Saturday, September 20, 2008

All Your $700,000,000,000 Are Belong To Bush

my palz git yer $$$$$$$$$$$

The Bailout Plan will transfer $2,333 from every living American to Treasury Secretary Hank Paulsen (former CEO of Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs), who will then distribute the $700,000,000,000 to his old Wall Street cronies. No rules, no limits, no judicial review.

Mission Accomplished.

As many bloggers have noted, it's like the Iraq War all over again. Paulsen called Congress in on Thursday night and told them there was a mushroom cloud in their future. They began cringing and mewling on the floor, begging to go along with whatever he proposed. Today Hank-o says he needs billions for a Shock and Awe campaign to occupy Wall Street. No exit plan, either.

No one should trust the Bush Administration about anything. They are stealing us blind to reward bad actors. No wonder the stock market soared on Friday. They're getting away with it.

Read this:

Paul Krugman, NYTimes: No deal

Glenn Greenwald: The complete (though ever-changing) elite consensus over the financial collapse

Sebastian Mallaby, WaPo: A Bad Bank Rescue

Ron Fournier Fournicating for McCain - Again

Never forget that AP's Ron Fournier interviewed for a job with the McCain campaign. Since then he's been working for the man anyway. Today's Fournication:

yahoonews: Poll: Racial views steer some white Dems away from Obama

Fournier is such an asshole. I'd like to meet him and like that scene in "Die Hard", walk up to him and punch him in the nose. (Sometimes words just won't do.) For those with more patience, Al Giordano rips into this piece and good over at The Field.

Al Giordano, The Field: The AP’s Ron Fournier: Racial Arsonist and Unethical Journalist

Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks - many calling them "lazy," "violent" or responsible for their own troubles.

- Ron Fournier, Associated Press, September 20, 2008

Theorem: The amount of time conservatives spend talking about the Bradley Effect is inversely proportional to the fortunes of their candidate.

- Nate Silver, September 19, 2008

Today's AP story wasn't exactly about the so-called "Bradley Effect" or "Wilder Effect," a popular theory in the 1980s and 1990s that posited that some white Americans lie to pollsters claiming they will support African-American candidates but vote then against them in the secrecy of the ballot box.

The theory - if it was true back then - has been very thoroughly disproved in recent years, and today we'll walk you through all the documentation you need to debunk it when asked about it by others.

But with the McCain-Palin ticket sinking in the polls, and the financial crisis sucking the oxygen out of the culture war "issues" on all sides, with the economy now front and center as the dominant campaign issue, we're hearing increasing mention of the so-called "Bradley Effect," the so-called "Wilder Effect," the so-called "Bradley-Wilder Effect" (all names for the same 20th century theory).

And now, the Associated Press and its unethical reporter Ron Fournier are transparently attempting to turn the November election (and, if their attempted arson is successful, its aftermath for years to come) into a wedge to divide, polarize and set back race relations in the United States of America more than four decades.

Everybody take a deep breath and repeat after me: The race card is not working. It's not going to work. And we're not going to take the bait being dangled out in front of us by racially prejudiced provocateurs like Fournier: he wants us to spread his gasoline to make his arson fire bigger; we're going to hose water on it - and on him - instead.

New Obama Ad: McCain Needs Education on Women's Issues

Lilly Ledbetter rocks. She narrates the ad:

"I worked at this plant for 20 years before I learned the truth. I'd been paid 40% less than men doing the same work. John McCain opposed a law to give women equal pay for equal work. And he dismissed the wage gap, saying women just need education and training. I had the same skills as the men at my plant. My family needed that money. On the economy, it's John McCain who needs an education."

This is Not a Liquidity Problem

Another pithy explanation of the current financial crisis from Duncan Black:

[T]he problem is that lots of bad loans were made, lots of people made highly leveraged investments in those bad loans, and still more people bet on those loans by insuring them. The loans are bad. The mortgages are not going to be repaid in full. Housing prices are not going to magically shoot up 50% over the next 6 months. People gambled and lost and now the Democrats are racing to bail them all out.

When you hear member of Congress on TV enthusiastically talking about taking over these illiquid assets and selling them, remember: They're worthless paper.

The houses weren't worth what the mortgage documents said.

The homeowners can't pay the mortgages.

When the government takes over the properties, they're going to sold in a fire sale as real estate prices tank.

Republican shell game. Democrats fall for it every time.

Palin Dragging Down Ticket

Ha, ha. The St. Petersburg (FL) Times has been running focus groups, and this week their group shows a dramatic shift to Obama. The reason? Sarah Palin. She scares them.

Maybe they didn't put enough lipstick on that pitbull.

One thought pushes fence-sitters to the left: Palin

ST. PETERSBURG — Five weeks ago, the St. Petersburg Times convened a group of Tampa Bay voters who were undecided about the presidential election. Their strong distrust of Barack Obama suggested it was a group ripe for John McCain to win over.

Not anymore. The group has swung dramatically, if unenthusiastically, toward Democrat Obama. Most of them this week cited the same reason: Sarah Palin.

"The one thing that frightens me more than anything else are the ideologues. We've seen too many," said 80-year-old Air Force veteran Donn Spegal, a lifelong Republican from St. Petersburg, who sees McCain's new running mate as the kind of "wedge issue" social conservative that has made him disenchanted with his party.


Of the 11 undecided voters participating in the discussion one recent evening at the Times — four Republicans, five Democrats, and two registered to no party — only two Republican men applauded the selection of Palin.

Nobody had finalized a choice, but seven of the panelists said that McCain's running mate selection had made them more likely to vote for Obama, and in several cases much more likely.

John McCain Wants to Bring Banking De-Regulation to the Health Insurance Market

McCain and his chief economic adviser, lobbyist Phil Gramm. In 1998 Senator Gramm wrote the bill that deregulated banking.

Yes, John McCain's chief economic adviser blew up the economy.
Heckuva job, Phil.

[A] correspondent directs me to John McCain’s article, Better Health Care at Lower Cost for Every American, in the Sept./Oct. [2008] issue of Contingencies, the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries. You might want to be seated before reading this.

Here’s what McCain has to say about the wonders of market-based health reform:

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.
So McCain, who now poses as the scourge of Wall Street, was praising financial deregulation like 10 seconds ago — and promising that if we marketize health care, it will perform as well as the financial industry!
Paul Krugman, NYTImes: McCain on Banking and Health

If you have been thinking about writing a letter to the editor to your local newspaper, I'd start with this quote. Let's blow up health insurance, just like Republican deregulation just blew up the banking industry.

This puts the lie to all McCain's claims that he will fix our problems. He is one of the problems. He loves deregulation. He loves the giant corporations that flood his campaign with money and lobbyists. The only Americans he has ever really cared about are the rich ones. He's their man.

Can Your Family Really Trust John McCain?

An ad found on Youtube, created by a user, not a campaign:

hat tip to this diary at Dailykos

Sarah Quaylin

Jonathan Chait, The New Republic: Sarah Quaylin
Actually, Dan Quayle is looking pretty good right now.

