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Saturday, September 20, 2008



Dazed Capital Feels Its Way, Eyes on Election

WASHINGTON — The huge bailout of the financial system that the Bush administration and Congress are rushing to draft will leave taxpayers with at least part of the bill at a time when high gasoline prices, job losses and stagnant incomes have already helped produce an overwhelming sense that the nation is on the wrong track.
Policy makers cannot say where it all ends. News reports are unrelentingly talking of “crisis.” After decades of deregulation and free-market fealty, antiregulation, small-government Republicans are putting the government in control of a big chunk of the financial sector.
All of which has left Washington in the midst of a political convulsion that both parties are struggling to understand and turn to their advantage.

Thank John McCain

China Paper Urges New Currency Order After "Tsunami"

Source: Reuters
BEIJING, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Threatened by a "financial tsunami," the world must consider building a financial order no longer dependent on the United States, a leading Chinese state newspaper said on Wednesday.

The commentary in the overseas edition of the People's Daily said the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc "may augur an even larger impending global 'financial tsunami'."

Its pronouncements do not necessarily directly voice leadership views. But the commentary by a professor at Shanghai's Tongji University, as well as an essay in a Party journal, underscored official alarm at the turmoil in world financial markets.

China's central bank earlier this week cut its lending rate for the first time in six years, a move analysts said was aimed at bolstering the economy and the battered stock market.

"The eruption of the U.S. sub-prime crisis has exposed massive loopholes in the United States' financial oversight and supervision," writes the commentator, Shi Jianxun.
"The world urgently needs to create a diversified currency and financial system and fair and just financial order that is not dependent on the United States."

Charges Against Journalists at RNC Dropped; Questions Remain (Amy Goodman)

Source: Free Press
Charges Against Journalists at RNC Dropped; Questions Remain

Date: September 19, 2008

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Local authorities in St. Paul announced today that they will not prosecute journalists who were arrested on misdemeanor charges during the Republican National Convention earlier this month. "This is an important first step, but many questions remain," said Nancy Doyle Brown from Twin Cities Media Alliance. "We still need answers about why and how journalists got swept up in these arrests in the first place. And more than anything else, we need to ensure that this never happens again. We’ll never know how many important stories never got told because their authors were behind bars, not in the streets."

Nearly two dozen reporters were arrested during the four-day event, including Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and two of her producers, Associated Press reporters, student journalists, and local TV photographers, among others. Other journalists were pepper-sprayed, and reporters with I-Witness were held at gunpoint during a "pre-emptive" police raid aimed at disrupting protesters. The press release from St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman's office noted that the city's attorney will use a "broad definition and verification to identify journalists who were caught up in mass arrests during the convention."

- snip -

Less than three days after the initial arrests, more than 60,000 people across the country signed on to a letter from Free Press, demanding that Mayor Coleman and local authorities immediately "free all detained journalists and drop all charges against them." These letters were delivered to St. Paul City Hall the day after the convention following a press conference that included local citizens and many of the journalists who had been arrested earlier in the week. "The news from St. Paul City Hall is certainly welcome regarding the decision to drop charges against journalists who were arrested and cited during the RNC," said Mike Bucsko, executive officer of the Minnesota Newspaper Guild Typographical Union, who spoke at the press conference. "However, it is essential the elected officials in St. Paul and Ramsey County examine the circumstances that led to the needless detention and harassment of journalists to ensure this type of indiscriminate behavior on the part of law enforcement does not happen again."

Local advocates and independent journalists from KFAI Community Radio, National Lawyers Guild, Twin Cities Daily Planet, Twin Cities IndyMedia, Twin Cities Media Alliance and The Uptake were joined by national groups the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, The Newspaper Guild, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Reporters Without Borders, the Society for Professional Journalists and the Writers Guild of America, East, in condemning the unusually harsh treatment by city authorities.

McCain on banking and health

OK, a correspondent directs me to John McCain’s article, Better Health Care at Lower Cost for Every American, in the Sept./Oct. issue of Contingencies, the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries. You might want to be seated before reading this.
Here’s what McCain has to say about the wonders of market-based health reform:
Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.
So McCain, who now poses as the scourge of Wall Street, was praising financial deregulation like 10 seconds ago — and promising that if we marketize health care, it will perform as well as the financial industry!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bush: Wall St. evildoers to be 'persecuted'

Just like he Persecuted, Prosecuted, whoever leaked Valerie Plame's name!
Remember brother, Niel and the Silverado S&L meltdown!!?
Source: Chicago Tribune
Many Wall Street operators who engage in the usually legal practice of making trades based on a hunch that a company's stock price is overvalued have been feeling victimized today, after federal officials, trying to stop the market meltdown, made such trading in financial stocks off limits until next month.

And maybe the short sellers as they're called, have something to worry about based on what President Bush said today during a brief appearance in the Rose Garden:

The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued new rules temporarily suspending the practice of short selling on the stocks of financial institutions. This is intended to prevent investors from intentionally driving down particular stocks for their own personal gain. The SEC is also requiring certain investors to disclose their short selling, and has launched rigorous enforcement actions to detect fraud and manipulation in the market. Anyone engaging in illegal financial transactions will be caught and persecuted .

Who knew persecution was in the federal statutes? Maybe the feds will give the guilty a choice: tar and feathering or being run out of town on a rail.

Merrill Lynch boss to get $11m payoff after nine months' work

Source: UK Guardian
Merrill Lynch's newly recruited chief executive, John Thain, stands to share a $200m (£111.4m) payout with two senior lieutenants for less than a year's work which culminated this week in the bank surrendering its 94-year-old independence.

