Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Palin: Obama has terrorist pals, "desperate and false."

CARSON, California (AFP) — Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin took the offensive Saturday, charging Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama with "palling around with terrorists."
Speaking early Saturday at a fundraiser in Englewood, Colorado, Palin told supporters Obama "is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."

Her comment referred to William Ayers, who supported Obama's first run for public office in 1995.

The relationship between Obama and Ayers, a member of the radical 1960s group the Weathermen that committed bombings on the Pentagon and the Capitol, was highlighted in The New York Times Saturday.

Palin's sharp jab is in step with recent Republican campaign statements that the McCain camp plans to launch a fierce assault on Obama with the presidential election only 30 days away.

The Obama campaign described the attack as "desperate and false."

"Governor Palin's comments, while offensive, are not surprising, given the McCain campaign's statement this morning that they would be launching Swiftboat-like attacks in hopes of deflecting attention from the nation's economic ills," said Obama-Biden spokesman Hari Sevugan.

"What's clear is that John McCain and Sarah Palin would rather spend their time tearing down Barack Obama than laying out a plan to build up our economy."

'The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,'"

Klein: Bush admin creates crises to enrich friends
They use shocks to enrich themselves and their friends... People are becoming shock resistant, which is wonderful because they remember the way this administration used the shock of Sept. 11 to build the Homeland Security industry; How Rudy Giuliani went into that industry himself as soon as he left office. They remember how the war in Iraq was used to privatize the government."


Another member of Bush's 'coalition of the willing' pulls troops from occupation.

NYT: Dick Cheney, Palin's Role Model

Saturday's New York Times runs an editorial hammering Gov. Sarah Palin over her debate comments about expanding the powers of the vice president:
In all the talk about the vice-presidential debate, there was an issue that did not get much attention but kept nagging at us: Sarah Palin's description of the role and the responsibilities of the office for which she is running, vice president of the United States.
In Thursday night's debate, Ms. Palin was asked about the vice president's role in government. She said she agreed with Dick Cheney that "we have a lot of flexibility in there" under the Constitution. And she declared that she was "thankful that the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the vice president also, if that vice president so chose to exert it."
It is hard to tell from Ms. Palin's remarks whether she understands how profoundly Dick Cheney has reshaped the vice presidency -- as part of a larger drive to free the executive branch from all checks and balances. Nor did she seem to understand how much damage that has done to American democracy.
Sarah Palin said she wants to expand Vice President.


"I am a gambling man"

McCain's Tax Returns Hide Gambling
Senator John McCain is a gambler. If I'd known that right away I would have immediately seen what was wrong with his tax returns.
I am a tax attorney, so a tax return means more to me than it would to most. I reviewed McCain's tax returns as a basic check on the candidates. You can look at McCain's 2006 and 2007 tax returns for yourself. The tax returns are below a lot of verbiage about his charitable activities.
According to a New York Times article of September 27, 2008 "For McCain and Team, a Host of Ties to Gambling," reported by Jo Becker and Don VanNatta Jr., McCain gambled at the MGM Grand in May 2007. Apparently McCain is a habitual gambler; he usually plays craps. He even says, "I am a gambling man."
Gambling has tax implications. According to IRS Publication 17, "Your Federal Income Tax", 2007 edition, page 89 "Gambling Winnings. You must include your gambling winnings in income on Form 1040, line 21. If you itemize your deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040), you can deduct gambling losses you had during the year, but only up to the amount of your winnings." In other words, you can't subtract your losses from your winnings and just not report. You have to report the winnings, and then claim the losses.
But McCain's tax returns say nothing about gambling winnings or losses >>>cont

Post-debate, Palin power putters out

DENVER, Colorado (AFP) – Despite a gutsy debate performance by Republican VP pick Sarah Palin, she failed to turn the tide in the race for the White House, leaving John McCain struggling to revitalize his slipping bid, analysts said Friday.

Just over four weeks until the November 4 elections, McCain has yet to seize the upper hand from his Democratic rival Barack Obama and has been left trailing in the polls.

On Thursday his campaign admitted that it was pulling out of Michigan, effectively surrendering the midwestern state to the Democrats, to focus instead on six swing states.

And with more bad news on the economic front, McCain was Friday to hold a rally in Colorado before retreating to his Arizona ranch for the weekend, in a highly unusual disappearing act at the height of the campaign.

Missouri, where Thursday's debate was held, is one of the key states in play -- along with Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana and Ohio -- and Republicans there acknowledged there was work to be done.

"Senator McCain has to win Missouri to win the White House. So there is a strong commitment from the McCain-Palin campaign to make sure that we deliver Missouri for that ticket," said Jared Craighead, executive director of the state's Republican Party.

"They're assholes."

There's been so much going on with the campaign lately, that I hadn't paid much attention to Bob Woodward's newest book, The War Within.
Tonight he was on Real Time with Bill Maher (video below) and he relayed a couple of interesting items.
First, he said that during White House discussions on Iran, a senior military leader asked Bush what his strategy was. Bush's answer? "They're assholes." Just gives you a sense as to how crude and clueless our current president is, and how desperately we need a change.
Second -- and this was really interesting -- he maintained that the surge was not the cause of the decrease in violence in Iraq. Instead, Woodward said a covert program run by the U.S. military was the primary reason for the decrease in violence. Woodward didn't get specific, but it basically sounded like a targeted assassinations program.
According to Woodward, the administration has confirmed his account. Seems like that might be something for McCain to ponder the next time he wants to say that the surge is the defining reason he ought to be elected president.


Two US Blackhawks down in accident; At least one dead, more injured.


THE OBAMA SURGE: GAINING GROUND IN CRUCIAL STATESMcCain Planning 'Fiercely' Negative Campaign In Final Days

John McCain and his Republican allies are "readying a newly aggressive assault on Sen. Barack Obama's character, believing that to win in November they must shift the conversation back to questions about the Democrat's judgment, honesty and personal associations," several top Republicans told the Washington Post.