Ever since John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, I've gotten confused about all the reasons I'm supposed to dislike Barack Obama. The previous reasons, in rough chronological order, were his lack of experience, his empty rhetoric, his flip-flopping, and his "celebrity." But Palin has made each one of those critiques moot. The "celebrity" attack on Obama has a particularly Dada quality right now as starstruck Republicans bask in the charisma of their adorable veep. (Coldest state, hottest governor, read signs at her rallies.) With her hunky husband, touching family life and plucky personal story, she is the candidate of the People. And by People, I mean People magazine.


In lieu of opening Palin to regular questioning from the press corps, of the sort the other three candidates have all undergone many times before, the McCain campaign is helpfully leaking positive appraisals of her studiousness. "Despite the worries, [Palin] struck many campaign officials as more calm and cerebral than expected," reported Newsweek. "She was quick to ask questions, and to 'engage in a back and forth' with briefers." See, the McCain campaign says she's on the ball. That settles it, right?

But, somewhere in the recesses of my mind, this admiring appraisal of the prospective veep's intellect struck a familiar chord. With a quick search, I discovered that, indeed, the same was said of Dan Quayle in 1988. Twenty years ago, The Washington Post reported, "Bush aides, who were getting their first in-depth exposure to Quayle, were impressed by his attention span, the quality of his questions and the facility with which he moved through the agenda."

Deep as a puddle.

John McCain's Meltdown Week

Rachel Maddow reviews John McCain's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.

The Bush Economy in 6 Words

Privatize corporate profit, socialize corporate risk

Friday, September 19, 2008

"McCain Is A Little Panicked Right Now"

So sayeth Obama:


This morning Senator McCain gave a speech in which his big solution to this worldwide economic crisis was to blame me for it.

This is a guy who's spent nearly three decades in Washington, and after spending the entire campaign saying I haven't been in Washington long enough, he apparently now is willing to assign me responsibility for all of Washington's failures.

Now, I think it's a pretty clear that Senator McCain is a little panicked right now. At this point he seems to be willing to say anything or do anything or change any position or violate any principal to try and win this election, and I've got to say it's kind of sad to see. That's not the politics we need.

It's also been disappointing to see my opponent's reaction to this economic crisis. His first reaction on Monday was to stand up and repeat the line he's said over and over again throughout this campaign -- 'the fundamentals of the economy are strong' -- the comment was so out of touch that even George Bush's White House couldn't agree with it.

Republican Vote Suppression Comes to Virginia

The RNC is sending fake "Vote by mail" applications to Virginia voters. The woman who received it took to a local election official, who told her this:

1. He had heard about similar fake applications being mailed out in other states.

2. The envelope contained the second part of the application for absentee voting, but not the first--a cover letter explaining exactly what the procedure was and who was eligible.

3. Most disturbing were the instructions on the inside flap of the envelope telling people to "vote early by mail." Virginia DOES NOT have either EARLY VOTING or VOTE BY MAIL. The envelope tells potential voters they can complete and sign a card, place a stamp on it, and drop it in the nearest mailbox.

I'm sending this to my sister who lives in Virginia (and who is leading the family contest to register new voters). Get the word out.

The official told my husband the RNC had been specifically told not to do this, and apparently they mailed them out anyway.

dailykos: Fake Vote-By-Mail Applications in Virginia

The 62-Second Sarah Palin Fox Noise Interview

Sarah Palin appeared on the Republican Party channel (Fox) this week for a few hours of down-the-middle softball questions. No one could have stood to watch the obsequiousness of Sean Hannity live, so Keith Olbermann helpfully boiled it down to its essence.

Get Your Bumper Stickers


You can now buy a bumper sticker for Obama for each of the 50 states.

McCain's Role in the 1980s S&L Crisis: Charles Keating's BFF (Updated)

PDF file, Phoenix Sunday Gazette, September 13, 1993
Charles Keating III and McCain, than a member of the U.S. House, celebrate their August birthdays [McCain's 51st] at the Keatings' beachside estate at
Cat Cay in the Bahamas [1987 photo]

Here's what the prudent action John McCain took last time we let him anywhere the financial system:

firedoglake: John McCain Still Living The Keating Five Lush Highlife

He partied with Charles Keating by night, and by day "carried water" for Keating by pleading his case for less regulation with the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. Which led to the failure of the S&Ls, and left the taxpayers with the $1.3 trillion dollar bill.

You know what, I turned 51 years old this year, and I'm not so stupid that I would be seduced by some rich guy squiring me to his houses around the world. Maybe 20 years ago. Maybe, but I doubt it. Not at the age of 51. I lost my naivete a long time ago. Not John McCain.

If McCain didn't have that much wisdom when he was 51, I rather doubt that he's gained it since.

UPDATE: Here's another good summary of McCain's deceitful role in the Keating 5 scandal.

The Financial Crisis Explained

By my favorite economist Duncan Black (sorry, Krugman, you're 2nd) at Eschaton:

The Bag Holders

The mystery all along throughout all of this is who would be missing the seat when the music stopped, who would be left holding the bag.

This is not a liquidity crisis. It's an insolvency crisis. People made bad loans, and other people made hugely leveraged bets on those loans, and still more people insured those bets.

And now the taxpayer gets the bill.


McCain Confused. Again.

HuffPo: McCain Confuses SEC with FEC

Federal Elections Commission, Securities & Exchange Commission, tomato, tomahto, let's call the whole thing off.

At least he didn't call the SEC the ACC. Then he would have mentioned that Palin was a point guard in high school. Again.

Dementia, fumblemouth, whatever it is it's not what we want from the President.

We Love Lists

Very good taste: The Omnivore’s Hundred

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho

13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (separately, never together)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin Yucch!
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads Yucch!
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (Ewww)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

McCain Campaign Goes Racist: All Aboard the Willie Horton Express

McCain found a black man to be the face of an anti-Obama ad. Franklin Raines never even advised Barack Obama. But there is a reason his face is in this ad, rather than someone who actually advised Obama: Franklin Raines is black.

This ad is straight out of the Lee Atwater/Karl Rove racist playbook. The Straight Talk Express has detoured to Racism Alley. Disgusting. McCain Plays the Race Card

When politicians interject race into a campaign, they seldom do it directly. Consider McCain's new ad, which the campaign says it will be airing nationally:

This is hardly subtle: Sinister images of two black men, followed by one of a vulnerable-looking elderly white woman.

Let me stipulate: Obama's Fannie Mae connections are completely fair game. But this ad doesn't even mention a far more significant tie--that of Jim Johnson, the former Fannie Mae chairman who had to resign as head of Obama's vice presidential search team after it was revealed he got a sweetheart deal on a mortgage from Countrywide Financial. Instead, it relies on a fleeting and tenuous reference in a Washington Post Style section story to suggest that Obama's principal economic adviser is former Fannie Mae Chairman Frank Raines. Why? One reason might be that Johnson is white; Raines is black.

And the image of the victim doesn't seem accidental either, given the fact that older white women are a key swing constituency in this election.

