Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Barney gets Frank

What you have in the following video are 3 republican leaders taking republican credit for scuttling legislation that a repulican president warns America needs, and doing so for the silliest reason I ever heard.

Afterwards, you will see one of the best put-downs likely to be found anywhere:

Republicans are starting to be incompetent at even politics. If the economy falters they just put a republican face on the problem, well three faces for good measure.

Be Careful What You Wish For?

In an earlier post I said, "Why should republicans favor a bailout? Don't they recognize a welfare corporation when they see one?"

I did not like Paulson's initial plan, which was a naked power grab and not much of a plan at all. I am still thankful Washington had enough sense to oppose the creation of a financial emperor.

However, Christopher Dodd then came forward with a plan that said, public money demands public scrutiny, and public money is not toilet paper for the irresponsible investor. It wasn't perfect, but it was an honest effort to fix the mess without ceding Congressional oversight. It was fast gaining bipartisan traction until John McCain arrived to "help", at which point it died a political death.

I also felt earlier that Congress should delay any bailout because Wall Street seemed like an addict that expected to publicly finance its' heroin addiction. Let them sweat a bit, I thought, then maybe they'll realize they could fail and will be less reckless going forward, and less demanding of their saviors. Maybe that is what is going on and explains Congress' upcoming holiday break?

I prefer doing as little as possible until a new administration arrives. The Bush administration is played out; they have no more credibility. Nobody wants to be their dance partner to the dance. But, historically accurate economists like Paul Krugman say we need to act soon.

I guess you must go to the financial market crisis with the leader you have and not the leader you want.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sam Harris on Sarah Palin

When I talk about Sarah Palin I prefer to keep it simple. "She's dumb as a post", I say, or else, "I hope she talks in tongues during the campaign".

Sam Harris reminds me that there are artistic heights to aspire to and that there is satisfaction to be had in a job well done. I must tip my hat to his artistic use of insult.

Bent over Sam's knee

It is nice to see someone defending competence. It has been much maligned recently.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Up next, Afghanistan?

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.

- Albert Einstein -

Patriarchal religions foster mental communism. By this I mean the view that a knowledge deficit can be brought into balance by religious devotion to some creed, or a "belief" devoid of understanding. When you see a religious authority railing against one of the planet's foremost experts on biology or climate science you are seeing this intellectual communism in action.

Scientific progress and democratic progress rely on the same mother of invention, and it is no surprise that democratic societies tend to be technologically superior societies. A scientist gains influence based upon the usefulness of his ideas and a democratic society gains influence in the same way.

The Taliban in Afghanistan is a society that I would refer to as mental communists. The word of the theocrats is law, and those who object can be bathed in acid or have various body-parts removed until they see the wise point of view. I know that president Obama wishes to turn more American attention onto Afghanistan and I can't think of two more incompatible ideas than democracy and theocracy.

So what will we do there?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Love it.

Jon Stewart is so good.

Like I said...

Here is more ammunition to buttress my argument that Sarah Palin is as dumb as a post:

I think it is irresponsible of candidate McCain to chose to place someone this stupid this close to so much power. What was he looking at when he leaped?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Crashing and Burning

The McCain campaign just keeps getting worse.

After careless vetting he wound up with a running mate that is as dumb as a post, is ready to lie to American voters on day one, is mired in two republican-led Alaskan investigations, and has to be stage managed by handlers like a child celebrity.

Now, he is fumbling around with a silly stunt designed to make him look bold and leaderly on the economy. He is "suspending his campaign" to travel to Washington and "show leadership" on the "Cash for Trash" Bush proposal.

How much assistance is he likely to provide when he already admitted he doesn't know much about the economy?

The time for bold, wise leadership was when the horizon of this catastrophe was approaching. At that time Senator McCain thought it would be a great idea to slash regulations, and that would have made the current problem worse.

Candidate McCain is looking increasingly panicked and I think the American People are going to notice. They might vote for an incompetent, deceitful idiot twice, but they won't vote for someone that looks weak the way McCain does now.

Unhappy Letterman

John McCain canceled an appearance on Letterman so he could race back to Washington and save the US economy.

Only, what he really did was go see Katie Couric for an interview instead.

And Letterman found out about it.

And he had time to fill.

