Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Breaking News --- Bailout defeated!; Updates added

Just a few moments ago it was reported that the House has defeated the bailout bill:

Stocks spiraled downward as much as 685 points on Monday a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street appeared headed toward defeat in the House of Representatives.

House leaders held open the vote as they tried to sway reluctant lawmakers to support the plan, which was failing 207-226 after the vote clock expired but arm-twisting continued.

Opponents said part of the reason for the opposition from Republicans was what they termed a partisan speech by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said one GOP source.

"Pelosi's partisan speech has caused our members to go berserk and may cost us any remaining chance to pass the bill," the source said.

Pelosi had said that Congress needed to pass the bill, even though it was an outgrowth of the "failed Bush economic policies" of the last eight years.

Supporters of the bailout bill had said they didn't like it but didn't want to play with history or risk an economic collapse.

"I'm not willing to put that bullet in the revolver and spin it. I will take the political risk," said Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee.

I'm listening to local radio hosts, including former congressman JD Hayworth, talking about this right now. Hayworth has said that they're going to try and bring it back up by appealing to those in the GOP in safe districts to reach the 218 needed to pass the bill. But the bigger story is that the Democrat caucus lost a lot of numbers in the vote. Pelosi couldn't keep her caucus together. He posits the idea that Pelosi is going to go to freshman Democrats and tell them to vote like Republicans to bring them back on board. Those members were shaky, and bolted from the caucus.

Wall Street is careening, losing 600 points in the wake of the defeat. They've jumped back up, and currently sits at around 160 points down overall for the day. That's what happens when the financial industry gets jittery, and sees that intervention isn't coming in on the white stallion.

Pelosi is getting her whips out, and assess the risk to her caucus. Boehner is likely talking to Bush and his own caucus about what they can do. Boehner could tell the president that Paulson and Cox have to go, which would help atmospherically, and might bring more Republicans back on board. The other option left is for the Senate to pass their own version. At the same time, to assuage fears, either House could pass something that quells fears of the financial industry by passing a suspension of the capital gains tax. Hayworth is correct. The House heard from the country when the people were telling the House "not no but Hell no" on this bill.

The country and the respective caucuses are looking for assurance. Not even the Heritage Foundation's plea that the bailout package was vital and needed was enough to bolster support for the bill. This rejection wasn't really a surprise to me, given how many conservative House members had shrieked about this this morning. But look at the vote count -- 206-227. (I know FOX has a different number, but I'm going off of Michelle Malkin's numbers because she live-blogged the entire debate this morning.) That means to get the necessary majority of 218 the whips on both sides are going to have to come up with twelve House members willing to change their mind if this bill is resubmitted.

One thing is for sure, this is all far from over. The House will go back and try to tweak the bill so it's more acceptable. We can expect that the House will have a long day, possibly a long night, to come up with something that is acceptable to all. KFYI has jipped into FOX's coverage of this, and Boehner has stated that this isn't about Republican and Democrat. This is about making a compromise bill that will help stabilize the industry. They're right. We need this, but if it can be improved, then that needs to be done.

Again, some "cosmetics" could be applied, such as requesting the resignation of Paulson and Cox, putting forth a capital gains cut, or an outright, limited suspension, and an appeal to safe House seats that voted "no" to switch their vote should this come back to the floor today or tonight.

Can they pull this off? I hope so. (I can't speak for Marcie because I haven't spoken with her yet, but I'm sure that blackberry text will be forthcoming.) If we want to avoid Wall street going into a tailspin then a bailout bill needs to be passed that will soothe those jittery nerves.

Publius II

UPDATE: The official numbers are 205-228, and that comes directly from the House roll call vote here. Boehner, Blunt, and Cantor all pointed to Nancy Pelosi's floor speech that ticked off quite a few while this vote went down. Michelle Malkin has the "campaign speech/politicking" remarks here on a video. If there's blame to be laid for the failure of the bailout bill, it needs to be laid at her feet. She overplayed her hand, and it backfired on her. She has no one to blame but her sad, stupid self.

Memo to Nancy Pelosi -- If you want something like this to go through, you don't spew venom while the vote is going on. Bite your frelling tongue, and wait until it's all said and done to lash out.

Publius II

UPDATE II: I'm getting e-mails from readers wanting to know what Nancy Pelosi said. (I've got a link above, guys, of her speaking. Of course, you readers that have said they'd rather read the statement than have their ears bleed having to listen to her.) Michelle Malkin has, at the link above, transcribed her remarks. Here they are:

When was the last time anyone ever asked you for $700 billion?

It’s a staggering figure and many questions have arisen from that request. And we have been hearing a very informed debate on all sides of this issue here today. I’m proud of the debate.

$700 billion. A staggering number, but only a part of the cost of the failed Bush economic policies to our country. Policies that were built on budget recklessness when Pres. Bush took office, he inherited Pres. Clinton’s surpluses - four years in a row budget surpluses on a trajectory of $5.6 trillion in surplus. And with his reckless economic policies, within two years, he had turned it around. And now 8 years later, the foundation of that fiscal irresponsibility, combined with an “anything goes” economic policy, has taken us to where we are today.

They claim to be free-market advocates, when it’s really an anything goes mentality. No regulation, no supervision, no discipline. And if you fail, you will have a golden parachute and the taxpayer will bail you out.

Those days are over. The party is over in that respect.

Democrats believe in a free market. We know that it can create jobs, it can create wealth, many good things in our economy. But in this case, in this unbridled form, as encouraged and supported by the Republicans — some Republicans, not all — it has created not jobs, not capital, it has created chaos. And it is that chaos that the Secretary of the Treasury and the Chairman of the Fed came to see us, just about a week and a half ago. It seems like an eternity, doesn’t it? So much has happened. The news was so bad. They described a very dismal situation.

Again, this is firebrand politicking. She alienated the very people she needed to pass this. The blame game with President Bush was uncalled for, and claiming that those policies led to "no regulation, no supervision, no discipline" from the Bush administration is a bald-faced lie. It's asinine to blame the presidency for the lack of oversight from Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd, and their respective committees. A lot of blogs on the starboard side of the spectrum are highlighting this video from 2004 where Democrats insist that nothing was wrong with Fannie and Freddie, and that the mortgage lending industry was fine. We know different.

It was feckless behavior from BOTH sides (not just Democrats) that enabled this problem. Furthermore, had the Senate set aside politics for one minute, and looked at the plan assembled by John McCain reforming the industry -- Fannie and Freddie included -- we might have been able to stave this off. Nancy couldn't put politics aside today, and she's the primary reason why this bill failed. YES, I'll admit that there were plenty on both sides that had heard from their constituents, and knew that the people didn't want this passed. So again we go to the House members jittery about their reelection chances, and that is likely the biggest reason why this vote failed. But Nancy didn't help the cause with this foolish, grandstanding speech.

Publius II

UPDATE III: I just found out that the above transcript is only a partial transcript. Mary Katherine Ham over at the Weekly Standard's blog has her full remarks, and it's even worse than the above that I got from Michelle Malkin. While blathering on, she repeatedly attacks the Republicans, and heaps praise on people like Barney Frank, who contributed to this crisis. No wonder why it likely turned a few Republicans off.