GOP Strategists Fear Greater Losses In Store In November

GOP Strategists Whisper Fears Of Greater Losses in November

Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, October 4, 2008; Page A11
With the party already struggling to generate enthusiasm for its brand, Republican strategists fear that an outpouring of public anger generated by Congress's struggle to pass a rescue package for the financial industry may contribute to

"The crisis has affected the entire ticket," said Jan van Lohuizen, a Republican consultant who handled the polling for President Bush's reelection campaign. "The worse the state's economy, the greater the impact."
Republicans are trying to defend at least 18 House seats in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, economic trouble spots that double as election battlegrounds. Rising unemployment, the meltdown in the housing market, and a credit crunch besieging consumers and manufacturers alike were factors in Sen. John McCain's decision Thursday to pull campaign resources out of Michigan. The McCain campaign's exit from the state leaves a pair of vulnerable Republicans, Reps. Tim Walberg and Joe Knollenberg, with a weakened party infrastructure heading into Nov. 4. Attempting to sound optimistic, Knollenberg, who opposed the bailout bill on Monday but supported a revised version yesterday, said simply, "I am going to fight harder."
In the Senate, where Democrats have been on offense all year as they try to attain a filibuster-proof, 60-seat majority, Republican incumbents are suddenly teetering in North Carolina, Kentucky and Georgia because of the economic crisis, according to several GOP strategists closely tracking the contests. LinkHere

Neither man is terribly happy about being rejected by McCain-land,

Friday night on the Late Show, it was a meeting of the two most prominent media personalities spurned by the McCain campaign -- Brian Williams and David Letterman.
Neither man is terribly happy about being rejected by McCain-land, but they both manage to maintain their sense of humor.

Shock and Awe: Bipartisan Beltway Terrorists Launch Economic 9/11 on the American People

Chris Floyd
You've seen the news. You know the score. The House of Representatives has now completed the economic terrorist attack inflicted on the American people by the nation's elite. The bailout bill -- or as Arthur Silber more rightly terms it, the "Extortion Bill" -- is already law, thanks to the Democrats in Congress, and to Barack Obama, who spent the day working the phones and twisting arms to make sure the $700 billion bonanza for the filthy rich passed without any more of the hiccups that held it up earlier this week. The plan that Obama made his own -- despite its origins in the poison kitchen of the Bush White House -- is far worse than the version voted down on Monday....

Palin's winks and you betchas divide women of Florida

Source: The Guardian

• Republican spirits lifted but polls tell different story
• Vice-presidential candidate survives debate but fails to dazzle

Never before perhaps has such a tiny gesture assumed such electoral importance as Sarah Palin's wink.

Because while, as the cliche has it, the eyes are the window of the soul, Palin's use of her eyes was a window to the views of women in one of the most hotly contested places in this election.

Palin's eyelash batting got under way from the opening moments of Thursday's contest against Joe Biden - and so did the parsing of its significance at a debate-watching party in Florida.

"She is trying to act like a southern belle. She is not acting like someone who could be president of the United States and John McCain is one heart attack away," said Priscilla Glascock, a 26-year-old nurse who is supporting Barack Obama. "The men are going to love it," she sneered.


But for the host Kit Pepper, 52, a member of the non-partisan League of Women Voters, Palin's winking was an affront to the years she spent trying to build up her own political consultancy firm in a male-dominated world.

The monster marches and devours and never sleeps and it can only be defeated by its opposite:

Hope, Courage, Knowledge, Kindness, and Grace.The Palin Debate: How To Teach An Infant To High Five.
Every parent has done it. "Watch this! She high-fives!" The parent giggles proudly, "She's a genius!" Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but they all high-five. Even my dog has learned to high-five. Which leads me to the obvious....a pit bull can learn to high five.
One conservative journalist said that Palin didn't learn the easy way by going to Harvard, she learned the hard way, on the streets. I guess if I ever need open-heart surgery I won't go to one of those doctors who learned the easy way in medical school. I want someone who learned surgical technique on the streets of Wasilla. Conservatives have long sent their sons and daughters to our greatest universities, but now they've decided to surrender those admirable values in exchange for pandering to the people they endeavor to inspire. The Republican party's contrived contempt and manufactured mistrust of intellect is not only counter to what they've always believed, but is terribly dangerous to the country they claim to put first. To indoctrinate a nation to renounce education and intellect is to shamefully discourage and suppress the very thing that America has not only historically exalted but needs so desperately right now.
They talk of competing in the worlds of science and medicine, technology and economics and yet present us with a presidential candidate who has repeatedly shown and even admitted that he knows very little about such things, has repeatedly voted against funding for education, but will repeat at every opportunity that he is an expert at winning wars, though he's never actually won one. They talk about teaching our children to compete in the global economy and international relations and yet they present us with a vice presidential candidate who has to memorize talking points and cynically condescend to us with winks and "doggonits" in order to conceal her astounding and terrifying lack of genuine knowledge.
Is Sarah Palin really the best and the brightest? Shouldn't a leader inspire us by example, be curious as well as ambitious, humble as well as formidable, gracious as well as robust, and learned as well as knowable? Folksy does not have to mean ignorant, regular does not have to mean ordinary, and earnest does not have to mean frivolous. For an example of this, look at one Joe Biden. To call him a "Washington elitist" or a typical "east coast politician" is to shamelessly insult the type of American we like to claim as unique and special to our nation. Ironically, Joe Biden is the very type of person Sarah Palin aspires to be, a "real American" who tirelessly works for his country, never forgets where he's from, and constantly looks forward to where we should be going. One thing is certain, Sarah Palin is no Joe Biden.
Sarah Palin and those like her do not aspire to transcend anything more than lowered expectations. Her foresight and ambition only reach as high as she tells you to look. The terms "Joe Six Pack" and "Hockey Moms of America" are code for the type of person she assumes won't aspire to anything more than mediocrity. The talent of Sarah Palin is in her ability to charm some with her folksy demeanor while concealing her stunning vacuousness. The obscenity of John McCain is in his selfish willingness to reignite a culture war by attempting to provide someone like Sarah Palin entree to an office that she should only see from the other side of the velvet rope on the White House tour.
Last night's debate was a David and Goliath match-up. Not because Joe Biden is a towering and formidable foe to a less-prepared civilian. Look again and tell me if you can tell the hero from the monster. Need some help? Goliath is the one who is condescending, arrogant, sarcastic, combative, insulting, childish, patronizing, untruthful and divisive. The monster doesn't lead, it misleads. It doesn't inspire, it frightens. It doesn't protect, it provokes. The monster is what has dominated us for eight long years. Sarah Palin is just the brand new model.
The monster marches and devours and never sleeps and it can only be defeated by its opposite: Hope, Courage, Knowledge, Kindness, and Grace. Those are the traits we saw in Joe Biden last night. They're the traits we see in Barack Obama. But most importantly, those are the traits they see in us.

