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Obama: McCain bared 'Katrina-like' ineptitude over Wall St crisis

Monday, September 29, 2008

DETROIT, Michigan, (AFP) - White House hopeful Barack Obama said his Republican rival John McCain was guilty of "Katrina-like" bungling over the US financial crisis, as a new post-debate poll gave the Democrat a decisive lead.

Both the contenders for the November 4 election said Sunday a drastically reshaped deal to bail out Wall Street, set to go before a vote in Congress after a weekend breakthrough by senior lawmakers, was a bitter but necessary pill.

Obama said it was an "outrage" that taxpayers had to rescue financiers from their own folly but, like McCain, argued the world's biggest economy was at risk of disaster without government action.

The Democrat, addressing a mammoth crowd of 35,000 at a boisterous rally here, said McCain "doesn't understand that the storm hitting Wall Street hit Main Street long ago."

"That's why his first response to the greatest financial meltdown in generations was a Katrina-like response. Sort of stood there, said the fundamentals of the economy are 'strong,'" Obama said.

"That's why he's been shifting positions these last two weeks, looking for photo-ops, trying to figure out what to say and what to do," he told the rally, joined by his running mate Joseph Biden and their wives....(Click here for remainder).

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Palin's "witchcraft" protection

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sarah Palin receives a blessing from Pastor Thomas Muthee. Are people really supposed to pray for campaign fund? Protection from "witchcraft"? Apparently there's a rather substantial underground "witchcraft" anarchist community in Alaska, just waiting to take down a rabid Christo-Fascist running for governor. Why is it that no one has mentioned one of the fundamentals of Wicca (you know...witches) is "An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will." Doesn't sound like a group of people that would run around trying to harm politicians anywhere, let alone in some frozen backwater. I'm just sayin'.

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Letterman slams McCain for second night

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Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert: Mock the Vote

Saturday, September 27, 2008

By Josh Wolk
Entertainment Weekly

In the midst of re-creating the controversial New Yorker cover illustration of Barack and Michelle Obama for the cover photo that graces this week's print edition of Entertainment Weekly, Jon Stewart stops briefly to pose a taste question. As he stands by the catering table in "secret Muslim" garb, he ponders, "Would it be weird to be dressed like this and have a bagel, salmon, and a schmear?" Pseudo-blowhard Stephen Colbert has his own worries. Striking his best Michelle-as-Black-Panther pose, he glances at the original cartoon and realizes that he's "hippier" than the potential First Lady. Gesturing at his own waist, he moans, "I could drop a baby like a peasant."

Other than that, though, their worries are few. Both of their Comedy Central shows just received an Emmy (The Daily Show won best Variety, Music, or Comedy Series, while The Colbert Report took home a best writing trophy), and they have five more weeks of an election battle starring three men and an Alaskan moose-skinner that has given the satirists more fodder than an infinite number of Dick Cheneys shooting an infinite number of friends in the face. We sat down with the comedians for a provocative talk about the political landscape, the way they (and other, more traditional media outlets) cover it, and whether or not we'll ever see the alleged ''change'' we've been promised by every candidate. ''Do you mean change we need, or change we can believe in?'' asks Stewart. ''Any change is as good as a vacation at this point,'' says Colbert, who set his conservative TV pundit character aside for the chat. ''I don't know if you've paid much attention to the past eight years, but it has been a s---burger supreme. If somebody gives me an empty burger, it's better than eating s---.''...(Click here for remainder).

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Barack Obama schools John McGrumpy on Iraq

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Economic Fascism Coming to America

Friday, September 26, 2008

Smell a rat if Congress approves the Paulson plan without major modifications that might help Main Street as well as Wall Street.

By Robert Scheer
Truthdig

Does it really matter which party is in charge when it comes to bailing out the Wall Street hustlers whose shenanigans have bankrupted so many ordinary folks? Not if the Democrats roll over and cede power to the former head of Goldman Sachs, the investment bank at the center of our economic meltdown.

What arrogance for Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson -- who the year before President Bush appointed him Treasury secretary was paid $16.4 million for heading the company that did as much as any to engineer this financial travesty -- to now insist we must blindly trust him to solve the problem. Paulson is demanding the power to act with "absolute impunity," said Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who admonished the Treasury chief: "After reading this proposal, it is not only our economy that is at risk, Mr. Secretary, but our Constitution as well."

Clearly, it's a vast improvement to have Dodd in the chairman's seat of the Senate Banking Committee, asking the right questions, rather than his predecessor, Texas Republican Phil Gramm, who presided over the committee in the years when the American economy, long the envy of the world, was viciously sabotaged by radical deregulation legislation.

Gramm, whom Sen. John McCain backed for president in 1996, pushed through the financial market deregulation that has brought the U.S. economy to its knees. Maybe this time Congress won't give the financial moguls everything they want, including a bailout for foreign-owned banks like Swiss-based UBS, where Gramm now hangs out as a very well-paid executive when he's not advising the presidential campaign of McCain, his old buddy and partner in crime. Oops, sorry, no crimes were committed because the deregulation laws Gramm pursued and McCain faithfully supported decriminalized the financial scams that have proved so costly....(Click here for remainder).

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Is Paulson's Bailout Proposal Constitutional? No

By John Nichols
The Nation

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson draft proposal for the bailout of struggling financial-services firms sought to make himself the most powerful unelected official in American history through his proposal to take charge of vast sectors of the U.S. economy -- setting policy, buying and selling assets, determining whether financial institutions thrive or collapse -- with no oversight.

