I think my job for the day is done. I'm taking the evening off.
[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]
Blogging to the highest common denominator
But if a new plan is to be presented by the Democrats, it means they are going to take ownership of the crisis and they'd better start thinking about passing it with a progressive argument. The Republicans are not going to be on board. I wrote after the debate that I wished Barack had made the point that all of his plans for investing in alternative energy, infrastructure and health care are not only the right thing to do, they are going to be necessary for revitalizing the economy. For several decades now we've been working under the false premise that the only thing the government can do to stimulate the economy in a time of recession is tax cuts. That's just not true. In fact, it is inadequate at times like these, as we are seeing. Action in the way of creating jobs and direct government activism is required.This crisis is the opportunity to redefine the Democratic agenda that we've been waiting to see arrive for generations. Digby is right. The Democrats could use this turn of events to explain to the voters that it's not big government that is bad; it's that big government has been used for the wrong reasons, mainly to prop up the corporatocracy at the expense of the working class.
7. A new version of the New Deal would create a Democratic majority for years to come. That's why the GOP has fought so hard for so long to dismantle the old New Deal. Democrats could emphasize that this is a temporary, emergency program - just as the Wall St. proposal allegedly is, but after the program's sunset there would be a strong new constituency supportive of extending this (and other progressive programs) and expanding the Democratic base of support.
8. McCain is trying to pose as a populist (and bank on Democrats floating a "compromise" bill he can oppose). Shifting the debate with an actual wholesale alternative puts him in a very difficult position, and at the very least prevents him from scoring cheap political points.
But the Democrats are failing to take advantage of the complexity of the situation and use simple politics to sell it. They should say that the economy is failing and we need massive government action to solve it. That's what Democrats do in a crisis like this. But they need to make the political message about the Democratic agenda for restoring the economy not about rescuing "the financial system" which nobody understands anyway.
Let's have the argument and let the American people decide. If the Democrats win it they will have a mandate for real progressive change in the middle of a crisis that demands it. If they play their cards right they'll end up neutering the failed conservative ideology for a generation, put in place some important and long neglected structural changes and mitigate the worst of this downturn at the same time. There's no reason that the Shock Doctrine can't be used for good.
Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve will pump an additional $630 billion into the global financial system, flooding banks with cash to alleviate the worst banking crisis since the Great Depression.So we're going to bail out the world with fake money while Congress dickers over how to give this administration another 700 billion? I'm told this will lead to staggering inflation.
The Fed increased its existing currency swaps with foreign central banks by $330 billion to $620 billion to make more dollars available worldwide. The Term Auction Facility, the Fed's emergency loan program, will expand by $300 billion to $450 billion. The European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan are among the participating authorities.
The Fed's expansion of liquidity, the biggest since credit markets seized up last year, came hours before the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a $700 billion bailout for the financial industry. The crisis is reverberating through the global economy, causing stocks to plunge and forcing European governments to rescue four banks over the past two days alone.
Howard Kurtz drops this tidbit into his column:Hardly surprising given the McCain campaign's on-going effort to discredit the NYT for allegedly being in the tank for Obama. As they say, we all know that facts have a liberal bias. But Ari is right in this observation. "If the Obama campaign banned a FoxNews Reporter from the plane, I'm sure it would be the greatest crime against the first amendment ever committed. MoDo banned -- one sentence, no explanation."The company may have been more pleasant than that of McCain aides, who have barred Dowd from the candidate's plane.
The International Medical Corps has been named as a finalist in a contest sponsored by American Express. International Medical Corps has been matched to one of the Top 25 in American Express’ Members Projects, ‘Saving the Lives of Malnourished Children.’It's a little complicated to vote, you have to join the group first, but I checked out the greater project and it's legit. You won't be charged any money and of the 25 projects, I liked this one the best. So if you have a few minutes, it's good way to spend it to end world hunger.
Chosen out of 1,190 projects, “Saving the Lives of Malnourished Children” is now eligible to receive up to $1.5 million in funding. The project with the most votes receives $1.5 million, 2nd receives $500,000, 3rd $300,000, and 4th and 5th $100,000. The funding – made possible by your votes – would bring a vital lifeline to hungry and malnourished children around the world.
