The economic holiday from history is just about over as some of the bills are coming due. Peter's pockets are empty so he can't be robbed to pay Paulson any more. The bills do have to be paid, so here's to making sure the problem is being correctly identified so that the solution selected does actually address the underlying causes and not just the symptoms. Otherwise, this solution will only make matters worse while guaranteeing that another round of trillion dollar bailouts is just over the horizon. If there's any silver lining at all here it might be forcing our government's hand on addressing the fiscal irresponsibility of Social Security and Medicare as well. Hey, I can dream can't I?
Whatever form the bailout bill eventually takes, I'll agree to it on one condition: that it include an amendment that every current member of Congress be prohibited from ever holding elected office again. I'm not asking for term limits, only that this current bunch of utterly detestable miscreants be thrown out of office in disgrace at the first opportunity. Normally, I'm opposed to term limits and the like since there are some good people it would be shame to lose but right now the balance is so out of whack on the side of bums and crooks that the only solution seems to be to throw out the babies with the bathwater. If the bailout bill includes another amendment requiring the tarring and feathering of Representative Frank and Senators Schumer and Dodd for their roles in creating this fiasco and standing firmly athwart reform yelling "Stop!" I promise not even to complain about the $70,000 or so of debt I will be asked to take on to pay for it. Feel free to throw in your additional suggestions for tarring and feathering.
I got the idea after seeing Glenn Reynolds ask if we could get a new Congress for $700 billion. Well, why not?
You young people should go get arrested or get your heads busted so my company can make more money selling carbon credits:
Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmental crusader Al Gore urged young people on Wednesday to engage in civil disobedience to stop the construction of coal plants without the ability to store carbon.
But not content with leading from the rear, Al wants to criminalize denialism:
I believe for a carbon company to spend money convincing the stock-buying public that the risk from the global climate crisis is not that great represents a form of stock fraud because they are misrepresenting a material fact," he said. "I hope these state attorney generals around the country will take some action on that."
Any thoughts about carbon companies that overhype AGW for their own selfish interests Al? Al? Al? Al? What an asshole. I can't believe anyone ever voted for this guy to be president.
Senator Obama exhorts his followers:
"I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face," he said.
Ah, the new politics of hope and change.
L. David Alinksy's letter to the editor of the Boston Globe sends shivers up my spine:
ALL THE elements were present: the individual stories told by real people of their situations and hardships, the packed-to-the rafters crowd, the crowd's chanting of key phrases and names, the action on the spot of texting and phoning to show instant support and commitment to jump into the political battle, the rallying selections of music, the setting of the agenda by the power people. The Democratic National Convention had all the elements of the perfectly organized event, Saul Alinsky style.
Barack Obama's training in Chicago by the great community organizers is showing its effectiveness. It is an amazingly powerful format, and the method of my late father always works to get the message out and get the supporters on board. When executed meticulously and thoughtfully, it is a powerful strategy for initiating change and making it really happen. Obama learned his lesson well.
I am proud to see that my father's model for organizing is being applied successfully beyond local community organizing to affect the Democratic campaign in 2008. It is a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we approach his 100th birthday.
When's the last time you saw such an unvarnished worship of propaganda?
He's not selling, he's buying:
Buffett's Berkshire Accelerates Pace of Acquisitions
But wait, there's more:
Several people have asked in the last twenty-four hours if I'm worried about the economic crisis. I've told them my only concern is that the government will not allow bad decisions to be appropriately punished. Otherwise, our closest thing to unfettered capitalism as we are likely to see system does exactly what it is supposed to be doing. Nothing more. Nothing less. Financial institutions failing does not scare me. People believing that it's just a matter of getting the right people to turn the knobs and tweak the dials correctly to always prevent this sort of thing on the other hand, they worry the bejeebus ought of me.
It's worth remembering that the people who run the government have the same educations, backgrounds, motivations, strengths, weaknesses, superstitions, abilities, and human nature as the people who ran Enron, Lehman Brothers, and Bear Stearns. No matter where you may sit on the political spectrum there seems to be an inverse relationship between how big you believe companies should get and how big you believe government should get. Glenn Reynolds quotes Lisa Fairfax asking:
When people say that a company is too big to fail, does that really mean that a company is simply "too big"? If so, does that mean that we need to do more to encourage smaller companies, or at the very least do more to discourage large companies or companies that are intertwined with too many industries?