After the McCain campaign introduced the ad, the Obama campaign responded with this statement:

Statement from Frank Raines on the ad: "I am not an advisor to Barack Obama, nor have I provided his campaign with advice on housing or economic matters."

"This is another flat-out lie from a dishonorable campaign that is increasingly incapable of telling the truth. Frank Raines has never advised Senator Obama about anything -- ever. And by the way, someone whose campaign manager and top advisor worked and lobbied for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shouldn't be throwing stones from his seven glass houses," said Obama-Biden campaign spokesman Bill Burton.

Never Forget

Congratulations, America, your government's going to buy BIG SHITPILE for what is estimated to be the bargain price of $3, or 5, or 7 trillion dollars!(they really have no idea of the actual number) Because the thieves of Wall Street had built businesses that were TOO BIG TO FAIL!

So next time your government tells you that we can't afford universal healthcare, social security, medicare, paid family leave, childcare, Head Start, all those programs that benefit ordinary Americans who earn less than six figures, remember this day.

We can afford anything. Republicans and conservatives just CHOOSE to give their money to their rich pals on Wall Street.

Do you think the CEO of AIG knows how many houses he owns? Of course not. Like John McCain he is awash in wealth and is completely divorced from the problems of ordinary Americans. Yet we just lavished $85 billion dollars on his empty shell of a company, which paid him to pretend the sham mortgages were worth something.

Wall Street just ran a giant Ponzi scheme and the US government let it happen, then rushed in to pick up the tab.

And John McCain's response? The fundamentals of our economy are strong.

Every Democratic surrogate who appears on TV for the next six weeks must repeat that statement at least once.

The fundamentals of our economy are strong.
The fundamentals of our economy are strong.
The fundamentals of our economy are strong.

A man who would say that in the middle of the greatest destruction of financial wealth that the world has ever seen isn't fit to be President.

Don't Let McCain Gamble With Social Security

Jack Cafferty of CNN takes viewer emails on whether or not Social Security should be privatized. Not surprisingly after the market meltdown, every email read on air was against the plan.

Obama needs to hammer home that McCain still wants to privatize Social Security.

John McCain Invented the Blackberry (Techno Remix)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Palin a Member of the John Birch Society?


Last year her family released this photo op photo of herself taken in 1995, in which she is signing an article from "the March 1995 edition of New American, the house organ of the Birch Society"

Firedoglake: Is Sarah Palin A Closet John Bircher?

In case you're unfamiliar with these whackjobs, check out this SourceWatch bio of the scurrilous group

What next, will she be revealed as a member of the Flat Earth Society? Some neo-Nazi group?

Sarah Palin is the gift that keeps on giving. Thank you John McSame.

That's What I'm Talking About

Best Obama ad yet:

Barack Obama voiceover: I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message.

Voiceover : John McCain admits he doesn’t understand the economy

So who advises him?

Carly Fiorina, the fired CEO who got a $42 million golden parachute.

Phil Gramm, the ex-Senator who pushed through deregulation, and called Americans hurt by this economy "whiners."

Then there’s George Bush, whose disastrous policies McCain wants to continue.

They think the economy is fundamentally strong.

We know they’re fundamentally wrong.

Hitting McCain and his merry band of lobbyist/economic thieves hard with the truth. Yes.

The Stupid, It Burns


Just watching Campbell Brown's terrible CNN "show" with her very knowledgeable guests.

Ali Velshi just said that ultimately, a taxpayer bailout like the one we had during the S&L bailout of the 1980s won't cost taxpayers any money, because the market will rebound and regain all its value. (So that 1.4 trillion we taxpayers spent propping up the empty shells the S&L thiefs like John McCain's big buddy Charles Keating and George W. Bush's brother Neil (Silverado S&L) left in their wake? Nothing. Nothing!)

What was that song they used to play on MTV? Money for nothing, and chicks for free.

At that point anything seemed more honest and plausible, so I'm watching Colin Farrell flounce through Alexander.

They think you're stupid. Prove you're not. Vote Obama '08.

Wingnut Email for Sarah

Palin's address to the Wasilla Assembly of God church/mashup

I find this very creepy. Sarah Palin belongs to a far-right Assembly of God church, and one of her church's beliefs is that the world will end in her lifetime.

The Wasilla Assembly of God and its parent denomination -- the three-million member General Council of the Assemblies of God -- espouse core beliefs not widely ascribed to by major Christian factions. Many members pray in undecipherable sounds or "tongues." The denomination's Web site says some scholars believe that the "end times" foreshadowing the end of the world was confirmed in 1948, with the founding of the state of Israel, marking the Jews' return to the Holy Land, fulfilling a Biblical prophecy. The Assemblies of God is part of a Pentecostal movement that numbers 80 million people world-wide.

No one has asked what her beliefs on the issue are, as she has only been interviewed by marshmallow, faux "journalists" Charlie Gibson and Sean Hannity. But among religious conservatives, this freaky email has been circulating, claiming that she "chosen by God for an important end-time role". Oh. My. God. This woman CANNOT be a heartbeat away from the nuclear football. You want endtimes, she'll give you endtimes. Eeek. Sarah Palin, anointed by God

[] As best as I can tell, the text of the e-mail was originally written by Jim Bramlett, an author and former vice president with the Christian Broadcasting Network. (You can read more about him in this WorldNetDaily article about his claim that he's obtained recordings of angels singing.)


Further excerpts from the e-mail are below.

Dear friends:

Barack Hussein Obama has taken the nation by storm. From obscurity, with zero executive experience, or much of any kind, he has vaulted into the position of Presidential frontrunner. It is stunning. On the surface, it appears attributable only to his eloquent oratory and his race. But an invisible factor may be a strong spiritual force behind him, causing some people to actually swoon in his presence...

Last week at Obama's acceptance speech, that spirit exalted itself in front of a Greek temple-like stage, and to a huge audience like in a Roman arena. Obama was portrayed as god-like. His voice thundered as a god's voice.

At the end, Democratic sympathizer Pastor Joel Hunter gave the benediction and shockingly invited everyone to close the prayer to their own (false) gods. This was surely an abomination, but it was compatible with Obama's expressed theology, and Hunter's leftist leanings.

God was not pleased...

Enter Governor Sarah Palin. With incredible timing, the very next day, Sarah Palin also appeared out of nowhere...

We quickly learned that Sarah is a born-again, Spirit-filled Christian, attends church, and has been a ministry worker.

Sarah is that standard God has raised up to stop the flood. She has the anointing. You can tell by how the dogs are already viciously attacking her. But they will not be successful. She knows the One she serves and will not be intimidated.

Back in the 1980s, I sensed that Israel's little-known Benjamin Netanyahu was chosen by God for an important end-time role. I still believe that. I now have that same sense about Sarah Palin...

Only God knows the future and how she may be used by Him, but may this noble woman serve to bring renewal in the land, and inspiration.

That's Right

I have the TV on in the background (no Red Sox game tonight) and I hear "Lou Dobbs, sponsored by Loon Esta".

