Thursday, October 30, 2008

Five Days

"Rearview Mirror"


Obama's Prepared Remarks for Sarasota, Florida Rally

Thursday, October 30th, 2008:

In five days, you can turn the page on policies that have put the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street before the hard work and sacrifice of folks on Main Street.

In five days, you can choose policies that invest in our middle-class, create new jobs, and grow this economy so that everyone has a chance to succeed; from the CEO to the secretary and the janitor; from the factory owner to the men and women who work on its floor.

In five days, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election; that tries to pit region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat; that asks us to fear at a time when we need hope.

In five days, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change we need.


We are in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. 760,000 workers have lost their jobs this year. Businesses and families can't get credit. Home values are falling. Pensions are disappearing. It's gotten harder and harder to make the mortgage, or fill up your gas tank, or even keep the electricity on at the end of the month.

And just today, we learned that the GDP, or Gross Domestic Product – a key indicator economists use to measure the health of our economy – has actually fallen for the first time this year. That means we're producing less and selling less – so our economy is actually shrinking. And we saw the largest decline in consumer spending in 28 years as wages failed to keep up with the rising cost of living, and folks have been watching every penny and tightening their belts.

Now, this didn't happen by accident. Our falling GDP is a direct result of eight years of the trickle down, Wall Street first/Main Street last policies that have driven our economy into a ditch.


And you've got to ask yourself, after nine straight months of job losses and the largest drop in home values on record, with wages lower than they've been in a decade, why would we keep on driving down this dead end street?

Folks who can't pay their medical bills, or send their kids to college, or save for retirement can't afford to take a back seat to CEOs and Wall Street banks for four more years.

At a moment like this, the last thing we can afford is four more years of the tired, old theory that says we should give more to billionaires and big corporations and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. The last thing we can afford is four more years where no one in Washington is watching anyone on Wall Street because politicians and lobbyists killed common-sense regulations. Those are the theories that got us into this mess. They haven't worked, and it's time for change."


The choice in this election isn't between tax cuts and no tax cuts. It's about whether you believe we should only reward wealth, or whether we should also reward the work and workers who create it. I will give a tax break to 95% of Americans who work every day and get taxes taken out of their paychecks every week. I'll eliminate income taxes for seniors making under $50,000 and give homeowners and working parents more of a break. And I'll help pay for this by asking the folks who are making more than $250,000 a year to go back to the tax rate they were paying in the 1990s. No matter what Senator McCain may claim, here are the facts – if you make under $250,000, you will not see your taxes increase by a single dime – not your income taxes, not your payroll taxes, not your capital gains taxes. Nothing. Because the last thing we should do in this economy is raise taxes on the middle-class.


What we have lost in these last eight years cannot be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits alone. What has also been lost is the idea that in this American story, each of us has a role to play. Each of us has a responsibility to work hard and look after ourselves and our families, and each of us has a responsibility to our fellow citizens. And that's what we need to restore right now – our sense of common purpose; of higher purpose.


That's what this election is about. That is the choice we face right now.

Don't believe for a second this election is over. Don't think for a minute that power concedes. We have to work like our future depends on it in this last week, because it does.

America, the time for change has come.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

McCain mob threatens Obama counterdemonstrators

I go to a lot of Democratic events. And at some of them there have been counterdemonstrators.

I remember going to listen to Bill Clinton speak at the University of New Mexico in 1992. And as it happened I ended up right in front of a group of pro-life demonstrators who were holding up a big sign calling Clinton a draft-dodger and a baby-killer. They were also quite vocal, although Clinton had a mike and they were some distance away so I doubt if anyone at the stage heard them, but I sure did.

I remember watching John Kerry when he made his whistle stop in Winslow in 2004. In the back of the crowd were two men holding up a 'Bush/Cheney' sign and who booed when Kerry was being introduced. Like everyone else, I chose to ignore them.

I remember also in 2004, Hillary Clinton was giving a speech at the Wild Horse resort near Chandler. On the way in, I passed a group of Bush supporters who were enthusiastically waving signs, and strategically placed to try and make people think that the right road to go down was one that led to the casino there (not the building where the speech was.)

But hey, that's America. We believe in freedom of speech, and as long as people don't actually try to disrupt a campaign event they are every bit as free to show their non-support of a candidate as others are to show their support.

Except, apparently at John McCain rallies like the one in Miami today. It seems like his supporters are willing to threaten violence and engage in mob mentality if anyone dares to show up and suggest that they are not for McCain.

From fivethirtyeight:

Tonight we'll be at the Obama-Clinton rally in Kissimmee, Florida, and we're breaking in from Miami, where John McCain just concluded his "Joe the Plumber" rally at Everglades Lumber.

After the rally, we witnessed a near-street riot involving the exiting McCain crowd and two Cuban-American Obama supporters. Tony Garcia, 63, and Raul Sorando, 31, were suddenly surrounded by an angry mob. There is a moment in a crowd when something goes from mere yelling to a feeling of danger, and that's what we witnessed. As photographers and police raced to the scene, the crowd elevated from stable to fast-moving scrum, and the two men were surrounded on all sides as we raced to the circle.

The event maybe lasted a minute, two at the most, before police competently managed to hustle the two away from the scene and out of the danger zone. Only FiveThirtyEight tracked the two men down for comment, a quarter mile down the street.

"People were screaming 'Terrorist!' 'Communist!' 'Socialist!'" Sorando said when we caught up with him. "I had a guy tell me he was gonna kill me."

Asked what had precipitated the event, "We were just chanting 'Obama!' and holding our signs. That was it. And the crowd suddenly got crazy."

Garcia told us that the man who originally had warned the two it was his property when they had first tried to attend the rally with Obama T-shirts was one of the agitators. Coming up just before the scene started getting out of hand, the man whispered in Garcia's ear, "I'm gonna beat you up the next time I see you." Garcia described him for us: "a big stocky man wearing a tweed jacket." He used hand motions to emphasize this was a large guy. We went back to look for the gentleman twenty minutes after the incident but didn't find him.

The two Obama supporters had attempted to attend the event with tickets printed from the McCain website. Both were clad in Obama T-shirts, Sorando in a blue "Obama '08" shirt, and Garcia in a white "Obama-Biden" shirt. They were told that the event was being held on private property and that wearing the shirts or carrying the signs they would be asked to either remove the shirts or not attend.

For an hour during the rally, the two had stood across the street from the lumberyard on public property holding yard signs. Some drivers honked in support, and others honked in disapproval. When the rally ended and the crowd spilled out, the disturbance began.

Note that they did obey the request to vacate the private property, and were situated on the street, which by law is public access (anyone can stand there and demonstrate in other words.)

Well, Tony had something else to say to the man who had threatened him:

Garcia had a message for his stocky, tweed-clad threatener. "You tell that guy he can find Tony Garcia down at the West Dade library every day from 7 to 7 helping people early vote. I'll be there from 1 to 5 on Saturday and Sunday. You tell him if he wants to kick my ass that's where he can find me. Come beat me up."

Not thirty seconds later, John McCain drove by in his SUV and waved at Garcia on the sidewalk, who was happily waving his Obama sign.

But this is something that the McCain supporters don't get. Maybe Tony Garcia got under their skin by using his Constitutional right to counterdemonstrate at a McCain rally. But what else is he going to do this weekend? Darn right, he's volunteering to help people vote.

There are millions of Tony Garcias in the country, people who want change and whether they are as outspoken as he is or not, are going to do their part to make it happen.