Under Paulson's draft plan, Congress and the courts would have been barred from reviewing or challenging his moves to stabilize financial markets -- effectively making him the nation's economic czar.

That's not just a dangerous power grab for economic and politic reasons. It's unconstitutional.

Paulson's power grab was specifically spelled out by the treasury secretary in Section 8 of his proposal, which read: "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

Senate Banking Committee Chris Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat who sought his party's nomination for president this year but has arguably emerged as a more influential player in his role as the congressional point-man on a crisis that is bigger than an election, pushed back on Monday....(Click here for remainder).

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It's Judgment Day for McCain

By Thomas Frank
The Wall Street Journal

Last week, Republican presidential candidate John McCain called for a commission to "find out what went wrong" on Wall Street. It was an excellent suggestion: Public inquiries into Wall Street practices served the country well in the 1930s.

And Mr. McCain has a special advantage to bring to any such investigation -- many of the relevant witnesses are friends or colleagues of his. In fact, he can probably get to the bottom of the whole mess just by cross-examining the people riding on his campaign bus. So the candidate should take a deep breath, remind himself that the country comes first, pull the Straight Talk Express over at a rest stop, whistle up his media pals, and begin.

Topic A should be deregulation. Financial institutions are dropping everywhere after playing with poorly regulated financial instruments; the last investment banks standing are begging the government for stricter oversight; and some of our nation's leading champions of laissez faire have ditched that theory in an extraordinary attempt to rescue the collapsing industry.

The philosophy of government that has dominated Washington for almost three decades is now in ruins, and it is up to Mr. McCain to find out exactly why we believed it in the first place. Why did government stand back and permit all the misconduct that generated all this bad debt? What particular ideas led us to believe that government should just keep its hands off and let markets run their course?

Maybe the McCain Commission on Deregulation can kick off with a statement from the candidate himself. It will be helpful for the public, if painful for the senator himself, to hear about Mr. McCain's own close brush with one of the towering figures of financial deregulation, Charles Keating, the master of Lincoln Savings and Loan. Keating had a special, urgent interest in getting Big Brother off our backs: in 1986 some meddlesome agency suspected him of massive violations of S&L regulations. Keating fought back by recruiting a handful of legislators, including Mr. McCain, to pressure S&L regulators to leave his S&L alone. A few years later, Lincoln became one of the largest financial failures in U.S. history....(Click here for remainder).

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Gut Check Time: Will Congress Stand Up To Wall Street?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

By Robert Borosage
Campaign for America's Future

It's gut check time.

The attempt by Treasury Secretary Paulson to put a gun to the head of Congress and terrify them into forking over a $700 billion blank check to the Bush administration in 48 hours has failed. Now what?

Most Americans would just as soon the Masters of the Universe were allowed to sink in their own folly. They had the party; let them clean up the mess. But, looking at sinking housing values and shaken retirement accounts, most Americans know something has to get done.

Banks and investment houses carry weapons of financial mass destruction. Last week, they looked into the abyss. If nothing is done, the chances for a deep and long depression are very great. So stocks skied around the world when Paulson announced his support for a massive bailout of Wall Street. And stocks and the dollar plummeted, and oil and gold soared when it became clear on Monday that the Congress wouldn't simply salute and go along. Doing nothing is not an option.

Leaders from unions, consumer and citizen groups have weighed in, demanding strict conditions on any bailout. On Monday, Sen. Chris Dodd put forth a draft bill that called for an independent board to run the bailout, required that taxpayers get partial ownership in any firm bailed out, and mandated steps to forestall foreclosures and work out mortgages, helping to keep people in their homes. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demands a kickstart for the real economy - extension of unemployment benefits, aid to states and localities, investment in green jobs and basic infrastructure. (But at only $50 billion, a relative pittance for the real economy compared to the sums demanded to rescue Wall Street). Rep. Barney Frank insists on limits on the compensation of executives of any firm that gets bailed out.  Together, these conditions begin to make some sense out of a bad fix....(Click here for remainder).

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Barack Obama on '60 Minutes'

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Part 1


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Part 2

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Obama Promises To Stop America's Shitty Jobs From Going Overseas


Obama Promises To Stop America's Shitty Jobs From Going Overseas

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Sarah Palin's Creationism Will Rape the Environment

The Bush admin has been a nightmare for the environment -- and the nomination of Palin is an insurance policy taken out on its continuation.

By Chip Ward
Tomdispatch.com


Despite the media feeding frenzy, we still may be asking ourselves, "Just who exactly is Sarah Palin?" Mixed in with the Davy-Crockett-meets-SuperMom vignettes -- all those moose hunting, ice fishing, snowmobiling, baby-juggling, and hockey-momming moments -- we've also learned that she doesn't care much for her former brother-in-law and wasn't afraid to use her office to go after his job as a state trooper; that she was for the "bridge to nowhere" before she was against it; that she's against earmarks unless they benefit her constituents; that she can deliver a snappy wisecracking speech, thinks banning books in libraries is okay, considers herself a pit bull with lipstick, and above all else, wants to drill the ever-lovin' daylights out of every corner of her home state (which John McCain's handlers have somehow translated into being against Big Oil, since she insisted on a marginally bigger cut of the profits for Alaskans).