The Wall Street bank known as the "thundering herd" agreed to a $50bn takeover by Bank of America on Monday after a hasty 48 hours of negotiation. The talks were prompted by fears over banking stability arising from the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Thain, who was previously the head of the New York Stock Exchange, joined Merrill in December with a mandate to steer the bank out of financial trouble. When he arrived, he was given a $15m signing on bonus. If he leaves in Bank of America's takeover, he stands to get a further $11m in accelerated stock payouts.

Two former Goldman Sachs executives hired by Thain are likely to do even better. Merrill's head of global trading, Thomas Montag, who joined in August, has already received a $39m bonus. Together with stock options accelerated by a buyout, he could end the year with $76m. The bank's head of strategy, Peter Kraus, was given a $95m package including bonuses and stock awards to replace his generous compensation at Goldman when he joined in May, according to figures obtained by Bloomberg News.

Exclusive: New Doubts Over Palin's Troopergate Claims

Source: ABC News
An internal government document obtained by ABC News appears to contradict Sarah Palin's most recent explanation for why she fired her public safety chief, the move which prompted the now-contested state probe into "Troopergate."

"The last straw," her lawyer argued, came when he planned a trip to Washington, D.C., to seek federal funds for an aggressive anti-sexual-violence program. The project, expected to cost from $10 million to $20 million a year for five years, would have been the first of its kind in Alaska, which leads the nation in reported forcible rape.

The McCain-Palin campaign echoed the charge in a press release it distributed Monday, concurrent with Palin's legal filing. "Mr. Monegan persisted in planning to make the unauthorized lobbying trip to D.C.," the release stated.

But the governor's staff authorized the trip, according to an internal travel document from the Department of Public Safety, released Friday in response to an open records request.

The document, a state travel authorization form, shows that Palin's chief of staff, Mike Nizich, approved Monegan's trip to Washington D.C. "to attend meeting with Senator Murkowski." The date next to Nizich's signature reads June 18.

The Raw Story | Maher: 'They hate us for our airstrikes'

The middle class has really been under assault.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, 09.19.2008
This is absurd. This is the most extreme example that I can recall of socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor.

Maddow guest: Clinton voters 'scared straight' by Palin into backing Obama

Maddow cited a new poll showing that after briefly falling behind, Obama has now leaped to a lead over McCain of 54% to 38% among women voters. Even among white women, Obama is up by two points, whereas before the Palin selection it was McCain who led by seven.

Paulson On Bailout: "We're Talking Hundreds Of Billions"

WASHINGTON — Struggling to stave off financial catastrophe, the Bush administration on Friday laid out a radical bailout plan with a jawdropping price tag _ a takeover of a half-trillion dollars or more in worthless mortgages and other bad debt held by tottering institutions.
Relieved investors sent stocks soaring on Wall Street and around the globe. The Dow-Jones industrials average rose 368 points after surging 410 points the day before on rumors the federal action was afoot.
A grim-faced President Bush acknowledged risks to taxpayers in what would be the most sweeping government intervention to rescue failing financial institutions since the Great Depression. But he declared, "The risk of not acting would be far higher."
The administration is asking Congress for far-reaching new powers to take over troubled mortgages from banks and other companies, including purchasing sour mortgage-backed securities. Administration officials and congressional leaders are to work out details over the weekend.

Gov at First Sight

PoliticsWSJ Editorial Board Slams McCain... GOP Backs Obama On Iraqi Meeting

Undermining McCain Campaign Attack, Republicans Back Obama‘s Version of Meeting With Iraqi Leaders
September 19, 2008 1:06 PMJulia Hoppock-->
Earlier this week, the campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., seized upon a column in the New York Post that described Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., as having urged Iraqi leaders in a private meeting to delay coming to an agreement with the Bush administration on the status of U.S. troops.
"Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a drawdown of the American military presence," Post columnist Amir Taheri wrote, quoting Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, who told the Post that Obama, during his meeting with Iraqi leaders in July, "asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the U.S. elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington."
The charge -- that Obama asked the Iraqis to delay signing off on a "Status of Forces Agreement," thus delaying U.S. troop withdrawal and interfering in U.S. foreign policy -- has been picked up on the Internet, talk radio and by Republicans, including the McCain campaign, which seized on the story as possible evidence of duplicity.
The Obama campaign said that the Post report consisted of "outright distortions."
Lending significant credence to Obama's response is the fact that -- though it's absent from the Post story and other retellings -- in addition to Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, this July meeting was also attended by Bush administration officials, such as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and the Baghdad embassy's legislative affairs advisor Rich Haughton, as well as a Republican senator, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

Struggling to stave off financial catastrophe, Paulson On Bailout: "We're Talking Hundreds Of Billions"

