Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Decider is Denied

It turns out The Decider can't after all.... decide, that is.

The reason is glaringly clear, to everyone except those so blindly partisan they still think "trickle down" Reaganomics works.

In the face of a tanking dollar; monstrous and growing debt; historic loss of jobs; increase in poverty; trade deficits to the moon; obscene increases in entitlements and bureaucracy; corporate deregulation and tax benefits; and binge spending by a 6-year-GOP-majority Congress in the grip of corrupting lobbyists .... two men who both finished near the bottom of their class, The Decider and his sidekick McGoo McCain kept parroting their talking point. "The fundamentals of our economy are strong."

And, they kept saying it as bankruptcies and home foreclosures grew into the tsunami that finally engulfed Wall Street and threatened to drown the entire U.S. economy as credit dried up and large investment firms, banks and credit-reliant companies rolled over and sank.

Then, like the spoiled brat he is, Bush stamped his foot and demanded to be bailed out of his misjudgements.

He presented a 2-1/2 page bill to Congress, for 700 billion dollars. To be administered at the sole discretion, without oversight or accountability, by his appointed Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson.... a former CEO of investment firm Goldman Sachs who finally understood the financial danger when it hit his street. Wall Street.

What followed was a balky negotiating process brought to a halt by McCain who thought he saw a chance for taking rescue credit.... rushing to D.C. to interject presidential politics, and the process ran into a wall.

No one in Congress wanted their fingerprints on this legislation to bail out the greedy raiders and failed policies. But the problem was presented as a choice between financial Armageddon and the possibility of a lifeline back from the edge of the abyss. After long negotiation, arm-twisting and compromise, legislation was finally presented to the House.... and failed.

There is a lot of finger pointing from all sides on why it failed... but the buck stops with The Decider. The Vote Underscores Bush's Loss of Influence. (WaPo)

"The plan had gone down to a stinging defeat in the House, in large part the result of opposition from more than 100 members of Bush's Republican Party.

"The vote marked the biggest legislative defeat of Bush's tenure and underscored the vanishing influence of a president who could once bend a pliant Congress to his will on wars, taxes, surveillance and a host of other high-profile initiatives.

"The defeat also brought into focus some of the key characteristics of Bush's troubled second term, including his weakened hold on his party, his tendency to delegate major responsibilities to aides and his continued reliance on alarmist rhetoric in an effort to get his way. Bush left much of the sales job for the rescue plan to Treasury Secretary Paulson., and his last-minute warnings that 'our entire economy is in danger' appeared to have little impact on the debate."

This entire mess is nothing short of a massive failure of Reaganomics. By voting for this gigantic economic-socialization bailout package, GOP conservatives would be admitting this.

And, many Democrats feel the very perpetrators of the crisis, the greedy Wall Street financiers and Bush administration enablers, would benefit more than the victimized taxpayers and resist the bailout.

So we're in the financial doldrums, drifting on the currents of panic. The ship of state is in uncharted territory without a captain.... just The Decider, thrown into the hold by his mutinous crew.

McGoo and his Fatuous First Mate are on deck, campaigning to take the helm to continue The Decider's destructive course....

November 4!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

McGrumpy vs. O"bam"a

In last night's first presidential candidates debate, John McCain wiped away any doubt that he is the Man of the Century.... the last century.

As Jacob Heilbrunn opines, "For someone who purports to represent change, McCain offered muddled arguments that are almost as old as he is himself. By focusing so narrowly on the unpopular Iraq War, McCain is almost surely speeding up his own inevitable decline in the polls. It was Barack Obama who came across as the insurgent seeking change, while McCain represented the Republican establishment.

Obama landed the crushing blows by pointing out the obvious: the Bush administration's, and by extension McCain's, obsession with Iraq for the past eight years has only succeeded in crippling American power and security. McCain, he noted, has been wrong, over and over again, in predicting that Iraq would be a cakewalk and that there would be no real ethnic enmities inside it. As Obama announced that he would target and kill Osama bin-Laden, McCain could only stare in mute stupefaction." (Huffington Post)

Unable to look Obama in the eye, the nasty-old-man routine, and warmed-over stump speech lines by McSame were the stuff of an unpresidential temperament and a third-rate mind.

Heilbrunn points out that McCain's "grandfatherly tone was supposed to provide reassurance that he would guide the American foreign policy tiller with a sure hand, while Obama would capsize. But whether it's Russia or the Middle East, McCain's unctuous tone tonight could not disguise the fact that he's even more bellicose than Bush himself. Obama, by contrast, wants to begin the overdue job of restoring America's image abroad. All McCain proved once more is that he knows full well how to continue the Bush legacy of losing friends abroad and alienating people."

Even, astoundingly, Spain. A NATO ally. Who McCain says he'll not promise meet with in the White House. But then, he can't back off of that position because he thought Spain was in "this hemisphere" and by placing it in South America he would then have to be careful about their politics. Pathetic. McCain's only a half-step ahead of, as he describes her, his "maverick" running mate Sarah Palin, who thinks Alaska's proximity to Russia, and you know Putin flying over and stuff, makes her a foreign policy expert.

After McCain's suspending-my-campaign-and-cancelling-debate stunts of the last several days, it wasn't surprising to have confirmed that he doesn't have the temperament to be president. Obama won.... by a presidential smile.


Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain Stops Progress

Over a week ago the financial health of the country went Code Blue. Emergency measures were needed.

George Bush's administration proposed a $700 billion bailout. The Senate and House held immediate hearings with Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke. The chairman of the Senate Banking Committee Christopher Dodd worked almost around the clock with the ranking Republicans on his committee to forge a framework for going forward, as did the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Barney Frank who worked tirelessly with Republicans on his committee to forge a compromise. A consensus was being hammered out, things were going forward until.....

John McCain, sensing a stage-center moment, said he was going to swoop into D.C. and save the day. Suspend his campaign. Call off Friday's debate. All of this while the last big test of his judgment, Sarah Palin, continued her take-your-daughter-to-work UN photo-ops and tour of New York City complete with ditsy "U.S. Has Achieved 'Victory' in Iraq" (WaPo) interviews CBS's Katie Couric.