Oh, and -- not that this is very important to Americans or the planet -- she now thinks that global warming might possibly be human-made sorta though she didn't before, despite the fact that the state she governs is on the frontline of climate change. And, of course, she's a classic right-wing, fundamentalist Christian: against abortion -- check; against same-sex marriage -- check; against stem-cell research -- check; favors teaching Creationism in public schools -- check.

It's that last item, her willingness to put Creationism up against the teaching of evolutionary science in the classroom on a he-says-she-says basis, that's far more revealing of just who our new Republican vice presidential candidate is than we generally assume. It deserves the long, hard look that it hasn't yet gotten. Most Democrats and progressives tend to think of the teaching of Creationism as a mere sidebar item on their agenda of political don't-likes, but it's not. Sarah Palin's bias towards Creationism is a window into her political soul and a measure of John McCain's hypocrisy....(Click here for remainder).

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John McCain's hot air

Sunday, September 21, 2008

He may claim to be green, but McCain's environmental record is every bit as dirty as that of Sen. James "global warming is a hoax" Inhofe.

By Joseph Romm
By Salon.com

Sept. 20, 2008 | Few politicians in history have more successfully sold a phony image about caring for the environment than Sen. John McCain. His deceptions and distortions and lies would fill a book.

Understandably, an overwhelming majority of the public strongly believes we need a major push toward alternative energy. So as a presidential candidate, McCain has repeatedly claimed to be a long-standing supporter of clean energy.

"We must shift our entire energy economy toward new and cleaner power sources such as wind, solar, biofuels. It will include a variety of new automotive and fuel technologies," he claims in a recent ad. When it comes to breaking with the energy policies of the current and past administrations, and achieving energy security for America, he says, "I know how to do that, and I will do it."

If McCain knows how to do it, it is a better-kept secret than the location of Osama bin Laden. McCain has a two-decade history in Washington of consistently opposing all efforts to shift our economy to clean energy.

The facts are clear. All you have to do is look at his voting record. It reveals that McCain has long been one of the strongest opponents of clean energy in Congress, with a record matching that of James Inhofe, the most hardcore global-warming denier in the Senate, who comes from the heart of the oil patch in Oklahoma....(Click here for remainder).

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The pastor who clashed with Palin

Baptist minister Howard Bess, who wrote a book Palin wanted banned and who fought her on abortion and gay rights, says the country should fear her election.

By David Talbot
Salon.com

Sept. 15, 2008 | WASILLA, Alaska -- The Wasilla Assembly of God, the evangelical church where Sarah Palin came of age, was still charged with excitement on Sunday over Palin's sudden ascendance. Pastor Ed Kalnins warned his congregation not to talk with any journalists who might have been lurking in the pews -- and directly warned this reporter not to interview any of his flock. But Kalnins and other speakers at the service reveled in Palin's rise to global stardom.

It confirmed, they said, that God was making use of Wasilla. "She will take our message to the world!" rejoiced an Assembly of God youth ministry leader, as the church band rocked the high-vaulted wooden building with its electric gospel.

That is what scares the Rev. Howard Bess. A retired American Baptist minister who pastors a small congregation in nearby Palmer, Wasilla's twin town in Alaska's Matanuska Valley, Bess has been tangling with Palin and her fellow evangelical activists ever since she was a Wasilla City Council member in the 1990s. Recently, Bess again found himself in the spotlight with Palin, when it was reported that his 1995 book, "Pastor, I Am Gay," was among those Palin tried to have removed from the Wasilla Public Library when she was mayor....(Click here for remainder).

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Barack Obama speaks to Women about the Economic Crisis

Obama spoke to Women about the economic crisis facing America and made clear the choice between he and his opponent John McCain in Daytona Beach, FL on September 20th, 2008.

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Blueprint for Change: Economy

Barack Obama outlines the major points of his economic plan.

Visit
www.barackobama.com/issues for the full plan.

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The Daily Show: Gov at First Sight

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Stephen Colbert: McCain Attacks Obama

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McCain Financial Crisis Flip Flops - ABC News

Thursday, September 18, 2008



CHARLIE GIBSON: And with apologies for our technical difficulties, we're going to turn back to the difficult economy, and the way the presidential candidates are dealing with it, particularly John McCain. Here's David Wright.

DAVID WRIGHT: John McCain was against the government bailout of AIG, before he was reluctantly for it. Here he was yesterday on "Today."

JOHN MCCAIN: We cannot bail AIG or anybody else. We have to work through it.

WRIGHT: Asked about the same topic today on "Good Morning America" -

MCCAIN: I don't think anybody I know wanted to do that. But there are literally millions of people whose retirement, whose investments, whose insurance were at risk here. And they were going to have their lives destroyed.

WRIGHT: Senator McCain appears to have changed his tune on regulation in a fundamental way. Today on the stump, he's a champion of reigning in Wall Street with tough regulations.

MCCAIN: We're going to put an end to the reckless conduct, corruption and greed that have caused a crisis on Wall Street.

WRIGHT: But for more than 25 years in the Senate, McCain has fashioned himself as a champion of smaller government, less regulation.

MCCAIN: I am less government, less regulation, lower taxes, et cetera.