The other thing to note is that rumors are floating out of DC that there will not be another vote on this today or tomorrow. Why? Rosh Hashanah begins tonight at sundown, and lasts until the evening on Tuesday (I think) which means this won't be touched for at least 48 hours. So buckle-up folks, because we're in for a bumpy ride in the markets for the next couple of days.

Publius II

UPDATE IV: A few people are taking exception with the idea that Nancy Pelosi's politics-as-usual speech caused people to vote against the bill. Among the notables is Geraghty the Indispensable calling BS to that argument. Let me be clear here. If there were any fence sitters while this vote was unfolding that might have been offended by her statement, it's sure to be a minuscule minority.

It's clear by looking at the roll call that the majority that killed this bill had two things in mind in voting no. Either they were, as JD Hayworth postulated earlier today when the news broke, vulnerable House members that didn't want to be hung with the responsibility of voting for this bailout. Second, they could be people that weren't vulnerable, but they had heard from their constituents, and they decided based on the opinions of those constituents, they couldn't support the bill.

Again, I stress the fact that most of those who voted knew exactly how they were going to vote today. They knew they were either for this bill, or they weren't. So I agree with Jim Geraghty that it's a cop-out for the GOP to blame Pelosi's speech. It makes more sense to admit that they they simply couldn't get everyone on board.

Also, here's an interesting tidbit from Geraghty. Nancy Pelosi is blaming Republicans. Here are the facts as he sees it, and as I realized after seeing the roll call:

Pelosi, moments ago: "The Democrats more than lived up to their side of the bargain."

Horsepuckey. Pelosi has 235 members. She needed 218. She could spare 17 members and still pass the bill.

The GOP spotted her 65 members, for a bill that made most Republicans' skin crawl in both broad outline and in terms of detail.

That meant Pelosi could afford to lose 82 Democrats.She lost 95. ...

Think about it - the majority party is insisting that the minority party is responsible for the bill not passing with a majority. Do you see the incongruency there? Why is anyone taking that argument seriously?

UPDATE: Hoyer says "we got every gettable Democrat." If so, that's stunning.

She claims her party did all the work. That's simply not true. It's obvious she had more than a few Democrats that didn't want to be saddled with the responsibility of voting in favor of a bill that the majority of the country was against, especially heading into a testy and potentially rocky election season.

This problem came to a head at the worst moment in an election year. We're 36 days away from the election, and Congress is playing the CYA game to keep their seats. Now we don't blame them for doing this, but one would think that if they were that concerned that they'd work a little harder to put together a bill that would be amicable to all those involved; especially the taxpayers who will end up footing the bill for the congressional malfeasance that gave us this problem to begin with. After all, if Congress actually hammered out a feasible solution that wouldn't hose the taxpayers as badly as this bill would have likely done, then their election fears wouldn't be nearly as bad.

We know a lot of those in the House are facing tough races, but that's no excuse not to do the job right the first time through. Obviously several in the House -- 228 to be exact -- didn't think this bill was a fair shake to the taxpayers, and they voted their conscience. You can't dislike them for that decision. Granted, it's not like Wall Street really celebrated their decision. It opened up down this morning, and it's still about 500-600 points down right now.

Publius II

UPDATE V: Word is coming out that Pelosi and the Democrats will return with a bill this week after the Rosh Hashanah holiday break Larry Kudlow has some of the skinny and it doesn't look good at all:

A number of Republican House members and staff, along with others who are plugged in, are telling me that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats will come back with a new bill that includes all the left-wing stuff that was scrubbed from the bill that was defeated today in the House.

As this scenario goes, the House Democrats need 218 votes, and they have to pick up a number of black and Hispanic House members who jumped ship because the Wall Street provisions, in their view, were too benign. So things like the bankruptcy judges setting mortgage terms and rates, the ACORN slush-fund spending, the union proxy for corporate boards, stricter limits on executive compensation, and much larger equity ownership of selling banks through warrants will all find itself back in the new bill. Of course, this scenario will lose more Republican votes. But insiders tell me President Bush will take Secretary Paulson’s advice and sign that kind of legislation.

Personally, if this scenario plays out, I would probably withdraw my support for the rescue mission and switch to plan B, which would center on the FDIC and its bank-recapitalization powers. The bank-ownership issue, in particular, could lead to heavy nationalization of America’s financial system with a three-house Democratic sweep in November.

I’m not forecasting, because I don’t know the next bill’s content. And while McCain’s polls are heading south, he could still win. But a three-house Dem sweep to implement some off the very onerous provisions being talked about could set up the end of the U.S. financial system as we know it.I’m gonna wait and see.

Obviously, the financial markets are in total collapse today. And the economic outlook is suffering.

Tough day. One of the worst I can remember.

If Democrats attempt this move it's going to pi$$ off a lot of people in this country, especially if they throw the ACORN/La Raza bunch back into the bill, and take out the provisions of the benefits being used to pay down the debt. Kudlow's right with the Plan B, which is the one presented by Rep. John Campbell last week that much of the Republican caucus liked. The FDIC-like insurance system would work to stabilize the market, and hopefully prevent more banks from going under.

But if she and her caucus roll the dice by reloading the bill with the excess liberal crap that got yanked to begin with, we'd urge the president to veto it, and send it back with instructions basically saying "Think of the people, you nitwits, and send me a real piece of legislation that not only I can suipport, but that the people of the nation -- YOUR BOSSES, remember -- also support."

Publius II

What McCain should do

Far be it from us to give Senator McCain advice. He has never really listened to the New Media, preferring instead to listen to the talking heads of the Beltway media. Unfortunately he learned a little too late that they really don't like him unless he's hammering on a fellow Republican. This is the reason why the MSM still pays attention to fools like Chuck Hagel.

Jennifer Rubin has some advice for him, and it's sound. He should listen this time:

Bill Kristol is right, certainly, that John McCain needs to break the trajectory of the race or he will lose.

We are in the
Black Hole – the period of thrust and parry between debates, aggravated by the bailout fight — when the race will congeal and voters’ views will be fixed. It is a measure of how divided the country is and what liabilities Barack Obama are saddled with that this has not already happened.

And this is familar ground for McCain whose campaign nearly died in the summer of 2007. Then he could carve a quiet space in New Hampshire to talk to voters and rely on new media which still was willing to hear his message. Now he must compete in the loudest, fastest, wildest campaign ever, get beyond the hostile media and somehow get voters’ attention.

So while his campaign turns up the heat and does what the MSM will not — lay bare the record and identity of Obama — he would do well to start a look-’em-in-the-eye series of ads and some heart-to-heart conversations with voters. Give voters a list of all the hard choices and specific things he’s going to do and why his opponent is evading the tough truths (Where exactly is Obama going to control the budget? Why does Obama pander on trade when he knows better?) or making bad choices (Why would we raise taxes as we slide into a recession?).

McCain won the GOP primary (albeit in a divided field) largely in a character contest. No less a figure than
Bill Clinton remarked that “his greatness is that he keeps trying to come back to service without ever asking people to cut him any slack or feel sorry for him or any of that stuff because he was a POW.” If he can make it that again — a contest of moral fiber and character – he has his shot.