We are all Tony Garcia.

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Take The Day Off And Help Make History

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Next Tuesday, we all can help get our country off this disastrously wrong path that we have been led down these last eight years.

It's time to change course. It's time for change. It's time for we the people to stand up and say, "We're mad as Hell, and we're not going to take it anymore."

Seize the day.



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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Former Detroit Mayor Sentenced

Kilpatrick Sentenced to Jail

Surrounded by his family and friends, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 120 days in jail. Wayne County Circuit Court Judge David Groner also ruled that Kilpatrick will not be eligible for an early release. [snip]

Kilpatrick is being sentenced after pleading to two counts of felony obstruction of justice in his perjury case, a deal that calls for 120 days in jail, paying the city $1 million in restitution and five years on probation during which he can’t run for office.

The sentence is part of his no-contest plea to the assault of two investigators.

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge David Groner is presiding. [snip] When Kilpatrick arrives at the jail, he will be processed just like any other inmate. That will include a strip search, after which he will be given a standard jail uniform.

Once he is processed, Kilpatrick will be placed in a segregated cell, away from the general population. However he will not receive any special treatment. Kilpatrick will spend 23 hours a day in the cell, eating meals that will be given to him through a slot in the doorway.

Kilpatrick will have one hour a day for recreation. If he is indoors, he will be allowed to walk or jog, shoot baskets on the basketball court, or lift weights. If he chooses to go outside, the recreation will take place in a secured open-air area. Choosing to go outside costs two days worth of recreation time, meaning the next day he would spend all 24 hours in his cell, and not receive the hour of recreation time.

Click here for a history of the scandal.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Over 100,000 Attend Obama Denver Rally

Crowd for Obama Denver rally tops 100,000

October 26, 2008

Police estimate the crowd for a rally by Sen. Barack Obama at well over 100,000.

Police spokesman Sonny Jackson says the crowd Sunday spilled out of Civic Center Park to the State Capitol and onto surrounding streets as Obama visited Colorado nine days before the election.


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The McCain "More Of The Same" Campaign

John McCain = More of the same? Everybody seems to think so!

Here's the latest ad:


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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Autumn Of Discontent

Commentary: Republicans summon ugly old ghosts

Joseph L. Galloway, McClatchy Newspapers:

This is an autumn of great discontent as not just the United States, but the entire world trembles on the brink of an economic recession that may bring the kind of pain that's known only to the oldest among us.

With days to go before Election Day, the nation watches as a presidential candidate and his political party unravel, frantically dragging every ugly ghost out of the closet in an attempt not only to fool everyone, but also to scare everyone.
. . . . .

They have presided for the last eight years over a stunning redistribution of wealth: They've turned Robin Hood upside down, taking from the poor and the middle class and giving to the very rich.

Yet they tar their opponent for daring to suggest that it's time to turn the tables and redirect some of that wealth to those who are jobless, homeless and hopeless, and to the millions of other hard-working Americans who are likely to join those growing ranks in the months and years to come.

They call him a socialist for embracing a principle that's rooted deeply in the teachings of the Christianity that they wear on their sleeves but cannot find room for in their hearts.

They promise to "correct the mistakes" of their own president, their own members of Congress, their own appointed overseers and regulators, if only we give them another chance.

They promise to punish the Wall Street tycoons and the big bankers who in their greed built this house of cards that's crashing down onto Main Street. Yes they will. Surely they will smite the robber barons who brushed a few crumbs from their groaning tables of riches into the laps of the very people who now vow to punish their benefactors of great wealth.

They say this even as the barons, fat with bonuses and commissions, pick over the carcass of a fallen economy, carving out another tasty morsel or two for themselves.

Is it any wonder that Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin and the Republican Party are sinking like the Titanic? Do they take us all for complete morons?

Granted, they may have reason to think that. After all, not only did we (with some help from the Supreme Court) elect George W. Bush our president, we also re-elected him to a second term. Fooled us twice, they think, so maybe the third time is charmed.

That, however, doesn't seem likely as a cold, hard winter looms this November. Not likely at all.
. . . . .

The financial collapse and the painful fallout that's stalking the nation won't be righted overnight, however. Putting Barack Obama in the White House and giving the Democrats a veto-proof majority in Congress won't mean that happy days are here again.

Hard work, sacrifice and suffering lie ahead. It could take a decade or more to repair all the damage that Bush, Dick Cheney and all their henchmen in prison, out of prison and on their way to prison have done to our economy, our military, our standing in the world, our Constitution and to civil discourse, common decency and competent governance.

In the meantime, we Americans would do well to try to remember all those things that our grandmothers told us about how to get by in hard times.

How to get by on a lot less.

How to grow a vegetable garden.

How to squeeze a nickel till the buffalo bellows.

How to appreciate the small joys of family and friends.

How to share what you have, no matter how little you have, with those who have nothing.

Someday we may be able to tell our grandchildren about the Election of '08 when we, the people, turned away from anger, hate and greed and once again embraced the better angels of our nature.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wall Street Scam Artists: Economic House Of Cards

There are two excellent articles by Joshua Holland at Alternet that I would like to recommend to anyone interested in gaining further understanding of the economic crisis we have now, and will suffer more of in the future.

The articles are extensive, but they explain well what has led up to where we now find ourselves. I found them both to be quite helpful.

How Wall Street's Scam Artists Turned Home Mortgages Into Economic WMDs.

The titans of high finance are trying desperately to shift blame for the crisis onto others, but this dead cat lies squarely on their doorstep.

Wall Street Hustlers Built a $100 Trillion House of Cards and Stuck You with the Fallout

Deregulation brought us hugely "leveraged" investments, and they brought us panicked markets and pain.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rightist rhetoric makes a disturbing turn into their viewpoint

It's a funny way that those on the right define 'American.'

Last week, Sarah Palin made the comment that she thinks that some parts of the country are 'more American' than others. The exact quote, made in North Carolina last week is that she praised areas where she was as the, "pro-America areas of this great nation"

That sentiment is not confined to Palin however.

On MSNBC's hardball, Chris Matthews asked Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann about Palin's comments and about Senator Obama in particular. Not only did Bachmann agree and say that Obama may have 'anti-American views,' but she went farther, calling on the media to look at members of Congress to "find out, are they pro-America or anti-America."

Then Republican congressman Robin Hayes of North Carolina last week said that liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God. Hayes originally denied saying that until he was confronted by an audiotape of the speech.

It's even gone to the state level. McCain advisor Nancy Pfotenhauer said that Northern Virginia is 'not the real Virginia.' She said that "I can tell you that the Democrats have just come in from the District of Columbia and moved into northern Virginia....But the rest of the state, 'real Virginia,' if you will, I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain’s message "

This view shows the elitism of the right. After years of listening to cranks on the radio scream that anyone who disagrees with their narrow view of America is actually anti-American and trying to destroy, not change, America-- this view has permeated the minds of otherwise rational people. They actually believe (or why would this attitude come out four times within a week) that liberals or anyone else who has a vision for America that doesn't agree with their doctrinaire conservative view is actually anti-American, or at least not sufficiently pro-American.

To some degree this is nothing new. The GOP has regularly been questioning the patriotism of people who don't happen to agree with their schemes since at least the days of McCarthy and Nixon. But the offhanded and casual ways in which these comments have rolled off the tongue recently causes me to question whether this whole way of thinking (i.e., 'traitor out to destroy the country' replacing 'American with whom I have a disagreement') has reached the point of being taken for granted by people in positions of responsibility on the right. They sound like Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage without even thinking about it.