Even though McCain said only ten days ago that the fundamentals of our economy are strong.... even though he has allowed that he doesn't know much about the economy.... even though he admitted to WKYC-TV in Ohio just this Tuesday that "I have not had a chance to see [the Bush administration bailout proposal] in writing. I have to examine it.".... and, even though when ranking GOP Senate Banking Committee member Richard Shelby was asked this morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" if McCain had called him before arriving in D.C..... Shelby had to admit he had not heard from McCain but did "spend a couple of minutes with him yesterday."

So far what has McCain accomplished by his grandstand play? He didn't have much to say in the White House meeting of leaders of both parties yesterday, he has no role in negotiations today. But, he stopped progress and created a climate where bipartisan agreement is even more difficult.

Good job, Johnnie.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

McCain Bailing Out Campaign?

John McCain's problem is that he, and his Greedy Ol' Party, have driven our economy into the dumper.... trickle by trickle.

So..... McCain decided to dive on the bailout treetops, a familiar diversionary tactic by a showboating fighter-pilot.

As Harold Meyerson points out in McCain's Ploy.... (WaPo) "if you're named John McCain, the answer became apparent yesterday afternoon -- make the solution to the economic crisis all about you.

"Suspend your campaign. Pull out of tomorrow's debate -- a trivial exercise merely allowing Americans to judge the two candidates side by side. Change the terms of the nation's economic discussion from the course we should take, and the defects of the laissez-faire model that got us here, to the indispensability of John McCain, leader of leaders."

Meyerson asks.... "Can McCain pull this off -- persuading the public to forget how he and his fellow Reagan Republicans changed the nation's economic rules in ways that allowed Wall Street to run amok, and refocusing its attention on his decisiveness at this moment of crisis?"

With McCain's falling poll numbers, continuing misstatements and position reversals as he shoots from the lip, it seems, as Sen. Christopher Dodd remarked yesterday, that McCain is trying to rescue his campaign not the country.

With his recent duplicitous behavior, it seems a risky move for him to focus on the strength of his character. Our economy isn't the only thing tanking.... McCain's Straight Talk showboat has sprung a leak and his latest ploy isn't likely to bail him out.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain Not Ready for Prime Time?

John McCain wants to duck Friday's debate with Barack Obama.

As the Huffington Post points out in McCain Wants a Time Out - But Why? .... even McCain's announcement of the "idea of uniting the campaigns to find a bipartisan solution to the Wall Street crisis wasn't even McCain's idea."

At 8:30am this morning Obama called McCain to ask him if he would join in issuing a joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal and urging Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal. At 2:30 this afternoon, McCain returned Obama's call and agreed to join him in issuing such a statement.

Then, McCain held a press conference trying to make it look like the joint statement was his idea and urging the cancellation of Friday's debate so he can rush to D. C. to focus on the rescue package.

Since McCain has skipped more votes during this session than any other Senate member except for Tim Johnson who had major brain surgery, casting a single vote in the five months since April 9... his motives seem suspect. McCain even admitted yesterday that he had not even read the administration's three-page $700 billion bailout proposal.

It seems it would be much more useful for the country to hold the debate which will be viewed by up to 100,000,000 people, giving both McCain and Obama the opportunity to explain to this large audience their positions on this financial crisis.

Is it that McCain just isn't ready for prime time on this and other issues?

McCain-Davis Ties to Freddie Mac

John McCain is having a run of bad luck. People aren't taking the Straight Talk maverick at his word anymore, and it's taking a toll.

The latest crooked talk comes from McCain's ties to the bailout of Freddie Mac. Turns out McCain Aide's Firm Was Paid by Freddie Mac. (NYTimes)

"One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.

"The disclosure undercuts a statement by Mr. McCain on Sunday night that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had had no involvement with the company for the last several years....

"They said Mr. Davis’s firm, Davis & Manafort, had been kept on the payroll because of Mr. Davis’s close ties to Mr. McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, who by 2006 was widely expected to run again for the White House.

"Davis took a leave from Davis & Manafort for the presidential campaign, but as a partner and equity-holder continues to benefit from its income. No one at Davis & Manafort other than Davis was involved in efforts on Freddie Mac’s behalf, the people familiar with the arrangement said."

In order to get around truth telling about Davis's involvement with the Federally-rescued Freddie Mac as interest is reignited with the controversy now swirling around the Bush administration's latest gigantic $700 billion bailout proposal, the McCain campaign states emphatically that Davis hasn't received a "salary" from Davis & Manafort since 2006.

It depends on what the meaning of "salary" is.... a truly Clintonian parse. Davis owns Davis and Manafort and shares in its profits.

McCain’s campaign has been attacking Senator Barack Obama for supposed ties to former mortgage lending officials of both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.... running a television commercial suggesting that Obama takes advice on housing issues from Franklin D. Raines, former chief executive of Fannie Mae, a contention flatly denied by Raines and the Obama campaign.

Freddie Mac’s roughly $500,000 in payments to Davis & Manafort began immediately after Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in late 2005 disbanded an advocacy coalition that they had set up and hired Davis to run.

So..... it turns out that it's McCain's campaign manager who has the close and deep ties to Freddie Mac.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

McCain's "Contingencies"

John McCain is now in full soap-box mode, loudly calling for strong regulation of Wall Street financial institutions.... the Bush administration's poster-children of "trickle-down" economics.... because of the so-far trillion-dollar bailout caused largely by banking's creative and reckless subprime mortgage lending schemes unhindered by regulation or oversight.

Yet.... McCain's article in the just-released issue of the well-respected actuarial magazine Contingencies contains this gem regarding his proposals for health insurance.... page 30:

"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."

Regardless of what he now says.... just moments ago he wanted to craft our health insurance market on the banking model, with "innovative products," less burdened by state regulation.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Slow Down the $700 Billion Railroad

It's hard to get ones mind around $700+ billion, the size of the latest proposed bailout of Wall Street investment bankers who recklessly and deliberately ravaged the economy for personal gain.... without government intervention and oversight.

Now that same government, the Bush administration, wants to make their Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, Tsar of the Economic Universe.

