Friday, September 26, 2008

The House Republican "alternate" bailout plan

What does it have?

Not that anyone really knows, because they didn't bother telling people about it but:

Why, it has ... <*surprise*> ... tax cuts!

And it has ... <*surprise* ... deregulation!!

But let's forget about the pork they shoved in, and the expansion of what got us here in the first place, and see how it's going to "fix" things:

It's going to insist that the financial institutions buy insurance, rather than pay them to take shaky loans of their books. "Hey, look! Free money!!!" This won't cost the taxpayers a dime, because the financial companies will pay for this insurance, and that will fix everything.

Hey morons: Insurance doesn't work quite right if you buy it after you have the accident! See here, for instance. Why futz around pretending this is "insurance" and make them pay a premium (that they can't afford because they're broke) only to turn right around and pay out the entire insured value? Why not just hand them the money up front and be honest about it? Calling it "insurance" doesn't magically manufacture money.

I've heard some stoopid ideas in my life, but this shell game of theirs takes the cake.... But no same person is going to buy it, it will never be tested, and they can keep telling the rubes that they had an alternative plan, without having to show it works (which it manifestly will not).

Knocking heads together

McInsane's idea of diplomacy is to knock together the heads of religious fundamentalists that have been at each other's throat for over a millennium:
"One of the things I would do if I were President would be to sit the Shiites and the Sunnis down and say, 'Stop the bullshit,'" said Mr. McCain...
And perhaps he though that this was what he was going to do with his Mighty Mouse imitation in Washington too.

But how does he think this will work when dealing with the Shi'ites and Sunni in Iraq, when he can't even get the RW Republicans in his own party to co-operate and actually sit down for negotiation?!?!? Hmmmm???? Ummmm .... waiddaminnit, that logic doesn't work. The RW Republicans in his own party are "religious fundamentalists"... nevermind.


But let's be honest here. He wasn't trying to get the parties to agree; he was trying to torpedo any such agreement. So I guess he succeeded with his strategery after all ... wonder how well that will work in Iraq....

In times like these...

... you need a chuckle sometimes:
First Palin, Then Campaign Suspension. What Now?

Slate predicts McCain's next 10 Hail Mary stunts.
And there's even an invite to use your brain and come up with something else that tops what the lizard-brains in the McInsane campaign have done....

"I have a Bridge to Nowhere to sell you...."

They (as in "the flacks for McInsane") must think we're stoopid.

After McInsane put on his cape and underpants on the outside, and headed off to Washington to sit "the Shiites and the Sunnis down and say, 'Stop the bullshit,'" torpedo the draft agreement, saying he was going to "suspend" his campaigning and any debates until an agreement was reached, McInsane has now "declared victory" and is going to resume his campaigning and going off to the debate. So his lackey Lindsey Graham has to come up with some 'splainin' for this dramatic turn of events:

How does McCain justify showing up at tonight's debate even if a bailout plan hasn't passed? Move the bar a bit.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) now says: "What's more important than anything that when we go to Mississippi tonight, both candidates can say that the Congress is working ..."

Congress was working on the issue. For a week before McInsane decided to pull his theatrics (and in the process gum up and delay the actual work).

Jon Stewart announced immediately aftwerwards that he was laying off all his writers for the next forty days, explaining that the glut of 'comedy gold' and other risible trash floating around the cesspool of the McInsane campaign had made it unprofitable to pay writers to produce any excess material that the market couldn't handle.


It would be irresponsible for me not to point out that McInsane's campaign "suspension" was nothing of the sort (not to mention McInsane's interviews and photo-ops during this faux "suspension"); just more lies for the rubes out there.

Leadership you can trust.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What D-day says

Over on Digby's Hullabaloo, D-day has an excellent and immensely funny post:
Nobody's buying this reinvented John McCain singing the glories of government regulation of the financial markets and vowing to get the bad guys off Wall Street, are they? If they are, could you have them peek at this, from an article McCain wrote THIS MONTH for a trade publication?
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.
Why is this guy polling above 5%?!?!?