We need your help between now and September 29th. Voting is easy and doesn’t cost a thing! In just a click, you can save the lives of thousands of malnourished children. Click here to vote:
For severely malnourished children, we offer a step-by-step treatment program that gives them what they need to recover, including nutrient-dense food supplements like the peanut-based product, Plumpy'Nut. Our comprehensive monitoring system saves more than 90 percent of children being treated in our feeding centers. Being one of the Top 5 would mean our nutrition could reach more children around the world who need our help.
In an election campaign notable for its surprises, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice- presidential candidate, may be about to spring a new one — the wedding of her pregnant teenage daughter to her ice-hockey-playing fiancé before the November 4 election.
Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”
. . . McCain is expected to have a front-row seat at Bristol’s wedding and to benefit from the outpouring of goodwill that it could bring. “What’s the downside?” a source inside the McCain campaign said. “It would be wonderful. I don’t know that there has ever been a pre-election wedding before.”
"If we're not going to judge Joe by one sound bite in one interview, which is fair to Joe, and we're not going to take a mistake that he's made and say that that's a death-defying blow, let's don't do it for her."Oh Lindsay. If only it was just one isolated mistake out of over a hundred press avails, you wouldn't look like such an hapless tool when you make that argument.
....In these times, for John McCain to have chosen this person to be his running mate is fundamentally irresponsible. McCain says that he always puts country first. In this important case, it is simply not true.Kevin Drum at his new digs at MoJo finds that as startling a development as I did.
I don't want to overstate the importance of this, but it's definitely a sign that Palin's jig may be up. Zakaria frequently writes astutely, but he's something of an establishment weathervane, reluctant to state firm opinions unless he's got plenty of company. So if he's willing to say flatly that Palin is "utterly unqualified," it suggests that the center-right establishment pretty unanimously agrees about this. I don't know for sure that this will have a noticeable effect on the campaign, but when you add it to the growing list of conservatives who have taken similar stands (George Will, David Frum, Rod Dreher, Kathleen Parker, Ross Douthat, David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer), it suggests that dismay over Palin may be reaching critical mass.Add to that this poll showing Palin with -10 favorability ratings and I'd say the people who have money on her not making it to November have a pretty good bet.
WHAT we learned last week is that the man who always puts his “country first” will take the country down with him if that’s what it takes to get to the White House.Shorter version: McCain would rather crash the economy than lose the race.
For all the focus on Friday night’s deadlocked debate, it still can’t obscure what preceded it: When John McCain gratuitously parachuted into Washington on Thursday, he didn’t care if his grandstanding might precipitate an even deeper economic collapse. All he cared about was whether he might save his campaign. George Bush put more deliberation into invading Iraq than McCain did into his own reckless invasion of the delicate Congressional negotiations on the bailout plan.
Conservatism as practiced for the last quarter century has produced the mess we all must now clean up. It has also produced a horrifically costly war based on lies and fear, and crippled our bureaucracy to the point of incapacity in the face of natural disaster. We are now living with the logical result of the authoritarianism, militarism, corruption, fearmongering, callousness and greed that conservatism has meant in practice. It is understandable that its defenders want to change the subject, or feebly claim that we now need some kind of post-ideological paradigm or are reduced to farcical attempts at distancing. But that is no reason for the rest of us to accept such silliness.On the flip side, here's an interesting article on Rachel Maddow and the rise of liberalism on the teevee.
What I mind about Sarah Palin is not, and has never been, her small town. It's her small and incurious mind.Speaking of Palin, I posted about this project a few days ago and $760,000 was raised for Planned Parenthood in Sarah Palin's name. The McCain campaign should get about 70,000 thank you cards. PP now has a open letter to Sarah saying she's not our candidate. You can sign here in a 30 seconds or less.