"I want to make a toast,"

Are You totally sick to your stomach yet America? Disgusting

It's Official: GOP Ticket Now "Winky and Wrinkly"

Sarah Palin proved last night she's more qualified to host a game show than be Vice President of the United States.
She looked directly into the camera and delivered one canned line after another with nary an "um" or an "uh," but her complete inability to do anything other than insert prepared speeches into more or less appropriate places became clear when Gwen Ifill asked the candidates about their personal limitations:
IFILL: Let's talk conventional wisdom for a moment. The conventional wisdom, Gov. Palin with you, is that your Achilles heel is that you lack experience. Your conventional wisdom against you is that your Achilles heel is that you lack discipline, Sen. Biden. What id it really for you, Gov. Palin? What is it really for you, Sen. Biden? Start with you, governor.


BIDEN: You're very kind suggesting my only Achilles Heel is my lack of discipline.
Others talk about my excessive passion. I'm not going to change. I have 35 years in public office. People can judge who I am. I haven't changed in that time.
She does not know what "achilles heel" means. Watch it. She Does. Not. Know. What. It.Means.
Forget the tight stripper skirt, forget the metallic eyeshadow inappropriate for anyone over the age of 40, forget the cloying sitcom delivery, the lies, the cruel and calculated needling of Biden by calling his college professor wife a "school teacher" and saying "she'll get her reward in Heaven" (to a man whose first wife died in a car accident) -- she's an idiot.
I cannot believe that we are seriously thinking of placing this dodo bird within reach of the Presidency.
Jane Hamsher blogs at firedoglake.com
NR's Rich Lowry: Palin "Sent Little Starbursts Through The Screen"

Via TNR, National Review's Rich Lowry gives Sarah Palin's debate winks a rave review:
I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, "Hey, I think she just winked at me." And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can't be learned; it's either something you have or you don't, and man, she's got it.
See video of Palin's mesmerizing, man-straightening winks here.

Mark 'quietly' reached at end of Sep.; Bush raised debt ceiling in July.

by Frank James
There were no fireworks so a lot of people probably missed it. We even forgot to mention it here on The Swamp when it happened though we saw the reports. Anyway, on the last day of September, the national debt hit $10 trillion plus.
President Bush signed legislation in July that raised the debt ceiling to $10.615 trillion. Meanwhile, the financial bailout legislation passed by the Senate last night would raise the debt ceiling further to $11.315 trillion.
Here's something else worth knowing. The gross national debt as a percentage of the gross domestic product has, under the Bush Administration, hit a 50-year high. The following two charts illustrate the trend nicely.

"The Reckoning"

Agency’s ’04 Rule Let Banks Pile Up New Debt
Published: October 2, 2008
“We have a good deal of comfort about the capital cushions at these firms at the moment.” — Christopher Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, March 11, 2008.
As rumors swirled that Bear Stearns faced imminent collapse in early March, Christopher Cox was told by his staff that Bear Stearns had $17 billion in cash and other assets — more than enough to weather the storm.
Drained of most of its cash three days later, Bear Stearns was forced into a hastily arranged marriage with JPMorgan Chase — backed by a $29 billion taxpayer dowry.
Within six months, other lions of Wall Street would also either disappear or transform themselves to survive the financial maelstrom — Merrill Lynch sold itself to Bank of America, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection, and Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley converted to commercial banks.
How could Mr. Cox have been so wrong?
Many events in Washington, on Wall Street and elsewhere around the country have led to what has been called the most serious financial crisis since the 1930s. But decisions made at a brief meeting on April 28, 2004, explain why the problems could spin out of control. The agency’s failure to follow through on those decisions also explains why Washington regulators did not see what was coming. >>>cont

Friday, October 03, 2008

Economy Sheds 159,000 Jobs In September, Worst Month In 5 Years

4 more year of the same, Awake yet America

Bush in 2000, Palin in 2008

McCain: McSame as Bush

2000 George Bush vs 2008 John McCain. Are they MCSAME? Daily Show

America pays the piper, big time pt.1

Robert Parry: After 28 years of drunken optimism and blind nationalism the US wakes up to a grim future

The People's Republic of Wall Street
Pepe Escobar: What's behind the "no banker left behind" bailout

The financial crisis may be the number one issue on US voters' minds, but there seems to be no leadership at work in Washington, comments Pepe Escobar. The Wall Street bailout rejected by Congress and then approved by the Senate may not be the solution. It's up to foreign analysts and economists to tell it like it really is. What is in fact being saved - capitalism or a banking oligopoly?


