quite prominently (so of course, Ifill is automatically biased, right? And how dare she defend herself when slammed by “Mr. Nappy Headed Hos” himself here).

    Well, I would like to hear at least as much attention paid to this post as has been paid to those who have maligned Ifill once more (yes, I know, I can dream); Think Progress tells us the following…

    These claims (of liberal media bias) fly in the face of reality. The multinational corporations that run the mainstream media — GE (NBC), Time Warner (CNN), Walt Disney (ABC), News Corporation (FOX), and Viacom (CBS) — stand to benefit hugely under a (John) McCain presidency. The centerpiece of Sen. McCain’s economic plan — actually, the whole plan — is large tax cuts for corporations. It would deliver $1.44 billion in tax cuts to the five largest media companies, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
    I will point out in fairness, though, that according to the information here, CBS and ABC are strictly forbidden to give donations to political candidates or engage in political activity. NBC, MSNBC and say they don't discourage or encourage campaign contributions, but they require employees to report any potential conflicts of interest in advance and receive permission of the senior editor.

    And the individual slated to moderate tonight’s second debate between John W. McBush and Barack Obama (and if we don’t see fire from Obama over the last few days of sliming from the Palin-McBush campaign, we never will) is Tom Brokaw, who allowed McBush campaign manager Steve Schmidt to repeat the lie unchallenged that McBush called for Don (“The Former Defense Secretary We Had”) Rumsfeld to be canned; Brokaw also communicated some phantom polling result that gave McBush a slight lead over Obama here.

    Let’s see how much Brokaw forces himself into the questioning and give and take of what should be a McBush slime fest, unfortunately; I think Obama should put him down hard a time or two just to show people he can do it and then otherwise let McBush rant. Of course, if Brokaw front-loads the questioning with “urgent topics” such as flag lapel pins and supposed reform of the capital gains tax (to say nothing of a certain African American preacher and former ‘60s radical), then we’ll know for sure that the fix is in.

    Monday, October 06, 2008

    Monday Stuff

    God, what a pathetic sight you are anymore, John W. McBush.

    Bereft of ideas. Absent of solutions. Totally void of conciliation (oh, but don't forget how you "reached across the aisle to work with the opposition" while Barack Obama didn't...tell me another one).

    At this point, you and "Governor Avon Lady," as Bill Maher so correctly referred to her, are little more than ringleaders goading an angry, uninformed, blinkered and barely literate mob of like-minded "true believers," blowing as hard on that dog whistle as you can in the hope that, somehow, the rest of this country living in the real world of debt, recession, global melting and war without end in Iraq will respond.

    As far as I'm concerned, this isn't a legitimate presidential campaign anymore. It's an electoral freak show. If your ever-more-ridiculous quest for the White House were a rabies-infected animal, it would be shot right between the eyes and thus put out of its misery.

    But no, we will have to endure this spectacle up until November 4th, won't we, a fitting death howl to the foul, fetid Bushco reign.

    One day, the history books will write of these dark days, and at that point I will know, God willing, that I have in fact lived through them. At this point, it is still too unreal to completely realize that all of this is happening (in the clip that follows, some leather-lunged human mistake refers to Barack Obama as a terrorist, and McBush of course says nothing - h/t The Daily Kos).

    (Oh, and by the way, when it comes to the charge of giving aid and comfort to terrorists, please consider this.)

    Update 1 10/7/08: Your ReThuglican Party, ladies and gentlemen...

    Update 2 10/7/08: "Almost sad" indeed (actually it is sad, at the very least).

    ...and I had a feeling we were entering "Special Comment" territory for K.O. considering all of the McBush campaign nonsense, and sure enough...

    ...and imagine this; McBush actually gets something right (h/t The Daily Kos)...

    ...I noted The Dixie Chicks earlier in the Meghan McBush post (yes, as far as I'm concerned, she forced herself into this), and I think this captures pretty much how I feel at the moment.

    Score One For The Supremes

    As noted here, on their return to deliberations for another term, the Supreme Court of Hangin’ Judge J.R. refused to hear arguments for a new trial in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted by a jury of his peers in the murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.

    As you can see from this list, Abu-Jamal’s supporters are legion, and this ensures that his legal appeals will go on indefinitely. However, though the list contains the names of many, many people I genuinely respect and admire (including The Eternal Molly Ivins and the late Paul Newman), it must be pointed out that, with respect, I believe these people were and are fundamentally wrong to support this charismatic con artist.

    I have lived in the Philadelphia metropolitan area and surrounding counties virtually all of my life. I have read and heard a great deal of reporting on this case. And though I think the argument that the jury didn’t contain a proportionate number of African Americans is valid, I don’t see how that fundamentally alters the facts and the case of the prosecution.

    There aren’t many stories or issues out there where I depart from what you could consider some kind of liberal orthodoxy, but this most definitely is one of them. And, like everything else, I am always opened to constructive arguments on either side.