Paulson is demanding a taxpayer-financed bailout with no strings attached.... with nothing required of those being bailed out.... and dictatorial authority.

The Decider and The Dictator want Congress to decide now.

Hurry, hurry.... the financial-collapse train is bearing down on us. Give the totally inept Bush administration unfettered power and trust Rumsfel.... umm.... Paulson to do the right thing. Sound familiar? Isn't this how we got into the other big Bush mess, Iraq.

As Paul Krugman points out in his New York Times op-ed today, Cash for Trash, Paulson "is a smart guy, but what, exactly, in the experience of the past year and a half — a period during which Mr. Paulson repeatedly declared the financial crisis 'contained,' and then offered a series of unsuccessful fixes — justifies the belief that he knows what he’s doing?"

And, in line with the closed-door, secretive, subpoena-ignoring, won't-be-sworn-to-tell-the-truth Bush administration's modus operandi, mindbogglingly, Paulson is demanding also immunity from review “by any court of law or any administrative agency.”

This is unacceptable.

Has Congress.... the taxpayers elected representatives who are supposed to look out for the interests of Main Street, not Wall Street.... learned it's lesson?

Or, will they once again be railroaded without insisting on prudent safeguards, curbs on power, and that blatantly discarded concept.... ACCOUNTABILITY!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

History: McKeating to Meltdown

By contrast, the Keating Five scandal was small potatoes. A financial institution bailout costing over $3 billion in 1989.

Compared with the bailout of hundreds of billions for the current financial meltdown, it seems small potatoes. But, there are other comparisons that chill.

The Keating Five scandal.... five Senators entangled in the failure of big- time campaign contributor Charles Keating's Lincoln Savings and Loan. The five were accused of intervening with banking regulators to protect Keating.

Then-economist Alan Greenspan wrote a letter on Keating's behalf extolling the management of Lincoln Savings as "seasoned and expert" with a "record of outstanding success."

Sen. John McCain, now seeking the presidency of the United States, was one of the five.

Alan Greenspan went on to become chairman of the Federal Reserve.

In today's New York Times Frank Rich puts a fine point on this history in Truthiness Stages a Comeback.

Rich reminds us that McCain.... "has been chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, where he claims to have overseen “every part of our economy.” He didn't, thank heavens, but he does have a long and relevant economic record that begins with the Keating Five scandal of 1989 and extends to this campaign, where his fiscal policies bear the fingerprints of Phil Gramm and Carly Fiorina. It’s not the résumé that a presidential candidate wants to advertise as America faces its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. That’s why the main thrust of the McCain campaign has been to cover up his history of economic malpractice.

McCain has largely pulled it off so far, under the guidance of Steve Schmidt, a Karl Rove protégé. A Rovian political strategy by definition means all slime, all the time. But the more crucial Rove game plan is to envelop the entire presidential race in a thick fog of truthiness. All campaigns, Obama’s included, engage in false attacks. But McCain, Sarah Palin and their surrogates keep repeating the same lies over and over not just to smear their opponents and not just to mask their own record. Their larger aim is to construct a bogus alternative reality so relentless it can overwhelm any haphazard journalistic stabs at puncturing it.

These smear tactics are nothing new.... George Bush smeared McCain in the 2000 GOP presidential primaries, and Swiftboated John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election..... but, it was the former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich who codified such tactics in a 1996 GOPAC memo entitled Language: A Key Mechanism of Control.

Gingrich advised GOP campaigners to memorize as many of his suggested words as possible and use them. He suggested they talk about themselves with optimistic positive governing words such as... change, commitment, moral, family, vision... and use words to define Democrats such as.... abuse of power, betray, cheat, corrupt, greed, hypocrisy, traitors, welfare.... even, gasp, liberal.

And the point.... control. Over our country, over our lives.

And control the GOP did. Congress from 1994 to 2004 and the White House for the last eight years. Now they want to point the finger at everyone else for the dismal state of our economy, although there is plenty of blame to go around and the Democrats skirts aren't all clean.

The combination of Rove's bogus alternative to reality and the application of Gingrich's advice to use words as tactics has been politically successful for the GOP, and lethal for the country as the populace was manipulated and misled.

As Rich explains: "When a McCain spokesman told Politico a week ago that 'we’re not too concerned about what the media filter tries to say' about the campaign’s incessant fictions, he was channeling a famous Bush dictum of 2003: 'Somehow you just got to go over the heads of the filter.' In Bush’s case, the lies lobbed over the heads of the press were to sell the war in Iraq. That propaganda blitz, devised by a secret White House Iraq Group that included Rove, was a triumph. In mere months, Americans came to believe that Saddam Hussein had aided the 9/11 attacks and even that Iraqis were among the hijackers. A largely cowed press failed to set the record straight...

"If you doubt that the big lies are sticking, look at the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll. Half of voters now believe in the daily McCain refrain that Obama will raise their taxes. In fact, Obama proposes raising taxes only on the 1.9 percent of households that make more than $250,000 a year and cutting them for nearly everyone else."

This same media filter is being used in the current financial crisis. Why isn't the press talking about McCain's Keating past? Rich notes that the "indisputable historical antecedent for our current crisis is the Lincoln Savings and Loan scandal of the go-go 1980s. When Charles Keating’s bank went belly up because of risky, unregulated investments, it wiped out its depositors’ savings and cost taxpayers more than $3 billion. More than 1,000 other S.&L. institutions capsized nationwide.

"It was ugly for the McCains. He had received more than $100,000 in Keating campaign contributions, and both McCains had repeatedly hopped on Keating’s corporate jet. Cindy McCain and her beer-magnate father had invested nearly $360,000 in a Keating shopping center a year before her husband joined four senators in inappropriate meetings with regulators charged with S.&L. oversight.

"After Congressional hearings, McCain was reprimanded for 'poor judgment.' .... Yet he, like many deregulators in his party, was guilty of bankrupt policy-making before disaster struck. He was among the sponsors of a House resolution calling for the delay of regulations intended to deter risky investments just like those that brought down Lincoln and its ilk."

McCain as a "maverick" is just another manipulative use of a word as a tactic.