Senator McCain needs to tighten up his campaign, and take off the gloves. Forget the cute ads, the funny ads, etc., and focus on drawing a contrast between himself and Obama. He started that Friday after the debate by releasing the first post-debate ad hammering Obama over the fact he kept repeating that McCain was right during that debate.

No one in the media is talking about Obama, his views, his relationships, and just how bad this nation will end up being under his presidency. McCain can start right there. Do what the media didn't do because they had too many thrills running up their collective leg every time Obama opened his inexperienced yap. The media is perfectly content to rip on McCain because he doesn't know economics all that well, or to rip on Sarah Palin because she's just a no-name governor from a state most in the media have never ventured to save now because they're attempting to dig up dirt on her.

The media has given Obama a pass; they've not vetted him at all. They were content to jump on his bandwagon because they were sick of the Clintons. They never really peppered him with questions about his ties to: William Ayers, Tony Rezko, Mayor Richard Daley, Governor Rod Blagojevich, and other key members of the Chicago Machine. They never asked him about his time on the board of the Annenberg Challenge. They never bothered to ask him why, given his numerous "present" votes in the state legislature, he thinks he has the ability to lead and make decisions when he's not made an important decision in his life. (For the record, choosing his wife and his vice presidential running mate would not be considered "executive level" decisions, so no, they don't count.)

McCain has hammered home the point that he has the experience needed to lead. He now needs to show voters that Obama lacks that. And when the media challenges him on it in interviews, he needs to fire back. Quit playing the banter game with fools in the MSM, and hit them right back where it hurts.

"You people helped choose him. You didn't vet him. And now you're running interference for him because you don't want the truth to come out; the truth that he isn't ready to lead."

We have been waiting for John McCain to get tough; to get a little angry. We haven't seen that yet. We need to see that. We need to see that the old fighter pilot mentality hasn't been laid down at the side of the road in favor of taking the high road. No one says he needs to get down in the mud, and fling sh*t at Obama. But he does need to double down, and toughen up. He won't win the presidency until he does this, and prove to the nation that he is the better choice.

Publius II

Key facts on the bailout

All right, we know that a lot of people are nervous about this bailout, despite the fact that, deep down inside, you all know it has to happen. We can't afford to let anymore banks go under (Wachovia went down today, and was bought up by Citigroup). Bank failures are what led to the Great Depression. Captain Ed got a myth/fact memo from a House staffer that puts the kibosh to the senseless, viral, hyperventilating e-mails flying around this morning. (I had about 40 of those nutter e-mails sitting in my inbox, and thank God someone took the time to shut these nutters up.)

Myth: Windfall for ACORN.

Fact: The Frank-Dodd proposal created an affordable housing slush fund and directed 20 percent of net benefits from the program to be directed to ACORN-type organizations. The proposed compromise does not include any affordable housing slush fund and directs all net benefits back to the Treasury to pay down the national debt.

Myth: Tax increase on financial industry.

Fact: The proposed compromise imposes NO tax on the financial services industry. The proposed compromise simply requires a proposal from the Administration to recoup any losses after five years.

Fact: The proposed compromise includes tax cuts for struggling community banks.

Myth: Blank check for $700 billion with little accountability.

Fact: In general, the Treasury Secretary is limited to purchasing up to $250 billion outstanding at any one time. If the Treasury needs to use another $100 billion, the President must certify this action and report to Congress. Further spending requires Congressional action.

Myth: Treasury plan is the only option available.

Fact: Treasury is given multiple options to deal with the current economic crisis, including insurance, public/private auctions, loan guarantees, and direct support to financial institutions.

Fact: Further, Treasury is MANDATED to create an insurance program (Section 102) that protects the taxpayers and requires companies that wish to participate in this program to have some skin in the game by paying risk-based premiums.

Myth: The taxpayer is not adequately protected.

Fact: The proposed compromise includes strong taxpayer protections. Treasury’s proposal had minimal oversight to protect taxpayer dollars. The proposed compromise enhanced the oversight structure by creating a Financial Stability Oversight Board, a Special Inspector General, and a Congressional Oversight Panel.

All AIG-type deals require mandatory equity interest in order to provide taxpayers with potential future benefits. All auctions require a percentage of equity interest based on participation in the program.

Requires the Secretary to develop regulations/guidelines necessary to prohibit or, in specific cases, manage any conflicts of interest with respect to contractors, advisors, and asset managers.

Myth: The taxpayer does not benefit from Treasury bailouts.

Fact: The proposed compromise (Section 113) requires mandatory equity interest in scenarios like AIG. The proposed compromise also allows Treasury to take an equity interest in the program generally.

Myth: Treasury will never use the insurance option.

Fact: Treasury is mandated (Section 102) to establish an insurance program and set risk-based premiums. This will protect taxpayers by requiring the beneficiaries of the insurance program to pay risk-based premiums. Treasury further shall collect premiums mandatory equity interest in scenarios like AIG. The proposed compromise also allows Treasury to take an equity interest in the program generally.

Will this quell fears? No, and there's even a few e-mails I received telling me not to believe the lies about ACORN not getting it's "due." Um, ACORN isn't int the bill, anywhere. No one can find it. I've already spoken with Sen. John Kyl's office, and they say they can't find it there, either. So you guys should really drop the meme because it's not even a posited hypothesis. It's an outright lie; a conspiracy theory at best.

The ACORN garbage was one of our concerns. The other was that the check would be cut with no accountability; that it would be a free-for-all grab-bag. We had heard last week that Democrats were trying to throw car loans, student loans, and credit card debt into the bill. That irritated us because those weren't what contributed to the financial problems. That rumor has been debunked because there is accountability over the spending of the money.

The other concern that we had on this was what would be done should there be any benefit off this bailout. The slush fund was what we kept hearing, and we all know that if such a fund were created, those in Congress would raid it for their little pet projects. Now we're a little more at ease with those proposed benefits going directly to the national debt.

Let's face it. It's hard to find a silver lining with this bailout. The only one we can find is that it will (hopefully) stabilize the financial industry.

Publius II

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Debate reactions

Yeah, yeah, I know I'm about two days late with this, but I have a good excuse. No, really I do. Yesterday was Marcie's birthday, and our wedding anniversary. Sorry, but priorities in life come before the pleasure of opining about politics.

The debate wasn't bad. We think McCain was a little slow out the gate, and despite the focus on the economy for the beginning of the debate, we really can't critique either McCain or Obama on what they said. They have their views, and they really had no idea what Congress was going to come up with for the bailout. (Yes, a plan is on the table, and we'll take a look at it later to see if it addresses what needs to be done, and whether it's actually feasible to the nation.) I will say this about Obama's ideas. Dude, when you're asked what you would cut from the budget, you need to have an answer. America knows that DC spends far too much of our money on worthless projects. So, I'll downgrade him on that. At least McCain answered the question.

As for the foreign policy portion of the debate, McCain kicked Obama's butt all over the stage on this. Obama really has no clue how to deal with foreign policy, and that was evident from McCain's scolding him over his comments about Pakistan. Dude, you never say you're going to invade an ally, publicly, at least, and that's what he did, so the condemnation from McCain was just.