It's actually called Lunesta, but Loon is more appropriate for Hate-the-brown-people Loon Dobbs.

MSNBC has been taken off my cable system, and I won't get it back until I upgrade to digital cable. I am forced to watch CNN for news.

Most of the anchors on CNN are not very smart. Oh, let's just say it: Most of them are stupid. Stupendously stupid. Unredeemedly stupid. A mile wide and an inch deep stupid.

The good thing is, I'm watching less TV news, because I can't stand the stupid.

Workers Chant "Obama '08" at McCain Appearance

From last night's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:

hat tip to my cousin who told me about this clip! And thanks for lunch....

Babbling/Blather '08

Sarah Palin, who John McSame says knows more about energy than anyone in the country, answering a question on energy today:

"Oil and coal? Of course, it's a fungible commodity and they don't flag, you know, the molecules, where it's going and where it's not. But in the sense of the Congress today, they know that there are very, very hungry domestic markets that need that oil first," Palin said. "So, I believe that what Congress is going to do, also, is not to allow the export bans to such a degree that it's Americans that get stuck to holding the bag without the energy source that is produced here, pumped here. It's got to flow into our domestic markets first."

Fucking genius, there.

John McCain is Losing His Marbles

Yesterday he apparently confused the prime minister of Spain -- Zapatero -- with long-dead Mexican revolutionary Emilio Zapata. Zapatistas!

The fact is that McCain has been stumbling and bumbling on the campaign trail for over a year and the media has been quick to excuse and paper over his gaffes. I bet I've heard cable TV hacks say at least 10 times this week that McCain didn't say we'd be in Iraq for 100 years. They keep saying he said we'd keep noncombat troops there for 100 years.

Which is complete balderdash. He didn't say anything nuanced. He said cavalierly, when asked if he was willing to stay in Iraq for 50 years, "Make it a 100." That's what he said. He never used the word noncombat. Then he began to back off and explain that we kept troops in South Korea and Japan for decades, and it would be fine for him if Americans weren't being killed. Well, that would be nice if peace had been declared in Iraq, or if we were on one side of a DMZ in the friendly part of the country.

But those aren't the facts on the ground. There has never been any time during our occupation of Iraq that there has been peace. We don't have noncombat troops in Iraq. McCain was talking about the Iraq that there is, and was willing to stay for 100 years. He and his media base have been trying to explain his statement ever since. But the statement stands.

A few days ago McCain said, with a straight face, that Sarah Palin, his completely unqualified running mate, “knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America.” Climate Progress calls that statement "The Mother of All Lies".

Plus whenever he introduces Palin as his running mate, he manages to slip in that she was the point guard on her state high school basketball team. He's like your dotty uncle when he does that, proud but throwing in a non sequiter. (I think he does it because he remembers that about her. It was in the speech he read when he introduced her, a month ago).

And I think that's what's going on. He's tired, and confused. He's old, and his memory isn't what it once was. So he falls back on the lines he's used to saying, the old lines that have served him well. The fundamentals of our economy are strong.

If he can't fall back on an old speech, he has established a pattern of using long, rambling generic statements that don't really say anything but seem to answer the question. Like he said about the Spanish prime minister:

INTERVIEWER: Senator finally, let's talk about Spain. If elected president would you be willing to invite President Jose Rodriguez Louis Zapatero to the White House, to meet with you?

McCAIN: I would be willing to meet with those leaders who are friends and want to work with us in a cooperative fashion.

[My note, here I think he is confusing Zapatero of Spain with Zapata of Mexico, so he turns back to Latin America.] And by the way President Calderon of Mexico is fighting a very, very tough fight against the drug cartels. I'm glad we are now working with the Mexican government on the Merida Plan, and I intend to move forward with relations and invite as many of them as I can, of those leaders to the White House.

INTERVIEWER: Would that invitation be extended to the Zapatero government? To the president himself?

McCAIN: Uh, I don't, I, ya know, I, honestly, I have to look at the situations and the relations and the priorities. But I can assure you, I will establish closer relations with our friends and I will stand up to those who want to do harm to the United States of America.

INTERVIEWER: So you have to wait and see. If he's willing to meet with you, would you be able to do it? In the White House?

McCAIN: Well, again, I don't -- All I can tell you is I have a clear record of working with leaders in the hemisphere that are friends with us and standing up to those who are not. And that's judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America and the entire region.

Generic blather, because he can't keep actual facts and names and places in his head. Like this extremely confused statement, picked up by Chris Kelly at HuffPo:

The Delicate Subject of John McCain's Marbles

You might think "I'll end greed" [ed. note, one of the seven deadly sins, it's been around for awhile] would be the most mortifying thing John McCain could say at one sitting. You'd be wrong. At Wednesday's town hall -- his first with Sarah Palin -- he topped himself with this explanation of her credentials:

"She has been commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard. Fact. On September 11 a contingent of the Guard deployed to Iraq and her son happened to be one of them so I think she understands national security challenges."

Which is fine except:

The governor of Alaska doesn't command the National Guard in combat overseas.

Sarah Palin didn't deploy anyone anywhere on September 11th. She was a guest speaker at an Army deployment ceremony.

Track Palin isn't in the National Guard; he's in the Army

Sometimes it seems like it's more than John McCain can handle, just keeping all the lies about Sarah Palin straight in his head. Tomorrow he'll say she's in the Air Force herself, on a plane she bought on eBay, bombing the bridges at Toko-Ri.

All in all, it's pretty clear that a vote for doddering McCain is a vote for I Can See Russia From My House! Sarah Palin.

You Won't See This On Brain-Dead Cable TV

Joe Biden & Hillary Clinton webcast on women's issues. Well worth the 32 minutes:

This Is How George W. Bush Destroyed the American Economy

BAGNewsNotes: Wall Street Fun-And-Games

Pretty much the same way he destroyed Arbusto.

John McCain's real running mate is a bigger fool than his VP eye candy.

New Obama Ad: Social Security

Dday at Hullabaloo says this ad was made for Michigan, and is not yet playing. It should be nationwide.

John McCain, Feminist

hat tip to the JedReport

Your Daily Inspiration

yahoo: Visitors look at a sculpture entitled "Planet" by British artist Marc Quinn at a Sotherby's selling exhibition at Chatsworth House, central England September 16, 2008.
REUTERS/Darren Staples (BRITAIN)

McCain is Losing It

The evidence from yesterday:

This video of him babbling. No coincidence, this was at an evening event -- past his bedtime.

Next, McCain was interviewed by a Spanish radio station in Miami -- the interview was conducted in English, btw -- and didn't seem to know that Spain was located in Europe, or that José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is the Prime Minister of Spain (full disclosure, I didn't know that either, but I'm not running for President, and I wasn't being interviewed by a Spanish-language radio station! He might have wanted to bone up a little on the issues.) This is being reported as a huge gaffe in the Spanish press.