In truth, as Rich reminds us.... "The corporate jets, lobbyists and sleazes that gravitated around McCain in the Keating era have also reappeared in new incarnations. The Nation’s Web site recently unearthed a photo of the resolutely anticelebrity McCain being greeted by the con man Raffaello Follieri and his then girlfriend, the Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway, as McCain celebrated his 70th birthday on Follieri’s rented yacht in Montenegro in August 2006. It’s the perfect bookend to the old pictures
of McCain in a funny hat partying with Keating in the Bahamas."

Eric Hovde explains today in Calling Out the Culprits Who Caused the Crisis (WaPo) ...."In the run-up to the millennium, the Federal Reserve, led by then-Chairman Alan Greenspan, began to pump money into the capital markets to deal with any financial problems that might arise from a Y2K meltdown."

The meltdown didn't happen, but the "monetary stimulus, coupled with the aforementioned hype, created an unfortunate bubble in Internet, technology and telecommunications stocks."

Large Wall Street investment banks recognized the potential profit in promoting the technology boom and from mid-1999 to mid-2000 they took about 500 companies public, raising about 77 billion for the IPOs, for which they received a 6 percent underwriting fee.

In this rush for profits, the investment banks also invested in these companies before the IPO when the stock was valued at a fraction of the post IPO, and threw out their underwriting guidelines in place since the Great Depression.

Then.... the technology bubble burst and as Hovde explains, "America's corporate landscape was littered with bankruptcies and mass layoffs, and investor losses have been estimated at more than $1 trillion."

Greenspan's Federal Reserve reacted by increasing the money supply and slashing short-term interest rates to 1 percent... a level not seen for more than 45 years. This stimulus led to an enormous housing boom and new mortgage products that ignored all previous lending guidelines.

Wall Street then packaged these subprime mortgages, again receiving billions in fees, and sold them to investors.

We are now facing the disastrous result as this whole get-rich-quick scheme falls apart as the bills come due.

Hovde explains, "First, the Fed laid the groundwork for both these asset bubbles by lowering interest rates to historic lows. In an attempt to protect his legacy after the Internet-bubble collapse, Greenspan provided unprecedented stimulus to re-inflate the economy and maintain his popularity with Wall Street.... But in doing so, he spawned the largest debt and asset bubble in U.S. history."

Of course, the SEC stood idly by as Wall Street took advantage of the investing public in the Internet and housing bubbles. Treasury secretaries took no action to curb these abuses, and "Wall Street investment banking firms sprinkled some of its massive gains into the pockets of our elected officials," and bought itself protection from any tough government enforcement, Hovde explains.

And, regardless of his current fiery calls for a crackdown on Wall Street, McCain opposed the very regulations that might have helped avert the current catastrophe. In 1999, he supported a law co-authored by his campaign financial guru then-Sen. Phil Gramm "that revoked the New Deal reforms intended to prevent commercial banks, insurance companies and investment banks from mingling their businesses," Rich reminds us.

Now, Gramm is keeping a low profile after he blamed the economic meltdown on our 'nation of whiners' and 'mental recession,' but he remains in the McCain loop.

So there you have it.... greed, corruption and a gulled electorate have brought us to this catastrophic financial crisis.

But history doesn't have to be prologue to the future. We can and must change business as usual.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bush's $700 BILLION Bailout

Bush pledges to work with Congress to OK rescue. (WaPo)

Now, when The Decider's administration has made a gigantic mess of the economy, George Bush wants to sheath his veto pen and play nice with Congress, saying, "We're going to work with Congress to get a bill done quickly."

And Congress has little choice but to cooperate.... the economy is on the precipice.

The Bush administration's proposal asks Congress to allow the government to buy $700 BILLION in bad mortgages as part of the largest financial bailout since the Great Depression.... but, it doesn't specify what the government would get in return from financial companies.

Corporate-welfare in its purest from.

In explaining this move, The Decider mused that "People are beginning to doubt our system, people were losing confidence and I understand it's important to have confidence in our financial system."

Do you think?

But, it's not our "financial system" that undermined confidence and saddled the country with crippling debt, it's the financial philosophy Bush has stubbornly pursued for eight years.... cut taxes for the rich and corporations, hit the middle class with lower wages, less benefits and send their jobs overseas, spend wildly on a misbegotten war, deregulate everything in sight, let lobbyists and congressional far-right-wingers like McCain's Gramm write your legislation, and trust something good will "trickle down."


This bailout is just the latest of the mind-boggling failures of The Decider's agonizing tenure at the helm. And, John McCain promises more of the same.


Friday, September 19, 2008

McCain's "Waldo" Economics

Where's McWaldo?

We used to find John McCain at the economic poker table with his corporate cronies, a high-stakes gambler betting on deregulation of financial institutions until.... well.... the markets collapsed as criminally reckless mega financial institutions committed subprime-suicide when left to their own deregulated greed.

So.... now you'll find McWaldo on his campaign soap box preaching the joys of federal regulation and calling for the firing of the unfirable SEC chief.

He also used to place his Wall Street-backed bets on privatizing Social Security... he was a BIG supporter of privatizing Social Security with stock market securities, advocating in 2004, "Without privatization, I don't see how you can possibly, over time, make sure that young Americans are able to receive Social Security benefits."

Well.... this is over time. Hoping for voter and media amnesia.... McCain Denies Social Security Comments (Huffington). Yes, our elusive McWaldo said this June, "I'm not for quote privatizing Social Security, I never have been, I never will be."

As Eugene Robinson points out today in Flunking Economics, "John McCain was telling the truth when he said that economics wasn't his strong suit." (WaPo)

And, it seems a policy-wandering, clueless McWaldo proved his point this week.

On Monday McCain insisted that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong," followed by rhetoric about AIG, the behemoth insurance company that was teetering on the brink.... "I do not believe that the American taxpayer should be on the hook for AIG, we cannot have the taxpayers bail out AIG or anybody else."

But, within hours, in the latest corporate-welfare move by the Bush administration, the federal government bailed out AIG to the tune of $85 billion.... so McCain quickly reversed himself, saying the government was "forced" to make this move.