VP Debate: One Gigantic Mistake by Sarah Palin ... Huge!
Sarah Palin overplayed her hand. It was deliberate and it was a major strategic mistake. (I am not now listening to the pundits so I do not know whether they caught it or not.) When asked what they would do if the Presidency were transferred by death of the President to them as Vice President, Joe Biden said he would follow the policies of Barack Obama because they are, indeed, his own policies, that they agree completely on them. Sarah messed this one up.
Sarah Palin who had just said that her campaign experience was a mere five weeks old, (in effect that she has been thinking Vice Presidentially for less than six weeks), said that John McCain picked a maverick because he is a maverick and that they don't agree on everything. She asserted that a Palin Presidency would not be a policy by policy continuation of a McCain Presidency. She said that she hoped for reinterpretation of Constitutional responsibilities of the Vice President. Her self-confidence got her way ahead of where the rest of us, including Republicans, think she is. She offered the chilling and all too possible prospect of a neophyte national politician asserting without public examination and accord the right to take the country in some new direction!
All I could think of was the pledge she made in St. Paul to fulfill "the mission" that she and John are on to "reform the country," her bizarre religious background, her trouble with people who have disagreed with her in city hall, Wasilla, and in Juneau, Alaska. She announced to my utter amazement that she would make her own maverick way in Washington! To quote Ray Romano's dad: "HOLY CRAP!"

Make-Believe Maverick

By Tim Dickinson
A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty.

"Small People."

The plight of an Ohio woman who shot herself as deputies tried evict her from her foreclosed home was part of congressional debate on the $700 billion bailout. Kucinich used Polk's circumstances as he spoke against the rescue plan that eventually passed the U.S. House of Representatives 263-171.
By UPIA 90-year-old Akron woman, about to be evicted from her La Croix Avenue home for failing to pay her mortgage, apparently shot herself Wednesday while Summit County sheriff's deputies were knocking on her door.
By Cindy Sheehan
Tent cities are arising all over the country and Congress is going to bailout an industry that caused these cities and not only that, but use our money to help keep the CEO's in the style to which they have become accustomed.
Why Paulson's Plan is a Fraud
By Paul Craig Roberts
The bailout is focused on the wrong end of the problem. The bailout should be focused on the origin of the problem, the defaulting homeowners. The bailout should indemnify defaulting homeowners and pay off the delinquent mortgages.
By Adrian Salbuchi
As Argentine citizens, we have a huge advantage over other peoples including US citizens when it comes to understanding and coping with this kind of crisis. I say this because in our own lifetimes we have suffered in Argentina all of what is now happening globally - albeit on a much smaller scale in our case. We've seen this movie... We've been there, and done that...

Blackwater Machine Gun Found in Raid on Iraqi Insurgents

A machine gun sent to Iraq by Blackwater was discovered during a US military operation against suspected insurgents, according to documents obtained by ABC News.
(ABC News Photo Illustration)

Source: ABC News
Incident Was Kept Secret and Raises More Questions About the Firm's Iraq Operations
October 2, 2008

An M4 machine gun sent to Iraq by the Blackwater private security firm somehow disappeared from the company's storage facility in Baghdad and was later discovered during a US military operation, apparently against suspected insurgents, people familiar with the situation have told ABC News.

The incident, in 2006, has been kept secret until now but it raised more questions about Blackwater's operations in Iraq.

Allegations that Blackwater shipped weapons and silencers to Iraq without proper licensing are already under investigation by a federal grand jury in North Carolina, according to people familiar with the case.

Blackwater says all of its weapons "are shipped in accordance with U.S. export control regulations."

The most watched VP debate ever.

Palin Tax Records: Read Full Documents

Statement from the McCain campaign:

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Press Office
Friday, October 3, 2008ARLINGTON, VA -- Today, the McCain-Palin campaign released Governor and Todd Palin's tax returns for 2006 and 2007. The Palins' tax returns show that they paid $36,682 in federal taxes for 2006 and 2007. In the past two years, Governor and Todd Palin have contributed $8,205 to charitable causes. Below please find summary information about the Palins' 2006 and 2007 tax returns.
The McCain-Palin campaign also released Governor and Todd Palin's Public Financial Disclosure Report.
To view the relevant documents, please see: http://www.johnmccain.com/palinfinancial

Not quite, according to a review of the public record.Palin Administration Against Sudan Divestment Before It Was For It, Documents Show

Palin Opposed Sudan Protest She Claims To Support
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin fought to protest atrocities in Sudan by dropping assets tied to the country's brutal regime from the state's multi-billion-dollar investment fund, she claimed during Thursday's vice presidential debate.
Not quite, according to a review of the public record - and according to the recollections of a legislator and others who pushed a measure to divest Alaskan holdings in Sudan-linked investments.
"The [Palin] administration killed our bill," said Alaska state representative Les Gara, D-Anchorage. Gara and state Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, co-sponsored a resolution early this year to force the Alaska Permanent Fund - a $40 billion investment fund, a portion of whose dividends are distributed annually to state residents - to divest millions of dollars in holdings tied to the Sudanese government.

"There's lot of anger at this bailout bill, our people think it's directly tied to Bush, and they tie bush to McCain.

Democrats cheered on Wednesday when news broke that John McCain's campaign was abandoning Michigan, pulling down its ads and sending staffers to other states.
Almost immediately, an organization called Progress Michigan let loose with a taunt, demanding that McCain keep pouring resources into the state in order to explain to voters his "support for outsourcing" and the "failed economic policies" of the Bush administration.
Many speculated that McCain would now turn his focus to Pennsylvania. But United Steelworkers International president Leo Gerard tells the Huffington Post that the state could soon go the way of Michigan.
"We're seeing -- from the several hundred of our people working every day, hand-billing at the plants -- the last two weeks have really been breaking Senator Obama's way," Gerard said over the phone from his office in Pittsburgh. "In particular, I think folks are sort of not taking John McCain as serious as they were, when they see his vacillation last week. 'I'm not going to debate. I'm going to whip House Republicans into shape. Not."
Gerard also said that the bailout bill is hurting McCain disproportionately. "There's lot of anger at this bailout bill, even though people recognize we have to do something. But our people think it's directly tied to Bush, and they tie bush to McCain. That's the sense of what I've heard back from our people, that the race is breaking out."
A sharp turn toward Obama hasn't been reflected in the polling thus far. However, even as McCain surrogates have repeatedly touted Pennsylvania as a possible pick-up state, Obama has maintained a stubborn lead over the last six months, according to Pollster.com's best-fit line of all surveys taken.