Congressional Leaders Were Stunned by Warnings

WASHINGTON — It was a room full of people who rarely hold their tongues. But as the Fed chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, laid out the potentially devastating ramifications of the financial crisis before congressional leaders on Thursday night, there was a stunned silence at first.
Mr. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. had made an urgent and unusual evening visit to Capitol Hill, and they were gathered around a conference table in the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“When you listened to him describe it you gulped," said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York.
As Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, put it Friday morning on the ABC program “Good Morning America,” the congressional leaders were told “that we’re literally maybe days away from a complete meltdown of our financial system, with all the implications here at home and globally.”
Mr. Schumer added, “History was sort of hanging over it, like this was a moment.”
When Mr. Schumer described the meeting as “somber,” Mr. Dodd cut in. “Somber doesn’t begin to justify the words,” he said. “We have never heard language like this.”
“What you heard last evening,” he added, “is one of those rare moments, certainly rare in my experience here, is Democrats and Republicans deciding we need to work together quickly.”
Although Mr. Schumer, Mr. Dodd and other participants declined to repeat precisely what they were told by Mr. Bernanke and Mr. Paulson, they said the two men described the financial system as effectively bound in a knot that was being pulled tighter and tighter by the day.
“You have the credit lines in America, which are the lifeblood of the economy, frozen.” Mr. Schumer said. “That hasn’t happened before. It’s a brave new world. You are in uncharted territory, but the one thing you do know is you can’t leave them frozen or the economy will just head south at a rapid rate.”
As he spoke, Mr. Schumer swooped his hand, to make the gesture of a plummeting bird. “You know we’d be lucky ...” he said as his voice trailed off. “Well, I’ll leave it at that.”
As officials at the Treasury Department raced on Friday to draft legislative language for an ambitious plan for the government to buy billions of dollars of illiquid debt from ailing American financial institutions, legislators on Capitol Hill said they planned to work through the weekend reviewing the proposal and making efforts to bring a package of measures to the floor of the House and Senate by the end of next week.
Lawmakers in both parties described the meeting in Ms. Pelosi’s office on Thursday night with Mr. Paulson and Mr. Bernanke as collaborative, and that they were prepared to put politics aside to address the needs of the American people.
While Democrats initially said after the meeting that they planned to use the administration’s proposal of a huge rescue effort to win support for an economic stimulus package, they pulled back slightly on Friday morning, saying that their top priority was to help put together the bailout package and stabilize the economy.
But it was clear they continued to examine ways to make clear that the government was stepping up not just to help the major financial firms but also to protect the interests of American taxpayers and families by safeguarding their pensions and college savings, and by preventing any further drying up of consumer credit.
In addition to potential stimulus measures, which could include an extension of unemployment benefits and spending on public infrastructure projects, Democrats said they intended to consider measures to help stem home foreclosures and stabilize real estate values.
Among the potential steps Congress can take include approving legislation to allow bankruptcy judges to modify the terms of primary mortgages — authority that the bankruptcy laws do not currently allow and that the banking industry has strenuously opposed.
But the Democrats said it was too soon to discuss such details, and that they were awaiting a draft of the proposal from the Treasury Department.
“We have got to deal with the foreclosure issue,” Mr. Dodd said. “You have got to stop that hemorrhaging..If you don’t, the problem doesn’t go away. Ben Bernanke has said it over and over again. Hank Paulson recognizes it. This problem began with bad lending practices. Those are his words, not mine, and so this plan must address that or I’ll be back here in front of a bank of microphones at some point explaining the next failure.”
Even before the drafting of the plan was complete, the Bush administration and the Fed began efforts to sell the idea of a huge rescue to potentially skeptical rank-and-file members of Congress. Mr. Paulson and Mr. Bernanke held a conference call with House Republicans to explain their thinking.
Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican on the Senate banking committee, said in a television interview that cost to the government of purchasing bad debt could run to $1 trillion — a potential warning sign since Mr. Shelby is a longtime skeptic of government intervention in the private market.
Until Mr. Shelby was interviewed on Friday morning, officials on Capitol Hill had been careful not to discuss specific figures, though the rescue envisioned by the Treasury Department clearly entails a government appropriation of hundreds of billions of dollars.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Tax Fairness for the Middle Class, Washington, DC | September 18, 2007

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Tax Fairness for the Middle Class

Obama's Tax Fairness Speech Part 1

Obama's Tax Fairness Speech Part 2

Obama's Tax Fairness Speech Part 3

Barack Obama at Cooper Union

Keith Olbermann Does Sarah Palin's Fox Interview In 62 Seconds (VIDEO)

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann cuts Sarah Palin's interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity down to its maverick essence -- 62 seconds of pure reform. Watch:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"Disparities, there are plenty"

As horrible as Hurricane Ike was to Texas, and it was, one can't help noticing the disparity in death tolls between Ike and Katrina. It is dispositive, I think, as to the difference between even the nastiest of hurricanes (the Ike event) and the breaching in more than fifty places of federally-built levees (the Katrina event).
Louisiana's Republican Governor Bobby Jindal has noticed another disparity, that between the federal government's willingness to lift a recovery burden off the state of Texas and its refusal to do the same for Louisiana.
Bush decided Tuesday to have FEMA pick up 100 percent of the costs for debris removal and emergency measures that Texas governments incurred when Hurricane Ike blasted ashore at Galveston last week.
When Jindal saw that, he decided to renew his call for eliminating the 25 percent share Louisiana must pay for the public costs from both Ike and Hurricane Gustav, which hit the state 12 days earlier.
"Singularly, each was a major disaster; combined, these storms amount to a catastrophic event for the state," Jindal wrote.
Even electing a Republican Governor can't help Louisiana keep this President's thumb off the scale.

Biden's "Sick And Tired Of This Phoniness"

From an interview today with CBS's Katie Couric:
Katie: "Your vice presidential rival, Governor Palin, said "To the rest of America, that's not patriotism. Raising taxes is about killing jobs and hurting small businesses and making things worse."
Biden: "How many small businessmen are making one million, four hundred thousand--average in the top 1 percent. Give me a break. I remind my friend, John McCain, what he said--when Bush called for war and tax cuts--he said, it was immoral, immoral, to take a nation to war and not have anybody pay for it. I am so sick and tired of this phoniness. The truth of the matter is that we are in trouble. And the people who do not need a new tax cut should be willing, as patriotic Americans, to understand the way to get this economy back up on their feet is to give middle class taxpayers a break. We take the tax cut they're getting and we give it to the middle class."