Well, I have to tell you something, jerkfusses on the right.

Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see people in AMERICA be able to go to a doctor without being afraid of going broke if they get sick.

Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see a country where when people do have to go to the hospital the focus is on getting them well, not on whether they have insurance.

Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see our military ready to respond immediately to any challenge, not bogged down in a stupid war that we started years ago in a small country thousands of miles away.

Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see war-- as costly and ugly as it is-- considered only as a last, not as a first, resort to future international problem spots.

Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see a country where people feel safe from their own government, and don't have to worry that someone is listening in on their phone conversations.

Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see the land that we live on, the air that we breathe and the water that we drink preserved and kept clean for the next generation of AMERICANS.

Because I'm an AMERICAN, I don't want to see any young person who is capable of going to college and earning a degree denied that opportunity because they are too poor to be able to afford it.

Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want working people in AMERICA to feel secure in their jobs.

Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see the degreed professionals that we hire to prepare our own kids to go to college, to earn enough to send their own kids to college.

Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see people staying in their homes, not moving into homeless shelters in record numbers because their homes are being foreclosed on and their credit is too poor to even qualify for a rental contract.

Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see my country respected-- not just feared but respected and trusted and listened to again in the world.

Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see us take the lead again in scientific research.

Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see us develop renewable sources of energy so that we don't need to use all that oil anymore (and therefore, not have to pay for it.)

Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see us go back to the budget surplus we enjoyed a few years ago.

Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see other Americans, in Louisiana and Mississippi, get the help rebuilding their homes that was promised but more than three years later has still never been delivered.

Because I'm an AMERICAN, I want to see a country in which we quit trying to divide people against each other and start looking at how we can all work together for a better AMERICA.

Patriotism is not blindly following your leaders. It is questioning them and where necessary opposing them.

Memo to the right: there are more than 300 million Americans spread out all over the country. So quit trying to claim that only those who happen to support you are 'real Americans' or are 'pro-America. We are all Americans.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Homeless shelter filling up

'Room at the Inn' program rotates among churches.

October 20, 2008

MARQUETTE -- A Marquette homeless shelter program that rotates among a dozen local churches is already at capacity..

"The Room at the Inn" program was taking in five or six people each night last winter, but this year, officials say, the numbers are between 13 and 16.

"It's not so much the space as it is how many volunteers you need to work a shift with 13 people versus how many do you need to work a shift with 20 people," explains Helen McCormick, the founder of the program. "And we're having difficulty filling all the shifts at some of the churches. We have lots of volunteers, but they're not always available."

McCormick says "The Room at the Inn" is looking not only for more volunteers, but also for more churches to take part in the rotating program.

WLUC TV news

This is yet another of many reasons I can think of to vote for and help to elect Senator Barack Obama President of the United States. This area of Michigan has a very small population and as you can tell by the article very limited resources to combat homelessness and make sure the area's homeless have shelter during the very harsh winter months. Even though the population of the homeless is small, the mere fact that it more then doubled from last year is pause for concern. I understand they still have enough space and I believe churches and other locals will step up and volunteer, but seriously, how much more GOP policies can America take? If it is creating a homeless problem in the county I live in (with a lot of HUD and low income housing available) what is it doing around the nation? I think I am going to create a 2nd part to this diary citing articles from national sources rather than just this one local source. I am willing to bet dollars to doughnuts we are entering a very crazy time in regards to homelessness and am willing to bet it is at an all time high.

Senator Obama's economic policies will not take any of the pie from the rich and will not take anymore of the pie from the lower and middle classes. Instead his policies will grow the ever mentioned (mostly by dopey GOP pundits whining about socialism) economic pie expanding opportunity for the lower and middle classes by providing tax cuts and more importantly jobs. It also increases the upper class, albiet not by tax cuts, but by rather giving more spending money to the non upper class thereby providing business owners, CEOs and other upper class rich folks with more money. I am probably terribly oversimplifying things but this is how I understand things to be.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Powell endorsement of Obama.

There are those who say that the Republican party doesn't have any great men left in it, any who have the depth of character or introspection to lead. But that isn't true. Not yet, anyway.

Before discussing today's endorsement of Barack Obama by Colin Powell, I'd like to point out that I'm not a Johnny-come-lately on this one. I wrote about Powell years ago, in posts named, Trading honor for a pack of lies and Righties should listen to this Republican. I do.

There are many Democrats who are distrustful of Colin Powell because of his speech at the United Nations in regard to the Iraq war. I addressed this however in these two posts, and it has become clear (and not because of anything that Powell-- the loyal soldier even in the face of open treachery by his C-in-C-- has said, but rather because of what others, notably Lawrence Wilkerson and David Kay, have said) that Powell was lied to, used and spit out by the Bush machine as soon as he had served their purposes. I wrote then, in the context of information provided by others (and notably not by Powell himself) that he had been intentionally given bad information before the U.N. speech,

To this day, I believe that Colin Powell believed what he said, and if one could ask him I believe he would regret his propagation of a lie. As Secretary of State, he had an absolute right to know what anyone else in the administration knew, yet they knowingly fed him lies, and therefore fed him to the wolves.

Colin Powell always was a good soldier, so I wouldn't expect him to come out and criticize his commander in chief, even in the face of such an outright betrayal. But the biggest mistake that he ever made, and I suspect that he even realizes it now, deep down inside, was to join the Republican party. A party who eats their own (see my post on Katherine Harris from a couple of days ago to get an idea of how fast they can turn on you).

To paraphrase MacArthur, a man who could have been anything, even the President (and Lord knows he would have chased bin Laden to the ends of the earth after 9/11 before anything else became a higher priority), is now just an old soldier fading away.

The loonies who run the GOP have viewed Powell with suspicion ever since he suggested that comprehensive sex education in high school was necessary to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Not helpful to him in a party dominated by intolerance, especially on cultural issues.

So today, Powell endorsed Barack Obama for President.

Powell also told NBC’s Tom Brokaw that he was “troubled” by Republicans’ personal attacks on Obama, especially false intimations that Obama was Muslim and the recent focus on Obama’s alleged connections to William Ayers, a co-founder of the radical ’60 Weather Underground.

Stressing that Obama was a lifelong Christian, Powell denounced Republican tactics that he said were insulting not only to to Obama but also to Muslims.

“The really right answer is what if he is?” Powell said, praising the contributions of millions of Muslim citizens to American society.

“I look at these kind of approaches to the campaign, and they trouble me,” Powell said. “Over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party has become narrower and narrower.”

Seven weeks? How about seven years? Or more like, seven times seven years, since Nixon began running to succeed Ike (the last Republican President I respect). Nevertheless, Powell is fundamentally right.

He's also burned any bridges he had left to the GOP. It's fair to say that if he ever shows up around a Republican event again, he will likely hear some boos, if not worse.

Already some righty bloggers are claiming that this is about race, that Colin Powell endorsed Obama because he is black. That of course is ridiculous. They themselves used to say that Powell transcended race. They were right about that. He is a genuine American hero, and one whose skin color doesn't influence anyone's thinking about him (except of course the righty bloggers who can't think of anything more intelligent to say-- and note: one out of every eight Americans is black, so if one black person says something good about another black person it's likely not because they are black, it's because they believe what they are saying.) When righty bloggers claim that this is about race, they in fact say nothing about Powell, but rather show how small minded they are.