"Sen. Biden is the father of a soldier. He has every right to be here." Vavala said.

DOVER, Del. — Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden told his son and other Delaware National Guard troops on Friday that his heart was "full of love and pride" as they prepared to leave for an assignment in Iraq.
"We take comfort in the knowledge that you are the best-trained, best-prepared group of citizen soldiers that our country to this day has ever sent into harm's way," Biden told members of the 261st Signal Brigade at a ceremony outside the state Capitol.
Biden's son Beau, Delaware's attorney general, serves as a captain and a lawyer in the 261st. The unit leaves Sunday for Fort Bliss, Texas, where it will train for about six weeks before heading to Iraq.
The normally loquacious senator spoke only briefly, telling his audience at the outset that his son had advised him: "Dad, keep it short. We're in formation."
"As you serve and look out for your brothers and sisters in arms, your families here at home promise you that we'll look out for one another," Biden said. LinkHere

Hail Mary vs. Cool Barry

By Charles Krauthammer
WASHINGTON -- Krauthammer's Hail Mary Rule: You get only two per game. John McCain, unfortunately, has already thrown three. The first was his bet on the surge, a deep pass to David Petraeus who miraculously ran it all the way into the end zone.
Then, seeking a game-changer after the Democratic convention, McCain threw blind into the end zone to a waiting Sarah Palin. She caught the ball. Her subsequent fumbles have taken the sheen off of that play, but she nonetheless invaluably solidifies his Republican base.
When the financial crisis hit, McCain went razzle-dazzle again, suspending his campaign and declaring he'd stay away from the first presidential debate until the financial crisis was solved.
He tempted fate one time too many. After climbing up on his high horse, McCain had to climb down. The crisis unresolved, he showed up at the debate regardless, rather abjectly conceding Obama's mocking retort that presidential candidates should be able to do "more than one thing at once." (Although McCain might have pointed out that while he was trying to do two things, Obama was sitting on the sidelines doing one thing only: campaigning.)
You can't blame McCain. In an election in which all the fundamentals are working for the opposition, he feels he has to keep throwing long in order to keep hope alive. Nonetheless, his frenetic improvisation has perversely (for him) framed the rookie challenger favorably as calm, steady and cool.
In the primary campaign, Obama was cool as in hip. Now Obama is cool as in collected. He has the discipline to let slow and steady carry him to victory. He has not at all distinguished himself in this economic crisis -- nor, one might add, in any other during his national career -- but detachment has served him well. He understands that this election, like the election of 1980, demands only one thing of the challenger: Make yourself acceptable. Once Ronald Reagan convinced America that he was not menacing, he won in a landslide. If Obama convinces the electorate he is not too exotic or green or unprepared, he wins as well.
When after the Republican convention Obama's poll numbers momentarily slipped behind McCain's, panicked Democrats urged him to get mad. He did precisely the opposite. He got calm. He repositioned himself as ordinary, becoming the earnest factory-floor, coffee-shop, union-hall candidate
By Marc Lifsher and Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers October 3, 2008
SACRAMENTO -- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, alarmed by the ongoing national financial crisis, warned Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson on Thursday that the state might need an emergency loan of as much as $7 billion from the federal government within weeks.The warning comes as California is close to running out of cash to fund day-to-day government operations and is unable to access routine short-term loans that it typically relies on to remain solvent.
The state of California is the biggest of several governments nationwide that are being locked out of the bond market by the global credit crunch. If the state is unable to access the cash, administration officials say, payments to schools and other government entities could quickly be suspended and state employees could be laid off

Bill, here's the problem with going on your show. You start ranting. And the only way to respond is almost to look as boorish as you.

Bill O'Reilly and Barney Frank faced off over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Thursday night's "O'Reilly Factor" in one of the most heated "Factor" segments in recent memory.
O'Reilly, who has called for Frank's resignation as the chairman of the House Finance Committee, called Frank a "coward" and told him, "Stop the B.S!"
Frank didn't take O'Reilly's abuse lying down, fighting back, saying, "Bill, here's the problem with going on your show. You start ranting. And the only way to respond is almost to look as boorish as you."

Obama Hits Palin's Debate Performance In Ad (VIDEO)

Barack Obama's campaign is already out with an ad based on the vice presidential debate -- specifically, Sarah Palin's inability to defend John McCain's health care plan. The clip uses Joe Biden's line that the McCain-Palin health care plan is a "bridge to nowhere." Watch:

The crucial vote was 263-171, passing by a comfortable bipartisan margin

Palin On Fox News: Couric Annoyed Me

BooHoo honest questions annoyed the little miss, she couldn't use the programme to use her GOP propaganda.
Appearing on a friendlier news outlet, Gov. Sarah Palin said she was "annoyed" with the way Katie Couric handled their interview and complained that the CBS Evening News host failed to give her the opportunity to take a proverbial axe to Barack Obama.
In a portion of her sit-down with Fox News correspondent Carl Cameron, Palin claimed that Couric's questions -- which produced a series of staggeringly embarrassing responses -- put her in a lose-lose position.
"The Sarah Palin in those interviews was a little bit annoyed," she said. "It's like, man, no matter what you say, you are going to get clobbered. If you choose to answer a question, you are going to get clobbered on the answer. If you choose to try to pivot and go to another subject that you believe that Americans want to hear about, you get clobbered for that too."
Palin on Fox


"The Choice"