Here's the really good snark:
As if the health care system weren't already immoral enough, McCain wants insurance companies to come up with the same kinds of attractive "innovative instruments" that the banking industry was free to do, unencumbered by any oversight. Maybe they can create "MRI default swaps" or "collateral knee surgery obligations" or some other fun packaged security that could be sold to China. After all, why shouldn't they have a say over whether or not you get your medication?


Matt Yglesias comes up with a zinger too:
It seems that before John McCain became the Scourge of Wall Street (i.e., all times before September 18, 2008 or so) he was such an enthusiast about financial market deregulation that he was bragging about his plan to make the health care system as awesome as the financial system.
Precious. That's a campaign winner, fershure.

Only the rubes will believe McSame's maverickness and his new-found claims of willingness and ability to go after those crooks on Wall Street. Too bad there's so many rubes in the Yoo Ess of Effin' Aye....

Friday, September 19, 2008

Making things clear for all to see....

So the mortgage market haemorrhages for a couple of years, tons of people are foreclosed on, and personal bankruptcys balloon (even after Congress passes a new law protecting not those seeking bankruptcy but rather the creditors). No panic.

But one week of Wall Street dropping 400 points on the DJIA a couple of days, and all of a sudden Washington sits up and takes notice.

And then they bail out Wall Street by buying -- with taxpayer money -- junk off of the Wall Street banks, and putting the taxpayers on the hook for these junk debts. Wall Street is just giddy, of course.

The moneyed class must be protected. The rest of A'mur'kah can go f**k themselves....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"I believe in treating mules gentle...."

"... but first you gotta get their attention."

So said the farmer as he picked up a 2X4 and whacked ol' Bessie upside the head.

Glenn Greenwald delivers a roundhouse blow with a big fat hickory baseball bat to the empty noggins of RW foamer battalions in this fine post, and yet there seems to be an infestation of RW foamers that still don't "get it".

From Glenn's post:

The same political faction which today is prancing around in full-throated fits of melodramatic hysteria and Victim mode (their absolute favorite state of being) over the sanctity of Sarah Palin's privacy are the same ones who scoffed with indifference as it was revealed during the Bush era that the FBI systematically abused its Patriot Act powers to gather and store private information on thousands of innocent Americans; that Homeland Security officials illegally infiltrated and monitored peaceful, law-abiding left-wing groups devoted to peace activism, civil liberties and other political agendas disliked by the state; and that the telephone calls of journalists and lawyers have been illegally and repeatedly monitored.

And the same Surveillance State Worshipper leading today's screeching -- Michelle Malkin -- spent the last several years deriding those who objected to the President's illegal spying program as "privacy crusaders" and "constitutional absolutists" and "civil liberties absolutists".

Shouldn't these same people be standing up today and insisting that if Sarah Palin has done nothing wrong, then she should have nothing to hide? If Sarah Palin isn't committing crimes or consorting with The Terrorists, then why would she care if we can monitor her emails? And if private companies such as Yahoo can access her emails -- as they can -- then she doesn't really have any "privacy" anyway, so what's the big deal if others read through her communications, too? Isn't that the authoritarian idiocy that has been spewed since The Day That 9/11 Changed Everything -- beginning with the Constitution -- to justify vesting secret and unchecked surveillance powers in our Great and Good Leaders?