Palin appeared at the bar on 20th and Walnut streets last night to shake hands with her fans for about an hour before the first presidential debate. While the crowd inside was friendly, hundreds of people lined the street outside in protest with signs that read things like "Palin is Santorum With Lipstick."Meanwhile the networks were flooded with hate mail from McCain supporters demanding to know why their overheated hockey mom wasn't invited to the party. My guess is the campaign will encourage the notion that this was all a result of 'liberal bias' of the hateful media rather than admit they won't allow her to speak in public. One doubts the deluded who believe sharing a maritime border with Russia "is too" foreign policy experience, will put two and two together themselves.
Palin did not take questions from reporters nor did she talk policy. She posed for pictures and chatted with supporters, many of whom were from outside the city limits, and made an approximately minute-long statement.
Labels: Election 08
For example, Michelle and Barack do something we've never seen before in a presidential couple: they actually look directly at each other when they're speaking to each other. They also laugh at each other's humor, and they allow their sexual attraction for each other to be visible. [...]This isn't high on my list of criteria for electing a president but the way a man treats his wife does speak to me a great deal about his character. I don't know where that photo came from but it reminded me of the convention when Obama did something similar after the speech was over and they were all on stage. There is something innately comforting to me about seeing that kind of open display of affection.
Michelle and Barack speak clearly and openly. You know she won't bullshit you or embarrass you by playing the demure little wife. We're ready to see that kind of relationship, and we hope you are, too. The question is: are we as a nation ready to end our national addiction to duplicity, phony adoration and Stepford wifedom in the White House?
Palin's recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.When Parker can no longer defend Sarah, it may really be time for Ms. Palin to discover she needs to "spend more time with her family." I don't see how this ticket has a prayer if the right wing noise machine abandons them.
Couric: You met yesterday with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who is for direct diplomacy with both Iran and Syria. Do you believe the U.S. should negotiate with leaders like President Assad and Ahmadinejad?To be fair, maybe she and Henry didn't discuss Iran at their little tete-a-tete but for crying out loud, is it too much to ask that she reads a newspaper once in a while?
Palin: I think, with Ahmadinejad, personally, he is not one to negotiate with. You can't just sit down with him with no preconditions being met. Barack Obama is so off-base in his proclamation that he would meet with some of these leaders around our world who would seek to destroy America and that, and without preconditions being met. That's beyond naïve. And it's beyond bad judgment.
Couric: Are you saying Henry Kissinger …
Palin: It's dangerous.
Couric: … is naïve for supporting that?
Palin: I've never heard Henry Kissinger say, "Yeah, I'll meet with these leaders without preconditions being met." Diplomacy is about doing a lot of background work first and shoring up allies and positions and figuring out what sanctions perhaps could be implemented if things weren't gonna go right. That's part of diplomacy.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Five former U.S. secretaries of state said on Monday the next American administration should talk to Iran, a foe President George W. Bush has generally shunned as part of an "axis of evil."Not to mention that Katie opened the interview by noting that Henry supports talks. It's like she didn't even listen to the question because she was so intent on following the campaign's script but she hasn't quite memorized the lines yet.
Engaging Iran is important because Washington's military options against Tehran are unsatisfactory, said the diplomats, who worked for Republican and Democratic administrations.
The five -- Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, Warren Christopher, James Baker and Henry Kissinger -- all said they favored talking to Iran as part of a strategy to stop Tehran's development of a nuclear weapons program.
McCain advisors say they will do all the debates but the schedule is up in the air. They also deny that there is a political calculation in this and say without action the country could slide into a Depression by Monday and added "we'll see 12 percent unemployment" if action is not completed.Hmmm. That's what Bush and Paulson are saying too, but we've seen no evidence of that being true. It's also useful to note that McCain hasn't been seen on the Senate floor since March or April, but now, all of sudden, after dodging the question for days, only he can swoop into town and save the day? More likely he wants to save his lobbyist pal's livelihoods.
Ms. Palin and Mr. Kissinger sat on blue couches, separated by an end table with photographs of President Nixon and President Reagan on it. As photographers were led in, Mr. Kissinger could be heard saying that he gave someone “a lot of credit for what he did in Georgia,” according to a report who was allowed to watch.And the day started with this earth shaking conversation about Karzai's son.