That's Mr. Foreign Policy Experience John McCain. His foreign policy seems to be about an inch thick, as deep as the foreign policy experience of his stay-at-home running mate. She can see Russia from her house, that's her foreign policy experience. As this diarist on dailykos put it, McCain's experience seems to be "I can see Spain from my house in Arizona!"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Comment of the Day

Republican economic expertise exposed

Comment left on today (via dailykos):

Republicans lowered my taxes, and will keep them low. But the value of my home has dropped 20%, my health insurance costs have doubled, gas costs $4 a gallon, and my investments are in the tank. Please, tax me.

My health insurance costs have quadrupled since John McCain's running mate George W. Bush took office.

Chris Matthews Tears Into Eric Cantor (R-Va)

Even Tweety can see that this dog won't hunt.

"The Old Boys Network, in the McCain Campaign That's Called a Staff Meeting"

Obama delivers the best line of the campaign today:

And he's finally talking about Phil Gramm, the man who gave us the mortgage crisis. Phil Gramm cost American taxpayers $85,000,000,000 today. He's John McCain's chief economic adviser. This country cannot afford any more Republican steal from the poor, give to the rich country club economics.

Yes! We! Can!

hat tip to JedReport for the video. Jed rocks!

Now That's A Powerful Campaign Ad

Norm's Gotta Go, run by the Democratic National Committee.

New Obama Ad: Economy


"In the past few weeks, Wall Street’s been rocked as banks closed and markets tumbled. But for many of you – the people I’ve met in town halls, backyards and diners across America – our troubled economy isn’t news. 600,000 Americans have lost their jobs since January. Paychecks are flat and home values are falling. It’s hard to pay for gas and groceries and if you put it on a credit card they’ve probably raised your rates. You’re paying more than ever for health insurance that covers less and less.

"This isn’t just a string of bad luck. The truth is that while you’ve been living up to your responsibilities Washington has not. That’s why we need change. Real change. This is no ordinary time and it shouldn’t be an ordinary election. But much of this campaign has been consumed by petty attacks and distractions that have nothing to do with you or how we get America back on track.

"Here’s what I believe we need to do. Reform our tax system to give a $1,000 tax break to the middle class instead of showering more on oil companies and corporations that outsource our jobs. End the ‘anything goes’ culture on Wall Street with real regulation that protects your investments and pensions. Fast track a plan for energy ‘made-in-America’ that will free us from our dependence on mid-east oil in 10 years and put millions of Americans to work. Crack down on lobbyists – once and for all — so their back-room deal-making no longer drowns out the voices of the middle class and undermines our common interests as Americans.

"And yes, bring a responsible end to this war in Iraq so we stop spending billions each month rebuilding their country when we should be rebuilding ours. Doing these things won’t be easy. But we’re Americans. We’ve met tough challenges before. And we can again. I’m Barack Obama. I hope you’ll read my economic plan. I approved this message because bitter, partisan fights and outworn ideas of the left and the right won’t solve the problems we face today. But a new spirit of unity and shared responsibility will."

Well, he's taking the high road. I prefer a 10-word telegram, myself, but Obama doesn't have one yet.

Republican Vote Suppression Goes On

I confidently reported a few week ago that the Veterans Administration had rescinded its policy against allowing voter registration drives in VA hospitals and care facilities.

Guess what? They were lying. The VA has a new policy: anyone trying to register voters has to be screened. Guess what? That screening won't be completed in time to get these veterans registered to vote. Because they might vote Democratic.

Alternet: VA Voter Suppression Continues
Despite a new policy, the Department of Veterans Affairs is still blocking voter registration efforts.

Just because victory is declared in Washington does not make it so.

One week ago, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced a new policy to allow voter registration drives on VA campuses, responding to pressure by lawmakers and the media that the VA was suppressing the vote of wounded former soldiers. That new policy was greeted with 'mission accomplished' press statements by members of Congress who have been pushing the VA to change its policy for several years.

But on Monday, as the Senate Rules and Administration Committee held a hearing in Washington on a bill to ensure veterans living at VA facilities could be helped with voter registration, a legal motion was being filed in federal court in California alleging the VA was still blocking efforts to register voters in time for the 2008 presidential election.

Following last week's announcement of VA's new voter registration policy, a VA facility in San Francisco blocked a non-profit group, Veterans for Peace, from registering voters, the legal motion said. The filing said the VA was seeking to require Veterans for Peace members to go through the process of screening VA volunteers, a process that would delay registration efforts. In contrast, the VA does not require screening for most other visitors.

"The VA has disenfranchised veterans and interfered with the freedom of political parties and nonpartisan groups to associate with their members and with other citizens who reside on VA campuses," the motion said. "This Court should prohibit further interference with voter registration at any VA campus for the imminent federal election."

Scott Rafferty, the Washington-based attorney who filed Monday's motion on behalf of a California labor organizer who in 2004 was blocked from registering voters on another VA facility in California, said there were political reasons behind the agency's refusal to register veterans.

“Veterans’ experience in war gives them a powerful voice," Rafferty said. "The VA wants to stop them from using their right to speak out and to vote. The VA knows that many veterans oppose the Administration’s conduct of the War, the overextension of the military, and its inadequate support for returning warriors.”

Despicable ratfuckers.

Socialism on Wall Street

You've Got the Fed (song parody)

Last night your government spent $85 billions dollars (that's $85,000,000,000) to buy an 80% share in insurer AIG.

We bought an insurance company that is saddled with piles of Big Shitpile debt! Whee-hoo!

Corporate welfare at it finest.

This is the ultimate conclusion of the Bush Era. Billions to prop up the shells of the corporations that the oligarchs have looted to buy their mansions and private planes. They got the money; we got the shitty debt.

The Republicans base is now larded with money to give the Republican Party for the rest of our lives.

Maybe that was the real Bush Doctrine. No wonder Caribou Barbie couldn't answer the question.

McCain's Roomates Part 2

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

McCain's Roommates Ep. 1


See more funny videos at Funny or Die


Cute soccer video, hat tip to Boltgirl on the Loose.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Macomb County, Michigan Republican Party Chairman James Carabelli:
"We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren't voting from those addresses." Obama Team Files Suit Over Alleged Voter Suppression Plan

On afternoon conference call, Obama and Michigan Democratic officials say they are seeking an injunction to block alleged “caging” by the state GOP– using home foreclosure lists to seek to block residents from voting.

Obama counsel Bob Bauer: “It is an absolute attack on their right to vote” and a “completely false and completely illegal basis” to challenge votes.

“This is a standard operating procedure within the Republican party that’s been under legal challenge.”

A Democrat with a spine! Glory be.

New MoveOn Ad

"My Friends"

A Little Vetting Goes A Long Way

From +17 to +1 in six days. Palin's Favorability Numbers Eroding

As voters have taken a second look at Sarah Palin in venues like the Charlie Gibson interview and even Tina Fey's SNL sketch, they may not be as enamored of what they're seeing.

The Research 2000 poll for Daily Kos now has Palin's favorability-unfavorability scores at 45-44 -- just a +1. Six days ago, when the poll, launched, she was at a 52-35, a +17.