Author Of Pro-McCain Book: McCain Has Lost Me

When Bush, issued a “signing statement” in 2006 on McCain’s hard-fought legislation placing prohibitions on torture, saying he would interpret the measure as he chose, McCain barely uttered a peep. And then, in 2006, in one of his most disheartening acts, McCain supported a “compromise” with the administration on trials of Guantanamo detainees, yielding too much of what the administration wanted, and accepted provisions he had originally opposed on principle. Among other things, the bill sharply limited the rights of detainees in military trials, stripped habeas corpus rights from a broad swath of people “suspected” of cooperating with terrorists, and loosened restrictions on the administration’s use of torture. (The Supreme Court later ruled portions of this measure unconstitutional.)
McCain’s caving in to this “compromise” did it for me. This was further evidence that the former free-spirited, supposedly principled, maverick was morphing into just another panderer – to Bush and the Republican Party’s conservative base.
Other aspects of McCain, including his temperament, began to trouble me. He seemed disturbingly bellicose. He gave the Iraq war unflagging support no matter the facts. He still talks about “winning” the war, though George W. Bush gave that up some time ago. As the war became increasingly unpopular, he employed the useful technique of blaming its execution rather than recognizing the misconceptions that had led him to be one of the most enthusiastic champions of the war in the first place.

"Prisoner of War,"

An explosive piece in GQ Magazine alleges that in July 2007, John McCain urged President Bush to cut off its ties with the al-Maliki government in Iraq, a move meant to spur reform but one that had the potential to undermine the fragile governing body upon which McCain currently rests such high hopes.
"It suddenly seemed that the efforts of the surge might be for naught," the magazine reports. "And so, shortly after returning from Iraq, McCain and [Sen. Lindsey] Graham visited President Bush at the White House. According to three individuals with knowledge of the July 11 conversation, the pair advised Bush to cut all ties with al-Maliki unless he showed immediate signs of engagement. Such a move on Bush's part would be tantamount to encouraging a coup against Iraq's first democratically elected prime minister, but McCain and Graham saw the situation as a desperate one. We've got a military strategy that's working, they told the president. And it's being undercut by an Iraqi government that's dysfunctional.
"The revelation, which comes as part of a Robert Draper piece entitled "Prisoner of War," sheds new light on the Republican nominee's positions on the Iraq War. It also will likely lead to questions and possibly concerns about McCain's disposition on matters of war and foreign policy.
In addition to the al-Maliki move, Draper reports that on "August 19, 2003, less than four months after President Bush's mission accomplished speech," McCain suggested that the United States military "shoot the looters" who were disrupting the fragile calm of the newly liberated country. As excerpted from the GQ story:

"John McCain and his Republican friends have two faces

"Palin and McCain administration" Says Sarah Palin in Cedar Rapids.

Sarah Palin promises a "Palin and McCain administration" on the stump in Cedar Rapids, Iowa,

Sarah Palin promises a "Palin and McCain administration" on the stump in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she was talking about small businesses.
And the reportage from the scene does suggest that the crowds are, still, coming for the bottom of the ticket. O. Kay Henderson reports that the rally began with chants of "We want Sarah."
"I look up, about five minutes into McCain's address and see a steady stream of people walking out of the rally. They just came to see Palin apparently," she writes.

A Palin McCain Administration?



...You Know It's A Really Bad Week When Your Running Mate Calls It Her Administration...See The Video


Will Sarah Palin be a Good Vice President?

The Secret Service contacted The Associated Press on Wednesday and asked for copies of the leaked e-mails.

WASHINGTON -- Hackers broke into the Yahoo! e-mail account that Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin used for official business as Alaska's governor, revealing as evidence a few inconsequential personal messages she has received since John McCain selected her as his running mate.
"This is a shocking invasion of the governor's privacy and a violation of law. The matter has been turned over to the appropriate authorities and we hope that anyone in possession of these e-mails will destroy them," the McCain campaign said in a statement.
The Secret Service contacted The Associated Press on Wednesday and asked for copies of the leaked e-mails, which circulated widely on the Internet. The AP did not comply.

Daily Show: The Economy And You

Jon Stewart outlines the repercussions of the economic crisis for certain archetypes including people like Lehman CEO Dick Fuld, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and ring-tailed lemurs.
Fuld and Palin he thinks will be OK. As for the lemurs...

Spanish Papers: McCain Didn't Know Who Zapatero Was

McCain Answers Question on Spain, Zapatero

McCain on Spain: Confused, fibbing or flip-flopping

Max Bergmann: Not a Gaffe? McCain Campaign Willing to Destroy Relationship with Spain, Europe for Political Gain

Listening to McCain's interview repeatedly, it simply seemed that he had no idea who Zapatero actually was. McCain seemed to think he was a Latin American autocrat - despite the reporter repeatedly saying, "I am talking about Spain." This gaffe would seem to have very significant implications. Not knowing who the leader of Spain was or thinking Spain was in Latin America would not really be shocking coming from his running mate, but McCain has run on his foreign policy expertise and such confusion completely undercuts his credibility.

Australian Press ROFL - McCain Invented Blackberry?