“Good, good,’’ Ms. Palin said. “And you’ll give me more insight on that, also, huh? Good.”
“What is his name?” Ms. Palin was heard to ask, as she met with Mr. Karzai in the suite of a midtown hotel, according to a pool report.For those of you who are keeping track at home it has now been 40 days since McCain has had an open press conference and it's been 24 days since he introduced his "pit bull with lipstick" Veep to the American public and she has yet to be let off her leash to face the press in an unscripted format.
“Mirwais,” Mr. Karzai replied. “Mirwais, which means, ‘The Light of the House.’”
“Oh nice,” Palin responded.
“He is the only one we have,” Mr. Karzai said.
Then the pool of journalists was escorted out, and the meeting began.
"The most important condition to put on any bailout proposal is to impose a tax surcharge on the incomes of the wealthiest Americans to pay the bailout's cost. "Also read Avedon's post, Why the rich should pay higher taxes.
Moreover, we should leave that tax surcharge in place for as long as it takes to recoup the total bailout costs, which are still undetermined. If, for example, Paulson gets another $700 billion, to add to the $800 billion increase in the debt limit Congress gave him last July, we're up to $1.5 trillion that needs to be recovered.
Tying the surtax to full bailout repayment will provide a strong incentive for those who don't like taxes to insist on bailout approaches that actually work and minimize taxpayer exposure. They'll insist on effective oversight and accountability for any bailout approaches and actions, as opposed to the Bush/Paulson approach of giving Paulson a blank check to spend at least $700 billion with no accountability whatsoever."
A former Iraqi official estimated yesterday that more than $13 billion meant for reconstruction projects in Iraq was wasted or stolen through elaborate fraud schemes. [...]And, no surprise here either but Maliki just confirmed that the decisions over the continued deployment of our troops in the occupation without end was strictly political.
While many of the projects audited "were not needed -- and many were never built," he said, "this very real fact remains: Billions of American dollars that paid for these projects are now gone."
[D]uring an interview with Iraqi television last week (according to an Open Source Center translation), Maliki suggested that the U.S. presidential elections played a role:And yet, McCain and his pet pit bull Palin still draw crowds that chant USA in the misguided belief that anything resembling a 'victory' can be acheived. It occurred to me last night that outside of the cultural wedge issues, the single biggest thing driving McCain's support are people who still believe that Iraq is somehow instrumental in solving terrorism and winnable by any meaningful metric.
Actually, the final date was really the end of 2010 and the period between the end of 2010 and the end of 2011 was for withdrawing the remaining troops from all of Iraq, but they asked for a change [in date] due to political circumstances related to the [U.S] domestic situation so it will not be said to the end of 2010 followed by one year for withdrawal but the end of 2011 as a final date.
Since Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) announced Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, both he and Palin have argued that her state’s proximity to Russia counts as foreign policy experience. Noting that this claim “stands on flimsy ground,” CBS News’ Scott Conroy tried to get the McCain-Palin campaign to provide “practical experience Palin had with Russia.” While the campaign largely stonewalled Conroy, one anonymous “senior campaign aide” argued the experience was “metaphorical“:Metaphorically, they're slaying me.
A senior campaign aide who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity admitted that Palin’s knowledge of Russia may be limited to the way someone from Miami might obtain a general feel for Latin America.
“It is very much being able to look off the tip of Alaska,” the aide said. “Metaphorically, I’m talking about.”
1. What will prevent the bill from allowing both parties to use the guise of purchasing worthless mortgages to further enrich their largest campaign donors?The bottom line for me is still why the hell should we bail them out at all? It will only forestall the inevitable crash to after Bush skulks out of town. Maybe it's just time to let it fail and reset the whole market value system. This bailout approach strikes me as being like sinking thousands, bit by bit, into a cobbled together computer server system that doesn't really support the database rather than biting the bullet and paying all at once for a whole new system that's designed to the job right.
2. How are Americans and investors supposed to feel confident that the crisis will be solved, if the very people who engineered the crisis are being relied on to solve it?