And then, even better, there is the righteous outrage over the fact that this hacker engaged in what they call [spat with whispered contempt] . . . . "illegal surveillance." Why, whoever broke into Palin's Yahoo account broke the law, and we all know that that can't be tolerated! Bill O'Reilly last night called for the FBI to arrest not only those who did the hacking, but also those who own and manage Gawker ("a despicable, slimy, scummy website"), simply for posting the emails. This is what O'Reilly said:

It's a felony -- a federal crime -- also a crime in Alaska -- to hack into people's private correspondence . . . We have no privacy left in this country anymore. The website knows the law, and says "you know -- I'm going to do it anyway. I dare you to come get me."
Indeed. What kind of grotesque monster would invade people's private communications even though they know it's illegal to do that? It's almost like this despicable criminal-hacker did something like this -- from Scott Horton's Harpers interview yesterday with The Washington Post's Barton Gellman:
For the next three months, Addington and Cheney tried to suppress a growing legal insurgency. Andy Card acknowledged to me that Bush was out of the loop. By early March, Jack Goldsmith ruled that parts of the [NSA warrantless eavesdropping] program were unlawful. Ashcroft and Comey backed him. . . .The next day, Thursday March 11, Bush renewed the program anyway. He signed new language–again written by Addington -- declaring that he, the president, was the ultimate authority on what was legal.
Notably, the people whose communications George Bush was illegally intercepting for years (with the virtually unanimous support of the authoritarian Right) were private citizens who -- unlike Sarah Palin -- had done nothing to cede their privacy, and who had not been found by any court of law to have done anything wrong or even to be suspected of wrongdoing. As despicable as I personally find the Palin hacking to be, it pales in comparison to the Bush crimes, because when someone runs for President or Vice President, they voluntarily cede vast amounts of their personal privacy, which is why they're required to disclose things like their medical records, tax returns, assocational history, and other financial documents -- all information that private Americans, at least in theory in the pre-Bush era, had the right to keep private. Those subjected to Bush's illegal surveillance programs have done nothing to cede their privacy -- other than live in a country which has decided to abolish most privacy protections.
That's clear enough for any mule to grasp. What's the problem with our RW foamers?

Here's one of the less confoozed respondents to Glenn's post, making a go of explaining just why one is bad and the other is not only Good, but Essential To The Survival Of Our Country:

Dear Editor,

First, every time you claim, in your article, that the feds have illegally surveyed people's e-mails or phones, your statement is conclusory, and you provide no factual or legal basis. This is because (you really ought to use this word more in your own writings- "because"), the loosening of the surveillance laws under the Patriot Act requires a finding of a potential threat against national security for their implementation in any given circumstance. The warrant requirements imposed on the police remain in effect as they were prior to 9/11, absent this finding. And, I highly doubt President Bush or other federal agents are surveying random e-mails for their amusement or curiosity. Obviously, the names of the individuals who encounter the Patriot Acts embrace are divulged to the federal government in some manner. In other words, the names aren’t picked out of a hat.

Second, there is an important distinction between the hacking of Palin's e-mail and the effect of the Patriot Act on ordinary citizens. Palin's e-mails were stolen and placed on the internet for the world to see. E-mails seized pursuant to national security interests are confined to the eyes of the Government officials that seize them. Now, we may disagree as to whether that distinction has meaning. However, I believe that the U.S. government has a duty to be the eyes and ears that ordinary citizens do not possess the right, nor the duty to be. I believe that the U.S. government deserves and requires a bit more privilege when it comes to intrusions into personal lives. Frankly, national security is a compelling governmental interest, and seizing individual e-mail accounts, phone records, and library records is necessary and narrowly tailored to that interest. Which is why, the argument, "If you have nothing to hide...", works in that context, because once seized, those records will be discarded if not found to be incriminating, and even the individual that was subject to the seizure, may not even be aware of the intrusion. This doesn't work in Palin's case because, the harm caused by placing them on the internet is irreversible, nor did it come close to serving a compelling governmental interest.


Greg Skiff

Mr. Skiff maintains that the gummint is required to show cause for their tapping ("warrant requirements imposed on the police remain in effect, absent [a] finding [of a 'potential threat against national security']"), when in fact one big change of the recent FISA amendments was to eliminate the FISA warrant requirement and the need to show cause. In short, his facts are simply wrong here. And who does this "finding"? Why, the guys who want to do the tap!!!