Granted, Obama screwed up on a couple of other areas, including misconstruing Henry Kissinger's idea on diplomacy. Barry, how can you get your answer out of what Kissinger said when his rebuke was succinct?

"Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality."

See, he doesn't know what the Hell he's talking about.

Consider the first debate a win for John McCain. Barack Obama seems content to play president instead of actually taking the time to weigh such serious decisions. But, did we expect anything less from a man who enjoys voting "present" on issues rather than taking a stand, and making a tough decision?

Publius II

Friday, September 26, 2008

The debate is on

On Wednesday John McCain announmced the suspension of campaigning, campaign ads, and that he'd skip the debate tonight if a deal hadn't been reached on the bailout. Well, a deal hasn't been reached, but McCain realizes that he can't not attend the debate so he's going, and he'll return to DC after the debate is over:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) ended three days of suspense on Friday morning and announced that he will leave bailout negotiations in Washington and fly to Oxford, Miss., for tonight's opening presidential debate.

McCain had previously said that he would suspend his campaign—and so would not attend the debate—until an agreement was reached on the administration's $700 billion mortgage proposal.

No such agreement has been reached, but Republicans said the standoff was hurting McCain's campaign and that he would look terrible if he didn't attend the nationally televised, eagerly anticipated debate, while Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was ready to go on stage.

McCain was headed from his campaign office to the airport to fly to the University of Mississippi for the 9 p.m. Eastern debate.

In a statement, McCain's campaign said: "Senator McCain has spent the morning talking to members of the Administration, members of the Senate, and members of the House. He is optimistic that there has been significant progress toward a bipartisan agreement now that there is a framework for all parties to be represented in negotiations, including Representative [Roy] Blunt as a designated negotiator for House Republicans."

The statement acknowledged that little progress had been made, but said McCain had tried, arguing that at Thursday's White House summit, he had "listened to all sides so he could help focus the debate on finding a bipartisan resolution that is in the interest of taxpayers and homeowners."

I had said on Wednesday I didn't think it was smart for him to duck out of the debate, no matter the excuse, save a serious health problem. I still believe it would be wrong to skip the debate especially with the Plan B proposed by Ole Miss if McCain had decided he wasn't going to show. It would have been a townhall format with the audience submitting questions to Jim Lehrer, and then he'd present them to Obama. So instead of a debate, we'd witness a 90 minute lovefest.

Captain Ed doesn't think much of the debates, and while he may have a point about them being nothing more than some sort of kabuki show, I disagree to a point. Labor Day marks the day where much of the electorate begins to pay attention to the campaign. This is why the debates are slated AFTER Labor Day, and they represent the best time to see what each candidate has to say. Sure, there are comeback lines and gotcha moments, but they both get to lay out their visions for the nation. That's what the debates are for.

Given the fact that Obama isn't predicted to do well tonight, this debate may be his Waterloo. On Wednesday we heard his reaction to McCain ceasing his campaigning. We heard the statement he had about going back to DC. He royally screwed the pooch then, and tonight will not make him look any better. Yes, we need a solution for the financial crisis, but the public needs to see these two square off.

Publius II

Heads may role; grand jury convened

We have all been watching this bailout fiasco in DC, and we've all been wondering if any heads will role. In today's Wall Street Journal(subscription required) it's reported that a grand jury has been convened, and they're very interested in the names of the players that caused this crisis; namely those who might have broken the law:

HT to Capt. Ed

Countrywide Financial Corp., the biggest U.S. mortgage lender, made large, previously undisclosed home loans to two additional executives of Fannie Mae, the government-chartered firm at the center of the U.S. credit crisis.

One of Countrywide’s previously undisclosed customers at Fannie was Jamie Gorelick, an influential Democratic Party figure whose $960,000 mortgage refinancing in 2003 was handled through a program reserved for influential figures and friends of Countrywide’s chief executive at the time, Angelo Mozilo. Ms. Gorelick was Fannie Mae’s vice chairman at the time.

Another Countrywide client was recently ousted Fannie Mae Chief Executive Daniel Mudd, though it isn’t clear whether he received special treatment on two $3 million mortgage refinancings he made when he was the company’s chief operating officer. …

Countrywide loans on preferential terms to influential figures are the subject of a federal grand jury investigation in Los Angeles, according to people involved in the inquiry. Prosecutors subpoenaed records of many of the so-called “Friends of Angelo” loans in August, lawyers and others familiar with the matter said.

While Countrywide was developing a closer working relationship with Fannie Mae, the company also had created a special path to handle loan applications from influential figures. The “Friends of Angelo” program channeled loan applications from celebrities, public figures and sports stars — often singled out by Mr. Mozilo — to a department where the borrowers received special treatment, sometimes including lower interest rates and a reduction in fees.

Now Gorelick claims that she had no idea she was being given a "sweetheart" deal from Countrywide, and that excuse goes over about as well as a turd in a punchbowl. Why? She was the vice chair for Fannie Mae, and being there in that position one would have to have knowledge of the interest rates for home loans.

A couple other players in this little drama are Jim Johnson, who is still an advisor to the Obama campaign, and Chris Dodd, who is busy working on the bailout on Capitol Hill. Johnson should be answering some questions before that grand jury, and we really don't give a rip if it does embarrass Obama. Dodd should also be answering some questions, but even more importantly, we don't want him working on the bailout. It's a conflict of interest not only in the fact he received preferential treatment, but also that his committee, which did have it's share of oversight on this matter, dropped the ball.

Two days ago we were torn on this bailout. Our principled side said "no, the bailout is wrong. Let those firms go under, and let the market adjust." The problem is that these Wall Street firms need an injection of capital right now to keep them from going under. The market won't right itself quickly enough to save them, and us, from a financial meltdown. Listening to John Campbell yesterday on Hugh's show, he said that a bailout bill wasn't likely last night or even today, but it could come around on Friday. Regardless, Congress must understand that they can't dawdle on this. We need this now, more than ever, and it needs to focus on only the lending industry. No car loans. Not student loans. No credit card debt removal. This bailout isn't a free-for-all, grab-bag. We're trying to keep the financial system from collapsing around us.

And if the grand jury does find wrongdoing by these people, then the heads should roll. We're in complete agreement that, be they Republican or Democrat, if they broke the law and allowed this happen, they should face the music. If they're like Dodd, and are serving in Congress? Buh-bye. They're gone, too.

Publius II

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The American Left -- staying classy in their demagoguery

Allah got this puppy, and while we're not surprised by his stupidity, we wonder exactly was sort of reputable discourse this is coming from a man who was impeached for bribery and perjury by a vote of 413-3 in the House:

Rep. Alcee Hastings told an audience of Jewish Democrats Wednesday that they should be wary of Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin because “anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks.”

“If Sarah Palin isn’t enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention,” Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida said at a panel about the shared agenda of Jewish and African-American Democrats Wednesday. Hastings, who is African-American, was explaining what he intended to tell his Jewish constituents about the presidential race. “Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through,” Hastings added as the room erupted in laughter and applause.