As I said at the end of this post, the GOP is not devoid of people who think independently and truly exhibit greatness. But it seems like more and more, they are having trouble reconciling their own vision with what their party has degenerated into.

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A funny photo

Someone snapped this photo as Obama and McCain were walking off stage from the other night's debate.

It may be metaphorical, but it looks like McCain is desperately trying to get a grip on Obama and pull him back.

Any caption ideas?

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Obama: Meet Me In St. Louis

Obama Rally In St. Louis Draws 100,000


Obama rally draws 100,000

KMOV-TV, Photos of Saturday's rally:

Holy Cow. Check Out This Crowd In St. Louis, MO

See more photos at Democratic Underground:

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Think About This

Facts are powerful!!

Obama/Biden vs McCain/Palin: what if things were switched around?

Think about it.

Would the country's collective point of view be different? Could racism be the culprit?

Ponder the following:

What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, including a three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?

What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?

What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcee?

What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident, when she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair while he was still married?

What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to pain killers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?

What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)

What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

What if Obama couldn't read from a teleprompter?

What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing planes?

What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly, on many occasions, a serious anger management problem?

What if Michelle Obama's family had made their money from beer distribution?

What if the Obamas had adopted a white child?

You could easily add to this list. If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

Educational Background:

Barack Obama:

Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

Joseph Biden:

University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)


John McCain:

United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899

Sarah Palin:

Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

Education isn't everything, but this is about the two highest offices in the land as well as our standing in the world.

h/t: Blue in Idaho

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Newsflash: McCain Is NOT Bush!

Barack Obama's newest ad. Roll 'em!


Now, I didn't mean roll your eyes, John.

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No McCain Lobbyists?

Pinocchio Speaks...

McCain Spokesman: No Lobbyists Here!


Exposed: McCain's Presidential Transition Chief Aided Saddam Hussein

Murray Waas, Huffington Post:

William Timmons, the Washington lobbyist who John McCain has named to head his presidential transition team, aided an influence effort on behalf of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to ease international sanctions against his regime.

The two lobbyists who Timmons worked closely with over a five year period on the lobbying campaign later either pleaded guilty to or were convicted of federal criminal charges that they had acted as unregistered agents of Saddam Hussein's government.

During the same period beginning in 1992, Timmons worked closely with the two lobbyists, Samir Vincent and Tongsun Park, on a previously unreported prospective deal with the Iraqis in which they hoped to be awarded a contract to purchase and resell Iraqi oil. Timmons, Vincent, and Park stood to share at least $45 million if the business deal went through.

Timmons' activities occurred in the years following the first Gulf War, when Washington considered Iraq to be a rogue enemy state and a sponsor of terrorism. His dealings on behalf of the deceased Iraqi leader stand in stark contrast to the views his current employer held at the time.

John McCain strongly supported the 1991 military action against Iraq, and as recently as Sunday described Saddam Hussein as a one-time menace to the region who had "stated categorically that he would acquire weapons of mass destruction, and he would use them wherever he could."

Timmons declined to comment for this story. An office manager who works for him said that he has made it his practice during his public career to never speak to the press. Timmons previously told investigators that he did not know that either Vincent or Park were acting as unregistered agents of Iraq. He also insisted that he did not fully understand just how closely the two men were tied to Saddam's regime while they collaborated.

But testimony and records made public during Park's criminal trial, as well as other information uncovered during a United Nations investigation, suggest just the opposite. [snip]

"McCain Has Had At Least 133 Lobbyists Running His Campaign & Raising Money For Him"

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Changin' McCain: Economic Stance Dance


Oct. 14: Talk Me Down: John McCain unveiled some new economic proposals, but are they realistic? Syndicated columnist David Sirota tries to talk Rachel down.


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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lunatic Wing-Nuts Inciting Violence

McCain, suspend your campaign


Oct. 14: In a brief Special Comment, Keith Olbermann expresses his disapproval of the McCain/Palin campaign’s “lynch-mob mentality” and their refusal to discourage surrogates and supporters from threatening Barack Obama at GOP campaign rallies.


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Monday, October 13, 2008

Economy Honor / Dishonor Rolls

(See linked Huffington Post articles below for video and more.)

Economic Honor Roll:

Now that a full-scale economic crisis is upon us, many are left asking the complicated but necessary question of how did we get here. While there are numerous individuals and institutions who deserve their share of the blame, it is also important to recognize those issued warnings about the fragility of the financial system and sounded the alarm about an impending collapse before it all came crashing down.

Below is the beginning of our look at some of the figures--politicians, economists, pundits--whose observations about our financial situation have come to seem all too prescient. Please check back as more names are added to our list and by all means let us know who else deserves credit for having seen our current meltdown coming.

Nouriel Roubini, NYU professor of economics: from "The Rising Risk of a Systemic Financial Meltdown: The Twelve Steps to Financial Disaster" (subscription req'd), February 5, 2008

A near global economic recession will ensue as the financial and credit losses and the credit crunch spread around the world. Panic, fire sales, cascading fall in asset prices will exacerbate the financial and real economic distress as a number of large and systemically important financial institutions go bankrupt. A 1987 style stock market crash could occur leading to further panic and severe financial and economic distress.

In this meltdown scenario US and global financial markets will experience their most severe crisis in the last quarter of a century.

Warren Buffett, BBC News, "Buffett Warns On Investment 'Time Bomb,'" March 4, 2003

Derivatives generate reported earnings that are often wildly overstated and based on estimates whose inaccuracy may not be exposed for many years.[...]

Large amounts of risk have becomes concentrated in the hands of relatively few derivatives dealers ... which can trigger serious systematic problems.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, from his book The Black Swan The Impact of the Highly Improbable, April 2007

Globalization creates interlocking fragility, while reducing volatility and giving the appearance of stability. In other words it creates devastating Black Swans. We have never lived before under the threat of a global collapse. Financial Institutions have been merging into a smaller number of very large banks. Almost all banks are interrelated. So the financial ecology is swelling into gigantic, incestuous, bureaucratic banks - when one fails, they all fall. The increased concentration among banks seems to have the effect of making financial crises less likely, but when they happen they are more global in scale and hit us very hard. [...]

The government-sponsored institution Fannie Mae, when I look at its risks, seems to be sitting on a barrel of dynamite, vulnerable to the slightest hiccup. But not to worry: their large staff of scientists deemed these events 'unlikely'.

Byron Dorgan, Senator (D-ND): New York Times, "Washington's Invisible Hand," September 26, 2008

Dorgan's comment on McCain adviser Phil Gramm's deregulation efforts back in 1999:

I think we will look back in 10 years' time and say we should not have done this, but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past and that that which is true in the 1930s is true in 2010.

Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist: Washington Post, "The Iraq War Will Cost Us $3 Trillion, and Much More," March 9, 2008

We face an economic downturn that's likely to be the worst in more than a quarter-century. [snip] The economy's weaknesses were concealed by the Federal Reserve, which pumped in liquidity, and by regulators that looked away as loans were handed out well beyond borrowers' ability to repay them. Meanwhile, banks and credit-rating agencies pretended that financial alchemy could convert bad mortgages into AAA assets, and the Fed looked the other way as the U.S. household-savings rate plummeted to zero.

It's a bleak picture. The total loss from this economic downturn -- measured by the disparity between the economy's actual output and its potential output -- is likely to be the greatest since the Great Depression.