He tosses in a lot of pseudo-legal crapola about "compelling governmental interest" and "narrowly tailored", but fails to show how any of that is true, even if this is indeed the appropriate measure for when we should ignore both U.S. statute and the Constitution. Not to mention he forgot the "least restrictive means" boilerplate language (he's skimping on his "talking points", I guess). There is no analysis as to why other alternatives might not be perfectly adequate to achieve any legitimate "governmental interests" here. You know, like getting a warrant?!?!?

But this phrase really sums it up: "I believe that the U.S. government has a duty to be the eyes and ears that ordinary citizens do not possess the right, nor the duty to be." Why, it's Big Brother's friggin' job to spy on us!!!

And a clue for Mr. Skiff here. The amendments were not part of the USA PATRIOT act....


More lunacy from Mr. Skiff here. I destroy it here.

Well, duh....

Some "economics" that even McCain should be able to understand.

The market rebounded today over 400 points on the DJIA. Why? Because of this:
The federal government is nearing completion of a broad plan to reduce the systemic risk to financial institutions, according to sources familiar with the thinking of Federal Reserve and Treasury Department officials.


The details of the plan remain unclear. The sources, who asked to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to discuss the plan, said it was intended to put some solid ground under the banking industry.

Market analysts have described one likely approach: A fund capitalized by the government and private banks that would buy troubled loans from banks, giving the banks more money and fewer problems.
Why does this make the markets happy?!?!? Why, silly, because of this:
While it is unclear what form such an entity would take if, it could be costly for taxpayers, said Stone. "That is why you need intense pain for people to be willing to do it. You are still putting significant taxpayer money at risk," he said.
Not "stockholder's money at risk". The finance companies can just shovel their bad debt off onto the gummint, and "keep on keeping on". What a deal. What a uniquely Republican way of dealing with things. All the profits, none of the responsibility. Let other people paper over and pay for your mistakes. Without accountability, their philosophy can flourish again, leading us to bigger and better ... uhhhhh ... well .....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Constitution Day!!!

... and let me know if you find it anywhere....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Repeat over and over, and people will think you're a geenyus

From ThinkProgress:
Speaking in Florida this morning — the very day that two of Wall Street’s major banking institutions collapsed — Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) declared he “still” believes “the fundamentals of our economy are strong.”
I can only advert to a recent post of mine here that covers this wonderfully (really ... go read it!):
"As long as the roots are not severed, all is well and all will be well in the garden."
Then again, McSame is a person that knows as much as (if not less than) Dubya about economics:
“The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should,” McCain said.
But if he keeps repeating his tripe about the wonderful economy and the sound root... -- umm, sorry, "fundamentals" -- people might think it insightful...

* * * * *

... and lastly, when it comes to lack of regulations and financial institutions run amok, "McCain" and "Keating" need to be Googled together. Don't believe it when he tells you that he is the person that can step in and fix the "big sh*tpile" (as Atrios refers to it). And why would he? After all, the "fundamentals of our economy are strong"....


Speaking of "repeat over and over", that's exactly what McSame has been doing (some 18 times or so), as ThinkProgress points out.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The definition of "leaving you whomp-jawed"

Try reading this for effect:

Q: Well, you say you’re sure that she has the experience, but again, I’m just asking for an example. What experience does she have in the field of national security?

McCAIN: Energy. She [Palin] knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America.
And all that from a bachelor's in journalisming. Think if she'd gone to MIT....

(h/t to ThinkProgress)

And once again, the question: Why is McInsane polling anything above 5%?!?!?

Deep thought

McSame was floundering before the convention and drawing less-than-enthusiastic crowds. Then he picked a hard-core RW anti-abortion (but pro-"let me grab any money I can") nutjob as his running mate.

The Republicans swooned. They're energized. They loooooovvvveee Palin. Rather that her being a drag on the ticket -- because of her skimpy qualifications, her stoopidiy and cluelessness, and such, along with his advanced age and the risk that she would succeed to the preznitcy -- she's in fact the succour that the RW conservative base has wanted, being a bit leery of McSame's fealty to the hard RW line. They are almost drooling for him to kick off and let her run things!

