Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Hard Times Begin...

Just wanted to get this up from the blog Life on a Shoestring Budget, because it's scary as hell...

Survive the '08 Meltdown: Part 1:

Beginning on October 1st - next week - the US Army's Third Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team - all 6500 to 8000 troops - will be re-deployed within the borders of the United States for various police functions. Regular police forces are being deployed for crowd control and peacekeeping functions as well, in managing protests, gas lines and runs on banks, grocery stores, etc. Expect to be challenged every time you go out, be thankful when it doesn't happen.

Holy Moley, Batman!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Moses Meets the Burning Bush

What happened today on Capitol Hill:


Secretary of the Treasury and ex-CEO of Goldman-Sachs Henry Paulson called Congressional leadership for a get-together. He tells them something - no doubt using charts and graphs - so horrifying, so absolutely terrifying that they all come out looking like Moses (er... Charlton Heston) after meeting the burning bush. Hair's grown a foot and is stark white, their beards fall to their bellies, they've all got that far-away look in their red-rimmed eyes, and their hands are shaking. None dare breathe the edict: Set My People Free!

So. What was it, exactly, that Paulson told them? Gee, we dunno. Nor are we allowed to know. Just as if this were top secret intelligence pinpointing WMDs that don't exist right in Saddam's palace, we don't get to find out. Even though it's supposedly OUR trillion or three or four they MUST have right now to bail themselves out. With a laughable "emergency" plan that, Deputy Admin press secretary Tony Fratto said just today, was drawn up over the course of months.

Months. Not days or even weeks. They sure as shit knew it was coming, and simply waited for just the right moment of panic to spring it on us as if the end of the world is mere hours away. Ah, the lively tune reverberates in my mind...

"It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine!"

If that's not a scam just waiting on the Greek chorus to sing the dirge I sure don't know what is. They don't care what I have to say about it, but I say "No." If it turns out that nobody's bothered to keep track of where all the paper went, then nobody really owns the lien on my house. It's mine, free and clear (if they can't produce the lien, they've got no claim). Except for the annual taxes I pay to my LOCAL government. Which I don't mind paying at all since it supports the fire department, rescue squad, county hospital, roads, bridges, schools and libraries.

Looks to me like they're trying to salvage the prime and just slightly sub-prime mortgage market by putting in a claim to the Treasury because if we were ever to figure out that our actual loans have been so fragmented and bundled and bought and sold that nobody bothered to keep the dead trees anywhere, we ALL own our properties free and clear and nobody who thinks they own the paper gets paid!

Which, btw, is just fine with me. Wall Street can crash, I don't mind. I'm sure there are capable players just waiting in the wings to kick-start things when the wind dies down. Real estate's still a good income investment and can be had cheap right now. Hold the liens yourself on just two or three houses and you're guaranteed steady income for the entire life of the loans - even at straight interest of 8-10% non-compounded, you're still earning the premium. And if they default, the property goes back to you and you just sell it all over again. Wall Street may fall, but Main Street will survive. For the most part, anyway...

[cross-posted at People First Politics]

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

As the Cookie Crumbles...

Financial news of Wall Street meltdowns, Fed takeovers of big insurers and mortgage giants, and some serious death and destruction on the Texas coast from Hurricane Ike (which we're finding out about piecemeal after 6 days of "Heckuva Job, Skeletor"), it has become more and more obvious that the country is in such terrible trouble that this will be one of the most important Presidential elections of our lifetimes.

So perhaps it's not so surprising that both friends and enemies of Republican candidate John McCain are beginning to become alarmed at what appears to be some sort of serious mental decline that has taken hold and accelerating rapidly. What's going on?

Since McCain - a 72-year old man who has survived four bouts with malignant melanoma - has refused to release the results of his most recent medical check-ups and testing, we aren't likely to find out what's actually wrong during this election cycle unless (God forbid) he suddenly becomes gravely ill. In which case it'll still be All About Palin, since the ballots are already printed. John Ashcroft, it must be remembered, lost an election to a man who died during the campaign. So yes, that CAN happen in this country, on this level of politics.

Now, I don't want to have to live through either a McCain or a Palin presidency. I think they're both more dangerous than Junior Moron, and Palin's definitely in line as heir to the Cheney "Imperial Vice-Presidency." But I also don't relish the thought of anything awful happening to any of the candidates, or having to watch as McCain painfully slides into some kind of overt dementia. This is a guy who really has had a long and storied career of public service, and who really has had a strong grasp of various foreign policy issues on a much higher level than merely being able to see Russia from the kitchen window. He's looking sick, exhausted and is scarily losing his mental acumen - why have his handlers not checked him in for a few days of serious rest and medical attention?