It positively amazes us that this worthless waste of space could be impeached as a federal judge for bribery and perjury, and yet be elected to the House by his constituents. Do the people in Florida really have no clue who they elect? I mean we know there were problems in Florida in 2000 (created by the democrats thanks to their inept ability to conduct elections with butterfly ballots), but seriously? You got Bill Nelson, Mel Martinez, Robert Wexler and Alcee Hastings. Those are four of the worst people in the Congress, and Hastings is railing on Palin? She's a saint compared to him, and we don't appreciate the demagoguery from this twit.

Personally, if I were Jewish or black, I'd be appalled at this statement. Carrying guns and hunting have absolutely nothing to do with how she would work as the vice president, or how she'd represent the nation. The old adage that when an Irishman tells you your drunk you need to sit down applies here to Hastings. Better yet, get back on them meds, Alcee, and lie down.

Publius II

Breaking .... McCain calls for postponement of Friday debate to deal with the financial problem

This news actually broke about an hour ago while I was in the chatroom for the Ed Morrissey Show, and I'm just now getting to it. From ABC's Political Radar:

ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos and Rick Klein report: Sen. John McCain on Wednesday said he would “suspend” his presidential campaign to come to Washington to help negotiate a financial bailout bill, a dramatic move designed to seize a powerful issue.

However a senior Obama campaign official said Obama "intends to debate."

"The debate is on," a senior Obama campaign official told ABC News.

McCain said he called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to postpone the debate scheduled for Friday in Mississippi, to ensure quick congressional action. The campaign is also suspending its advertising, pending an agreement with Obama.

“I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me,” McCain planned to say in New York City, according to advance excerpts released by his campaign. “I am calling on the president to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.”

OK, some are saying this is a bad move, and a few are even saying this is some sort of stunt being pulled by McCain. We don't think it's a stunt. We genuinely believe that McCain is showing the nation that he means business when he says he wants to be the president, and that he is putting the country first. We do think it's a mistake for him to suspend his ads which Allah noted in his post on this because, while John McCain may want to put partisanship aside, we know Obama won't, especially after the polls released today. Obama is up again, and there is no reason why he'd pull his ads. So, if McCain will listen to our advice, keep the ads running.

We think it's a smart move for him to do this because now Obama is on the record as saying he won't give up the debate. A minor postponement wouldn't hurt either candidate, nor would it hurt Ole Miss despite their whining that such a move would be "devastating" to the university. Please, what would be more devastating than not going back to Washington to hammer out a bailout plan? A postponement for a week wouldn't hurt the university, and it surely wouldn't hurt them the way the financial markets are hurting Americans right now.

What's interesting is that Obama wants to do the debate -- a debate focusing on foreign policy -- which isn't exactly his strong point in the campaign. One would think he'd welcome the chance to hold off, go back to Washington to show the country he is committed to fixing problems we have, maybe bone up a little on foreign policy, and head into the debate with fresh legs. Obviously he'd rather roll the dice. On the Ed Morrissey show when he had Jim Geraghty on (sounding much better today than he was yesterday on Hugh Hewitt's show) it was posited that maybe they could switch the Veep and Presidential debates; that you have the Veep debate this Friday, and McCain and Obama could trade blows on 2 October instead.

It wouldn't be a bad switch, but it'd be unprecedented. The Veeps always go after the top of the tickets have their first or second debates. And given Biden's recent string of gaffes, this Friday he might not be ready to deal with Palin, who has sharpened her attacks on the Obama/Biden ticket in recent days. We doubt they'll flip-flop the debates, and McCain will likely show up for the debate this Friday. That said, we doubt there'll be much talk of foreign policy at the debate, should it go on. This will likely end up being an economic debate, and foreign policy will be the focus of the debate originally slated to focus on economics.

We think this was a shrewd move on McCain's part, and it could have repercussions on Obama if he doesn't return to Washington. That remains to be seen, but this story from Jonathan Martin makes us think that Obama isn't suspending his campaigning:

Barack Obama indicated this afternoon he intended to go forward with Friday's debate as planned, saying "it's more important than ever" that the presidential candidates lay out their principles to voters.

"This is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsible for dealing with this mess," Obama told reporters at a news conference in Florida.

He said that he, McCain and other officials could address the crisis in a bipartisan fashion and still go on with the campaign.

"In my mind, actually, it's more important than ever that we present ourselves to the American people and try to describe where we want to take the country and where we want to take the economy as well as dealing with some of the issues of foreign policy that were initially the subject of the debate."

He's obviously talking about the debate, but he threw in that throwaway about still being able to campaign. This is exactly why we're saying it's a bad move for McCain to suspend his ad campaign. If Sarah Palin is still out there on the stump, then the ads should be running, too. And Mr. Martin also notes that Ole Miss says the debate is going forward, regardless. To be fair, it's not exactly their choice. The candidates do have a say. What if you held a debate, and neither contender showed up, hmm?

Seriously though, McCain's right. Both men need to go back to Washington and deal with this. They're elected men of the senate, and their duty is to the country first and foremost. Oh, and one last thing. For the liberals out there that claim McCain did this because he's scared, recall, if you will that it was McCain who challenged Obama to ten townhall debates, after Obama said he'd debate him "anywhere, anytime." What did Obama do? Yep, that's right, he reneged on that statement. So, who's the one afraid to debate?

Publius II

ADDENDUM: This was just announced on Hugh Hewitt's show. A McCain campaign spokesman e-mailed in and said that Obama NEVER called McCain today about this despite the fact that Obama is bragging he did.

Obama isn't suspending his campaign, and he's not going back to DC to do his job as an elected senator. If this is the change he's talking about, this nation can do without it.

Another bailout being called for

HT to Jonah Goldberg for this amusing call for another bailout from the Creative Minority Report: (Under the title "NY Mets Too Big To Fail")

The New York Mets are suffering a stunning late season collapse once again. Leading by three games just a week ago, they are now a game-and-a half behind the first place Phillies and without a drastic change, the Mets could be shut out of the playoffs altogether.This historic collapse is seen by some as warranting a government bailout of the Mets...before things get worse.

The collapse brings to mind the epic catastrophe last year where the Mets were seven games up with just two weeks left in the season and then went on to lose game after game and finally falling out of the playoffs with a loss on the last game of the year.

But now the Mets are petitioning the federal government for funds to hire relief pitchers. "If we collapse and don't make the playoffs again, thousands of hearts will be broken. Think of the children" said one Mets front office executive. "Think of the seniors who've been waiting over twenty years for us to win the World Series."

Other sources say the team not making the playoffs would effect local vendors as well. "When there's no game I don't make any money," said a man who identified himself as Tony and runs a parking lot near the stadium. Local sandwich makers said that perhaps a ton of pastrami would rot in area delicatessens without playoff games to boost sales.

The Mets salary this year is $137,793,376. In comparison, the first place Phillies have a mere $98,269,880 yearly salary. These stunning numbers have led many experts to argue that the Mets are just too big to fail. "If the Mets don't make the playoffs, the damage to New York would be so grisly that I can't even discuss it. In the end, the entire country would be hurt."