Perhaps this will make up for CoverGate: The New Yorker has just endorsed Barack Obama in an editorial just released online and on newsstands on Monday in the October 13th issue. The editorial — by "the Editors" — is called "The Choice" and should probably surprise no one, but man do they make their case: 4,214 words with a laundry list of areas in which the Bush administration has failed the country, and McCain has failed to lead or inspire. (That's the kindest way of expressing it. Here's a ess kind way: "John McCain [has] played the part of a vaudeville illusionist, asking to be regarded as an apostle of change after years of embracing the essentials of the Bush agenda with ever- increasing ardor.") In contrast, the "Editors" point out how Obama has done just that: Leading and inspiring, but also following up his promise for change with thought, strategy, work and action.
It is notable, too, that in an essay of this length, only a single paragraph is devoted to McCain's "cyicism" in choosing Palin. That said, on this, the day of the Vice-Presidential debate, it's the one everyone will read it looking for. Here's an excerpt.

Unknown terrain for economy.

Source: Boston Globe
In an example of how fragile credit markets have become, the state of Massachusetts yesterday tried to borrow $400 million to make its routine quarterly local aid payments to cities and towns. State treasury officials said the credit markets abruptly froze midday, leaving them $170 million short. The state will have to use its own funds to complete the local aid payments, draining the state's balance to extremely low levels.

"I don't think any treasurer alive could say they've ever seen anything like this," said Timothy P. Cahill, the state's treasurer. "There have always been cash shortages, but you could always go to the market and get more. This is the first time we haven't been able to do that."

Cahill said he believes the credit market will in effect remain shuttered today as the nation's largest lenders hold on to their cash amid uncertainty over plans for a federal bailout. In short, the House's rejection of a $700 billion Wall Street bailout plan takes Massachusetts and the rest of the US economy into territory that few policy makers and analysts wanted to explore.

It tests the forecasts of Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that failure to approve the plan will dry up credit markets, damage the financial system, and send the fragile US economy spiraling into a deep recession. The economy may yet muddle through, analysts said, but the risks of a catastrophic downturn have risen. LinkHere

Source: Washington Post
By Matthew Mosk and David S. Hilzenrath
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, October 3, 2008; Page A09

When mortgage giant Freddie Mac feared several years ago that Sen. John McCain was too outspoken on the issue of executive pay, it pinpointed a lobbyist known for his closeness to McCain and hired him to work with the senator.

Mark Buse, a longtime McCain adviser who had been staff director of the Senate commerce committee, signed on as a Freddie Mac lobbyist, and his firm, ML Strategies, earned $460,000 in lobbying fees in late 2003 and 2004, according to lobbying disclosures. Buse is now chief of staff at McCain's Senate office.

Buse was one of many strategic hires made by Freddie Mac in its efforts to sew up support and manage opponents on Capitol Hill, a push that peaked in 2004 with the retention of 34 outside lobbying firms. Over the past decade, Freddie spent more than $95 million on lobbying, while its sister company, Fannie Mae, spent more than $79 million.


McCain's own entanglements include his campaign manager, Rick Davis, who earned more than $2 million as president of an advocacy group that defended Fannie and Freddie against stricter regulation. Davis's lobbying firm, Davis Manafort, also received monthly payments of $15,000 from Freddie Mac as recently as August.

The story of how Buse came to get involved is emblematic of the interconnections among Fannie, Freddie and the lawmakers whose support was critical for their business.


Source: AP
Go to Google News©2008 Google - Map data ©2008 Tele Atlas -
Terms of Use Judge refuses to block Alaska Troopergate probe
By MATT VOLZ –10 minutes ago
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) —
An Alaska judge has refused to block a state investigation into whether Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power when she fired her public safety commissioner this summer.
Judge Peter Michalski in Anchorage said in his ruling Thursday that much of what was raised in a lawsuit seeking to halt the probe was business left to the legislative branch.
Five Republican state legislators asked the judge to order a temporary restraining order. They said the investigation has been tainted by partisan politics.
An independent investigator hired by the Legislative Council, which authorized the probe, is expected to have his report completed by Oct. 10.

Biden Gets Choked Up Talking About Family (VIDEO)

Biden gets choked up when talking about the struggles of American families and the trials he himself went through when his wife and young daughter were killed in a car accident.
"The notion that somehow because I am a man I don't know how to raise two kids on my own," he says, "I know what its like to raise a child where you are not sure he's going to make it."
At one point he had to hold back tears, take a breath and compose himself.
On the CNN dials of undecided voters in Ohio, both men and women rated the moment as high as possible.


Nielsen: Biden Scores Big On Iraq, Palin's "White Flag Of Surrender" Tanks

According to a Nielsen focus group of undecided voters in Las Vegas, one of Joe Biden's best moments of the debate -- when he talked about ending the war in Iraq -- was also one of Sarah Palin's worst, when she accused Biden of waving "the white flag of surrender" in Iraq.
Watch as the dial meter soars for Biden, and plunges for Palin.

Nielsen: Biden Scores Big On Iraq, Palin's "White Flag Of Surrender" Tanks

The Nielsen group results were broadcast on CBS. CNN's dial meter also yielded the same results.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Palin Says McClelaln, Not McKiernan

Sarah Palin gets wrong both the commanding general in Afghanistan's name and position.The commanding general in Afghanistan didn't merely state that Surge tactics won't work! He also said that tribal involvement in the COIN strategy wouldn't work either! Absolutely right on infrastructure in Afghanistan though! Know what they really need in Afghanistan to enhance security? ROADS.
Palin thinks our commander in Afghanistan is someone named "McClellan." It is, I believe, McKiernan. And Palin is DEAD WRONG. He absolutely said that tribal involvement in Afghanistan COIN strategy would not work.
McKiernan: "I do think there's a role for traditional tribal authorities and tribal structure in Afghanistan, in the rural areas especially, to play in a community-based sense of security, of connection with the government, and of environmental considerations. But I think that has to be led, that tribal engagement, it has to be led by the Afghan government. I specifically tell my chain of command in ISAF [International Security Assistance Force, the name for NATO's mission in Afghanistan] that I don't want the military to be engaging the tribes to do that. It has to be through the Afghan government to do that. But of course, there's danger in that. There's always, "Is this particular tribe, is it being reached out to for all the right reasons?" That has to be watched very closely."
McKiernan: "First of all, please don't think that I'm saying there's no room for tribal engagement in Afghanistan, because I think it's very necessary. But I think it's much more complex environment of tribal linkages, and intertribal complexity than there is in Iraq. It's not as simple as taking the Sunni Awakening and doing the Pashtun Awakening in Afghanistan. It's much more complex than that."