Fact Checking McCains Running Mate

McCain Financial Crisis Flip Flops - ABC News on

"The total casualties for the Ch-47 is seven. This includes the crew,"

Loss of seven soldiers deadliest such incident in Iraq for over a year.

From Catherine Deveney's opinion piece in today's Age:

I'd been thinking the US election campaign was dragging on endlessly until I read the headline "McCain chooses woman for running mate." I loved that, "woman". Sums the whole thing up. She's the closest thing Republican strategists could find to a man with a vagina. No political party in the world would have had the genius to dream up Sarah Palin. She's a social experiment with lipstick.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Which Investment Bank Will Be Next?
An economist explains the Fed's AIG move and the financial wreckage to come. —By Nomi Prins
While you were sleeping, the US financial system entered a new phase of historic turmoil. —By Nick Baumann
Sex toy "presentations" for industry reps and other new details about the Interior Department's taxpayer funded free-for-all. —By Josh Harkinson
If Washington Mutual falls, all it could take is a few more bank collapses to wipe out the FDIC's reserves. —By James Ridgeway
Is there a way for U.S. negotiators to finagle permanent bases without permission from Congress? Yep. It's called a SOFA. —By Frida Berrigan


Jeb Bush Throws His Brother Under The Bus At McCain Town Hall
During a Florida town hall event with John McCain, Jeb Bush appeared to throw his brother George under the bus. Bush gave a rousing talk about throwing the bums out of Washington. Perhaps he forgot that his brother is the chief bum? Read more here.

See the excerpt below:
"Reform becomes contagious," former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, brother of the current president, said at a McCain town hall meeting this week in Orlando. "If you start to dream bigger dreams and you start challenging the basic assumptions, you can change how things work, and we've done it in Florida, and the Good Lord knows we need to do it in Washington, D.C., and John McCain is the right guy at the right time to make that happen."

Livni clear winner in Israeli primary

JERUSALEM — Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni won the Kadima Party's primary election for its leader Wednesday, TV exit polls said, putting her in a good position to become Israel's first female leader in 34 years and sending a message that peace talks with the Palestinians will proceed.
Cheers and applause broke out at party headquarters when Israel's three networks announced their exit polls gave Livni between 47 percent and 49 percent, compared to 37 percent for her closest rival, former defense minister and military chief Shaul Mofaz.
Livni needed 40 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff next week, and her supporters hugged each other and shed tears of joy.
If official results bear out the exit polls, as is likely, the 50-year-old Livni will replace Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as head of Kadima. Olmert, the target of a career-ending corruption probe, promised to step down as soon as a new Kadima leader was chosen.

Free Fall: Stocks Drop 450 Points

NEW YORK — Wall Street plunged again Wednesday as anxieties about the financial system ran high after the government's bailout of insurer American International Group Inc. and left investors with little confidence in many banking stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average lost about 450 points, giving it a shortfall of more than 800 so far this week.
As investors fled stocks, they sought the safety of hard assets and government debt, sending gold, oil and short-term Treasurys soaring.
The market was more unnerved than comforted by news that the Federal Reserve is giving a two-year, $85 billion loan to AIG in exchange for a nearly 80 percent stake in the company, which lost billions in the risky business of insuring against bond defaults. Wall Street had feared that the conglomerate, which has extensive ties to various financial services industries around the world, would follow the investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. into bankruptcy. However, the ramifications of the world's largest insurer going under likely would have far surpassed the demise of Lehman.
"People are scared to death," said Bill Stone, chief investment strategist for PNC Wealth Management. "Who would have imagined that AIG would have gotten into this position?"

The Republican says he does understand voters' concerns about the financial crisis.

VIENNA, OHIO -- Under fire for his assertion that the American economy is fundamentally sound, John McCain moved Tuesday to assure voters of his empathy and accused Barack Obama of attempting to take political advantage of the roiling Wall Street crisis.Obama on Tuesday castigated McCain as having been "scornful" of the very Wall Street regulations he was now espousing, and he launched television ads mocking McCain's Monday statement.

Catholics United Airs Ad: Pro-Life, Anti-McCain (VIDEO)

Catholics United today unveiled a new ad campaign asking why Senator John McCain has voted against health care and effective assistance to pregnant women, children, and families -- and for the war in Iraq. The ad will run on cable television in heavily Catholic areas of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. "It's not enough to say you're pro-life," the narrator says. "Actions speak louder than words." Watch:
John McCain: Actions Speak Louder than Words


Even The White House Won't Say It!

White House on fundamentals of economy

'I'm the mayor, I can do whatever I want until the courts tell me I can't.'"

What happens when you let Palin slide? One man's story.

Source: dailykos.com
Now that Republicans have called in their Top Guns, should Democrats leave the locals to handle Troopergate from the other side?

Here's one local Republican's perspective on what happens when you catch Palin red-handed, but let it slide:

"Executive abilities? She doesn't have any," said former Wasilla City Council member Nick Carney, who selected and groomed Palin for her first political race in 1992 and served with her after her election to the City Council.

Four years later, the ambitious Palin won the Wasilla mayor's office -- after scorching the "tax and spend mentality" of her incumbent opponent. But Carney, Palin's estranged former mentor, and others in city hall were astounded when they found out about a lavish expenditure of Palin's own after her 1996 election. According to Carney, the newly elected mayor spent more than $50,000 in city funds to redecorate her office, without the council's authorization.

Carney confronted Mayor Palin at a City Council hearing, and was shocked by her response.

"I braced her about it," he said. "I told her it was against the law to make such a large expenditure without the council taking a vote. She said, 'I'm the mayor, I can do whatever I want until the courts tell me I can't.'"