The Mets have asked the federal government to either see its way clear to pony up a few million so the Mets could hire a relief pitcher that doesn't give up a home run every third pitch or just assign a decent reliever to the Mets. If that proves impossible, some are speculating that the government could temporarily reward the Mets four outs during their turn at bat so they could score more runs.

Baseball purists are saying that it violates every foundational principle of competitive sport to bail out the Mets. However, realists say that this is not a time for ideology but action. Something has to be done, and when something must be done a blank check from the government is the only answer.Other pundits chime in saying that we cannot wait. "Action must be taken immediately! Former members of the Montreal Expos are laughing at us, it is just embarrassing."

Barack Obama has announced that he is still formulating a plan and will get back to us in a few weeks with his proposal. The Obama campaign pointed out that Obama has always been a Cubs fan (even when he lived in Indonesia) and that the Cubs were the first team to clinch the playoffs this year. The New York Times is also reporting that Sarah Palin is being investigated for her ties to the New York Mets. The DailyKos is reporting that her former rival in a mayoral race has accused her of being a closet Mets fan (since Alaska is so small and backward they don't even have a team.) Also, Palin's computer was hacked and her internet cache shows that she frequently checked the Mets score on ESPN.com.

Even though John McCain is on record suggesting back in May that the Mets needed to bolster their bull-pen, polling suggests that the NY Mets collapse strongly favors the Obama camp. ABC / Washington Post plan to conduct a poll in a few days that will support this claim.

Congress is now expected to hold hearings on the unusual request but the Mets say that if the hearings last over two days, it will be too late. "Well, at least then we can blame Congress and not ourselves," said one Mets player.

OK, look, the economic problems right now aren't funny. They're not even worth a snicker. We're about to get the shaft from the federal government because the monkeys in Congress helped cause the damn problem to begin with. But leave it people like Matthew Archbold to find amusement where none seems to be found. As a Cubs fan, I oppose the bailout of the Mets. They dug their hole, they made their bed, let them lie in it. And as a Cubs fan, I do hope we can finally end the curse, and snap the 100 year streak. (News reports out of Chicago is that Steve Bartman has been banned from Wrigley Field, just in case, and goats will be allowed into the stadium free of charge as the Cubs march to the World Series.)

Thank you Mr. Archbold. My wife and I appreciate the laugh today.

(WE note that it's not Mr. Archbold who is calling for the bailout. He is merely reporting the "story.")

Publius II

Jim Geraghty on Obama's Ahmadinejad condemnation

They say Wednesdays are long, and being midweek, it just makes you long for the weekend even more. Au contraire, we love Wednesdays. The juiciest news comes out on Wednesdays whereas the weekend offers little in the way of news unless something relly big and bad happens unexpectedly. (Remember Reagan's passing? That happened on a Saturday, I believe.) Geraghty the Indispensable takes a look at Obama's condemnation of Ahmadinejad's UN statement:

Via Hot Air, we see a statement from Barack Obama, responding to Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s Remarks:

“I strongly condemn President Ahmadinejad’s outrageous remarks at the United Nations, and am disappointed that he had a platform to air his hateful and anti-Semitic views. The threat from Iran’s nuclear program is grave. Now is the time for Americans to unite on behalf of the strong sanctions that are needed to increase pressure on the Iranian regime.

“Once again, I call upon Senator McCain to join me in supporting a bipartisan bill to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by allowing states and private companies to divest from companies doing business in Iran. The security of our ally Israel is too important to play partisan politics, and it is deeply disappointing that Senator McCain and a few of his allies in Congress feel otherwise,” said Senator Barack Obama.

Gee, if we're worried about Ahmadinejad getting a platform to air hateful and anti-Semitic views, I hope no future president promises to hold a face-to-face summit with him without preconditions within the first year of taking office...

I realize that our friends on the left feel like McCain will say and do anything to get elected, but we can point to actual cases in which Obama is completely ignoring previous campaign promises, and completely reversing himself in order to get in line with public opinion....

First, let's recall what he said in the CNN/YouTube debates:

QUESTION: "Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?"

OBAMA: "I would. And the reason is this: The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous. Ronald Reagan constantly spoke to the Soviet Union at a time when he called them an evil empire. He understood that we may not trust them, and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward. And I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them."

This is also the position still stated on his official campaign website:

Diplomacy: Obama supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions. Now is the time to pressure Iran directly to change their troubling behavior. Obama and Biden would offer the Iranian regime a choice. If Iran abandons its nuclear program and support for terrorism, we will offer incentives like membership in the World Trade Organization, economic investments, and a move toward normal diplomatic relations. If Iran continues its troubling behavior, we will step up our economic pressure and political isolation. Seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement with Iran is our best way to make progress.

Um, pot, meet kettle.

Next, let's look at what Obama first said about Iran:

"Strong countries and strong Presidents talk to their adversaries. That's what Kennedy did with Khrushchev. That's what Reagan did with Gorbachev. That's what Nixon did with Mao. I mean think about it. Iran, Cuba, Venezuela – these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union.

"They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us."

So, he's chastising the UN for giving Ahmadinejad a platform to spew even though he still believes in face-to-face negotiations, without preconditions, with nations like Iran. And he now thinks that Iran is a threat when back in May, he didn't think they were such a threat. On Israel when he addressed AIPAC back on 4 June he sounded incredibly hawkish in his support of Israel, and even proclaimed that he would support Israeli control of Jerusalem. But on the 5th -- the very next day after Hamas raised a stink about his position -- he waffled on that position:

On Wednesday morning, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, told the pro-Israel lobby the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that he would be a strong ally of the Jewish state. As such, he repeated one of the talking points AIPAC likes to hear, that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided."

As we covered last night, that proclamation resulted in harsh words from Hamas, as well as more moderate Palestinian voices such as Mahmoud Abbas and Saeb Erakat who specifically took issue with the "undivided" Jerusalem comments.

"We reject these words," Abbas said. "Jerusalem is one of the files under negotiation. The entire world knows perfectly well that we will never accept a state without Jerusalem. That should be clear."

In an interview today with CNN's Candy Crowley, Obama said of Jerusalem, "obviously, it's going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations."

Jim Geraghty is correct. He's reneging on previous promises, and trying to play both sides of these issues. In the case of Israel, he seems to be playing partisan politics, which is exactly what he accused McCain of doing. The candidate of "hope" and "change" isn't new. He's the same old type of pandering politico. His statements yesterday sounded hawkish, but in the end, he's not fooling any of us. We know what he's about, and we know he'd be a foreign policy disaster for this nation.

Nice try, Barry, but no one's buying the bull you're shoveling.

Publius II

Jonah Goldberg -- The Media Plays the Race Card

This election is going right down the toilet, and it's mainly the media's fault for it. After having come out of the closet fully in support of Barack Obama, they have done their level best to push the agenda of this election. Worse yet, they're prone to jumping to conclusions that aren't even close to the truth. Now, Jonah Goldberg notes the media is convinced that should Obama lose this election, the only explanation for his loss is that we're all a bunch of racists:

The news media have been shamefully stoking the idea that the only way Barack Obama could possibly lose the presidential election is if American racists have their way. Indeed, the fact that Obama isn't leading in polls by a wide margin "doesn't make sense ... unless it's race," says CNN's Jack Cafferty.