Substitute "government" for "company" and "governments" for "companies" there and let me know what you think.
Every four years we get a song and dance about candidates releasing their tax returns, medical records, military service records, etc. I propose something entirely different. Since Governor Sarah Palin's e-mail accounts have been surreptitiously opened to the world, it is only fair that Senator Barack Obama and Senator Joe Biden take the gallant step of releasing all their e-mails to the public as well to help elevate the discussion to a higher road and reestablish a sense of fairness and propriety to the election process. The Obama campaign merely saying this is bad and shouldn't be done doesn't go nearly far enough to rectify the situation, unless of course they want to admit that they while they enjoy running Governor Palin's dirty knickers up the flag pole they wouldn't dare air out their own boxers or briefs. Don't Senator Obama and Senator Biden wish to assure the public that just like Governor Palin:
... there was nothing there, nothing incriminating, nothing that would derail [their] campaign as I had hoped...
Besides, what would you rather do, read though Senator Obama'e e-mails or his tax returns?
Note: I left Senator McCain out of this request because, as we all know, he doesn't use e-mail.
John McCain missed an opportunity to shut up:
John McCain ratcheted up his increasingly populist language today, using a campaign event in Iowa to say he would fire Christopher Cox, the former Republican congressman and Bush-appointed head of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
At least make an effort to appear as something other than a know-nothing populist. One of those running at the top of the ticket is enough.
My opposition to higher taxes is apparently unpatriotic:
Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday that paying more in taxes is the patriotic thing to do for wealthier Americans.
I think nothing better exemplifies what Dr. Johnson meant when he said, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
Senator John McCain: Computer Illiterate
Senator Barack Obama: Moral Illiterate
I think this is the first time I've taken a shot at Senator Obama directly, but he deserves it for this one.
Watch as Whoopi Goldberg embarrasses herself and shows her ignorance of the US Constitution by asking if she should be afraid of being a slave again because John McCain wants strict constructionists as Supreme Court Justices. Mind you, John McCain's response is just as embarrassing, as is Barbara Walters' and everyone else on that stage. Sorry Senator, but that's not a valid point, it is a shamelessly ignorant one, especially in light of the 13th amendment. Slavery was officially abolished in the United States 143 years ago. Maybe if Whoopi were old enough to justify using the word "again" she might have learned how the US Constitution works.
At what point does a grown up have to stand up and say, "What the hell is wrong with you?" Gee, I wonder if any of them are also worried about being arrested for buying an alcoholic beverage?
The dark ages will soon be making a comeback over there:
The threat of global warming is so great that campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power station, a jury decided yesterday. In a verdict that will have shocked ministers and energy companies the jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage.
Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a "lawful excuse" to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of "lawful excuse" under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage – such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire.
The not-guilty verdict, delivered after two days and greeted with cheers in the courtroom, raises the stakes for the most pressing issue on Britain's green agenda and could encourage further direct action.
Direct action, luddite vandalism. Potato, potahto. Suffice it to say that the future will be a bad time to want electricity in the UK.
In a word, style. Our election campaigns have long been more about style than substance, and this is just the latest example. Of course, it's not the kind of style that is featured in the fashion section of the New York Times, and that is why Senator Obama's campaign is having so much trouble -- because that is the only kind of style they know, or at least the only one they think that matters.
Sarah Palin has a style that is recognizable throughout flyover country and even on the coasts outside the cocooned enclaves of the wealthy and powerful. She is confident, measured, and has a proper respect for others. There isn't a whiff of the elitism that positively radiates in the personas of Senators Obama and Biden. She has the practical wisdom and patient understanding of someone who actually deals with life in 21st century America the same way that 90% of America does. This is not the least bit true for any of the privileged members of the Senate, including Senators Obama, Biden and McCain.
The complete inability of the Obama camp to recognize and relate to Sarah Palin's style is why their attacks to date have seemed so rude, crude, and even lewd. Their biting wit (in their eyes, not mine) and sophisticated put downs aren't resonating outside the echo chamber. Heaven help Senator Obama if they suddenly decide he needs to be more folksy and start to connect with "average" people in jeans, flannel shirts and workboots. Sometimes I think they are just detached and isolated enough to actually say something like that out loud.
Frankly, at this point I'm not sure what the Democrats can do to counter her. All the little PC admonitions and identity politics they've used in the past are coming back to bite them in the ass now. Good. Paybacks are a bitch.