Not even his own advisers have confidence in McWaldo's fitness for the job. As Robinson points out, "Adding insult to injury, one of McCain's most vocal campaign surrogates former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina - volunteered that McCain wasn't qualified to run a major corporation."

You probably won't see her on the stump for McCain again anytime soon.

Besides bad advice from his career-lobbyists campaign staff, it seems McCain's major problem is that he just wants the presidency too much. Voters used to think they knew exactly where McCain stood on the issues.... they could pick out their McWaldo in any political landscape.

No more. McCain has squandered the best thing he had going for him in his quest to get the presidency for his sake, not ours.... he squandered his reputation for standing on principal.

His Straight Talk Express is now careening wildly about the countryside trying to please voters by taking the latest popular detours on hot issues.

Would someone please send McWaldo a striped stocking cap so we can find him in the good ol' boy crowd....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

McCain Rains on Spain.....

Is McCain's new foreign policy..."Keep your enemies close, but your friends at arms length... and don't be consistent whatever you do."

During an interview on Spanish radio this week, McCain refused to commit to a meeting with Spain's prime minister, Jose Luis Zapatero.

When the questioner pressed the point a third time, McCain replied: "I have a clear record of working with leaders in the hemisphere that are friends with us and standing up to those who are not."

At this point, the reporter sought to clarify that McCain was not mixing up South America with Europe.

"I'm talking about the president of Spain," she noted.

Given this fourth opportunity to extend an olive branch to Spain, McCain stuck to his guns: "I'm willing to meet with any leader who is dedicated to the same principles and philosophy that we are for human rights, democracy and freedom and I will stand up to those who are not."

That McCain would lump Zapatero in with such Latin American bad guys as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez comes as a surprise, because Zapatero and Juan Carlos, the King of Spain, were the protagonists in one of the most public anti-Chavez moments in the Spanish-speaking world. (WaPo)

When queried on McCain's puzzling stance, McCain's foreign policy adviser Randy Sheunemann backed up McCain remarks, and told the Washington Post in an e-mail that McCain's answer was intentional and that "there is no doubt Senator McCain knew exactly to whom the question referred."

So how does this square with an early-April interview when McCain said: "This is the moment to leave behind discrepancies with Spain."

At that time he added: "I would like for [President Zapatero] to visit the United States. I am very interested not only in normalizing relations with Spain but in obtaining good and productive relations with the goal of addressing many issues and challenges that we have to confront together."

The recent McCain interview suggests that the senator was indeed confused as to who Zapatero and Spain were.... although he had words of praise for the your-land-is-my-land Mexican government.

Maybe McCain needs to join Sarah Palin's foreign countries flash-card tutorial sessions.



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

McCain's Economic-Deathbed Conversion

A decade ago, John McCain embraced the bill proposed by his campaign finance guru, then-Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX), to successfully push through the GOP-majority Senate the landmark legislation removing the walls between banking, investment and insurance companies.

That bill helped pave the way for companies such as Bear Stearns, Lehman and AIG to become behemoths laden with bad loans and investments. As if that wasn't enough of a boondoggle for his corporate buddies, McCain also continually pushed for less federal government regulation, telling the Wall Street Journal this March.... "I'm always for less regulation... I'd like to see a lot of the unnecessary government regulation eliminated."

But now, after the Lehman collapse and the stock market meltdown this week, he's singing a different tune... "McCain Embraces Regulation After Many Years of Opposition." (WaPo)

Yesterday, Barack Obama mocked "what he called McCain's 'newfound support for regulation' and accused his rival of backing 'a broken system in Washington that is breaking the American economy.'

"In a speech in Golden, Colo., Obama blamed the economic crisis on an 'economic philosophy' that he said McCain and President Bush supported blindly."

" 'John McCain has spent decades in Washington supporting financial institutions instead of their customers,' he told a crowd of about 2,100 at the Colorado School of Mines. 'So let's be clear: What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed.' "

The "trickle down" philosophy Bush "41" disdainfully labeled "voodoo economics," was fully embraced by his rebellious son Bush "43".... corporate taxes were decreased and enticements given for shipping jobs overseas, regulatory oversights were relaxed or abolished and Ponzi-frenzied oligarchs were given free reign to pillage the populace. Sub-prime was the new platinum parachute to financial riches.... for the few.

While obscene profits trickled up, the financial strength of the country trickled away.

Now, the Bush administration frantically bails with taxpayer money and borrowed hundreds of billions to keep the economy afloat, while the GOP presidential candidate of the party that foisted these ruinous policies on the country.... the-fundamentals-of-our-economy-are-strong McSame.... has found campaign-season economic religion.

Or so he says.

But, as we have seen these past months, McCain's Straight Talk Express has maxed it's credit and is now running on the fumes of distortion and double-talk.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Biden Bites Back....

Today Joe Biden is off of the leash.... and for many who want to hear Obama's VP pick forcefully answer the McCain attack machine .... out of the doghouse.

In Michigan today, flanked by tee-shirted "Fire Fighters-Obama Biden" supporters, Biden delivered a blast at John McCain and the Bush administration's failed policies, broken promises and scurrilous campaign tactics.

Biden says of the promises and policies of McSame.... "We've seen this movie before, folks. But as everyone knows, the sequel is always worse than the original."

Biden says McCain just doesn't get it. Even today while the stock market is plumeting on the news of the Lehman collapse, like a Bush bobblehead McCain said once again... "the fundamentals of our economy are strong."

Biden laments that his old friend McCain not only supports Bush's failed economic policies, but that a McCain presidency would continue those policies..... "Bush 44."

Woof! Let's hear more!


Lehman Trickles Down and Out

Lehman Brothers has filed for bankruptcy becoming the largest financial firm to fail in the credit crisis.... a crisis fueled by shoddy sub-prime lending practices.... producing "Massive Shifts on Wall Street" (WaPo) .... and a domino effect globally as "World Stock Markets Sink.." on the news. (WaPo)

We now know the reality of the Bush/McSame "trickle down" economy where corporations rule.