Perhaps they've heard that she's no longer cooperating in the Troopergate investigation; is still lying about the Bridge to Nowhere; is the Queen of Earmarks and John McCain has been lying about her record; is telling a new lie about the teleprompter breaking during her Republican Convention speech (reporters could see it, and it didn't); and installed a tanning bed in the Governor's Mansion in Alaska (so middle class).

And that's not even getting into her crazy religion, the fact that her town refused to pay for rape victims' rape kits, and that that decision was probably because she is so anti-abortion that she didn't want to pay for the morning-after pill. And so anti-abortion that she picketed a doctor's office. She believes the world will end in our lifetime. In other words, she's a complete whack-job.

She is a Trojan hockey mom who doesn't believe in Trojans.

McCain: Criminally Out of Touch

This morning on CNN he said:

"Many Americans are not paying taxes at all."

Is he insane, or deranged, or is it just his dementia? That's crazy.

Those people who don't pay taxes? We call them corporations and millionaires. People like John McCain.

From the fabulous Jed Report

John McCain's Lip Service Express

Economy? I got no problems with the economy.

Yesterday Private Plane McCain said, after Lehman Bros. imploded "The fundamentals of our economy are strong."

His campaign realized this was a gaffe, so they rushed him out a few hours later to say this:

The McCain camp later issued prepared comments that were to be made later in the day when the candidate was scheduled to appear in Orlando, Fla. Those comments were altered to pay homage to American workers when saying the economy is "fundamentally strong."

"Today we are seeing tremendous upheaval on Wall Street. The American economy is in crisis. Unemployment is on the rise and our financial markets are in turmoil. People are concerned about our economic future. But let me say something: this economic crisis is not the fault of the American people. Our workers are the most innovative, the hardest working, the best skilled, most productive, most competitive in the world," McCain's prepared text said.

The text went on to say: "My opponents may disagree, but those fundamentals of America are strong. No one can match an American worker. Our workers sell more goods to more markets than any other on earth. Our workers have always been the strength of our economy, and they remain the strength of our economy today."

McCain suddenly has faith in the American workers? Hah. This is what he said about the American worker in 2006:

"Now, my friends, I'll offer anybody here $50 an hour if you'll go pick lettuce in Yuma this season and pick for the whole season. So -- OK? Sign up. OK.

You sign up. You sign up, and you'll be there for the whole season, the whole season. OK? Not just one day. Because you can't do it, my friends."

Like many Democrats, I am waiting for the Obama campaign to use McCain's insults to American workers in a commercial. This is just one YouTube user's version. We must shove this -- dare I say it? -- elitist statement down McCain's pampered old throat.

Obama's Next Ad

If Bush had privatized Social Security the way he tried to in 2005, American would have lost millions in the market slide yesterday.

McCain reiterated his support for privatizing Social Security just last week at an AARP meeting.

Yes, John, you did. Just like you said yesterday "The fundamentals of our economy are strong."

Here's a suggested ad, from the new blog Strategy '08:

Montage of images summarizing past few months: Headlines about Bear Sterns’ implosion, Lehman’s bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch’s sale; footage of employees leaving their offices with boxes.

REPORTER: And the news out of Wall Street just keeps getting worse. Major investment banks have failed and the stock market has gone south, as millions of people have seen their stock portfolios dwindle to nothing.

Cut to images of senior citizens outside soup kitchens, moving back in with their adult children.

REPORTER: But none have been hit harder than those who invested their Social Security payments in the stock market after George Bush privatized the system back in 2005. Republicans promised that retirees would earn better returns in the market, but instead, by sacrificing guaranteed retirement benefits and gambling on the whims of the stock market, poverty rates among the elderly are now on a scale not seen since the Great Depression.

Abrupt cut to shot of Bush and McCain embracing.

VOICEOVER: Fortunately, this never happened. George Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security never passed. But if John McCain — who has called the current system for financing Social Security “a disgrace” — has his way, the Republicans will take another shot at gambling your Social Security benefits in the stock market.

Cut to black.

VOICEOVER: That’s a reality we shouldn’t have to face.

New Obama Ad

Finally. This is what I want to see. This isn't negative, or reactive, or wimpy. It's timely, and defines the opponent by his own words.

More like this, please!

Heckuva Job, Jebbie

Let's meet at the country club for drinks and laugh about the economy.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, right, and others, applaud as Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks at a town hall meeting in Orlando, Fla., Monday, Sept. 15, 2008.
(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Yesterday 158-year-old Wall Street firm Lehman Bros., which survived the Great Depression, went bankrupt.

John McCain said in a town hall meeting "The fundamentals of our economy are strong". (The breathtaking stupidity of John McCain on display.)

Maybe he was talking about his supporter Jeb Bush, who like the rest of the Bush Crime Family makes money fleecing others. Bush was hired by Lehman a year ago. Coincidence that Florida pension are going to take a hit because of their investments in Lehman stock and bonds? I doubt it. Bush isn't going to give back his Lehman paycheck. Country club economics at its finest. The rich get richer, and the taxpayers get screwed.

Reuters (August 30, 2007): Lehman hires Jeb Bush as private equity advisor

Miami Herald: Florida pension fund, Citizens [Property insurer] hold Lehman securities

The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, a prestigious Wall Street firm, will touch Florida's pension funds and the state-run insurer because both hold its securities.

The State Board of Administration holds $322 million in Lehman stock and bonds. The SBA manages the state's employee fund and more than two dozen other funds, including assets for the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and the Florida Prepaid College Plan.

Dennis MacKee, a spokesman for the SBA, said the agency has an $84 million unrealized loss on its holdings.

About two-thirds of the securities are held by the Florida Retirement System, which includes the pension funds for local counties such as Miami-Dade and Broward. The rest is spread out in the catastrophe fund and the Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund, which helps fund Medicare.

New Obama Ad: Equal Pay


Liar/Liar '08 Loses Another Member of Its Base

The media has always been John McCain's base, laughing along with him on the bus and at the barbecues, accepting his lame excuses for all his wild flips and gyrations on policy. No more.

Richard Cohen, WaPo: The Ugly New McCain

[] He has become the sort of politician he once despised.

The precise moment of McCain's abasement came, would you believe, not at some news conference or on one of the Sunday shows but on "The View," the daytime TV show created by Barbara Walters. Last week, one of the co-hosts, Joy Behar, took McCain to task for some of the ads his campaign has been running. One deliberately mischaracterized what Barack Obama had said about putting lipstick on a pig -- an Americanism that McCain himself has used. The other asserted that Obama supported teaching sex education to kindergarteners.

"We know that those two ads are untrue," Behar said. "They are lies."

Freeze. Close in on McCain. This was the moment. He has largely been avoiding the press. The Straight Talk Express is now just a brand, an ad slogan like "Home Cooking" or "We Will Not Be Undersold." Until then, it was possible for McCain to say that he had not really known about the ads, that the formulation "I approve this message" was just boilerplate. But he didn't.

"Actually, they are not lies," he said.

Actually, they are.