It's more than just not remembering how many houses and condos he and his heiress wife own. That can be understandable if you're that rich and she's got her own games going. It's more than stupidly echoing failed Republican economic pablum on a day when the whole world suffered massive economic meltdown. Now McCain has lost touch so seriously he can't remember who is running Spain - a NATO member and strong ally of the US - and even confuses things so badly that he thinks Spain is a South American dictatorship!

That's just not right. And it's not John McCain, who (in his younger days and in his right mind) knows all about Spain as a European country and NATO ally.

If it's just jet lag and the stresses of hard campaigning, then he needs a few day's R&R and nobody in his corner needs to apologize for it. If it's more than that, they're risking his very life forcing him to keep going in his obvious state of ill health and mental confusion.

Somebody please do the right thing. Help this man - whatever he loses by being out of the loop for a few days isn't something that wouldn't have been lost anyway if he keeps on demonstrating that he's too old, sick and mentally unfit to be President. He deserves more just for having served so long. From his wife, his erstwhile "soul mate" in the Veep slot, his campaign lobbyists and his party.

Give him a rest. He obviously needs it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dirty Campaigns: American as Apple Pie

Anything for a Vote by Joseph Cummins

We get a lot of insults these days when pundits, pontificators and political apologists for one side or the other toss accusations and innuendoes around like parade candy. If you disagree with Mister 22% (Bush) you're a traitor. If you're a soldier and you disagree with the way the war's being managed, you're a "phony soldier." If you're trying to get Democrats elected you're "soft on terror," and if you object to the shredding of the Constitution you're "Islamofascist" or "feminazi" or just the standard commie pinko hippie scum. It just never seems to get old.

My 85-year old Mother, who watches Fox News religiously (I don't know why) gets very upset lately whenever the subject of politics comes up among the brothers and sisters. Which is a shame, because we all love to talk politics, even if we don't agree about everything. It wouldn't be so bad if her blood pressure didn't rise so visibly just before she goes into the O'Reilly rant about "hate, hate, hate!"

So I've decided the best thing I could do for her at this stage of her life (besides go spend some quality time just being with her, taking care of things for her, and listening to her stories) is buy her a copy of a new book by Joseph Cummins, entitled Anything for a Vote.

Cummins traces political campaign name-calling and insults through the entire history of our nation, from George Washington to G.W. Bush, with lots of juicy stops in between. If politics is too mean and nasty to talk about in polite company, that means it's as American as Mom and Apple Pie! In other words, politics has always been thus.

In what Cummins calls "one of the top five dirtiest elections of all time" - Thomas Jefferson versus John Adams in 1800 - Jefferson's hired political hack called Adams "a repulsive pedant," a "gross hypocrite," and, strangely enough, "a hideous hermaphroditical character who has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman." Whoa.

Not to be out-slimed, the Federalists attacked Jefferson right back in the most personal ways. "Jefferson is a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia Mulatto father." A Connecticut paper mentioned the excesses of the French Revolution against Jefferson: "Are you prepared to see your dwellings in flames ... female chastity violated, children writhing on the pike? Thomas Jefferson was just sure to bring the Reign of Terror to American shores! History, of course, demonstrates quite differently.

Which is the point of this book, and the point I think Mom needs to reconnect with if she can. It's just hype and hyperbole. How the game is played, and if you care to participate in the process you sure shouldn't be taking any of it too seriously. Other choice tidbits:

• Congressman Davy Crocket accused candidate Martin Van Buren in 1836 of wearing women's underwear: "He is laced up in corsets!"

• Teddy Roosevelt got shot in the chest while preparing to make a campaign speech in 1912, but decided to deliver it anyway: "I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a bull moose!" Very effective.

• Former President Harry S. Truman told voters in the 1960 campaign that "if you vote for Richard Nixon, you ought to go to hell!"

I figure it might give Mom a giggle, remind her of her love of politics, and reassure her that all is not lost just because politicians disparage each other and the people think they're all crooks and liars. That's traditional Americana raw, just as it is. Which is pretty much just what it's always been.

[reposted from People First Politics]

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pretty Little Pig Y'got There...

[cross-posted to People First Politics]


You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. An old adage of folk wisdom akin to not buying a pig in a poke, not happening until pigs fly, and teenager's bedrooms likened to a pig-sty. It's been a coon's age to a gnat's ass, he needs to buck up and take it like a man, you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear.

Republican John McCain's campaign flunkies are all over this observation about the situation in Iraq, claiming that Obama called VP hopeful Sarah Palin a "pig" because she likened herself to a "pit bull with lipstick" in her RNC acceptance speech. What a total load of hooey! Looks to me like John McCain's campaign thinks of Sarah Palin as a pig wearing lipstick, and wants everyone to notice.

When Joe Biden talked about funding for stem cell research in hope of treatments and cures for genetic diseases, the McCain campaign insisted the subject of people with 'special needs' is off the table because Palin has a baby with Downs Syndrome. Huh!??! That's like saying the subject of health care is off the table because Sarah Palin flew 2,000 miles and drove an hour across the tundra after her water broke so she could have a baby with Downs Syndrome at her local stitch-em-up. Or...

The subject of sex education is off the table because Sarah Palin's 17-year old daughter is pregnant. The subject of co-mingling church and state is off the table because Sarah Palin's a dominionist holy-roller. The subject of reproductive rights is off the table because Sarah Palin can't keep from getting pregnant. The state of the union is off the table because the Palins have secessionist ties. Science education is off the table because Sarah Palin believes Adam and Eve rode to church on a dinosaur. The subject of family law is off the table because Sarah Palin's in the middle of a blood feud with her ex-in-laws...

Wow. Who'd have thought at the beginning of the summer that the Republicans would succeed in taking all issues of national concern and policy off the table just by picking a whiny, self-described pit bull wearing lipstick as Vice-Presidential running-mate? Thaaaaat's some clever new 21st century Politics!

There is hope that the Tabloid Press can manage to reach the millions of low-information voters at the grocery checkout lines with lurid details of the Palin family's dysfunctional soap operas in the not-so frozen northland. But then, those same low-information voters might vote for McCain/Palin just to keep themselves in cheap entertainment for the next four years. There is hope that Americans with 3-digit IQs will wake up and smell the frying bacon... er, mooseburgers, vote the nation's best interests this fall instead of their own boredom.

You never know... we might be pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

It Doesn't Get Any Weirder than This

Cross-Posted at People First Politics


Well, I was going to report on the St. Paul RNC this week like I did the DNC in Denver last week, but it never quite caught my attention. Hardly anybody went (including the President and Vice-President of the United States, who are the party's figureheads), Weather was lousy in Louisiana so the first day got put off altogether, and Fred Thompson makes me go to sleep.

But I've honestly gotta say, this whole Alaska Momma mooseburger beauty queen thing with Sarah Palin has me utterly and completely befoozled. Bamboozled. Conundrumated. WTF???

First thing out of the gate was that she's been governator for less than two years, and before that was mayor of a town the same size as Wilburton, Oklahoma (where Granny lives). Then she violated military regulations and operations security by telling everybody her 18-year old son is deploying on September 11. Then she lied about her close relationship with indicted AK senator Ted Stevens and his "bridge to nowhere", and 'forgot' to tell anyone that her own state Senate has her under current investigation for abuse of power. Oops.

Then she threw her pregnant 17-year old daughter under the bus to 'prove' the Downs Syndrome baby is really her son and not her grandson, even though just showing his birth certificate would have done the trick fine. Then she denied ever being a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, but only addressed their conventions occasionally as some sort of 'courtesy'. Before it came out that her hubby indeed was a member of AIP - and its "plastic explosives deal gone bad" characters until 2002. Then... then...

It's just a scandal a minute, I can't keep up! Obviously, no one from McCain's campaign - or the government - ever vetted Ms. Mooseburger. Well, there's a reason for that too, now that the mainstream media's awake and paying attention. Turns out she was vetted by James Dobson & Crew, who apparently got carte blanche from the McMansions campaign to pick the V.P. And I'm guessing the only vetting CNP did was to call her hometown preacher. Just... Wow.

So. Since I'm too fascinated by this soap opera to bother with the RNC, here's the icing on the cake:

Via NRO, Enquirer reporting Palin Adultery

Another incredible allegation emerging from the family war is that Palin, a mother of five, had an affair with a former business associate of her fisherman husband, Todd.

"Todd discovered the affair and quickly dissolved his friendship and his business associations with the guy," charges an enemy. "Many people in Alaska are talking about the rumor and say Todd swept it under the rug."

Who knows if that one's true? It *is* the Enquirer, which isn't noted for its journalistic standards. But then again, they're the ones who busted John Edwards, so it might be. I'm not taking any odds at this point, given how completely bizzaro this whole thing is so far.

And it's been less than a week since we first heard of her. Just... Wow.

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