Do they care about her ability and her record of accomplishments (or lack thereof)? No. Hell, this is the crew that voted for Dubya in 2000, and has stood behind him through hell and high water (literally).

They want a simple-minded ideologue as the preznit.


ThinkProgress points out that Palin's part of the Rethuglican "let me grab any money I can" crew, and the "maverick" McSame is going to let that pass ... because he wants more than anything else to get elected and so he can't diss his Veep candidate.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Licking the boot that kicked you

Our brave hero McCain. He's going to save us all from the 'bad guys'. Like this:
And what does all this say about John McCain? In 2000, when he was running against George Bush in the South Carolina primary, he was smeared by outright lies charging among other things that he'd fathered an out-of-wedlock black child. The man who "directed communications" for Bush's 2000 South Carolina effort was Tucker Eskew. McCain confidants have long held Eskew partly responsible for those smears.

Last week, McCain hired him, to staff up Palin. That just about says all we need to know about today's McCain.

What more need be said?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

"Witness tampering" and "obstruction of justice"

From Josh Marshall's TalkingPointsMemo:

Newsweek: McCain camp and its Alaska allies move to shut down trooper-gate probe.

Definitely take a look at the Newsweek article. Also take note of the following, that we're going to be looking into next week. Within days of Palin's selection, at least seven of her aides and associates, who had previously agreed to cooperate with the trooper-gate investigation, informed investigator Steve Branchflower that they were now no longer willing to be deposed. Note too that this was immediately after the McCain team deployed what George Stephanopoulos reported was a "rapid response team of about ten operatives that includes lawyers" to the state.

So the question is: what contact did representatives of the McCain campaign have with these aides that had agreed to testify but within days of her selection took back their pledge and are now refusing to cooperate?

From the U.S. Code, Chapter 73 (the "Obstruction of Justice" chapter), "witness tampering" [18 USC § 1512]:
(b) Whoever knowingly uses intimidation, threatens, or
corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do
so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another
person, with intent to -
(1) influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of
any person in an official proceeding;
(2) cause or induce any person to -
(A) withhold testimony, or withhold a record,
document, or other object, from an official
(B) alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal an
object with intent to impair the object's integrity
or availability for use in an official proceeding;
(C) evade legal process summoning that person to
appear as a witness, or to produce a record, document,
or other object, in an official proceeding; or
(D) be absent from an official proceeding to
which such person has been summoned by legal process;
or [...]

shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more
than ten years, or both.
Time for a special prosecutor?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin's "creationism" is such 'yesterday's news'

Republican Veep candidate Sarah Palin is on the "creationism" bandwagon:
The volatile issue of teaching creation science in public schools popped up in the Alaska governor's race this week when Republican Sarah Palin said she thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the state's public classrooms.

Palin was answering a question from the moderator near the conclusion of Wednesday night's televised debate on KAKM Channel 7 when she said, "Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both."
Some might quibble that she's just being "even-handed" ... you know, "teach the controversy". That's a load of dung, of course; she's not suggesting we teach the turtle myths, the Epic of Gilgamesh, or any of the other numerous "creation" myths. And the courts have been smart enough to see through the "teach the controversy"/"equal time" bafflegab.

But she really needs to get up-to-date on the tactics. The new tactic is teaching the (thinly disguised) "Intelligent Design" trojan horse. Oh. Waiddaminnit. That one got shot down in flames as well.....

Down the slippery slope

From ThinkProgress:
Eight protesters at the RNC were charged with conspiracy to commit a terrorist act yesterday. The suspects’ lawyer called the charges ridiculous, saying the accusations are “an effort to equate publicly stated plans to blockade traffic and disrupt the RNC as being the same as acts of terrorism.” So far, nearly 300 protesters and journalists have been arrested.
No, we shouldn't care that the maladministration insists that it can torture and detain indefinitely any "terrorists" it wants (because, after all, they are "terrorists" and by definition 'beyond the law').