Paul Krugman, New York Times columnist Krugman has been warning about the dangers of the housing bubble for years, and the terrible toll it could take on the economy when it pops.

Here is a Krugman warning from August 29, 2005:

These days Mr. Greenspan expresses concern about the financial risks created by "the prevalence of interest-only loans and the introduction of more-exotic forms of adjustable-rate mortgages." But last year he encouraged families to take on those very risks, touting the advantages of adjustable-rate mortgages and declaring that "American consumers might benefit if lenders provided greater mortgage product alternatives to the traditional fixed-rate mortgage.

If Mr. Greenspan had said two years ago what he's saying now, people might have borrowed less and bought more wisely. But he didn't, and now it's too late. There are signs that the housing market either has peaked already or soon will. And it will be up to Mr. Greenspan's successor to manage the bubble's aftermath.

How bad will that aftermath be? The U.S. economy is currently suffering from twin imbalances. On one side, domestic spending is swollen by the housing bubble, which has led both to a huge surge in construction and to high consumer spending, as people extract equity from their homes. On the other side, we have a huge trade deficit, which we cover by selling bonds to foreigners. As I like to say, these days Americans make a living by selling each other houses, paid for with money borrowed from China.

Economic Dishonor Roll:

Just like HuffPost's honor-roll of those who predicted and even warned against actions that have landed us in today's economic crisis, we have a dishonor roll chronicling those who helped create the situation.

Below is the beginning of our look at some of those figures--politicians, economists, pundits - whose recklessness and own greed have created the situation we're in today. Please check back as more names are added to our list and by all means let us know who else deserves to be on our dishonor role.

Alan Greenspan

The New York Times took a hard look at former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's legacy in Thursday's paper, leading with this rather statement of Greenspan's from 2004: "Not only have individual financial institutions become less vulnerable to shocks from underlying risk factors, but also the financial system as a whole has become more resilient."

Stronger regulation of derivatives would have done much to stem the current financial crisis, but Greenspan argued against such measures:

"What we have found over the years in the marketplace is that derivatives have been an extraordinarily useful vehicle to transfer risk from those who shouldn't be taking it to those who are willing to and are capable of doing so," Mr. Greenspan told the Senate Banking Committee in 2003. "We think it would be a mistake" to more deeply regulate the contracts, he added.

Phil Gramm

Gramm, McCain's chief economic adviser, helped craft the Gramm-Leach-Bliley act, "a bank deregulation bill that swept away a Depression-era law known as Glass-Steagall" as the Times writes. The Times also notes of Gramm:

For more than two decades in Congress he argued that the forces of the market had to be freed from government interference. Just a year after the passage of Gramm- Leach-Bliley, he was largely responsible for another bill -- the Commodity Futures Modernization Act -- that clearly did contribute to the current crisis. That law unleashed the derivatives market and paved the way for banks to become more aggressive about investing in mortgages. As recently as this summer, he was still saying that the biggest problem facing the American economy was excessive regulation.

Chris Cox

Currently head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Cox helped put greater deregulation into effect, and as of last March, was saying the following:

"We have a good deal of comfort about the capital cushions at these firms at the moment."

Henry Paulson

Paulson, currently the Secretary of the Treasury, is leading the government's efforts to rescue the economy, but he himself was a major proponent of rolling back what he called "excessive regulation" and reducing the power of financial regulatory agencies.

They wanted an exemption for their brokerage units from an old regulation that limited the amount of debt they could take on. The exemption would unshackle billions of dollars held in reserve as a cushion against losses on their investments. Those funds could then flow up to the parent company, enabling it to invest in the fast-growing but opaque world of mortgage-backed securities; credit derivatives, a form of insurance for bond holders; and other exotic instruments.

The five investment banks led the charge, including Goldman Sachs, which was headed by Henry M. Paulson Jr. Two years later, he left to become Treasury secretary.

Joe Cassano

Cassano, the executive of AIG, the insurance giant which received an $38 billion bailout loan from the federal government, is identified by CNN as number 10 in their top 10 list of people behind the current financial crisis. AIG, under Cassano, gambled huge amounts of money on mortgages that ultimately went bad. AIG boasted that it had once pioneered some of the exotic investments that are now bring Wall Street to it's knees.

Richard Fuld

Fuld, the former CEO of Lehman Brothers (the storied firm went bankrupt during the current crisis), is pegged by CNN as the 9th in their top 10 list of culprits to blame for the economic crisis. CNN reports that Fuld drove the company deep into the subprime market, and instead of scaling back the firm's investments when the market began to go south, Fuld doubled down and ultimately drove the company off the subprime cliff.

Martin Sullivan and Robert Willumstad

Martin and Willumstad were both CEOs of AIG during a time when documents show that the company knew of potentially serious problems in evaluating derivatives contracts:

Top officials at American International Group Inc. knew of potential problems in valuing derivative contracts long before these risky transactions caused the insurer's shareholders severe pain, according to documents released by congressional investigators.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Troopergate Reality - McCain And Palin: Failin'

McCain Campaign Says Black Is White:
Claims Troopergate Investigation Found No Wrongdoing

Video and more at Think Progress:

On Friday, the bipartisan Alaskan Legislative Council voted unanimously to release the findings of its “Troopergate” investigation. The report stated unequivocally that “Sarah Palin abused her power” by violating a statute of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. As the report emphasized, “Compliance with the code of ethics is not optional.”

The McCain campaign has decided to simply turn the finding on its head. On Fox News Sunday this morning, campaign manager Rick Davis claimed the investigation absolved Palin of any wrongdoing ... [snip]

Davis’s claim that the investigation was a partisan hit job is laughable. The investigation was originally authorized by a unanimous, bipartisan vote of the Legislative Council; a bipartisan majority voted to subpoena key witnesses, including Todd Palin; and its findings were released Friday under unanimous, bipartisan agreement.

Yesterday, Palin similarly reversed the report’s findings, telling Alaskan reporters yesterday she was “very very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing,” or “any hint of any kind of unethical activity there” ... [snip]

Perhaps Palin’s complete misunderstanding of the report’s findings is rooted in the fact that she apparently still hasn’t actually read it ...

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rachel Maddow On Troopergate

Palin in the wrong

Oct. 10: The Alaska Legislative Council released its findings on the Troopergate scandal claiming that Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power in firing Alaska’s Public Safety Commisioner. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow talks with Newsweek Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff.


Monegan responds to Troopergate

Oct. 10: The fired commissioner at the center of the Troopergate scandal, Walt Monegan reacts to the findings of the Alaska Legislative Council, which says Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power.


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Friday, October 10, 2008

Troopergate: Abuse of Power, Ethics Violation

This evening, the the bi-partisan legislative committee released the "Troopergate" report by investigator Steve Branchflower and it concludes that Sarah Palin has abused her power and violated the state's ethics law.

The Branchflower Report to the Legislative Council (.pdf) in full can be found here or here.

Anchorage Daily News:

An investigation has concluded that Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power, according to a report just now unanimously released by the legislative council.

The report by found that Palin violated the state's executive branch ethics act, which says that "each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust."

Branchflower was investigating whether Palin abused her power by pushing for the firing of state trooper Mike Wooten, who once was married to the governor's sister.

The Branchflower report:


Finding Number One

For the reasons explained in section IV of this report, I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) provides

The legislature reaffirms that each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust.