McCain has turned ugly. His dishonesty would be unacceptable in any politician, but McCain has always set his own bar higher than most. He has contempt for most of his colleagues for that very reason: They lie. He tells the truth. He internalizes the code of the McCains -- his grandfather, his father: both admirals of the shining sea. He serves his country differently, that's all -- but just as honorably. No more, though.


McCain has soiled all that. His opportunistic and irresponsible choice of Sarah Palin as his political heir -- the person in whose hands he would leave the country -- is a form of personal treason, a betrayal of all he once stood for. Palin, no matter what her other attributes, is shockingly unprepared to become president. McCain knows that. He means to win, which is all right; he means to win at all costs, which is not.


But Joy Behar knew better. And so McCain lied about his lying and maybe thinks that if he wins the election, he can -- as he did in South Carolina -- renounce who he was and what he did and resume his old persona. It won't work. Karl Marx got one thing right -- what he said about history repeating itself. Once is tragedy, a second time is farce. John McCain is both.

Your Daily Inspiration

National Museum of American History: Solar System Quilt, Ellen Harding Baker, 1876

Hat tip to BoingBoing

Monday, September 15, 2008

Olbermann: Economic Meltdown, McCain/Gramm, Paul Krugman

Krugman in Part 1 calls John McCain the next coming of Herbert Hoover.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Bush Ritually Sacrificed To Save Economy

I hope that's what these good people are doing.


Hockey Moms For Truth

This year's swiftboaters!

McCain Smears Obama, Push-Polls in Florida Claim Obama Funds PLO

No Blood for Hubris: Roveian Push-Poll Targets FL Voters to Smear Obama

PT Key West resident Joelna Marcus received a phone call today. She was asked if she is Jewish, and she replied in the affirmative.

She was asked if she was religious.

She was then asked if her opinion of Barack Obama would change if she knew that Obama had given lots and lots of money to the PLO.

Sounds like liar John McCain's Smear-Talk Express, not unlike Ol' Man River, just keeps rollin' along.

How low can McCain go? He's hired the Karl Rove team that smeared him in South Carolina in 2000, and is using them to smear Obama in 2008. What's next? A commenter at Making Light has an idea:

Maybe next McCain can circulate rumors that Barack Obama has fathered a black child.

Obama must stop saying that McCain is an honorable man. It is no longer true.

"John McCain Could Easily Become Known as Bush 44"

Best speech Joe Biden has given yet:

Here is the speech, written for delivery:

Eight years ago, a man ran for President who claimed he was different, not a typical Republican. He called himself a reformer. He admitted that his Party, the Republican Party, had been wrong about things from time to time. He promised to work with Democrats and said he'd been doing that for a long time.

That candidate was George W. Bush. Remember that? Remember the promise to reach across the aisle? To change the tone? To restore honor and dignity to the White House?

We saw how that story ends. A record number of home foreclosures. Home values, tumbling. And the disturbing news that the crisis you've been facing on Main Street is now hitting Wall Street, taking down Lehman Brothers and threatening other financial institutions.

We've seen eight straight months of job losses. Nearly 46 million Americans without health insurance. Average incomes down, while the price of everything -- from gas to groceries -- has skyrocketed. A military stretched thin from two wars and multiple deployments.

A nation more polarized than I've ever seen in my career. And a culture in Washington where the very few wealthy and powerful have a seat at the table and everybody else is on the menu.

Eight years later, we have another Republican nominee who's telling us the exact same thing:

This time it will be different, it really will. This time he's going to put country before party, to change the tone, reach across the aisle, change the Republican Party, change the way Washington works.

We've seen this movie before, folks. But as everyone knows, the sequel is always worse than the original.

If we forget this history, we're going to be doomed to repeat it -- with four more just like the last eight, or worse. If you're ready for four more years of George Bush, John McCain is your man.

Just as George Herbert Walker Bush was nicknamed "Bush 41" and his son is known as "Bush 43," John McCain could easily become known as "Bush 44."

The campaign a person runs says everything about the way they'll govern. The McCain-Palin campaign has decided to bet the house on the politics perfected by Karl Rove. Those tactics may be good at squeaking by in an election, but they are bad if you want to lead one nation, indivisible.

I count John McCain as a friend. I've known him since before he was a Senator. If he needed my personal help, I'd go. He served our country bravely, nobly. But America needs more than a great solider, America needs a wise leader.

Take a hard look at the positions John has taken for the past 26 years, on the economy, on health care, on foreign policy, and you'll see why I say that John McCain is just four more years of George Bush. On the issues that you talk about around the kitchen table, Mary's college tuition, the cost of the MRI for mom, heating our home this winter -- John McCain is profoundly out of touch.

Senator McCain has confessed, quote, "It's easy for me to go to Washington and frankly, be somewhat divorced from the day-to-day challenges people have." And he's right, if all you do is walk the halls of power, all you hear are the wants of the powerful.

I believe that's why Senator McCain could say with a straight face, as recently as this morning, and I quote "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." That, "We've made great progress economically" during the Bush years. But friends, I could walk from here to Lansing, and I wouldn't run into a single person who thought our economy was doing well, unless I ran into John McCain.

John McCain just doesn't seem to understand what middle class people are going through today. I don't doubt that he cares. He just doesn't think that we have any responsibility to help people who are hurting.

My dad used to have an expression: "Don't tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value."

By that measure, John McCain doesn't stand with the middle class. He stands with George Bush firmly in the corner of the wealthy and well-connected. He stands with the CEO of Exxon-Mobil, who, while testifying before my Senate judiciary committee swore to me under oath that Exxon-Mobil didn't need the tax breaks they'd been given to explore for oil.

John McCain is so firmly in their corner he thinks the Exxon-Mobils of the world should get an additional $4 billion dollars a year in tax cuts.

He stands in the corner of the wealthiest Americans by extending tax cuts for people making over a quarter million dollars a year, and then adding more than $300 billion on top of that for corporations and the wealthy.

There is simply no daylight - at least none I can see -- between John McCain and George Bush.

On every major challenge we face, from the economy, to health care, to education and Iraq, you can barely tell them apart.

Don't take my word for it, look at the record. Ninety percent of the time, John McCain votes with George Bush.

Here's what that means:

When George Bush called for Social Security to be privatized, John McCain stood with him - he even campaigned for that roundly rejected plan.

When George Bush says that the government has no obligation to re-train or provide extended unemployment benefits for people who have lost their jobs due to trade agreements,

John McCain echoes that view, and has said that Bush is "Right on trade... absolutely."

When George Bush said we shouldn't investigate why the government's response to Hurricane Katrina was so incompetent, John McCain stood with him.

When George Bush initially opposed a new GI Bill that would send a new generation of veterans to college, John McCain stood with him, calling Senator Webb's effort too generous.

When George Bush blocked our efforts to provide health care to another 3.8 million children, John McCain stood with him.

And when, in early 2007, George Bush suggested that the health care benefits you get through your employer should be taxed as income, John McCain stood with him. And now, ladies and gentlemen, John McCain has resurrected that idea, and made it an essential part of his health care plan.

