* America needs a bailout ~ from failed leadership - The Houston Chronicle reports that undocumented workers will be the linchpin in efforts to clean up Texas following hurricane Ike. A local contractor said “he’s having trouble finding legal local workers to help with hurricane cleanup. In what has become a commonplace irony, “The region needs the muscle of undocumented immigrants, but simultaneously is a cog in a broader crackdown of illegal immigrants at worksites.” Is our immigration dilemma not a metaphor for the other large issues burdening and daunting America? The financial crisis, the war on terror, environmental degradation, oil dependency, job losses, and special interest dominance have either been ignored or addressed with faulty or incoherent premises. Some of these problems can be attributed to George Bush and Republicans and some go back over 3 decades with Democrats equally culpable. The American people are experiencing the results of failed leadership across party lines, ideologies and time frames.
* A funny thing happened on the way to the forum - We have a major political party that offers us a vice presidential candidate that is about as prepared for the position as Harriet Miers was to be a Supreme Court Justice. Miers had written two legal opinions in her entire career. Being against abortion and homosexuals is not qualification for our highest court or for our second highest elected office. On September 25th Katie Couric interviewed Sarah Palin. The question to Palin was, “Why do you think the Wall Street bailout is needed?” Palin’s response was,” Ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up the economy. (Realizing she had confused her tutored and tortured talking points she quickly looked at her notes and continued.) Oh, it’s got to be about job creation too. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions.” No, this was not a skit on Saturday Night Live. You can watch the video.
Expect to see more people questioning the Palin nomination as conservative columnist Kathleen Parker did on Friday. Parker said, “Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.”
Thursday’s debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin may prove to be the defining moment of this campaign, surpassing the impact of the McCain-Obama debates. I say this because John McCain has made his judgment and experience a cornerstone of his presidential candidacy. Reality has been replacing the excitement generated in the early days of Palin’s selection. I watched Joe Biden respond to very tough questions on Meet the Press three weeks ago and Palin’s responses in interviews noted above. I expect that the VP debate will shine a klieg light on McCain’s terrible judgment and insult to the American people by injecting a person with no credentials, experience or gravitas onto the Republican ticket. It would not surprise me that McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin proves to be the deal breaker for American voters.
* Call 911 ~ a missing persons report – During the negotiations to bail out Wall Street something came out of the mahogany woodwork in the Rayburn Building. They are known as House Republicans and they threw a hissy fit that the government was about to provide Wall Street with $700 billion. This is not to say that their obstinacy did not have some merit. They pride themselves on being fiscally conservative. My question is, “Where the hell have you been?” For almost 8 years you have rubber-stamped virtually every spending bill that George Bush has requested. You watched a federal deficit go from $5.3 trillion to what will likely be almost $11 trillion before the end of 2008. While this debt burden exploded and the value of the dollar imploded, with no hesitancy you reduced taxes for the wealthy and made no attempt to curb the financial irresponsibility of Wall Street. Something had to give and it included your integrity. Perhaps some of your individual constituencies will look the other way on November 4th and pull your lever. That will not change the fact that for eight years the only thing you have pulled is our leg.
Also receiving dishonorable mention in failed financial leadership is Christopher Cox, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He is another stalwart of deregulation who had to acknowledge on Friday “that failures in a voluntary supervision program for Wall Street’s largest investment banks had contributed to the global financial crisis, and he abruptly shut the program down.” Quite the post-active manager! He agreed that “the oversight program was fundamentally flawed from the beginning.” This admission followed a report by the SEC’s inspector general strongly criticizing the agency’s performance in monitoring Bear Stearns before it collapsed in March. Did President Bush, during his speech Wednesday night, make any mention that his policy to overspend, push deregulation and appoint watchdogs that also opposed oversight was responsible for the potential collapse of our financial system? I may have missed such a comment while getting my popcorn from the microwave. Or, perhaps he failed to take any responsibility for his disastrous tenure, again.
* Grate American Families ~ where laws and decency too often become non sequiturs - Last week I noted that John McCain had a less than noble role in the last financial crisis, the Savings and Loan failures. He attempted to influence regulators because one of the bankers being investigated was a friend and major contributor – Charles Keating. He was also protecting investments of his wife Cindy McCain. A short video provides the details. Another example of getting a repeated free ride is George Bush’s brother Neil. He was involved in shady dealings as a board member of the infamous Silverado Savings and Loan. Its collapse cost taxpayers $1 billion. Neil has since made millions of dollars through his software company selling products to George’s No Child Left Behind program. Recall that mother Barbara Bush, when she made a financial donation to the Katrina recovery effort, designated the money to buy educational products from son Neil’s company. At this point I am Straight-Talked out and Bushed.
* Defying time, space, and reality ~ On Friday morning, before McCain confirmed that he would attend the first presidential debate, his campaign website had a picture of the Senator surrounded by American flags declaring “McCain Wins Debate” accompanied by a quote from McCain campaign manager and financial industry lobbyist Rick Davis saying, “McCain won the debate – hands down.” Cockeyed optimism was selecting Sarah Palin. This was just cockeyed.
* Quote of the Week – “Barack Obama is probably America’s last hope of ending this country’s reputation as the assholes of the Universe.” An observation by comedienne Sarah Silverman
* If it’s true it’s not hyperbole – A reader took me to task for saying, “What else would one expect from a Bush appointee but lies and arrogance?” after I noted that Secretary of Treasury Paulsen had lied while appearing before the Senate Banking Committee. The following went into my comment: President Bush, VP Dick Cheney, David Addington, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzalez, Michael Chertoff, Scooter Libby, Josh Bolten, Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, Dick Kempthorne, Michael Leavitt, Condoleezza Rice, Monica Goodling and the leaders of the EPA, FDA, NASA, VA, CIA, NSA and almost every combination of capital letters one will find in the federal government. I would suggest that the reader will find greater veracity in a minimum security federal penitentiary, where a number of the above mentioned should be receiving their mail.
* “Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.”
Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) third President of the United States and principal author of the Declaration of Independence