And this is the result:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ron Paul, John McCain, and the Beach Boys

When asked to endorse John McCain Ron Paul wouldn't in this interview. Listening to what he said might give democratic strategists a clue as to what really troubles a deep conservative like Mr. Paul about candidate McCain:

ADDENDUM: George Will has written an extraordinary criticism of candidate McCain which you can read here.

I hope Barak's campaign looks closely at these two instances of conservative dissatisfaction for the keys that will swing their votes. Conservatives of the type that are guided by moral principal should be respected as sincere.

Perhaps a message supporting foreign policy realism, pay as you go, and abusing Rovian Republicans will do the trick?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sour on Sarah

Reporters keep repeating that Americans like Sarah Palin and I am mystified by this. Here's why:

1. She is as dumb as a post.

2. She tries to hide this with arrogance, personal attacks, and high falutin' talk (clumsy sophistry).

3. One that wants to hurry Armageddon expecting to fly in the sky with Jesus is not responsibly trusted with power. I believe Sarah is not opportunistically (politically) committed to her cult. I think she is really a Pentecostal.

4. She has already lied a multitude of times to the American people and appears untroubled by this. I am troubled by this.

5. Sarah's children are named Bristol, Piper, Willow, Track, and Trig. I don't want to face a nation of copy-cats naming their children like circus horses.

I've given you my reasons for being unimpressed with Sarah Palin, but Bill Clinton would say that I am analyzing rationally a decision that isn't rationally made. People vote for all kinds of reasons, including gender association and litmus-test issues. In fact, here he is discussing how people vote on The View.

All I know is I don't like the woman one bit and I've given you my reasons.

A simple question...

How stupid would Congress have to be to hand over a large pile of money to the people on Wall Street when they've just shown how irresponsible they are with it?

When a drowning man needs a life-jacket he shouldn't complain if there is a lifeline attached to it. Why not let the drowning see that there are sharks in the water that are very near?

In other words, why do anything until investors worry that irresponsibly run companies might actually go bankrupt in a free market? At that point if the government wants to toss a life-jacket overboard I believe there will be a fight for it, strings be dammed.

When it is your average Joe that can't make his mortgage payments because his kid got sick, Wall Street will talk about the character building experience of personal responsibility.

Why aren't republicans willing to "let the market work" when it builds corporate responsibility?

Why should republicans favor a bailout? Don't they recognize a welfare corporation when they see one?

ADDENDUM: Here is how Paul Krugman analyzes the situation, and he doesn't delve into metaphor the way I like to: Railroad Bill

ADDENDUM TOO: Josh Marshall analyzes the situation, but he does delve into metaphor the way I like to do. His metaphor? A man holding onto a cliff face by his fingertips

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Smiling Joe Biden

By exercising the "soft bigotry of low expectations", the McCain campaign is placing Sarah Palin into a debate kitchen. She will, presumably, be allowed to wear shoes when she debates Joe Biden in a format contrived to favor her lack of debating skills, inability to improvise, or poor knowledge of the issues:

Details here

That, my friends, is either sexism on display or an inappropriate choice of running-mate.

I hope Joe Biden ignores the likely forthcoming calls for less tenacity. I hope he knocks her block off with a smile. If he treats her as anything less than an opportunistic, arrogant, world-endangering, Rovian puppet I will be disappointed by his sexism. I want to see Sarah exposed as Dan Quale with lipstick for the American voters.

Republicans attacked Chelsea Clinton and I think Joe ought to remember that.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sarah Barracuda Brain

Sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are stupid, then to open your mouth and let them know that you are:

Using fancy talk like "fungible" and "molecule" ain't enough to make ignorance sound like wisdom. Why, that there's like puttin' lipstick on a pig.

John the Reregulator

John McCain has spent most of his career as an earnest deregulator. I would describe his dependable career-long fight against regulation as a man acting with the faith of an ideologue.

For instance:

In November of 1993 he took to the Senate floor and complained about "the tremendous regulatory burden imposed on financial institutions".

In July of 2003 he told CNN, "I am a deregulator. I believe in deregulation".

This spring John McCain told the Wall Street Journal, "“I am fundamentally a deregulator. I’d like to see a lot of the unnecessary government regulations eliminated, not just a moratorium."