It's our savings and stock portfolios that have been trickling down and away as the Bush administration's unregulated house-of-cards economy implodes, while greedy fat cats in investment banks and brokerage houses reap obscene benefits from their risky business practices and then exit unscathed leaving stockholders and taxpayers holding the trickled-away bag.

Paul Krugman in his op-ed in The New York Times calls this trickle-down scam "Financial Russian Roulette."

In our new Russian Roulette economy, the old world of banking in which "institutions housed in big marble buildings accepted deposits and lent the money out to long-term clients, has largely vanished, replaced by what is widely called the 'shadow banking system.'"

The marbled-hall banks now play only a minor role in channeling funds, "most of the business of finance is carried out through complex deals arranged by 'nondepository' institutions, institutions like the late lamented Bear Stearns - and Lehman," Krugman explains.

While there were many warning signs.... like housing bankruptcies on a massive scale, and the bailout of investment bank Bear Stearns six months ago.... still the Bush administration didn't respond by putting in place a mechanism for orderly liquidation of troubled banks, or at the very least regulation of the shadow banking system. "If institutions need to be rescued like banks, they should be regulated like banks," Krugman reasons.

Instead, The Denier and McSame just keep double-talking, "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." After all, McSame wants the White House and The Denier wants his legacy... so don't expect any economic straight talk about the real effects of their corporate-loving trickle-down debacle.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Palin's Pathetic Performance

Last January the New York Times endorsed Sen. John McCain as the best GOP presidential nominee of the field. In doing so they said:

....there is a choice to be made, and it is an easy one. Senator John McCain of Arizona is the only Republican who promises to end the George Bush style of governing from and on behalf of a small, angry fringe. With a record of working across the aisle to develop sound bipartisan legislation, he would offer a choice to a broader range of Americans than the rest of the Republican field.

We have shuddered at Mr. McCain’s occasional, tactical pander to the right because he has demonstrated that he has the character to stand on principle.....

That was then.... before McCain's cave-in to that "small, angry fringe," tactically pandering to the right with the pick of Sarah Palin.... and, this is now.

In today's NYT editorial, "Gov. Palin's Worldview," they lament.... As we watched Sarah Palin on TV the last couple of days, we kept wondering what on earth John McCain was thinking....

It was bad enough that Ms. Palin's performance in the first televised interviews she has done since she joined the Republican ticket was so visibly scripted and lacking in awareness.

What made it so much worse is the strategy for which the Republicans have made Ms. Palin the frontwoman: win the White House not on ideas, but by denigrating experience, judgment and qualifications.

The idea that Americans want leaders who have none of those things - who are blindly certain of what Ms. Palin calls "the mission" that they won't even pause for reflection - shows a contempt for voters and raises frightening questions about how Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin plan to run this country.

One of the many bizarre moments in the questioning by ABC News's Charles Gibson was when Ms. Palin, the governor of Alaska, excused her lack of international experience by sneering that Americans don't want "somebody's big fat resume' maybe that shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment where, yes, they've had opportunities to meet heads of state."

Hello, Palin!! Remember your running mate, Sen. McCain who has served decades in the Washington establishment and has a big, fat resume.

As NYT op-ed columnist Bob Herbert points out today in "She's Not Ready": With Ms. Palin, it's not about agreeing or disagreeing, she doesn't seem to understand some of the important issues.

"Do you believe in the Bush doctrine?" Mr. Gibson asked during the interview. Ms. Palin looked like an unprepared student who wanted nothing so much as to escape this encounter with the school principal.

Clueless, she asked, "In what respect, Charlie?"

"Well, what do you interpret it to be?" asked Mr. Gibson.

"His worldview?" asked Ms. Palin.

Watching this unready performance, one wanted to prompt her that the Bush doctrine calls for preemption in striking countries we only suspect of things.... like Iraq's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. We're paying a heavy price for that doctrine and will continue to pay for decades to come.

Perhaps most disturbing of all.... with it's reminders of the misleading lies of The Decider.... were Palin's remarks at the deployment ceremony of her son whose unit is being shipped to Iraq. She told that audience of soldiers that they would be fighting "the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans."

The troubling question.... is she deliberately falsifying history, or is she still clueless that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks? Even The Decider had to finally admit this....

Herbert asks: How is it this woman could have been selected to be the vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket? How is it that so much of the mainstream media has dropped all pretense of seriousness to hop aboard the bandwagon and go along for the giddy ride?

How, indeed.

And last, how can McCain, who promotes himself as the ultimate patriot, put the best interests of the nation aside to make this incredibly reckless choice? A choice he said was his most important one as a candidate, a choice that first and foremost must be someone ready and qualified to be president.

There no longer is any question that McCain would continue the irresponsible "George Bush style of governing"...


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bush Gets No Respect

As George W. Bush's ratings drop, and the Iraq war becomes increasingly unpopular for the majority of Americans, he did what he does best.... "give another chest-thumping victory speech."

As Dana Milbank points out in, "Commander in Speech," (WaPo) Bush rolled out his latest version of "Mission Accomplished" before a White House-assembled audience of a few hundred officers from the National Defense University at Ft. McNair.... to almost thundering silence.

"Bush got to his payoff line -- 'the Joint Chiefs of Staff have recommended that we move forward with additional force reductions, and I agree' -- but only one guy near the back of the room clapped. He stopped quickly when he realized nobody was joining him."

Bush's nodding acquaintance with the truth has caught up with him. The officers assembled knew that seven years after 9/11, and over five years after the invasion of the wrong country, a shift of some troops from Iraq to the real al-Qaeda hotbed in Afghanistan next February is disastrously overdue.

They knew as Bush presented the move as a product of the surge's success saying, "As al-Qaeda faces increased pressure in Iraq, the terrorists are stepping up their efforts on the front where this struggle first began," that in reality, the growing violence in Afghanistan came about largely because the United States was distracted in Iraq.

The stony audience knew that when their Commander in Speech was thanking the Coalition of the Willing for sending more than 140,000 troops to Iraq that there were, as Milbank notes, "only 7,330 foreign troops helping U.S. forces in Iraq; the number of troops apparently dropped so low this week that, for the first time, the State Department omitted the tally entirely in its weekly Iraq status report."