Nobody was paying attention to Joe Biden. I think Joe Biden had his best night tonight. He came with one mission,

And that was to go after John McCain, and he did it,

The consensus from the debate seems to be that while Sarah Palin exceeded the exceedingly low expectations set for her, Joe Biden won the night. The word comes from former members of the Bush administration and even John McCain's former press secretary.
Torie Clarke, who worked with McCain back in Arizona and with the Bush Administration's Department of Defense, had the following remarks on ABC:
"I'm so surprised at what we are talking about before and after the debate. Before the debate the speculation was all on Sarah Palin, how well can she do, can she answer the tough questions? Nobody was paying attention to Joe Biden. I think Joe Biden had his best night tonight. He came with one mission, and that was to go after John McCain, and he did it, backed up by facts. I think he did a better job tonight of tying McCain to the Bush administration than Obama did last week.
Matthew Dowd, who worked for George Bush's communications team while in the White House, followed Clarke and he too agreed that the Delaware Democrat took the evening.
"I think, you know, I agree with her on this. I think Sarah Palin did reasonably well. The death spiral she has been on for the last week, she survived. She's lived another day. She did well. But I think, when the polls come out in the next two, three days, Joe Biden won this debate."

Overall the numbers reflected a very strong performance for Biden.

Biden Dominates Among Undecideds

VIDEO... DEBATE BLOG... REACTION...Bob Shrum: "She Barely Kept Up"... "McCain Lost the VP Debate Too"... Madeleine Albright: "Biden's Night... We Need A VP Who Can Be Persuasive With Foreign Leaders"...Leah McElrath Renna: "Biden's Tears Did More For The Equality Of The Sexes Than Palin's Presence"... Newsweek's Fineman: Palin Like "A Wolverine Attacking The Pant Leg Of A Passerby"...More HuffPost Reaction... DEBATE HIGHLIGHTS... Palin: I May Not "Answer The Questions The Way You Or The Moderator Want"... Watch: Biden Chokes Up... Palin: "How Long Have I Been At This? Like Five Weeks?"... Biden: McCain-Palin Health Plan "The Ultimate Bridge To Nowhere"... Palin Gets Afghan Commander's Name, Strategy Wrong...

During the course of the debate, CNN was running a viewer response line for uncommitted voters in Ohio. Overall the numbers reflected a very strong performance for Biden. And while Palin scored well, at times, among this crowd, the dial lines indicated that she remains a controversial figure among females in that state.
Biden repeatedly won high accolades on a wide range of topics. His remarks about the personal trials of having a wife and daughter die in a car accident sent responses from both male and females through the roof. His dig at Dick Cheney -- "the most dangerous Vice President in history" -- and his pledge to end the war in Iraq were similarly popular. When he defended Obama from Palin's attacks, he was held in equally high regard.
Much of the time, dial responses sunk when Palin began speaking. Respondents were generally unenthusiastic when she defended McCain. Her defense of the surge generated what was, at best, a flat response. She did have some high moments -- her final statement, her defense of Israel and her call to explore off shore drilling were all popular positions.
Following the debate, only one member of the focus group said they had decided to support the McCain-Palin ticket based on the debate; a half-dozen or more said they would now back Obama and Biden.

On the other hand, Frank Luntz just quizzed his focus group on FOX (which was, strangely enough, sponsored by Budweiser, owned by Anheuser-Busch, of which Cindy McCain's Hensley company is the third largest distributor). Nearly all of them thought Palin did an excellent job and, perhaps, won the debate. When she talked about responsibility -- both on Wall Street and in Washington - the dial numbers went extremely high. Many respondents, meanwhile, said she came off as a "regular American." However, only three respondents in the group said they had moved towards voting for the McCain-Palin ticket. LinkHere

Palin's Great Achievement: She Didn't Stink Up the Joint

Well that was fun.

It's sad that "Hey, she didn't stink up the joint" is considered a great achievement.

Gov. Palin was certainly well-prepped and spookily confident on her feet. And when she needed them, she had more than enough down-home, "aw shucks" hockey-mom-isms to get off the ropes.

"I guess I'm really not a Washington insider... I just don't know how y'all work.. y'say one thing and then do another."

Really, Sarah? Cuz' it kind of looks like you got it down pretty good.

I thought Biden was fantastic. He's obviously more than qualified to be vice president. And president. And more than several hundred times more qualified than his opponent.

I thought he was clear, passionate, accessible, real... I can't think of anything I wish he had done better.

I thought the moment where Senator Biden talked about the death of his wife and child, and raising his sons himself was tremendously moving and genuine. It was a bold -- and very relevant -- point to make; that just because she's a mom and drives a van to soccer games doesn't mean she's cornered the market on real life. I thought he was superb.

So everyone who was inclined to like Palin will like her more. Everyone who was prepared to like Biden likes him more.

Aren't we blessed to have so many likeable people running for office? Now let's get serious, get Obama/Biden in the White House and get to work.