"I'll never forget it -- it's one of the few times in my life I've been speechless," Carney added. "It would have been easier for her to finesse it. She had the votes on the council by then, she controlled it. But she just pushed forward. That's Sarah. She just has no respect for rules and regulations."

Lehman Layoffs: Will They Include George Herbert Walker IV?

Radar caught a new angle in the financial crisis -- after Barclay's buys up parts of Lehman Brothers, there will likely be layoffs. But will they include a particularly well-connected executive?
Will George Herbert Walker IV be laid off? The President's second cousin is the global head of investment management for now-bankrupt Lehman Brothers, at the managing director level.
From his Lehman Brothers bio:
George H. Walker Global Head of Investment Management George H. Walker is global head of the Investment Management Division at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. In this role, Mr. Walker oversees Asset Management, including Neuberger Berman, Private Investment Management and Private Equity businesses. He is a member of the Firm's Executive Committee.

U.S. regulators try to find WaMu buyer: report

Wednesday September 17, 4:54 am ET
(Reuters) - U.S. federal regulators recently called a number of banks asking if they would consider buying Washington Mutual Inc (NYSE:WM - News) should it eventually falter, the New York Post said, citing sources.
Federal banking regulators, in recent days, contacted Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC - News), JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM - News), HSBC (LSE:HSBA.L - News) and several other financial institutions to gauge their interest in a possible acquisition of WaMu, the paper said.
No merger discussions are currently under way between the Seattle-based bank and anyone else, the sources told the paper.
Washington Mutual could not be immediately reached for comment.

The "Ol' Boy's Network" Is A Staff Meeting

Some fiery rhetoric just now from Barack Obama on the campaign trail, as the Illinois Democrat ripped into McCain for a couple of questionable statements he made on the economy this past week, and called the Republican nominee part of the insider culture he now opposes.
"Yesterday, John Mccain actually said that if he's president, he will take on, and I quote, "the old boy's network in Washington," said Obama. "I'm not making this up. This is somebody who has been in Congress for 26 years, who put seven of the most powerful Washington lobbyists in charge of his campaign. And now he tells us that he's the one who is going to take on the old boy's network. The old boy's network, in the McCain campaign, that's called a staff meeting. Come on."
Barack Obama on McCain's 'old boy network'


McCain On AIG Bailout: Rejects It Yesterday, Says It's Okay Today

McCain Embraces Regulation After Many Years of Opposition

Source: Washington Post, Page One

A decade ago, Sen. John McCain embraced legislation to broadly deregulate the banking and insurance industries, helping to sweep aside a thicket of rules established over decades in favor of a less restricted financial marketplace that proponents said would result in greater economic growth.

Now, as the Bush administration scrambles to prevent the collapse of the American International Group (AIG), the nation's largest insurance company, and stabilize a tumultuous Wall Street, the Republican presidential nominee is scrambling to recast himself as a champion of regulation to end "reckless conduct, corruption and unbridled greed" on Wall Street.

"Government has a clear responsibility to act in defense of the public interest, and that's exactly what I intend to do," a fiery McCain said at a rally in Tampa yesterday. "In my administration, we're going to hold people on Wall Street responsible. And we're going to enact and enforce reforms to make sure that these outrages never happen in the first place."

McCain hopes to tap into anger among voters who are looking for someone to blame for the economic meltdown that threatens their home values, bank accounts and 401(k) plans. But his past support of congressional deregulation efforts and his arguments against "government interference" in the free market by federal, state and local officials have given Sen. Barack Obama an opening to press the advantage Democrats traditionally have in times of economic trouble....


Exposed: McCain team includes 83 Wall Street lobbyists

Two High Profile Endorsements For Swing Voters To Consider

Takin' it Back with Barack Jack! (For Swing voters!!!)

Obama proud to have the support of Lilly Ledbetter; McCain hides from Lady de Rothschild endorsementMcCain's opposition to regulating the excesses of capitalism goes back to the beginning of his career. And he's never wavered-- until yesterday. Now he and Sarah Palin are all about regulating the evil Wall Street. Let's look at the facts, the facts about a man who boasted to the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal last year that they would never meet a bigger deregulator than himself. That was the ole Straight Talkin' McCain. Now he's shifting like a chameleon who just saw four boomslang and vine snakes approaching from each direction and a Cuckoo Hawk circling overhead.Today's Washington Post goes easy on his flip flop on regulation but even they can't deny his very clear and consistent record.
A decade ago, Sen. John McCain embraced legislation to broadly deregulate the banking and insurance industries, helping to sweep aside a thicket of rules established over decades in favor of a less restricted financial marketplace that proponents said would result in greater economic growth.Now, as the Bush administration scrambles to prevent the collapse of the American International Group (AIG), the nation's largest insurance company, and stabilize a tumultuous Wall Street, the Republican presidential nominee is scrambling to recast himself as a champion of regulation to end "reckless conduct, corruption and unbridled greed" on Wall Street.It's as absurd as the idea of McCain, whose campaign is the most lobbyist-driven political campaign in American history, will get into power and somehow banish lobbyists-- unless he means take them all off K Street and install them in the Executive Branch. Among the several hundred lobbyists doing all they can to elect McCain are 84 who worked for the financial services industries he's been running all around denouncing for two days! He's taken over $24 million from the finance, insurance, and banking industies, over $14 million of which has flooded into his campaign coffers since he clinched the Republican nomination in March. >>>cont