Finding Number Two

I find that, although Walt Monegan's refusal to fire Trooper Michael Wooten was not the sole reason he was fired by Governor Sarah Palin, it was likely a contributing factor to his termination as Commissioner of Public Safety. In spite of that, Governor Palin's firing of Commissioner Monegan was a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and statutory authority to hire and fire executive branch department heads.

Finding Number Three

Harbor Adjustment Service of Anchorage, and its owner Ms. Murleen Wilkes, handled Trooper Michael Wooten's workers' compensation claim property and in the normal course of business like any other claim processed by Harbor Adjustment Service and Ms. Wilkes. Further, Trooper Wooten received all the workers' compensation benefits to which he was entitled.

Finding Number Four

The Attorney General's office has failed to substantially comply with my August 6, 2008 written request to Governor Sarah Palin for information about the case in the form of emails.

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The Sarah Palin way to avoid trouble: investigate yourself and discover you are innocent

Sarah Palin seems to have figured out an all-new way to dodge any negative or damaging conclusions in a report due tomorrow: investigate yourself and then declare yourself exonerated.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Trying to head off a potentially embarrassing state ethics report on GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, campaign officials released their own report Thursday that clears her of any wrongdoing.

Sen. John McCain's running mate is the subject of a legislative investigation into whether she abused her power as governor by firing her public safety commissioner. The commissioner, Walter Monegan, says he was dismissed in July for resisting pressure from Palin's husband, Todd Palin, and numerous top aides to fire state trooper Mike Wooten, Palin's former brother-in-law.

The move came hours after the state Supreme Court refused to halt the ethics investigation.

Lawmakers were expected to release their own findings Friday. Campaign officials have yet to see that report — the result of an investigation that began before she was tapped as McCain's running mate — but said the investigation has falsely portrayed a legitimate policy dispute between a governor and her commissioner as something inappropriate.

Keep in mind that this probe, begun by a Republican-led legislature back in July when Monegan was fired, was originally supposed to be completed and a report due October 31. The date was actually moved ahead three weeks for the benefit of Palin and McCain-- so that it wouldn't be released four days before the Presidential election. In spite of this, Palin and officials in her administration, who had cooperated with the probe initially spent weeks refusing to cooperate after she was tabbed as John McCain's running mate.

So, apparently afraid of what the report might say tomorrow about whether Palin used the power of her elected office to try and settle a petty family squabble, Palin and the McCain campaign actually investigated this themselves and are now issuing a report clearing Palin.

What a novel concept! Maybe using this as a precedent, McCain will, if elected, allow people accused of crimes to conduct the investigation themselves. Using the Palin-McCain standard for investigations, O.J. Simpson should have been allowed to run the investigation into his Las Vegas hotel room holdup himself. He should have been allowed to collect his own evidence, interview his own witnesses and expect the court and the jury to accept his own report instead of the police report.

This so-called 'report' by the McCain-Palin campaign could be called a whitewash, but that would do a disservice to Tom Sawyer, Richard Nixon and anyone else who has ever been associated with the term, 'whitewash.' It is a fraud and a dupe.

Really, publishing a report you wrote yourself, hoping people will read your report instead of the official one. How stupid do they think we are?

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

McCain Not For Helping The Middle Class

No wonder John McCain wouldn't even bother mentioning the "middle-class" during Tuesday night's debate. He's not interested in helping out the working class people of America, just the corporations. John McCain would not help out the middle working class people any more than Bush has and only offers more of the same, maybe even worse failed policies.

Nicolle Wallace:
John McCain Is A Corporation’s ‘Worst Nightmare’

October 08, 2008, Think Progress:

This morning on MSNBC, Nicolle Wallace, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) senior campaign adviser, falsely claimed that McCain “isn’t for giving tax cuts to corporations,” adding that “John McCain is their worst nightmare.”

- - - - -

Not only is Wallace wrong in claiming that McCain does not favor cutting corporations’ taxes but she’s also way off the mark in saying he’s their “worst nightmare.” In fact, the richest 200 American corporations stand to benefit handsomely ($45 billion) from a McCain administration.

McCain’s plan would dole out $4 billion a year to Big Oil (despite the numerous campaign claims to the contrary), $2 billion to health insurance companies and $1.44 billion to the parent companies of mainstream media outlets. Eight companies — Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips Co., Bank of America Corp., AT&T, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Microsoft Corp. — would each receive over $1 billion a year.

But if McCain is a corporation’s “worst nightmare,” then his campaign sure has everyone fooled, including the richest CEOs, who have given approximately 10 times as much to McCain as they have to Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).

McCain Proposes A Progressive Housing Policy, But Still Wants To Reward Bankers Who Made Bad Loans

McCain Lobbies For Taiwan Arms Sales After Taiwan Signs Lobbying Contract With His Adviser’s Firm

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

More Squeezing Of The Working Class

Oh, yes. The American taxpayers must shoulder the financial burden and reward for those who failed to be responsible and accountable on Wall Street and bail out the markets, but the squeeze is still on for the middle working class. More thanks to the failed Bush economic policies:

Perino Confirms White House Won’t Extend Jobless Benefits, Says People Should Just Find A Job

Video and transcript available at Think Progress:

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.”

- - - - -

It is both insulting and naive to suggest that people aren’t working because jobless benefits are somehow too generous and they’re too lazy to look for work again. People aren’t working because Bushonomics have hemorrhaged jobs and slashed the safety nets for laid off workers:

– The Department of Labor reported last week that the country shed 159,000 jobs in September, and the unemployment rate has increased to its highest level in five years.

– The Washington Post reported yesterday that “unemployment claims are at a seven-year high, and factory orders are sharply down. … Small businesses can’t get financing.”

– According to a July survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures, states are being forced to slash spending and cut jobs “in order to close a projected $40 billion shortfall in the current fiscal year,” more than triple the size of the previous year’s.

State jobless funds are drying out. According to the National Employment Law Project, at least 11 states are facing financial challenges paying their jobless benefits.

The Bush administration’s refusal to extend a helping hand to those punished by the economy it created is nothing new: Last month, the White House threatened to veto a second stimulus package over opposition to an expansion of food stamps benefits.

ThinkFast, October 8, 2008:

The Congressional Budget Office’s top budget analyst said that the prolonged downturn in the stock market “has wiped out about $2 trillion in Americans’ retirement savings in the past 15 months, a blow that could force workers to stay on the job longer than planned, rein in spending and possibly further stall an economy reliant on consumer dollars.”

“The federal budget deficit hit a new record in the just-completed 2008 budget year under the latest estimates from the CBO. The record $438 billion shortfall for the budget year that ended last week is up from $162 billion posted last year. The previous record of $413 billion was posted in 2004.” Next year’s deficit was recently projected to be as high as $600 billion.

Nearly one in six American homeowners owe “more on a mortgage than the home is worth, raising the possibility of a rise in defaults — the very misfortune that touched off the credit crisis last year.” So many homeowners “under water” is “likely to mean more eventual foreclosures” and increased pressure on an economy already in a downturn.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Moose euthanized

Adult female and two calves had wandered into Ishpeming.
Monday, October 06, 2008 at 1:18 p.m.

ISHPEMING -- Ishpeming Police late Monday announced that they had to euthanize an adult female moose who had wandered into Ishpeming with two calves.

Police say they euthanized the mother because it was endangering the public. The Department of Natural Resources supported the decision.

The whereabouts of the two calves is unknown, according to authorities.

The three moose were first spotted on the east side of Ishpeming Monday morning, and at one point, US 41 was closed down.