Now I am going to go and cringe Just listening to Palin in the VP Debates

Alaskans Cringe Listening To Governor

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaskans' two-year honeymoon with Gov. Sarah Palin may have ended around the time the Republican vice presidential candidate started saying that she told Congress "thanks but no thanks" on the Bridge to Nowhere.
The line brought cheers on the campaign trail but drew winces back home among those who knew Palin had supported the $400 million Ketchikan bridge and only turned against it after Washington backed off its financing.
"I think people went a little bit like Homer Simpson _ 'D'oh!'" said Ivan Moore, a pollster who has tracked a drop in Palin's popularity in Alaska since she was named Republican presidential candidate John McCain's running mate on Aug. 29.
Most people in Alaska are staunch defenders of Palin and say that she has represented the state well during a month in the national spotlight. They are proud of how she has handled herself in her rapid ascent from small-town mayor to Alaska governor to vice presidential nominee.
But they now cringe when Palin opens her mouth. Most are surprised at how their usually confident governor has foundered in interviews, giving rambling answers that, like the Bridge to Nowhere line, either go against their own recollections or end up lampooned in "Saturday Night Live" skits and by the hosts of late-night talk shows.
On the eve of Thursday's vice presidential debate, they wondered whether the former beauty pageant contestant will once more look like she's in over her head or if she can acquit herself against one of the most proficient debaters in the Senate, Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
"I'm very hopeful that she doesn't embarrass us worse than she already has," said Mark Barnhill, a 53-year-old building inspector from Anchorage. "A lot of the mistakes she's made are plain old rookie mistakes and I don't expect to see much from her other than more of that."


Even Deep South Skeptical Of Palin

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — John Thomas has lots of reasons to support John McCain for president.
Like McCain, Thomas is a former Navy officer. They're about the same age, and Thomas considers himself a political independent with a conservative bent.
But Thomas, a one-time supporter of President Bush, said McCain running mate Sarah Palin's recent interviews sealed his decision to vote for Democrat Barack Obama.
"She's not prepared at all," Thomas, 70, said as he loaded groceries into his car outside a Sam's Club warehouse store on the outskirts of Huntsville. He said listening to Palin argue that Alaska's proximity to Russia was a foreign policy credential "frightened me to death."
"I went out on the golf course Thursday and that was what everyone was talking about," Thomas said. "They're very frightened about McCain and his age ... and to have Palin a heartbeat away."
Even in the staunchly Republican South, Palin is facing deep skepticism about her qualifications heading into Thursday night's debate with her Democratic counterpart, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware. The wave of enthusiasm here that greeted the Alaska governor's conservative positions on social and religious issues remains in many quarters, but it has been tempered by uncertainty about her readiness, particularly among moderates.

Republicans "Balked" At Helping Unemployed In Bailout Bill

While the bailout bill has been stuffed to the gills with tax breaks, one group not included in the list is nearly 800,000 laid-off U.S. workers. That's how many stand to run out of unemployment aid on Sunday if Congress fails to pass an emergency extension of jobless benefits this week.
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Jim Manley, told ProPublica yesterday that Senate Republicans had "balked" at an attempt to attach an unemployment-benefits extension to the Wall Street rescue.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spokesman, Don Stewart, said any extension bill "would be subject to debate and amendments."
A Democratic Senate aide told ProPublica this morning that senators are hoping to reach an agreement this afternoon. Unless that happens, jobless workers may just have to hope that Congress returns for a lame-duck session after Election Day.
The jobs situation looked bleak before the recent financial meltdown, and some expect that it will get worse. The national unemployment rate reached a five-year high (PDF) of 6.1 percent -- 9.4 million people -- in August. The federal Labor Department said the U.S. economy has shed 605,000 jobs this year. Some 3.5 million people currently draw jobless benefits. Business watchers have warned that job cuts will deepen as companies seek to offset higher borrowing costs in this credit crunch or simply downsize.
The House approved a jobless benefits extension last Friday, as part of a broader economic stimulus package opposed by the White House and ultimately sunk by Senate Republicans. (Attached proposals included new spending for food stamps, Medicaid and construction, and -- controversially -- a continued ban on offshore oil drilling.) Stand-alone bills to extend unemployment relief have been introduced in both houses, and it is expected that the House would renew its approval.
The estimate that nearly 800,000 workers will max out all unemployment aid on Oct. 5 comes from an analysis of federal labor data (PDF) by the pro-worker National Employment Law Project. The figure was cited by House leaders during successful consideration of a benefits extension. Asked about its accuracy, Labor Department rep Gary Steinberg said, "We can't tell you how many people might exhaust their benefits. Even if we had [the number], we wouldn't project it [publicly]."

Bob Barr: McCain Is A "Hypocrite," Obama Isn't

@ 2:42 pm by Hill Staff
John McCain isn't the opponent of big government that he claims he is, according to Bob Barr, the former GOP congressman and Libertarian presidential candidate.
"I think McCain is a hypocrite," Barr said of the Arizona senator. "He claims he is for smaller government and that's not the case."
Barr doesn't think Democratic candidate Barack Obama is a hypocrite. He's just a "classic liberal," according to Barr.
"I'm not saying he's a better person, but he's not hypocritical politically as many Republicans are these days," Barr said.
Barr made the comments in a 20 questions interview with The Hill that will run in Friday's newspaper.
Barr also criticized McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, as too inexperienced to be vice president. After saying Palin has done "a very good job" as governor, Barr said, "I don't think she has anywhere near the depth of experience to be vice president." He said he would pick a secretary of state who had significant experience in foreign travel and foreign business, "not someone who could see Russia from their back door."
He saved some of his sharpest barbs for his former colleagues. "This Congress has allowed the president to walk all over it," Barr said. "Congress sits back and says, 'Thank you sir, may I have another sir?'"
Barr served four terms in Congress as a lawmaker from Georgia.
The Hill called McCain's campaign about Barr's comments, but it has yet to respond.

McCain: ‘I Always Aspire To Be A Dictator’»

Bush As long as I'm the Dictator

McCain: McSame as Bush

free hit counter