As Milbank points out, "There was a time, not long ago, when such a major presidential speech would draw 15 television cameras; yesterday there appeared to be only four, including Japan's NHK.

"The hosts set aside 24 seats for reporters, but there appeared to be only three reporters in the press section. Only two members of Congress -- both backbench House Republicans -- showed up for the talk.

"And Marine Lt. Gen. Frances Wilson, the university president, was comically brief in her introduction. She opened by saying she was 'honored to welcome our commander in chief,' then immediately closed by adding 'without any further ado, the president of the United States.'

" 'Thank you, General, for your kind and short introduction,' Bush replied."

The Decider has become the Rodney Dangerfield of presidents.... he gets no respect.

Deservedly so.

As Bush exits stage left in a few months, we can only hope that John McSame doesn't enter stage right to reinforce and continue Bush's failed policies. After all it was Barack Obama who years ago called for a shift in focus to Afghanistan and the terrorist strongholds in Pakistan.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The McBush Borrow-and-Spend Mess

John McCain, admits he doesn't know much about the economy, nevertheless he has modeled his economic policies after the Bush administration's, even regurgitating their mantra that the "fundamentals of our economy are strong."

McSame's chief economic policy advisor even accused the besieged electorate of being "a nation of whiners."

As for The Decider's eight years of "trickle down" borrow-and-spend economic policy.... well, it's a fine mess you've gotten us into, Georgie.

The latest tally for the Bush administration's reckless spree... "Federal Deficit Estimated at Near-Record $407B" for the fiscal year ending this month.(WaPo)

Now, don't confuse this with the national debt... oh no. That's MUCH larger. The deficit is just the shortfall between the budget-year monies coming in and going out.

Congressional budget analysts report that this deficit is more than double that of last year's $161 billion, ..."the next president will take office facing a projected deficit of $438 billion... the largest in dollar terms in American history."

The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Sen. Ken Conrad (D-ND) said: "The next president will be inheriting a budget and economic outlook that is far worse than most people realize." The burgeoning deficit "means more borrowing from China, more borrowing from Japan and more borrowing from oil exporters like Saudi Arabia."

John McCain proposes doing more of the same, but on an even more-grandiose scale.... as Barack Obama points out, McCain "wants us to think he represents change, but he wants to spend $3.4 trillion more than President Bush on tax cuts, most of which will go to the wealthiest corporations and big oil companies and leave more than 100 million middle-class families without a dime of tax relief."

This preposterous economic situation would seem a far-fetched Laurel and Hardy slapstick farce.... sadly, it's a worsening financial reality propelling the nation into a fiscal black hole.

What the country doesn't need is an economically-clueless McCain, with sidekick moose-slayer Sarah.... who ran the debt of a 6,000 population Alaska town from zero to $22 million during her mayoralty.... calling the shots next January.


Surfacing Sarah....

Self-proclaimed maverick, Sarah Palin, talks the talk.... donning the crusader cape of fiscal rectitude at the GOP convention last week she proclaimed she "got rid of a few things in the governor's office that I didn't believe our citizens should have to pay for."

But... walk the walk? "Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home." (WaPo)

Actually, during her first 19 months as governor of Alaska she billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home, a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.

When it comes to Palin's talk, it would be well to heed the advice of Ronald Reagan... "trust but verify." Actually, the trust part is already shot.....

Monday, September 08, 2008

Palin... Where's the Moose?

Once again our nation is being fed fundamentalist cause-driven campaign hype. With the selection of Sarah Palin, John McCain is forever abandoning his "agents of intolerance" bandwagon for the gaudy, evangelical-pleasing circus wagon.

Revelling in her NRAishness, a supporter enthused, "What woman do you know who could shoot a moose, field-dress it and serve it?.... This has really energized the conservative side of the house." (WaPo)

Oh, wow! And this does what for the real problems facing voters?..... like unemployment, a trashed economy and increasingly deadly world tensions?

What we have here folks, is the usual Rovian campaign tactics of distraction.... watch Smokin' Sarah in the middle ring so you don't remember that the Bushies have been picking your pockets and ravaging the countryside for eight years.

Are we going to fall for this yet again?

How about some sober, decidedly unmoosey, facts.

Since it has been revealed that there was no vetting of Palin among Alaskans who know her, we turn to a woman from Palin's hometown of Wasilla, Anne Kilkenny, who gives her firsthand view of the Sarah phenom as mayor and eighteen-months governor of Alaska. Kilkenny, a Wasilla homemaker and education advocate, is a faithful attender of City Council meetings, a voter registrar and informed-voter activist.

Kilkenny said of Palin's experience: "During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings, which had given rise to a recall campaign."

And, although Palin had campaigned as a fiscal conservative, Kilkenny said that "she increased general government expenditures by more than 33 percent. During those same six years, the amount of taxes collected by the city increased by 38 percent. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002), She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax, which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents."

But, Kilkenny notes, "The huge increases in tax revenue during her mayoral administration weren't enough to fund everything on her wish list, though -- borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt but left it with indebtedness of more than $33 million.

"What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow moneys for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? Or a new library? No. $1 million for a park. $15 million-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex, which she rushed through, on a piece of property that the city didn't even have clear title to....."

As governor during a time of a big budget surplus for Alaska, Palin "recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenue: Spend today's surplus, borrow for needs."

And, instead of ousting the "old boy's club" as Palin claims, she instead installed a new set of "old boys".... "Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the city and as governor, she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people, creating a staff totally dependant on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal -- loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda...."

"As governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects -- which had been vetoed simply because she was not aware of their importance -- but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as 'anti pork.' "

As Frank Rich points out in "Palin and McCain's Shotgun Marriage," (NYTimes).... "We still don't know a lot about Palin except that she's better at delivering a speech than McCain and that she defends her own pregnant daughter's right to privacy even as she would have the government intrude to police the reproductive choices of all other women. Most of the rest of the biography supplied by her and the McCain camp is fiction.