Slate's Jacob Weisberg says Obama is losing among older white voters because of the "color of his skin," in an article subtitled "Racism is the only reason McCain might beat him."

Many journalists are so convinced that racism is the only possible explanation for an Obama loss that they are beginning to see any effective anti-Obama ad as an attempt by John McCain to "viciously exacerbate" America's "race-fueled angst," in the words of one New York magazine writer.

For example, a McCain ad (citing the Washington Post) noted that Franklin Raines, the Clinton-appointed former head of Fannie Mae who helped bring about the current Wall Street meltdown, advised the Obama campaign. Time's Karen Tumulty proclaims that because Raines is black, McCain is "playing the race card."

Why, she wants to know, didn't McCain attack Obama's even stronger ties to the even more culpable former Fannie Mae Chairman Jim Johnson, who had to resign from Obama's vice presidential search team because of his sketchy dealings with mortgage giant Countrywide Financial? "One reason might be that Johnson is white; Raines is black," suggests Tumulty.

Or another reason might be that the McCain campaign was saving that attack for its very next ad, which is what happened.

According to numerous critics, McCain's "celebrity" ads featuring Paris Hilton and Britney Spears were nothing but tawdry race-baiting because they subliminally played on white America's fear of black men violating the delicate flowers of white American womanhood. You'd think a cognitive warning bell would have gone off the moment anyone started suggesting that Paris Hilton and Britney Spears are icons of chastity.

This spectacle is grotesque. It reveals how little the supposedly objective press corps thinks of the American people -- and how highly they think of themselves ... and Obama. Obama's lack of experience, his doctrinaire liberalism, his record, his known associations with Weatherman radical William Ayers and the hate-mongering Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.: These cannot possibly be legitimate motivations to vote against Obama, in this view.

Let me be perfectly clear here because I don't want people coming back and claiming that I'm agreeing with the media. Are there people in America who won't vote for Obama because he's black? Sure. Some people lived in a different era (a la Obama's spin on Jeremiah Wright, and his racist rhetoric), and those prejudices are hard to break. Will it be the majority of people in America?

Not even close, bub.

The majority of people we know of that are against Obama winning haven't cited his race. They haven't cited the faulty assumption of him being a closet Muslim. They haven't cited anything other than his issue stances, and his inexperience. The people we speak with are intelligent, and aren't prone to prejudiced misgivings, rumor, or innuendo. They tell us he's wrong on how he views the economy. They worry about the amount of spending that he'd increase the federal budget by (approximately $1 trillion a year; at the very least, about $700 billion if he can't get his universal health care passed). They question his stance on the war, and his continued calls for an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq. His ideas regarding a troop surge in Afghanistan are half-assed, at best. Even military experts have stated that such a surge, similar to that in Iraq, won't work thanks to the amount of tribal areas ravaged by the Taliban and al Qaeda. We needed the tribes in Iraq to help with the Awakening Councils. We have no such support structure in Afghanistan.

There is also the problem many people have with regard to his ideas of diplomacy. No sensible American wants to see him sitting down with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez, Raul Castro, or Kim Jong-Il. Well, at least not without us being in a strong diplomatic position, and only after they have capitulated to our demands. (That's not imperialism, folks. That's just common sense.) We're already getting Blackberry texts asking us how Obama would handle the fact that the NorKs have kicked the IAEA out of their plutonium reprocessing plant, shut down all surveillance equipment, ejected inspectors, and are in the process of crash-starting Yongbyon. Our response thus far is that we don't know for sure, but we're pretty sure he would have already been on the phone begging Kim to stop, a la Jimmy Carter and the Ayatollah in '79.

Racism won't be his undoing, not matter how hard the media pushes this meme. It's his radical ideas, his questionable ties to radical individuals, his stance on issues that concern this nation, and his relative executive inexperience. The man hasn't lifted anything heavier than a pencil in his life, and has ridden the Chicago Machine political rails to his position in the US Senate. His political experience is suspect given his rise. He has climbed the political ladder, and never paused on a rung long enough to gain some sort of serious experience.

This is what the majority of voters in America will have in their minds when they vote against him. It has nothing to do with the color of his skin. Sure, some may have that in their mind when they go to the polls, but the majority don't. We know because we have talked to a good deal of people. Oh, and what of those Obama supporters that we've switched? We won't brag that we've converted hundreds. But the dozen or so that we have converted changed their minds when we explained where he stands on certain issues. The biggest issue for those people was the economy, and they're appalled to hear what he has in store for this nation should he be elected. THOSE people supported him because he was the first African American candidate for president. That was tough for them to admit, but when push came to shove, they did admit it.

We wish the media would be so transparent, but they aren't. They're coming up with any excuse to protect him because they see he has a legitimate chance to lose this election. By this time, they admit, he should have a 15 point lead on McCain. Today Rasmussen has Obama leading by two, 49% to 47%. That's got to have his shills in the media worried; at the very least, they should be concerned. Things don't look good for Obama, and they know it. This is why they're already making excuses that don't hold water.

Publius II

Palin Derangement Syndrome in a full-throated chortle

OK, we all know that the Left is in a panic mode because John McCain picked Sarah Palin -- a governor that few even considered as his veep, and one that the media didn't come up with oppo-research against. They have tried to slime and smear her left and right, and nothing seems to stick. Why? Because she's squeaky-clean, folks. There's nothing in her past that even remotely raises questions or eyebrows, at least not in the way that Obama and Biden do. So, what's the Left to do when they can't get traction with her?

Enter Naomi Wolf (Al Gore's former fashion advisor) and her lunatic rantings:

Please understand what you are looking at when you look at Sarah "Evita" Palin. You are looking at the designated muse of the coming American police state.

You have to understand how things work in a closing society in order to understand "Palin Power." A gang or cabal seizes power, usually with an affable, weak figurehead at the fore. Then they will hold elections -- but they will make sure that the election will be corrupted and that the next affable, weak figurehead is entirely in their control. Remember, Russia has Presidents; Russia holds elections. Dictators and gangs of thugs all over the world hold elections. It means nothing. When a cabal has seized power you can have elections and even presidents, but you have freedom.

I realized early on with horror what I was seeing in Governor Palin: the continuation of the Rove-Cheney cabal, but this time without restraints. I heard her echo Bush 2000 soundbites ("the heart of America is on display") and realized Bush's speechwriters were writing her -- not McCain's -- speeches. I heard her tell George Bush's lies -- not McCain's -- to the American people, linking 9/11 to Iraq. I heard her make fun of Barack Obama for wanting to prevent the torture of prisoners -- this is Rove-Cheney's enthusiastic S and M, not McCain's, who, though he shamefully colluded in the 2006 Military Tribunals Act, is also a former prisoner of war and wrote an eloquent Newsweek piece in 2005 opposing torture. I saw that she was even styled by the same skillful stylist (neutral lipstick, matte makeup, dark colors) who turned Katharine Harris from a mall rat into a stateswoman and who styles all the women in the Bush orbit --but who does not bother to style Cindy McCain.