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Palin's Petropolitics

By Michael T. Klare
The Nation


In the clinical terminology of political science, Alaska is a classic "petrostate." That is, its political system is geared toward the maximization of oil "rents"--royalties and other income derived from energy firms--to the neglect of all other economic activities. Such polities have an inherent tendency toward corruption because of the close ties that naturally develop between government officials and energy executives and because oil revenues replace taxation as a source of revenue (Alaska has no state income tax), insulating officials from the scrutiny of taxpayers. Ever since the discovery of oil in the North Slope, Alaska's GOP leadership has largely behaved in this fashion. And while Governor Sarah Palin has made some commendable efforts to dilute her party's ties to Big Oil, she is no less a practitioner of petrostate politics than her predecessors.

To put things in perspective: in 2007 Alaska produced approximately 719,000 barrels of oil per day. That puts it in the same ballpark as Egypt (710,000), Oman (718,000) and Malaysia (755,000). Of these, Oman is particularly interesting as a parallel. According to the Energy Department, "Oman's economy is heavily reliant on oil revenues, which account for about 75 percent of the country's export earnings"--an assessment that would describe Alaska nicely if it were an independent nation. Equally revealing, oil rents provide 42 percent of Alaska's annual revenue, more than any other source. If lavish federal contributions were discounted (Alaska has one of the nation's highest per capita rates of federal subsidies), oil's share of state revenue would jump to 53 percent--about the same as in Venezuela.

Since taking office as governor in 2006, Palin has devoted herself to a single overarching objective: increasing Alaska's income from oil and gas. To this end, she has pushed through two signal pieces of legislation: the creation of Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share (ACES) tax on oil and natural gas production, and the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA). The ACES tax replaced the Petroleum Profits Tax, which had been instituted by her now-disgraced Republican predecessor, Frank Murkowski, and was widely viewed as being excessively favorable to the oil companies. Under ACES the companies are taxed at a higher rate, and a progressive surcharge of 0.4 percent is added for every dollar the net profit per barrel exceeds $30. But--and this is a big but--the companies receive an increased tax credit for some new investments in exploration and infrastructure improvements....(Click here for remainder).

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McCain and the POW Cover-up

By Sydney H. Schanberg
The Nation


John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn't return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero people would logically imagine to be a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books.

Almost as striking is the manner in which the mainstream press has shied from reporting the POW story and McCain's role in it, even as McCain has made his military service and POW history the focus of his presidential campaign. Reporters who had covered the Vietnam War have also turned their heads and walked in other directions. McCain doesn't talk about the missing men, and the press never asks him about them.

The sum of the secrets McCain has sought to hide is not small. There exists a telling mass of official documents, radio intercepts, witness depositions, satellite photos of rescue symbols that pilots were trained to use, electronic messages from the ground containing the individual code numbers given to airmen, a rescue mission by a Special Forces unit that was aborted twice by Washington and even sworn testimony by two defense secretaries that "men were left behind." This imposing body of evidence suggests that a large number--probably hundreds--of the US prisoners held in Vietnam were not returned when the peace treaty was signed in January 1973 and Hanoi released 591 men, among them Navy combat pilot John S. McCain....(Click here for remainder).

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Dems spending to win

By Aaron Blake
The Hill

Early spending on congressional races shows Senate Democrats reaching for 60 seats and House Democrats making good on their promise to stay on offense.

With less than seven weeks until Election Day, the vast majority of independent expenditures from House and Senate Democrats have gone to offense, according to an analysis by The Hill.

In the House, of the 15 districts where the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has spent the most money, the party is playing defense in just four.

In the Senate, both parties have engaged in six key GOP-held states, while the lone major GOP target, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), has eluded any national money.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) also went up with its first ad in top-targeted Alaska on Tuesday, and it might not have to spend anything to win GOP-held seats in New Mexico and Virginia. Combining those three with the six battlegrounds would give Democrats a nine-seat gain and an effective 60-seat filibuster-proof majority.

In all, Democrats have spent nearly $17 million combined, while Republicans have spent only about $5 million, according to a review of Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports....(Click here for remainder).

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The Final Distraction: McCain/Palin Worse Than Bush

By John Cusack
Huffington Post

We all know McCain has sold his soul to win. Big mistake: the Democrats are taking the GOP bait, especially on Palin. She is the ultimate distraction. If we're not careful she'll be the final distraction. The perfect new celebrity -- Sarah Barracuda -- to capture the message in the 24-hour spin orgy, all the while attacking Obama as an elite celebrity. Any narrative that focuses on her -- any -- is a win for Republicans, carrying an undercurrent of race wars, gender wars, class wars. All ending with a debate on God and a return visit to Rev. Wright.

Palin is a gateway drug to a back-alley brawl Obama can't win. A Joseph Conrad-produced reality show/sitcom with Palin replacing Roseanne Barr fighting for the little guy with sass and sex. Wonderful.

Watch McCain repeat "maverick" 300 times a day, like a mantra, 'til Election Day. Republicans and hockey moms against corruption and Lear jets. Orwell for second graders: distraction and chaos, phony scandals and bullshit patriotics from the crew that would install an inexperienced neophyte -- not even put through the crucible of the national stage -- a heartbeat away from the greatest nuclear arsenal the world has ever known, and not blink. Darkest reptilian politics that speak to the ultimate calcified cynicism of Republicans.