    And as long as I’m noting the return of Scalia, Alito, Thomas and the bunch, I think it’s appropriate to remind us once more of the type of justices John W. McBush would nominate for the high court here (yet another reason to support Barack Obama, IMHO, and I wish we would hear more emphasis of that from the Democratic candidate).

    Getting "Real" With Meghan McBush

    (Flanked by her mother above, of course...).

    Ordinarily I would not bother to comment on family members of a political candidate, but the person in question here (not the oldest McBush daughter, by the way) really doesn’t give me a choice based on this story in today’s Philadelphia Daily News…

    Wearing a star tattoo on her foot and election-themed jewelry by hip designer Tarina Tarantino, 23-year-old Meghan McCain took a tour of the Philadelphia Museum of Art yesterday.

    The second-youngest daughter of Republican presidential nominee John McCain is in the area to promote her children's book, "My Dad, John McCain," and meet with local supporters.

    "This is a hard time for our country," she said. "I really appreciate anyone who can take time out of their day to make a few phone calls for my father's campaign. The least I can do is thank them."
    That’s all well and good so far; commendable actually. However, as we read about how she flanked herself with Republican simpatico Olympians from the Beijing games, we learn this…

    All interest in pop culture aside, McCain commended her father's campaign for not investing too much in celebrity support.

    "I don't think someone like Bruce Springsteen should matter in a presidential election," McCain said, dismissing rumors that her father is planning an event similar to Saturday's Springsteen concert and Barack Obama rally on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, a stone's throw from the museum.

    "Our campaign is about real voters," McCain said.
    (And yes, I know McBush fils is just following up on the narrative concocted by "Governor Hottie," but she still needs to be called on it.)

    Oh, sure, John W. McBush doesn’t accept endorsements from “liberal” Hollywood, does he?

    Not much he doesn’t.

    This tells us that Curt Schilling and Sylvester Stallone have filmed videos endorsing McBush, and he can probably rely on Adam Sandler, Kelsey Grammer, Jon Voight and Tom Selleck also (also Robert Duvall, the only one in that bunch with any character or acting talent as far as I’m concerned…Grammer milked that one-note “Frazier” thing forever – if it weren’t for having David Hyde-Pierce as a foil, he would’ve been toast).

    But all of them are “real” voters, don’t forget.

    And this comes on the heels of Ms. McBush’s earlier gaffe in which she enlightened us with the knowledge that “No-one knows what war is like, other than my family. Period.”

    And finally, let’s lay off Springsteen, OK? I know the Malkinites and their fellow right-wing knuckle draggers don’t want to hear this, but despite their best efforts, this country is STILL a place where you can respectfully voice a dissenting opinion (in fact, it’s your duty as a citizen to speak your mind in such a manner). And (as he would readily admit) Springsteen is one guy articulating one opinion. Besides, I don’t hear Toby Keith or any other celebrity who endorsed Dubya’s Not So Excellent Iraq Adventure apologizing for their stupidity, or for attacking The Dixie Chicks when they spoke out, three courageous women who happened to be absolutely right in their dissent.

    But of course, none of those people are “real voters” either since they don’t wear designer jewelry or star tattoos.

    Also, as long as I’m saying something about conservatives and Hollywood, I should note that their little movie (partly funded by former Senator Man-On-Dog) didn’t seem to make such a splash in its opening (closing?) week (“An American Carol” – Bill Maher's new movie "Religulous" showed at less than 1/3 of the theaters and still came in only about $300 grand behind; blame the liberals for that too, I guess...h/t Atrios).

    Sunday, October 05, 2008

    More Sunday Stuff

    Avenged Sevenfold ("Dear God"; kind of melodic and apropos for Sunday)...

    ...and I put this up a few times to help get us all in the mood for Election Day of '06, so I think it's only appropriate to start doing it again for '08 ("Stand Up," by Trapt).

    Sunday Stuff

    Oh, and by the way, in the New York Times story yesterday about the times that William Ayres crossed paths with Barack Obama (I mean, they live three blocks apart from each other; what are they supposed to do? Avert their eyes as they pass each other by?) - which you can count with one hand, by the way - I thought writer Scott Shane was scrupulous in pointing out that there's no connection between the two (of course, that didn't stop "Governor Hottie" from propagandizing accordingly here...and if McBush really wants to "muzzle" her, don't you think he'd damn well better start doing it?)...

    Please keep that in mind as you watch this (the ubiquitous Tina Fey once more, with Gwen Ifill getting a chance to respond at last - h/t Think Progress...and by the way, how is describing McBush as "erratic" a character assault over his age, as noted here?)...

    ...and I don't know if this is the best "New Rules" segment Bill Maher has ever done (the one in defense of Valerie Plame was a shade better), but it's certainly right up there.

    Oh, and one more thing - WAY TO GO, PHILS!

    Update 1: And about that Obama/Ayres story yesterday, please consider this.

    Update 2: And you'd better check this "skeleton in your closet" also, Senator McBush.