3. How is this meltdown a failure of "oversight" if it has almost nothing to do with illegality?
4. When did a crisis suddenly mean that giving away taxpayer cash to campaign donors is laudably apolitical, but spending taxpayer money on taxpayers is inappropriately "political?"
5. How are we going to pay for this?
1. The government (i.e. taxpayers) gets an equity stake in every Wall Street financial company proportional to the amount of bad debt that company shoves onto the public. So when and if Wall Street shares rise, taxpayers are rewarded for accepting so much risk.We need to stop the bum's rush in Congress before they hand over the money. Even if you just email and tell your reps, "no blank checks" it will help. Get the links for the contact info here.
2. Wall Street executives and directors of Wall Street firms relinquish their current stock options and this year's other forms of compensation, and agree to future compensation linked to a rolling five-year average of firm profitability. Why should taxpayers feather their already amply-feathered nests?
3. All Wall Street executives immediately cease making campaign contributions to any candidate for public office in this election cycle or next, all Wall Street PACs be closed, and Wall Street lobbyists curtail their activities unless specifically asked for information by policymakers. Why should taxpayers finance Wall Street's outsized political power - especially when that power is being exercised to get favorable terms from taxpayers?
4. Wall Street firms agree to comply with new regulations over disclosure, capital requirements, conflicts of interest, and market manipulation. The regulations will emerge in ninety days from a bi-partisan working group, to be convened immediately. After all, inadequate regulation and lack of oversight got us into this mess.
5. Wall Street agrees to give bankruptcy judges the authority to modify the terms of primary mortgages, so homeowners have a fighting chance to keep their homes. Why should distressed homeowners lose their homes when Wall Streeters receive taxpayer money that helps them keep their fancy ones?
Wall Streeters may not like these conditions. Well, you should tell them that the public doesn't like the idea of bailing out Wall Street. So if Wall Street doesn't accept these conditions, it doesn't get the blank check.
At the insistence of the McCain campaign, the Oct. 2 debate between the Republican nominee for vice president, Gov. Sarah Palin, and her Democratic rival, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., will have shorter question-and-answer segments than those for the presidential nominees, the advisers said. There will also be much less opportunity for free-wheeling, direct exchanges between the running mates.
McCain advisers said they had been concerned that a loose format could leave Ms. Palin, a relatively inexperienced debater, at a disadvantage and largely on the defensive.
McCain advisers said they were only somewhat concerned about Ms. Palin’s debating skills compared with those of Mr. Biden, who has served six terms in the Senate, or about his chances of tripping her up. Instead, they say, they wanted Ms. Palin to have opportunities to present Mr. McCain’s positions, rather than spending time talking about her experience or playing defense.So let me get this straight. They pull this hockey mom out of a snowbank three weeks ago and say she's qualified to be second in command of the country, but she not equipped to defend her qualifications? Nobody knows who the blazes she is, but she needs to protected from having to outline her experience? She's running with a 72 year old man with recurring cancer and permanent war injuries. Her ability to perform under pressure is material and her grasp of the issues is of vital importance.
"Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."So not only are we supposed to hand over a blank check, we're not allowed any oversight in how they pass out the bucks. If Congress passes this, then I'm really ready to throw the whole lot of them out.
Any member of Congress who looks at the plan to give Hank unchecked power to transfer $700 billion from the Treasury to his friends' companies and has any reaction other than "You've got to be fucking kidding me" does not deserve to hold office.I have nothing to add to that except this from John Cole.
"I do not ever want to hear another damned word about the free market. I don't want to hear another thing about letting the market regulate itself. I don't want to hear about the free flow of capital. I don't want to hear about government getting out of our lives. None of it. From superfunds to super-bailouts, I am tired of other people getting rich being irresponsible and then being told I have to pay to clean it up. I didn't read one punitive aspect of this new plan. Not one punishment for the people who did this."Exactly the point. They didn't want to bail out homeowners who were tricked into houses they couldn't afford by aggressive predatory lenders because it would encourage bad behavior. The implication being the little guy has to take his lumps to learn his lesson.
"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."That's the first true statement to escape McCain's lips in months now. [graphic - Huffington Post]
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!