Then I saw and heard more. Palin is embracing lawlessness in defying Alaskan Legislature subpoenas --this is what Rove-Cheney, and not McCain, believe in doing. She uses mafia tactics against critics, like the police commissioner who was railroaded for opposing handguns in Alaskan battered women's shelters -- Rove's style, not McCain's. I realized what I was seeing.

Reports confirmed my suspicions: Palin, not McCain, is the FrankenBarbie of the Rove-Cheney cabal. The strategy became clear. Time magazine reported that Rove is "dialed in" to the McCain campaign. Rove's protégé Steve Schmidt is now campaign manager. And Politico reported that Rove was heavily involved in McCain's vice presidential selection. Finally a new report shows that there are dozens of Bush and Rove operatives surrounding Sarah Palin and orchestrating her every move.

What's the plan? It is this. McCain doesn't matter. Reputable dermatologists are discussing the fact that in simply actuarial terms, John McCain has a virulent and life-threatening form of skin cancer. It is the elephant in the room, but we must discuss the health of the candidates: doctors put survival rates for someone his age at two to four years. I believe the Rove-Cheney cabal is using Sarah Palin as a stalking horse, an Evita figure, to put a popular, populist face on the coming police state and be the talk show hostess for the end of elections as we know them. If McCain-Palin get in, this will be the last true American election. She will be working for Halliburton, KBR, Rove and Cheney into the foreseeable future -- for a decade perhaps -- a puppet "president" for the same people who have plundered our treasure, are now holding the US economy hostage and who murdered four thousand brave young men and women in a way of choice and lies.

How, you may ask, can I assert this? How can I argue, as I now do, that there is actually a war being ramped up against US citizens and our democracy and that Sarah Palin is the figurehead and muse for that war?

Look at the RNC. This is supposed to be McCain's America. But you see the unmistakable theatre of Rove's S and M imagery -- and you see stages eight, nine and ten of the steps to a dictatorship as I outlined them in The End of America. Preemptive arrest? Abusive arrest? "Newly released footage, which was buried to avoid confiscation, shows riot cops arresting and abusing a giant group of people for nothing."

Journalists were arrested -- for reporting. Amy Goodman and ABC producers were arrested. Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake and others were forced to lie face down as armed agents tied their hands behind their backs. The riot police wore the black S&M gear of the Rovian fantasy life and carried the four foot batons cops carry in North Korea. All this is not John McCain's imagery or strategy: it is Karl Rove's.

I heard of this yesterday from a buddy of mine who texted the link to me, and I couldn't stop laughing. These people have clearly leaped off the precipice of reality, and landed flat on their face in their fantasy world where they, and only they, can save the nation. To them, this nation's heartland fabric is torn to shreds; a tattered shell of it's former self. The Constitution has been shredded and the "Rovian S & M" style of politics has been in action and on display for the past eight years. Hell, for all we know, they might think that this all started under Reagan. (On thing's for sure, they'll always tie it back to Reagan.)

These people are certifiable, and if McCain wins, their heads are likely to explode. Remember the stories back in 2004 of the people claiming to be suffering from PESTS? (Post-Election Stress and Trauma Syndrome). After this election, they'll be suffering from CHANGE. (Couldn't Help A Nitwit Get Elected.) Expect a lot of antidepressants to be handed out, and expect a lot of time on the shrinks couch. In fact, we can picture them just like the old Gary Larsen cartoon has. A psychiatrist is listening to his patient, and on his notepad he scrawls the phrase "Just plain NUTS."

That's Naomi Wolf. That's the Left. That's the KosKiddie nutroots. These people can't be cured. And I'm not sure if we'll have enough straitjackets for all of those who will lose their minds after this election.

Publius II

Memo to the media -- This relationship IS a legitimate issue

Barack Obama has a past that he'd prefer be unobserved and uninvestigated, but we can't let that slide. The media doesn't want to cover it, and that includes his relationship with former unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers. Marc Ambinder wonders what the big to-do is about this relationship:

What "radical" ideas did Obama and Bill Ayres come up with to foist on the Chicago school system?

What specific projects -- "radical" projects -- did Obama work on with Ayres? Is there evidence that they collaborated and schemed to ... do anything "radical" together? Ever?

Is the real story here that Obama once served on the board of a liberal education charity?

Over at Just One Minute, Tom Maguire fills in some of the blanks for poor Marc

Steve Diamond, who has been advancing this story for months, has a summary here and a full paper devoted to the Ayers education agenda. From the summary:

Rather, I think there was a more pressing purpose at the heart of the award and the support it engendered among certain elite institutions and individuals in Chicago. Ironically, while Kurtz wants to tar Obama with the red paint brush of the 60s "radical" Ayers, an understanding of the real purpose of the CAC indicates a much closer political alliance between Obama and Ayers.

The grant application itself and much of what the CAC was up to emerged in the heated "Chicago School Wars" underway in that city from the late 1980s until the late 1990s. This war was for the control of Chicago's public schools.

One side in this war was controlled by Mayor Richard M. Daley, Jr., son of the legendary Mayor Daley.

And the other side was led by Ayers and a small group of reformers that had emerged several years earlier in 1988 during a battle to create a new power center in the Chicago schools, the so-called Local School Councils, or LSCs. The LSCs were an effort to rein in the power of unionized teachers, school principals and school administrators, in the wake of an unpopular teachers' strike in 1987.

This milieu around Ayers also included, as far back as the late 80s, Barack Obama and the Developing Communities Project (DCP) that had hired Obama as its Executive Director in 1985. The DCP was a leading participant in the campaign to establish the LSCs.

Thus, in fact, the "radical" Bill Ayers and his ally Barack Obama, a Democratic political activist and lawyer on the rise in Chicago, were engaged in an anti-union effort to influence the direction and nature of the entire Chicago public school system. It would lead them into a battle with Mayor Daley himself.

While the Chicago Annenberg Challenge did inject a level of left-wing radicalism into the school system, as Stanley Kurtz has discovered by finally gaining access to the CAC records that he had previously been forbidden to examine, it does seem that this directly led to a stand-off between them and the mayor of Chicago.

We agree with Tom Maguire with regard to the real questions about their relationship and why that can't be the focus of the questions. David Axelrod tried to spin their relationship as something other than what it appears to be. The media has dropped the ball on this aspect of Obama's past. In fact, the media has dropped the ball in vetting their favored candidate completely. Back in July Rasmussen reported that the electorate believed the press was biased in favor of Obama, which should come as no surprise to anyone. Well, at least it doesn't to us, but the Left might be surprised to discover that.

This is a legitimate issue, but it's clear that the media has no intention of investigating it. (That also goes back to that Rasmussen poll that showed 45% of those polled believed the press would purposefully cover up anything that might be deemed damaging to Obama.) The media won't touch this relationship at all, and the responsibility of investigation has fallen to the New Media. We're not surprised by that, but it does speak volumes about where the media's loyalty really lies. It's obvious they no longer care about the news. And the moral to this story is that this is definitely the year that the MSM officially died.

HT to Glenn Reynolds

Publius II