Authorities cautiously kept the trio on the move to help them avoid being hit by passing cars.

Watch the video of the moose wandering through town by clicking on the video camera icon.

TV6's Marqui Mapp is currently working on a follow-up to this story. Check back soon to see more community reaction and an official response.

What the hell? Way to go Ishpeming Police Dept! Way to take out those menacing moose. Imagine all the foilage they could've eaten?!?! (A bit of irritating sarcasm) Oh, and euthanize is a terrible word to use... the moose was shot, not euthanized.


Police: Public to blame for moose death

DNR biologist says the calves will likely not survive.Tuesday, October 07, 2008 at 12:34 p.m.

ISHPEMING -- The public is to blame for the death of a cow moose in Ishpeming. That's what Iishpeming Police Chief Jim Bjorne is saying.

It all started around 8:30 Monday morning, when the moose was spotted around 600 Vine Street in the City of Ishpeming.

TV6 video that was taken around about an hour to an hour and a half later.

Bjorne says the public's interference, in their efforts to see the moose and get pictures, prevented the police and DNR biologists from getting the cow moose and her two calves to a safe area.

He says, after more five hours of being herded around and trying to avoid people, the cow was overly stressed.

Bjorne says tranquilizing the animal would have caused more stress, and ended up with the animal's death.

The decision to put down the mother moose was made after it was coming at officers on the Heritage Trail by the old Brownstone.

The moose calves have left the area and a DNR biologist says they will likely not survive without their mother.

So now it's the public's fault for your department's lack of crowd control, Jim? I hope those that voted for you in the Sheriff primary regret that vote.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

McCain Keating Economics

John McCain in Swiftboat Willie


What they don't want to talk about
Monday, October 6, 2008 2:05 AM
From: "David Plouffe,"

Barbi --

Over the weekend, John McCain's top adviser announced their plan to stop engaging in a debate over the economy and "turn the page" to more direct, personal attacks on Barack Obama.

In the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, they want to change the subject from the central question of this election. Perhaps because the policies McCain supported these past eight years and wants to continue are pretty hard to defend.

But it's not just McCain's role in the current crisis that they're avoiding. The backward economic philosophy and culture of corruption that helped create the current crisis are looking more and more like the other major financial crisis of our time.

During the savings and loan crisis of the late '80s and early '90s, McCain's political favors and aggressive support for deregulation put him at the center of the fall of Lincoln Savings and Loan, one of the largest in the country. More than 23,000 investors lost their savings. Overall, the savings and loan crisis required the federal government to bail out the savings of hundreds of thousands of families and ultimately cost American taxpayers $124 billion.

Sound familiar?

In that crisis, John McCain and his political patron, Charles Keating, played central roles that ultimately landed Keating in jail for fraud and McCain in front of the Senate Ethics Committee. The McCain campaign has tried to avoid talking about the scandal, but with so many parallels to the current crisis, McCain's Keating history is relevant and voters deserve to know the facts -- and see for themselves the pattern of poor judgment by John McCain.

So at noon Eastern on Monday, October 6th, we're releasing a 13-minute documentary about the scandal called "Keating Economics: John McCain and the Making of a Financial Crisis" -- it will be available at, along with background information that every voter should know.

Watch a preview right now and share it with your friends...




Full documentary available at Keating

The current economic crisis demands that we understand John McCain's attitudes about economic oversight and corporate influence in federal regulation. Nothing illustrates the danger of his approach more clearly than his central role in the savings and loan scandal of the late '80s and early '90s.

John McCain was accused of improperly aiding his political patron, Charles Keating, chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association. The bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee launched investigations and formally reprimanded Senator McCain for his role in the scandal -- the first such Senator to receive a major party nomination for president.

At the heart of the scandal was Keating's Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which took advantage of deregulation in the 1980s to make risky investments with its depositors' money. McCain intervened on behalf of Charles Keating with federal regulators tasked with preventing banking fraud, and championed legislation to delay regulation of the savings and loan industry -- actions that allowed Keating to continue his fraud at an incredible cost to taxpayers.

When the savings and loan industry collapsed, Keating's failed company put taxpayers on the hook for $3.4 billion and more than 20,000 Americans lost their savings. John McCain was reprimanded by the bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee, but the ultimate cost of the crisis to American taxpayers reached more than $120 billion.

The Keating scandal is eerily similar to today's credit crisis, where a lack of regulation and cozy relationships between the financial industry and Congress has allowed banks to make risky loans and profit by bending the rules. And in both cases, John McCain's judgment and values have placed him on the wrong side of history.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

It Is To Laugh

Cat vs Printer:


"Humor is an affirmation of dignity, a declaration of man's superiority to all that befalls him." ~Roman Gary

"Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward." ~Kurt Vonnegut


Friday, October 03, 2008

Bailout Signed Into law

This afternoon, President Bush signed into law the $700 billion bailout bill. The legislation (HR.1424) was approved Friday by the House in a 263-171 vote.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.):

Only two things are certain: the bill will provide hundreds of billions of dollars to investors who made bad decisions and Wall Street executives; and our children and grandchildren will now face a national debt that is hundreds of billions of dollars higher.

Related NBF posts can be found here and here.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

McCain Bails Out Of Michigan

McCain giving up on Michigan

International Herald Tribune:

John McCain's decision to cancel a campaign event in Michigan next week was not a matter of scheduling: McCain is giving up his effort to take the state back into the red column, concluding that economic distress there has simply put the state out of reach, according to Republicans familiar with the decision.

McCain Pulls Advertising In Michigan

CBS News:

In what he characterized as "a stunning move a month away from Election Day that indicates the difficulty Republicans are having in finding blue states to put in play," Politico's Jonathan Martin this afternoon reported that John McCain is effectively ceding the state of Michigan to rival Barack Obama.

McCain pulling out of Michigan


Republican presidential candidate John McCain is withdrawing staff and resources from Michigan in order to concentrate on other states where his prospects are stronger, a campaign aide said on Thursday.

McCain had harbored hopes of winning the state, but three polls in the last week has had Democrat Barack Obama with a double-digit lead in the Midwestern state, which has gone to the Democratic candidate the last two elections.

"Certainly, Michigan was going to be a challenge for any Republican in this climate," said the McCain campaign official.

McCain Pulls Out of Michigan


Sen. John McCain has decided to pull his campaign out of Michigan, deeming it a lost cause after internal polls showed the Republican trailing badly in the economically hard-hit state, according to a senior Republican official.

McCain's television ads will be taken down and most of his staff will be redirected to other places, the officials said, and plans for direct mail in the state will be canceled. There will be no new offices opened as the campaign enters its final stage.

"The numbers have been bad in Michigan for some time," said the official, who declined to be identified because he is not authorized to speak for the campaign. He said some offices will stay open with reduced staff because the leases have already been signed: "We have infrastructure in the state that will stay there. We just won't ramp it up."

Public polls in the state show Obama with a clear edge, and with momentum on his side. The Illinois senator hit 51 percent in the new Seltzer and Co. poll for the Detroit Free Press, stretching 13 points ahead of McCain.

As in national polling, it appears to be Obama's edge on handling the economy that has propelled him to the top of the polls in Michigan.

McCain Moves Out of Michigan: What It Means


What then does McCain's decision to stop running ads in the state -- an all but certain concession that he cannot and will not win it in November -- tell us about his candidacy?