FWIW, I have no illusions that Sarah Palin is anything but a politician. What I will note is that her political education and environment is notably different than that of the other candidates on each ticket. If I had to choose between a product of Washington in long time Senators Biden and McCain, a product of the Chicago machine in Senator Obama, or a product of local and state government in Alaska, well, that's an easy choice for me. Which of those do you think Thomas Jefferson would have favored?
I was reading something over at Politico and scanning the comment thread quickly and I noticed the following comment from someone who goes by "anybody out there":
It's like McCain is putting Palin in front of him to take the fire because he is afraid to do it himself. Then she cries victim. They're both deceitful and pathetic.
I have a question. Where are the democrats (sic)? Is Obama running by himself here?
Leaving aside the observation about anyone crying victim as he/she/it does so himself/herself/itself, it occurred to immediately that the Democrats are cutting their losses and covering their asses. They can see the writing on the wall and like Governor William J. LePetomaine have their own phony baloney jobs to think about.
Surfing away, what do I see but this:
Democrats are beginning to worry about losing the presidential election.
After months of leading in voter enthusiasm, fundraising and most surveys, Barack Obama lost momentum to John McCain after the Republican convention last week. McCain has gotten a boost from his pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate and has surged ahead of Obama in some national polls, while running even in others.
Arizona Senator McCain, 72, is drawing larger crowds to his rallies than ever before. Illinois Senator Obama's campaign, meanwhile, may struggle to keep up the record fundraising pace it has maintained all year.
The campaign's "novelty has worn off," said Representative Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat. The Obama campaign "seems to have lost its speed, its response time."
When the press turns on him, it will all be over but the crying -- especially on MSNBC.
DOWNDATE: As I was saying:
Democratic jitters about the US presidential race have spread to Capitol Hill, where some members of Congress are worried that Barack Obama’s faltering campaign could hurt their chances of re-election.
Party leaders have been hoping to strengthen Democratic control of the House and Senate in November, but John McCain’s jump in the polls has stoked fears of a Republican resurgence.
A Democratic fundraiser for Congressional candidates said some planned to distance themselves from Mr Obama and not attack Mr McCain.
“If people are voting for McCain it could help Republicans all the way down the ticket, even in a year when the Democrats should be sweeping all before us,” said the fundraiser, a former Hillary Clinton supporter.
“There is a growing sense of doom among Democrats I have spoken to . . . People are going crazy, telling the campaign ‘you’ve got to do something’.”
People are going crazy. Going?
DOUBLE DOWNDATE: Uh huh, uh huh:
A potential shift in fortunes for the Republicans in Congress is seen in the latest USA Today/Gallup survey, with the Democrats now leading the Republicans by just 3 percentage points, 48% to 45%, in voters' "generic ballot" preferences for Congress. This is down from consistent double-digit Democratic leads seen on this measure over the past year.
I complain a lot about most people know ing squat about history. Hell's bells, most of them can't seem to recall what happened yesterday ...
Seven years after the Sept. 11 attacks, there is no consensus outside the United States that Islamist militants from al Qaeda were responsible, according to an international poll published Wednesday.
Remember, these are the same people who overwhelmingly want Senator Obama to be president of the United States. But you really do need to read the whole article to see the depth of lunacy out there:
The U.S. government was to blame, according to 23 percent of Germans and 15 percent of Italians.
Israel was behind the attacks, said 43 percent of people in Egypt, 31 percent in Jordan and 19 percent in the Palestinian Territories. The U.S. government was blamed by 36 percent of Turks and 27 percent of Palestinians.
In Mexico, 30 percent cited the U.S. government and 33 percent named al Qaeda.
How is one supposed to respond to this?
This is why I read Camille Paglia:
Now that's the Sarah Palin brand of can-do, no-excuses, moose-hunting feminism -- a world away from the whining, sniping, wearily ironic mode of the establishment feminism represented by Gloria Steinem, a Hillary Clinton supporter whose shameless Democratic partisanship over the past four decades has severely limited American feminism and not allowed it to become the big tent it can and should be. Sarah Palin, if her reputation survives the punishing next two months, may be breaking down those barriers. Feminism, which should be about equal rights and equal opportunity, should not be a closed club requiring an ideological litmus test for membership.