Total Bailout Bill = $900 Billion

After AIG rescue, Fed may find more at its door
All of the profits have been privatized. Now the US taxpayer is responsible for all the losses.
From Reuters:

Between the $29 billion the Fed pledged to swing the Bear Stearns sale to JPMorgan in March, $100 billion apiece to rescue mortgage finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, up to $300 billion for the Federal Housing Authority, Tuesday's $85 billion loan to insurer AIG and various other rescue deals and loans, taxpayers are potentially on the hook for more than $900 billion.
Think about that for a minute. $900 billion dollars, racked-up before your very eyes. This at a time when the federal government is already bleeding money. Note the following numbers from the Bureau of Public Debt:

09/30/2007 $9,007,653,372,262.48
09/30/2006 $8,506,973,899,215.23
09/30/2005 $7,932,709,661,723.50
09/30/2004 $7,379,052,696,330.32
09/30/2003 $6,783,231,062,743.62
09/30/2002 $6,228,235,965,597.16
09/30/2001 $5,807,463,412,200.06
09/30/2000 $5,674,178,209,886.86

Currently the total outstanding debt = $9,634,090,464,815.55

And now, thanks the the geniuses in charge of the US government, we've got the following bills to add:
- $200 billion for Fannie Mae [FNM 0.42 -0.061 (-12.68%) ] and Freddie Mac [FRE 0.26 --- UNCH (0) ]. The Treasury will inject up to $100 billion into each institution by purchasing preferred stock to shore up their capital as needed. The deal puts the two housing finance firms under government control.

- $300 billion for the Federal Housing Administration to refinance failing mortgage into new, reduced-principal loans with a federal guarantee, passed as part of a broad housing rescue bill.

- $4 billion in grants to local communities to help them buy and repair homes abandoned due to mortgage foreclosures.

- $85 billion loan for AIG [AIG 2.06 -1.69 (-45.07%) ], which would give the Federal government a 79.9 percent stake and avoid a bankruptcy filing for the embattled insurer. AIG management will be dismissed.

- At least $87 billion in repayments to JPMorgan Chase [JPM 38.12 -2.62 (-6.43%) ] for providing financing to underpin trades with units of bankrupt investment bank Lehman Brothers [LEH 0.11 -0.19 (-62.37%) ]. U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said over the weekend he was adamant that public funds not be used to rescue the firm.

- $29 billion in financing for JPMorgan Chase's government-brokered buyout of Bear Stearns in March. The Fed agreed to take $30 billion in questionable Bear assets as collateral, making JPMorgan liable for the first $1 billion in losses, while agreeing to shoulder any further losses.

- At least $200 billion of currently outstanding loans to banks issued through the Fed's Term Auction Facility, which was recently expanded to allow for longer loans of 84 days alongside the previous 28-day credits.


...WHILE ROME BURNS...McCain Talks Streisand And Lohan

During Economic Crisis, McCain Camp Talks Streisand And LohanNever mind that McCain held a top-dollar fundraiser of his own, in Hollywood, with celebrities, less than a month earlier.

Cindy McCain's "The View" Complaint Baffles CNN Panel

Just in case you were wondering, even the nation's entertainment reporters are treating Cindy McCain's complaint that the hosts of The View "picked their bones clean" last Friday with a dose of studied incredulity. On last night's CNN Showbiz Tonight, host A.J. Hammer was joined by panelists Lauren Lake and Terry Anzur, unanimously praising The View's "professionalism" and expressing confusion over Cindy McCain's remarks.


Maddow Show: Bill Maher Takes On Palin (VIDEO)

Rachel Maddow invited Bill Maher on her show last night to talk about Sarah Palin, Carly Fiorina, and the economy. Maher describes the vice presidential candidate as "not very bright about matters on which a person in this position should be bright about." On John McCain campaign reactions to criticism of Palin as sexist, Maher said, "If you describe her accurately, there's no way you can do that and not sound condescending." Watch:

Lady Abandons Dems Over Elitism To Endorse Guy With Seven Homes

From one Elitist to another Elitist, forget womens rights

Palin's Email Account Hacked (PHOTOS)

Wired magazine reports:
The group known as Anonymous, which earlier took on Scientology, has published screenshots of e-mail messages and images that it says came from a private e-mail account belonging to Governor Sarah Palin at gov.palin@yahoo.com. The data has been published by WikiLeaks.
Threat Level has confirmed the authenticity of at least one of the e-mails.
The information includes five screenshots from Palin's account, including the text of an e-mail exchange with Alaskan Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell about his campaign for Congress.
From Wikileaks' press release:
The internet activist group 'anonymous', famed for its exposure of unethical behavior by the Scientology cult, has now gone after the Alaskan governor and republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
At around midnight last night the group gained access to governor Palin's email account ... and handed over the contents to the government sunshine site Wikileaks.org.
Governor Palin has come under media criticism in the past week for using pseudo-private email accounts to avoid Alaskan freedom of information laws.

He expresses regret, Now how many time have the thugs expressed their regrets for the slaughter of innocent citiazens?

I wonder if the Afghan families accept his personal regret?
Iraq, Afghanistan what's the difference

Gates Expresses "Personal Regret" For US-Led Strikes That Killed 90 Afghan Civilians

KABUL, Afghanistan — Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday expressed "personal regret" for recent U.S. airstrikes that killed Afghan civilians, and pledged more accurate targeting in future.
Gates' unusual apology followed a frank assessment from the top military commander in Afghanistan: There aren't enough U.S. ground forces in Afghanistan so the military is relying more heavily on air power, and air power runs a greater risk of civilian deaths.