Democrats need to ignore her -- unless she speaks about policy -- maybe she can explain and solve the collapsing world markets -- and keep the focus relentlessly on the disastrous results of Bush/McCain/Republican rule. They need to remind voters of the disasters of the last seven-plus years. Specifically. And as people have been saying, we need to be mad as well as inspired....(Click here for remainder).

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Chris Matthews smacks down Rep. Cantor

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Obama laughs at notion of McCain as agent of change

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Palin pulls McCain straight down the crapper


A week ago we posted a petition urging the Corporate Media to call Sarah Palin a Serial Liar, and we had a huge impact. Now everyone knows Palin is lying every time she brags about opposing the Bridge to Nowhere, and the Corporate Media is willing to call her a Liar.

dreaminonempty's graph shows the impact of our efforts. Palin's initial +17 favorable rating (due exclusively to empty Corporate Media hype) pulled McCain's up slightly, but as Palin's favorables sank like a stone (now -1), she pulled McCain down right with her.

And Palin's favorables will continue their downward plunge with each news cycle. Yesterday Carly Fiorina said Palin was unqualified to run a major corporation. (Fiorina was quickly "disappeared" from TV.) Up in Alaska, McCain's goons are trying to shut down the Troopergate investigation, but Alaskans are fighting back.

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Hackers Expose Palin’s Legally Questionable Correspondence

By Lindsay Beyerstein
The Campaign Silo @ Firedoglake

The staff of wikileaks reports that the internet group "Anonymous" hacked Sarah Palin's email account and submitted their quarry to wikileaks last night.

The McCain/Palin camp are officially outraged about the break-in, which is a tacit confirmation that this isn't a hoax. Click here to see the screen shots of Palin's inbox for the account "gov.sarah@yahoo.com".

The contents of the inbox confirm that Palin was using her private account for government business. We already knew that Palin's advisers urged her to use private accounts, a la RNC email accounts, in order to circumvent FOIA requests and skirt subpoenas.

Palin used the account to correspond with many members of her administration including her senior aides Ivy Frye and Frank Bailey, communications officer Beth Leschper, appointee Judy Patrick, Anchorage office director Kris Perry, press secretary Roseanne Hughes, Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, and deputy communications director Sharon Leighow, among others....(Click here for remainder).

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The Colbert Report: Sarah Palin is a Cheap Little Guttersnipe

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

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Jon Stewart on the Sarah Palin Interview

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Chris Matthews grills Nancy Pfotenhauer over McCain economic plan

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Colbert Report "How Dare You Ask McCain/Palin Questions?"

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Earth to McCain: It’s a Crisis

By Robert Scheer
Truthdig


Gag me with a spoon, as Valley girls used to say. Did you see that McCain-Palin ad promising “tougher rules on Wall Street to protect your life savings, no special interest giveaways”? Just how dumb do they think we are?

Seriously, 20 minutes of Google searches should be sufficient to convince all but the dimwits among us that John McCain has been a master of the special-interest giveaways to Wall Street that enabled this meltdown. He voted for abolishing all of the significant rules put in place at the time of the Great Depression designed to prevent a repeat. The two main bills accomplishing that, bills which McCain enthusiastically supported, were the Commodity Futures Modernization Act and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The Gramm is former Sen. Phil Gramm, who was chair of the Senate Banking Committee when he acted as chief sponsor of both pieces of legislation. The same Gramm that McCain picked to co-chair his presidential campaign.

Gramm proved an embarrassment when he cavalierly insisted there was no real crisis but only the panic of “whiners,” but even on Monday as his “Crisis” ad ran, McCain, in person, was still denying that there was one. “The fundamentals of our economy are strong,” he told NBC’s Matt Lauer, as two more of the nation’s most venerable financial institutions crashed and the stock market shed more than 500 points. When a perplexed Lauer asked McCain to square his optimism with his own ad’s use of the crisis word, McCain came to his senses and, discovering his inner Karl Marx, insisted he hadn’t been speaking of the bankers but rather was saying “that the workers of America are the fundamentals of the economy.”...(Click here for remainder).

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Palin Falls Short of VP Standards

By John Dean
Truthdig

Editor’s Note: John W. Dean was counsel to President Richard M. Nixon for 1,000 days and is the author of nine books, including “Conservatives Without Conscience,” “Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush” and “Pure Goldwater,” which Dean co-wrote with Barry M. Goldwater Jr.

In truth, the vice president of the United States is important for only one reason: He or she will become president of the United States upon the death, incapacity or resignation of the president. Nine times in our history, vice presidents have succeeded to the presidency: John Tyler (1841), Millard Fillmore (1850), Andrew Johnson (1865), Chester A. Arthur (1881), Theodore Roosevelt (1901), Calvin Coolidge (1923), Harry Truman (1945), Lyndon Johnson (1963) and Gerald Ford (1974). Of course, the vice president also has a significant secondary role: It is he or she, acting with a majority of the Cabinet, who can declare the president incapable of carrying out the duties of the office, and then take charge—until the action is either ratified or rejected by a majority of the Congress. So far in our history, however, this has never occurred.

Given the fact that the 2008 GOP standard-bearer, John McCain, is 72 years of age, his selection of an inexperienced vice presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, has again focused attention on the process and procedures for selecting vice presidents—or, to put it more bluntly, the utter lack of process or procedures in selecting the person who is a heartbeat away from the presidency. McCain, not unlike others before him, selected a less than fully vetted running mate for political reasons. That is surely a problem for voters to think over in the upcoming election—but it raises a systemic concern, too, for the long run.

Consider this parallel: Does anyone believe that if McCain were president and had selected Palin under the 25th Amendment to fill a vacancy in the vice presidency Congress would have confirmed her? Not likely. In fact, it is even less likely that McCain would have even attempted to do so, for he would have embarrassed himself....(Click here for remainder).

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McCain’s Political Games Can’t Compete With an Economic Meltdown

By E.J. Dionne
Truthdig


In democracies, all political factions run against an elite. Since the New Deal, Democrats have cast themselves against the financial and business elite. Since the 1960s, Republicans have thrashed the cultural and intellectual elite.

Over the weekend, the moneyed class became much more vulnerable. The foolishness of our financial geniuses now threatens to bring economic sorrow to Main Street. Franklin Roosevelt’s 1936 attack on “the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties” never sounded so up to date.

Americans don’t mind wealthy and even rapacious capitalists as long as they deliver the goods to everyone else. But when the big boys drag everyone else down, Americans rise up in righteous anger. The New Deal political alignment endured for decades because the financial elites were so profoundly discredited by the Great Depression. The New Deal coalition dissolved only when prosperity began to seem durable and only after the GOP discovered the joys of baiting Hollywood, the media and the academy.

There is always something slightly phony about anti-elitist politics. Plenty of investment bankers are Democrats, and Republican politicians who claim to speak for devoutly religious cultural conservatives are usually far removed from the world (and the values) of those whose votes they court and whose resentments they stoke.

But the captains of John McCain’s campaign figured they might wring one more election victory out of the culture war. They ridiculed Barack Obama as the celebrity candidate loved by Europeans—Europe is always in the elitist camp—and harped on his unfortunate comments, ripped out of context, about “bitter” voters who “cling to guns or religion.”...(Click here for remainder).

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Palin Keeps Lying, and Lying, and …

By Eugene Robinson
Truthdig


What kind of person tells a self-aggrandizing lie, gets called on it, admits publicly that the truth is not at all what she originally claimed—and then goes out and starts telling the original lie again without changing a word?

Sarah Palin is beginning to seem like quite an unusual woman, and I’m not talking about her love of guns and “snow machines,” her faith, her family or any of the presumably non-elite attributes that we in the “elite media” are accused of savaging. Wrongly accused, I should add; reporters are doing nothing more sinister than trying to find out who she is, how she thinks and what she has done in office.

One deeply troubling thing we’re learning about Palin is that, as far as she’s concerned, unambiguous fact doesn’t appear to rise even to the level of inconvenience.

I’m sorry, but to explain my point I have to make another visit—my last, I hope—to the never-built, $398-million “Bridge to Nowhere” that was to join the town of Ketchikan, Alaska, with its airport on the other side of the Tongass Narrows.

You’ll recall that in her Republican convention speech, Palin burnished her budget-hawk credentials by claiming she had said “thanks but no thanks” to a congressional earmark that would have paid most of the cost. A quick check of the public record showed that Palin supported the bridge when she was running for governor, continued to support it once she took office and dropped her backing only after the project—by then widely ridiculed as an example of pork-barrel spending—was effectively dead on Capitol Hill.

In her interview with ABC’s Charles Gibson, Palin ’fessed up. It was “not inappropriate” for a mayor or a governor to work with members of Congress to obtain federal money for infrastructure projects, she argued. “What I supported,” she said, “was a link between a community and its airport.”...(Click here for remainder).

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Bill Maher On the Maddow Show: Palin is not ready

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A Liberal Shock Doctrine

By Rick Perlstein
Campaign for America's Future

Progressive political change in American history is rarely incremental. With important exceptions, most of the reforms that have advanced our nation's status as a modern, liberalizing social democracy were pushed through during narrow windows of progressive opportunity—which subsequently slammed shut with the work not yet complete. The post-Civil War reconstruction of the apartheid South, the Progressive Era remaking of the institutions of democratic deliberation, the New Deal, the Great Society: They were all blunt shocks. Then, before reformers knew what had happened, the seemingly sturdy reform mandate faded and Washington returned to its habits of stasis and reaction.

The Oval Office's most effective inhabitants have always understood this. Franklin D. Roosevelt hurled down executive orders and legislative proposals like thunderbolts during his First Hundred Days, hardly slowing down for another four years before his window slammed shut; Lyndon Johnson, aided by John F. Kennedy's martyrdom and the landslide of 1964, legislated at such a breakneck pace his aides were in awe. Both presidents understood that there are too many choke points—our minority-enabling constitutional system, our national tendency toward individualism, and our concentration of vested interests—to make change possible any other way.

That is a fact. A fact too many Democrats have trained themselves to ignore. And it sometimes feels like Barack Obama, whose first instinct when faced with ideological resistance seems to be to extend the right hand of fellowship, understands it least of all. Does he grasp that unless all the monuments of lasting, structural change in the American state—banking regulation, public-power generation, Social Security, the minimum wage, the right to join a union, federal funding of education, Medicare, desegregation, Southern voting rights—had happened fast, they wouldn't have happened at all?...(Click here for remainder).

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Debunked: Ten Conservative Myths About National Security

By Sara Robinson
Campaign for America's Future

True confession: I was terrified on 9/11—for all the right reasons.

I wasn't afraid of the terrorists. There are plenty of countries where people have lived for decades under the constant threat of unholy acts of terror—and yet people still get on buses and subways and airplanes, and life goes on. I'd like to think that Americans are at least as courageous as Israelis or Indonesians. Our "land of the free and home of the brave" mythos insists we should be. So I was damned if I was going to respond to the crisis by giving into irrational fears and thereby, as we used to say, "let the terrorists win."

No, what I was really afraid of was that too many of my fellow Americans would forget the lessons of their own history—that they'd lose track of who we are and where we've been and what we're made of. I knew there was a real possibility that this time, we'd fail to live up to our reputation for cool, calm clarity in the face of crisis, and instead be goaded into taking counsel of our fears. I feared the bad choices that would inevitably follow if we stampeded down that road. And I dreaded that it would be the soul death of the country I loved.

I hate having been right about this, though I can hardly blame average citizens for succumbing to the sirens of chaos. Americans trying to make correct sense of the new reality found their efforts stymied everywhere they turned. With the White House distorting intelligence to sell a war, corporate opportunists fanning the coals of panic to heat up vast new business opportunities, media editors milking the drama to keep their ratings high, and terrified hordes quick to shout "treason" whenever anyone dared to question the path we were taking, it was hard for even thoughtful Americans to locate the truth of the matter. And as long as confusion reigned, the terrorists really did keep winning.

Seven years later, as the miasma dissipates, more and more of us are able to calm down, take a step back, draw a big, cleansing breath and start to sort things out more rationally. Unfortunately, though, a few of the myths promulgated in those first few years have hardened firmly into a new conventional wisdom—some so stubbornly that you often won't even find progressives questioning them any more. The time has come to call out a few of these persistent myths that are still being taken as fact and start firing back on them....(Click here for remainder).

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Sarah Palin Champions Barbaric Aerial Hunting of Wolves

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Palin and the Teleprompter

By Jake Tapper
ABC News

At a fundraiser in Canton, Ohio, this evening, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had an interesting description of her speech to the Republican convention.

“There Ohio was right out in front, right in front of me," Palin said. "The teleprompter got messed up, I couldn’t follow it, and I just decided I’d just talk to the people in front of me. It was Ohio.” 

This struck many of us -- who, as she spoke, followed along with her prepared remarks, and noted how closely she stuck to the script -- as an unusual claim. (Especially those of my colleagues on the convention floor at the time, reading along on the prompter with her, noticing her excellent and disciplined delivery, how she punched words that were underlined and paused where it said "pause," noting that "nuclear" was spelled out for her phonetically.)

Please note: few people who work on TV will ever bad-mouth a teleprompter. And Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., works with a prompter not infrequently.

But it's different to use one, and to use one but imply that you weren't.

Was Palin doing that tonight?

McCain-Palin campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds says no, and disputes any notion that Palin was implying that she ad-libbed the speech by saying she "couldn't follow it" on the teleprompter, so she "just decided I’d just talk to the people in front of me."...(Click here for remainder).

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Michigan Dems and the Obama Campaign Sue for Foreclosure-Related Vote-Caging

By emptywheel
Firedoglake.com

The Michigan Democratic Party and the Obama campaign just finished a conference call announcing that they will sue the Republican Party for its plans to conduct vote-caging operations this fall, based partly on using lists of people in foreclosure to challenge peoples' right to vote (here is Time's recording of the call). They are seeking an injunction to prevent the GOP from engaging in these activities this year.

The move arose out of a Michigan Messenger story last week which quoted a county party chair, on the record, as saying he planned to use foreclosure lists as a basis for vote-caging.
The chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County, Michigan, a key swing county in a key swing state, is planning to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people from voting in the upcoming election as part of the state GOP’s effort to challenge some voters on Election Day.

“We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses,” party chairman James Carabelli told Michigan Messenger in a telephone interview earlier this week. He said the local party wanted to make sure that proper electoral procedures were followed.

State election rules allow parties to assign “election challengers” to polls to monitor the election. In addition to observing the poll workers, these volunteers can challenge the eligibility of any voter provided they “have a good reason to believe” that the person is not eligible to vote. One allowable reason is that the person is not a “true resident of the city or township.”

The Michigan Republicans’ planned use of foreclosure lists is apparently an attempt to challenge ineligible voters as not being “true residents.”
When asked whether they had more evidence that the GOP planned to engage in this kind of voter-caging this year, MDP Chair Mark Brewer and Obama Campaign General Counsel Bob Bauer referred to the changing story among different members of the MI GOP--that stop short of real denials, of similar statements coming from an OH county chair, and of a former MI Republican Counsel, Eric Doster, admitting the party did plan on doing vote caging, though perhaps using returned mail....(Click here for remainder).

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McCain and Palin are laughing at the press -- and it's the press' fault

By Eric Boehlert
MediaMatters.org

Chris Matthews was steamed.

As John McCain's manufactured "lipstick on a pig" story was taking flight last week, Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball, kicked off the hour by teeing up the story. In a note to viewers that telegraphed his disdain for the lipstick controversy, he announced that during the show, he'd share his own thoughts "about how, with a troubled economy, crumbling bridges, rail and roads, a failing educational system, a war that is now going on for five years, and an uncertain American economic future, we're sitting here talking about lipstick."