So it is with a skeptical eyebrow raised that I now listen to the earnest reregulator candidate McCain.

Barak Obama has an eyebrow or two to raise too in this speech:

I like to judge People by their actions. John McCain has spent a career attacking the very safeguards that brought us both the S&L crisis and the current sub-prime loan crisis.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Parallel lines

"The fundamental business of the country, that is the production and distribution of commodities, is on a sound and prosperous basis."

Herbert Hoover
Oct. 25, 1929
Shortly before Black Thursday

"The fundamentals of our economy are strong"

John McCain in Jacksonville Florida
September 17, 2008
Shortly after 3 of the top 5 investment banks in America collapsed, and on the heels of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac socialization.

Read more here

Read even more here

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I approve of this message...

On drilling

Rather than view off-shore drilling as a solution to America's energy problems, I like to think of it as an action which increases our dependence on oil if successful, and which diverts our focus from energy independence if unsuccesful. It is the same type of thinking that brought us to Iraq when we should have been pursuing Osama bin Laden.

Environmentalists must no longer squabble for their favorite projects but instead unite against our common enemy (carbon-emitting energy sources).

Global warming is real and the evidence is in our polar ice caps, in the strength of storms, in the tenacity of our wildfires, and in the science of chemistry. The technologies which will abate it exist in windmills, in solar panels, in carbon-free nuclear power, in geothermal power, in micro-hydro power, in tidal power.

To embrace petro-dictators in the face of what we now know is to embrace defeat for America. If not for us, then for our children or grand-children. It is to invite more foreign wars of occupation. It is to invite increasingly more polluted skies. It is to invite ecological catastrophe.

The flaw in societies that decay is to fail to see the promise which comes through change, and to cling in desperation to a way of life that has become self-destructive.

Think what it means for America if we can power our vehicles with electricity generated from non-polluting and renewable sources. Think what it means for the quality of our air. Think what it means for our economy. Think what it means to our foreign policy.

Why not envision American greatness? Why have our dreams become so small?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Sirota

Earlier I mention that I thought it would be a good idea for Barak Obama to seek out the advice of David Sirota. Mr. Sirota made that a whole lot easier by going on CNN and saying exactly what he thought Obama had to do to take back the lead:

NAFTA and Iraq

Ask and the internet giveth.

The Joe factor

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Realpolitik or Playground Populism?

Do you suppose all of the lying and dishonorable accusations flooding out of the McCain campaign are a tactic?

One hardly knew that Grandpa Jones and Daisy Duke were running until all the coverage of their insulting, playground populism started up.

Is McCain counting on Americans not to bother seeking out the Truth of his charges even though doing so would be easy-peasy?

Is everyone yelling at Obama to "fight back hard" adding pressure in the wrong direction? Won't uninformed Americans tune this out as, "I am rubber you are glue..."?

Maybe Obama just needs to be a little less wonky and call McCain out on his Rovian campaign. Better yet, let Joe Biden do it, since Joe Biden stood up for McCain when George Bush insinuated he fathered a black child in South Carolina and called his patriotism into question.

Here is what George Lakoff thinks Obama should do:

Make your own frames

Obama has to find a way to be in the news, without simply repeating McCain's charges because that will make them stick. Policy positions aren't going to do it, since people won't interrupt their dinners for that.

This is what on playgrounds might be known as the new experience, for instance making loud flatulent noises using only one's left hand and right underarm. Suddenly the kid pickin' at his nose and chewin' it, chewin' it, is old hat.

Well, that's what he needs to do metaphorically anyway.

Keep it simple Mr. Obama. Ask Bill Clinton to come up with something, since nobody can out-flank the master. Try to enjoy it too. It might be dumb, it might be ugly, it might detract from important conversations that you want to have, but you can talk all you want when you're president.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A prayer for Sarah

I will pray fervently that sweet Jesus protects us all from a confluence of real power with such ignorance.

Sarah Palin should not be suffered gladly.

She couldn't handle soft-ball questions.

What kind of extra-strength, non-prescription drugs are available to make her look like a good choice and just how big was John McCain's dose?

Sweet Jesus I pray that my fellow American voters aren't that stupid again.