"She didn't say 'no thanks' to the 'Bridge to Nowhere' until after Congress had already abandoned it but given Alaska a blank check for $223 million in taxpayers' money anyway. Far from rejecting federal pork, she hired lobbyists to secure her town a disproportionate share of earmarks ($1,000 per resident in 2002, 20 times the per capita average in other states). Though McCain claimed 'she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities,' she has never issued a single command as head of the Alaska National Guard.

"How long before we learn she never shot a moose?"

Doesn't all of this have a familiar ring....reckless spending and running up debt, tax cuts for corporations while increasing the burden on the middle class, political appointments instead of the best people for the job, inflating her resume... all-hat-and-no-cattle style.

Palin is The Decider in go-go boots!

And, if fading-wallflower McSame wins, she'll be just a heartbeat away from the presidency!

The fundamentalist circus is back in town, and the GOP barker wants you to keep your eyes on their creation, Smokin' Sarah, as she performs her high-wire act. In the meanwhile, as Rich points out, the McCain operatives are hoping that "whatever happened in Alaska with Sarah Palin stays in Alaska."

Where's the moose? November.

Friday, September 05, 2008

GOP's Reality Check

Newly minted GOP wonder woman, Sarah Palin, is living proof why conservative "values" don't work.

Rehka Basu of The Des Moines Register takes aim today at conservative-policy hypocrisy, pointing out that GOP rhetoric doesn't square with life's realities.

Palin is a no-holds barred pro-life advocate who opposes school sex-ed and distribution of condoms in schools. And, John McCain has opposed funding programs for teen moms and supported the Bush administration's lavish spending on their crusade for abstinence-only education.

So Basu notes, "the real question Palin has to answer is how, as chief policymaker, she would reconcile her tough platitudes with other Americans' rights and realities, especially in the face of first-hand evidence such policies don't work.

Ironically, her own 17-year-old unwed, pregnant daughter is the best illustration of that."

And, although VP Cheney's administration and finger-wagging conservatives have promoted harsh policies toward gays.... backing a constitutional amendment forbidding them to marry and at the same time discouraging out-of-wedlock births.... Cheney made an exception for his gay daughter and her child, openly accepting them.

"The Republican Party, and Palin, say sex before marriage is wrong. But Pain's daughter didn't listen. The Republican Party says children should be raised by married couples. But Cheney's granddaughter can't be.," Basu argues.

"So which are we supposed to believe, how these leaders say families should live, or how their own families live? The moral principles they broadcast, or the exceptions they are willing to make for their own? And why won't they offer all Americans that understanding and acceptance?"

The GOP Evangelical Christian base is calling the moral shots for the party, although it's clear their aim excludes their own actions. But take heart, the rest of us don't have to stand defenseless in the crosshairs of their preachy bullseye.... November.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin: The Real Bridge to Nowhere

GOP political pundits are polite on camera about the astonishing pick of 18-month Alaska governor Sarah Palin as the heart-beat-away Veep choice of 72-year-old GOP presidential candidate John McCain.

The real opinion of the GOP spinners surfaced yesterday when Reagan's speechwriter Peggy Noonan, and McCain's former campaign chief Mike Murphy gave their off-camera (but recorded) judgment of the selection of Palin to NBC's Chuck Todd.... here's what they really think. (YouTube)

The transcript:
Murphy: You know, because I come out of the blue swing state governor work. Engler, Whitman, Thompson, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush. And these guys, this is all like how you want to (inaudible) this race. You know, just run it up. And it's not gonna work.

Noonan: It's over.

Murphy: Still, McCain can give a version of the Lieberman speech to do himself some good.

Todd: Don't you think the Palin pick was insulting to Kay Bailey Hutchinson, too (inaudible)

Noonan: I saw Kay this morning.

Murphy: They're all bummed out.

Todd: I mean, is she really the most qualified woman they could have turned to?

Noonan: The most qualified? No. I think they went for this, excuse me, political bullshit about narratives and (inaudible) the picture.

Murphy: I totally agree.

Noonan: Every time the Republicans do that because that's not where they live and it's not what they're good at and they blow it.

Murphy: You know what's really the worst thing about it? The greatness of McCain is no cynicism and this is cynical.

Todd: And as you called it, gimmicky.

And there you have it. From GOP insiders. McCain's first big decision.... B.S.

The real... unvetted?.... record of McCain's Trojan horse selection is being unmasked daily. Palin's actions as mayor and governor fly in the face of her touted bio as a corruption-fighter and earmark spurner... as a gun-totin', supercharged hockey mom in go-go boots who can leap over her dearth of foreign policy experience in a single operative-managed bound.

What Palin is, is the religious right's dream come true. She is anti-choice, even in the case of rape and incest.... an extreme too radical for even Cindy McCain. She justifies the war in Iraq as "a task that is from God." And, claims it is "God's will" that the U.S. government contribute to a $30 billion gas pipeline she wants in Alaska. (NY Times)

Palin promotes intellectual design.... creationism.... and wants it taught in public schools. One of her first acts as mayor was to try to ban books in the city library that she deemed inappropriate.

Oh yes, and as mayor of tiny Wasilla, Palin raised the sales tax to build a hockey rink (her kids play) and "gathered up $27 million is subsidies from Washington, $15 million of it for a railroad from her town to the ski resort hometown of Senator Ted Stevens, now under indictment for failing to report gifts."

She was for the earmarked bridge to nowhere before she was against it.... although as Alaska's governor she kept the millions anyway.

If you ever doubted that a McCain presidency would be a continuation of the extreme and failed policies of the neo-con right wing loonies propelling George W. Bush, McCain's selection of Palin put all doubt to rest.

Evidently the McCainites think they'll snag Hillaryites with the selection of Smokin' Sarah.... that they'll cast aside their hard-won feminist gains in favor of A WOMAN!

And, McCain's handlers hope the nation will forget his Hillary-bashing misogynist jokes like the one with which McCain regaled his audience at a GOP Senate fundraiser in 1998... "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno." (Salon)

Sis-boom for McCain and women!

The only thing ugly here is the GOP's arrogant assumption that all the jobless, bankrupted, ignored and fast-disappearing middle class will vote for more of the same with McCain and his Trophy Vice.

That would be the bridge to nowhere.