First, that the damage done to McCain at the national level by the bailout of Wall Street is being mirrored in the states too. [snip]

Second, the pull out from Michigan is a sign that McCain's decision to accept public financing for the general election has tied his hands somewhat. McCain has roughly $84 million to spend on the entire race while Obama, who opted out of public financing, is free to raise and spend whatever he can to win the White House. [snip]

Third, and this is the most potentially dangerous for McCain, the decision to pull out of Michigan may be painted by the media as a sign the entire campaign is going south. "In the 24 hour nonstop news world we live in, the act of pulling out will actually be harmful to his candidacy not only in Michigan but elsewhere," predicted one well-connected Republican operative familiar with the politics of the Wolverine State.

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Senate Bailout: Bad News For You

Bailout Passes Senate;
9 Reasons That's Bad News for You

Forcing each American to fork over $2,200 at a time when median family income has declined by as much is no way to improve the economy.

Sen. Bernie Sanders:

This bill does not effectively address the issue of what the taxpayers of our country will actually own after they invest hundreds of billions of dollars in toxic assets. This bill does not effectively address the issue of oversight because the oversight board members have all been hand picked by the Bush administration. This bill does not effectively deal with the issue of foreclosures and addressing that very serious issue, which is impacting millions of low- and moderate-income Americans in the aggressive, effective way that we should be. This bill does not effectively deal with the issue of executive compensation and golden parachutes. Under this bill, the CEOs and the Wall Street insiders will still, with a little bit of imagination, continue to make out like bandits.

This bill does not deal at all with how we got into this crisis in the first place and the need to undo the deregulatory fervor which created trillions of dollars in complicated and unregulated financial instruments such as credit default swaps and hedge funds. This bill does not address the issue that has taken us to where we are today, the concept of too big to fail. [snip]

This bill does not deal with the absurdity of having the fox guarding the hen house. [snip]

This bill does not address the major economic crisis we face: growing unemployment, low wages, the need to create decent-paying jobs, rebuilding our infrastructure and moving us to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. [snip]

Most importantly, we have seen the financial services industry lure people into mortgages they could not afford to pay, which is one of the basic reasons why we are here tonight.

In the midst of all of this, we have a bailout package which says to the middle class that you are being asked to place at risk $700 billion, which is $2,200 for every man, woman, and child in this country. You're being asked to do that in order to undo the damage caused by this excessive Wall Street greed. In other words, the "Masters of the Universe," those brilliant Wall Street insiders who have made more money than the average American can even dream of, have brought our financial system to the brink of collapse. Now, as the American and world financial systems teeter on the edge of a meltdown, these multimillionaires are demanding that the middle class, which has already suffered under Bush's disastrous economic policies, pick up the pieces that they broke. That is wrong, and that is something that I will not support.

If we are going to bail out Wall Street, it should be those people who have caused the problem, those people who have benefited from Bush's tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, those people who have taken advantage of deregulation, those people are the people who should pick up the tab, and not ordinary working people.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Senate Passes Economic Rescue Bill

The Emergency Bailout bill ( H.R.1424* ) has been passed by the Senate in a 74-25 Vote.

* Note: On 10/1/2008, the Senate plans to use H.R.1424 as the vehicle for the economic rescue legislation. See Senate Majority and Minority notices and documents from the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Banking Committee. On the Banking Committee website, Division A (pp.2-113) of the draft legislation is referred to as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008; Division B (pp. 113-261) is referred to as the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008; and Division C (pp. 261-451) is referred to as the Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008.


Oct 1, 2008 - - Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

The latest version of package legislation which includes the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act can be found here: Click link

For one-page summary of the EESA: Click link

For section-by-section analysis of the EESA: Click link

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Michigan's Proposal 1 Would Allow Ill To Grow

UPDATE: Election results info here.

Now for something different... local/state news... on pot. Yay.

Posted by CN Staff on September 23, 2008 at 17:43:51 PTBy Nathan Bruttell, Argus-Press Staff

Writer Source: Argus-Press
Lansing, MI -- Dianne Byrum has heard the stories about countless individuals in Michigan who are in pain. Byrum has listened to “dozens upon dozens” of terminally ill cancer patients, others dying of AIDS and others in severe pain from multiple sclerosis and glaucoma.

“You will hear all kinds of stories off the record,” Byrum said, “where you have constant vomiting and people who can barely move they are hurting so much.”

Each of the personal stories Byrum hears includes a plea for akind of relief that is currently illegal.

On Nov. 4 voters will decide the fate of Proposal 1, which would allow seriously ill patients to use marijuana for medicinal purposes with a recommendation from their doctor.

A chemical in marijuana known as THC has been shown to alleviate pain caused by certain types of cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and other diseases.

Byrum is a representative for Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care (MCCC), the consulting firm that organized the petition to put Proposal 1 on the ballot.

The petition needed 304,000 signatures to be placed on the November ballot - it got nearly half a million.

Yet few of the signers have been willing to speak about their reasons.
“People are afraid to step out and speak openly about it,” Byrum said. “They really do fear for arrest and prosecution.”

Byrum also said many of the signers were physicians in Michigan.
“There are physicians out there, but they are not going to step out until this is passed because that fear of prosecution is real,” she said.

There are several outspoken individuals against the legalization of medical marijuana, Byrum said, who fear the law will allow easy access for others.

There are provisions in the proposal to ensure that doesn't happen, she said.

The proposal requires a prescription, which must be renewed annually. The prescription allows the patient an ID card, which only the patient and select growers may use.

The proposal does allow patients to grow up to 12 plants legally in their homes. It also states the cardholders would be free of prosecution involving marijuana as long as they assert medical reasons for using.

Optometrist and State Rep. Richard Ball, R-Owosso said he has mixed views of the proposal.

“There are dozens or more pharmaceutical solutions that are designed to relieve ocular pressure (caused by glaucoma) that work a whole lot better,” Ball said. “If you want to control that pressure you're going to have to use prescription drugs.”

Ball said he has heard of a lot of support for medical marijuana for the relief of glaucoma that he says is unsubstantiated.
“I've wondered if they didn't want to use marijuana for different purposes,” Ball said. “I have never been convinced that the use of marijuana is better (at relieving pain caused by glaucoma).”

There are those with severe pain, such as terminally ill cancer patients, for whom Ball could justify the use of marijuana.
“Pain relief...that's pretty subjective,” he said. “You have to look at the fact that maybe for them it works, but you have to build in a system.”

Ball said there is simply too much risk of patients using marijuana for recreational and illegal purposes.

The Michigan State Medical Society opposes the potential law, but the proposal is based on a similar proposal put forth by the Rhode Island Medical Society - which supports it.

Currently 12 other states, including Rhode Island, California and New York, have laws in place for medical marijuana. Michigan cities Ann Arbor, Detroit, Ferndale, Flint and Traverse City have local ordinances in place to support it - but current state and federal law still prohibit use.

Shiawassee County Health Department Director George Pichette is unsure if the proposed law will do more help than harm.

“Of course there are medical benefits...But, I don't know if there is a definitive answer,” he said. “That's why it's being left up to voters.”

Complete Title: Michigan's Proposal 1 Would Allow Seriously Ill To Grow and Use Illegal Drug

What an interesting proposal. I support the legalization of medical marijuana because who am I to take a treatment away from somebody that needs it? It's been proven to work for glaucoma, those in chemo and certain pain control. I hope my state, the State of Michigan votes YES on Proposal 1.

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