Barak Obama is behind in Florida and I think that he ought to travel there and ask people how much they like the idea of off-shore drilling. It seems likely that Florida's tourist industry doesn't want environmental threats to their beautiful white-sand beaches.

I know that Florida's democratic strategists have already polluted the political waters with their idiotic squabbles with New Hampshire, but perhaps Floridians care more about waters of the oceanic kind?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The answer, my friends...

As Barak Obama begins to lose traction in the polls (CBS Poll), everyone is chiming in to offer their opinion as to why. I figure that I might as well join the chorus and add my two cents worth.

Because I have supported mostly democratic presidential candidates I can say I have seen a lot of stupid things in my lifetime. Perhaps, insane is more apt. It is, as Einstein once said, the definition of insanity to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

What is it that democratic presidential candidates do over and over again that causes them to lose traction in the general election?

They listen to D.C. professional election losers just as soon as they capture the nomination, they ass-kiss the democratic aristocrats, and abandon the dance partner that brung them (i.e. their base).

Obama's campaign had momentum until he came out and backed Telecom immunity. The pros will tell him it was a wise centrist thing to do, but it disheartened a lot of supporters and made him look weak. Bill Clinton put it this way, "It is better to be strong and wrong".

Remember what happened to poor Al Gore when he listened to these idiots? He shunned Bill Clinton, put on a beard, and started talking about Alpha Male-dom.

The thing for Barak to do is look at recent democratic success stories and realize they are progressive candidates standing up for liberal values. He should then seek out people like David Sirota (who helped get Brian Schweitzer elected governor of Montana). You know people with more sense than strategy.

A good way to put out a fire is by making a fire-break. This is a place in the path of the fire where all of the potential fuel for continuing the fire is burned. That is the metaphorical role Al Frum plays in a democratic presidential bid.

I can't believe another candidate is being blown by warm winds into this dead end again.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

More of the same

The Wall Street Journal documents in this story that Sarah Palin is full of beans when she calls herself a reformer that said, "thanks but no thanks", when it came to building the bridge to nowhere.

The short story is that she championed the bridge to nowhere and when it became a national scandal she reformed her position, then diverted federal money into Alaska's coffers.

As Josh Marshall points out, "On the web we call it lying".

My guess as to the eventual Republican response is:

1. The Wall Street Journal is part of the vast liberal media conspiracy that is unfairly tarnishing the reputation of John McCain's running mate. Perhaps they are even doing this abominable hatchet job out of purely sexist motives.

2. Did we mention that John McCain is a POW?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Change or more of the same?

When the president Bush was running for president in 2004, a silver star and multiple purple heart citations were something to be derided and mocked.

Now that John McCain is running, it is apparently community service that is being derided and mocked by Republicans at the Republican National Convention.

Was Palin a secessionist?

Sarah Palin gave a welcome speech to the Alaska Independence Party in March of 2008. Her husband was a member for roughly 7 years. Eye witnesses say she attended the groups 1994 annual convention.

Here are some quotes of founder Joe Vogler:
  • "The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government"
  • "I won't be buried under their damn flag"

Source: Talking Points Memo

If John McCain looked before he leaped, what do you suppose he was looking for?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Too much

Once again the best efforts of satirists seem unimaginative in the face of real-world republican conduct.

For years Senator McCain has been publishing "Pork Lists" that chastised politicians for their porky ways, and especially for their immoral uses of earmarks.

It turns out that John McCain's new "soul mate", Sarah Palin, was on those lists three times in recent years.

Source: LA Times

No wonder I am cynical.

A point of fact

Last night Joe Lieberman said something which could mistakenly imply that he is a member of the democratic party. He said this:

"If John McCain is just another partisan Republican, then I'm Michael Moore's favorite Democrat. And
I'm not. And I think you know that I'm not."

Joe Lieberman
RNC Convention 2008

Joe Lieberman might like to think of himself as a democratic senator, but the people of Connecticut chose Ned Lamont as their democratic party representative. Mr. Lieberman represents Connecticut as an independent.

He can grovel pathetically and lick McCain's boot in public all he wants, but he should not attempt to do so as a democratic senator. That is something I find as insulting as it is false.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Where were you when the levee broke?

You might want to spend some time with that image, and while you do, here's a little music from Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe:

Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin