By Steven Weber
What must the gods who make all things happen know that we mortals do not?
How could a guy like John McCain renounce all that defined him as a viable (but still extremely flawed) candidate? Under what circumstances would this war hero/torture victim/malcontent turn into a flailing, obsequious, directionless failure? What assurances was he given in the oak paneled rooms (as I imagine such rooms would be decorated) which were persuasive enough to turn this tough guy around? It must have been some incentive potent enough to move this man to utterly subvert any heroism he may have earned, any sense of duty to country he extolled, any sense of ethics he tried to embody, any hint of soul he may have possessed that could have moved him so.
His fall is classically tragic, the stuff of a Phillip Glass opera, full of piteous cadences and shameful free-falling motifs charting McCain's own trajectory away from any form of honesty and honor.
And the hell of it is, it has all been performed in broad daylight, his perverse conversion on full public display, scrupulously recorded and catalouged. And even more shocking still, his actions failing to dissuade those that would follow him and thereby assuring their own paths to Oblivion reserved for such Faustian also-rans. The limbic imperative to trust above all else that Daddy will not hurt or disappoint under any circumstances must be at work here; indeed there has been no comparable case of suicidal mass delusion than the one which occurred in Germany in the late 20's. People, psychologically cornered by harsh realities, forced to serve the interest of their own narcissism, are capable of anything. Watching The John McCain Show is like watching a trapped animal gnaw off it's own head to escape (an M.C. Escheresque proposition, but you get the idea)....(Click here for remainder).
By Mike Farrell
"You really do hate America!" This was the parting shot from a man I had just debated on a television show shortly before the invasion of Iraq. Because he's a notorious right-wing blowhard, I laughed it off as the ravings of a crackpot in extremis.
Little did I know...
Soon, those of us who opposed the Iraq war, torture, "extraordinary rendition," Guantanamo, spying on innocent Americans and other illegal tools in the Cheney/Bush black bag began to hear variations on that theme from people one would have expected to know better. And it's gotten worse as they've become more desperate... or do the depths to which we've fallen suggest a fault-line in America's culture?
Only a short time ago we dissenters were called "Saddam-lovers," "America-haters" or, when they really wanted to cut deep, "French!" But that usually came from the relatively unhinged, like my debate-partner. Today, similar imprecations fall readily from the lips of media bloviators while the hoi polloi moves toward lynch-mob tenor with screams of "traitor," "terrorist," "kill him," and "off with his head" -- these not aimed at lowly actors but rather the next President of the United States. Worse, it is winked at and ignored, then defended and embraced by some from whom we expect better.
As one in the crucible of this volcanic yet potentially transformative moment, John McCain, who claims to put "Country First," should re-read The Ugly American. Sarah Palin can watch the movie....(Click here for remainder).
By Robert Draper
NY Times Magazine
On the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 24, John McCain convened a meeting in his suite at the Hilton hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Among the handful of campaign officials in attendance were McCain’s chief campaign strategist, Steve Schmidt, and his other two top advisers: Rick Davis, the campaign manager; and Mark Salter, McCain’s longtime speechwriter. The senator’s ears were already throbbing with bad news from economic advisers and from House Republican leaders who had told him that only a small handful in their ranks were willing to support the $700 billion bailout of the banking industry proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. The meeting was to focus on how McCain should respond to the crisis — but also, as one participant later told me, “to try to see this as a big-picture, leadership thing.”
As this participant recalled: “We presented McCain with three options. Continue offering principles from afar. A middle ground of engaging while still campaigning. Then the third option, of going all in. The consensus was that we could stay out or go in — but that if we’re going in, we should go in all the way. So the thinking was, do you man up and try to affect the outcome, or do you hold it at arm’s length? And no, it was not an easy call.”
Discussion carried on into the afternoon at the Morgan Library and Museum as McCain prepared for the first presidential debate. Schmidt pushed for going all in: suspending the campaign, recommending that the first debate be postponed, parachuting into Washington and forging a legislative solution to the financial crisis for which McCain could then claim credit. Exactly how McCain could convincingly play a sober bipartisan problem-solver after spending the previous few weeks garbed as a populist truth teller was anything but clear. But Schmidt and others convinced McCain that it was worth the gamble....(Click for remainder).
Posted by Bret M-C at 8:38 AM
By Mike Swift
Riding a 4-to-1 edge in fundraising this month from donors both small and large, opponents of a ban on same-sex marriage have erased a big fundraising deficit, picking up the support of several Silicon Valley icons this week.
Flush with nearly $11 million raised through 17,000 donations during the first two and a half weeks of October Equality California (noonprop8.com) has pulled even and possibly surpassed the lead committee supporting Proposition 8, ProtectMarriage.com. And that doesn't include more than $3 million in big donations this week from the likes of Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and filmmaker George Lucas.
Friday, the No on 8 campaign also picked up the support of Apple Corp., which said it would make a $100,000 donation. The two sides in the tight, emotional race are on a pace to collectively spend well over $60 million by Election Day.
"The momentum has shifted and our donors have really stepped up to the plate, both some of our large donors and thousands of small donors," said Steve Smith, the lead campaign consultant for the No on 8 campaign. Smith said in the past two weeks Internet contributions, consisting largely of small donors, have been bringing in several hundred thousand dollars a day.
Contributions have been so heavy, Smith said, that Equality California's computer server crashed when it was trying to file its report with the state Thursday night, forcing the campaign to miss its midnight deadline....(Click here for remainder).
That's the question, as he slams Obama for his plan to lower taxes on the middle class and raise them on the super-rich.
By David Sirota
Is John McCain stupid, or does he believe we are? That's the question as he criticizes Barack Obama for allegedly trying to "redistribute the wealth" with a plan to lower taxes on the middle class and raise them on the super-rich.
Of course, the Democrat's proposal would merely slow down (not fully halt) the less-talked-about redistribution whereby Washington sends middle-class money up the income ladder. Either McCain doesn't know about this kleptocracy and is the dumbest presidential candidate in history, or he thinks America is too ignorant to recognize theft. Which is it?
I'm guessing the latter, since the evidence is so overwhelming.
In the last eight years, we the little people have been forced to provide more and more of the taxes fueling America's redistribution machine. As the Congressional Budget Office reports, the $715 billion in tax breaks that President Bush gave to those making more than $342,000 a year began dramatically shifting the overall tax burden from the rich onto the rest of us. Meanwhile, because of lobbyist-crafted loopholes, most corporations pay zero federal income taxes, according to the Government Accountability Office. The result is what Warren Buffett admits: When counting all taxes (income, payroll, property, etc.), billionaires and Big Business often pay lower effective tax rates than their employees....(Click for remainder).