Issue after issue, vote after vote, the story is the same.

In the last 16 years, he's voted 23 times against the renewable energy - wind, solar, biofuels -- we need to free ourselves from foreign oil.

Since he arrived in the Senate over 20 years ago, he's voted more than 19 times against the minimum wage.

In 1994, I wrote and we passed a Crime bill that put 100,000 new police officers on the street, 3,300 of them here in Michigan, provided shelters and security for tens of thousands of battered women, and helped lead to an eight year drop in violent crime. John opposed the crime bill and the Violence Against Women Act it contained, calling them "ineffective" and "ill conceived."

Time and again John voted against increased funding for Pell grants to help families with incomes under $55,000 send their kids to college.

Time and again, John McCain voted to make it harder for women to achieve equal pay for the same work - making it harder to prove, and punish, discrimination. He even voted against a study to determine if there is a gap between what men and women are paid. Twice.

Governor Palin says all senators do is vote. Well, just imagine what the country would look like if John's votes had become the law of the land.

In John McCain's America, we wouldn't guarantee that more of energy would come from wind, solar, and other renewables. The minimum wage would still be $3.35 an hour. There would have been 100,000 fewer police on the beat. There would have been no national domestic violence hotline for the 1.5 million women who were in crisis and needed somewhere to turn.

Over 160,000 members of the Guard and Reserve who answered their country's call and served more than one tour in Iraq or Afghanistan would get no credit towards an education for their additional sacrifice. Fewer parents would be able to afford to send their kids to college. And women who were discriminated against on the basis of pay would more difficulty making their case. Thank God that's not the America we live in.

John McCain recently said: "the issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should." Then he proved it by the advisors he chose to surround him - advisors who have further cocooned him from the reality facing the rest of us. People like Phil Gramm. The man who wrote John McCain's economic plan actually said, repeatedly, that we're not going through an economic recession. Phil Gramm says it's just a mental recession. That we're a nation of whiners.

Tell that to my friend who flew jets for the Navy and then went to work for a commercial airline for over 20 years - only to see his pension wiped out while his CEO got a golden parachute. Don't tell me that he is a whiner.

Don't tell me that the woman I met in Missouri who worked for the Chrysler plant for 13 years making minivans and lost her job when production moved to Canada is a whiner.

Don't tell me that an engineer who sees his job go overseas because his company has been given a tax break to leave instead of one to stay is a whiner.

Don't tell me that these people, people who are our nation's heart and soul - deserve to be treated as economic scapegoats.

These people worked hard, they did everything right, and they're willing to work hard again. But instead of their government supporting them, their government walked away from them. Nobody stood up for them.

Barack and I will.

What is John's response to the state of the economy? Let me quote him: "A lot of this is psychological." Let me tell you something: Losing your job is more than a state of mind.

It means staring at the ceiling at night thinking that you may lose your house because you can't get next month's mortgage payment. It means looking at your pregnant wife and not knowing how you're going to come up with the money to pay for the delivery of your child, since you don't have health care anymore. It means looking at your child when they come home from college at Christmas and saying "Honey, I'm sorry, we're not going to be able to send you back next semester." It's not a state of mind. It's a loss of dignity.

When you and your economic advisors are so out of touch, it's no surprise that your economic policies ignore the challenges that normal families face.

Let me just give you one more example. In the midst of this housing crisis, John McCain said, "I will fight for those that lost their... real estate investments." He went on to say, "It's not the role of government to bail out big banks or small borrowers." What about small borrowers? What about homeowners? What about the people who don't invest in homes, but live in them? There's an important distinction between the predators and the preyed upon.

I heard that a Republican County Chairman right here in Michigan said that they're keeping a list of foreclosed homes, suggesting that if you've lost your home, you should also lose your vote. I have a different idea. I think that if you're worried about losing your home, you should vote for the guys who are going to help you keep it!

Whatever happened to the guy, who once denounced tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in a time of war as immoral.

When someone running for election changes his views to satisfy the base of the party, that's not change, that's just more of the same Washington game. The problem is that in the Washington game today, the American people are losing.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as of today, there are 50 days until Election Day. That's just seven more weeks to talk about the direction we're going to take this country, to talk about the issues of concern in your lives, to talk about you. But as his campaign manager has said, and I quote, "This election is not about issues."

When Senator McCain was subjected to unconscionable, scurrilous attacks in his 2000 primary campaign, I called him on the phone to ask what I could do. And now, some of the very same people and the tactics he once deplored his campaign now employs. The same campaign that once called for a town hall a week is now launching a low blow a day.

Barack and I can take it. That's not what bothers me.

It bothers me that -- as one media watchdog put it -- John's recent commercial is the, "latest in a number that resort to a dubious disregard for the facts." As another news organization put it: The wheels have come off the straight talk express.

But what really bothers me, is that every punch thrown at us --- is an attempt to distract you. And they can be plenty distracting.

Like the McCain advertisements that misrepresent a vote by Barack Obama to protect young children from sexual predators. Like Senator McCain's effort to obscure the fact that Barack Obama's tax cuts will benefit 95 percent of all working people. Like John McCain's attempt to cloak himself in reform by misrepresenting his running mate's record.

It's disappointing to me to think that John McCain really does approve this message.

Every false debate we're drawn into is a real conversation we don't have with the American people. Character attacks get media attention, but they make this election about us when it really needs to be about you.

Barack Obama believes that progress in this country is measured by how many people have a decent job where they're shown respect. How many people can pay their mortgage. How many people can turn their ideas into a new business. How many people can turn to their kids and say "It's going to be okay" with the knowledge that the opportunities they give will be better than the ones they received.

That's the American dream. That's what the people in my neighborhood grew up believing. And I want our kids to have the same dream.

Barack Obama starts from that vision of progress and will do what it takes to get us there.

That's why his tax cuts - benefit the middle class. That's why he'll make it easier for families to afford college for their kids. That's why he says everyone should be able to have the same health care that members of Congress have. That's why his energy plan will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, bring down gas prices, and, in the process, we'll create five million new green jobs. Those are the changes we need.

Yes, this campaign is about change, but it's about even more than that. It's about what we value as a people. It's not just about a job, it's about dignity. It's not just about a paycheck. It's about pride. It's not just about opportunity. It's about respect. That's why Barack and I are in this race.

We know we need change if we're to restore dignity, pride, and respect. We know America's best days are ahead of us, and we know why we're here.

We're here for the for the cops and firefighters, the teachers and assembly line workers, the engineers and office workers, the small business owners and the retiree.

All of the folks who play by the rules, work hard, and do what is asked of them. They deserve a government as good and an economy as strong as they are.

We're all are Americans. There has never been a challenge too great. The stakes have never been higher.

My father always told me, "Champ, when you get knocked down, get up. Get up." It's time to get up. It's time to trust the grit and determination of the American people.

America is ready. You are ready. I am ready. And Barack Obama is ready. Our best days are yet to come.

May god bless America and may God protect our troops.

hat tip to this diary at dailykos