Later, he complained the story was "an insult to the intelligence of our democracy."

Did you hear the media are mad? According to Howard Kurtz at The Washington Post, the press is angry at McCain for his patently untrue lipstick attack ("It's false. It's ridiculous"), and they're seething over how Sarah Palin keeps telling her demonstrably false Bridge to Nowhere tale even after members of the media pointed out her stump-speech applause line was a lie. (A "whopper.")

During the past week, virtually every major news outlet has produced welcomed, hard-edged fact-checking pieces about how the Republican ticket goes far beyond bending the truth and just plain snaps it out on the campaign trail.

In the past, that kind of truth-telling would have embarrassed campaigns and likely caused a dramatic change in the rhetoric. But what do McCain and Palin do in response? They pretty much ignore the press and its critiques....(Click here for remainder).

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"Fundamentally Strong?" Ad

What the hell is wrong with John McSame and the Repub-lie-can party? Do they really believe that the economy is "strong"? Are these people f-ing insane? Never mind, that's a rhetorical question.  Good job by the Democratic Party in getting this ad out quickly.

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Barack Obama: Confronting an Economic Crisis

Barack gave a speech detailing his plans for repairing America's struggling economy in Golden, CO on September 16th, 2008.

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Palin's Project List Totals $453 Million

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

McCain Campaign Says Record Shows Drop in Requests

By Laura Meckler and John R. Wilke
The Wall Street Journal

Last week, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain said his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, hadn't sought earmarks or special-interest spending from Congress, presenting her as a fiscal conservative. But state records show Gov. Palin has asked U.S. taxpayers to fund $453 million in specific Alaska projects over the past two years.

These projects include more than $130 million in federal funds that would benefit Alaska's fishing industry and an additional $9 million to help Alaska oil companies. She also has sought $4.5 million to upgrade an airport on a Bering Sea island that has a year-round population of less than 100.

Sen. McCain has made the battle against earmarks and wasteful spending a centerpiece of his campaign. He has never sought earmarks for his state of Arizona and vows to veto pork-barrel spending bills that come to his desk as president, saying these projects should go through normal budget review. And he derides the argument that states often make: that they're funding important projects.

"If they're worthy projects they can be authorized and appropriated in a New York minute," he explained on his campaign bus earlier this year, before Gov. Palin joined the ticket. "If they're worthy projects I know they'd be funded."

During an appearance Friday on ABC's "The View," Sen. McCain said Gov. Palin shared his views, and hasn't sought congressional earmarks. "Not as governor she hasn't," he said....(Click here for remainder).

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"Women's Pay" Ad

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Joe Biden: St. Clair Shores, Michigan

Joe Biden calls out John McCain for promising the same change that George W. Bush promised. He notes that under that leadership there are record numbers of home foreclosures, 46 million Americans without health insurance, extreme losses of jobs, and multiple military deployments. He urges Americans to rise up and fight to make a change.

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Obama Campaign Launches Ad Hitting McCain's Lies As "Dishonorable"

Monday, September 15, 2008

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The Media Call McCain and Palin on Their Trail of Lies

A rundown of 25 responses in the media to McCain and Palin's bald-faced lies from the past two weeks.

By Newsday

The McCain campaign has spent the last couple weeks making claims and accusations of dubious accuracy, mocking independent fact checkers, and telling everyone who will listen that the "media filter" doesn't matter.

They better hope they're right, because they're getting a lot of pushback:

The Boston Globe has a story reporting that Sarah Palin's claim to have visited Iraq last year was false -- she only got to a Kuwait/Iraq border station on a trip to meet Alaska guard troops. Previously, she acknowledged that her visit to Ireland had involved changing planes.

Bloomberg reported that the campaign's estimates of crowd sizes last week during McCain/Palin joint appearances may have been false.

McCain's assertion on "The View" on Friday that Sarah Palin didn't take any earmarks as governor of Alaska when she did earned him four Pinnochios -- a liar ranking -- from the Washington Post's factchecker.

The NYTimes frontpaged "an avalanche of criticism" of McCain for "regularly stretching the truth" on Saturday....(Click here for remainder).

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McCain and Palin Are Trying to Take Political Lying to the Next Dimension

By Robert Parry
Consotium News

McCain and Palin reach a new level of campaign dishonesty as they tell lies about their records and their opponent. But will they pay a price?

Despite all the chatter about how "historic" Campaign 2008 has been, it is the McCain-Palin ticket that it is truly testing the limits, not of race or gender politics, but whether the United States is ready to enter into a new dimension of political lying.

Until two weeks ago, it would have been hard to believe that any political figure would have had the audacity to step into the national spotlight by telling the bald-faced lies that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has. Yet, many Americans have embraced her enthusiastically and don't want to hear anything negative about her.

Palin's most obvious lie is one that she has repeated over and over: "I told Congress, 'thanks but no thanks' about that Bridge to Nowhere." Now, however, anyone who has bothered to fact-check this claim knows that Palin supported the bridge until Congress removed the earmark and then she kept the money to use on other state projects.

Palin also presents herself as a "reformer" who can't stand earmarks or the lobbyists who arrange such wasteful pork-barrel spending -- except that she hired Alaska's top Washington lobbyists to secure millions of dollars in earmarks for her town, Wasilla, and for her state, including sending off a wish list of nearly $200 million just this year....(Click here for remainder).

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