The witch-trial hysteria of the past two incendiary weeks unfortunately reveals a disturbing trend in the Democratic Party, which has worsened over the past decade. Democrats are quick to attack the religiosity of Republicans, but Democratic ideology itself seems to have become a secular substitute religion. Since when did Democrats become so judgmental and intolerant? Conservatives are demonized, with the universe polarized into a Manichaean battle of us versus them, good versus evil. Democrats are clinging to pat group opinions as if they were inflexible moral absolutes. The party is in peril if it cannot observe and listen and adapt to changing social circumstances.
It is nonsensical and counterproductive for Democrats to imagine that pro-life values can be defeated by maliciously destroying their proponents. And it is equally foolish to expect that feminism must for all time be inextricably wed to the pro-choice agenda. There is plenty of room in modern thought for a pro-life feminism -- one in fact that would have far more appeal to third-world cultures where motherhood is still honored and where the Western model of the hard-driving, self-absorbed career woman is less admired.
But the one fundamental precept that Democrats must stand for is independent thought and speech. When they become baying bloodhounds of rigid dogma, Democrats have committed political suicide.
Gee, remember just weeks ago how Republicans were almost extinct and Democrats were triumphally ascendant? Now, not so much.
I have no illusions that Camille will be voting for Sarah Palin, but she sees and writes very clearly and honestly what is good and bad about those on her side and those not on her side.
So when's the election for the president of the world? Though it does probably help to be a citizen of the world if you're running, so he's got that going for him.
So let me get this straight, Senator Obama is too smart to call Sarah Palin a pig but not smart enough to realize how bad this comment is going to sound to anyone not basking in the glow of his halo.
The schadenfreude is strong in this one.
DOWNDATE: An Instalanche! If there's anything worse than Senator Obama's words, it is the reaction of the crowd to them.
Been too busy with life to blog much lately...
Watched a little convention tonight, my first and only viewing of either convention. No reason to watch tomorrow since Senator McCain won't be able to top this. Peggy Noonan was right, they are going to hate Governor Palin and they have to kill her. Not literally, but the long knives are being honed tonight. I feel bad for what Sarah Palin and her family are going to have to endure. Any chance the angry Left would rather lose an election than their soul?
Mike Huckabee gave a great speech, but I still can't stand his politics. Rudy Guiliani was good, but a little out of control. Best line of the night, though not delivered well, was suggesting Joe Biden get that VP thing in writing. They are making the media the enemy as well. Good.
I read somewhere that Senator Obama has been calculating his moves since college planning to run for President someday. Does anyone think Sarah Palin joined the PTA thinking it was the first step on the road to being president of the United States? Does anyone think she ran for mayor of Wasilla, AK, thinking it was another step towards being president? Does anyone think she ran for governor of Alaska thinking it was a step towards being president? From Alaska? Are you kidding?
It's easy to get sentimental and nostalgic for the great old days of politics that never were, but Governor Palin is about as close as we are likely to get to someone who we need in Washington because getting there has never been her life's goal. I have few illusions about her being something other than a politician, but she does seem to be a lot more grounded and balanced than anyone else I've seen running for President or Vice President in a long, long time.
I think Senator Clinton's political life just flashed before her eyes, she loses now no matter which side wins. Maybe she can sincerely throw her support to Senator Obama now.
I still have reservations about voting for John McCain, but I'm ready to pull the lever for Sarah Palin right now. I will give McCain a lot of credit for picking her and I cannot believe how stupid the Democrats have been and are apparently going to be again tomorrow.
Go ahead, pick on the woman. You don't need the votes of women or the men who are protective of them.
Go ahead, pick on the woman with the four month-old baby with Down's syndrome. You don't need the votes of any families of children with sepcial needs.
Go ahead, pick on the woman who's oldest son is off to Iraq in one week. You don't need the votes of families with fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters in uniform.
Go ahead, pick on the woman who teenage daughter got pregnant out of wedlock. You don't need the votes of single parents or families dealing with teenage pregnancies.
Go ahead, pick on the woman who's husband is a union steelworker. You don't need those union votes.
Is this the beginning of a massive tectonic shift in our politics? Can the cabal of elite media and politicians really be so politically tone deaf as to think they can lay into Sarah Palin and her family with impunity? Their best bet would have been to ignore her or stick to a handful of focus group tested policy issues. Instead this effort to destroy her is going to backfire in a huge way.
I can't wait to see Monday's polls.