Can He Stop 'Troopergate'?

A McCain lawyer scrambles to block a Palin ethics inquiry.Lawyer O'Callaghan, of the McCain camp, is trying to block the Troopergate investigation.
A former top Justice Department prosecutor now working for John McCain's presidential campaign has been helping to direct an aggressive legal strategy aimed at shutting down a pre-election ethics investigation into Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
The growing role of Edward O'Callaghan, who until six weeks ago served as co-chief of the terrorism and national security unit of the U.S. attorney's office in New York, illustrates just how seriously the McCain campaign is taking the so-called "troopergate" inquiry into Palin's firing last summer of Walt Monegan, Alaska's Public Safety Commissioner.
O'Callaghan emerged publicly for the first time this week when he told reporters at a McCain campaign press conference, in Anchorage, that Palin is "unlikely to cooperate" with an Alaskan legislative inquiry into Monegan's firing because it had been "tainted" by politics. That new stand appeared to directly contradict a previous vow, expressed by her official gubernatorial spokesman on July 28, that Palin "will fully cooperate" with an investigation into the matter.

But O'Callaghan (who resigned from the U.S. attorney's office at the end of July to join the McCain campaign) is doing more than just public relations when it comes to "troopergate." He told NEWSWEEK that he and another McCain campaign lawyer (whom he declined to identify) are serving as legal "consultants" to Thomas Van Flein, the Anchorage lawyer who at state expense is representing Palin and her office in the inquiry. "We are advising Thomas Van Flein on this matter to the extent that it impacts on the national campaign," he said. "I'm helping out on legal strategy."
Remind you of the gang of thugs in the White House, Law unto themselves.
Alaska AG: State employees won't honor subpoenas
Source: AP via GuardianAlaska's investigation into whether Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power, a potentially damaging distraction for John McCain's presidential campaign, ran into intensified resistance Tuesday when the attorney general said state employees would refuse to honor subpoenas in the case.

New Studies Report Wide Disparity in Health Care Plans

Study: Obama Plan Would Cover 34M Uninsured, McCain Plan Would Cover 5M 'At Best'
By Perry Bacon Jr.Barack Obama and John McCain are both proposing more than $100 billion a year in spending for health care, but the candidates' plans have vastly different goals, and vastly different outcomes.
New studies from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center and the policy journal Health Affairs suggest that Obama's proposal would eventually cover more than 34 million of the roughly 47 million Americans currently without insurance, while McCain's would cover at best 5 million uninsured.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Carly Fiorina on John McCain and experience

Carly Fiorina, a key surrogate for John McCain on economic issues, said on Tuesday that Sarah Palin does not have the experience needed to run a major company like the one that Fiorina formerly headed.
"Do you think [Sarah Palin] has the experience to run a major company, like Hewlett Packard?" asked the host.
"No, I don't," responded Fiorina. "But you know what? That's not what she's running for."



McCain Camp Throws Fiorina Under The Bus: "Carly Will Now Disappear"

"Carly will now disappear," this source said. "Senator McCain was furious." Asked to define "disappear," this source said, adding that she would be off TV for a while - but remain at the Republican National Committee and keep her role as head of the party's joint fundraising committee with the McCain campaign.
Fiorina was booked for several TV interviews over the next few days, including one on CNN. Those interviews have been canceled.

Sarah Palin the Iraq War "Task that is from God."

Stop, In the Name of God
Isn't the sanctity of human life a moral cause in its own?
By Mamoon Alabbasi
Earlier this month, the Iraq war, arguably the biggest mass murder expedition of the twenty-first centaury, was branded by Republican vice-presidential pick Sarah Palin as a "task that is from God."

How the Masters of the Universe Ran Amok and Cost us the Earth

By Bill Jamieson
SLAM. Slam. Slam. Slam. Like a scene from a gathering of Mafia dons, the doors of 30 black Lincolns slammed shut as their besuited occupants stepped out into a Manhattan downpour – and into a global financial storm.That storm broke yesterday, with stock markets tumbling around the world. In London, the FTSE 100 plunged almost 4 per cent to 5204.2. - In the US, the Dow Jones industrial average suffered its biggest fall since 9/11.

By: Mike Stathis
It appears as if we are witnessing government bailouts using taxpayer money that are being deceitfully disguised as buyouts. Not just with the Merrill buyout but also this newly established $70 billion emergency bank fund, set aside to help out banks with future problems. Where do you think this money is coming from?
A raid on private pensions?
By Paul Craig Roberts
Most Americans, including the presidential candidates and the media, are unaware that the US government today, now at this minute, is unable to finance its day to operations and must rely on foreigners to purchase its bonds. The government pays the interest to foreigners by selling more bonds, and when the bonds come due, the government redeems the bonds by selling new bonds. The day the foreigners do not buy is the day the American people and their government are brought to reality.
The Pentagon Strangles Our Economy:
Why the U.S. Has Gone Broke
By Chalmers Johnson
The neoconservatives in the White House and the Pentagon outsmarted themselves. They failed even to address the problem of how to finance their schemes of imperialist wars and global domination.

McCain Blasts Wall Street Failure, Neglects To Mention His Adviser Helped Cause It

David Corn
McCain, speaking at a campaign rally in Florida on Monday, angrily declared, We will never put America in this position again. We will clean up Wall Street. This is a failure. If McCain wants to hold someone accountable for the failure in transparency and accountability that led to the current calamity, he should turn to his good friend and adviser, Phil Gramm.
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